Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A "You Don't Want To Miss This" Sunday

I am so excited about this Sunday – from morning to evening this is going to a “you don’t want to miss this” day.

First we are welcoming one of my favorite speakers to Mountaintop.  I first heard Bill Butterworth at a Willow Creek Leadership Conference and I was instantly impressed by his humor, depth and ability to connect God’s story to our stories in memorable ways.   In the years since I’ve been blessed with opportunities to bring Bill in to speak to various groups and I was thrilled when he accepted the invitation to join us at Mountaintop.  Sunday morning – and evening – will be “you don’t want to miss this” moments.

Secondly, our Taste of Hope “garden party” which will take place Sunday evening before Bill speaks promises to be another “you don’t want to miss this” event.  Ten different local restaurants ranging from Thai to BBQ and Indian to Italian with some awesome desserts mixed in will be generously setting up tasting tents on our lawn under the stars.  Tickets are $10 (you can purchase them on Wednesday evening, Sunday morning or at the door) and all the proceeds go to support ministries for Children at Risk.

Taste of Hope is sponsored by Mountaintop’s Singles and Young Professionals but everyone invited to join us.  Even more, everyone is encouraged (challenged) to invite a friend.  This is one of the events we’re offering this fall for you to use to bring a friend to join us at the Banquetand this week it is an actual banquet!

Taste of Hope Tasting:  5:30 – 6:30 on the lawn
Taste of Hope with Bill Butterworth and a Message of Hope:  6:40 – 7:30 in the Atrium (there is no charge for the message portion of the evening)
Taste of Hope Door Prizes – following Bill’s message there will be a drawing for some “delicious” door prizes.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wisdom from Dabo Swinney

I continue to be a sporadic blogger but this is amazing article on Clemson coach Dabo Swinney encouraged me to write.  The article is a must read – and not just for Clemson fans (though it sure makes me proud to be one) - just click here: Dabo Swinney.

Some of what Dabo said really got me thinking:

Clemson had fallen into an accepting mindset, with non-existent facilities, non-competitive salaries to keep talented assistant coaches, and a generally defeatist attitude about its spot in the football pecking order. The place seemed somewhat satisfied to just have a big orange party every Saturday and watch the guys touch the rock and run down the hill.
"For whatever reason, I think Clemson lost their way, lost their swag if you will," Swinney said. "And really kind of lost their commitment. This place was not committed facility-wise. And I don't personally think they were committed resource-wise on a national level…. I'm not really interested in this conference. I'm interested in being the best. I'm interested in competing with everyone out there…. That's my mentality."
The Dabo sensation has not gone unnoticed within the program. Longtime staffers speak of his unapologetic sense of drive. Coaches marvel at his endless positivity; "he's a glass-half-full guy," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who was lured from Oklahoma. And the players say the place thinks like a champion now, which makes the players realize everything is possible.
"I think it's a certain mindset, a certain attitude, that for awhile wasn't here," said quarterback Tajh Boyd. "But I think this program, the type of players we are recruiting here, the kind of coaches that we have here, are changing that culture."
Dabo said it had to occur from the inside out, and it had to include bricks and mortar.

As a Clemson alum and fan I both hate (that we fell into an “accepting mindset”) and love the direction we are heading.

It also makes me recognize how easy it is for churches to fall into an “accepting mindset.”  Sometimes churches adopt their own version of a “defeatist attitude” and make too many excuses about why they can’t be successful – not in competing with other churches (though we do way too much of that) but in fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commandment and Great Commission.

It requires an investment of resources – including bricks and mortar (and LED screens and online media) – and it requires a mindset and attitude that is committed to winning.

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote about what that sort of winning attitude looks like:

I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
I Corinthians 9: 19 – 27 (MSG)

Whenever we begin to accept what we can’t do – or make excuses for what we can’t do – or believe that others can but we can’t – we are adopting a defeatist mentality and falling short of believing what Jesus promised when He told us we would do even greater things than these.

For church a staff I believe there are warning signs of an accepting mindset and defeatist attitude.  :

We accept “good enough” rather than pursuing the very best
We accept worn, torn and stained as just the way things are
We accept clutter, mess and disorder as normal
We accept budget constraints as an excuse of why we can’t
We accept showing up late and leaving early
We accept a lack of preparation and “just wing it”
We accept too many mistakes (and I am sure there are typos in this post that I need to find - point them out and I will fix them)
We accept “I don’t have time” instead of “making time" for what’s important
We accept “I can’t” instead of finding a solution to how “we can.”

We are never going to be perfect – and heaven help us if we ever think we are – but when a church falls into an accepting mindset and a defeatist attitude eventually it loses sight of its purpose to introduce people to Jesus and His way of life.  The church become somewhat satisfied to just have a big party every Sunday and watch the guys upfront as we all head downhill.

The article on Dabo concludes:

"I grew up in a world where I was told, ‘you can't, you can't, you can't, you can't," Swinney said. "And I had every reason not to believe that I could be successful.
"And that's what happens in this world," he continues. "They buy the lie. They buy the lie that the devil's trying to sell them. And I don't buy that lie. And I never have and never will."
Not for him. Not for his mom. Not for Clemson.

And not for me and not for Mountaintop!