Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of December 09, 2018
NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK’S STUDY: This week’s Study Questions celebrate how God has worked this past quarter and the sacrifice Jesus made for us through taking communion. Most of your time should be spent on “My Story #2” and “Communion” sections. The questions this week also create a good transition into communion. If you have time, feel free to use these questions, but don’t feel obligated. You can make that transition after the “My Story” section or after either of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Make sure you have supplies for communion.
Optional Way to Do Communion: There is also an Advent Sharing Guide at the end of this Leaders Guide that gives another meaningful way to share how God has worked in their lives with a Christmas theme.
This is our final week of the Fall Quarter. Along with an abbreviated study, you will take some time to reflect on your group experience and then have communion together. Community Groups will take a holiday break and resume the week of January 13. Have a great Christmas!
1. Christmas is just around the corner! Do you have any special plans, activities or prayer requests for the holiday?
2. God is continually at work in our lives as followers of Jesus (Philippians 1:6). As you look back on this quarter, what are some things you’re thankful for in your own life and your Community Group experience?
(It can be a specific way God encouraged you, time spent together in your group, how your group has helped you to continue to live your life for Jesus, something new you learned, spiritual breakthrough, challenged you to grow or anything else.)
The forgiveness and grace we receive from God for our sins is an amazing thing. Forgiving can be a battle to be freed from the burden of past sins, sins we find ourselves repeating, or knowing if we’re genuinely owning up to our stuff. What do we learn from God’s response to the confession of those in the passages below and what it takes to really own up to our stuff?
“The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your evil assemblies.  Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;  wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong,  learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. [NIV]
You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.  Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.  The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself–the Lord God Almighty declares: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.” [NIV]
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. [NIV]
How could acting on what these verses call us to do free us up from the battle of ongoing sin or the burden of past sin?
1) Explain that we want to end the quarter by celebrating Christ and his death and resurrection by taking Communion. Communion is all about remembering the great love God has for us by sending his son Jesus to die that we might have life.
2) Read Luke 2:1-7 and Luke 22:19-20, John 15:12-17 and then give people a chance to reflect and share what they wrote down about what they are thankful for in regards to what Jesus has done for them based on this week’s study and teaching.
Alternatives for sharing what they are thankful for: Have them share their thanks through prayer or through doing advent together. You could suggest including their responses to the Digging Deeper questions.
Advent Options: Have 6 to 12 candles on the table in the middle of the group. Middle candle is lit as the Christ Candle. Before someone shares they take a candle and light it with the Christ Candle and then share what they are thankful for from this last quarter and/or thanks for what Jesus has done for them. All the candles lit represent the light of Christ we have in us and its impact to the world when we live out this thankfulness.
Other alternatives are, you could play or sing some Christmas Carols like “O Come All Ye Faithful” to add to the evening. Using the list of Christmas Carols and Scriptures below, sing the Christmas Carols taking turns reading the Scriptures between songs. End your time lighting the candles and sharing as suggested above.
Video/Music Option: You could also play this picture video of “O Come All Ye Faithful” or “O Holy Night” sung by Chris Tomlin while people take Communion and use for a time of reflection and worship.
3) Pass the bread, thank the Lord for it, and eat together. Pass the cup, thank the Lord for it, and drink together.
IDEAS: You may want to involve others by asking them to read Scripture and lead these prayers. The bread and juice can also be set on a table in the middle of the room and people take Communion after you read the Scripture and pray, or while the group sings or listens to a worship song.
4) Close your time in prayers of praise.
As followers of Christ, we are able to celebrate the Christmas season because of the amazing gift God has given us – the gift of his son Jesus, born that we might have life through his death and resurrection! Jesus is always knocking on our door to remind us that he brings us grace and life. Communion is about remembering just that. Your time together this week will conclude by taking Communion and remembering this great gift God has given us through his son Jesus.
To prepare for Communion, read Luke 2:1-7, Luke 22:19-20 and John 15:12-17. What catches your attention in these verses as beneficial to remember as you take Communion in your group?
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.(NIV)
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.(NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.(NIV)
- PRAYER FOR NEW WINTER COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS & HOSTS Take some time to pray for new leaders and hosts to launch new groups next quarter.
DISCUSS PLANS FOR THE WINTER!
CONFIRM ANY CHANGES, ADDS OR DROPS WITHIN YOUR GROUP
Find out from your group if they know their plans for being part of the group in the winter. Let us know of any roster updates or changes that you know of to your meeting day, time or location for the Winter quarter when you submit your attendance.
LET YOUR GROUP KNOW NEXT QUARTER’S DATES
- Winter Sign-Ups: January 5 & 6 and 12 & 13 – on all campuses and online.
- Winter Quarter Dates: January 13 – March 16
Parents Night Out: Saturday, December 15 from 5-9 p.m.
$5 per child* Your child can expect a fun night filled with games, a movie, and more! You must pre-register by December 13. *This event is free for military, single parents and foster children. Use the code PNOFREE at checkout.**Pizza will be provided for children three and older. Please bring a meal for children two and under.
We could also use some volunteer help that night, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve Services
Ballast Point Campus
Sunday, December 23 – 6 PM
Monday, December 24 – 3 | 5 | 7 | 11 PM
Davis Islands Campus
Monday, December 24 – 6 PM