Resurrection

The God-Man, Jesus, said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25a).

The God-Man, Jesus, said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25a).

He was placed in a tomb, dead. It was a wonder he survived the brutality of the flogging to have to suffer death on a cross. But a soldier verified his death by putting a spear in his side. Yes, he was dead. Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body of Jesus in linens with the traditional seventy-five pound mixture of aromatic spices. Using levers, the two men rolled a two-ton stone in front of the tomb. The next day a Roman detachment was put on guard by orders of the governor Pilate, after the Jewish leaders warned of the body being stolen. The guards placed a seal upon the tomb and kept vigilant watch under threat of death by military code (Justinian’s Digest 49:16). And all was silent, cold, and dark.

But early at dawn of the first day of the week, history changed. The ground shook. The light of life coursed through the body of Jesus, and resurrection power transformed dead cells and liquified congealed blood. His heart warmed and began to beat. Every synapse and nerve ending began to fire with energy from the Spirit of God. Then a first gasp. The light of a mighty angel. The stone was rolled away. Empty burial iinens lying in the tomb. The detachment of guards seized up and “became like dead men”. The living Savior, Jesus, was gone, leaving the tomb behind forever. Just an angel remained to deliver a message to the women coming to the tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here. He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6).

The angel gave a message for the women to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. They were still in Jerusalem, hiding in fear for their lives in a locked room. The women tell the disciples, but they are slow to believe. Jesus couldn’t wait any longer: he appears to Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the two on the road to Emmaus. By Sunday evening, the joy of Jesus moves him to bypass the Galilee meet-up, and he appears in the room with the disciples in Jerusalem. The joy spreads and wonder fills, as the disciples touch his hands, eat with him, hear his voice again. A ghost has no flesh and bones. A man who didn’t really die, doesn’t miraculously heal from a Roman flogging in three days. For a period of forty days Jesus appeared to his disciples, opening their minds to the Scriptures, teaching them. At one point he appeared to over 500 people at the same time. No, it’s not a mass hallucination. And neither was it one of the other alternate theories presented by new atheists. The body wasn’t stolen. It wasn’t relocated. It wasn’t that they visited the wrong tomb. It wasn’t a variation of an ancient resurrection myth tacked on to a sad story. These men and women, gave their lives to testifying about seeing the resurrected Jesus. He was miraculously alive. And He still lives today.

The resurrection changes everything for us today. Not only does it validate Jesus’ claim to offer resurrection to us too, but we are told that resurrection power is made available to us now (Eph 1:19). Why would God give that sort of power to ordinary people? Resurrection follows death. People who have been crucified with Christ need resurrection (Gal 5:22). People who have had relationships and dreams die, need resurrection.

This coming Sunday, April 21, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and why it makes all the difference in the world for us. Hope you will join the celebration.

Shannon McCready

The Faces At Mountainside Community Church

The faces we see at Mountainside . . . and behind each face is a person’s story.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always at work in the lives of people!

The faces we see at Mountainside . . . and behind each face is a person’s story. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always at work in the lives of people!

At Mountainside, Zach & Jenny Hoffman help out almost every Sunday in some way, and every once-in-a-while they bring their cameras and share their photos with us. It’s been great to look at these photos from the past year and reflect on the stories behind each face. God is sooooooo at work! In one person, He’s been restoring joy by his Spirit, in another, He is convicting a heart to reflect the Good News in their life. Sweet friendships growing between young and old—and everyone in between! Then there are those young faces of children that are just absorbing the stories of Jesus, and hearing the songs and prayers of Christ-followers. One of our middle-school students who was baptized on December 16 (along with 3 others) said this in her testimony of why she was being baptized: “I’ve seen the lives of those who are not following Jesus, and I’ve seen the lives of those who are following Jesus; and I want to be like those who are following Jesus.” It’s definitely a testimony to this young lady’s family, but it is also a testimony of the community surrounding her. I agree. There are Christ-followers at Mountainside that I want to be like; I want to imitate them in certain areas of their lives. This is a group of people I admire and I’m growing to love better each day.

Cloey Hadley, a middle school student at Mountainside, after her dad, Preston, baptized her because of her faith in Jesus.

Cloey Hadley, a middle school student at Mountainside, after her dad, Preston, baptized her because of her faith in Jesus.

