sermon series

The church in Smyrna was experiencing incredible struggle and pain as they strived to stay faithful in following God. Although comparing our daily struggles to theirs (severe poverty, imprisonment, death) seems petty, it’s not a contest, and God knows and cares about our struggles and pain.

Q. What struggles are you currently walking through?

Pray and read through Revelation 2:8-11.

Q. What does this passage say about the character and heart of God?

Q. What does God call us to in our times of struggle?

Here are some additional passages of scripture to spend time reading and praying through: Romans 8:18, Romans 8:34-37Hebrews 12:1-3James 1:2, and John 16:33.

Spend some time in prayer asking God to:

– help you trust Him more.

– help you to not fear, but be faithful.

– help you remember that in Christ you are more than a conquerer.

Music has played a huge role in my spiritual life as it seems to create a environment where I can think through and wrestle with thoughts and emotions. Below are some songs that speak to the theme of this portion of scripture. Maybe some of these songs could build a playlist for you this week for when you’re in the car or running on the treadmill, and could create some space for you to continue to think through this passage of scripture. (All songs can be found on ITunes).

“All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons & Daughters

“Knocked Out” by Bleach

“Alive” by Brothers McClurg

“Our God” by Chris Tomlin

“All I Can Say” by David Crowder Band

“Every Little Thing” by Delirious?

“Beautiful Things” by Gungor

“Oh You Bring” by Hillsong United

“You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman

“Safe” by Phil Wickham

“Faithful” by Steven Curtis Chapman

“Not on My Own” by Three Season Ant

* Feel free to post your thoughts and share what God is speaking to you through His Word.

You can find the sermon this study is based on HERE.


2 thoughts on “The Tested Church

  1. Jon, what a powerful message. God really orchestrated His message for you to deliver. I have had the week from h*ll. My son total his new car, my other son had a serious issue at school, I am doing all of my pre-surgery stuff and I had waited all week to hear His voice. And on Sunday I heard Him telling me that He loved me and it was Him who kept me going through all of the junk. For years I have learned that as a follower of Jesus if you are constantly looking at the circumstances around you, the storms will become bigger and more overwhelming. So I look up. That simple. I know that my only protection is looking back at me. And when I look up and I am able to put things back into perspective. My circumstances didn’t change – my sons car is still totaled, I still have things that pull me a million ways – but He gives me the life jacket to get through them.

    I think this was in an old song, but I have it written on my heart. “Sometime He calms the storm, but sometimes He calms His child”. Amen

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