Serving Others

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I was reading in the book of Titus today when something I read stuck in my mind. As many of you know, yesterday was “Stonepoint Serves” day. I read the posts and even saw some pictures of our January 2016 School of Discipleship class helping. That made my heart glad to see.

As I was reading this morning, I came across Titus 3:8–“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds (works). These are good and profitable for men.” As I read this it made me think of what went on yesterday at Stonepoint. Whether we realize it or not, it is what God would have us as a body be doing. The people that are served may or may not be thankful, and some could even be hostile at times. But God would have us serve them anyway. As part of my reading today I read the following paragraph in a commentary on Titus by a man named Warren Wiersbe. I like a lot of his writings and here is what he says about Titus 3:8:

“Good works (deeds)’ do not necessarily mean religious works or church work. It is fine to work at church, sing in the coir, and hold an office; but it is also good to serve our unsaved neighbors, to be helpful in the community, and to have a reputation for assisting those in need. Babysitting to relieve a harassed young mother is just as much a spiritual work as passing out a gospel tract. The best way a local church has to witness to the lost is through the sacrificial service of its members.”

If you have been reading these posts, you have probably read that I have been intrigued by the unique things that Stonepoint does to get the Gospel out to the community. The event that you participated in yesterday is another one of these unique things. I have been in churches that have events to help church members in need or even other Christian ministries. but this is the first time I have been involved in a church where a day was set aside just go out and help in the general community. Please know, this is not a time to be proud or brag. But it is a time to be joyful that we obeyed God’s Word. It matters not whether anyone in the community was grateful or not. God will bring in whatever fruit He desires.

So I would like to just say thank you, Stonepoint, for taking part of your normal Sunday to serve the community. God will use it for His glory. I pray that we as a body will be known as a church that serves. God bless you!

About Serving God

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Well, it’s been an interesting and somewhat a crummy week for me. Even during this crumminess, God did some great things. I was going to make a post out of the week, but something happened today and I would like to talk about it instead.

I have this friend whose name is Melody. She came to GFA as a student a couple of years ago. By God’s grace, at one point she was assigned to work in the department I coordinated at the time. I could tell Melody came from a conservative background just by the way she dressed (nothing wrong with that, by the way). She came to us from a group called “Charity.” I knew absolutely nothing about them until Melody and I sat down to lunch one day in our cafe’ at the office where she told me all about them. I’m still not sure I understand Charity, but I greatly admired and respected Melody for living what she believed. Anyway she graduated and left here. I know she would have liked to move on and go to work with some missions agency where she could work with children. But she agreed to return home for at least two years and home school her two younger brothers. Another aspect of Melody that I liked, she generally puts the needs of others above her own. Melody graduated from our school and went home. I was able to hear from her once in a while.

A few months ago, I got a general email from Melody announcing that she had an opportunity to go to Greece and work in a refugee center for the summer. In all honesty, I had been reading about that on the internet and secretly, well maybe not so secretly, wished I could go and serve there. Sometime in toward the end of April, Melody grabbed her luggage and headed off to Greece. On May 8th Melody wrote an email with her first impressions of the compound. It has many levels, one which has hot water and all the refugees know about it. There are also government officials around as well as military police and all the volunteers must strictly follow their directions and obey all their rules. Melody mentioned that she found that frustrating because all they could do was say “no” to the requests of the refugees. Usually the refugee requests were simple like a cup of chai tea or if the volunteers could save a little food for family members who weren’t in the compound at the time. But the answer was the same, “no.” Melody finds that very frustrating. She found a way around that a little by observing something one of the other volunteers did. Melody went out and bought some chai tea and some sugar. The next time someone came in and asked for chai tea, Melody happily told them  YES, even when he asked if he could put five teaspoons of sugar in it.

Today’s email (May 20th), went into a little more detail about things but mostly described a riot that took place in the compound. It started on Melody’s day off so none of the volunteers were allowed in. Melody found that frustrating too, as she had made friends with several families and was concerned for the mothers and the children. The government also made a new rule that from now on, when a riot broke out that all volunteers would have to immediately evacuate. Guess what, Melody didn’t like that rule either. She thought it was cowardly for them to try to save themselves and leave the others to fend for themselves. (side note: I think Melody is a little more feisty than I remember). Anyway, it took two days but things finally settled down and the people got back to work. Melody asked us to pray that their would be peace in the compound.

