First Things First – Part 1 (Leader’s Guide)

Ice Breaker

[Happy New Year! This is our first message for the new year! For the icebreaker, find out what hopes and aspiration your group has. Ask them if they have made any resolutions, goals or if they have any intentions of doing things differently.]

  • Do you make resolutions for the new year? What are some of your goals for 2019? 

Sunday Review

[Take time to debrief the message on Sunday. Feel free to let this conversation go wherever it needs to go.]

Did you resonate with Pastor Tim’s message? Pastor Tim drew a picture of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Where do you find you exist the most? The Urgent or the Important? 


[The goal of this study is to compare and contrast Mary and Martha. Mary chose to stay in Matrix 2, what wasn’t urgent (preparing a meal) but important (being with Jesus). While Martha was in Matrix 1 (urgent and important), and living in reaction and it created anxiety and frustration.]

Go to Luke 10: 38-42. This is the story that many people know about two sisters. Mary and Martha. In this story, we see an incredible picture of Focusing on firsts and how we can prioritize the important over the urgent.

Background and Context.

Martha was playing the hostess of not only Jesus but also Jesus’ disciples. At this time Jesus had his core group of 12, but also had a larger group of disciples that were following him around. This was a huge task and a work of love. Martha isn’t a bad person, in fact, her work was important AND urgent, however, she had let the urgent take her away from how her service was impacting Christ.

[Q] What was Martha pre-occupied about?
[Martha was not only preoccupied with the meal, but she was also pre-occupied with what her sister was doing. Rather than focusing on serving Jesus, she was comparing what Mary was doing rather than focusing on what she was called to do in that situation.] 

[Q] What did Mary choose which was the better thing?

[Mary chooses the not urgent but important. She chose to sit with Jesus. She listened to His teachings, was understanding Him and then obeying Him. 

[Q] What are the things that may be keeping you like Martha (reacting to the urgent leading to anxiety and frustration) rather than like Mary (making space for what’s important over and against the urgent)?

[Let your group share some things. Social media, email and phone notifications can take us away from what is most important, take us into the urgent and lead us into being frustrated with people. You can get an email from work about an urgent deadline, which makes you feel frustrated with your kids who want your attention taking it away from work. Share some examples from your own life where the urgent has attacked your peace of mind.]

[Q] How did Jesus diagnose the problem?

[Jesus called out her anxiety. There is a spiritual connection between urgency and anxiety. If we are always living with urgency in quadrant 1 and 4, you will always react to things rather than being proactive in our lives. When we are reacting we are living by the priorities to others and circumstances rather than putting first things first in our lives.]   

[Q] Jesus says that one thing is necessary. What is necessary for you to put Jesus first in your life?

[As a group, how can you help each other put Christ first. The Campus pastors gave some practical applications with the two mobile apps like first 15 and Bible in One Year. What are some ways that as a group you can help one another put Jesus first and not let the urgent distract you from what is the most necessary?]


In your group, go around and share one action that you will take this week to begin to put Jesus back as being first. If that is already a habit and a pattern for your life, what is something new you can do as a group to grow? Some small groups have gone away on retreats together, or have tried other spiritual disciplines to help them grow. Here is a list of Spiritual Disciplines. See if there are any you or your group would like to try this week. Have the group leader read off of the list of disciplines and their descriptions. 


Look for opportunities where you can serve at your campus or our partner ministries on the Liquid Website


Read Haggai 2:6–9. According to this passage, why should we value God above anything this earth has to offer?

[God is showing the prophet Haggai that God is the owner over everything on the earth. Therefore, He is worthy of the first place of all things in our world. He is the one that is more valuable than anything else in our world.]

Read Revelation 2:1–7. How is Christ presented in verse 1?

  • What kind of good things was the Ephesus church doing?

[They don’t tolerate the wicked, they test all teachers and truth claims, they have persevered in the name of Jesus]

  • What most important thing did they fail to do (v. 4)?

[They were busy doing for Jesus that they no longer served and loved Jesus. He became an afterthought. Similar to what happened with Martha. ]

  • Are there good things that you are doing for God that are keeping you from the best God has for you?

[The best that God has for us is Himself. If we are not careful we can get caught up doing for God, or doing good and godly things in our own strength and lose sight of Him. Good things can be those things that are urgent, but not important. Or they may seem important, but they are important for someone else and not you. Are there things in your life that are good, but God wants you to lay them down to focus in on what is better or best in this season or situation?]