Leader Guide 2024: Spring Week 5


For the week of April 21, 2024
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.


Group Connection / Discussion Reminder
Continue to be aware of how the time in your group is being used and make sure you’re allowing time to connect and pray for one another. If you spend most of the meeting one week answering the questions, make sure you allow plenty of time to connect and pray the following week. If you haven’t done so lately and you’re a male/female group, make sure you’re getting time to break into women-only/men-only groups to take prayer requests. Sharing oftentimes goes up when you do this.

Does anyone need some extra attention in your group?
Just a quick reminder, if someone shares something, a text, phone call or note letting them know you’re thinking about them later that week can be a big encouragement.


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

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 begin to see who might be able to lead those groups. 

REVELATION SHIRTS You or anyone in your group can purchase a shirt at this link.

1. Larry said we can read Jesus’ warning to Ephesus and learn from their mistake. Have you ever learned something from someone else’s mistakes and let them pay the “dumb tax”?

Be careful and aware that people in your group may be paying the dumb tax others are naming. Make sure your group does not name people (which would be gossip) or belittle or mock anyone the situation the “dumb tax” was paid. 

2. Ephesus was once a great church but was on the verge of losing it all. In life and in faith, what do you think it takes to finish a great start well?

There will be a variety of answers here. Pace, realistic expectations, encouragement, and accountability, to name a few.  More options on discussing this in “Know It” section. 

3. What is something that challenged or encouraged you in this weekend’s message?

As always, you can move this to the end or end here and move into prayer time with your groups.

Read Revelation 2:1-7.

1. Larry pointed out that the Ephesians losing their “first love” doesn’t mean they lost a feeling, but rather that they stopped loving others in action. Even so, what role do you think feelings or passion play in our motivation to love others?

Additional Questions: Some of us feel considerable emotion while others much less. Where would you put yourself on the continuum? When do you know you can trust your feelings? When do you know you need to be careful letting your emotions dictate your next move?

Verses about balancing love and feelings (or have your group do a word search in their Bibles on this):

Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Romans 12:9-10 – “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Ephesians 4:2-3 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

Philippians 1:9-10 – “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

Balancing Feelings and Rational Thought

A balanced approach often involves acknowledging and respecting your feelings while also considering factual information and logical reasoning. This might include:

  • Reflecting on the origin of your feelings: Understanding why you feel a certain way can help in assessing how much trust to place in those emotions.
  • Seeking advice: Getting perspectives from others can provide a more rounded view, helping to balance emotional responses with rational insights.
  • Considering potential outcomes: Looking at the possible consequences of acting on your feelings can provide a clearer path forward.

2. The Ephesians did a lot of things well, but they lacked love. Why do you think it’s common for people to think it’s okay to not be as loving as we should be if we have good deeds or other things to be proud of?

There may be a variety of answers. You can add the reasons listed below and ask which one they most identify with.

More Specific Reasons how our Pride Shifts us from Love to Deeds: 

Focus on Visible Results: People often like to see quick, visible results from their actions. Doing good deeds can give a clear sense of achievement that’s easier to notice than the deeper, ongoing effort of maintaining true love. Over time, this might lead us to care more about actions that others can see, rather than sustaining deep love, which is harder to measure.

Moral Licensing: Sometimes, when people do something good, like donating to charity, they might feel okay about not being very loving or kind in other areas of their lives. They think their good actions make up for their lack of love.

Pride from Achievements: When people are praised for their achievements, they can become proud. This pride might make them think they don’t need to focus on fundamental qualities like love, believing their achievements are enough.

Losing Sight of Core Values: Sometimes, people get so caught up in the daily activities of their work or community that they forget why they started in the first place. For many, their initial motivation was love, but this can get lost in the routine.

Misunderstanding True Goodness: There’s a common mistake where people think that just performing acts of kindness or religious duties is what makes them good. They forget that these actions should come from a place of love based on the unconditional Jesus offers us. Without love, these actions are empty.

Additional Scriptures:

Proverbs 29:23 – “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

Proverbs 26:12 – “Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”

Proverbs 3:3-4 – “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Proverbs 20:28 – “Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.”

1 Peter 5:5 – “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”

Proverbs 13:10 – “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Three Checkpoints on Loving (Even when we may not be feeling it)
: Evaluate motives behind actions; are they driven by love or by a desire for recognition or self-satisfaction?

Balance: Balance deeds with genuine, heartfelt love and compassion.

Rootedness in Love: Ensure that love remains the foundation of all actions based on the Love and grace Jesus has given us; love should inform, guide, and vitalize all other virtues and deeds.

1. The Ephesians stopped loving like they used to in the beginning. In your life and relationship with God, is there anything good you used to do that you don’t do as much anymore? Why do you think that is?

See how many things your group comes ups with.  Know that many good things can take on seasons and variety.  Also, note this, no longer doing some good things does not mean you are wrong for no longer doing them. They just may no longer be needed or serve the purpose they did at that point in time.  Making sure you’re getting God’s Word in your life can look a lot of different ways, and variety is great for many of us. Praying for others and taking time to reflect on life are important, but again, there are various ways they happen. The key to the question is what you do need to continue to not lose the love for others. 

2. We all have a personal “they,” who are hard for us to love because we don’t like, agree with, or understand them. What are some of the personal biases and reasons that it’s hard for us to love others? (Not looking at them, but looking inward at us—what is it in us that makes it hard to love?)

Here are some suggestions if your group needs some prompts: Prejudices and Stereotypes, Fear of the Unknown: (wary of what they don’t understand) Past Hurts, Ego and Pride, Lack of Empathy (we struggle to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes), Insecurity (insecurities about our own worth can lead us to project those feelings onto others, treating them poorly because we unconsciously feel bad about ourselves).

Note – Live it Section below helps with this question

1. Larry mentioned Jesus washing His betrayer Judas’ feet as an example of love. If you’re honest with yourself, do you think you could wash the feet of someone who betrayed you? Thinking of someone who is hard for you to love, what are some ways you could “wash their feet” or treat them as more important than you?

See what your group comes up with.

Note: Leader audio gives additional help on how to process this.

Praying for Them: Praying for someone’s well-being or for the resolution of their struggles can be a personal way of washing their feet. It’s an act of humility and compassion, seeking their good without seeking credit.

Active Listening: Even when it’s difficult, make an effort to listen to that person without interruption or judgment. Listening can be a powerful act of service, showing that you value their thoughts and feelings.

Offering Help or Support: Find ways to help them, especially in areas they struggle with. This could be offering your time, resources, or simply being there when they need someone. Helping someone in practical ways can be akin to “washing their feet.”

Speaking Kindly: Use words that uplift and encourage, even when your instinct might be to respond harshly or defensively. Words can have a profound impact and choosing to speak kindly can be a significant gesture of love.

Forgiveness: Forgiving someone who has wronged you is a profound way of showing love. It doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing their actions but choosing to let go of the hold their actions have on you.

Respecting Boundaries: Sometimes, showing love means respecting someone’s space and boundaries. This can also be a form of putting their needs before your desires.

Small Acts of Kindness: Simple acts like a genuine smile, a thoughtful note, or a small favor can go a long way in showing someone you care, despite your personal feelings.

Seeking Understanding: Try to understand why they might behave in ways that hurt you. Understanding doesn’t mean excusing their behavior, but it can soften your heart towards them.

2. Find a way to put the kind of love Jesus is looking for into action this week—to treat someone differently, serve someone, or show mercy to an enemy. In the next week, share with your group what that was and how it went.

Prayer Time: make sure you take the time share prayer requests and prayer.