A Monday Night at Stonepoint

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I know in my blog posts I talk a lot about Stonepoint and the messages we hear. I thought I would expand upon that and talk about some of the things that brought me to Stonepoint and that I continue to learn here. I have been a Christian for some 44 years now. At least that is what I claim since I “accepted Jesus” and committed my life to Him on April 1, 1971 At the time, I knew nothing about what that commitment meant. I was raised Catholic and knew nothing about what a true Christian was. I did know however, that i was a sinner. I just didn’t know how to stReGen Mondaysop. After college, I moved to Denver and started attending church. Sadly, what had begun to be an exciting change in my life after that April 1st, quickly fell into a dull routine of attending Sunday school, church and Bible studies. Not that this was bad in itself. I just never seemed to fit into any church I went to. I always tried to serve and even felt that was my calling…to be a servant. But I continually had this sinking feeling that something was lacking and there had to be more to being a Christian than what I was experiencing.

Fast forward a little. In 1990 I became aware of a missionary agency called Gospel for Asia. I read a book called: Road to Reality and it brought a lot of things in my life and led me to believe that I was a lukewarm Christian at best. Little did I know that six years later, that I would be packing up all our belongings, and along with my wife and dog, moving to Texas to serve with GFA. It will be 20 years in March since I started serving here.

While the ministry was good and growing, I still did not know what it was like to be in a local church. In Carrollton, you couldn’t walk down the street without almost passing a church on every corner. I tried several of them out, but my mentality was that I was here for one reason, to reach as many people through the ministry as possible who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. It gave little time to be involved in a local church.

Another jump forward. In August 2014 GFA moved out to the country in Wills Point. It was rather a strange move for a guy that had been living on air force bases and in large metropolitan cities for all his life. After a few months I heard about Stonepoint from some staff members who had started attending there. I had also met this guy named Archie at Brookshire’s Supermarket in Wills Point. He was always friendly and greeted me (and everyone else) when I came into the store. He also told me about Stonepoint and invited me to come.

So one Sunday morning in October 2014, I got my courage up and drove over to the church. I don’t think I will ever get over that day. I recounted my thoughts and experiences in a Facebook post, which I believe later became my first blog post for Stonepoint. i won’t waste time to recount that here but the message was so different from the hundreds I have heard all my life that I was challenged to come back. Over the next few months, I joined the church and started serving as a greeter and a blog writer. Both of these were, and are, out of my comfort zone. But I made a commitment that I would serve in this way.

So what does all this have to do with a Monday night at Stonepoint? Please bear with me for a little longer. Ever since I started coming here I could not understand why I liked it so much. I knew I was hungry to grow in the Lord and the church seemed to be an avenue to help me in that. I can honestly says that there has hardly been a Sunday where I was not convicted in some area of my walk with the Lord that I needed to bring to Jesus. This is not an exaggeration! Every time I came home I would spend time with the Lord about what I had just heard. Again in all honesty, I have not had this kind of experience before in my life. I kept trying to figure out, why was this happening in this strange church?

So what does all this have to do with a Monday night meeting at Stonepoint? Well, if you have been coming to church lately you know we are currently on a series called re:generation. In both meetings so far, Pastor Brandon has mentioned about a Regen group that meets on Monday nights. I was aware of the meeting, but figured it was not for me. Besides I was already involved full time with the ministry and figured I didn’t have time. But after the first time Pastor Brandon mentioned it I was strangely drawn to try it out. I had an obligation the first opportunity so I couldn’t attend. But I kept telling myself all the next week that I was going to attend the next Monday no matter what. Again, last Monday, I gathered up my courage and drove out on a cold and wet Monday. So I will close with my thoughts of that meeting.

I figured that the meeting was for those who had serious problems like alcoholism, drug abuse, pornography, etc. But Pastor Brandon brought out in the messages that it was not just for that. He said we all need regeneration in our lives over one thing or another. I already knew I had sin in my life. Things like anger, bitterness, lack of love, depression, self-pity and lust were all sins that I have been more than aware of in my life. But being aware of sin and getting victory over it are two different things. I came to the meeting hoping that I might learn from the Lord about getting victory over these and other sins.

