Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Flood of Justice, Candy and Can Goods!

Sunday evening Mountaintop was invaded by the characters of the Lego movie, Thing One and Thing Two, Spidermen, Caped Crusaders of every shape and size, the Blues Brothers and enough Frozen Princesses to fill a parade.  Together with a lot of other costumed kids (of all ages) they knocked down our staff, made crowns, tossed rings and navigated mazes – with the brief interruption of a Flash Mob dance (if you want to relive that special moment check it out at Beat It  - password:  beatit)

But even more important this year Punk Your Trunk helped us be a part of God’s Flood of Justice as we completely filled the bed of the church pickup with canned goods that will help to fill the pantry at Oak Mountain Mission. 

Thank you to everyone who made a donation of candy or candy goods, to all who punked their trunks and those who made invitations.  Together we discovered what extraordinary things God can do when ordinary people make themselves available.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All In Exchange Prayer Guide

November  6 – 9 our Student Ministries is holding our third EXCHANGE WEEKEND.  It’s a weekend when students are encouraged to exchange the ordinary for something extraordinary.  The theme this year is ALL IN. One of the ways we can all be ALL IN is to beginning praying for the weekend right now.

We believe that the future of Mountaintop is dependent on prayer.  As Jim Cymbla has written, prayer is the engine that drives the church.  Our Student’s Staff has put together a Prayer Guide that I’ve posted below.  Please join me in praying for an extraordinary EXCHANGE 2014.

Monday, October 20
that lost students will attend EXCHANGE and will decide to accept Christ.

Tuesday, October 21
for our student staff: Chris, Heather, and Scott will make wise decisions about EXCHANGE.

Wednesday, October 22
that we will be able to find the right number of leaders to serve at EXCHANGE.

Thursday, October 23
that students will make a commitment to be at EXCHANGE.

Friday, October 24  
that God will change the lives of teenagers and adults that attend.

Saturday, October 25
as Heather Olivet prayerfully coordinates the host home organization and that God will provide the right families to serve as host homes.

Sunday, October 26
that our theme verses, Colossians 3:23, will impact the lives of students.

Monday, October 27
that God allows safe transportation throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, October 28
that the EXCHANGE worship leaders, John Mccullough and his band, and EXCHANGE speaker, Justin Warner, will allow God to guide them as they prepare to lead worship and speak to students.

Wednesday, October 29
for wisdom as students are grouped together and assigned to host homes.

Thursday, October 30
that students will have boldness to invite their friends.

Friday, October 31
that leaders and co-leaders will have diligence as they prepare to teach the All In curriculum.

Saturday, November 1
that students who have not signed up will make the decision to register.

Sunday, November 2  
for other staff involved in weekend – media, facilities, kitchen staff, etc.

Monday, November 3
that Justin Warner will be used by God to speak truth into the lives of students.

Tuesday, November 4
that students who have not accepted Christ will be open to the gospel and that Christian students will be challenged to a deeper walk with God.

Wednesday, November 5
that leaders and co-leaders will be spiritually, mentally and physically prepared.

Thursday, November 6
that the Thursday night rally will create a desire in our students to hear from God.

Friday, November 7
that students have a great start in the host homes.

Saturday, November 8
that students will open their hearts and minds during the EXCHANGE sessions.

Sunday, November 9
that students will make decisions for Christ and that EXCHANGE will have an impact on the families of our students who attend.

Monday, October 20, 2014

More Social Less Media

After years of going back and forth debating the pros and cons and always landing on “just leave it as it is” – I’ve finally decided that after 8 years it’s time to say goodbye to Facebook.  It’s not an easy decision, there’s a lot I love about Facebook.  It’s a great way to see pictures from family and friends, share news and of course to discover through a Buzz Feed Quiz which font type I am.  But I’m convinced I can manage to live without those benefits (and I’ve already discovered that my font type is Futura).

There’s a lot I can go into but here are a few reasons why I am leaving Facebook.

Facebook sucks time from my life.  Do a quick search on the topic “Facebook wastes time” and you will find enough articles to waste a week of your time.  The truth is (and studies keep backing this up) there is an addictive quality to Facebook and it takes time away that I could be using to do something far more beneficial.  

Most of my Facebook friends aren’t (actually friends).  As of this moment I have 1,511 “friends” (more than my sister but far less than an average college freshman).   A quick scroll through those names and it’s amazing how many I don’t even recognize.

There are other options for photo sharing.  Instagram really is a much better option if all you want to do is share a photo (plus I can play around with the filters).  Photo Stream is a great way to share albums and I can find the photos without having to sift through my Candy Crush and Farmville invitations.

I get better information from Twitter.  I mostly just follow news, weather and sports feeds (plus a few bloggers that I like) and find it a great way to get current news that I care about (47 seconds ago I learned that Brandon Marshall called out Jay Cutler in the Bears locker room). At times it seems that half the posts I read on Facebook are political rants, cynical observations or warnings about the dangers of Ebola, ISIS and milk; and the other half are a mix of inspirational sayings, funny videos and ads.  On Twitter the 140 character limit means that at least the political rants are short.

I don’t really need another way to communicate.   At times I’ve found myself overwhelmed when I receive a long Facebook message sharing a thought or asking for prayer.  It’s enough of a challenge keeping up with email without adding another “mailbox” to check.

Less is more.  Is a lesson we learned in our first year of architectural history (I even blogged about it Less is More).  The simple fact is the less amount of time I spend on Facebook is more time spent in real life – and there’s a lot of great stuff happening in real that’s way more interesting than anything on my timeline news feed.

Leaving Facebook doesn’t mean I am giving up on Social Media.  I love using Twitter (@TDoug) and Instagram (tdoug84) and even my sporadic blog posts (A Wandering Aramean) and I will continue to do so (plus I will probably try whatever new new thing gets created next year).  But right it’s time for more social and less media and so with this post I am logging off Facebook one last time.

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!