Reflections on New Wine 2014 – 14


Hebrews 10:35-36

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gavin Calver: “You have to keep going”

Gavin Calver

Gavin Calver is National Director of Youth For Christ, a charity that works with 300,000 young people a month in schools and prisons as well as churches.


Hebrews 10:35-36
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.

RUNNING the London Marathon is a severe endurance test even for a seasoned runner. Gavin Calver began his message by describing his recent experience. He had been sponsored for Youth for Christ, with a substantial bonus if he could cross the finish lines in less than four hours 30 minutes. It was the final mile, and he glanced at his time elapsed. It seemed impossible – but perseverance kicked in yet again and with a final desperate effort, he came in at 4 hours, 29 minutes and 59 seconds. The lesson of the marathon run is: “You have to keep going.”

Not throwing away confidence is not about being over-confident, but not letting go of the confidence we have in Jesus. Why should anyone get offended if we talk about Jesus in church? So, he says, be intentional, not entertaining. We joke about the politically-correct deception that needs to take Christ out of Christmas – but are we, the Church, sometimes guilty of taking Christ out of Christianity?

Hebrews 10:36 says: “You need to persevere...” or “be patient” in some versions – literally “waiting under”. This is the capacity to wait in endurance, not being influenced so much as being influencers. The promise which is given meaning by perseverance, probably the most common promise in Scripture, is: “I will be with you”.

In our discard and recycle world, doubts and questions soon find fulfilment in disposal. The culture of continual replacement and upgrading of consumer goods filters into the way we do relationships until “I don’t feel love any more” is held to mean a marriage in need of replacement.

Even causes may have a short shelf life. “When I and my friends were exploring our call and going through Bible college together, “ Gavin said, “we were intent on changing the world! Now I hear the same people talk about changing their patio.”

Let’s not grow up too soon, he says. In a world which presents difficult questions, we have to live without answering them all. Of course we want to be more liberal and accommodating, of course we want to work with those difficult questions by becoming more universalist – but that is not the truth. The Christian call is to be different, faithful to our cause – not just a magnolia wash over the world’s agenda. We preach a gospel of love – but this is not defined as us and others doing whatever we like. Relationships, if they are true relationships, have rules. A relationship with Jesus makes demands and needs to tell others.

Gavin told a story about his grandfather, Gilbert Kirby, who was well known in his generation for his association with London Bible College, as it was then. Now at 92 years old, his lucid moments were becoming less frequent. However, at a large family birthday gathering, Gilbert suddenly held everyone’s attention by speaking up about the urgency of knowing Jesus and living for him – the Good News compressed into the endurance span of an old man’s stamina. Everyone was speechless at his boldness and apparent lack of tact in breaking into the party atmosphere – but also with the clarity of his message. Four people gave their lives to the Lord there and then.

“Persevere… and do not throw away your confidence.”


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