Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
March 24, 2004

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

“The Promise of Buried Seeds”
by Tom Goodman

Hillcrest is blessed to have in our ranks retired missionaries, grown “MK’s” (missionary kids), a host of veterans of short-term missions work, and strong supporters of the world’s largest missionary-sending agency—the International Mission Board.

That’s why our hearts hurt for the families of four IMB aid workers slain in Iraq last week: Larry Elliott, 60, and his wife, Jean, 58; single adult Karen Watson, 38; and David McDonnall, 29.  David’s wife, 26-year-old  Carrie, survived four gunshot wounds and is now in stable condition.

They were in Mosul, Iraq, to provide clean water to the city.  While driving on the east side of the city, the Baptists' car came under attack by automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades.  The McDonnalls were new to the mission field.  David had just graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2002, Carrie was still officially a student there.  In contrast, the Elliotts were longtime missionary veterans, having worked most of the last 25 years in Honduras.

Since the assailants are still at large, it’s not clear whether the IMB aid workers were targeted as Christians or simply as Westerners (one report indicated that they were driving a vehicle similar to the kind preferred by diplomatic personnel).  Still, the report is a reminder that many missionaries whom our church supports operate in unstable places.  Barely a year ago, IMB missionary Bill Hyde was killed by a terrorist's bomb at the airport in Davao City, Philippines.  Just 14 months ago, three workers were murdered by a terrorist at our Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen.

I know you will join me in prayers for the families of these martyrs.  We will also pray to see the fulfillment of John 12:24 (NIV), “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  When we bury seeds, we expect a harvest.  Despite our grief, we look ahead to the harvest Jesus himself promised would come from a martyr’s death.


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Important Notes:

Kara Kemerling’s Report.  Come tonight (March 24) to hear Kara share about her experiences as an International Mission Board Journeyman in Bolivia! Kara will speak during the Midweek Service (6:30-7:30) in Room A-161.
Concert by “The Singing Men of Texas”.  Join us as Gene Chappell and 50 other Texas Baptist music ministers lead a concert at Hillcrest Thursday, March 25, at 7:00 p.m.
Love Offering and Reception for David Kemerling.  This Sunday, March 28, we will say good-bye to David Kemerling.  Join us for a reception following the evening service.  A love offering is being collected to express our appreciation for David’s four years on staff and his family’s eleven years as Hillcrest members.
Two Sermon Series Continue March 28.  This Sunday morning at 8:15 or 10:45, we look at Solution #7 in our eight-week series, Getting Along.  This week we’ll look at the difficult subject of confronting an offender.  Our evening series also continues this week—Experiencing the Passion of the Christ.  I’m amazed that Gibson’s film is still in so many conversations!  This week we’ll look at why Christians have always had such devotion to the bloody death of Christ.  Though Gibson has been severely criticized for his two-hour display of torture and death, it’s only the most recent rendition of an event that Christian songs and symbols have always highlighted!  Come find out why this week at 6:30 p.m.
Mother’s Day Out 30th Anniversary.  On March 28, we will celebrate thirty years of Hillcrest’s “Mother’s Day Out” program.  We want to honor all our wonderful volunteers, parents, children, teachers, and coordinators.  Recognition and appreciation will take place in the 10:45 a.m. service, with a lunch and special program immediately following the service.  Those planning to participate in the lunch need to contact Jodena Smith at or 343-7385.
Deacon Nominees.  Our deacon body has prepared a list of nominees from your suggestions.  These men have been invited to an orientation next Monday.  The orientation will cover the biblical qualifications and Hillcrest’s expectations for deacons.  After the orientation, those who want to continue with their candidacy will be given questionnaires to complete.
Easter Celebration.  Come celebrate life with the Risen Lord April 11!  Watch for more details about our special celebration in the weeks ahead!



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