Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
February 25, 2004

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

“Passion FOR the Christ”
by Tom Goodman

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opens today.  I’ve been urging you to use this film to discuss your faith, but let’s pray that God will use the film to deepen your faith, too.

No doubt, this film has given many of us a chance to talk naturally about Jesus in our circles.  Even before today’s opening, the “buzz” around the film has already generated lots of conversations about the meaning of Christ’s life and death.  In Sunday’s Austin-American Statesman, one viewer said, “Christians have said ‘Jesus died for your sins’ so much it’s become a cliché.  This film succeeds in bringing that phrase to life.”

So, let’s pray that this film will help you discuss your faith.  But let’s pray this film will help deepen your faith, too.

It had that impact on the actor playing Jesus.  When Newsweek asked James Caviezel if it deepened his Christian faith by playing the role of Jesus, he said, “I love him more than I ever knew possible.  I love him more than my wife, my family. . .  I don't want people to see me.  All I want them to see is Jesus Christ.”

His prayer is being answered as more and more believers report on the way the film impacted them.  Jody Dean, Emmy Award-winning Dallas television newsman, saw the film at his Prestonwood church and was deeply moved, knowing that the Bible says Christ endured such suffering to take away our sins.

“Throughout the entire film,” he said, “I found myself apologizing.”

We want to help you use this film to discuss and deepen your faith.  That’s why I will soon begin a series called “Experiencing the Passion of the Christ.”  It is a Sunday evening series starting March 7.  We have an “e-card” about the series that you can send to believing and pre-believing friends.  Log on to and personalize your e-card with a note to your friends.

Providentially, our church begins a 40-day prayer experience on the same day Gibson’s film opens.  I issued the challenge on Sunday and, following the service, nearly every copy of the prayer guide was picked up and we’ll order more for this Sunday.  You’ll receive your copy of Winning Ways on the day our prayer experience begins, so let this serve as a reminder to set aside time to start praying.

During the prayer effort, let’s ask God to use The Passion of the Christ to begin and renew passion for the Christ.


P.S.  As I mentioned last week, mind the “R” rating; I’d recommend that no one under 13 be brought to the film, and use your discretion in bringing younger teens.  The Statesman article requires free registration; it can be found at  The interview with Jim Caviezel can be found at  Jody Dean’s comments can be found at



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