When I got inside the church I was given a name tag and i sat down. We started out with singing a few songs and going over some of the points of the re:gen program. Then Pastor Brandon got up and gave a short message. After that we broke up into different level groups. I was in the new dude’s group. After a short introduction, we went around the circle and told some of the reasons we were at the meeting. As I listened to men explain their reasons, I was deeply moved with their openness and honesty. I found none of it surprising or distasteful, no matter what they said.

One more impression of the meeting, and of Stonepoint for that matter. I mentioned earlier I could not figure why I was so attracted to this church. After all, I’m not a country boy or a farmer. In fact, the only job I have ever got fired from was when I worked on a farm during college for two months. I don’t own a gun and have only fired one twice in my life (once in basic training–I qualified by some miracle, and once in the desert of Colorado when I was out with a friend firing at cans–I missed). Obviously, I am not a hunter. The only thing I know about cows is that I want to stop my car when I am driving by and pet them (I really want to pet the camels and zebra that hang out in the fields off of highway 47). Bottom line, at Stonepoint I am like a misplaced hippie in a group of cowboys and ranchers. But the funny thing as I looked around the circle the other night, I kept telling myself (and meaning it), “I belong with these guys. I’m one of them. I am a sinner who wants to have victory and be useful to God, whatever that may mean. I’m one of them! I may not be a drug addict but my hidden sins are no different or better than anything else. I am a sinner and falling short of God!!” I have never had such an experience in any church I have ever attended.

OK. Time to end this. So what am I going to do from here? Between my Lord and myself, I have made a commitment to go back to re:gen and allow the Lord to work in me and hopefully heal me. There is hurt and problems in my life that I have tried for years to get over. This is the first time in my life that I have hope and faith that God can heal me of my sins. No perfection anticipated. I believe it will be a long-term and difficult commitment. But I believe it is a worthwhile spiritual investment. So, anyone who reads this please pray for me!!! I will be happy to return the favor and return for you. May God be with us become the people He desires us to be. Amen!

Tired of Wrestling??

Bob Mayo. Stonepoint Member

I made a blog on Facebook last night that said, “I’m tired of wrestling with God. I always get pinned. It’s time for a change in strategy.” I seemed to get some interest in it, so I thought I would try to expand on it a bit. The post was based on a couple of things. One was I was reading in Genesis 32, where it talks about Jacob wrestling all night with God. The other thing was that we have been doing a series at Stonepoint entitled re:generation. Both of these have started me on a path that I really didn’t expect.

First, a little on Jacob. Actually, it seems like to me that Jacob had been wrestling with God all his life. In Chapter 32, after being gone from his home for over 20 years, he is going to have a run in with Esau for the first time since stealing his Birthright and Blessing. He is a afraid for what Esau might do. In verse 24 of the chapter it says that Jacob was left alone and he wrestled with God all night.  At one point, the passage says God was not prevailing against Jacob so He dislocated his thigh.Toward morning, God told Jacob to let Him go but Jacob said he would not let go until God blessed him. Then we have this touching scent where God Changes Jacob’s name from Jacob (heel grabber) to Israel (one who wrestled with God). Then God blessed him.

I don’t know about you, but, especially in this last year, I feel like I have been wrestling with God. It has not been a pleasant match. 2015 was a year of being so aware of my sins and my inability to find victory, that I was at the point of giving up. Discouragement, self-pity and depression followed. And the problem was that few people knew about how much I was struggling. In my day to day encounters with people, I looked just fine and could put on a pretty good front. But down deep, I was dying inside. I don’t know if I ever thought of all this as wrestling with God, but I was aware that I was struggling with God to have my way in my life over His. I didn’t like all the struggles of the ministry and just felt like the responses of leadership to our problems were just wrong. At the same time,  I didn’t particularly like what was happening to me in the ministry. It got so bad that I convinced myself that if I were to quit the ministry or die, none of the leaders would care one bit. I was fighting against my feelings about things and reality. I could see that I was becoming angry, unloving and bitter.  I guess I could call this my time of wrestling with God. While I wanted to be godly and handle all this in a godly manner, at the same time I was aware of all the sins I mentioned above (anger, bitterness, etc.) and having no victory over them.

