LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of April 9, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Reminder – If you have new people in your group, use name tags for at least the first three weeks of the quarter!*Is this week your group’s first meeting of the quarter? – See last’s week’s leader guide for tips on how to have a great first meeting.
LIFE GROUP COMMITMENT FORM
Go over the Commitment Form with anyone who missed the first week. If anyone did not sign the Life Group Commitment Form, remind them to do so.
SERVE YOUR CITY – April 15-30 (Three-week focus – Give/Serve/Love)
- Serve Day – April 29/30 – All weekend services are canceled so you can serve in your community!
Help Your Group Get signed up for SERVE YOUR CITY
- You can sign up as a Life Group or as individuals for multiple time slots on a single location or across multiple projects.
- Sign-up Tutorial – Watch the video here!
Pray for Serve Your City:
- That we can get everyone signed up.
- For the many details and gathering of resources that need to happen over the next two weeks.
- That people will be flexible throughout the sign-up process and while they serve.
- That we can impact our community for Jesus.
Ideas for your Social this quarter
As you begin to make plans for your social, you may want to plan your social for the week after your service project and use some of that time celebrating and looking back on your Serve Your City project(s) and how you saw God work.
Online Social Ideas: https://lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
In-person Social Ideas: https://lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
Check out the Tips on Group Prayer at the end of this Leader’s Guide. If you have new people in your group, please make sure you go over this. And NEVER make someone pray. Group prayer is similar to public speaking, which is the #1 fear people have. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Life Group because a well-intentioned person required everyone to pray. This can also be a good reminder for long-time groups.
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
1. Jesus called Himself the bread of life. Bread was a food the people of that time and culture would have eaten daily. What food or beverage do you consume most frequently? Is there something you have every day?
Have fun with this! Is there anything strange or unusual anybody eats every day?
Additional Question: What would it be like to remember Jesus as often as you eat that thing? Instead of bread, replace the blank with the item you eat most frequently: “Jesus is the __________ of my life.”
2. Easter is an incredible reminder for believers, no matter how new or seasoned in their faith, of what Jesus did for us more than 2,000 years ago on the cross. Is there anything specific you were reminded of this Easter season?
This could be anything about Jesus or Easter that you remembered or were encouraged by this season.
Quick Review: 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?
In the passage this weekend, Jesus asserts that just as food sustains us when we eat it, He sustains believers who fully consume Him and take Him in. Chris talked about how this need for Jesus is much bigger than the fixing of our temporary problems, and if we are only coming to Jesus to meet temporary, physical needs, we will miss Him.
This is not to say that Jesus doesn’t care about our temporary needs, but He cares much more about our eternal needs. This is demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testament. Read the account of God sustaining the Israelites in the wilderness in Deuteronomy 8:2-10. Underline or highlight in your Bible with two different colors the physical provisions of God and the spiritual lessons or outcomes He wanted for them.
Deuteronomy 8:2-10 New International Version (NIV)
2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
God met the Israelites’ temporary needs, while also having a deeper and longer-lasting provision in mind for them.
- God led them in the wilderness
- God fed them with manna
- Their clothes did not wear out
- Their feet did not swell
- He would give them a good land- brooks, streams, springs; wheat and barley; vines and fig trees; pomegranate, olive oil and honey, bread, lacking nothing, rocks of iron and copper in the hills
- God humbled and tested them in order to know what was in their hearts, whether they would keep His commands
- To teach them that man does not live on bread alone but on the Word of the Lord
- The Lord disciplined them
- He wanted them to observe His commands, walk in obedience and revere Him
- He wanted their praise
Additional Question: Has God ever answered some of your temporary needs, small or big, in a way that impacted your spiritual walk or relationship with Him? If so, what did it show you about His nature or character?
For the Israelites, it was food they asked for, and for the disciples, it was signs and wonders (John 6:30-31). We all have things we come to Jesus for. What are some of the desires or needs you frequently bring to Jesus in prayer?
