“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Unprecedented… Uncertain… Challenging… Anxiety producing… Discombobulating…
We’ve heard all these words and more used to describe the current time we are living in.
In this season, as we are in the midst of the COVID-19 virus pandemic – sheltering at home, social distancing – all of our lives are being impacted. The impact ranges from not experiencing many of the freedoms we normally experience, to – for some – facing a life-threatening illness or worrying about those who are at greatest risk.
To lessen the impact, we are experiencing (and watching most of the world entering into) “shut down” mode. There was the world before COVID-19 and there is the world that we are living in now. We don’t exactly know how long this is going to last. And though we are currently experiencing life in “shut down” mode, what we will all need as a culture is a “reboot”.
At Blackhawk while we are in the middle of the shutdown, we thought it would be good to start talking about this restart. We know that Jesus wants us to Take Heart because He is still Lord over this world. So, for the next several weeks we are going to go thru a new teaching series that we are calling… Take Heart!
We got the title of the series from the words of Jesus when He was trying to encourage His disciples on the night that He was betrayed. He said this…
“In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The overriding purpose of all these talks over the next few weeks is simple: encouragement!
We want to say to everyone – along with Jesus – “Take Heart!” Not a trite, “Pull yourselves up by the bootstraps,” or a simple, “cheer up.” Instead, let’s draw a deep sense of courage from the One who holds our world, and holds each of us, in His loving arms. We view these talks as a kind of restart for us as Christ-followers in the midst of the shutdown we’ve all experienced in our culture. Here is where we are going in the next few weeks:
4/19 Take Heart: Encouragement in Uncertain Times
4/26 Take Heart: God’s Presence in Uncertain Times
5/3 Take Heart: Planning in Uncertain Times
5/10 Take Heart: Joy in Uncertain Times
5/17 Take Heart: Perseverance in Uncertain Times
5/24 Take Heart: Peace in Uncertain Times
As a part of this series, we have created a graphic with John 16:33 on it which can be used as a wallpaper or lock screen for your phone. The idea is that each day as we wake up and before we go to bed, we might read this verse and be encouraged – that it would take root in our hearts, minds, and souls. Our prayer is that we would be a people who take heart, knowing that Jesus is in control and that He is there for us to turn to and rely upon: our greatest source of encouragement.
You can download the John 16:33 graphic from the Take Heart series page.
In addition, we encourage you to read this article, Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To, written by N.T. Wright. In it, Wright offers wise words about the time we’re living in and the invitation we have to not have all the answers, but instead, to practice lament:
“The point of lament, woven thus into the fabric of the biblical tradition, is not just that it’s an outlet for our frustration, sorrow, loneliness and sheer inability to understand what is happening or why. The mystery of the biblical story is that God also laments. Some Christians like to think of God as above all that, knowing everything, in charge of everything, calm and unaffected by the troubles in his world. That’s not the picture we get in the Bible.” Read more here.
We recognize that during this time, many of us might be wrestling with the question: “Why does a loving God allow pain and suffering?” We won’t be addressing that question directly in this series, so if that’s you, we encourage you to watch these two past messages:
Finally, for more encouragement throughout the week, check out the Abide podcast series, which provides a space to slow down, connect with God, and reflect on Scripture. Our hope is that these devotions would provide encouragement and opportunity for reflection during the week as we focus our eyes on Jesus together as a community.
As a reminder, our service times online are:
Saturday | 6:00 pm
Sunday | 9:00 am, 11:00 am, and 6:00 pm.
We hope you will join us in the coming weeks for this series!