(Note for Group Leaders) To make things easier for you, we have combined the Leader and Participant Guides into one. Please remember that we have provided you with too much group content and that's on purpose! As the Group Leader, you are free to choose the elements that will help everyone to engage with the message, and leave the rest.
BEFORE YOU GATHER
Prepare for Your Group: (10-90 minutes)
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon
- Read John 10:1-15
- Get a feel for the Book of John as a whole by WATCHING THIS VIDEO
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and then ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants to do during your Group's time together.
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of how your Group can invite God into your time together.
As you pray, ask God to be the Good Shepherd over your group, leading the discussion and guiding your study of His word.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Have everyone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend's message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say "Pass."
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
(Note for Group Leaders)
There are more questions than you will likely have time to get through. Choose the questions that resonate the most deeply with you and your Group.
This weekend's message came from John 10:1-15. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Our God is a Good Shepherd who not only recognizes us, but knows our names. Is it an intimidating or comfortingreality that he knows us on such a personal and intimate level? Who is somebody that knows you best, and what is it about that relationship that you value the most? How does knowing both the good and the bad about the people closest to us affect our relationships?
- (John 10:3b-4) Our God leads us, goes ahead of us, and we follow him. However, we cannot follow him if we do not know his voice. How do we identify his voice amidst life's other voices and distractions? What are some different ways that the Lord speaks to us?
- Because he is a GOOD leader, we can trust Jesuswith a full and comprehensive leadership of our lives. Why does it seem more convenient to enlist God as a consultant rather than a shepherd?
- Jesus laid down his life for us, just as a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He chose to lay it down, so that we may have eternal life with him. This may seem strange because it is hard for us to feel the intensity of our value, but place these sentences in your phones, or write them down somewhere, to keep as a reminder this week: Jesus loves me. Jesus died for me. Jesus rose from the grave for me. Jesus leads me.
- Jesus says in John 10:10b, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." He isn't promising us wealth, happiness, or earthly success. He is promising us that he is always with us in this life, and that we will one day have life with him in eternity. What is the difference between living a full and abundant life now verses waiting to live this out in heaven? What does this look like in the life of a believer?
- What makes our Good Shepherd so good is that he recognizes us, leads us, and sacrifices for us. Which one of these three areas are theway that you want topush forward in understanding our Good Shepherd's heart?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of what your Group could talk about with God in prayer.
Thank the Lord for his good care and leadership over us. Ask him to show us what it means for him to be our shepherd. Thank him for knowing our name and laying down his life for us.
PRACTICING THE WAY OF JESUS
A disciple of Jesus is a learner, a student, an apprentice, a practitioner even if they are only a beginner. As disciples, we don't just profess certain views about what we believe, but as we grow in our understanding of what it means to live as citizens of God's Kingdom, we find ways to practice the way of Jesus in every aspect of our lives here on earth.
All month long, we are practicing the way of Jesus through observing Lent. Here are some examples of how to implement thespiritual habit of Fasting into our everyday lives.
1. Try an electronic fast. Give up TV, social media, texting, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day every week. (Or everyday of Lent!) Use this time to read His word and pray instead.
2. Start a prayer rhythm. Each day of Lent, go to a specific "prayer closet" or "upper room" and pray for a set amount of time.
3. Go deeper into the Bible. Read an entire book of the Bible over Lent, dividing the number of chapters by the 40 days. Highlight a specific verse to focus on for each day.
4. Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it, or repair a broken or lost relationship.
5. Give up soft drinks, fast food, coffee, sweets, or one meal a day. Replace this time with drawing closer to Jesus through prayer and reading His word.
6. Create a daily quiet time. Spend 10 minutes a day in silence and listening for the voice of God.
7. Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter, text or e-mail each week, expressing your appreciation for them.
8. Ask the Lord to reveal your sin to you over the forty days. Repent, and thank Him for dying for your sins. Whatever sins are revealed, ask the Holy Spirit's help to turn from them, and start anew.
9. Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, or prison ministry.
10. Pray for others you see as you walk in your neighborhood, go to the grocery store, or drive your car. Look for ways to encourage strangers and to show them the love of Christ.