Not Just Another Prayer Meeting

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

 

One of the things we do here at Gospel for Asia is have a lot of prayer meetings. I have been attending them for 20 years now. Our meeting is pretty standard. We worship, pray for ministry things, “hot” issues occurring here in the US and around the world, etc. It is all good and even when I don’t feel like coming to prayer, I try to come by faith and pray anyway. Prayer is NEVER a bad thing.

But I would like to talk a little about our last prayer meeting on July 26th because I think it has ramifications for Stonepoint and all churches for that matter. We had a guest speaker named David Mains talk to us this night. Some of you older Christians, like me, may recognize his name. Mr. Mains is a student of revivals and even has a small book about it. He had free copies available of which I got one. I never turn down offers for free books ☺.

Anyway, his talk briefly covered nine things that happen to people when real revival comes to them and/or their churches. I’d like to briefly mention them to you.

  1. They really worship—it’s not just that they sing songs and shout out “praise the Lord” even though that is good. When revival comes, real worship springs out from the heart of a person. It comes as much from lay people as it does the pastor and worship leader.
  2. They love one another—I’ve seen and experienced glimpses of that here at Stonepoint. But this love that comes from revival will be spread around to anyone and everyone.
  3. They strive for holiness—revival in one’s life brings a hurt in a person for his sin and a great desire for holiness. I heard about one revival where there were strange noises occurring and the pastors could not figure out what it was at first. They soon discovered that it was the congregation deeply and quietly groaning over their sins and asking God to cleanse them. Boy, would I love to experience that in my own life.
  4. They eagerly serve the Lord—revival in a God’s people results in Christian service. Imagine, pastors no longer having to search and beg (in some cases) for people to serve in the church. People are lined up at the door asking, “Pastor, what would you like me to do!!” Real revival brings that.
  5. They become hungry for the Word—reading the Word is no longer a chore or something that we have to do. It becomes something we long for. During revival, the Word may come alive in us for the first time in our lives.
  6. They pray boldly—this one really hurts. I have a hard time praying at all, much less with boldness. But in a time of personal or corporate revival, a person will be bold in prayer. He or she will ask God to move mightily and not be afraid to approach the Throne of Grace.
  7. They reach out in spontaneous evangelism—this will often happen among the lay people as much or more than it does in the pastors. We will just naturally share the Gospel with people we meet with no apologies. In times of past revivals in America, Christians went out evangelizing so much that soon bars in the town had to close due to lack of business.
  8. They enjoy life at its best—Jesus says when we come to Him we can have an abundant life. That doesn’t mean the big house and car, money in the bank or anything else along those lines. It means that we will finally fine the true meaning of life that we have been searching for. There is one more.
  9. They will experience an intense counter attack from Satan. If we are serious about following Jesus, the first eight of these things that happen when true revival comes will make us happy. But this last one I negative. But it in inevitable. Satan will not stand still when God’s people get serious about following Him. He will bring everything he can as a roadblock. As Stonepoint grows in holiness, service, evangelism, etc., we should be expecting attacks. But “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

So, that’s my walk through revival. In all honesty, it was the best and most encouraging meeting we have had around here for a year and a half. I wonder what would happen if we started praying that God would revive us as individuals and as the Body of Christ. Do we pray for revival? Not in others, but in ourselves? I get excited when I think of the possibilities!

Idols and Such

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

A good part of my time lately has been spent reviewing my sin and sin patterns. It’s been a hard and tedious part of our group in re:generation and, frankly, I think we are all getting tired of it. But at the same time, it has been somewhat eye opening for me. Part of our evaluation of our ourselves has been to identify idols that might be in our lives. For our purposes, we define an idol as anything that we desire above God Himself. Some of you may be familiar with a book written by Kyle Idleman called Gods at War. It’s all about things in we hold in our hearts that we pursue more than God Himself.

To be honest with you, when I started this, I really didn’t thinkidolatry-part-2 much about me having idols. But the more and more I got into it, and thought about it, I was somewhat surprised about how much I have let idols creep into my life without really knowing it. In my thinking, it reminds me of Exodus 20:2-3 that says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Now, while in this case, God was probably talking about man made gods and goddesses, the application can still be made. If God brought us out of the slavery of sin and into salvation through Christ, why would we want to put any god before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

In this blog, I’d like to go over a little of my journey in area (it’s still not finished) that may shed some light on things. I have two areas or idols that I would like to talk about. They are, money and love. As far as money, I have never really had much and I never really thought I had much of a problem in that area. Now I need to tell you, I have always given to the Lord’s work both in time and money. Even now, I use my money to help my church and people I know who are having specific struggles. So one would think I would be doing OK in this area. Not so. Recently, since moving out here to the prairie, as I call it, I have been able to accrue more money than I have ever had. While I still use it for others, I find that in my heart, it has become kind of a security blanket (oh, Linus, where are you when we need you). I find my mind thinking, that for the first time in my life, I have some security because I have money in the bank. Having money in the bank isn’t the issue in itself, and it can certainly be taken out and used for the Lord’s good. But when my heart begins to think that I now have security in my life because I now have some money, I now have an idol that has taken first place over the Lord.

