LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of May 5, 2019
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
These notes are designed to be a resource as you lead your Life Group each week.
END OF QUARTER / FALL QUARTER PLANS
After this week, there will be three 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 that with your group next week. Also, make sure your Campus Pastor/Station-in-Life-Pastor knows about the changes.
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?
1. What was your response when you heard Larry say, “Every Jesus follower is in full-time ministry?”
Additional Question: What are the implications of that statement for us as believers?
2. Can you remember a time when you had the opportunity to explain to someone how they could become a Christian? What was that experience like for you?
Note: Not everyone will have an answer to this question. Be sensitive and don’t imply that everyone should have had such an experience or they are a lesser Christian because they haven’t.
Additional Question: If someone were to ask you how to become a Christian, how confident are you that you would know what to say?
Would you do anything differently if you got to do it over again?
This is a sneaky way to get them thinking about the next time.
1. When we think about being in full-time ministry, we can usually come up with a lot of reasons why we aren’t qualified or equipped enough to do what we think it takes. Moses was a lot like us in this regard. When you read about his call to ministry, you see him trying really hard to get out of his God-given mission. Read the following passages and list each of Moses’ excuses along with God’s response.
Exodus 3:11-12 – 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses Excuse: Who am I? I don’t have what it takes to do this. He felt like a nobody.
God’s Response: I will be with you.
Supporting Verse: Matthew 28:19-20 (Jesus promises to be with us always).
Exodus 4:1-5 – Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
Moses Excuse: What if the people don’t believe me?
God’s Response: I will give you miraculous signs. (Our life change is a miraculous sign too).
Supporting Verse: Acts 4:29-30 (The disciples prayed for God’s miraculous power).
Exodus 4:10-11 – 10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?
Moses Excuse: I can’t speak well. I don’t have the right gift set.
God’s Response: I will help you speak and give you words.
Supporting Verse: Luke 21:14-15 (God can help his kids with words and wisdom).
Exodus 4:13-16 – 13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
Moses Excuse: Can you just send somebody else?
God’s Response: Now I am mad. But I will send Aaron with you.
Supporting Verse: Ephesians 2:10 (We are made to do good works for God).
Note: In all this God seems very patient with Moses so we can trust he’ll be patient with us as we struggle with accepting the ministry assignments he has for us.
- Are there any excuses you would add to this list?
- Are there any you need to be careful of using?
In light of our calling to be “salt & light” to the world around us as part of our ministry, can you relate with any of Moses’ excuses?
- Can you think of a time when you knew some ministry opportunity had your name on it and yet you hesitated to do it? What caused your hesitation?
- Have you ever felt like you missed a God-given opportunity to make a difference?
Note: It’s helpful to remember there are many different areas of ministry (Ephesians 4:11) and God has uniquely made each of us for specific ones (Ephesians 2:10). Ministry can be calling someone to check in, doing a service project, hosting Life Group or offering to bring a sick person dinner.
- As you think about ministry happening around you, can you think of any people you see consistently being “ministers” to others?
- If you were asked to serve your Life Group in some form of ministry, can you think of a couple things you would be most comfortable doing?
How could God’s responses to Moses give someone who has similar doubts, hope or courage in their calling to ministry?
2. We heard this weekend that music (i.e. loving actions) lends credibility to our Gospel message. Throughout history, the sacrificial love of Christians has had an incredible impact on people who don’t know Jesus. One author’s brief summary of Rodney Stark’s book on the tremendous growth of the early church captures how love impacted this growth:
“Stark was puzzled at how a marginalized, persecuted, often uneducated group of people were able not only to survive, but thrive….He concludes that a key reason was their willingness to sacrifice themselves out of love for each other and for their world. This sacrifice released an explosion of light and heat the world had never known.” – Shaunti Feldhahn in Y2K: The Millennium Bug
Here’s more from the same author about how Christians impacted people through their sacrificial love.
“The willingness of Christians to care for others was put on dramatic public display….Pagans tried to avoid all contact with the afflicted, often casting the still living into the gutters. Christians, on the other hand, nursed the sick, even though (some) died doing so….Christians also were visible and valuable during the frequent natural and social disasters afflicting the Greco-Roman world: earthquakes, famines, floods, riots, civil wars, and invasions. Even in healthier times, the pagan emperor, Julian, noted the followers of The Way ‘support not only their poor, but ours as well.’” – Rodney Stark in Live Longer, Healthier, and Better
In addition to sacrificial love, early Christians also impacted others by the quality of the lives they lived. Here’s how one author described this:
“The link between holy living and effective evangelism could hardly be made more effectively. In particular, Christians stood out for their chastity, their hatred of cruelty, their civil obedience, good citizenship….They did not expose infants, they did not swear. They refused to have anything to do with idolatry and its by-products. Such lives made a great impact. Even the heathen opponents of Christianity admitted as much….It is difficult to overestimate this moral emphasis in the growth of second century Christianity.” – Michael Green in Evangelism in the Early Church
What’s your initial reaction to this quote?
What are some hurdles people face in showing sacrificial love to those who don’t know Jesus?
Additional Question: What aspects of the American Dream work against us loving others sacrificially?
What guidelines or tips do you see in Colossians 3:23-24 and 1 Peter 2:12 that could influence our effectiveness in serving others?
Colossians 3:23-24 – 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
1 Peter 2:12 – 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
- What difference would it make if someone was able to consistently see themselves as working for Jesus and not their boss?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to live as a good Christian but kept being accused of doing wrong by people around you who didn’t like Christians?
- How do we consistently live out good deeds while being accused of doing wrong?
3. Larry mentioned that an important part of our ministry assignment is representing Jesus well. What do the following passages add to your understanding of the ministry God desires all Christians to be involved in?
Matthew 9:35-38 – 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
We see Jesus’ compassion for lost people here and what he sees as the impact of their “lostness” on them – they are confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He also lets us know that a big need in seeing lost people come to Christ is for additional laborers in the harvest.
- What do you notice about Jesus and how he does ministry in this passage?
- Can you think of ways someone can develop the ability to respond as Jesus did in this passage?
- How might Jesus’ reaction to the needs of the people look in our everyday lives?
- What do we learn about Jesus’ attitude about lost people?
- What words does Jesus use to describe lost people here? Why do you think he used those words to describe them?
- Looking back, before you came to Christ how accurately do those words describe your life experience?
Matthew 28:18-20 – 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This passage is commonly called the Great Commission. This paired with the Great Commandment in Luke 10:27 are often referred to as the twin marching orders for believers.
Additional Question: What would it look like to orient our lives around this passage?
What role do you see yourself playing in the mission described in these passages?
Additional Passage: Luke 15 talks about the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. It expands on Jesus’ concern for lost people and sending out laborers to make more disciples.
Additional Question: Where do you see yourself contributing to being a laborer or helping fulfill the Great Commission?
1. Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
2. Can you think of anyone in your life that God might be calling you to serve as a way to help them see Jesus?