I apologize for making this a bit too personal and too much about me. But at the same time, I believe that we need to be honest and open about our struggles. So, all the above is the struggle. What is the answer? In my last blog, I talked about Pastor Brandon’s message last Sunday. He mentioned three steps that we need to take to begin to have victory over our sins and addictions. They were: 1. we need to admit that we are powerless to break our sins in our own power; 2. We need tobelieve that God has the power to fully restore us; and 3. We need to trust God with our lives and wills by accepting His grace through Jesus Christ.

This week’s message was a continuation of what Pastor Brandon covered last week. There are three more steps that he talked about. First, we need to take inventory. We need to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of our lives. If we don’t do this we will continue in the same sin pattern. When we do that, we hurt the people around us. God wants us to be healthy from the inside out (Ps. 51:6). But this can’t happen unless we take inventory of where we are. Second, we need toconfess. This requires that we confess to God, ourselves and others. This is not easy stuff. Why, 1 John 1:6-8 is important here. It says, if we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we are not truthful. Confession exposes the darkness. The passage also says, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another. Finally, there is repentance. We repent when we are ready to turn around from our current pattern of sin. We make a decision that I will not remain in this sin pattern any longer. I am not talking about perfection here. But we do need to make the decision, that with God’s enabling grace, We will give up our sin and surrender ourselves totally to God.

Brothers and sisters, God wants us healed and healthy!! But as Pastor Brandon said this morning, it needs to be from the inside out. It needs to begin in our hearts. I am not pretending that this is a six step program to success. While our struggles and sins may be common to many, God works in each of us individually.

Regeneration is for all of us. It is not just for people with obvious problems like drug or alcohol addictions or other public sins. It is for us with sins of the heart and mind also. These can be so hidden from those around us. But it only causes struggles and disunity. In the movie Gettysburg (I knew I would fit something historical in here somewhere) there is this scene when General Stuart was called to General Lee’s office. Stuart was a good cavalry officer but he had let the infantry down. Stuart tried, in his pride to hand General Lee his sward. Lee retorted, “there is no time!!!” The battle was in danger of being lost and there was no time for personal pride or hurt. Sometimes I can imaging God saying to me, “Bob. there is no time for this. There is work to be done before I come back!!!” Don’t let your sins weigh you down. Do an inventory, confess them to God and to whomever else you may need to. Then repent and turn around and serve our LORD in what He has for you!!!

re:generation

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

ReGen Mondays

The day started out bright and sunny. I got up and got ready for church like I usually do on Sunday. I had time to spend reading the Bible before I left. I read Matthew 13 which gave 7 parables that Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. I was really interested and told myself that after church, I was going to come home and do some study on it. I headed off to church in my new car and headed East on I-20 and then North on Texas 47 as I usually do. I saw my friends the buffalo, camels and the zebra all out in the fields enjoying the morning. I kept reminding myself that I had to stop sometime and take some pictures. But not today, I needed to get to church and serve as a greeter.

Pastor Brandon started his message from Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector. I imagine most of us have read and heard several messages on it over the years. But, as usual when I go to Stonepoint, God took an old and familiar passage and brought new light to it. I had just submitted a blog post to the church last night that I thought paralleled today’s message. The pastor started off today by saying that we tend to live in ‘the land of in between.’ We tend to feel that our walk with the Lord is not what it should be but it is not all that bad either. Our problem we have is that we would rather say that we are OK than to admit that we have sinful habits that we can’t have victory over and need help (quote from the message.)

The parable in Luke 18:9-14 says that Jesus told this parable “to some people who trusted in themselves and that they were righteous and viewed others with contempt.” The Pharisee in this parable was one of those people. But the tax collector wouldn’t even lift his eyes up and just kept saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” The parable ends by saying that tax collector went to his home justified and the Pharisee did not. Asking for God’s mercy because we are sinners is always a good prayer and we can be assured that God will hear us.

