May 20-21, 2017  Life

May 20-21, 2017 Life

Welcome to the final week of the series, Reason to Believe. Throughout this six-week series, we have explored six encounters Jesus had with people looking for God. This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion unpacks the story of Jesus raising a man from the dead. This story will invite your group into a discussion around brokenness, grief and wounds, and the life Jesus deeply desires to bring into these moments and circumstances.


Building healthy and life-giving relationships.


What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20-30 minutes checking in with each other.


Sharing needs and life’s challenges are important components of caring for one another. How would you rate your small group in creating safe space for needs and difficult circumstances to be shared? How can your group make this a regular priority or be better?

Share part of your story.

This weekend we are focusing on one of Jesus’ miracles in which he brought a dead man back to life. Briefly, share about one event in your life when you witnessed Jesus bringing life into a hopeless circumstance.


Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Have someone read John 11:1-44 aloud. Identify the emotions you see in the characters and the emotions you personally experience reading these verses.

John begins our story with ominous news. Lazarus is sick and it is bad. Up to this point, Mary and Martha had witnessed or heard stories of Jesus doing some amazing miracles. After reading John 11:1-6, what expectations do you think Mary and Martha had regarding Jesus? Similarly, what emotions do you think Mary and Martha experienced based on what they knew about Jesus? How would you expect Jesus to respond to this news?


This story reminds us that you can love Jesus and Jesus can love you back, and things can still go wrong. When Jesus finally arrives in Bethany, Martha quickly runs to him and says what we all think in a moment like this, “If God had been here—this wouldn’t be happening” (John 11:21)!

Describe a time when you felt God was distant or absent and your prayers went unanswered. What were you expecting and hoping from God? How has this affected your belief that God is there and he can be trusted?

Truth and Tears.

Have someone read John 11:32-37 aloud. How does Jesus respond to Mary’s weeping? How does Jesus react upon arriving at the tomb of Lazarus? How does the crowd respond to what they see happening?

Jesus models the importance of caregiving and ministering to hurting people. John tells us twice that Jesus was deeply moved and his tears prove this event is messing with him. Skilled caregiving requires managing truth and compassion effectively. When have you experienced the skilled care of a concerned friend? What did you need most in that moment—truth or compassion?

A skillful caregiver affirms the situation is bad, assures that God is good, and commits to walking through this together. Briefly, go around your group and identify which of those skills you need to cultivate. How can you help each other grow in the skill of caregiving?


Our culture has creative ways of dealing with unmet expectations and wounds. Take a moment and give each group member an opportunity to name some ways we see people cope with pain and grief.

Throughout the Scriptures, we discover that Jesus knew pain. He grieved lost friends, faced opposition and experienced unmet expectations. He was verbally and physically assaulted. The brokenness we see, and the pain we experience, is not the measuring rod of God’s love for us. Have someone read 1 Peter 2:21-24 and Hebrews 4:14-16 aloud. How has Jesus modeled thriving through pain? Does this draw you closer to God or create distance? Explain why. How might these passages influence and change the way you cope with unmet expectations and wounds?


Jesus said he was glad he was not there so that they would believe (John 11:15). This whole time, he had been plotting a resurrection! In a stunning turn of events, Jesus brings life to a hopeless situation. Where do you need a resurrection in your life? What attitudes, destructive behavior, or hopeless circumstance needs restoration? Do you embrace or reject this idea that suffering is sacred ground for following and trusting Jesus more faithfully?

Life is a theme that weaves through John (John 11:25-26). This entire series has been inspired by the words of John 20:30-31, “that you may believe and have life in his name.” In what ways, throughout this series, have you re-oriented your life to the life Jesus offers? What areas of your life has this series highlighted that need to be surrendered to Jesus? How can your group help you?


Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.

Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.


Healthy small groups serve together and encourage one another in individual service. Have 1-2 members describe a time when they were able to serve a friend or family member grieving significant loss or faced with a very difficult circumstance.


As a group, identify people in your workplace, social network, or neighborhood that are in need of encouragement. What are some ways you could deliver encouragement over the next week? How might the encouragement you have received from others be helpful?

As a group, identify people in your workplace, social network, or neighborhood that are in need of encouragement. What are some ways you could deliver encouragement over the next week? How might the encouragement you have received from others be helpful?

Download a printable PDF here.