Triad Disaster Relief

As many of you know, the storm that came through the Triad this past Sunday night left a wake of damage, including: homes, schools, and even churches. As a response to the need we want to love our community and share the love of Christ by helping those that were affected by this storm. Jesus tells us that the greatest two commandments are to love God and love our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31). Right now we have such an opportunity as a church to do both of those!

Here are three ways that we want to mobilize as a church to respond to the needs of our community. I want to challenge you to do each of these things below:

1. DONATE

For the next two weekends, at every service and all three campuses, we will be collecting water and Gatorade. Each disaster relief organization that we have talked to expressed this as an immediate need. We believe as a church that we could come together and collect thousands of bottles of water and Gatorade. Please buy cases of water or Gatorade and drop it off before or after the service you attend. There will be a tent at the entrance of each campus with an A-frame sign that says “Disaster Relief” where you can drop off the donation.

2. SERVE

We are partnering with Baptists On Mission to volunteer with the clean-up and relief effort. Over the next couple of weeks and even months they will be on the ground throughout our community pulling limbs, cutting trees, and picking up debris in the areas hardest hit. We hope to see many individuals and Community Groups tangibly serving over the next couple of weeks. I want to encourage every person that is part of Mercy Hill to serve in this capacity at least once over the next few weeks.

It is simple, just go to the website and sign yourself or Community Group up to serve.

3. GIVE

This weekend, starting at our Thursday night service and lasting until our Sunday night service, we will have a “Disaster Relief” fund set up so that as a church we can come together and give towards the relief in our community. Every dollar given to the fund will go towards supporting disaster relief efforts in our community. You will hear more about that this weekend in our services.

For those of you that give online, from Thursday through Sunday, our giving portal will have a fund labeled “Disaster Relief.” You will also be able to give in the services by cash or check. Just write “Disaster Relief” on the memo line of your check or use a giving envelope and write “Disaster Relief” on the envelope.

Lastly, as a church let’s make sure to be praying for our community and those that have been affected by the storm. Let’s pray that the churches in our community will come together to physically love our city and to share the hope of the gospel as we serve. Please feel free to share this blog and help spread the word.

In Christ,
Andrew Hopper

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

The author, Leslie, was appointed as a Guardian ad Litem in November 2016. She currently advocates for three children in Guilford County. Click here for further information on Mercy Hill’s adoption and foster care ministry.

When I heard about the adoption and foster care ministry at Mercy Hill, my heart was filled. For the past year and half, I have served as a guardian ad litem where I have advocated for children who are currently in foster care in Guilford County. As someone with a huge heart for children in foster care, it is reassuring and exciting to see God stirring up a group of people who are interested in serving and loving the foster children in our home town.

As I have shared my experiences as a guardian ad litem with others, many people tell me they have never heard of the program. With over 550 children currently in DHHS custody in Guilford County and more than 250 needing an advocate, these children desperately need you to know what the guardian ad litem program does and for you to consider if God might be calling you to serve.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Legally, a guardian ad litem is a court-appointed volunteer who serves as a legal advocate for a child who is in the foster care system. In layman’s terms, this means that after you ace the interview with the GAL program, pass the background check, go through a thirty-hour training, and learn to write a court report, you will be sworn-in by a Judge and given a cool badge that gets you—and your cell phone—into the Courthouse. (No jeans, please.) You will be assigned a case and work with a GAL Supervisor who will help you learn how to advocate. As a GAL, you are required to see your child(ren) at least monthly and work to ensure that their voice is heard in court and that their needs are being met.

Why did I become a Guardian ad Litem?

I became a Guardian ad Litem because God said so. He called me into this form of Christian service in 2016. These children are the “orphans” of our community. These children have been deemed by the Court as abused, neglected—or both. They are in the legal custody of DHHS and DHHS will readily admit that they do not make great parents. These children are part of a very legitimate and serious mission field right here in our community.

Why Do I Love Being a GAL?

