Thursday, October 31, 2013

$1.89, one hour and 14 days

This Sunday, November 3, is shaping up to be one of my favorite Sundays of all time.  Here’s why.

We are throwing a Baby Shower for Birmingham.  During both of our services we are asking everyone to bring a gift for an infant or their parents.  The gifts will be distributed through two of our ministry partners Sav-A-Life and the Forgotten Initiative.  

The gifts that are most needed are diapers, wipes and formula.  Gifts of all sizes are welcome.  I checked at Target and a 72 wipe tub of baby wipes is only $1.89.  That’s a small gift but when combined with the generosity of all of us it can make a huge difference.  So bring a gift and help us bless babies in Birmingham.

We get to sleep an extra hour.  This Sunday Daylight Savings Time ends and we fall back.  Don’t forget to set your clocks back and for those who forget – don’t worry we will have plenty of coffee and doughnuts when you show up an hour early!

Sunday morning I will be sharing a little bit about an awesome Student Ministry event that is taking place in just 14 days.  The EXCHANGE WEEKEND is an opportunity for our Middle and High School students to exchange an ordinary weekend for something extraordinary – a weekend of fun, friends and faith.  Register and encourage a student you know to register at EXCHANGE.

And finally this Sunday we are continuing to move toward the life that is truly life as we learn to be generous.  We will be talking about moving toward freedom in the message and in our groups.  If you haven’t picked up a generosity devotional copies are available for $5 in Harvest Books and Gifts.

A baby shower, an extra hour of sleep, the anticipation of an EXCHANGE WEEKEND and the opportunity to be generous all add up to an amazing Sunday that you don’t want to miss.  Join us and invite a friend as we learn and share a better way to live.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baby Shower for Birmingham

This Sunday, November 3, 2013 Mountaintop is hosting a Baby Shower for Birmingham to support kids at risk in our community. Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring diapers, wipes, formula 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 put generosity into action and give present these gifts  which will be distributed through two of Mountaintop’s ministry partners: Sav-A-Life and The Forgotten Imitative. 

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.  The Forgotten Initiative provides support for Foster parents and children.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EXCHANGE the ordinary for the extraordinary

Mountaintop is committed to Middle School and High School students and their parents.   We recognize that adolescence presents unique challenges but we are convinced that these can be amazing years for families.   Our goal is to partner with parents and students to successfully face the challenges and embrace every opportunity.

That’s why we are taken some important steps this year to invest in Student Ministries:
  • We recruited Chris Conner to join Scott Mains in leading our Student Ministries.
  • We’ve added Cole Forehand to our team to provide excellence in the music and worship we provide for students each week.
  • We welcomed Amanda Bennett, a student at Samford, as our Student Ministries intern.
  • We repurposed our Family Life Center as a Student Center to provide a place for Student Ministries to grow and we are steadily transforming the building into THE place for students to be.

And in just a few weeks, November 14 – 17, we will be focusing our energy on an EXCHANGE WEEKEND.

The idea behind the weekend is simple – invite each student and their friends to EXCHANGE an ordinary weekend for something extraordinary.

Everything about the weekend is built entirely around students.  There we will be food and friends and fun and teaching focused on sharing a better way to live through the middle and high school years.  Our hope is that we might help each student exchange an ordinary life for a life rooted in Christ.

Register online at EXCHANGEWEEKEND.  There you will also find other ways that you can support our Student Ministries.

Punk Your Trunk on ABC 33/40

Melissa and Kelli did an amazing job on Talk of Alabama this morning.  Check it out here!

Punk Your Trunk

Monday, October 21, 2013

Help Mountaintop Improve Communication

The single biggest problem in communication
is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw

Each week we use eBlasts to help us share important information with the Mountaintop family.  Topics might include upcoming messages, special events or staffing changes.  We also use eBlasts to offer words of challenge and encouragement, to share prayer requests and updates on issues that impact the entire community.

There are 3,824 email addresses that receive weekly eBlasts from Mountaintop.  But recently I learned that some in our family are not receiving the eBlasts – including some who have been around for a long time.  That means they are missing out on the news we are sharing and we aren’t communicating nearly as well as we want to - or believe we are.

Here’s how you can help.

Simply share this link on your Facebook page.

And if you are not receiving a weekly eBlast from Mountaintop (and you would like to) please let us know your email address by simply clicking:  Register for Mountaintop eBlast

God is on the move at Mountaintop.  There are amazing things taking place as we are learning and sharing His better way to live.  Thanks for helping us use eBlast as one of the ways we share that good news.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pray Expectantly - this Sunday at Mountaintop

This Sunday we conclude our Knocking On Heaven’s Door series (and I believe the band is ready with that song).  My prayer is that over the last few weeks you have learned to pray more boldly, more persistently and when the odds seemed stacked against you.  This Sunday we are going to be considering what it means to pray with expectancy.  You might read Acts 12: 1 – 17 to help you prepare for worship.

Because prayer is the engine that drives our church and our lives and because our future is dependent on prayer we need to continue to devote ourselves to prayer.  Here are a few ways you can continue to knock on Heaven’s Door.

Sunday Mornings
Each Sunday morning a prayer group meets at 8:30 in the Atrium to pray for the needs of the church, the church service and the person speaking that day.  All are welcome to join the group.  Following each worship service, members of our Prayer Team are available in the Prayer Corner to pray with anyone who has a need.

