Podcast: 27 March 2020

Hello and welcome to Friday’s podcast. As a team, we hope you are finding this a helpful resource in engaging with God’s word each day and we would love to encourage those who have to send the link over to others in their communities and beyond. Let’s look to pass the blessing on!

Our reading today is 2 Timothy 2: 14-19. We are going to focus on verse 16: Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.


I’ve been reflecting recently – in part maybe because I’m working from home now  and using it to make contact with people – that I’m on my phone way more than I ever used to be. My screen time report tells me that my phone usage this week is up by 25% and that I’m spending over 2 hours each day on it! Of course some of this is down to circumstance. We’re now looking after our kids during school hours and it’s been great to use it to build in rhythms to their day like daily P.E sessions with the YouTube sensation that is Joe Wickes. During his workout session yesterday he was telling us that already, over the first two days of lockdown, he’s connected with over 6 million users across the globe. His level of reach through social media is quite remarkable. We’ve also been using our phones more to connect in with our neighbours, family members and people in our communities. Everyone is rapidly now becoming an expert on the app, Zoom!

However, despite all that, my reflection is that being on my phone has also meant that I’ve found myself spending more time scrolling through news feeds and people’s Facebook pages. For every encouraging post/article that I’ve read out there, there is also lots of stuff being posted which leaves scope for idle chatter and speculation about what the future may hold. I’ve seen plenty of posts where people are bemoaning supermarket shortages, and people’s lack of understanding of social distancing. In addition to this, I saw recently via the BBC app that there are now loads of spurious claims out there linked to Coronavirus  such as holding our breath as a test to see if you’ve got infected lungs, how to make home-made hand sanitizer using vodka, and even, dare I say it, getting hold of some cow urine which in some religious groups is thought to have medicinal properties to it. Most of us may well be able to see through such claims but, sadly, some people are taking advantage of the situation for their own gain. I read one article recently where someone had actually been arrested for selling fake testing kits for an extortionate price.

What does the Bible have to say about all this? Well, in today’s reading it seems as if Paul is  addressing a specific issue within the church in Ephesus regarding a couple of teachers who had themselves been going around making false claims – one of them being about the resurrection. They had been teaching that this was something which had already happened, to those who believed rather than that which Paul and other apostolic teachers taught –  a glorious future that awaits all God’s people when Jesus returns. I’m not going to get bogged down in how this confusion may have come about but suffice to say that it was not helpful and indeed spiritually very damaging to the church at the time. Paul instructs Timothy here to warn people against following such teachers as it promoted ‘godless chatter’ which was  leading them away from God, the gospel and what it meant to live that out in the world around them. Essentially Paul was saying – get back to the basics of what our faith represents.

Perhaps there’s a reminder that in these days ahead where we are spending an increasing amount of our time at home, maybe on our phones, are more aware of what’s perhaps happening nationally and spending time contemplating the future – that there is a danger in it all that we find ourselves being gradually overwhelmed by the level of angst, frustration and just sheer fabrication that’s put out there in some quarters. Yes, of course, we should be cautious and want to keep ourselves well informed and updated but there is a limit as to how useful that actually is.

And so, as we have seen each day in scripture this week, the call in this season is to, as challenging as it out there, to keep trusting God. To ground ourselves in the basics of our faith and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. To keep spending time in his word – through listening to this podcast, our STC video cast which will be out tonight or using a Bible reading app with others.  To keep connecting with others in our communities. To join the Zoom massive! And to keep connecting with those around us – our neighbours, friends and family members who we can’t be with in person at this time.

The call in this season, as Eugene Peterson phrases it in message version of Matthew Chapter 11, is to ‘learn the unforced rhythms of grace’.  As we do so, we find ourselves being strengthened and renewed as we seek to walk in the ways of Jesus. To live the life God calls us to, that fits for us – one that will sustain and equip us for all that is to come in the days ahead.


Jesus, thank you that you say, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened’ and that in you that we find rest for our souls. Help us to press into you during these trying and challenging days ahead. That we might discover again your amazing grace for each of us and that we would walk in step with you knowing that ultimately you will see us through. Amen.

BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 2: 14-19

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.’