  1. It fulfills my capacity and desire to love on children that are not mine. I am a mini-van-driving, stay-at-home Christian mom of two daughters (now ages twelve and fifteen). I miss my professional business career, so I funnel all that energy into serving and volunteering in various capacities. Eight years ago, God very unexpectedly brought three homeless teens into my life. (God is great like that, isn’t He?) Long story short, God taught me that I could love—and go out on a seriously uncomfortable limb—for children who were not my own. I was stunned to realize how much help they needed. Just knowing these kids and interacting with them changed my focus and the dialogue at the family dinner table.
  2. Foster children need help. If you show up, they will not be overlooked. As a parent, I pour myself into my children. I see how much they need. I was originally considering becoming a foster parent, but my family was not in a place to bring another child into our home. Foster parenting is another role and a serious commitment. I admire it and still crave it on some level, but being a GAL allows me to have unity in my family and still impact children in foster care.
  3. I love it when God calls me out of my comfort zone. When we are uncomfortable, we grow. If you are not growing, you are boring or dying. Being a GAL will take you out of your “bubble” and into “the real world.” If you are scared about this part, immediately think about the child who has been taken from their parents and put into this world. Now, run toward them.
  4. There are firm guidelines for GALs. In training, you will learn that you cannot drive the child anywhere, you cannot have the child in your home, and you cannot give the child anything. In essence, you are liberated from being the child’s “savior.” In the early days, you may want to defy these guidelines; on other days, you will appreciate the protection. You quickly learn how to navigate the system and how to advocate alongside of your child.
  5. You get to go to Court and testify. Thankfully, I had never been to Court prior to becoming a GAL. I was a bit afraid of going to Court because it’s so…well, legal. As it turns out, going to Court is productive. It is there that you, literally, speak for the best interest of your child. Court may be sad or even funny. It is always productive.

How do I become a Guardian ad Litem?

It’s easier than you think! First, click here to apply. Then, schedule an interview. Finally, complete the 6-week training program (which is offered several times a year). Then you will be assigned a case and, if you’re like me, in a matter of months you will fall in love with your child, and they will impact you far more than you ever impact them.

In Christ,
Leslie Morgan

Serving the Sent

College spring break is painted as a time to get away from campus and forget about the midterms that were actively trying to end your college career. It is usually spent at the beach with a group of friends living a week of unforgettable and regretfully-documented partying. All of a sudden, classmates who complained about surviving on ramen and mayo-filled Oreos (because they already licked the cream off in previous moments of desperation) are making trips to Panama City Beach and Cancun. It’s a miracle! But what happens when the gospel grips your heart and, in changing everything, changes your idea of spring break?

1. Day One

This spring break MH College was able to take a team of UNCG, NC A&T, and HPU students down to Florida and serve the city of Orlando with Grace Alive Church. After a nine-hour drive filled with Grammy-worthy renditions of Shania Twain by ministry resident Justin Treadway and slightly reckless games of Catch Phrase, the team got to see church planting up close.

Right off the highway we were able to help set up for Sunday morning with the planting team. On Sunday the team helped set out first time guest tents and flags, greeted at doors, served in the Kids Ministry, and helped with tear down. We got to witness the blessing Grace Alive has been to the community of Orlando as young, old, black, white, Haitian, and Hispanic peoples gathered to worship the Lord together. Most memorable was a young man who was homeless that saw the Grace Alive signs from the street, used the facilities, then attended service. That afternoon, MH College was reunited with past MH College students that chose to leverage their life for the mission and help plant Grace Alive.

2. Leveraging a Few Days

The heart of church planting has always been serving—serving the people God sends us to with the gospel and its works. The YMCA that Grace Alive is hosted at is also one of their community partners. This particular YMCA serves an underprivileged neighborhood and a largely elderly population. Both Grace Alive and the YMCA have fully embraced each other in cool ways. Young Grace Alive members will come and play basketball, and older members will make time for weekly bingo. Our time serving was spent doing the things this underfunded YMCA would not be able to. The team painted sidewalks and handicap signs, moved pool equipment, cleaned up trash, and wiped down well-loved exercise equipment. Afterwards we had the chance to stay and play games of knock-out basketball with kids from the neighborhood who had just gotten out of school. An older gentleman named Larry, who operates an electric wheel chair, spent his time with our painting team to encourage them in their efforts. He uses his bingo time as a member of Grace Alive to further integrate the partnership with the YMCA. On the last of our work days, Pastor Triggs graciously sat down with the team (some of whom are aspiring planters) to share the ins and outs of church planting. One student said this is where the idea of “life on life” discipleship clicked and now wants to open her life that her friends might know Jesus.

The team was able to respond to the generosity of the gospel by giving time and energy to what God is doing at Grace Alive. Spring break was a chance to lay down what the world says should be a time all about us and make it all about Jesus. Sure, we had fun seeing the city of Orlando, trying local eats, going to the beach, arguing the flat earth theory, and going to universal Studios. But serving the city because of the gospel made experiencing the city and what it had to offer all the better.