There is something God wants to do with this group of people. I (Shannon) don’t have it all figured out exactly, but I keep receiving nudges as I see the people God is assembling in Mountainside. The first nudge for 2019, is not unusual or unique: it’s just that we pray more! Yeah, that seems like a safe direction, I mean, what area of our lives would we say, “Nah, I don’t need any prayer about that!” But it’s more than receiving prayer that could benefit our lives, it’s becoming excited about spending time with the Lord. It’s about a movement that becomes a “fast from the world” (decreasing) towards “feasting with God” (increasing). No promises about what could happen or might happen if we make opportunities to pray, just the guarantee it is GOOD in every way!

We would appreciate your prayers for Mountainside as we approach 1 year of officially being in existence. In 2019 we will have to become self-sustaining, have more leaders developed, and a few disciples who want to make disciples will need to emerge. Pray for a vibrant faith to grow in the believers, and for the door of faith to be opened to those here in Boone who are still yet-to-become-believers. Join me as I pray for these things and a gospel renewal in Boone (where individuals center their will, thoughts, and emotions around what Jesus said and are changed).

God bless,

Shannon McCready


How to Do Church in Snow

Snow is already here and ‘Snomageddon’—over a foot is predicted for this Sunday in Boone, NC!

Snow is already here and ‘Snomageddon’—over a foot is predicted for this Sunday in Boone, NC!

So, we’ve been having some great moments as a young 8 month old church! We’ve enjoyed a “Thanksgiving Brunch” together on Sunday morning; we’ve had the “2018 Following” Retreat last weekend with all students and young adults. We’re also looking ahead to wonderful times together—the Christmas Cookie Competition on the 15th, and baptisms on the 16th, and a candlelight service on the 23rd. We’ve enjoyed the company of growing friendships in our three small groups and the ever-expanding circle as others join our little community of Christ-followers.

But sometimes the geography and weather of Boone is a challenge to getting together. It’s not like some of the flat places I’ve lived before. There are steep, narrow, winding roads to get from homes to town. Add just a little snow, and without special equipment or vehicles, people are stuck. Most of the time our road crews are good at clearing snow and ice, but get a bunch of snow 4-10 hours before an event or gathering, then there has to be some decision making on what is safe. Sometimes you stick it out and push through . . .

Elec pushing through a Sunday load-in just after an ice storm!

Elec pushing through a Sunday load-in just after an ice storm!

Other times, we have to take a different approach that’s possible with technology, but looks a little different . . .

Sometimes this is what Sunday will look like on snow days for Mountainside!

Sometimes this is what Sunday will look like on snow days for Mountainside!

This coming Sunday, December 9th, is going to be a Sunday for Mountainside Community Church to grab a hot drink and log in to Facebook to “have church” online. There is already snow on the ground now (Wednesday) and a foot of snow is predicted from Saturday evening to Monday. There are other options out there for families snowbound in homes, but we will offer a 25 minute time of worship and a devotion (lead by Isaac, Elec, & Shannon) at 10:30AM. Just look us up on Facebook @mountainsidecommunitychurch.

If you’re friends from distant locations, you can check in on us and see what we’re up to! If you’re one of the regulars here in Boone, I hope you will take advantage of some face to face time with one of our small groups (shannon@mcboone.com for locations & times) before this weekend!

God bless,

Shannon McCready

Mountainside Community Church--Pilgrim Way

Our first Sunday in November as a church! We can’t stop identifying everything as our ‘first time’ as a community of Christ-followers!

Our first Sunday in November as a church! We can’t stop identifying everything as our ‘first time’ as a community of Christ-followers!

This past Sunday we started a message series called, “Pilgrim Way,” looking closer at Jesus’ words, “come follow me.” The word “come” is an invitation and summons, but it also implies that we will leave something behind to turn and pursue that invitation. “Follow” is a word that we often tie to the metaphor of walking, but outside of that metaphor it really means we imitate. “Me” is Jesus, and because of his validated claims of who he is, causes us to respond to the summons and begin to imitate him. But there are some overtones, foreshadowing, and words connected to “come follow Jesus”—words like “cross”, “deny”, “die”, and “lose”. It’s a summons to lose our life. But take heart, because there are other words also connected to “come follow me”, words like “resurrection”, “raised”, “life”, and “find”. It’s what follows the cross, what follows when we lose our life for Jesus! Our life is an ongoing journey with God, and the temporary sacrifices, suffering and losses are momentary and light compared to the eternal and weighty life, glory, and joy that is at our destination. The pilgrim way has “many dangers, toils, and snares” as John Newton wrote in “Amazing Grace”. Grace has led us safe this far, and will continue to lead us safely home.