But the best thing about being there for Melody, is the great things that God is doing. The workers are not allowed to openly witness to the people. But as they make friends with the people they are able to talk to them anyway. She mentioned that three people were saved in one week. It is also surprising how many Muslims are open to talking about Jesus. Some are honestly searching and some are open to talking but are definitely closed to the truths about Jesus. Melody asks for prayer for that.

I’m not really sure I wanted to write this tonight. I think I just wanted to share something different and bring a little insight to the plight of these refugees, as well as the young people, like Melody and her sister Emily, who take themselves out of their comfort zones and even put themselves in some danger to serve the Lord in this way. If you think of it, please pray for Melody and the other young people working at the compound in Greece. God bless you.

The Holy Spirit of God

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I started reading a book recently called Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala. I had read it once before, at least most of it, but as usual I read a good book and then like I often do, I forget all about it. For some reason reason recently, I believe I was led to pick it up again. I have been wanting to do a blog post or two about the Holy Spirit for a couple of weeks now. But I have hesitated because it just seems too daunting. but just thinking about this and listening to some of Pastor Brandon’s messages, I have begun to realize how much I try to do things in my own strength, rather than rely on the Spirit of God. He has indeed become, “The Forgotten God.”

To keep this simple for my first attempt at this, I would just like to mention three points about the Holy Spirit that was presented as a message by Charles Finney many years ago. I’m sure you already know this, but I often find hearing things again that “I already know,” is a great help and a wake up call for me. Maybe it will be for you also. So here they are.

1. Jesus promised the Spirit’s fullness. Acts 8:1 says, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Lord willing, I may come back to this verse in another post, but for now it is enough to know that God has promised that believers would have the Holy Spirit in them. (See also 1 Corinthians 1:16 and 6:19-20 for evidence of the fulfilling of this promise).

2. Scripture commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18). This is no different from any other command in the Bible. Just as we are commanded to love one another, to preach the Gospel, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. What God commands, He also empowers us to fulfill the command.

3. The fullness of the Spirit is a necessity in our lives. Jesus says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (see John 16:26). We cannot live the Christian life with the Holy Spirit empowering and teaching us.

So that is the beginning of it. We have His promise of the Spirit; His command to be filled by the Spirit; and the necessity to be filled with the Spirit. I know the Holy Spirit is a controversial subject among God’s people. And there is a lot of teaching out there that is extreme and has caused some of us to be cautious. But let me end this by saying, whenever there is a spiritual counterfeit to a teaching, there is also a spiritual truth. I keep saying to people that I am tired of wrestling with God. I know that a lot of my fighting is because I have been trying to live the Christian life my way and in my power and ability. That must change for me. And it must change for you also. May God give us the courage to surrender ourselves to His Holy Spirit. There is no other way to live our lives for the Lord. Lord willing, we can take a look at other aspects of living in the Holy Spirit in later blogs. God bless you all!

Undone

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Isaiah 6:1-5 says “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And on called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said,’Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’”

I have always been fascinated with the call of Isaiah in this passage. But today I actually had the time to think and pray about what I was reading. Isaiah must have been a really amazing person. He was given this vision of God in His absolute majesty and holiness. Now for a lot of us, we would like nothing better to have such a vision. We even have songs like I Can Only Imagine (I like this song, by the way) to give ideas of what it might be like. But, would such a vision be like we imagine it would be, or we would like it to be? I have my doubts about that. This short passage give us a clue to what seeing God in his majesty might really be like.

When Isaiah saw God, he saw His Holiness. Isaiah had never seen absolute holiness before. Neither have we, except for passages like this in Scripture. And even at that, our minds can’t really conceive what it would really be like to see God in this way. How did Isaiah react to seeing God’s glory and holiness?

