Endurance, Series 2, Episode 9, Being Flexible
Steven introduces our theme this week – Being Flexible
As usual, we have #GoDeeper with Andy B and #GoDo with Steven and Nathan.
Go Deeper with Andy B, as he talks about how to be flexible.
He looks at the importance of being flexible physically, and how that relates to being flexible spiritually.
Andy B also touches on skyscrapers. Just as they must be not only strong, but flexible, otherwise they would simply break with earthquakes, so we must be flexible, and able to adapt to constantly shifting circumstances in life.
Check out last week’s episode for more on flexibility in our episode on all The Warm Up – www.berrybunch.family/endurance-series-2-episode-8-the-warm-up/
Steven & Nathan discuss what it means to ‘be flexible’:
Read and Remember:
Muscles need to be flexible, and this is a great metaphor for how we see our spiritual exercise too! Steven encourages us to read our Scripture for this week; James 4:13-16.
Reflect and Respond:
Nathan challenges us to be flexible because, just as it is vital that our physical muscles remain flexible, so it is that we remain spiritually flexible, because that will make us effective in our work for God.
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Episode Transcript – Endurance, S2, E9 – Being Flexible
Welcome to endurance. Your weekly spiritual workout.
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Erm, I’m Steven and
Er, this week we’re looking at, er, being flexible which we’ve had to do a lot during Covid; erm, how we’ve had to wear masks; stay indoors.; we’ve had to change, change plans and stuff, so that’s what we’re looking at today.
Prayer 2:62 Video
Prayer 2:62 is changing. We’ve got some really exciting things we’re gonna be bringing in to be doing it.
It’ll be from 4 o’clock, weekdays, Tuesday to Friday. Prayer 2:62.
Yeah on Facebook, and, erm, YouTube. And we’re gonna have Peter joining us for a vlog – daily – to encourage us in our own prayers.
We’ll also be introducing Daily Family Prayers which will be inspiration for you in your home, and your life, on different ways you can pray, depending on the situation you find yourself in.
Erm, so Prayer 2:62 – 6 minutes of prayer, 2 yer, 2 minutes thanking God.
And we have a vlog. And we have Daily Family Prayers. So there’s lots to be looking forward to with Prayer 2:62.
So GoDeeper – we’re looking at being flexible
And as we were trying to film this stuff, today, we had a quite a calamitous situation for us!
We had all the lighting and the camera setup, and all the rest of it; the software was all good to go; got the mic stands all the rest of it.
And every time we start to try and do some filming, we switched onto the camera and it was a really, badly, pixelated, image.
So, erm, I didn’t do a very good job of what you should do in these situations. I ended up flapping about quite a bit, er, which I don’t always do. Er, but we, erm, uninstalled apps on various things; we updated software; we restarted and rebooted; we shut down; we did it again; we reinstalled; we uninstalled and we did everything possible to try and fix it. We moved where the lights were positioned and how we are, and we checked everything that was going on.
And then out of sheer frustration, I turned off a light – the the main light, not one of the studio lights. And, all of a sudden, the problem resolved itself.
We’ll come back to that.
But isn’t that a great illustration of life – my failure – that, erm, actually sometimes is a really simple solution, and we can be so hard about what we’ve ‘got to do’, we forget to think about what we ‘could do’.
Let’s jump into James chapter 4 as we look at this – verse 13 through 16.
"Come now, you who say - today or tomorrow we will go into certain such a town and spend a year there, and trade, and make a profit. Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'if the Lord Wills we will live and do this or that'."
And that’s James 4, erm 13 through 16.
If you’ve ever been in a bath or swimming pool an you’ve, you’ve, hit the water. You know – you know you give it a good whack, as hard as you can – what happens?
Well, your hand hurts because you’ve hit the water. Erm, apologies to any scientific-physics type people out there. But the, basic, what I see is this, is the water responds to the speed of your hand and it basically becomes harder. It becomes more resistant when you hit it harder or faster, rather.
And if you want to put your hand in the water, and for it not to hurt, you do it gently and it goes in. Flexible – the water flexes for your hand.
Erm, I read a book by a really great guy. Er, he was a soldier from the Special Air Service here in the UK, and he was talking about some stuff to do with the first Gulf War. And they’d had this guy from the United States Military come along – and he talked about what happens if you get captured by the opposite force; the people you’re fighting that, you know they’re not going to be nice to you or polite to you. So how are you supposed to respond in that situation? You’re probably going to be made into a prisoner of war, and various soldiers were.
And what he said was this. He had been taught to be all bravado and, you know, strong, and I’m good, and I’m bigger, and I’m tougher, and I’m not being phased by this, and nothing you can do can scare me.
And what happened was he got more and more physically battered, and emotionally scarred, and what they learned from that was – when you’re a prisoner of war, you need to appear weaker, and more meek, and more respectful, and more unable to do things. And all of a sudden they won’t see you as such a threat, and someone that they want to punish hurt: you will actually come out of it quite a lot better and actually the better result is you’ll be less emotionally scarred from all of that.
And that again is about being flexible. It’s about that malleability – the fact that it can move; it’s that hitting the water really hard, or really soft. Hit it softer, it hurts an awful lot less.
Let’s jump through to 2 Corinthians Chapter 4 verse 8, which says this:
"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair." verse 9 "persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
And what do we see in that verse 8 and 9, from 2 Corinthians chapter 4, we see lots of flexibility: things that have been attacked but have been sustained.
Now years ago, 15,20 – 20 years ago for me – I’d set up a worship group and, er, in this church and there was this lovely couple that used to come along to the practice and they were really gifted; really great people of God.
And we’d finish the practice and I’d say ‘great, okay, see you guys on Sunday morning’ and they’d always reply with ‘well God willing will see you Sunday’.
