The Next Thing

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

When Gospel for Asia moved their headquarters to Wills Point, Stonepoint had a large influx of new people who were checking out churches in the area. One of those people was Bob Mayo.

bob-mayo

Bob was a tall, shy man at the ‘north end’ of the demographic of people who were attracted to Stonepoint. He didn’t like crowds, and actually stayed in his car without coming in the building for a couple of weeks before he built up his resolve to come inside and check it out. He had served at GFA for years, was a widower, and really sort of searching for the ‘next thing’ that God would have him do in life.

After finally coming inside the building, a few weeks passed and Brian Tate noticed him taking meticulous notes during the messages, and asked him if he’d be interested in writing some posts for our little-known Stonepoint Blog. Bob reluctantly agreed and started translating those notes into ‘what i got from today’s message’ posts that started appearing on the blog in January of 2015.

I don’t think he really knew what ‘blogging’ was when he first started. His first posts were pretty short, and littered with attempts at being ‘folksy.’ Those posts eventually morphed into stories about being a ‘yankee’ in Texas, tales from history, some personal things mixed in with stories about hobbits, donkeys and whatever else struck him to write about. He wrote candidly about his struggles with his prayer life, despite being in ministry full-time. As we gerrymandered our staff responsibilities, i inherited the blog editing, and every couple of weeks, Bob would e-mail me, always with the same disclaimer:

Pastor Mark, (refusing to just call me Mark like i asked him to)

I wrote a new post for the blog.

I don’t know if you’ll want to use it or not, but the Lord laid it on my heart, so here it is.

I always used them.

Bob wrote in kind of a ‘stream of consciousness’ style, and after i broke up his Andre the Giant sized paragraphs into something a little more readable and added a few commas here and there (the man was not a fan of punctuation!) i’d post them.

He loved to underline things. If you read the blog with any regularity, you’ll note that hyperlinks (links to websites) are the only thing we underline. Underlining is a throwback to the bygone typewriter era, like two spaces after a period that we just don’t use anymore. I’d spend 15 minutes replacing the underlined things with italics and bold text, to emphasize his points, polish a couple of spots and hit publish. Like over 150 times the last two years. The man was prolific— the Stephen King of blogging, without the blood, the foul language and everything being set in Maine.

(I, on the other hand, sit in my robe at the MacBook at 3 in the morning, sipping Maalox, debating on whether to use ‘and’ or ‘or’ in a sentence like my conjunctions are gonna cause worldwide mayhem if i make the wrong decision.)

He joined the church, and despite his shyness, got involved in a Journey Group and served faithfully as a greeter on Sundays. He started attending our re:generation ministry on Monday nights and eventually became one of the leaders in that ministry here at Stonepoint.

Bob went to be with the Lord, suddenly on December 18th.

We miss him.

As i said earlier, he’d been looking for the ‘next thing’ the Lord wanted him to do and i think he found it that Monday night.

In the book of Genesis, when they’re going through the genealogy section in Chapter 5, there’s a brief mention of a man named Enoch, starting in verse 21.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

I like to think that’s what we can say about Bob. Despite his admitted struggles with his prayer life, maybe Bob Mayo walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

I Corinthians 13:12 says For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” The King James Version says that first part this way, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.”

We see God through a glass, darkly. We talk to Him, surrounded by the distractions of this world…the noise, the static that hampers our listening of His responses to us.

At some point, maybe our heavenly Father said, ‘Bob, we talk so much, yet you say it’s difficult for you. Why don’t we lose this less than perfect form of communication we’ve been using all these years, and just do this in person?’

What more can you ask for? Bob’s reunited with his beloved wife, Alice, and talking face to face with his Creator.

How’s that for a ‘next thing?’

For all of Bob’s blog posts, you can follow this link: https://stonepointwordpress.com/?s=Bob+Mayo&submit=Search

Maps

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

When i was a kid, i loved maps.

I remember being 5 or so, just able to read, laying in the living room floor in our little house in Oak Cliff, with the entire city of Dallas unfolded before me, in full color glory. My parents gave me some felt-tipped pens and i would color on them, fascinated by parks and golf courses and divided roadways with grass in the middle, as opposed to the boring old street we lived on.

bob-o-links_1962-map

My dad also had a Mapsco, which was a little, wire-bound, gridded book with an even closer view of everything in the city, but he didn’t let me mess with that one. It cost more money, and he used in in his job.

All this study came in handy a year or so later, when we moved to Northeast Dallas, where the streets don’t follow a grid of any sort, because of the lake, and my mother was always getting us lost coming back home from the discount store or somewhere in Mesquite, where the roads have no rhyme or reason. (“Mom, Gus Thomasson just turned…we’re on Maylee Blvd. now!!”)

Now that 95% of us carry around a smartphone with GPS, nobody really uses printed maps anymore—heck, most kids these days would probably have a hard time figuring out how to refold one. I still like looking at the ones in the glass case at rest stops (You are HERE) marveling at how many hours we’ve driven and how little of Texas we’ve covered in that time.

Most of us, when going somewhere we’ve never gone before, or are not sure of, pull out our phone and figure out the best way, check where the traffic is, or even get turn-by-turn navigation from Siri, or whoever is the assistant for people with other phones.

How ridiculous would it be to figure out the best route and then choose to go another direction?

But that’s exactly what we do in life.