Basically, he thought he was finished. He said “I am undone.” Or, “I’m splitting apart.” His reaction was one of deep conviction of sin and then confession. In a word, he was HUMBLED. Truly seeing God in his Holiness should make fall at his feet in humility and confession. I don’t believe, as a Christian, you can look at true holiness and have any other reaction.

I don’t know about you, but I found it fascinating that Pastor Brandon finished his series Be Generous by preaching on Isaiah 58:1-12. Do you remember what God said about His people in that passage? He said hey lacked HUMILITY. They were doing everything right, but He asked,”are you humble?” Do we serve God out of humility, to try to please him or out of guilt? One thing I have been learning in the re:generation program is that God really appreciates humility. Most, if not all in the our group, admit that we are filled with pride and selfishness.

Isaiah saw God in His Holiness and fell apart in humility and confession. Soon after that, he was called to the ministry. His life would be hard. He would speak to a people who would not listen. But Isaiah was not deterred. He had seen God in His Holiness!!! I think there is a lesson here for us. Serving God is not something we should do to make us look good, or feel good, or to help us make up for our sins. It must be done out of confession and humility, May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear when He speaks. He does speak to us today!! And may we listen and respond to Him with a heart of confession and humility!

Good Friends and Nice Surprises

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I’ve been struggling a bit lately. Nothing bad really, but I do find myself tired and unmotivated lately. Some of it is that I just get tired of hurting physically or just being tired in general. I also struggle some with being in re:generation. Not with the program itself, but I keep seeing things that need to be changed in my life by God. Andrew Peterson has a line in one of his songs that says, “I’m so tired of being wrong all the time.” That’s me.

But in the midst of this, sometimes God just does some nice little things that just have no other purpose than to make us happy and give us a little joy in our lives. So I thought I would like to talk about a few of these today, just for fun.

One thing God started several months ago was he brought a new friend into my life. It’s hard do describe how it started or why we even became friends. Normally it would be most unlikely. It started with laughter. We would just talk and make jokes and make each other laugh. As time went by we started sharing spiritual things with each other. It has taken time, but a respect for our similarities and differences has begun to grow. Proverbs 17:22a says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” This friendship has brought both laughter and joy into my life and I thank God for it.

May 5th is a day known by many as Cinco de Mayo! For most of us here in the ministry it was just May 5th, another day we get to serve the Lord. But as a surprise today, as I was sitting at my desk working, four guys snuck up on me and started yelling, “happy Cinco de Mayo day, Uncle Bob.” Now that had nothing to do with the day other than the last word of Cinco de Mayo and my last name happens to be the same. So a plot was up to have some fun with that. A little history here. I have been supplying chocolate for the office for some time. It started some years ago just as a small thing in the department I was coordinating at the time. But over the years it has grown into a ministry-wide thing. I enjoy doing it and get lots of thank you’s and hugs. So here are four guys standing there with big bowls of chocolate to add to my supply. they also put up a sign by the chocolate about it being Cinco de Mayo so be sure to give “Uncle Bob” a hug when you take chocolate. It worked!!! It was just one of those nice fun things that God does fun little things once in a while to let us He loves us.

 

Another fun thing happened. If you were at church recently, you probably remember that you received an envelope as you walked in. The envelopes contained a certain amount of money and we were asked to do something generous with it. We were told not to put it back in the collection box but rather to give it away to someone. Well, I have a little 8 year old friend named Hannah. Hannah has two sisters, Kayla and Gabby. We used to be neighbors and for more months than I can count, their mother would make me dinner and have Hannah, Kayla and later Gabby bring it over to my house. This was such a joy and the three girls earned the nickname of “My Pixies.” Well I got an email from their mom that Hannah got one of the envelopes from church and it had $5 in it. When asked what she wanted to use it for she said “Uncle Bob.” So I get this email that says we should meet at Sweet Frog near Canton for frozen yogurt. So, I drove over their and met my little friends and their mom. We all got our yogurt and I saw Hannah give her $5 to her mom to pay for mine. It was just a sweet moment for me to see her serving the Lord in this small way. I also had a bonus. After our yogurt we went over to a local Mexican Restaurant.  Romance, the mom, told me it was authentic Mexican food. it was good. I said after finishing that I feel like I am ready for a missions trip now.

