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We are a group of men that meet the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. To peruse our website click here. We have been meeting since March 18, 2006. We have an Under the Pulpit Ministry as well a Conference Call Prayer Ministry going on weekly also. Today when we met we had an excellent time before the Lord. Our 7:30 and our 10:15 Bible studies were also very strong. For our prayer time we had 8 men join us that had never been to SOT before.

Two prayer requests for right now are:
  1. Our next meeting will be focused on prayer walking for the thousands of people that will be on our campus later that day for an Easter egg hunt. The idea of course is not to promote the Easter Bunny but to give the community a sense of comfort and a desire to visit our children's department on Sunday
  2. Pray for me as I will be speaking at the April Teleseminar on "Encouraging Men to Pray".

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Comment by Mark S Mirza on May 1, 2010 at 1:23pm
Today I posted a Sons of Thunder blog on the FBA website. You might like it:

You might be wondering why the Alabaster Women icon is on our Men's Sons of Thunder blog, but if you are wondering then I know that you were not at Sons of Thunder today. You see, today we welcomed the women who are now meeting on Saturday's with us. Today we worshiped together, heard from Dr. Stanley and then prayed together. We were in The Warehouse where our acoustics leaves a bit to be desired. All I can tell you is that the "murmuring" that lifted itself to the throne was a wonderful, sweet aroma.

We had a great time together and are looking forward to the next Sons of Thunder. Our times will not change men. We will still meet in Lakeside Grill where the food was extra fabulous today (where, the men say, it was because the women were with us) at 8 a.m. and then we will go to The Sanctuary where we will will begin worship, together, at 8:30 a.m. Prayer will begin at 9 a.m. and we will dismiss at 10 a.m. sharp.

One major change that I see occurring is that our two Men's Bible studies (at 7:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.) are going to become coed. Sorry men, but they just...showed up. I didn't know what to do.

Seriously though, we are looking forward to a wonderful new chapter in the praying community of FBA. Make sure that you are a part of it. God bless you as you seek our Lord.
Comment by Mark S Mirza on April 17, 2010 at 1:38pm
Today's Teaching at Sons of Thunder. These are my notes. I have cleaned them up a bit, but only a bit. Enjoy:

Beyond the Obvious
Praying “so-that” prayers

I often state that, “Studying scripture and prayer must go hand in hand, for that is how you get to know God and then know how to pray and what to pray.”

My desire for you today is simple, that you would connect the study of the word of God with prayer

There are lots of admonitions to us in scripture of the “so-that” kind
• James 5:16 Confess your sins to one another “so-that” you may be healed
• 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babes desire pure milk “so-that” you may grow
• 2 Peter 3:17 Be on your guard “so-that” you are not led astray
• 1 John 2:1 my children I write these things “so-that” you may not sin

Jesus used the “so-that” concept in the way He prayed:
• John 17:1 Glorify Your Son “so-that” the Son may glorify You
• John 17:2 You gave Him authority over all flesh “so-that” He may give eternal life
• John 17:11 protect them by Your name “so-that” they may be one as We are one
• John 17:13 I speak these things “so-that” My joy may be complete in them
• John 17:19 I sanctify Myself “so-that” they may be sanctified
• John 17:21 May they be one “so-that” the world may believe You sent me
• John 17:23 May they be one “so-that” the world may know You sent me
• John 17:26 I have made Your name know to them “so-that” the love You have loved Me with would be in them


Why could Jesus pray beyond the obvious? Because of the time He spent with the Father. He knew God’s will for His life, for His disciple’s lives and for the lives of those who would follow.

Now there are plenty of prayers of the obvious, please recognize that:
• Luke 18:13 Tax gatherer praying, Father forgive me
• 2 Cor. 12:8 Paul asking the affliction to leave
• 1 Tim. 1:17 Paul, praying a prayer of praise, "Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal..."
• 1 Peter 5:11 Peter praising and worshiping with, "To Him be dominion..."
• 2 Peter 3:18 Peter, again praising, "To Him be glory..."
• Jude 2 Jude, offering blessings for the letter’s recipients (mercy, peace and love)
• Jude 24-25 A great prayer of praise much like Paul’s
• John 17:5 Jesus stating, "Glorify Me in Your presence"
• John 17:15 Jesus praying for protection them from the evil one
• John 17:24 Jesus asking, "that they be with Me"