Later in the message, Pastor Brandon talked a little about a program the church has on Monday nights called re:generation. It is a program for people who know they have problems. Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or pornography. We tend to think that these programs are for people like that. But after hearing the pastor talk about this program, I think I should be in it. Basically anyone who knows they have a sin problem would be a candidate for this program. Now, strange as it might seem, I have no problems with drugs, alcohol, gambling  or pornography. I did have a drinking problem before and after I got saved, but in time, God gave me victory over that. You see, my sins are not as obvious as the people who come to re:generation. No, my sins are more subtle. They are sins like anger, pride, lust, bitterness, attitude issues, lack of forgiveness, depression and discouragement (you may not think those last two are sins but in my life they are) and the list could go on. I also need to say, I am well aware that I have these sin problems. My struggle is that I don’t seem to have the victory over them. I am, in Pastor’s language today, “a bottom dweller.” I hang out in the area of defeat and discouragement over my sins.
Now, I talk about myself but let me ask, what about you? Are you in the same boat as me? Knowing you are not right with God, wanting to have victory but unable to get there. If you are a fellow “bottom dweller” I have good news for you. As long as we are humble before the Lord about our sins, as the tax collector was, He is for us! It is when we think we are OK that we go home unjustified. Isaiah 57:15 is a beautiful verse for us: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”‘ Do you see what God is saying? He lives in a high place totally separate from us. But at the same time he dwells with the lowly and contrite of heart. He is on the side of the meek and humble. (See Matthew 5:1-5). We just need to be honest about ourselves and surrender to Him.

I would like to leave you with three steps that we heard from Pastor Brandon’s message today that will go a long way to helping us gain victory over our sins.

Step 1–ADMIT-that we are powerless in our addictions and sins.

Step 2–BELIEVE–that God is the only one who can fully restore us.

Step 3–TRUST–we decide to trust God with our lives and wills by accepting His grace through Christ.

Brothers and sisters, while I did not do justice to the message today in this post, I pray that you will take this feeble attempt to encourage you to heart. God loves to help the humble and helpless! We just need to come to him and trust that he will work on our behalf. I would like to leave you with one more verse from Isaiah. It is Isaiah 66:1-2, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is My footstool. where then is a house you could build for Me? and where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being.’ declares the LORD. ‘But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.'” May we rely on God’s grace that is freely given to us in Christ and trust Him to give us victory over our sins!

On Being a Lukewarm Christian

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I had an opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Brian the other day. It was enjoyable and I had a chance to ask him some questions and talk over some things with him. During our conversation we started talking about a couple of books we have been reading. One book was Radical by David Platt and the other was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Both books are excellent and I would recommend them to all Christians who desire to learn what it really means to follow Christ. But both books are very convicting, at least for Pastor Brian and me.

At one point during our conversation Pastor Brian talked about some of the things that impacted him from Radical then I started talking about Crazy Love. This is actually the second time I am reading it and I really don’t remember it being so convicting the first time. I’m not finished with the book yet but the hardest chapter I have read so far chapter 4 aptly entitled, “Profile of the Lukewarm.” In this Chapter, Pastor Chan talks about several characteristics of the lukewarm. I told Pastor that it convicted me so much that I began to wonder if I was even saved. He had a similar experience and we both laughed about it. But it is important for us not to live our lives in a lukewarm state of mind. The Bible has strong things to say to those who are lukewarm toward Him. Let me share just a few of the points Pastor Chan brings out in his book:

1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly-that’s what “good Christians” do.
2. Lukewarm people choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. (in other words, they go along with the crowd.
3. Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sins; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
4. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, co-workers or friends.
5. Lukewarm People will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. One more,
6. Lukewarm People are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.

This is just a few of the characteristics that Pastor Chan brought out. After reading that chapter I felt entirely deflated and defeated. My thought was, “what hope is there for a person like me? I exhibit almost all of the 17 characteristics mentioned at one time or another.”

