Those that Endure to the End

The Tour de France, which is currently in it’s 9th of 21 stages, began this year on July 4th.  The race was started over 100 years ago and is based upon the single concept of this Scripture, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” This very powerful concept which Jesus taught is displayed so eloquently in the Tour de France, which goes on for 21 days, and just over 2,000 miles through the hills and roads of Europe.
The race involves almost 200 professional bicycle riders who race towards ownership of wearing the yellow jersey at the end of the 21 stages in the race. Only one rider can win this extreme endurance test. What amazes me about the Lord’s statement concerning endurance is that He says those who endure are the people who are going to be saved; endurance is a big portion of our race. By endurance, I believe the Lord is referring to your faith: that it does not waver, and you are consistent in your belief that God will save you. This faith is tested in extreme ways which I never expected. In all of this, you must be consistent and as solid as a rock in believing what God originally told you to do. Stay there, even if it looks like the ground underneath you is going to collapse in an earthquake. You must stand solid and say, “What God has called me to do, I am going to do!”  In my case, this means being a pastor in San Francisco and staying until God brings the revival He promised to our city.
Endurance brings you to the edge of every one of your emotions; at this same edge, you must decide if you are going to waver or stay steady. A week ago, I went with some friends to see the newest Terminator movie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Three times during the film, the message was made to the main character, “Stay steady, straight on course, do not waver.” To me, this message was very simple and was meant for our church in San Francisco. We are to stay on course, no matter how confusing everything is around us. The timeline of expected events may change, but God never changes. The things He called you to do have never changed; they are the same exact things you’re supposed to do now! Stay steady on course. Remember, it’s a race of endurance, and with endurance everything around you can change, but you must stay steady.
Oh how important the message of endurance is to all of us. Paul said, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”  He was saying the promises of the Gospel will only benefit us if they are mixed with faith. 24/7 Faith. That means that you and I must wake up in faith, talk in faith, sneeze in faith, laugh in Faith and even go to sleep in faith.
In this year’s Tour de France, my favorite racer is Tejay van Garderen.  By the seventh day of the race he had remained steadily in third place, 13 seconds behind the leader.  Remember, this race is for 21 days and in the sixth stage of the race,  the current leader broke his collarbone and was taken out of the race.  Sometimes in the race of life, an unexpected accident can stop you from even competing in the race, but you need to be steady and unwavering (even if they take your bike away) that you’re going to stay in the race. Tejay’s racing team BMC explained how they protect him in the race from crashes. Two bikers will follow him and weave back-and-forth saying, “Before you run into TJ you are going to run into us! We will crash before you are allowed to hurt TJ.” Wow! I could see the dedication of those who were called to protect the main racer, and how we must protect all whom God has called to the vision.
This week brothers Timothy Snodgrass and Gershom Sikaala both have made extreme gestures to protect your pastor and keep him in the race.  It is this kind of love that will help us to truly endure to the end.
Pastor Richard Gazowsky

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