Gather/Get Together


Review Your Time Since You Were Last Together


Open God’s Word


Understand & Apply One Thing


Pray For Each Other


I am so proud of you for taking advantage of this Life Group Discussion Guide! Let me take a moment to give you a quick tour and explanation of what you’ll find here. And most importantly, how to make the most of the components.First of all, what I’m challenging you to do as a group is simply:G = GatherR = Review the events in each other’s livesO = Open God’s Word, using the podcast of the messageU = Understand and apply just one (1) truth by putting it into actionP = Pray for each other…for God’s wisdom, strength and courageWhen you get to the “O” … listen to the podcast by clicking on the “Podcast” button. And you can even access a copy of the outline of the message. Then use the 3 or 4 discussion questions below to help everyone in the group to put the “U” into practice!Those are the core ideas and steps of having a healthy and successful Rock Springs Life Group meeting!If you would like to get a running start on the questions before the meeting, click on the link to the right “Suggestions for This Week’s Study”. That’s where you’ll find some ideas and icebreakers to get your mind and your group thinking about the lesson.Also, if you’re interested in more detailed instructions or would like to sharpen your skill at leading/facilitating your group, click on the links to the right: “Using This Sermon Discussion Guide” and “Preparing To Lead Your Group”Again, I’m really proud of you for doing this! If you get a moment, let us know that you’re giving it go, tell us about the exciting things that God may be doing in your group, and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance on group questions. Just email us at David

Icebreaker: Ask people in your group to share an embarrassing or funny moment when they “nodded off” during a meeting. How did others respond? Did they show a lot of patience and mercy?

Goals: Understand why we should be merciful to others and how we can be merciful. Identify some steps to take to show mercy to others.

Final Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for showing us your mercy and for giving us a way toward happiness by showing mercy to others. We pray that we can be patient with people’s quirks and help those who are hurting. We ask you for courage to show mercy – even to those who seriously hurt and offend us.

Talk It Over is a tool to aid you in meeting the needs of your group. We’ve designed it so it can be completed easily within 30-45 minutes. As the discussion leader, you should preview and evaluate the questions based on the needs of your group. Decide in advance what is most important to focus on, should time not allow for the entire lesson.

Feel free to adapt the format to meet the needs of your group. If your group is mature and wants to dig deeper, consider using the Diving Deeper section or add additional Scripture and ask suitable questions. Remember that this is only a guide.

The questions relating to Bible study methods are helpful to develop Bible literacy and spiritual maturity in our lives. You can help your group be aware of their needs in these areas by using these questions as a regular part of each discussion.

Personal applications are essential for growth and should be included in every discussion. When discussing how they will apply principles, group members may state very general goals such as “I need to spend more time in prayer.” It is important for you to help people make goals that are very specific and commit to specific plans of action by asking, for example, “How are you going to begin?” An example is to get up 25 minutes earlier each morning, spending 15 minutes reading the Bible and 10 minutes in prayer. Encourage each group member to be accountable to the group for personal progress at the next meeting.

Your goal as the leader is to bring the group into a stimulating discussion that helps the members recognize their needs for personal life change. Ultimately you want them to be willing to commit to change with accountability to the group. Accountability helps us to persevere in our commitments and achieve the blessings of success.

Pray for insight as you begin to prepare for leading your group. Ask for God’s wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will be the teacher and that you will be God’s instrument to lead the group to greater understanding and a willingness to commit to becoming more like God. Prayer should be your primary source of personal preparation for leading your group.

Plan where you want to take your group in the next 60-90 days. Is your group strong in some areas and weak in others? How can you challenge the members to live more balanced Christian lives? Consider God’s five purposes for the church: Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission and Worship, and make a plan to encourage your group members to growth and commitment in their weak areas.

Ponder your progress after each session and at the end of a series. Reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Re-evaluation is key to your growth as a leader. Consider whether your plan is being effective in moving the group to greater understanding and commitment. How are you doing with leading the discussion: is it stimulating, challenging, and meaningful? Are you able to keep the group on track? Do you need to make some changes?


“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NLT)

One of the keys to a blessed life is found in the beatitude in Matthew 5:7 above. It provides Jesus’ answer to the question, “Why be merciful to others?” Other reasons for being merciful include: (1) God has shown me mercy, (2) God commands me to be merciful, (3) I’ll need mercy in the future, and (4) Showing mercy brings happiness. That raises the question, “How do I be merciful?” Some ways to be merciful include: (1) Be patient with people’s needs, (2) Help anyone hurting around me, (3) Give people a second chance, (4) Do good to those who hurt me, (5) Be kind to those who offend me, (6) Build bridges of love to the unpopular, and (7) Value relationships over rules. Which of these seven facets of mercy could I show today? How?

Open your group with a prayer. This is only a guide – select the points you want to discuss.

“Shouldn’t you have mercy on others, just as I had mercy on you?” Matthew 18:33 (NLT)

1. What does Matthew 18:33 above say about having mercy? How often are we to show mercy?

2. Have you experienced another showing you mercy? How did it make you feel?

“I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices.” Hosea 6:6 (NLT)

“So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you…. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.” James 2:13 (NCV)

3. Read both verses above. Why does God command us to be merciful? How important to God is it that we be merciful? Is this important to you? Discuss what challenges you have being merciful.

“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 (NIV)

4. Read Luke 6:35-36 above and think of people who have hurt you or your loved ones. What can you do to show mercy to them? Do you find it easy or hard? Brainstorm ways in which you can make that first step towards showing mercy easier, so you can help yourself, as it states in Proverbs 11:17, “a merciful person helps himself.”

5. Look up Matthew 9:10-13 and have someone read it out loud. Reflect on your past and current relationships with individuals who you considered unpopular “scum” (as it says in the New Living Translation!). If you had the chance to do it again, share how you might implement “premeditated mercy” as a better alternative to how you interacted with that person. How might the results have been different? Think of a current person who fits the mold of unpopular; design a simple strategy of premeditated mercy you could implement and share that plan with the group.

6. Refer back to Hosea 6:6 above. Jesus references this verse twice signifying its importance in his ministry here on earth.  Asking the Holy Spirit to guide you, think of a ministry that is needed in your community to build bridges of mercy and love for an “unpopular” group. Who would it reach out to? What service would it provide? How could that ministry of mercy lead others to know Christ? What could you role be in making this ministry happen?

Read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-38. How does Jesus answer the question, “Who is our neighbor?” This week, how can we build bridges for our ministry of mercy (for example, one of the “seven facets of mercy” noted in the introduction at the top of the page?) What people come to mind that we can go out of our way to show mercy to?

Review any assignments or commitments made during your previous meeting.