One more thing, love. Now that sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? But let me share a little of what I have learned about myself recently. Our re:gen group was in the throws of completing an inventory of sins. Believe me this was a lot of work, but I also knew that I had plenty of sins that I committed in the past, and some that I still commit, that I could, and did list. Then in one of our weekly lessons, a question was asked. The question was “in all my valued outcome for my responses to my sins, did any of the valued outcomes reflect what the Lord would want?” That question plagued me for weeks! I went back and looked over all my inventories to see. I found that not one of them reflected anything that the Lord would desire. But instead, every one of my desired outcomes reflected something that I desired!! I wanted people to love me, I wanted to do something in the ministry that I was not asked to do, I wanted to be recognized or honored!! In other words, I wanted my desired outcome to be about me. Not that I didn’t already know I was full of the sin of selfishness and pride, I had become my own idol!! I can’t tell you how much this broke my heart. It’s something I should have been aware of, but was not until the specific question was asked of me. I’m glad God showed this to me, but I am also ashamed of what I have let myself become become in regards to selfishness, especially over the last couple of years. I am praying to God to change my heart. I know I can’t do that on my own.

So what’s the point? Well, one thing I can think of is that we need to keep a close watch over our heart. Our hearts are so easily deceived. Another thing is when we become aware of our sin of idolatry in some area, we need to confess it and lay it before the Lord. God doesn’t give us gifts (like money, in my case) to tempt us and cause us to sin. He does it to see how we will deal with it and to cause our character to grow.

My work in this area of confessing my sins is not finished by any means. But I can tell you this. As I truly bring these areas that God shows me to Him, and confess them to other people I trust who can pray with me, God brings much peace and joy to my life. Hiding sin just does not help any of us. God already knows about it. Re:generation has been a good and helpful process for me to go through. By His grace, I will continue to progress in areas where He will have all of my heart and not just pieces of it. He can and will, do the same for you if your heart is humble and honest before Him. May His grace be abundantly with us!!

Sin and the Mercy of God

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I don’t know about you, but I have had a particularly bad week. It’s been one of those weeks where no one would know about it unless you happen to be one of the few people I shared my struggle with. You see, the problem was not so much in my actions as it was in my heart. So I looked fine on the outside, but inside I was struggling with several things and among them was a critical spirit. I’m good at that, having a critical spirit. But my struggle remains internal and I rarely do anything about it except confess it to God and ask Him to change my heart.

One day this week I sat down at lunch time to pray and read the Word. I happened to be at 2  Chronicles 33. So for no particular reason other than that is where I was in my reading, I sat down and read the chapter. This chapter is about King Manasseh who was one of the kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. 2  Chronicles mostly gives the history of the kings of Judah. Unlike the Northern Kingdom, Judah had some good kings mixed in with the evil ones. Manasseh was one of the evil kings. In fact he was so evil that it is said he “…misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed….” (2  Chronicles 33:9). It further says that God spoke both to Manasseh and the people but they would not listen to Him. So, He sent the Assyrian army against them and Manasseh was captured and brought to Babylon.

Here is where it gets interesting. Manasseh, being in the circumstances he was, “humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” (2  Chronicles 33:12). He prayed to God and God was moved by his humility and his prayer and He brought him up again to Jerusalem. The Bible doesn’t go into detail how God did this; it just says that He did it. Verse 13 says that when that happened, that he knew that the LORD was God. Manasseh cleaned up his act and basically lived out the rest of his life in peace and he was buried with his fathers.

So here’s the point for this blog. I don’t know why this struck me as it did but after I read it, I was struck by how loving and merciful God was to Manasseh. Even though he led Judah to being worse than the evil nations around him, when Manasseh humbled himself before the Lord, God had mercy on him. It made me think that even during this time of feeling dry as a bone and struggling with sin, God can, and will have mercy on me, as long as I remain humble contrite before Him. And the really good news is that God will do the same for you too!!

