Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“From Grumbling to Gratitude”
Hillcrest Church Office
November 26, 2003

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Here is this week's WINNING WAYS . . . .

“From Grumbling to Gratitude”
by Tom Goodman

Thanksgiving Day provides a chance for us to remember all the ways God has blessed us.  But some of us would have to admit that gratitude doesn’t spring up spontaneously from our heart.  Disappointment has darkened our heart this year.

If 2003 has been a year of heartache and frustration, I have a three-step process for developing a grateful heart in the midst of disappointment:

First, begin by thanking God for the obvious blessings that immediately come to mind.  We take for granted so many things, assuming them as rights instead of as gifts from the King.  To thank God for his gifts is to take the first rung on the ladder out of bitterness.

Second, ask God to show you how he has been at work this past year, and thank him for it.  Too often heartache blinds us to all the ways God has been at work, but gratitude can restore our sight.  Henry Ward Beecher said:

If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet, and sweep through it, and it would draw to itself the most invisible particles.  The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find some heavenly blessings.
Finally, claim Romans 8:28 even over your disappointments:  “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him” (NCV).  While Step Two helps you see God’s work among life’s frustrations, Step Three helps you see God at work within those very things!  Here we find the highest proof of faith:  to believe that even things that break our heart (and God’s) can be used of God to advance his purposes in our lives.

That’s the Winning Way!  God bless your Thanksgiving Day!

Upward Basketball Prayer Partners:  Would you like to do something that takes very little time, feels really good, makes you a better person, and has an important impact in God’s kingdom?  Be a PRAYER PARTNER in the Upward Basketball program.  Signing up is as easy as taking this link to or call Patty Waldo at 836-2054.  You will receive (1) an Upward Calendar that gives you specific prayer requests for each day in the Upward season, (2) the names of several children and volunteers to pray for throughout the season, (3) an Upward Prayer Pin to remind you to pray each day, and (4) the satisfaction of knowing you are making an important contribution to this wonderful program that will reach over 200 kids and their families.  The 100 days of prayer start on November 30.  Don’t wait!  Sign up now.

Discover Hillcrest: A.M. Edition!  Have you wanted to join Hillcrest but you’ve been unable to attend our "Discover Hillcrest" class in the afternoon?  Then here's your chance!  Pastor Tom will hold an "A.M. Edition" of the class during the Sunday School hour on two CONSECUTIVE Sundays, December 14 and 21.  It takes 2 hours to complete the class, so you should plan on attending both Sundays.  The fast-paced class will give you the information and inspiration you need for meaningful involvement in our church.  Join us from 9:30-10:30 a.m. for this special "Discover Hillcrest: A.M. Edition!"

Special Churchwide Workshop: “How to Be a Difference-Maker”: On Sunday, December 7, we will hold a special evening service from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  The entire Ministry Staff will join me in leading a workshop called “How to Be a Difference-Maker.”  In this workshop, we will help the entire church identify their place of ministry at Hillcrest.  All those who have joined our church in 2003 will be given special recognition in this service.

Christmas Events at Hillcrest:  Watch Winning Ways and our website in the next few weeks for news about Christmas events at Hillcrest, including our “Dessert Theater” and “Living Nativity”!



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