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Preparing for the long haul

We just got back from a retreat with our college learning community.  Rhys Bezzant is hoping to stitch together spiritually sustainable Christian leaders who are prepared for the long haul of a life of adversity.  He took us through two studies on Jesus’ letters to the church of Smyrna and the church of Pergamum.

Session 1: Revelation 2:8-11

Challenge: Commit your whole life to Christian ministry, not just 5 or 10 years.

  • The two commands to the church in Smyrna are Do not fear and Be faithful.  How do we identify and deal with a church in fear?  How do we guard against fear?
  • How have we been slandered?  How have we slandered others?  How do we deal with these?
  • How do we respond to people’s suffering and prepare people for suffering?  How do we face crises ourselves?

Session 2: Revelation 2:12-17

Challenge: Make your ministry a word ministry.

  • The church in Pergamum is a real mixed bag of competing spiritual commitments (while the church in Ephesus is too strict, this church is too permissive).  In navigating spiritual terrain, what I gravitate towards will be my greatest strength and greatest weakness: am I more likely to focus on doctrine or ethics?
  • In this passage, sexuality is not a private matter but a question of corporate spiritual allegiance.  How do we deal with sexuality?  How can we develop a constructive/positive theology of sexuality?
  • This passage focuses intently on identity and allegiance.  It speaks of delayed gratification and future reward in the face of cravings for satisfaction now and quick spiritual highs.  What am I teaching people to expect, and what am I myself expecting?  Am I owning my own particular temptation: money, sex, power?

Categories: Uncategorized Written by Arthur

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Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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