-Vania Claiborne (College Resident)

Baptism Story – Candice Baker

Last weekend at Mercy Hill was an incredibly powerful weekend of baptisms. We wanted to share a few stories of some of the people who were baptized. 


“I lived in California, and I didn’t grow up in church. The first time I attended church it was because my dad remarried, and she was Catholic. Two years later, at 11 years old, my then stepmom forced my sister and I to get baptized at her church. One year later, they divorced, and I stopped attending church all together. The four years they were married were hard. It wasn’t a healthy marriage, and it left me confused about God, church, and my baptism.

At 16 years old, a friend of a friend approached me and invited me to church. He didn’t tell me then, but he later said God was telling him I needed help. I did. I was confused and felt lost in my first year of high school. He took me to youth group that Wednesday, and my life changed. This church was incredibly different than the Catholic church I had been forced to attend. The pastor taught the gospel chapter by chapter, verse by verse until he got to the end, and then we started over. By the end of my freshman year, I had given my heart to Jesus and found my home church, but I didn’t get baptized. I made excuses because I was still process those four years with my stepmom, and I didn’t want to admit it. I put it off and put it off until everyone around me either forgot or figured I must have been baptized at some point.

Somewhere in high school I got lost again. I stopped attending church, and I didn’t have to make excuses about baptism anymore. 

Three years later, I met my now husband online while still living in California. I was in a bad relationship and struggling with my faith. He helped me get reconnected with my church, helped me build up my relationship with Jesus, and encouraged me when I felt like I was an imposter in church because I never knew as much as my peers. He already knew about my ex-stepmom when he learned I wasn’t baptized. When I told him it was an old wound, he dropped it, but he didn’t forget. I eventually moved to North Carolina, married him ,and had a family. His family here were all Christians, and for the first time, I had a family to believe with. He gently prodded me to get baptized throughout our three years of marriage, but I managed to find excuses. I didn’t like the church we were attending, or I didn’t feel ready, or I still felt hurt by my past.

After three years of church hopping we landed at Mercy Hill. We’ve been attending for 8 months, and I quickly decided this was going to be our church. We joined a Community Group (shout out to the Peters!), and when talking to the women there, I decided I was ready to be baptized. I wanted it to be at Mercy Hill. I announced it to my husband driving home from Community Group the Wednesday night before Easter. I told him I didn’t know when exactly, but it would be at Mercy Hill.

This brings us (finally) to Easter. I heard the message, and God pulled on my heart to go back and talk to someone. I’m an anxious person, and I immediately began making excuses in my head. I had on nice clothes, I’d curled my hair for once, and my husband’s parents were there and didn’t know yet that I decided to get baptized. My fear, my past, and my flesh were trying to scare me and hold me back again. I took a deep breath and told my husband I had to do it now. I went back and talked to one of the counselors and told him I believed, but I was scared of baptism. However, I had a family now, and I needed to move on from by past and give it all to Jesus once and for all. I made excuses for 10 years, but I ran out of them on Sunday.” -Candice Baker


Don’t forget that we are baptizing again this week at all 3 campuses! If God has brought you from death to life, then your next step of obedience is to publicly declare that he is the Lord of your life! If you have questions about baptism or you’re ready to sign up, click here.

Baptism Story – Kyle Burge

Last weekend at Mercy Hill was an incredibly powerful weekend of baptisms. We wanted to share a few stories of some of the people who were baptized. 


“Not growing up in church, God was a very foreign concept to me. My journey to God started after I closed my coffee shop in Greensboro. I went through a wave of depression after closing the store. Closing a business to some may not seem like much, but it was my entire life, and it consumed me daily. I made the decision to start attending Mercy Hill with my wife. God sure does have a funny way of calling you to him. Each week the sermons had a direct impact on myself personally (life changes) and also my wife and I as a couple. After attending the Weekender, we became much more involved, and God was working on my heart the whole time. As he was working, I grew closer to him, and I decided to get baptized on Easter Sunday. My story is a perfect example of God’s love and grace. If you have faith and trust in the Lord, he will guide you.” -Kyle Burge


Don’t forget that we are baptizing again this week at all 3 campuses! If God has brought you from death to life, then your next step of obedience is to publicly declare that he is the Lord of your life! If you have questions about baptism or you’re ready to sign up, click here.