I don’t know where you are in your walk with the Lord right now. Maybe things are going great and you can’t understand people who struggle like I do. But maybe you are in a dry and lonely place and barely hanging on. Or maybe you have just walked away from God. May I encourage you to take time to be humble before God and just confess your sins to Him. I have these “dry times” every so often where I seem to hear nothing from God and I spend my time just going through the motions. I can compare it to Moses’ 40 years in the desert surrounded with nothing much other than a bunch of sheep. Except that my time is in the heat of Texas surrounded by cows. But even in the desert Moses found a burning bush. And in that bush, was God! Read Psalm 139:7-12. It’s all about God’s relentless pursuit for us. God is always with us, if only we stay humble and contrite before Him!! May God bless your day today and your weekend.

A Look Back– And Looking Ahead

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I came home from church today and felt like looking back through some of my notes from the messages presented to us at Stonepoint this year. I have always been a note taker at church. I’m pretty old school about it as I like using a pen and a notebook. I see others using iPads, etc., but that just isn’t me. So today I just looked over our first message of the year given on January 3, 2016. Do you remember it? I ask that because I’ve found that I can take all the notes I want, and it doesn’t do me a bit of good unless I look back over them on occasions.and them some more. It’s like where the Bible talks about being a hearer of the Word and not a doer in James 1:23-25. We look at ourselves in a mirror, but as soon as we walk away we forget what we look like. It’s the same way with the Words or a message, in this case. We may get something immediately during the message that really touches us. But as soon as we get into our cars and go home, it is quickly forgotten. Looking back can help keep us looking ahead, which is what this message was about.

You may recall that this message was review of where Stonepoint should be going for 2016 and beyond. And pastor used several passages as the basis for his talk. I would just like to remind us of a few things that struck me at the time, that I need to keep in mind. From Galatians 5:4-6 pastor said that the mark of a Christian is faith working through love. The people of the Church at Galatia were free in Christ from the ceremonial laws of Judaism, but were in danger of going back into slavery. As a church, we are not under ceremonial laws but we do need to live under moral laws. The point that grabbed me was: As a church we should not make it more difficult for people to come to Christ. In other words, we should not throw a bunch of man made laws and traditions on newcomers. That is what the Judaisers were trying to do. Stonepoint needs to be a church where people can come and feel love and we need to trust God to bring in those that He will. People will respond to  love, not law.

Another point that Pastor Brandon made was this: If you have freedom in Christ, you cannot live as you want. You are a bond servant of Christ. I watched a movie yesterday called Risen. It was a good movie about a Roman Centurion who was ordered to find Christ’s body to discount the “rumors” that Christ had risen from the dead. The movie opened with the Centurion sitting in a room with one other person and he started telling his story. Then the movie did a flashback to the story. The last scene of the movie brought the viewer back to the room and the man asked the Centurion, “do you really believe all this you have told me?” The Centurion looked at the man and said, After all I have seen, I can no longer go on living as I was, I am changed.” That is what a true conversion to Christ does. It changes us from the inside out. Christianity is no “pie in the sky” religion. Because of the Holy Spirit living in us, we have the power to change and live as we should and as we might want. People will be attracted to Christ and the church when they see Christians loving one another.

I’ll talk quickly about one more thing from this message on January 3rd. In Philippians 3:19-21, Paul talks about people living in the flesh and their own wants. A quote from the message struck me: The problem with churches today is that people seek their own. Think back to a time when you were looking for a “church home.” Did you have the mind that you wanted to come to a particular church because you just wanted to be humble and follow Christ? Probably not. It is more ‘what can this church give me and my family?’ How are the messages and children’s ministry, etc. What is the solution? Pastor took us back to Galatians 5:24-26. The solution is to crucify our flesh. We can do that by living and walking in the Spirit and putting others ahead of ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4).

This service ended with a question for us to think about. If you died today, why would people miss you? The question is so powerful it is almost frightening. We will not be missed because we were a good guy or girl, or because of what you did for a job, etc. It will more than likely that we will be missed because of how we affected the lives of others. And that means dying to self and walking in the love and grace of Christ. God bless you!!

Nieces & Friends, Eeyore and the Love of God

 

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Well, today is July 4th. A day we celebrate our hard earned freedom from the tyranny of the British. This day will be etched into my mind until I die, because it was on this day in 1983, that I received a phone call after coming in from a run, that my Father had died. I had just spent three weeks at home in New York, visiting him most every day. I finally made a decision that I needed to get back to Colorado to work, and a few days later he died. I wasn’t really shocked or surprised. I think I have mentioned some of my relation with my dad in past bEeyore_3logs. He spent most of my life at home as the “bread winner” for the family but never had much time for my older sister and me. So, we were not close and I really never felt he loved me. Over time and after I had a new life in Christ, I came to understand the situation and forgave him for the lack of the father-son relationship I always desired.