 

So ends my story of three small things God did to encourage my heart. The cool thing is, If we just look around, we can see many small, almost insignificant things He does. We can even become the instigators of these small things. I found a note from someone in the office today that was put in my mailbox that was just a blessing. What would happen if we started forgetting ourselves and started an unorganized campaign of “small encouragements.” I know many of you do this already. My encouragement to you would be to keep doing it. Each of these three incidents I mention in this post have had a profound affect on me. May God give us grace to just see how we can encourage those around us in small ways. They mean way more than we realize. God bless you all!

 

Ugly Lessons

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

This has been somewhat of a strange week. I have been thinking a lot lately about my life and work here and what, if anything, I would do with the time I have left on this earth. Now, this may sound really spiritual, but I can assure you, it is not. Basically, I have been thinking in terms of what I want, and not what the Lord wants. Some of my thinking has been out of the sins of selfishness and pride. Even though my thoughts seem reasonable and logical to me, they may not be to God.

I learned a few lessons today during our service at Stonepoint from Matthew 25:14-30. The first one is that we get caught up in our own lives and we lose perspective as to what God wants. I am so guilty of that. What does God want of us anyway. A short version of the answer is that God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, soul and might (Deuteronomy 6:5). He also wants to be about doing His work and looking for His return with great expectation (Matthew 25:14-30).

Another lesson I learned today is that God deals with us according to our abilities. In the parable in Matthew, there are three servants and each was given a certain amount of talents or money. It was actually a great deal of money, even to the one who only received one talent. Then the master went on a trip and left the servants to put the money to work. Notice that the servants all received different amounts of talents. One servant received 5, one received 2 and one servant just received one. The passage goes on to say that the distribution was made according to the ability of the servant. Now, if I was the servant who only received one talent, I would be offended. But the bottom line is that if this servant was given more, he would have been destroyed by the great responsibility. What is the lesson for us in this? For me, it is that we are all part of the Body of Christ but each member is not the same (nothing like stating the obvious).

There is a passage in 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 that has always challenged and intrigued me. The passage describes the different parts of the human body and compares and explains how each part is important in the Church. It even says that the less attractive parts of the body are to be deemed more honor than the attractive parts. The passage finally says that God has placed each member in the body just as He desired. Now, in our flesh, if we consider ourselves to be one of the lesser parts, we often become envious of the parts that have more honorable parts. When in reality, and here is my lesson on this for today, we need to be faithful at where God has put us and serve Him with joy and integrity. Why? Because the Master (God), is coming back.

One more lesson I learned today. When the master comes back, we don’t want to be found fruitless. As in the parable in Matthew 25, when the master comes back there will be a settling of accounts. I have sometimes thought of what it will be like when Jesus returns and settles accounts with me. I have heard others say that they think it will be great. I think that it will be more of a time of shame and hopefully repentance and worship to God. Oh, I will be saved, but when my walk with Christ is opened before Him and me, it will show all my sins and flaws. My lesson for today in this? I don’t want to be caught being fruitless when Jesus returns! As Pastor Brandon said this morning, Jesus said to the unfaithful servant, “you gave nothing.” The servant took his talent, and out of fear and anxiety, he just did nothing. In the end, he lost both the talent and his reward.

So today was a time of confession and repentance for me. God has gifted me in some areas the same he has for all of us. But my problem is that I don’t necessarily like what He did. While I accept I am not one to be the main actor on the stage and feel safe and comfortable hiding in the costume chest back stage, I still have a glimmer of pride that says, I should be in the lime light. Are you in this place in your life? Or are you just in a place where you are doing nothing? May we repent of our sin and trust God that He has everything in control and has placed us where he wants us to best serve His body. That is not to say that our place in the body can’t change, but it has to be God who does the changing, not us. And I think it will only come as we are faithful in what He has already given us. I have heard it said that pride is a killer. I, for one, don’t want to allow pride, arrogance or fear take away from serving my Lord with a humble heart! May we repent today of our pride and arrogance and just seek to serve our Lord with whatever he has given us. Oh God, please forgive us!!