Part of the reason for talking about this, is that “Come Follow Me” is tied directly to our mission: to help people come find and follow Jesus. Jesus is our final destination—followers will one day be totally transformed into his likeness (II Cor. 3:18). We become what/who we love. Another reason is that I really hope to help believers and yet-to-be-believers to not be unpleasantly surprised to what they’re being called to follow. It seems obvious to some, that if we follow Jesus, we will eventually—and not be able to avoid— having to face a ‘crucifying of ourselves” (Galatians 2:20) so that he might live in us and through us. But I guess in our American culture, which has co-opted only the pleasant parts of the Gospel to promote a self-fulfillment message, has influenced us all to forget Jesus’ original call includes a denial of self, a call to lose our lives for his sake. There is a power in that call, that let’s us know that Jesus and authentic Christian faith isn’t trying to “sell us something”. My hope and prayer is that like little ducklings that imprint on the first thing they see (and begin to follow), that believers will imprint on Jesus—not on an institution, a self-fulfillment dream, an idol of our own choice, or even a mission. The Father doesn’t desire us to become like an institution or an idol; He wants us to become like his Son.

—Shannon McCready

This past Sunday, “Come”, and this coming Sunday, “Follow”! Sorry, the Smirnoff and Jim Bean (in the foreground) aren’t added to our communion juice!

This past Sunday, “Come”, and this coming Sunday, “Follow”! Sorry, the Smirnoff and Jim Bean (in the foreground) aren’t added to our communion juice!

Mountainside Community Church--Enjoying New Space

Some of our “Road Crew” having a chance to breathe before welcoming guests on last Sunday morning at Galileo’s.

Some of our “Road Crew” having a chance to breathe before welcoming guests on last Sunday morning at Galileo’s.

So, when I say we’re enjoying our new space to meet on Sundays, I’m talking about two kinds of space. We are enjoying the cozy atmosphere of Galileo’s, and how it just seems to suit us. But we are also enjoying the breathing room—space to hang out, with a little more time to visit before and after the service. The owner’s of Galileo’s have been very generous towards Mountainside, working out an arrangement for us to use the space on Wed, Thurs, and Fridays for after school community classes, and a “Mom’s Morning Out”. There is room for us to grow (numerically) and connect with new people, and there is room for us to grow (relationally) as we spend more time together.

This coming Sunday (Oct 21) everyone—even if you don’t come for the 10:30am service—is invited to join us for a “Crocktober Fest” meal. Right after our gathering, starting at 12 noon, we will be digging into dishes prepared by our families from small groups. Some of it will be warming up in crock pots down stairs, making our mouths water! Good things happen when we share a meal together—it’s a sign of friendship in many cultures and many places; and it’s also true here in Boone!

—Shannon McCready

Mountainside First Sunday At Galileo's

Mountainside Kids area was ready to go on our first Sunday at Galileo’s!

Mountainside Kids area was ready to go on our first Sunday at Galileo’s!

I want to introduce a new voice in our updates—Nikki R. Miller, a professional writer and mom who is a part of Mountainside. You might get two blog updates close together, since it’s my fault for the delay of this one. Thanks for your prayers and we will have more on how thing are going with meeting at Galileo’s! —Shannon McCready, Lead Pastor

Kicking off Fall with a Fresh Start

 

It finally arrived! Our first official Sunday service at Galileo’s happened this week, and we had a great turnout. We are so grateful for our community that continues to grow with us through these early stages of getting established in Boone. 

 

Pastor Shannon kicked off our new location by starting a series called D&D: The Monsters We Face. Throughout the next couple weeks, he’ll be going over the various monsters in our own life such as deception, depression and death.

 

Kidzone was amazing in the new space and Mountainside Kids enjoyed making swords of truth to fight again deception after learning about the original lie in the Garden of Eden.

 

This move to Galileo’s allows for us to also fellowship more as we no longer have to rush out of Regal Cinema. So many friendships are being formed through this new community, and it’s such a blessing to watch how our roots are getting stronger each day. We’re excited for another week at Mountainside as our small groups continue to meet. 

 

We hope to see you next Sunday! For more information on how to connect with us, visit https://www.mcboone.com/about/.

Mountainside Community Church--Passing The Baton of Faith

Students at our "Lord of the Rings" retreat!

Students at our "Lord of the Rings" retreat!

