LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of May 7, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
END OF QUARTER / FALL QUARTER PLANS / ROSTER CONFIRMATIONS
After this week there will be two remaining meetings left before the end of the quarter. If you know of potential changes in the leadership or hosting of your group for the fall, please begin to process those with your group this week. Also, make sure your Campus Pastor/Station-in-Life-Pastor knows about the changes. You will be receiving an email reminder this coming week regarding Roster Confirmations.
WE ARE BEGINNING TO THINK ABOUT NEW GROUPS FOR THE FALL
With our weekly church attendance continuing to climb, we foresee a significant need for additional groups in the fall. Please be praying with us as we begin to consider who might be able to lead those 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
Larry shared a challenging message that asked us to truly consider our own sins as we look at the sins of others. As you look back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time, something that caught your attention, challenged how you will live your life going forward or confused you?
1. What is one of your biggest pet peeves (it could be pen clicking, gum chewing, littering, talking during movies)? Do you usually say something, roll your eyes, complain to a friend about it or just endure it?
Pet peeves can be eye opening as we get to know one another better.
2. Larry mentioned how we are to deal with our own sin and the sin of other Christians and gave us helpful principles we can apply to real life situations. Which of the principles stuck out to you the most and why? What would it look like for you to apply that principle this week?
Having a game plan as to how we apply the principles makes it more likely to happen. So, if one sticks out to someone, feel free to ask what it would look like in their life this week.
This weekend we saw that, when Jesus takes a step toward someone, the first step He often takes is love and compassion. We are called to be wise and discerning as Christians, and as Larry reminded us, we must be able to call a sin a sin. Typically, we can pick out inconsistencies and faults in others, and that’s something we do easily. Scripture shows us what we should do first as we consider responding to one another.
1. Read through Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 2:1-4 and underline all the reasons why we should not be harsh toward others but compassionate instead.
Matthew 7:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Romans 2:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
According to Matthew 7:1-5, what should be our first response when we clearly see a fellow Christian doing something not in agreement with God’s Word? Why do you think we can fall into the trap of seldom doing this first?
The point of this question is to help us to begin to look more at ourselves before we approach another person. We are called to make the right assessment of things and we must be able to confront one another about sin in each other’s lives, and for us to do this well we first must be loving. The goal should be restoration, not just telling someone they are in the wrong.
Additional thought: If the conversation moves towards, “well then how do we actually confront someone about their sin?”, here are some helpful hints.
First recognize that confrontation without a trusting relationship rarely is received well.
Second, ask lots of questions, don’t accuse. Examples could be, “Hey I noticed this going on, how do you reconcile that with your faith in Jesus?” or “I know you love Jesus and desire to glorify him, what do you think about how you handled this?”
When you think about sins, what would be types of sins we might consider specks? What would be sins we may consider logs? What might be a reason someone doesn’t see the logs in their own life, only the specks in others?
Often times while things like gossip, greed, slander, and lying can be brushed aside, porn use, violence and adultery may be considered the “bigger” ones. We so often fail to see that all sin is truly destructive toward ourselves and the image of God in others.
What would be the benefit of remembering the passages above the next time you interact with someone who you see sinning, both for you personally and for the other person?
Reflecting on these passages can give us a better sense of compassion as they humble us before the Lord and one another. This is both good for our own souls, as we are more aware of the gospel and how it has saved us, and for others as we respond to them in a way they are more likely to receive.
2. We all have a past, and that past can haunt us, but Jesus frees us from that shame and condemnation and offers us grace and mercy. As you read through Colossians 3:5-11, circle all the areas on the list that you may have struggled with in the past or may even be currently struggling with. Now read Colossians 3:12-14 and circle or underline who we are now and how we now respond to one another.
Circling all the areas on the list can be a sobering reality when we see the little things and the big things are all in need of being put to death.
Colossians 3:5-11 New International Version (NIV)
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Colossians 3:12-14 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
We can often feel stuck personally but also keep others labeled as who they were in their past. What do you think it means to “bear with one another” when faced with a fellow Christian’s sin?
It’s important to note that to “bear” means that it will cost something to us as we come along side one another. If I bear with someone I am helping to carry the weight. We must be willing to step into the areas of struggle with others not just point them out.
Have you ever had a friend who forgave you when you knew you blew it? How did their response strengthen your friendship? What did it feel like to be forgiven by them?
Additional questions: Without sharing details on how you were wronged, have you ever been able to be the one who forgives and extends that grace? What was it like to be able to give grace to a friend who needed it?
One of the things we see from this study is that we need others to see the specks in our lives and to bear with us in our struggles. What can you do to be a better friend for someone in your life this week?
Additional thought: Sometimes groups want to jump in too deep too quickly, without the time required to sustain that bearing with one another. While this is absolutely something we want to see happen within our groups, and something we should be praying for as a leader, don’t be discouraged as these relationships can take time. Keep creating a safe and welcoming place where everyone can share around God’s Word and trust that the Holy Spirit will accomplish what He wants in His time as you follow His leading.