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!!

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