LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 8, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
NORTH COAST MEN’S CONFERENCE – OCTOBER 27 & 28
This is a great opportunity for the guys in your Life Group to get connected at a new level. See the bottom of the homework for details. We’ll be raising money once again for one of the women’s resource centers in our community that helps women and families in distress. There will be multiple ways to contribute including raffles for prizes (Big Screen TV, BBQ’s, etc.), along with various tournaments and activities including poker, cornhole, pickleball and disc golf tournaments. If you have something you like to donate for the raffle, please contact Vikki at [email protected].
FINALIZE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL and / or SERVICE PROJECT
Finalize plans for what service project you would like to do. Check our website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org
Online Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
In-person Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
- Remember you don’t have to answer every question!
- Choose questions best suited to your group.
- Listen to the Audio Guide/Podcast for more discussion suggestions.
- Take prayer requests
- If you haven’t divided into male/female groups already, you may want to do so for prayer.
Submit your group’s attendance online at northcoastchurch.com/attendance. If you’re not sure how to post attendance, you can check out the guide here: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/how-to-post-attendance
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged, or confused you?
1. People view followers of Jesus in a lot of different ways. What was the first thing that came to mind when Larry said, “There’s a difference between being weird and being different”?
2. This week, we heard about our need for protection from the enemy. What was your view of him growing up? How has your view of Satan changed from when you were young until now?
Note: When it comes to the power of the enemy, we have to be aware of falling into extremes, on one end thinking everything is the enemy’s fault and giving Satan way more credit than he deserves, to the other end where we never acknowledge the spiritual attacks and his deception and schemes.
1. Since Jesus made it a point to pray that we would be protected from the evil one, let’s learn about how our enemy operates. What do you discover about the devil’s schemes from the following verses?
2 Corinthians 11:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
1 Peter 5:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:3
Discussion Note: From these passages we see that Satan is cunning and on the prowl with a variety of plays in his playbook as he seeks to derail, distract, discourage, and destroy those who follow Jesus. As your group discusses, they may already want to start down a path of how to be ready and develop a defense for when Satan attacks.
Did any of the strategies of Satan surprise you? Of these strategies, which is most difficult for you to see coming or resist?
Knowing more about the way the devil works, how might you be able to increase your alertness to his schemes?
Discussion Note: While it is helpful to know how Satan works, our primary efforts must be our pursuit of Jesus as His students and followers, learning His ways and His Word. Knowing the real thing, is the best preparation for spotting the counterfeit/deceiver.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15
2. Jesus not only prays that we would be protected, but He gives us instruction on how to prepare for the attacks that will come. Read Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians. Circle the commands, highlight the tools available, and underline the outcome(s) or results of using the tool.
Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Amplified Version (AMP)
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [b]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [d]God’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Message Version (MSG)
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Discussion Note: Including the two other versions should help as you lead through this discussion. The Amplified version helps with some definitions of the armor and The Message versions helps simplify. Both can help support, explain, and learn this passage that may be familiar to many in your group. If this passage is unfamiliar to your group or some members, encourage them to look at the different versions for better understanding. If there are those in your group who are very familiar with the armor of God, press in on what “new” thought or idea God is showing them even though they have an understanding of this passage.
Of the armor options, which one do you access the most or think you need to utilize most in your current season?
- Which one do need to pay attention to or put on more?
- What does this passage communicate about our part to play in protecting ourselves against the enemy?
- What are we risking if we go out into the world without our armor?
Larry mentions that the enemy’s strategy is to lie to us by convincing us that God is not good, God cannot be trusted, and God’s way will not work. Can you think of any lies we easily buy into about God? Which one do you have to combat most often? How do you combat those lies?
As Larry also pointed out in Jesus’ prayer, He desires for us to be different. How does putting on the full armor of God set you apart from the rest of the world? What changes happen to our mindset and approach to the day when we are fully armored up?
- In what ways might others see a difference in you as you walk in confidence, protected by the armor of God?
- Is it possible to take this too far and jump into the “weird” category that Larry mentioned?
Additional Thought/Idea: While we are promised that our enemy is real and seeks to destroy, we are also warned that we will have trouble in this world. Sometimes it’s easier or more convenient to give Satan the credit for a particular challenge or struggle than to acknowledge that our situation is due to sin, our own lack of effort, or the fact that we live in a broken and fallen world.
- Sin – ours and the sins of others that affect us and those around us
- Calamity/Our Fallen World – disasters, accidents, tragedies
- Lack of Personal Responsibility/Personal Decision Making
Is there one area from this week’s study that you would like prayer for?
Join us Friday evening, October 27 & Saturday morning, October 28, for the North Coast Men’s Conference held at the Vista Campus! Come enjoy teaching led by pastors Chris Brown and Ricky Jenkins, along with worship, activities and competitions!
Register at northcoastchurch.com/mens-conference/