Use the Zoom chat feature to keep everyone connected. As people join in, ask for their first and last name, email address, and where they are tuning in from. Save the chat as an attendance record.
Ask Crew members to share their favorite points from the talk. What phrase or moment did they relate to the most?
For your icebreaker, choose from the options below. Have Crew members unmute themselves to share.
Preaching Game - Choose random items and allow individuals to find ways to encourage others using that item. (Pick 2-3 volunteers)
Show-and-Tell - Pick an object in your home that has significance for you, something with a funny story behind it, anything unique, or something you've used to simply pass the time.
God calls for us to forgive while maintaining boundaries necessary to steward and nurture our souls. This week, lean in to the wisdom of Solomon and study the book of Proverbs to help you develop tools for cultivating Godly relationships while asking God for the courage to forgive. Don’t forget to check out additional resources at https://www.vouschurch.com/care.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “ ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Reference Scriptures: Isaiah 41:4, 43:10, 44:6, 48:12 & 53:5, Hebrews 4:15 and Psalm 46:1
Following Jesus is a beautiful journey, but we all know that true faith doesn't come without purification and opposition. The reality is, the enemy isn’t threatened by you, but by the God who lives within you. There is a great purpose, and calling on your life, and the crushing pressures that we face in this lifetime isn't without cause. Whether we feel pressure from relationships, emotions, spiritually, financially, it's because there’s a bigger purpose on the other side of it. The church of Smyrna knew this first hand. They weren't facing crushing pressure because of disobedience, but rather because of their faithfulness. Jesus trusted their faith, and reminded them that He doesn't come to evaporate the pressure, but rather to encourage them to embrace it. This truth still stands today. We are called to hold tightly to the fact that Jesus has been through it all, He is the first and the last, and He will always meet us in the middle.
Pressure produces God's promises in our lives. If you keep running from the pressure, you risk running from the promise.
When we experience a time in the valley, we should surrender and cast all our cares on to Jesus so that He may use this time as evidence of His faithfulness and our salvation. We can prove that our loving creator of all is never limited or confining in His care for us.
Revelation 2:10-11 ESV “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”
Just like great pressure upon ordinary coal produces a stunning diamond, pressure placed upon us has the potential to produce something incredibly valuable and beautiful within us. The key is to steward this pressure according to God’s will by standing with Him under the load. By bearing the weight of our calling in and through Christ Jesus, we will become stronger and more resilient than we ever imagined.
Psalms 46: 1 ESV God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Painful situations are never easy, but there is always a purpose in the pressure. Yet, if we don’t give pressure a point, then our pride can ultimately pervert God’s purpose. The good news is: God knows all your tribulations, even when you feel like no one is watching. He can be silent but He is never absent. Jesus has the final word, He is the end and the beginning. Remind yourself that you are a child of God, and He calls you by your name. Surrender everything to Him, and allow troubling times to prove your faith and confidence in Christ. Lastly, remember, the enemy will attack you, but don’t take it personally, because its not about you; but rather its all about God- whose radical love defeated hell, death, and the grave.
This week in your daily prayer and devotion time, identify 3 pressure points in your life and write them down. Challenge yourself to surrender your pressure points to God in prayer each day of the week.
Remember the times God has been faithful and you’ve made him a promise. Bring back to memory those promises and follow through. Moving forward, write out any promises you make to God.