6 Months Reflections with a Grace Alive Launch Team Member

The following is an interview conducted with Morgan Long, a former MH College team member who moved six months ago as a Launch Team Member with Grace Alive Church in Orlando, FL.

1. Last year, you moved to Orlando, FL to help plant a church. What types of reactions did you get when you told people why you were moving?

From the church, reactions were encouraging and spirit-lifting. From others, it was mixed. My mom may have cried at first, but my parents have been supportive every step of the way.

Honestly, post-graduation, it’s hard to justify to others moving your life to a new city without the reason being that you’re chasing your dream job. It’s even harder to justify moving to a new city without a job at all (. . . talk about being counter-cultural). I think that there is a false pretense in society that says, “Follow your dreams.” But there is an asterisk there that tells you that your “dreams” must include a stable income, a white-picket fence, and a career that relates to your college major. The gospel, however, says “Go”—no conditions, no excuses.

2. Why did you move?

After graduating, I knew my time in North Carolina was ending. I felt God detaching my heart from the Triad and preparing me for something new, but I wasn’t sure what it was until my drive back from Philadelphia to North Carolina after Thanksgiving. I felt the Lord telling me to go. By the time I pulled in my drive way, I was calling my parents—who I’d just seen 10 hours ago—and telling them I was moving to Orlando to plant a church—an idea I hadn’t even mentioned to them previously.

The silly thing about that is that I didn’t need to wait to hear God telling me to go. He has already given us that command in the Great Commission. I should’ve been less concerned about doing the right thing for me and more obedient to listen in the first place. But God met me where I was and reminded me that I have the key to eternal life for the lost. I have the good news of the gospel. And if I truly believe in the gospel, the only reasonable response is to do anything I can to tell the world what Jesus has done.

3. How has living in obedience to the Great Commission impacted your faith?

The reality is that moving for a church plant is not enough to say you are living in obedience to the Great Commission. Moving is easy; living for God’s glory is hard. I think every member of the church plant has found ourselves saying this: “I moved here for God; I deserve . . . insert job, friends, fun, etc. . . .” The truth is that God owes us nothing because he’s already given us everything. We love to turn that around and say it’s the opposite.

Living in obedience is an every day, every second decision that we all need to choose. Living in Orlando has challenged me and made me more aware of the importance of sharing my faith. If I moved to Orlando and didn’t live a life on mission, there was no point in moving here in the first place. The financial struggles, homesickness, unemployment (or working 4 jobs just to make ends meet), that the Launch Team suffered was all for nothing if we weren’t sharing the gospel and serving the church.

And as every Christian knows, you cannot share the gospel if you are not in prayer. You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit if you aren’t asking for it. You cannot share who God is if you don’t know Him yourself. That has pushed me to be more diligent in prayer and leaning into God when things are tough. It’s not just a cliché, but God really does answer prayers. The biggest way I’ve seen Him answering my prayers has been through changing my attitude.

4. What have you learned about God, yourself, the church, etc. through this?

I think that we often see God too small and his mission as a secondary part of our lives. It has not been easy for me to rationalize that I am not using my college degree yet, even six months into living here. But God has been teaching me that college wasn’t about my career, it was about the people who lead me to know him and the people he allowed me to witness to in my time there. When you see life as one big, ever-changing painting of God’s divine plan in your life, leading you to him and others to him through you, it’s a no brainer to let go of the things we think we “have” to do and give in to the things God wants for us.

I’ve also learned that the church is your family, and it reflects what Heaven will look like. If you ever get the privilege of attending Grace Alive, you will see people of all different backgrounds, races, ages, and financial statuses worshiping the King together. We don’t choose to be blind to our differences. We embrace them and celebrate them. Praise God for the beauty he has given us in humanity through diversity! And God grows my love for Grace Alive every week! It is the adventure and the family I never knew I needed but couldn’t imagine life without.

5. Grace Alive Church is now about six months old. God is doing amazing things in and through the church. What has been a personal highlight for you over the past six months with Grace Alive?

It would be hard to name one personal highlight. I’ve seen community groups cry over each other’s struggles. I’ve seen God bring together beautiful friendships and multiply us as a church body. I’ve seen members of the church who weren’t even part of the plant put their time, effort, and resources into serving above and beyond.