God has given us a roadmap, but for some reason, we think we know how to get from Point A to Point B without it. What is intended to be a straight path takes crazy detours because of our stubbornness and rebellion and refusal to consult the paper laid out before us, in this case, The Bible.

For example, Proverbs 5 warns us about the adulteress:

And now, O sons, listen to me,

    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Keep your way far from her,

    and do not go near the door of her house

…and so what do we do? We walk down the street of temptation, and when nothing bad happens, cross over to the other side, even closer to where we are warned not to go. And when nothing too bad happens there, we decide the porch looks inviting, then peek inside the front door…and before we know it, are in the middle of a mess we can’t get out of and were warned about in the map we’ve been given.

Everyone has done it. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But what we sometimes don’t realize is that God provides us with an ‘out’ in every temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says ‘No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.’

Next time you’re tempted with your favorite ‘sin-issue,’ something is going to happen where you have a few seconds of clarity, where the Holy Spirit will say ‘you shouldn’t be doing this’ and you will have an opportunity to steer clear of the temptation, pray, and ask God for help in not giving in to the sin.

So there’s your means of escape. At that point, you have to decide if you’re going to follow the map or not.

The Panhandler in the Parking Lot

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

What I’m about to talk about would not be considered a BIG thing for most of us, but I am amazed at God’s timing and how He uses small things in our lives.

Panhandlers throughout town talk about the new signs going up in

Last Friday, I took the day off from the ministry and went out to Wills Point to visit someone. After a great time of fellowship, I jumped in my car and took off down Highway 80 to Walmart. I did my weekly shopping as usual and came out to my car and was just starting to load my groceries into the trunk. Suddenly I heard the voice of a lady, very politely, approach me and ask for money. Now, I think I am somewhat of a target for some reason, and I usually give them something even though my heart isn’t really in it and just to get them on their way. I figure the money will not be used for the situation in the story I am told. So, I put up with them and hope that I am not just adding to their problems by giving them money. By the way, I’m not promoting that as a good attitude for us to have, in case you were wondering.

But this encounter was a little different for some reason. The woman’s story was much like I had heard before but she added a little twist. She said she would gladly work for her money and asked me if she could put my groceries in the trunk of my car for me. I thought that kind of strange and unique. I also started getting impressions, I guess from the Lord, to not take on my usual attitude toward this woman. I told the lady, not to help with my groceries, but I told her to wait, and I jumped into my car and grabbed a tract from my glove compartment. It had been such a long time since I had done that, that I almost had to wipe the dust off the tract before giving it to her. I managed to find the tract I was looking for and gave it to her with some money and some instructions. I told her, that I really didn’t need her help with my groceries, but I told her that her “job” she could do for me was to read and think about the tract. She looked at me and said, “God bless you, sir.” And that was the end of the encounter.

What was strange to me after that encounter, was that I kept thinking about this lady over the rest of the weekend and praying for her. Actually, I am still doing that.  Truly, that was unusual for me in these kinds of situations. I kept thinking that I should have given her more of a testimony about the Lord, but in all honesty, that has always been one of my weak points. Over the weekend, I kept telling God what a failure I am, but I also knew He already knew that.

Like I said, this encounter would be no big deal for most of us, but I could not get it out of my mind all weekend. Sunday morning arrived and I jumped in my little car and headed off to 8:30 service. I took FM 47 so I could see my friends the camels and zebras that I hadn’t seen for some time. Our Pastor was starting a new series and I was kind of excited to hear the first message. The title, as most of you know was PROXIMATE! I couldn’t figure out what that would be about.

I wish I had my notes with me at the moment, but I don’t. So, here are my thoughts of what our pastor talked about. What struck me mostly, was the thought of “coming out of our comfort zone and embracing our weaknesses.” Again, to be honest, that thought has been plaguing me for a while. I have often told people, that my life is generally lived in a bubble. I live with Christians all around me, I work with Christians, read and study the Bible, I attend journey group, and church. Please believe me, there is nothing wrong with any of this. But for some reason, I have felt for some time I need to come out of my comfort zone a little. It’s just a little nagging in the back of my mind. I have had some thoughts of what I could do, but for various reasons I have not incorporated them into my life. In all honesty, I have a hard-enough time keeping up with things as they are. I’m pretty sure most of you could say the same thing. And the other thing that hinders me is the fear of trying new things. Maybe that isn’t your problem, but it is mine.

But what this first week showed me was that we, as God’s church, need to consider this deeper. While I am hearing a lot about “community” these days, and I think it is good to live in community, we cannot hibernate there. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul said, But He said to me, “MY grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will BOAST all the more gladly of MY WEAKNESSES, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (Emphasis, mine).

I have never really thought much about “boasting in my weaknesses.” But that is just what we should do. God uses weak and humble people. It’s amazing to me that He uses us at all, but in His sovereignty, that is what he decided to do! But we cannot just boast in our weaknesses. We need to let God show us how to do His work in our weaknesses so that His power can be manifested though us. I’m not sure what that looks like for myself, much less for any of you. God works in each one of us as He wills. But I am praying that God will show me how to come out of my comfort zone and begin to PROXIMATE with people around me that I am not used to and who need to see Jesus. May we become ‘proximaters’ (my computer tells me that’s not really a word) in our lives.

Somehow, by God’s grace, may we be clear demonstrators of God’s love to those around us that we would not normally associate with. May He give us the boldness and courage to love and serve those around us despite our fears and weaknesses. Amen!