So what is the point in writing this blog? It is this, we need to examine ourselves. Talking about lukewarmness is not meant to give us ammunition to use against our brothers and sisters. But I do believe that we need to constantly examine our own lives. I heard someplace that the apostle Paul had a “holy discontentment” with his walk with the Lord. I think that is a good way to put it. A holy discontentment will cause us to examine our lives and motives in our walk with God. It is not self-defeating. That is why the word HOLY is used. Holiness will not cause us to be defeated, but it will cause us to keep running the race we are in and not give up. Please read Hebrews 12:1-3. To me, that is one of the most important passages concerning maintaining our walk with our Lord.

I say this next part with grace, love and a little fear. Just because we said some prayer, or walked down an aisle and “accepted Christ” does not make us a true Christian. Don’t get me wrong, salvation is totally by grace through faith. But we are saved for good works which God prepared for us to walk in them (see Ephesians 2:10. When we become Christians, there will be a change in our lives. We now have the power (grace) to live as we ought. We have the Holy Spirit living within us to allow us to live as we should.

One more point. What should be the motive for following and serving our Lord? According to Matthew 22:27-30 it is LOVE. If we truly love God, serving Him will no longer be drudgery or a chore. We will serve Him and live our lives out of a heart’s desire to please Him.

I don’t want to end this on a negative note, so allow me to say one more thing. Pastor Chan points out that there is a difference between living a lukewarm life and being a person in process. As I read those 17 points I mentioned above and realized I exhibited most of them at one time or another, I also know that our life with our Lord is a process. We all exhibit some of the elements of lukewarmness. And how many of us can say we love the Lord perfectly. It is not about perfection, it is about running the race. There is always grace available for anyone who is truly following Christ. This is not a call to fear or to doubt your (or my) salvation because we fall short. But it is a call to examine ourselves and make sure in our heart that we are truly following Christ. Keep running to win, my friends. It ill be a struggle and even a battle, but it will be worth it!

Two Sides of Grace

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I had a strange thing happen this morning. Part of my routine of getting ready to go out in the morning is to check my emails that I get on my cell phone. Some time ago I signed up with Bible Gateway to receive their “Verse of the Day.” It’s nice to get but I don’t always pay much attention to it. But today, it was different. Today’s verse was from Titus 2:11-12. It talks about grace but in a different way that I hadn’t really caught before. I’ll  come back to this in a minute.

GRACE!! What a wonderful gift from God!! Most of us are probably familiar with Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We all loved this verse and the fact that we are saved by grace through faith. But how many of us consider verse 10 as part of the whole picture.? “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Oh, dear!! Now things are different. We are truly saved by grace and through faith and no part of our own efforts. But now Paul says we were created in Christ to do good works.

How do we mesh this grace with works? Do we really have to do them? If so, how do we approach doing works? Is it out of debt to Christ for saving us? Do we just look to the church to tell us what works we should do and them try to do them out of coercion or guilt? In other words, what is our motivation for doing  these good works? I ask a lot of questions, but it is something I have wrestled with for a long time. I have always tried to serve in any church I was a part of. I have generally found it easy to start serving (or working) but have found it difficult to stay at it. I have wondered what my problem was.

Today when I opened up my email and looked at the Bible Gateway “Verse of the Day,” I read this: “For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” Do you see what that says? If I am right, it says the same grace that saves us gives us the power to live a godly life! So, how does that tie into service? I believe it is impossible to serve God fully by our own self effort. We can look good on the outside, for a while, but sooner or later our self imposed effort will fail us.

Today, we heard a wonderful message from Pastor Brandon about moving ahead in 2016.  A couple of things really stood out to me. One was from Galatians 5:6 where Pastor said, “the mark of a Christian is faith working through love.” There is our motivation, LOVE. Outside influences just will not last. At best, they will motivate us for a time, but ultimately, we will end up not being faithful and ending up feeling guilty over it.

