LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of November 4, 2018
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
About Politics in Life Group:
Remember to keep politics COMPLETELY out of your Life Group discussions during this election cycle. Despite the fact that there may seem to be a predominant political persuasion in our church and in your group, we exist to minister to everyone who wants to know Jesus. Every election cycle we have new Christians, seekers, and even long-time Christians who are deeply offended when comments, jokes, and even prayer requests send the message that people who vote their way are not welcome here.
If someone in your group starts to take things in a political direction (be it with humor, a rant, or even a “prayer request” for a specific outcome) gently remind them that the body of Christ (and North Coast Church) is made up of followers of Jesus – some of whom are Republican, Independents, Democrats, Tea Party etc.
These notes are designed to be a resource as you lead your Life Group each week.
Things to Remember:
- Drinks when people arrive
- Contact anyone that has missed a meeting to let them know you missed them
Goals for the Evening:
- Continue to build relationships
- Discuss the homework together
- Pray together
NO LIFE GROUPS OVER THANKSGIVING
Just a reminder that there will be no Life Groups held over Thanksgiving Week, November 18-24.
- Last Week of Life Group: November 25 – December 1
- Winter Sign-Ups: January 5 & 6 and 12 & 13
- Winter Quarter: January 13 – March 16
Keep an eye out for emails coming your way about online Feedback Forms to hear from your group.
Did you know you can listen to an audio version of this leader guide for more discussion suggestions? To listen, check the top of the leader guide post each week to play online, download the mp3 file, or subscribe to the podcast.
If you haven’t divided into smaller groups for prayer and application you may want to do that this week. Possibly divide into men-only / women-only groups. People’s willingness to share and open up can increase in a smaller group setting.
Submit your group’s attendance online through the Leader Toolbox here: northcoastchurch.com/attendance
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
In reality, this is just an extended version of the MY STORY section but it deals with one specific part of the sermon.
- Pride is an all too common struggle for most of us. Can you think of any ways that you see pride, arrogance or an untamed ego showing up in the world around you?
Additional Question: What is the impact on relationships, work effectiveness or ministry growth from this display of pride?
- Pride is an all too common struggle for most of us. Can you think of a time when you were struggling with pride? When and how did you become aware that you were being prideful?
- Why do you think it’s easier to spot pride in others than in ourselves?
- Pride has a way of attaching itself to certain areas of our lives like our image, possessions, strengths and position. In what ways have you dealt with pride in these or other areas of your life?
- How could Romans 12:3 help us to counteract pride in our lives?
- How can you delineate between being legitimately proud of what we do versus becoming prideful?
- Is there one person who has modeled for you the humility we heard about this weekend? If so, how did you see humility demonstrated in their life?
Quotes About Pride:
- In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. – John Ruskin
- Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. – C.S. Lewis
- A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. – Henry Ward Beecher
- Pride is “the essential vice, the utmost evil….Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” – C.S. Lewis
- Social media has made it possible for all of us to let our friends know about the wonderful things we’re doing or the awesome toys we’ve purchased. How can we balance the use of social media to keep people informed on what’s going on in our lives without it becoming a thinly veiled exercise in self-promotion?
Additional Question: Can one person’s self promotion be another person’s effective marketing plan?
- Author Thomas Merton observed that “pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” What do you think he means?
Note: We would probably talk about being inauthentic rather than artificial.
Additional Question: What is it like interacting with a person who is proud vs. one who is humble?
- Larry looked at Luke 14:7-11 where Jesus tells a parable about entitlement. In what ways could people today also struggle with a sense of entitlement?
Luke 14:7-11 – 7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Additional Question: What would it look like for us to have a sense of entitlement?
Can you think of a time when you struggled with entitlement?
One of the elements that can either help or hinder us from consistently planting well is the people we hang out with. As you read the following Proverbs, jot down what they say about the characteristics of people who help us plant well and those who could potentially hinder what we plant.
Proverbs 10:17 – Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
Paying attention to discipline which could include feedback. They are teachable and thus would encourage us to give attention to feedback/discipline.
Ignoring feedback not only impacts the person but also others they influence. Since they ignore feedback and thus are not teachable, they would not encourage us to be either.
Proverbs 10:23 – A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
Since they take pleasure in wisdom and seek it out, they would encourage us to do the same.
Since they enjoy trying to figure out how to get rich quick and how to con the system, they would encourage us to do the same. They would want us to be ruler breakers like them.
Proverbs 14:1 – The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Commitment to a godly home – to exerting time and energy to raise a godly family. They would value and encourage you to seek after a godly home.
Makes choices that are selfish and as a result the family is negatively impacted. Since they don’t value the family, they won’t encourage you to either.
Proverbs 14:16 – The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.
Deep respect, submission, and fear of God.
Hothead – loses temper easily and can’t be reasoned with but still feels confident he knows best.
Proverbs 14:3 – A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.
Uses their speech to create harmony with others. They can be counted on to say what they mean.
Uses speech as a weapon – their words are vehicles to express their pride. They can easily harm you with their words.
Based on these Proverbs, how would you describe the kind of friend who would help you plant well?
- Have you ever stopped to think through your circle of friends in terms of these characteristics?
- What other characteristics would you want from a friend who could help you plant well?
Note: Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That highlights the fact that the people around us have a lot of influence in what we chose to plant.
Which of these characteristics is most important for you to look for or to avoid?
How could these verses impact the kind of friend you want to be to others?
This question reverses the perspective and asks what we need to do to be the kind of friend who helps other people plant well.
Additional Question: Although people who may fall in the hindering category should not be allowed to influence your choices, they are still people you may want to try to influence for God. How could you still be an influence in their lives while at the same time not falling into allowing them to influence your “planting” decisions?
Larry talked about how the harvest doesn’t come up overnight so we live most of our lives in the “in-between” time. This makes it challenging to patiently do the right things when we don’t see the results that are promised or expected. Can you think of an area in your life in which you have had to wait a significant amount of time before seeing an answer or an area in which you’re still waiting?
Not everyone will have an answer to this but some possible ones are:
- Infertility issues
- Salvation of a loved one
- Spouse finally getting spiritually interested
- Health issues
- Struggles with addiction/sobriety
How could the following passages help us as we live life in the “in-between” time?
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
We’re not to worry about those who plant the wrong things and look like they are prospering. Instead, we’re to trust, do good, dwell, enjoy, take delight, and commit. As a result we will be rewarded.
Additional Question: What does it look like to enjoy, take delight and commit our ways to the Lord?
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
God is our solid foundation in times of trouble. In verse 5, other translations have the word “wait” instead of “rest”. If we want to wait patiently and continue to do good, we have to have a shelter when things aren’t going well. Isaiah 40 talks about God being in control of everything.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Waiting patiently is helped when we can maintain an eternal perspective. Our focus can’t be on this world but needs to be on the eternal world. See 2 Corinthians 11:24-29 for a list of Paul’s “momentary troubles”.
Additional Question: What’s something that has helped you stay focused on Jesus during the “in-between’ time?
Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?