   At Mountainside our students are making a huge difference as they are the way we run our MCKids nursery (0-4) and Climbers (K-3rd) programs.  They register the kiddo’s, make crafts with them, play play dough, sing songs, play chase (endlessly) and offer lots of cuddles and fun.  We are so proud of each of them and their willingness to offer this real help to our little ones.  Oh- and you should try the coffee that one of our students makes…he just turned 13 and is quite the barista!  We believe strongly that these students are not junior helpers, but critical members of our volunteer teams every Sunday.  We look forward each week to sharing a meal with these students at our Thursday small group- we hear all about their journeys, encourage them in the Word of God and prayer- and then have some plain old fun with some type of game ranging from cards to hide and seek.  Working with each of these students is our great joy and one of our high values- to pass the baton of faith and leadership to the next generation.  

--Sherri McCready

Elec making it happen at the Back To School Festival at Watauga High School!

Elec making it happen at the Back To School Festival at Watauga High School!

Just an update on our Roadie Award winner, Scott Whitmire:  When Scott isn't helping with logistics on a Sunday morning, he could be at the beach--in San Diego--with the Mountainside Roadie Award (Emmet)!  Of all the people helping serve at Mountainside, I wonder who will be taking home the Roadie Award this winter? 

Just an update on our Roadie Award winner, Scott Whitmire:  When Scott isn't helping with logistics on a Sunday morning, he could be at the beach--in San Diego--with the Mountainside Roadie Award (Emmet)!  Of all the people helping serve at Mountainside, I wonder who will be taking home the Roadie Award this winter? 

Mountainside Starts at Galileo's September 23!

Galileo pointed out we aren't the center of the universe; we're just trying point to the One who is!

Galileo pointed out we aren't the center of the universe; we're just trying point to the One who is!

Five months ago when Mountainside started, an ice storm hit Boone the evening before and kept most everyone home that first Sunday.  What do you do when handed lemons?  You make lemonade!  And we've been doing that all spring and summer, meeting new people and growing in relationship with those who helped us begin!  Now we think it's time this fall to re-invite Boone, as we relocate to Galileo's on 1087 W King St in downtown Boone.  As we move into Galileo's, we are also moving in on some other things.

We are moving in:  

1) CLOSER—to people, within walking distance to ASU and the heart of downtown Boone.

2) MOVING-IN ON COMMUNITY—we are building community to reach a community.  Our new location is not open on Sundays, which will allow us to be able to linger longer and have special events any time on a Sunday.  Our relationship with Galileo's has also opened up time and space Weds. & Thurs.) to offer weekly classes to the community--drama, crafts, creative writing, guitar and more!

3) MOVING-IN ON VISION—to grow and multiply disciples and leaders.  Our new location will allow us to have multiple services on Sunday, which means more people involved. We believe we will also have a lower-cost, reproducible model for Appalachian church planting

We did a pretty good job in letting Boone know we are the "church at the movie theater", so we will have to also do a good job in letting people know we moved--with a fresh invitation saying, "you belong here"!  Leading up to our move, we will be sending out an invite to 27,000 homes along with other means of communicating (social media and the local papers).  Pray for our team of volunteers and our staff as we learn how to set up in a new location and welcome adults, students, and children to a warm and inviting atmosphere.  Pray for more to start the journey to come, find and follow Jesus!

Mountainside Community Church--Invitation to Friendship

A new message series this September, looking at the one area that we don't tend to focus on like we do marriage, work, family, health, facebook posts . . . friendships need attention!

A new message series this September, looking at the one area that we don't tend to focus on like we do marriage, work, family, health, facebook posts . . . friendships need attention!

  Since I began ministry in local churches and church planting, the one continual ache over time that people's hearts have expressed is the ache for friendship.  A person can survive without friendship, but it just isn't good for us.  In the creation account, as God looked over all He made at the end of each day, He would say, "It is good."  You know what the first "not good" is in that account?  When God saw that Adam was alone, He said it was "not good" (Gen. 2:18).  There is much more to the Biblical story that points to the reality that we were made for companionship.  God has an ultimate answer to fulfill that need (more on that in the message series), but even the Son of God leaned upon friends when He walked this earth.  To say we only need God may be technically true, but it is not reflected in how God made us.  

  The points of concern about friendship that people often expressed to me, is that they realized, once they were out of school, making new friends is not always "just add water"-instant-friend-easy.  Friendships add great things to our lives, but they will also cost us some things.  Maybe we've forgotten some of the elements that help make a good friendship and it's time to look before the age of Facebook friends to remember those basic elements of friendship.  I know I've been reflecting on this, as I've been attending a men's group on Thursday mornings, thinking about what has attracted me to this group and the new friendships developing.  I've been challenged in the area of lifetime friends with ministry moving me to three different parts of the country.  How have I failed some of those relationships?  What will I do to maintain those friendships that I don't want to lose? 