My desire is to encourage you to know scripture so well that you do not always have to pray the obvious, although it is okay to, you don't always have to. If you have been memorizing scripture with us you know, and have probably been praying “so-that” prayers:
• Ephesians 1:18-19 Praying that the eyes of your heart enlightened “so-that” you may know 1)hope of His calling; 2) glorious riches of His inheritance; 3) immeasurable greatness of His power
• Ephesians 3:17-19 Praying to know the Father’s and the Messiah’s love / you may be filled with the fullness of God
• Colossians 1:9-10 Praying to have the knowledge of His will “so-that” you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God
• 2 Thessalonians 1:12 that God will count you worthy “so-that” the name of the Lord would be glorified in you and you in Him

And then two of my favorite “so-that” passages:
• Phil. 4:6-7 Come to God with prayers, petitions, with thanksgiving "so-that" the peace of God would guard hearts & minds
• Rom. 15:13 Now may the God of Hope, fill you with all joy and peace in believing "so-that" you may overflow with hope...

Bottom line: Prayer must go hand in hand with knowing God
Comment by Mark S Mirza on April 14, 2010 at 8:15am
Last night I had the opportunity to lead a teleseminar for Church Prayer Leader's Network. The audio will be up on their website in a few days, but in the mean time, below is the outline I used to speak from:

Goal: That you get off the phone realizing that “praying men” is not oxymoronic

Begin with 1 Timothy 2:8a “…I want the men in every place to pray…”

Read a note* from a pastor who “bought the koolaid” which said a 1 hour men’s prayer meeting is where you meet for breakfast, have a devotional, pray for 10 minutes then dismiss. He wrote this after attending SOT for a year and a half.

Give a history of SOT
• Describe a typical Saturday (times, movements, schedule, etc)
• Advise that the Under the Pulpit Ministry (UPM) started same time (walk thru a typical UPM, including its organization during week)

Discuss what SOT has done for me personally
• Recall sitting in the sanctuary, while I was leading prayer in our SS, believing that a prayer pastor’s position would be so boring
• I now realize that prayer, along with Bible reading IS the most important discipline that we do
• Prayer and Bible reading must go hand in hand for if we do not know God (thru Bible reading) we cannot know how to pray His will
• My book reading has changed drastically
• Here’s a list of top books** but it is in NO WAY exhaustive (always being mindful to not read books that are by authors whose theology is questionable or downright unbiblical–There are a sufficient # of orthodox authors so that I do not have to read questionable authors)

Discuss how to start a SOT and then what to do once you start one (including the fact that this info is on the website)

Talk about the motivations and hindrances
Motivations
• Men come because they have a need and they stay because:
1. They develop relationships
2. Find a hunger for prayer that they did not realize they had, and
3. They are praying for something bigger than themselves (as we focus on praying for the needs of the church, not uncle Harry’s big toe).

Hindrances
• Spiritual warfare
• Lack of personal follow up from us at SOT (which is by design so that we do not become "small group" oriented as Sunday School classes are designed to be)

Discuss all the Prayer Events that this has “morphed” into
• Under the Pulpit Ministry (UPM)
• Bible studies before and after SOT
• Conference Call Praying
• Short term Missions Prayer Captains
• Teaching of prayer in the church
• Women’s prayer ministry
• All Night Prayer
• One on one discipleship
• Prayer conference attendance by others that would normally never go to one
• FBA Library table on prayer
• 714 Team & Issachar Men Email
• Missionary Adoption Program
• Operation Nativity Scene
• Operation Easter Egg

* I Bought the Kool-aid
By: Dr. Michael Mynatt
Senior Pastor; Hillcrest Baptist Church; Enterprise AL.

Have you ever heard something that sounded so outlandish, you knew you had to see it to believe it? I heard about Sons of Thunder and believed it was so far out, I had to see it for myself.

What am I talking about? I am talking about drinking the Kool-aid which says that for men to participate in a 1 hour prayer time, the time needs to be broken out: arrive at 8:00 am for fellowship and coffee, have a few donuts, someone opens the Word for a 10 minute devotion, share prayer requests and then have the men prayer for 10-15 minutes and dismiss. All of that is one hour and that is the Kool-aid I had been drinking.