And I used to get quite anxious about this and one day they, they, tackled my apprehension about their, the way they spoke, and they said when we’re saying God willing it’s saying ‘we don’t know we can be here on Sunday, not because we don’t have any intentions of not being here but, because, we can’t state that we absolutely, definitely will, because who can read the future?’
They weren’t pessimistic either, they were just taking God’s word, and applying it into their daily lives. And rather than saying ‘yes, we’ll be there’ they would say, ‘well, God, willing, we’ll be there – our intention is to be there, but we can’t state that we absolutely, categorically will’, because we can’t see into the future; we don’t know what’s going to happen between a Thursday night and Sunday morning.
The Japanese suffered, erm, at the end of the World, Second World War, in one specific way, which really helps us with this. And they suffered because all of their buildings were destroyed by those two nuclear bombs that were dropped.
I’m not going to the how that ended the war and the politics and all that!
But what happened was they had to rebuild their infrastructure, and there’s a really good lesson here for what they did – and what we now see around the world. Because when you build a building, if you build it’s super strong and hard – so it can’t bend, and it’s really tough, and all the rest of it – bit like the bravado, er, of that guy from the US military – well it’s easy to snap when the earthquake happens, ‘cos it it has to be able to flex to the situation.
So what we see around the world? Bridges, various bits of infrastructure, including high rise buildings, are built with flexibility.
So when the earthquake comes and it starts to move the stuff – the ground – and all this the building flexes with it; and the bridge flexes with it. And all of a sudden this thing is able to be enduring. And enduring and flexibility are really important.
See where we’re going with this – this is the end of us up our, our, second season of Endurance.
But flexibility and endurance go hand in hand together – if you want to have endurance, you need to be flexible.
If you want to get to the finish line, it’s no point in saying I’m going to go from here to there, that’s what I’m going to do, and that’s the end of it. Well if you’ve got an obstacle in front of your way, that you weren’t expecting, and you refuse to move – a bit of an extreme example – you’re never going to the finishing line and we are in a race as Christians to get to the end.
Not a race to rush to the end. But a race where we need endurance, and to sustain, and we need people cheering us on – this is the Christian walk!
And what we see in that James 4, erm, chapter 4 reading, verse, from verse, er, 13, is people who are making plans for tomorrow with no consideration of the present.
And although it’s good to plan for the future, we need to live in the present ‘cos tomorrow, never ever comes: it’s a phrase which, when you think about it, has far deeper truths than at first might appear
And when we’re thinking about being flexible? Erm, if you’re going to go out for a run with your club, or you’re going to jump in your canoe and go canoeing, or you’re going surfing or rock climbing, or whatever it is you’re going to do, one of the first things you will never not do is warm up your muscles. You’re gonna to spend some time doing that aren’t you! You’re going to flex; you’re gonna to get your muscles warmed up so they’re ready to go.
We talked about this last week – about being ready for church.
And in the same way with your flexibility – if you’ve done that bending first, and that stretching of the muscles and all that stuff – when it comes to having to perform up that rock face, or on that bike, or in that run, you’re going to be able to do it because you’re prepared to do so. Check out last week’s, erm, episode for more on that.
But what’s that gotta do with being flexible?
Well, we need to be flexible in our approach to life – because we cannot state what’s going to happen in the future.
We can make some really good predictions but we don’t know. God does. So being flexible is so important when we’re thinking about endurance. And when we’re thinking about endurance, being flexible is so important.
If we want to endure, we need to be flexible to life as it comes along.
So when you switch on, and, in your studio home, and it’s not working for you, you need some flexibility to think ‘what is it we’ve done differently’. Take a step back if you’re really hard into it, and you’re trying to just rush and finish, you’re gonna have a mess – or, like me, get frustrated.
So let’s be flexible in our lives because when we do that, we allow God far more opportunity to input into our life, so we can input into the lives of others. And if you think your effort isn’t good enough, just remember that God takes what we do. We might think of it as our pathetic, little offering (it’s the wrong attitude but that’s another Endurance to deal with that one). But we might think of it as our pathetic, little, offering, but actually God then magnifies what we do in offering to Him. And then it becomes great.
Not we become great! Our offering to God can be made great by God.
And it’s that ‘can be’ that’s important.
Because that’s our flexibility.
So let’s be flexible before God.
Let’s not assume we know everything.
Let’s have flexibility built into what we’re going to do – if we don’t pray in the morning, and it all goes wrong, and we haven’t read our Bible, and we’ve been late for work – well there’s always tomorrow, so don’t expect it to be the same; let’s try some it different; get up a bit earlier; buy a new alarm clock – whatever it is we’ve gotta do.
Let’s try and get to our goal, but let’s build flexibility in all that we do
Whether it’s exercise physically, or the far more important spiritual exercise.
Let’s be flexible, and then we can allow God to do more in our lives, so we can be far more effective for His Kingdom building here on Earth, when we allow him into our lives by being flexible.
So, erm, it’s a common misconception that a healthy muscle is simply stronger. A healthy muscle needs to be flexible as well. Erm, and that applies to the rest of life as we’ve just learnt. Erm, so taking each change of plan or stride is all good stuff – that we need to do. And always keep in mind, er, James 4:13, er, that scripture. Maybe read that for yourself, get a good bit of context on that one.
Erm, and just like Andy B said, we need to make sure our, our muscles are flexible physically – because otherwise we can cause damage. Erm, if we’re not able to flex them, not able to stretch them, then of course they can’t do their job properly.
And in the same way spiritually – we need to make sure we’re flexible.
Otherwise we can damage ourselves and damage other people, and we’re not gonna to be as effective, to work for God.
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