My favorite part has been in our current sermon series, Imagine, where we are going through and learning from the book of Acts how to properly care for each other as the body of Christ. Already we’ve seen brothers and sisters carrying financial burdens for one another, a greater commitment to community groups and serving, and decisions to give more generously to the church and the community to see God’s mission push forward. We are even able to support partners for the church plant in Philadelphia: Redemption Heights. We also are getting to “imagine” together the things God could do through Grace Alive to start a true movement in Orlando of people coming from darkness to light, and we’ve all been so excited to commit and “get our hands dirty” in sewing for the Kingdom. As we pray for Orlando, we fall more and more in love with the city. The more we love the city, the better view we get of how God sees Orlando and the better stewards we are with our lives.

6. What would you say to someone considering moving to be part of a church plant?

Being a part of a church plant is going to be the most difficult thing you have probably ever done. Everyday is a decision to die to yourself—your goals, your wants, your career, your freedom—to see the church go forward. But church planting is the model God gives us in the New Testament to see the gospel spread. We read about brothers and sisters risking—and sometimes losing—everything for the sake of telling others about Jesus. It is the great adventure God intended us to live. And nothing in the whole world is worth being disobedient to God’s call. God honors his promise to give us life—and life to the fullest. He gives us excitement and adventure and joy. So, prepare, because church planting is not without its hardships. Let go of the dream life you have for yourself, and instead, dream of a movement in a city that so desperately needs the good news, and you will never be disappointed. You will never regret doing what God has called you to do.

7. How can we pray for Grace Alive?

Right now at Grace Alive, we are praying for people to go all in with their finances, their commitment to serving, and their whole lives. We are praying for a movement in Orlando where Christians are found being scandalously generous and loving. Be praying that God would provide in every need we have as a church so we are able to live even more in love for our neighbors and for church plants internationally. Pray for the people in Orlando we are reaching. Pray for their hearts to be prepared and open to hear the good news and that Grace Alive would be able to reach people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. We are praying for a church so diverse our only common denominator is Christ. Pastor Cam says it all the time: we want Orlando to be known not for the mouse but for the Lamb.

Specifically this week, be praying for our Easter service, as it has the potential to draw in people who have never heard the gospel. Once they get a taste of what God is doing in Grace Alive, I know they will want to be a part of it. It’s contagious. But first, we need people to come and see. Pray for us as a church to be bold in inviting and for God to be drawing people to church this Sunday in ways that we can only look back and give God all the glory.

-Morgan Long (Grace Alice Launch Team Member)

The Greatest Upset of All Time

Every November, fans all around the nation are hopeful to see what their favorite college basketball team will do. We go through the highs and the lows of the regular season, but all of us are really just waiting for March Madness. March was always the time when my elementary school would broadcast the games on their TV’s all-day long. March is the time where people at work stream games on their computers and phones. We love March Madness, and one of the main reasons is the upsets.

The Year of Upsets 

Whether it was UMBC making history by beating number one seeded Virginia, Loyola Chicago making a Cinderella run, or my favorite, Texas A&M upsetting Carolina, this year has been the year of upsets in the tournament. I know this all too well because I had Virginia as the champion in my bracket. However, I would trade a successful bracket for a bunch of upsets any year. There is something about upsets that make this month of basketball true madness.

Take UMBC for instance. Before the game, hardly anyone knew who they were or gave them a shot. Their Twitter account even gained 35,000 followers in one night. Virginia was the number one overall seed, having only lost two games the entire year. Regardless of what seemed to be true, UMBC came out that night and beat down Virginia, putting the entire nation in shock. There is something about upsets that we love and long for.

The Greatest Upset of All Time

Upsets aren’t unique to sports. There is a reason that we have movies coming out nearly every year about someone overcoming all odds in their life. Upset stories inspire and move us. But there is one upset story that marks the center of history. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born to a poor family in the small town of Bethlehem.

This wasn’t the Messiah that Israel thought they were waiting for. They believed that the Messiah was going to be someone with political power. However, Jesus was born in a low social class and defied basically every expectation that the people of Israel had. He didn’t come in power and with brute force. Philippians 2 says this about Jesus:

[T]hough he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:6-8)

That is the opposite of what the nation of Israel was expecting.

This is why Jesus defeating sin and death is the greatest upset of all time. Think about it. There was a reason that all of his disciples were distraught after his death. There was a reason that Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus had resurrected from the dead until he saw the holes in his hands. There is a reason that we’re still celebrating the resurrection thousands of years later. People don’t just rise from the dead.

