Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mountaintop Week of Prayer: Hours 145 – 169

HOURS 145 – 169

In the silence of Saturday – between the horror of the cross and the joy of the empty tomb – take time to reflect on what we believe with words that followers of Jesus Christ have used since the earliest days of the church.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and
the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mountaintop Good Friday Communion Service

Tonight Mountaintop will begin Easter weekend with a Good Friday Communion Service at 7:00 pm.  We will focus on the Cross of Christ and the victory that Jesus achieved through His sacrifice.  

In his book Following Jesus, N.T. Wright offers these thoughts about the cross:

The cross is the decisive royal act; Jesus on the cross is Jesus the son of David, the King of the Jews. 

The cross is the decisive saving act; this is how he is saving his people from sin.  The cross is the moment when the monsters finally close in on the Son of Man; the forces of evil vent their wrath on him, pour it all out until there is none left. 

The cross is the defeat of evil.  But the cross is also the work of Emmanuel, God-with-us; and it is therefore also the victory, the victory in which the Son of Man bears the saving purposes of the Father through his atoning death and out into the new day of the resurrection. 

The cross is the great divine act.  The cross and the resurrection thus establish the kingdom of the Son of Man.  The powers, the great monsters, seemed to be winning the victory; but the cross and the resurrection show that all authority has now been committed to Jesus.  There is no corner of the created universe over which Jesus does not claim right of sovereignty.  [And] we are to be his agents, his ambassadors, in bringing the word of his kingdom to his subjects. 

In the Kingdom of the Son of Man, the power that counts is the power of love. 

I hope that you will join us tonight at 7:00 for a Good Friday Communion Service as we celebrate the love that gave and gives life.

Mountaintop Week of Prayer: Hours 121 - 144

HOURS 121 – 144

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
Matthew 26:35

At one last Passover meal Jesus reiterated His love for His disciples. He knelt and washed their feet and He commanded them to love one another. He used bread and a cup of wine as reminders of the depths of His love. In the hours that followed the words He shared during the meal were fulfilled. His body was beaten and broken for them. He blood was poured out so that their sins might be forgiven.

As you pray today take time to read through the events that began at a dinner table and end on a cross. Reflect on the love that God has for you and the forgiveness that is possible because of the cross.

The events of hours 121 – 144 can be found in Matthew 26:20 – 27:66.

Join us this evening for a Good Friday Communion Service at 7pm.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Best Easter Ever

Here are three things you can do to make this the best Easter ever.

Don’t rush to get to Sunday morning.  For most churches Easter Sunday is a high attendance day and that means we pull out our very best (which actually we try to do every Sunday) for those who may be attending for the first time.  At Mountaintop we have planned an incredible Easter Sunday that culminates with the celebration of 17 lives changed by the love of Jesus!  But the bright glory of Easter morning is even brighter when we spend time in the shadows of Thursday and the overwhelming darkness of Friday.  Tonight I will attend a Maundy Thursday service downtown at the Cathedral Church of the Advent (if you want high church done well trust the Episcopalians).  Tomorrow evening at Mountaintop we will have a Good Friday service that ends in darkness and Jesus’ cry from the cross.  The empty tomb is even more beautiful in contrast to the cross – so don’t rush to get to Sunday morning – join us 7:00 pm on Friday for a Good Friday Communion Service.

Pray.  Prayer is the engine that drives everything we do at Mountaintop.  Yesterday I passed along this thought to our staff from the Communications Director at West Ridge Church in Georgia:

“We’re focusing a lot on prayer. We often get so wrapped up in our own plans and ideas and here’s how we want it to go. But we know nothing of eternal significance happens apart from prayer. So for us, even as a team, we’re trying to focus on that side of it too, and pray that God will use Easter services here and all over in a big way.”

I hope that you’ve been using this Week of Prayer to reflect on the events between Palm Sunday and Easter morning.  It’s a great way to prepare our heads and hearts for Easter. In my times of prayer this week I’ve been reminded of the power of the cross (the fact that we have a spotlight on a cross in the Sanctuary helped lead me there).   I hope God has been speaking to you in your times of prayer. And I hope you will join our staff in praying that God will use Mountaintop (and every church) in a big way this Easter.  Our future is dependent on prayer.

Extend an Invitation.  After His resurrection Jesus told His disciples to go and tell the world that a new creation has begun.  In that new world the motivating power is love – a strong, powerful, life-changing, life-directing love.  That’s good news we want to learn and share with everyone we can.  An invitation you extend just might change someone’s life for eternity.  So invite to someone to join us ay 9:30 or 11:15 Sunday morning and make this the best Easter ever!

Mountaintop Week of Prayer: Hours 97 - 120

HOURS 97 – 120

Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
Matthew 26:19

On Wednesday evening we find a contrast between the woman who shows her devotion by anointing Jesus with perfume and Judas who agrees to deliver Him to the Pharisees for thirty pieces of silver.

The woman generously gives Jesus her treasure to honor Him. Judas greedily takes another’s treasure to betray Him.

In your prayer today reflect on your use of the treasure entrusted to you. Pray that as a church we might be generous in ways that honor Jesus.

The events of hours 97 - 120 can be found in Matthew 26:6 - 19.

Join us tomorrow evening for a Good Friday Communion Service at 7pm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mountaintop Week of Prayer: Hours 73 - 96

HOURS 73 – 96

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
Matthew 21:14

As Jesus taught He also healed those who came to Him. The healings remind us that He does more than fill our minds with teaching. Through His touch our lives and our world can be transformed. In Him we can find healing for our hearts and our bodies.

As you pray today be bold enough to pray for transformation and healing – for yourself, for others and for the world.

The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.
Malachi 4:2

The events of hours 73 – 96 can be found in Matthew 24:1 – 26:5.

There is not a Wednesday Night Service this week. Join us Friday evening for a Good Friday Communion Service at 7pm.