What about discipline, doesn’t that fit in? Of course it does. Spiritual disciplines are extremely important. But again, they are only helpful to us if done with the right motivation. I struggle writing this part of this blog because I am not a disciplined Christian. Oh, yes, I have good intentions, and I want to please the LORD in every aspect of my life. But when it comes to disciplining myself to pray (especially pray) or study the Bible, I just haven’t had the discipline to do this consistently.

The funny thing about all this is that I have been thinking about this all through the month of December. I believed that I needed a new attitude and motivation toward these things.Today, I believe God gave that to me. I confess, that I lack in love toward God. When I read that we are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul I just die inside, because I fall so short. But there is always God’s grace. Not to go on in defeat but have the power to change!!

We can, and should change. But the motivation needs to come from the inside, from our hearts. God gives us the grace to live our lives in such a way that we can please Him. Not from self effort, but from our hearts.

I fear what I have written today isn’t really clear. I am really struggling to get my thoughts together. But I pray that it will make sense to you, and to me. My prayer for myself in 2016 is that I will truly grow in love for God and in turn grow in the disciplines of prayer and Bible Study. I believe that without these two disciplines, we will not be able to run this race unhindered by sin and weights. Yes, there will be struggles and probably times of failure. But that is OK. the goal is to grow, not to expect perfection.

One more thing Pastor Brandon said today in the form of a question. “If you died today, why would people miss you?” Would you want them to say because you were cool and fun to be around? For myself, I would want people to miss me because I had demonstrated a great love for my LORD and that I was an encouragement to the Body of Christ to grow closer to Him. I couldn’t ask for a better remembrance. God bless you!

CHOSEN!

boys-playing-american-football-poster-print-18-x-24_905837

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

When I was about 12 to 14 years old, we used to play a lot of “sandlot” football. That means that about 15 to 20 guys would just meet on a field, choose up sides and play football. We would pick two guys to be team captains and then the choosing would begin. I was always chosen first or second. Sometimes, I was even chosen by guys who didn’t like me (I was part of the “fruit loop” or losers group in school.) But that didn’t matter. I was usually the first or second choice. Once the choosing was over, we would play smash mouth, tackle football and try to beat each other to a pulp, wearing nothing but cut off shorts and t-shirts. OK, so we weren’t the brightest light bulbs around back then, but it was fun anyway.

So, why was I chosen first or second?  Because even though I was in the loser group, I was good at sports. I could play any position, I played hard and I could help my team win. That was the basis of my being chosen. But you know, we, as Christians, are also chosen. God chooses us to be his children. But His motives are much different than why the guys chose me for their team.

In he Old Testament, why did God choose the Jews to be His people? There is a passage in Deuteronomy that tells us very clearly. It wasn’t because the Jews were more numerous or more powerful than other people. It was because God loved them and kept the oath He swore to their forefathers (see Deut. 7: 7-8). It was not because God needed the Jews on His team, or because they would be faithful to Him, or because they could help Him. God chose them because He loved them!

Now lets look at the New Testament. There is a verse in Ephesians that has always amazed me. Ephesians 1:4 says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that God thought about, and chose me, before He created the world, or at least the foundation of the world. Again, I can’t fathom the depth of that, but it blows me away to think about it. And why did God do this? The rest of verse 4 and verse 5 tells us. “In love he predestined us to adoptions as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” Amazing!!!! Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in all the theological arguments of predestination. Just read and meditate on this. It actually says that God loved and chose you and me to be his child before we were born. And He did it out of love and because it was His will. And we had no part in it!! What an amazing God we serve!!

One more thought on this from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. What kind of people does God look for when He chooses? No one can really know the answer to this question, but this passage gives us a little hint. He looks for the weak, the foolish, the despised, the not so smart. In a word, losers. With God, it doesn’t matter if you are in the “fruit loop” (or whatever you would be called today) group, if you are not the smartest or brightest, if you are not rich. God chooses people based on His sovereignty and perfect love. According to scripture, if you are truly a follower of Christ, you are chosen by God!!!! May that thought give us a deeper love for Christ as we start this new year.