LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 29, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Men’s Conference / Women’s Gathering Check-in – If anyone attended these in your group, see if they want to share any highlights.
· Drinks when people arrive
· Contact anyone that has missed a meeting to let them know you missed them
· Goal for the Evening: Hear from everyone every time you meet! Need help with that? Your Life Group Pastor is ready to help.
· 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/staff.
· It’s okay to have some weeks that focus more on discussion, and some that focus more on prayer!
· Does your group time feeling like it’s starting to drag? Try moving your prayer time to the beginning of your meeting, or instead of breaking into men / women groupings at the end, break into groups of 3 or 4. Change of pace can bring new life.
Pray for Israel & Middle East Conflict
See prayer section.
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 host. 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. What’s your response to hearing that Jesus, who was still walking towards the cross for the very ones who denied Him, struck Him, and reviled Him, still fights for you even when you’re letting Him down?
This is simply a sweet reminder of Christ’s love for us.
2. This weekend, we saw that even someone as close to Jesus as Peter had moments of failure. If you could have guaranteed success at something, what would it be and why?
This could be a fun question to learn about members passions or skills.
Additional Question: Have you ever been successful at keeping a New Year’s resolution? (Most people give up before the end of February.)
This week, Arnold encouraged us to respond with peace, humility, and courage when reacting with anger, pride, or fear can be so natural. We saw Jesus model it, but more than just modeling it, we heard how He gives us His Holy Spirit to enable us to live it out.
1. An argument could be made that we respond in anger, pride, or fear when our personal security or desires are most at risk. When things or people get in your way or plans, which response comes most naturally to you: anger, fear, pride, or something else?
Feel free to ask one question deeper to the answers given here. If someone says anger, you could ask how that comes out, if fear then maybe they shut down or avoid things. This can open up some healthy vulnerability.
What do the following verses show us about where our security or desires should be?
Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Proverbs 3:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 for the Lord will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.
Matthew 6:30-34 New International Version (NIV)
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Romans 8:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Make a list to discuss with your group of places where we get most angry, prideful, or fearful and what we could do instead to change our thinking. Examples: Stuck in traffic, a loss of relationship, feeling we know more than our boss.
It might be really easy to make the list of where these emotions come out but more difficult to think through what we could do instead. Make sure you foster conversation not just on the “problem area” but also on solutions.
2. We can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that if we knew better, we would be better. Read Romans 7:14-20 and underline what relates to you.
Romans 7:14-20 New International Version (NIV)
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Paul shows us it’s not a knowledge problem, but something deeper. We can’t simply stop being angry, prideful, or fearful in our own strength, even if we know all the reasons we don’t have to be. Have you ever had your will power fail you even when you tried really hard?
Most of us will come to a point where we let ourselves down. Sharing our frailty in these ways can be a practice of walking in humility. When we recognize that we can’t always will ourselves to perfection, it opens us up to better trust in the God who can.
Do you have any ideas of why you think you failed?
Make notice of where we place the blame. Sometimes it’s external circumstances, sometimes it’s someone else, but just as likely, it can be simply us.
Do you think there was anything you could have done that would have guaranteed success? If so, explain.
Sometimes it can be really helpful to look back and see things that we could change that could help us be more successful. Also sometimes it’s okay to say I tried my best and move on as well.
Have you ever been surprised to respond in peace, humility, or courage when you don’t naturally do so? What do you think happened?
This can be a fun question to look at. We can reflect on times when God has really been changing us and we didn’t even realize it was happening. Allow people to share their stories here.
Read Romans 8:1-4. Why do you think it’s so important to remember that Jesus didn’t just show us what to do, but did what we couldn’t do?
Romans 8:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
If you are tracking through the questions then you may be surprised that we made a list of ways to change our thinking when feeling angry, fearful etc., but then unpacked how we will all let ourselves down at some point. This really is the beauty of the Gospel.
Additional Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:15
Arnold made the point to remember that sometimes our biggest frustrations are with God. If that’s true for you, how might you step toward God in the times when you are most angry, hurt, fearful, confused, frustrated or (you name it) with God?
Personal reflection here but can be moved into a prayer request especially if it is a current struggle.
Pray for Israel and the Gaza Strip:
1. Pray for a miraculous de-escalation of this conflict and peace between Israel and Palestine.
2. Pray for those grieving the sudden loss of loved ones, civilians harmed in the crossfire, and the humanitarian needs of the many displaced.
3. Pray the hostages would be returned to their families and no harm brought upon them.
4. Pray for godly wisdom for the leadership of Israel and the other world leaders to effectively bring peace.
5. Pray for the followers of Jesus who are there that they may be a beacon of God’s hope, help, and strength.
6. Pray for God’s Sovereignty and His will to be carried out in the Middle East.