Endurance, Series 2, Episode 1, Ups and Downs
Steven introduces our theme this week – Ups and Downs.
As usual, we have #GoDeeper with Andy B and #GoDo with Steven and Nathan.
GoDeeper with Andy B, as he looks at the fact that we have good days and bad days, but God promises joy in any circumstances.
He touches on Ecclesiastes 3, which talks about how there is a time for everything.
To read a transcript of Andy B’s #GoDeeper, see below.
Steven & Nathan give us 2 challenges for the week ahead in #GoDo:
Read and Remember:
Steven encourages us to read the Scriptures for this week: John 16 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. He also reminds us that though life has many ups and downs, God promises us joy.
Reflect and Respond:
Nathan challenges us to consider how we are presently feeling, and remember that God is unchanging, and His love is consistent. He also challenges us to praise and thank God whether we are going through a good time or a bad time.
Transcript of Andy B’s talk
So, in GoDeeper, we’re looking at Ups and Downs in this first episode of our new Season – “Ups and Downs”.
And in between Season 1 and Season 2 there’s a few weeks have gone by and we’ve had some Ups and some Downs: Peaks and Troughs is another way of saying the same thing.
We get times in life when it’s quite good, times when it’s quite busy.
There’s a great American preacher – Dr Adrian Rogers – and he talked about pressure and stress, and he said it this way ‘sometimes there’s times in our life when there’s good stress or there’s bad stress.
Bad stress would be running for the bus every single day of your week – ‘cos you’re not getting up on time.
Good stress would be running for your bus, on the odd occasion ‘cos it’s important to do that.
So, there can be good things, and there can be bad things; and ups and downs – it’s all about this stuff.
Let me just read this. This is John 16 from verse 17 to 33. I’m gonna read it all out ‘cos it’s all good stuff.
Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
We’ll come back to that
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
I can attest to that personally – every time Jo gave birth to a baby, from exhaustion and tiredness, new baby, completely forgotten. It’s absolutely true!
So that with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
“You believe at last” Jesus answered. “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
And our thoughts this time round are: there’s gonna be difficult times, but the difficult times lead to other times. And actually, as Christians, those difficult times – you’ve always got joy.
It’s there. It’s what God has for us when we exist with him; when we have a relationship with him.
I mentioned Jo and when she’d had a baby she went from exhaustion – three times I’ve watched this; absolutely the lowest point of physical exhaustion.
And then the baby’s presented to her and, all of a sudden, it’s gone. And there’s a smile on her face, and she looks bright and breezy!
It’s amazing! And I’ve witnessed that three times.
And it’s the same when you’re doing a run, or a cycle: you hit ‘the wall’ and you can’t go anymore. There’s a real difficult time, but the goal is not the run. The goal is the finish line, and getting to the end. And when you get there, and you get through those difficulties, you’re elated at the end, and that’s what this is talking about.
But this is where we’re at.
I have told you these things that in me you might have peace in this world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world.
As we think about Endurance, and we go back to the scripture in Timothy. And we always think, whatever we’re doing physically, there’s more important things to be done spiritually:
Physical exercise is good. Spiritual exercise is much better!
And it can be really hard as a Christian through this life.
If anybody told you when you become a Christian everything gets all rosy and great, they were lying to you! And right here – verse 33, John chapter 16 – the words of Jesus himself.
“In this world you will have trouble.”
It’s not as easy place to be. But as Christians we always have access to peace; to joy; to the fruit of the Spirit – which spontaneously works through us when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And those good things, and those bad things, they come, and they go.
So! Peaks and troughs; ups and downs; good times, bad times; hard time; stressful times.
As we were getting ready for Endurance it isn’t just getting the filming done, there’s all the other videos we do. There’s loads to do as we get towards it.
Jo’s work at the moment – my wife – she’s getting really busy as she prepares for a new season within the job, and it’s a cycle of stuff that comes along – it’s a really busy time. And that will come. But we can have hope because we have peace.
Ecclesiastes. A lovely, lovely piece of scripture that you’ll probably know. First verses of chapter 3, of Ecclesiastes.
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant a time to uproot.
A Time to Kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build.
A time to weep and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them.
A time to embrace and a time to refrain.
What does that mean do you think during Covid? Not being able to hug. We’re coming to the end; we can hug each other again.
At time to embrace a time to refrain.
A time to search in a time to give up.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for a peace.
And at the point of time that I’m saying this – in May of 2021 – “a time to embrace and a time to refrain” is very high. There’s nothing wrong with being asked not to hug for a while to prevent Covid from spreading – it’s straight out of scripture: there’s a time to refrain, but there’s a time to embrace and that’s coming.
There’s a time for war and there’s at time for Peace: we look at Israel and the problems of Palestine all the death and the innocent people who have been killed (I’m not going to the politics of that one). But there’s also a time for peace and that gives us hope!
Whatever you’re going through – whether you’re struggling with fitness, whether you’re struggling with life; you haven’t got a job; you got too much work. You’re trying to have a family; you’ve got more children than you can cope with at the time; you’ve got no food in the cupboard; you’ve got an excess of food – all these times of cycles in our lives
But let’s have Hope and Peace. Because no matter what is going on in your life, and my life; whether it’s an up or down; whether in the valleys or on the top, there’s Joy and there’s Peace and there’s hope.
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