Gavin Calver spoke at the commissioning service for the 400+ volunteers who are serving at New Horizon this week. Here’s a summary of what he had to say.
My second favourite story in the Bible is the story of Lazarus (my favourite is the feeding of the 5000). The Lazarus story tells us so much about Jesus.
The first thing we learn is that God is a God of compassion. Two sisters have lost a brother. One is overwhelmed in her heart; one is overwhelmed in her mind. One is feeling. The other is thinking. Jesus treats them both the way they need to be treated. To the sister who is overwhelmed in her heart, He shows compassion – He weeps. To the one who is overwhelmed in her mind, He answers her questions.
When you work with people this week, treat them as individuals. Show them compassion. Love them. I’ve met some difficult teenagers in my time. There is nothing more dangerous in the hands of God than a difficult teenager turned around by Jesus!
The second thing we learn about God is that He is a God of power. Jesus said, “Lazarus come out.” Do not underestimate what God’s power can do in and through you this week. Don’t try to control it.
Finally God is a God who transforms history. When Jesus gives Lazarus life, He stares into the tomb. Does he realise that He is about to be put in a tomb Himself?
He gave life to someone who was dead. He proved that He was God. Giving Lazarus life cost Him His own. This week, we are here to transform people’s lives both for now and in the future.
The biggest temptation when working with children and young people is to “entertain” them. Keep the fun but don’t lose the core meaning of why we are here. 86% of people who come to faith in NI will be under 25. You are working with wet cement not dry cement. You can make a big imprint in their lives.
Pray for protection. Give God what you have. With God on your side, who knows what is possible? In all things let’s seek to bless God with our lives, before we ask Him to bless us. Go for it!
Trevor Morrow led the volunteers in communion and encouraged us to renew our covenant with God
Our calling is to love and serve God in all of our life and in whatever He calls us to do. Some callings are easy, some are difficult. Some will bring honour and others will bring reproach. In some, we may please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot please Christ except by denying self. The power to do all these things is through Christ who strengthens us. Make this covenant your own. Give yourself to Him, trusting in His promises and relying on His grace.