  At Mountainside, we are extending a hand of friendship to those around us.  One of the easiest ways for us to do that is through meals--picnics, small groups in homes, cookouts with our neighbors.  If you invite a co-worker to lunch, it's a nice thing--but when you invite a co-worker over to your house for a meal that's a whole different level isn't it?  It's an invitation to friendship. An FBI supervisor was making a hire, and he was checking a reference--a supposed friend.  The FBI supervisor's test for knowing if the 'friend' really knew the applicant and could be a legit friend was by asking if the friend had been at the applicant's house, or vice versa.  How would you do on that test?  How many of your friends have been at your house?  

A picnic on the lawn this past Sunday at the Massey's house.  Everybody was invited--even these goofy guys! 

A picnic on the lawn this past Sunday at the Massey's house.  Everybody was invited--even these goofy guys! 

   Every week, there are two homes opened up for two small groups from Mountainside.  There is a meal everyone pitches in for, and time to catch up on the highs and lows of the week (and open the Word, and pray for each other). This past week (July 26th) both groups met in the park and invited the city to join us for a movie in the park--and sixty some people did, and watched "The Empire Strikes Back" with us.  After serving the town this past Sunday (every 5th Sunday serving is our worship), the Massey family invited everyone out to their house for lunch.  One young lady, who has only been to Mountainside on a Sunday once before, joined us.  These have been the times and places that we've been cultivating friendship and extending friendship.  My hope is that we can do that in Jesus' name--and that each person can have friendship with Christ!

I hope for others to join us.  I just don't think anyone has to walk this life alone.  Join us in building community to reach a community centered in Christ!

                                                                                 --Shannon McCready

Mountainside Community Church--In the Park!

   So, it's been a little bit since our last update, but we've been having some great moments with Mountainside family, and connecting with others in the public spaces of Boone!  Thank you, everyone, for praying for no rain on June 28th at our Movie in the Park night!  It was a great evening as our two small groups joined together for a picnic and reconnected and then welcomed people from Boone to watch "Princess Bride" with us!  There were around 70 people who came and joined us for a cool mountain evening outdoors.  We met some new friends who then joined us on Sunday morning.  Our friendships at Mountainside continue to grow as we spend more time together--not just in worship or small groups, but as we work together and keep an extended hand to others.

A little Hoffman girl also kept people entertained along with the Movie in the Park, "Princess Bride"!

A little Hoffman girl also kept people entertained along with the Movie in the Park, "Princess Bride"!

  We also had a lot of fun entering the 4th of July parade, again--only this time we had the Mountainside band playing live music from the back of a trailer!  We handed out frisbees and candy (with some invites to Sunday and the next Movie in the Park".  It is always great to be a part of what the community of Boone is doing.  The police, fire department, boy scouts, cloggers, dojo kids, political candidates--many others were there--so it seemed like a good idea for the church to be there too!

Lining up for the parade, getting ready to go down King Street, the main downtown strip of Boone!  Elec and Jackson win patriotic fashion statement awards this year! (love the bonnet and cape)

Lining up for the parade, getting ready to go down King Street, the main downtown strip of Boone!  Elec and Jackson win patriotic fashion statement awards this year! (love the bonnet and cape)

We finished the 4th of July by setting up a tent in the park (where people gathered for the town  fireworks display) and gave away free watermelon and hot dogs.  We met some new people and reconnected with others we hadn't seen in a while.  Sherri still beat all the kids at jump rope games, and the guys were challenging others to corn hole.   So, why do we do all these things?  These spaces and events are the "public spaces" instead of "private places" where everyone is welcomed.  Homes are private spaces; businesses are semi-public (no loitering); parks and streets are public.  It's okay to loiter in the park--it's what it's made for!  So, when we meet in these type of public spaces and events, we are engaging with the community instead of hiding from the community.  Instead of crossed arms, it's open arms--or at least an extended hand.  Churches have become known for what they are against.  This is one more way for us to say what we are for--we are for Boone!  We are for Boone, because God made it clear He is for all of us: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I suppose if you can't humble yourself to see yourself in the 'sinner' category, then this is meaningless.  But I believe we all fall into the 'sinner' category, and so this statement is good news for each of us that God is for us!

A pause in the watermelon and hot dog line, gives some time to talk with friends working side by side!

A pause in the watermelon and hot dog line, gives some time to talk with friends working side by side!