That is not what I experienced with the Sons of Thunder prayer ministry. These guys get in and eat and have their fellowship, worship, announcements and devotion and then they pray. I mean they pray for an entire hour. I didn’t think this could happen. There is nothing like the sound of men calling upon the most high God for an entire hour. You need to hear it, and know that I will never drink that Kool-aid again, nor should you.

Faithfully Following,

Dr. Michael Mynatt

** Books on Prayer
Praying Like Paul by Jonathan Graf
29:59 Plan revised by Peter Lord and Daniel Henderson
Prayer: More Than Words by Leroy Eims (worked with the Navigators for a long time, at the time of this writing he was the assistant to the president of the Navigators, Dawson Trotman)
A Threefold Cord from the American Tract Society in the mid 1800’s (it has a Precept, a Promise and a Prayer for each day of the year and each of these, the Precept, the prayer and the promise is a Bible verse)
Asleep in the Land of Nod by Dave Butts
Iceberg Dead Ahead by Greg Frizzell
Praying God's Heart in Times Like These by Greg Frizzell

These are just a few and it is by no means exhaustive, just think of R.A. Torrey, John Westly, Charles Spurgeon, E. M. Bounds, T. W. Hunt, Andrew Murray, the list never ends
Comment by Mark S Mirza on April 13, 2010 at 5:56pm
An opportunity I had to speak at a teleseminar last Friday has been posted for any of you that want to, to listen to it. Click here for the link.
Comment by Mark S Mirza on April 10, 2010 at 2:34pm
This last Tuesday 5 of us from FBA went to Brooklyn Tabernacle for an all day seminar, put on by Daniel Henderson and Strategic Renewal, and Jim Cymbala. I have been in a couple of Daniel's seminars so I knew what to expect from him and he was, of course, fabulous. What I did not have an expectation for was the incredible Tuesday evening prayer meeting where 2000 people from Jim Cymbala's church come together and have incredible worship! To say we were blessed is an under statement. There were a number of things that were said that day that I made notes of;
refreshpastors.com which is coming to Atlanta on November 11th;
The concern over syncretism in the church;
The definition of good leadership, namely, The Lord was with them;
When I am clever Jesus is not the one getting the glory;
Be careful to only use the ministry tools but not to rely on the ministry tools;
Exodus 18 makes the same 3 points and in the same order as Acts 6:1-7: Prayer, Teach the Word and Delegate;
The goal is not more prayer, the goal is that God get the glory;
-Just as an aside, while we were in the sanctuary you could "feel" the subway going by underneath you, very cool;
Hard hitting exegesis of Isaiah 30, bottom line, do not do our own"great ideas" without consulting God;
The church is dying from cleverness (see my note above about being clever and God not getting the glory);
Die to self!!!;
-another aside, Jim Cymbala thinks that Mariano Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher of all time (clearly that is because Mariano is a member of his church...);
I was moved to write, help me see people the way You see them Lord;
Brooklyn Tab has a 24 hour prayer band that is a group of people that are constantly praying;
I am here at Brooklyn Tab because I need this refresher for my soul;
Develop a dream of dying on your knees, meaning, slipping into eternity, while on your knees;

We all had a great time. Try to go!
Comment by Mark S Mirza on March 23, 2010 at 12:09pm
Operation Easter Egg coming up Saturday April 3rd in lieu of our normal SOT meeting. Details to follow soon
Comment by Mark S Mirza on March 22, 2010 at 5:25am
While Dr. Stanley (or whoever is there that Sunday) is teaching we have a group of men in what we call our Under the Pulpit Ministry. I periodically go underneath the pulpit, after they get started just to hear how they are doing, observing if there are some things we need to work on or think about. Most of the time, I am just blessed. I sit outside their curtain that surrounds them and I listen. It is a HUGE blessing whenever I do this (which is not very often). But yesterday was very special. Yesterday I go down there and one of the men was on his knees and his feet were sticking out under the curtain. I have no idea who it was, but that simple picture in my brain will, I suspect, be with me for a long while. It was a picture of a man just focusing on lifting up the pastor, praying for the needs of the church, praying for the congregation, and because there happened to be a few more men than normal his feet were sticking out of the bottom of the curtain for anyone to see that walked by. It was a real blessing.
Comment by Mark S Mirza on March 22, 2010 at 4:56am
It is actually quite a blessing, which in large part is the reason men come back. I will be speaking to this at a teleseminar on April 13th. I'd love to have you and others on that call, here is the link. Any questions, feel free to contact, me.
Comment by Marsha Mundy on March 21, 2010 at 7:51am
What a blessing to hear about the men's group you are in. We need more Godly men like you and it is an encouragement to know that your group is growing. God bless you!
Comment by Mark S Mirza on March 21, 2010 at 5:50am
To see our schedule click here.