Weeks of Prayer
Each January and August we begin the year (and the program year) with a Week of Prayer.  We meet Monday – Saturday from 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary to pray for provision, protection, vision, courage and unity.

Prayer Team
Sign up to serve on our prayer teams at the iServe booth.  Our Email Prayer Team receives all emailed prayer requests and prays over them from home.  Our Prayer Note writers compose prayers for those requesting prayer.

Submitting a Prayer Request
Submit a prayer request using the Welcome Cards, by emailing, or by calling the church office at 205.776.8020.

Our Prayer series is concluding but not our prayers – so each and every day – let us pray boldly, persistently, against all odds and with expectancy of the amazing things God is going to do!

PS – There’s just over a week remaining until it’s time to Punk Our Trunks.  Rumors are circulating that the Mountaintop staff are practicing for another flash mob dance that involves jumping, shouting and shaking bodies down to the ground.  Find our how you can be a part of making this a fantastic event at Punk Your Trunk

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Punk Your Trunk 2013

We are less than two weeks away from an opportunity to Punk Our Trunks!

The Punk Your Trunk Carnival is an outreach of Mountaintop's Children’s Ministry that, last year, welcomed hundreds from our community to Mountaintop.  This year we will be punking our trunks on Sunday afternoon, October 27, and it will take the entire church to make it “punktacular.”  Here’s how it works:

Between 4:30 and 6:30pm, the main parking lot will be lined with cars, trucks and SUV’s with trunks decorated and full of candy and goodies for a fun time of “trunk-or-treating.” There will be prizes for best trunks, best costumes, and there will be games and hot dogs and more candy than you can begin to imagine! There is also a rumor circulating that our staff is planning another flash mob dance that will be even better than last year’s Thriller.

Here are four things you might consider to help make this event successful:

We need families, small groups, or groups of friends who can host a booth or a trunk.  If you have any questions, need ideas or are ready to sign up just visit Punk Your Trunk.

We need people who aren’t able to host a booth to help by donating candy.  You can’t imagine how much candy we will give out.  Throughout October you can drop off candy in the green tubs around the church.

We need to get the word out to our friends and neighbors.  You can pick up invitation cards at the Guest Services desk and share them with everyone you can.

Consider helping with our cart and traffic team.  The parking lot will be busy and we could use traffic directors (you get to wear a cool orange vest and wave an orange flashlight – especially attractive for Clemson, Auburn or Tennessee fans) and cart drivers (you get to drive a cart – especially attractive for Alabama fans who are rolling over everyone).   Visit the iServe bar on Sunday morning for more information.

Punk Your Trunk is a gift we give to the community of a safe and fun way to celebrate the season.  It’s an awesome opportunity to live out our vision of learning and sharing a better way to live in Christ.

Generosity: Moving Toward the Life That Is Truly Life

Inside every Christian is a God-implanted desire for generous living.  We want to follow the example of Jesus’ generosity.  We long to help those in need.  But, for numerous reasons, these desires often lie dormant inside us.  How do we shake ourselves from complacency and unleash the joy of giving?

Beginning October 27 Mountaintop will be answering that question and helping people release that God-inspired desire to be generous.  The goal is to help each one of us realize that when we learn to be generous two extraordinary things occur:  1) we become imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1) and 2) we take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6: 17 – 21).

We will be learning and sharing a generous way to live (which is a better way) through the messages on Sunday morning and through a 4-week devotional and group study.  Copies of the study – Generosity:  Moving Toward the Life That Is Truly Life – are available in Harvest Books beginning this Sunday.  Everyone is encouraged to us this study as individuals and/or with a group.  Join us are move toward the life that is truly life.

 October 27:  Moving Toward Transformation
November 3:  Moving Toward Freedom
November 10:  Moving Toward Trust
November 17:  Moving Toward Life
November 24:  Moving Toward Thanksgiving

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10 Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing - Revisited

Every church wants to grow.  Pastors don’t always talk about it (especially when their church isn’t growing) but deep down they want the church to grow the way it did in Acts 2 – with the Lord adding to their number daily.  When growth isn’t happening some pastors will take on a critical attitude toward growing churches, “they’re just watering down to gospel to attract people.” Others will make excuses with good biblical references, “we are pruning in order to grow” (I’ve used that one).  There’s a degree of truth in those sentiments.  Sadly, some churches will sacrifice faithfulness for popularity and pruning (though painful) is often necessary.  But the real reason that churches don’t grow is that the leadership makes mistakes.

In 2009 Geoff Surrat published an insightful and honest examination of the 10 Stupid Things Churches That Keep Churches From Growing.  Here’s Geoff’s list.

 Trying to do it all
  Establishing the wrong role of the pastor’s family
Providing a second rate worship experience
 Settling for low quality in Children’s Ministry
Promoting talent over integrity
Clinging to a bad location
Copying another successful church
 Favoring discipline over reconciliation
  Mixing ministry and business
Letting committees steer the ship

When I first read the book my initial reaction was “ouch – I’ve done 9 out of 10.”  I recently reread the book and four years later, I may be up to 10 out of 10 – but I am learning!

If you are in church leadership take a look at the list.  How many of the 10 Stupid Things have you done?  What else would you add to the list?