This was a note to my pastor and dear friend recently when I was not at our weekly men's meeting to provide him with a Staff, Sword and Shepard's Crook. I was in charge of the Staff and the Sword, my close friend Brain Mathews handed over the Crook. He is an amazing leader caring and training up the men in our church to lead.
Joe Don Mayes,
Well I know if I was there with you guys this morning I would not be doing what we talk about many days there between 6 and 7:30, creating memories with our kids and wives, leading our families and showing them through our actions our love for them is a priority.
Joe Don, God has prepared you in so many ways to lead the Fellowship Church family right now and I know for you, looking back, you see it clearer than we do – but we know some of the stories, the life line – the trail you rode that brought you to this place, this morning, this group of men, your Band of Brothers and we know that you were lead by the Holy Spirit here to this place and time.
LT. Coronel Alan Stokes was known as a fighting soldier’s soldier during WW II. During one push behind the enemy lines he came up on a group of his soldiers outside an old farmhouse taking fire from the enemy inside – When he asked the commanding officer on site why he had not taken the farmhouse he was told “because they are shooting back at us”. He looked at his officer puzzled, he told him – “rally your men and fall in behind me – get ready to fight” he pulled his Army issue Colt .45, loaded it, then took a grenade in his other hand.
Then Stokes stood, yelled at the top of his lungs “ FORWARD” – and he charged through gunfire and smoke leading the squad to the house firing and throwing his grenade inside taking out the enemy gun that had held them at bay.
As they cleared the farmhouse and Stokes prepared to leave he turned to the commanding officer and said ”son, that is how you take the enemy” – and he left heading to the front lines. That day those soldiers saw the courage and leadership they needed to conquer the enemy that had them held down.
The Staff is our symbol that we will honor you, our elders and leadership – we will accept discipline and guidance from the God given authority that He placed in you and them through our church – we will learn, we will teach, we will lead by that example.
The Sword is a symbol of the warrior, the one who stands ready to die for the cause, to battle the enemy– to stand in the way of danger and oppression. It also hangs on the side of the guard at the gate and the mounted warrior horseback.
Shepards Crook - (Brian)
Many think we have spent the last three years in a battle for our church, our family. But they are wrong. Yes we had battles, but not every day has been at the front line – your men have held close – this group of warriors on Wednesday morning – we have grown in our walk with mighty leaps, through tears and laughter, brokenness and victories – together. You and Brian have trained us, been faithful in leadership – you have taught us by example – Today brother Joe Don Mayes, Pastor, Fellowship Church Southwest - We stand behind you – ready to follow your lead – ready to battle on all fronts for our church family – prepared to continue searching for the heart of Jesus with you and lead our families in God’s love and compassion – we are your Bonerges’ “ Son’s of Thunder – we are your Band of Brothers - - - “Let’s Roll” –
Mark 3: 13-17 - 13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.