Imagine you went to a friend’s funeral on Friday; then next week they came and sat down next to you in Starbucks. You’d be astonished because people don’t just come back to life. However, that’s exactly what Jesus did. Death couldn’t hold him. In his resurrection, Jesus pulled off the greatest upset of all time by defeating sin and death and giving us new life.

Join Us for Easter

This upcoming weekend we are having nine different services across our three campuses. I want to invite you to come join us on Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday as we celebrate our resurrected King!

Click here for more information.

-Patrick A. (College Team)

A Peek Behind the Curtain Part 8: Truthful and Encouraging

Being truthful can easily become harsh. On the other side, being encouraging can easily become weak. The truth can be hurtful, and seeking to overly encourage isn’t helpful. Any positive trait becomes negative if left unchecked. At Mercy Hill, we try hard to stay in the tension between truth and encouragement.

I don’t know if you have ever felt really bad after talking with someone even though everything they said was true. I know I have. And worse, I know there have been times when I discouraged someone else with truth telling. Now, sometimes hearing the truth is inherently discouraging because of the nature of what is being said. It is hard to hear that you are under performing no matter how your supervisor shares the news. It is hard to hear about blind spots in your leadership or ministry no matter how your peers are bringing that to light. But when truth tellers discourage, they do so more often in the way they share not what they share.

Two Reasons That Truth Tellers Leave People Discouraged

Truth tellers can leave people discouraged primarily for two reasons. First, instead of saying only necessary true things, they say every true thing. I am sure you have heard this before: we should say only true things, but not everything that is true should be said. Ministry leaders select what to say and should be grabbing from a mixed bag of true things. We want ministry leaders who understand that sharing a hard truth should always be mixed with sharing an encouraging one. Any of us can constantly harp on the negative. It takes work to make sure we can encourage as well as admonish.

Secondly, truth tellers discourage by saying true things in a harsh way. This is a real temptation for leaders of any kind. Having an edge to your voice and personality will get things done in the short term. Lighting fires under people through facts and fear will move the needle. But just as we believe in the gospel that love is a greater motivation than fear, the truth with love motivates more than the truth with an edge. Discouraging truth tellers may get results for a season, but they will never get buy in. At the end of the day, a discouraging truth teller may get people to work for them, but no one is willing to run through a wall for them. That type of buy in is reserved only for those who mix the truth with love. This is a hard lesson for any young leader, me included. I heard this recently and thought it was gold: leaders get much further by lighting fires in people rather than under them. One tangible application of that principle is mixing the truth with love rather than allowing the truth to be harsh.

Sometimes Hard Truth Is Necessary for Change

With that said, there are times when a fear of discouragement could lead us away from the truth. Because we fear how someone will react, we may decide never to bring them the brutal facts. It is possible to become overly encouraging. I remember seeing a special on legendary coach Jimmy V. One thing stuck with me. He said, “I never talked to my dad about anything where I didn’t leave the conversation feeling better.” I really loved that quote because in many ways I feel the same way. But with my father, the desire to encourage never came in front of the responsibility to be honest. Encouragers seek to say true things in a way that is easier to receive. But they do say them. Any encouragement that takes us away from the truth is superficial and sentimental. It is unhelpful.

At Mercy Hill we look hard for these traits among our staff. We can be truthful and encouraging. We can’t be either when both are essential.

-Andrew Hopper (Lead Pastor)

Read more from A Peek Behind the Curtain

Part 1: MH Staff Culture

Part 2: Finding the Right Balance

Part 3: Excellent and Dependent

Part 4: Hungry Yet Satisfied

Part 5: Self Starting and Team Oriented

Part 6: Focused and Approachable  

Part 7: Overly Prepared and Flexible

 

 

Announcing Our New Series: Disciple Me

Mercy Hill,

Not only is this weekend Easter, but we are also launching our new sermon series Disciple Me. Here is a series description from Pastor Andrew:

Time with God, sharing the gospel, Christian character, generosity, and loving one another are all essential to the Christian life. These things make up the behavioral patterns of the disciples of Jesus. It is then good for us to ask the question: how do we attain them? We attain them through diving deep into the love of God proven to us through the sacrificial and atoning death of Jesus. In the gospel, disciples couldn’t be more loved or accepted than they are right now. When we take to heart how God sees us through the gospel, it fuels our desire to become in practice what he has declared us to be in truth.

