Thursday, October 16, 2014

W.R.A.P. Up Justice

Each week as we study Amos we have an opportunity to put what we are learning into action in cooperation with some of our Off the Mountaintop partnerships.  This week we have a chance to W.RA.P. foster and adoptive families with care as we:

Wrestle in Prayer for the parents and children,
provide Respite (babysitting for an evening),
provide Acts of Service (taking meals, mowing grass, etc.)
and surround them with the Promises of God (writing encouraging cards).

That's so much better than a Chicken Caesar Wrap!

Here’s how you can practice justice: Attend a W.R.A.P. meeting (light lunch provided) in the Atrium immediately following the second service this Sunday, October 19 to hear how you can support foster and adoptive families and help bring a flood of justice.

We will W.R.A.P. families in partnership with The Forgotten Initiative and Lifeline Children’s Services.

The Forgotten Initiative is a ministry which mobilizes people to serve, mentor, and support the foster care community. One of the ongoing ways Mountaintop partners with this ministry is by packing Journey bags which are backpacks given to foster parents when a child is placed in their home. These backpacks are filled with age-appropriate supplies for the children.

Lifeline Children’s Services offers complete adoption services to birthparents, including counseling, housing, medical care, legal services, and the assurance that the baby will be placed with a Christian family. For prospective adoptive families, they offer a complete range of professional services related to adopting a child. Lifeline seeks to make an investment in the lives of children, mothers in the wake of crisis, families wanting the blessing of a child, and orphans around the globe needing a home in which they can see and hear the Gospel.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Calm Parenting (a second chance to attend)

Yesterday afternoon at Mountaintop we hosted a Calm Parenting Workshop led by Kirk and Casey Martin (mostly Kirk).  We had about 120 in attendance (about half from the church and half from the community).  The Martins shared parenting wisdom (with a little marriage wisdom sprinkled in as well) and quite simply, it was fantastic!

The presentation was practical, honest, immediately applicable, grounded in solid research and also hilarious.  Kirk is a gifted communicator and came early and stayed late to make sure he answered everyone’s questions.  The teaching was beneficial not just for parents but also for anyone who works with kids from birth through high school (we had a few education students from Samford in attendance – one who wanted to make sure I knew she was too young to have kids).

I had two thoughts leaving.  1) I wish I had heard this 10 years ago and 2) I wish I had promoted, encouraged and maybe even challenged more people to attend – it was that good.  I can’t do anything about the first thought but I can – with your help by sharing this post – do something about the second.

Kirk and Casey are speaking again tonight in Birmingham.  From 7:00 – 9:00 this evening they will be at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church.  The workshop is free and Oak Mountain does not require registration.  Here’s a link with directions

If you have kids, grandkids, teach or volunteer with kids I would encourage, urge, even challenge you to attend. 

The vision of Mountaintop is to be a place where we are learning and sharing a better way to live in Christ.  An evening with the Martin’s at a Calm Parenting Workshop will provide you some great tools for a better way to parent.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Flood of Diapers!

This Sunday as we continue a study of Amos our Flood of Justice will turn into a flood of diapers and wipes as Mountaintop hosts our second:

 Baby Shower for Birmingham!  

Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring diapers, wipes, formulas or other items needed by newborns, toddlers and their parents.   During our worship services at 9:30 and 11:15 we will have a chance to support kids at risk in our community as we present these gifts  which will be distributed through one of Mountaintop’s ministry partners, Sav-A-Life.

Sav-A-Life is a comprehensive pregnancy care ministry that is dedicated to offering free and confidential services in a loving environment to women, men, and families facing an unplanned pregnancy. 

You don’t want to miss being a part of the celebration and the Flood of Justice.  So bring a guest and invite a friend to join us as we share Jesus’ love with babies in Birmingham!

Friday, September 12, 2014

3 Things Every Family Needs

As we head into the weekend I am reminded of three things we all need.

1.  A Great Deal.  This morning the Market On the Mountain opens in the Student Center for a Fall and Winter Sale today (9 – 6 )and Saturday (9 – 2).  Market on the Mountain benefits Mountaintots Christian Day School. The sale offers children's clothing and shoes, maternity clothing, baby and nursery equipment, books, puzzles, and much, much more! There are great deals available for high quality items.  For more information check out Market on the Mountain. 

2.  Wise Counsel.  Every one needs advice and in the coming weeks we are offering two workshops for hot topics facing parents, grandparents and families.

Sunday, September 21
Understanding Technology in Youth Culture & Internet Safety Breakout
Immediately after 11:15am service - in the Student Center, FREE admission.  For free childcare and lunch click on:  Help Me Understand Technology! by September 14.

Sunday, October 12
Calm Parenting: Stop Defiance, Disrespect & Yelling
Guest speakers: Kirk and Casey Martin from Calm Parenting
4:00 – 6:00pm - in the Atrium, FREE admission.  For free childcare click on: Help Me Stop the Yelling! by October 5.

*Child care is provided for both events by reservation only.  Register Sunday morning in the Atrium or online at Mountaintop Parenting

3.  Encouragement.  We all need encouragement and you can find some this Sunday morning as we continue our Faith and the Modern Family series.  We will be taking on the topic of What Should I Do When Our Kids Are Rude?  We will be learning and sharing wisdom that will encourage us in all our relationships.   And if you missed the homework from Week One you can find it online at Mountaintop Parenting

Great deals, wise counsel and encouragement – that’s a great way to begin a weekend!

To the glory of God!

T Doug

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11 Remembrance

It’s been 13 years since the events of September 11, 2001 changed our world in profound ways.  With each passing year our memory of that morning fades.  Nearly half a generation has been born since the attack in New York and it seems that each day we are confronted with new tragedies to replace the old (the headlines this morning led with the story of the Oscar Pistorius verdict, followed by the President’s speech on ISIS and the NFL’s response to Ray Rice).  But it is important that we remember the events that shape who are and even more important that we remember God’s promises for who we will be. 

When He taught on the end of times Jesus told us:

“Watch out that no one deceives you… you will hear of wars and rumors of war but see to it that you are not alarmed… many will turn away from their faith and will betray and hate each other… Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations…”
Matthew 24: 4, 6, 10 – 14

The challenge for us remains to stand firm to the end, to never let our love grow cold and to hold on to hope.

During the service for a Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in the days following 9-11 Billy Graham described that hope we proclaim:

There is hope. There's hope for the present because I believe the stage has already been set for a new spirit in our nation. One of the things we desperately need is a spiritual renewal in this country. We need a spiritual revival in America.  And God has told us in His Word, time after time, that we are to repent of our sins and we're to turn to Him and He will bless us in a new way.  But, there is also hope for the future because of God's promises. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for heaven and the life to come.  And that's the hope for all of us who put our faith in God.  The Cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took upon Himself in the person of Jesus Christ our sins and our suffering. And from the Cross, God declares, "I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pains that you feel. But I love you."

On this day of remembrance and each day as we face news of conflict in the Ukraine or violence in our streets, schools or homes our hope remains in the love of Jesus Christ.  I’ve found the following Scriptures useful to reflect upon that hope and God’s promises:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20:7

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us… If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 18, 31, 32, 35 and 37 - 39

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…
Revelation 21:4

Until; that day comes, may we stand firm to the end, to never let our love grow cold and hold on to hope.