Dr. Stanley wasn't there so I spoke. I am starting a series on John 17, Christ's Hhigh priestly prayer. Here is yesterdays message before we went to prayer:

John 17 Introduction
Below is the outline used during our introduction to the John 17 study. As we began this series on Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer we looked at some of the background behind it.
1) Is this the traditional Lord’s Prayer?
a. No, that is found in Matthew 6:9-13
2) Looking at the surrounding chapters of John, how would we say that the High Priestly Prayer fits in to Jesus’ last week on earth?
a. Ch. 12 The triumphal entry
b. Ch. 13 Jesus washes the disciples feet
Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial are predicted
c. Ch. 14 The way to the Father is taught
d. Ch. 15 Jesus teaches on abiding using the Vine and the branches
e. Ch. 16 Jesus promises that sorrow would turn to joy
He promises the Counselor
Jesus proclaims victory through what is about to happen
f. Ch. 17 The High Priestly Prayer
g. Ch. 18 Vs. 1 tells us where this occurred (actually, where it did not occur, namely Gethsemane)
3) Let’s examine where and when these things occurred.
a. Ch. 12 The triumphal entry made 1 week before his death (Friday afternoon)
b. Ch. 13 The washing of the disciples feet would have been done upon entering upper room (Our Thursday evening, Jewish Friday)
Jesus’ predictions were given during supper
c. Ch. 14 This teaching, known as “His Farewell Discourse” probably took place while they were still around the dinner table (because of John 14:31).
But also look at Mark 14:26 & Matthew 26:30 (the hymn singing would have been done as they left the upper room and was probably a Psalm)
d. Ch. 15 & 16 This discourse taught on the way to Gethsemane, probably on the city streets of Jerusalem
e. Ch. 17 Prayer done before (see John 18:1) crossing the Kidron Valley, probably in the temple courts
4) One thing we did not examine is what occurred between John chapter 12 and chapter 13
a. All week they went back and forth between Bethany and Jerusalem
i. Monday: Jesus cleanses the temple
He curses the fig tree
ii. Tuesday: He predicts the destruction of Jerusalem
And He predicts His 2nd coming
Mary of Bethany anoints His body for burial
Judas arranges Jesus’ betrayal
iii. Wednesday: Would have been a day of rest
iv. Thursday: Dinner in the upper room with constant bickering
Memorial supper established (we call it The Lord’s Supper)
5) A couple of more notes:
a. Chapters 13 to 17 in John really belong together. There is first the effort of Jesus to stop the bickering of the Twelve, then His warning and their reply. Jesus continues to address them with repeated interruption (dialogue), but finally they fear to ask Him further (monologue). The discourse concludes with the wonderful prayer (the real Lord’s Prayer) in chapter 17. From A. T. Robertson “Harmonies” page 197
b. Chapters 14 – 17 are called the Heart of Christ. Nowhere does the Master laye bare His very soul more completely than here in chapters 15 and 16, with the allegory of the Vine and the teaching concerning the Holy Spirit. (Ibid page 198)
6) And, what is a simple outline for John 17?
a. The seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel contains the longest recorded prayer of Jesus. It is often called His “high priestly” prayer because He assumed the role of the high priest in making intercession for the people and offering a sacrifice on their behalf. Soon He would make the ultimate sacrifice for His people-His own death on the cross. In this prayer, Jesus prayed for Himself (vv. 1-5), His disciples (vv. 6-19), and future believers (vv. 20-26). As He faced His suffering and death, He reviewed His life and ministry, rejoiced in His experiences with His followers, and looked forward to the unity and love that God and the redeemed will share in eternity. From George W. Knight “A Simplified Harmony of the Gospels” Holman Bible Publishers 2001, page 219
7) Your assignment for the next couple of weeks. As you study John 17 look at two things:
i. What Jesus says about Himself
ii. Look at the “so that’s” in this passage
1. These are the things that Jesus prays, “…so that…” something else may occur

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