Fast forward to last week. I was talking to one of my “nieces” at work. I really love this particular “niece” and we are able to have good, honest talks together During one of our talks last weeks, she told me that I have the reputation of being an “Eeyore.” All I knew about him was that he was a character (a donkey of all things) in the Winnie the Pooh stories and was a grouch. At least that’s what I thought. We didn’t talk further that day but it stayed on my mind. So a couple days later we were talking again and I mentioned it to her. I knew she didn’t mean it badly, because I know her. But I was wondering what she meant. She told me, “You don’t know how much you are loved around here.” She’s right, I don’t think of myself as being loved around here much at all. I learned from another friend last night that, “Eeyore was very lovable. He just didn’t think he contributed much to anyone’s life. His catch phrase is, “Thaaanks for noticin’.” He thought no one would even notice or care he existed.” I replied back to my friend, “Wow!!! Your last comment is me! You hit it on the head! Eeyore and I are cousins!” So my new re:generation goal for he moment is not to be an Eeyore and to try not to keep apologizing for taking up too much air and space.

Fast forward once again to today. I had a good weekend. I spent some great time with the Lord studying and praying. I was still thinking about some of the conversations I had this past week and over the weekend. I mentioned above that I really love my “niece.” Actually I have a few “nieces” and I love them all. I would do anything for them to help them along with their lives and growth in the Lord. Also, I thought of my re:generation studies I have been doing over the weekend. One thing that re:gen does, it really enforces the fact of God’s love for us. The thought of how much God loves me keeps resonating in my mind. I don’t think I want to go over a bunch of Bible verses about this but I do want to quote one verse: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4).

I would be the first person to admit that I don’t understand God’s love for me. It took me several years after I was a Christian just to stop trying to earn God’s love like I had to do with my father. I have finally, I believe, come to just accept the fact that God does love me and accepts me with all my sins, faults and imperfections! Yay, for my re:generation class! God certainly doesn’t need me or you. He CHOSE us!! Unbelievable!! Not only that, but he chose us before He created the world, according to Ephesians 1:4. If you keep reading down to verse 14 in Ephesians 1 you read about a lot more things God did for us that we don’t deserve.

Maybe the world does look at me as an Eeyore just taking up breathable air. But in God’s eyes, I am perfect, Holy and blameless before Him. My friends, it doesn’t get any better than that on this earth. Francis Chan puts it this way: “The greatest good on this earth is God. Period. God’s one goal for me is Himself. The Good News–the best news in the world, in fact–is that you can have God Himself.”

God loves you. We hear it in church all the time, we read in books and we read it in God’s Word, the Bible. But do we really believe it and accept it? I encourage you to please read Ephesians 1. But don’t just read it. Meditate on it and apply it to your life by faith. The only way the Word can be a sharp, two edged sword to us, is when we apply faith to what we read. If we don’t believe that God loves us so much and so unconditionally, how can we ever share His love in a meaningful way with others, even to other believers? It’s something to think about. God bless you are and have a truly blessed 4th of July.

Lord of our Lives

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

OK. I rarely write things like this here and I’m afraid I’m going out on a limb but I’m compelled to share something that came to mind in my prayer time today. Please know that what I write is not a judgement on any one of you, my Christian friends, except to myself. But God has put this on my heart:

In prayer today I thought and prayed for God’s children serving and living in hostile countries. It’s so amazing to me to realize that many of them have an avenue of escape, but purposely serve where their lives are constantly at risk. Many of them will die as martyrs, their names unknown to us.

I sit here in my comfortable home and read of accounts of these brothers and sisters. I wonder, do I hold on to my life too closely? While I admit that things are changing even here in the US, I used to feel guilty at times because my life is so comfortable and safe compared to many of our brothers and sisters around the world. I can no longer feel guilty, as it is a trap of the our arch enemy to do so. But the question still haunts me, am I ready to die for my Lord? At least I call Him Lord, but is He really Lord of my life? Do I really mean it? It’s been said somewhere, that you can’t really live unless you are willing to die. That may not even be from a Christian source but it has a ring of truth to it. May God give us the grace to examine our hearts and perhaps to repent of our fears and our love of our lives. May He truly be Lord of our lives!

If you read this, I know some of you will not agree with it, and some of you may even think it is just wrong. Some may even take offense to it. That’s OK. God works in us in different ways and at different levels. But for what is left of my life here, I want to live it in total surrender to Jesus Christ! May he give me the grace and strength to truly make Him Lord of my life. May God bless you, my Christian friends. And for you who take time to read this, thank you. May you all have a blessed and safe holiday.