Episode 100 – Life in the 40

Key Passage(s): Matthew 4:1-2

The number 40 is hugely significant in the Scriptures. Noah. Moses. Israel. Elijah. Jonah. Jesus. It shows up again and again, and for good reason. The number 40 represents testing, trial, opposition, challenge, and refinement. But all the challenge and struggle are in service of the wisdom and newness that’s seeking to be born. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, may we not give way to fear, anxiety, and self-preservation, but instead, embrace the hope of what life in the 40 will turn into.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching? 
  • In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, what has been most difficult for you? 
  • What do you see this season of trial and challenge evoking in others? 
  • What in this season of trial and challenge is giving you hope? 
  • What goodness, wisdom, and newness do you suspect might be birthed because of this trying time? 
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?  

For Further Study


  1. Thank you, again, for your insight and ability to share so well God’s word. I also needed to be reminded of the “after” that is coming. Brad Nelson is my Pastor. I love his teaching style and the way he shepherds us. I have great peace in this trying time. I gave up social media for Lent. It was probably a perfect time! I know God has always been faithful to me, and I don’t doubt him now. God blesses so meant through WTT. I’ve watched them all twice and will continue to share them. Happy Birthday!

  2. I think your message at Discovery Church on Sunday fits into your message on Living in the 40… “Disruptions are portals to Discovery”!
    Thank you & Happy Birthday!

  3. Greetings from Austria!
    I watched for the first time and enjoyed it. My 40th birthday is nearly 31 years ago, but it is still possible to go forward with God!
    May the Lord continue to use you in this time of uncertainty – we can be sure of our God, praise and worship Him!

    • I am so thankful for you and your ministry! You are an answered prayer for me. You challenge me and help me see things in a way I have never thought of. I look so forward to your walkingthetext messages every Tuesday. Thank you for your encouraging messages during this time. I leave my trust in Jesus Christ and know that he is in control. I pray for you, your family, staff and your ministry..God is good!!!

  4. Thank you so much for this Brad! I’ve been struggling so much with social distancing as a widow. I can’t seem to wrap my head around what God wants me to do with this COVID-19 season. You’ve inspired me to look back and see how I grew through it instead of whined! I’ve watched this twice and our ladies bible study is going to discuss it online tonight. Blessings on your #40 birthday, you’re still just a baby! ????

  5. Hey Brad! Thanks for your work! I enjoyed meeting you in Holland, Michigan and look forward to learning more from you!
    I just turned 40 last year! 🙂 With the Covid-19 situation we’re in, I thought you might like to add this to any of your future ’40’ teaching…
    Wikipedia –> The word “quarantine” originates from quarantena, the Venetian language form for… “forty days”. Between 1348 and 1359, the Black Death wiped out an estimated 30% of Europe’s population, and a significant percentage of Asia’s population. Such a disaster led governments to establish measures of containment. A document from 1377 states that before entering one city-state in modern day Croatia, newcomers had to spend 30 days (a trentine) in a restricted place (originally nearby islands) waiting to see whether the symptoms of Black Death would develop. In 1448 the Venetian Senate prolonged the waiting period to 40 days, thus giving birth to the term “quarantine”. The forty-day quarantine proved to be an effective formula for handling outbreaks of the bubonic plague which had a 37-day period from infection to death.
    Before a ship’s crew could enter a city after trading, they had to wait 40 days… or a quarantine…

    I’m following that story with these comments as a part of my upcoming Easter message at Church Experience here in FL…

    ‘I find it interesting that before Jesus went into public ministry, He self-quarantined for 40 days for prayer and fasting!

    What if God could use these days of quarantine to build faith instead of fear?’

    • Brandon! You’re the second person to bring this to my attention this week! Oh, I wish I had known this before the episode. But I’ll have to use it soon. Thank you for sharing this with me, and thank you for thoughts at the end of the post. Powerful!

  6. Thanks Brad,
    So glad you are providing these messages. It is nice to have these messages on-line even though we miss them live in Holland.

    I appreciate the idea that I can now be looking forward to what this situation will launch into after. How different to wait in anticipation versus the anxiety of wondering. How easy to forget God has a plan.


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