October 8, 2023
Audio Download

Jesus is one of the most influential leaders in history!  The secret to his lasting influence was something he called “abiding.” It involves remaining in an intimate spiritual connection with God. In our last message of this series, we’ll explore one of Jesus’ stories that shows what it takes to find and nurture this abiding relationship with God and how we can invite others to experience it too!

Group Discussion Guide 

To see the Leader Guide for this week, click here.


Spend a few minutes discussing how the application from last week’s discussion went.  

After your time of connecting, begin your meeting with prayer.  

Key Verse for the Week

*Read this verse with your group first, then encourage the practice of memorization through the week.  

John 15:5 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

**When practiced consistently, memorizing Bible verses can be an important spiritual practice that centers your mind around the truth that God has given us. 

Opening Thought  

Often, we try to prove ourselves by depending on our own power as we walk through life. This feels good when things are going well but terrible when things are not going well. Sometimes people get mad at themselves or feel ashamed when things go wrong. Instead, God wants us to discover and embrace the transformational power of mercy and humility that is found only in him. We are invited into an intimate relationship with Jesus where we can find healthy dependence on God’s grace. And as we abide (or “remain in”) and build this intimate spiritual connection with God, we learn how we can invite others to experience it too. This leads us to our big idea for the week:  

Big Idea for the Week
We can be a positive influence by staying intimately connected to God 


  • What is an activity you do that has a positive effect on your life (i.e. exercise= physical and mental wellness, practicing a hobby= improving your skills, spending time with friends= growing relationships)?  
    • How do you stay intentional in these activities when they become difficult? 
  • Have you ever tried to have this same kind of intentionality in your relationship with God? How do you think it would look different if you did?  


Go around your group and have someone read each of the following verses, then discuss the connected questions. 


John 15:1-8

1 John 2:5-6 


  • In John 15, Jesus repeats the phrase “remain in me” several times throughout this passage. What does it mean to “remain in” God?  
  • How can we put this concept into practice in our lives? What is a specific area in your life where you find it difficult to be faithful to God? 
  • In 1 John, we see that, as Christ followers, our lives should reflect the life of Jesus, one of the most influential leaders in history. What are examples of your spheres of influence?   
    • How are you using your sphere of influence to reflect Jesus’s lifestyle and teachings?  


Luke 18:9-14 

Luke 5:30-32 


  • What is mercy, and why do we need it from God?  
  • God invites us into forgiveness from our wrongdoings. What can keep us from accepting God’s forgiveness?  
  • What is the value of imitating God’s mercy in our own lives? How can we harness the power of mercy, forgiveness, and graciousness to invite others to grow relationship with God? 


Based on the verses we just read, there are some things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these questions as a group to decide what your personal action steps for the week can be: 

  • Abiding means to ‘keep in step’, which means sometimes we need to get moving and/or speed up. Often, though, abiding means we need to slow down. What do you need to do to abide with God in your life? What do you hear God saying to abide with him? 
  • We would not have salvation if it were not for God’s mercy. Consider one relationship in your life that you can exercise mercy, forgiveness, or graciousness?  


*Read this with your group, then move to the Prayer and Verses section. 

This week we talked about commitment to building an intimate spiritual connection with Jesus so we may learn how to depend on God’s grace more than on ourselves. We learned we need to “remain in” God like the branches on the vine to embrace the transformational power of mercy, humility and forgiveness that is only found in him. With a healthy dependence on God’s grace, we are able to positively influence others and help others find a new life with God. 

Prayer and Verses 

Ask for prayer requests and conclude your time with prayer then share the Key Verse for the Week and Daily Devotional Verses with the group. 

Daily Devotional Verses  

Use the S.O.A.K. method to reflect on the verses below. 

Scripture: Read the verses several times. Reading out loud can be helpful as well. 
Observation: What can you see about the scripture you read? 
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do, or feel, based on what you have read? 
Kneel in Prayer: This is a chance to talk to God about what you have read and ask him for help in living out what you’ve learned. 

Day 1: Proverbs 16:3:  

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. 

Day 2: Matthew 18:33:  

Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 

Day 3: Psalm 27:4:  

The one thing I ask of the Lord — the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord ’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 

Day 4: 1 John 2:5:  

But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 

Day 5: Ephesians 2:4:  

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 

Day 6: Micah 6:8:  

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

Key Verse for the Week:  

John 15:5 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”