Sermon Schedule

Here is the upcoming schedule for those who want to read ahead or read along:

  • New Life, New Behavior (Romans 6:1-5)
  • Give Me Life according to Your Word (Psalm 119:25-32)
  • Works of the Flesh; Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-24)
  • Love One Another (John 5:12)
  • Tell of his Wonderful Deeds (Psalm 105:1-3)
  • The Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1-4)

Featured Book Resource

Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by J.D. Greear

At time of posting, the Kindle version of this book is $2.99.

If there was a book that defined the beating heart of Mercy Hill, it would be Gospel. Not only was it written by our sending church’s pastor, J.D. Greear, but it also clearly explains the foundation that Mercy Hill rests on: the gospel changes everything.

From Amazon:

“Could the gospel be lost in evangelical churches? In this book, J.D. Greear shows how moralism and legalism have often eclipsed the gospel, even in conservative churches. Gospel cuts through the superficiality of religion and reacquaints you with the revolutionary truth of God’s gracious acceptance of us in Christ. The gospel is the power of God, and the only true source of joy, freedom, radical generosity, and audacious faith. The gospel produces in us what religion never could: a heart that desires God.”

Other Resources:

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever

The Disciple Me series is not only about becoming a more committed disciple of Jesus Christ, but it is also geared towards equipping you to help others grow in Christlikeness. In this short book, Mark Dever talks about exactly that.

From Amazon:

“Before ascending to heaven, Jesus instructed his followers to “make disciples of all nations.” But what does this command actually entail? What does it look like for Christians to care for one another’s spiritual well-being and growth? In this introduction to the basics of discipling, veteran pastor and author Mark Dever uses biblical definitions and practical examples to show how Christians can help one another become more like Christ every day.”

An Infinite Journey: Growing toward Christlikeness by Andrew M. Davis

This book is not for the faint of heart because it is 475 pages long. But if there was one book that I could put in your hands to read right now (along with your Bible), it would be this one. If you are looking for a book that is both deep and accessible and covers every area of what it means to grow in Christlikeness, this is the one. It also covers in separate chapters the different topics of Disciple Me.

From Amazon:

“After we’ve come to faith in Christ, God leaves us in this world for a very clear purpose: his own glory. But how are we to glorify God for the rest of our lives? The Bible reveals that God has laid before every Christian two infinite journeys which we are to travel every day: the internal journey of growth into Christlike maturity, and the external journey of worldwide evangelism and missions. This book is a road map for the internal journey, laying out how we are to grow in four major areas: knowledge, faith, character, and action.”

-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)

 

Why Go to Church this Easter?

While the number of people who claim no religious affiliation at all is increasing here in the American South, it is still common for folks to have a church they go to—at least occasionally. But perhaps many church attenders have never thought much about why they go. Maybe it’s just what their family has traditionally done. Maybe it’s a weekly opportunity to see friends. Maybe it helps instill good morals in their children. Maybe the sermons have helped them navigate the difficulties and uncertainties of life.

But what about you? Why do you go to church?

Here are two reasons we gather as a church family and think it worthwhile to invite others to join us:

1. We Gather to Remember the Greatness of God

As humans, it is our nature to find things that are attractive. As children, we pick colorful flowers and collect shiny rocks. We are drawn to things that make us wonder: “How did this come to be?” That’s why millions visit Machu Picchu or the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall of China each year. We were made to marvel. Yet day-to-day living often leaves us preoccupied with the mundane, and we need to be reminded of greatness. And not just that there is something greater than us, but someone who is greater.

God is greater. He is above any wonder the world has to offer because he created the world! He is the author of time and order, energy and space. God knows all things, sees all things, governs all things. Remembering the greatness of God puts proper perspective on our daily concerns.

2. We Gather to Celebrate the Goodness of God

God’s greatness alone is terrifying. Nothing can stop him from accomplishing his will. From birth, we want the attention to be on ourselves. We are bent towards exalting our will above all others. And for this, we stand opposed to God. Yet the gospel displays God’s goodness towards us. While we were still his enemies living for ourselves, he gave us his only Son, Jesus. God exerted his power on our behalf. He has stretched out his mighty arm to rescue us from ourselves. He is for us, not against us.

Recalling God’s goodness towards us in Christ fills us with gratitude and a desire to obey. Knowing our place in his family gives us greater purpose and worth than any we could achieve on our own. We gather to celebrate these realities.

Do you need to be reminded of God’s greatness? Who else in your life would benefit from being assured of God’s goodness? You can be a great blessing by inviting them to gather with us this Easter.

-Missions Director