LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 22, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
NOrth coast Men’s Conference – OctOBER 27 & 28 – LAST WEEK TO SIGN UP!
This is a great opportunity for the men in your Life Group to get connected at a new level. Pastor Ricky Jenkins will be our guest speaker this year along with Chris Brown. 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, etc.), along with various tournaments and activities including ax throwing, cornhole, and pickleball. If you have something of value you’d like to donate for the raffle, please contact Vikki at [email protected].
NEED HELP / SUPPORT? If you need support for your group, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Life Group Pastor – we’re here to help! Find a list of who to contact online at lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/team.
It’s okay to have some weeks that focus more on discussion, and some that focus more on prayer! If you haven’t taken the opportunity to break into men-only/women-only groups, try it this week.
Leadership Community Gatherings / MID-QUARTER TRAINING
Our Mid Quarter Trainings are beginning to take place on our campuses on a variety of days, times and locations. It’s a great opportunity for you to connect with other leaders and be encouraged in how God is using you as leaders or hosts. And know we always cover childcare for you to enable you to attend. Watch for communication coming your way with more details. lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/mid-quarter-training
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. This weekend’s message was all about the freedom Christ gives us. How would you describe the idea of freedom? What images, thoughts, or feelings come to mind?
Additional Question: How do these ideas of freedom line up with or contradict the freedom described in Larry’s message?
2. As Larry showed us, freedom in Christ is not a cliché. Are there any clichés about Jesus or the Gospel that you have heard in your life but found to be true?
Additional Question: Jesus tells the soldiers to take Him and let the disciples go. Have you ever been in a situation where you were “let go” from potential danger or trouble? What happened and what was going through your mind at the time?
1. Larry pointed out that John’s main emphasis in the story of Jesus’ arrest was to show that Jesus is the victor, not the victim. Later in his life, John sees a vision of Jesus in heaven, which he writes about in the book of Revelation. Read Revelation 1:10-18 and pay attention to the person of Jesus and how He is described. Does anything stand out or surprise you?
Revelation 1:10-18 New International Version (NIV)
10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Note: This is not meant to spur discussion on the seven lampstands, seven churches, stars or anything other than the person of Jesus and how He is painted.
Additional Question: What words in the description remind you of a victor?
This picture of Jesus is most certainly not that of a victim. In your own prayer or thought life, is there a certain way you tend to picture or imagine Jesus? How is your view of Him similar to or different from John’s description of Him in these verses? Has your view of Jesus changed at all over the years? Explain.
This is not meant to find one right way to picture Jesus– there are no “wrong” answers here, just interesting to reflect on our views of Jesus. If we see Him in a way that’s different than this description in Revelation, how do we balance knowing that Jesus is both the person who wept, who comforted, who played with children, etc., AND the person whom John saw and “fell at his feet as though dead”?
Can you think of any ways it could make a difference in our daily faith when we view Jesus as the victor as opposed to another view? Explain.
- Is it easier to have more faith when we remember that Jesus is victorious?
- Jesus already told the disciples He has overcome the world in John 16:33, before His death. How do you think they might have responded if they could see the picture of Jesus in Heaven that is laid out in Revelation at the time?
- Later in 1 John 5:1-5, Scripture tells us that we too have overcome the world, if we are children of God. How often do you as a child of God feel like you walk in the victory of Christ?
2. Larry listed four major things Jesus gives us freedom from. Which of the four resonates most with you, that you have experienced freedom from?
A good question to hear from everyone. You can also ask the alternative, “Which one is hardest for you to resonate with?”
Scripture not only declares that we are free; it also gives us glimpses into the purpose of that freedom and what we are to do with it—something Larry calls being “changed from the inside out.” How does Romans 6:15-23 speak of us being set free from the slavery of sin, death and condemnation?
Romans 6:15-23 New International Version (NIV)
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Can you think of any words to describe what it feels like to not be free from something (to be a slave to it)? Have you ever thought you were free from something to later find out you weren’t? If so, explain.
The intent behind this question is to identify what freedom is NOT, and how sometimes what feels like freedom can be deceiving. Sin can make us feel free, when in actuality, we are slaves.
Additional Question: How do you know when you’re free versus when you’re not free?
While Paul calls us slaves to righteousness, as Larry pointed out, we are free from religion. This is a difficult concept to understand at times. Read Romans 6:15-23 again in The Message version (messagebible.com). Drawing upon these verses and Larry’s message this weekend, what do you think is the difference between being a slave to righteousness and being a slave to religion?
The concept of being a slave to righteousness can be tricky to grasp. The Message version helps simplify the idea by putting it in other words without using the word “slave.”
Romans 6:15-23 The Message (MSG)
15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness? 20-21 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end. 22-23 But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
There is freedom in being righteous because we have been given Christ’s righteousness. This is not something we could earn, it’s something He gave us. Religion is us trying to earn our righteousness. Being a “slave” to righteousness just means we obey what God has called us to do because we have given Him the allegiance of our hearts—we want to follow Him and obey Him.
If you met someone struggling to experience freedom in Christ—still bound by condemnation, sin, death, or religion, how would you explain to them the freedom you’ve experienced in Christ?
This is an opportunity to almost share your testimony—how has Christ set you free? You could choose to do it in longer story format, or challenge everyone to keep it to a sentence or two. Both ways can be very powerful to share and hear.
Is there one of the four areas you still struggle to feel freedom in? If so, what do you think is a reminder or verse for you to hold onto?
Just because we ARE free from these things in Christ, doesn’t mean we always FEEL free. What are ways to remember we are free when we don’t feel it?
Continue to pray for Israel and the current situation.
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/