These answers could be anything—there are no wrong answers here. What do you ask God for? i.e., I frequently ask for protection for my family, for the spiritual growth of my children, for a good job, for financial provision, for healthy relationships, for the hopes and dreams I have for the future— to be married and have a family, etc.
Scripture encourages us to bring all our needs to Jesus, no matter how small or big, temporary or eternal—both are important to Him. Looking at what you wrote above, what is the life span of each of those needs or requests? How many of them are temporary versus eternal, physical versus spiritual? Do you tend to focus on one more than the other? Is there one you could focus on more?
This is meant to be a self-reflection but not a guilt trip! Jesus cares about our temporary/physical needs, too. The goal here is to see where our focus is and take a step back and evaluate if there’s anything that we might want to shift in our focus—are there temporary needs we could be praying more for or eternal needs we could be praying more for? Some of us don’t bring enough of our immediate needs to Jesus, and some of us are only focused on the here and now.
Read Matthew 7:7-11. How does this instruction from Jesus fit with, challenge or strengthen the idea that there is a bigger eternal need He wants to meet than the temporary needs we bring before Him?
Matthew 7:7-11 New International Version (NIV)
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
In other words, how do we balance the fact that Jesus tells us to come to Him with all of our needs and requests with the idea that He wants to meet a need far greater than our temporary needs?
Additional Question: Is there anything you have a hard time understanding about the balance between the two?
What would our prayers look like if we kept both ideas in mind at the same time (that He wants us to come to Him with all our needs, but He is ultimately our greatest need, the giver of life, and what sustains us)?
Is there anything you’d pray for more? Anything you’d pray for less? Something you’d pray differently? A different heart posture or attitude you’d hold in the process?
Additional Verses: Philippians 4:10-13
Sometimes the difficulty of following Jesus is wrestling with the reality that although He gives us instructions like the one above, He doesn’t always answer the way we think or desire He will. Is there any encouragement or advice you would tell a friend who is doing what these verses say to do yet not seeing their need met the way they desired? What are some things that are not helpful to say in these situations?
- Is there anything encouraging someone has said to you in a situation like this?
- How have you seen Christians answer poorly in these situations?
Option: Come up with a list together as a group of some bad advice someone could give in a situation like that.
1. Is there anything in this week’s message or study you want to focus on remembering this week?
2. Are there any needs you are currently praying for in which you can use the reminder that Jesus is the greater need and the sustainer of life? Are there any needs you want to pray more for?
Prayer Transition and Optional Question: The number one fear most people have is speaking in public. Group prayer would fall into this category. If you have new people in your group, going over “Tips on Group Prayer” (below) is crucial. In most cases, it’s also a good reminder for returning group members. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Life Group or didn’t join a group because they had to pray out loud.
Additional Question (An important one for new groups): Prayer is an amazing avenue God has given us to communicate with Him and He with us, but we also come to it with a lot of different thoughts and feelings. Which of the following statements are most true for you?
Prayer is an important part of being in Life Group. Over the years, we’ve found that group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.
WE PRAY FOR ONE TOPIC AT A TIME – Anyone in the group is free to introduce a prayer request, either before prayer begins or during the prayer time. Once a topic is introduced, the group focuses on that request alone. Once it’s covered, the group moves on to the next topic.
PRAY MORE THAN ONCE – Because the group is focusing on one topic at a time, each person is encouraged to pray several times during the prayer time for those topics they feel most led to pray about. No one is required to pray.
WE KEEP OUR PRAYERS SHORT AND SIMPLE – Group prayer goes better when members keep their prayers short and to the point. When someone prays for a long time, it’s hard for the other members to stay focused and long prayers tend to intimidate those who are just learning to pray out loud in a group. No one is required to pray out loud.
SERVE YOUR CITY
On April 29 & 30, the Church is leaving the building! No in-person services will be held as we head out into our local communities to serve our cities in the name of Jesus. Mark your calendars and sign up to serve with your Life Group! Go to northcoastchurch.com.