Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
September 8, 2004

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

by Tom Goodman

Wow—you’ve responded so well to our Sunday morning series, Movie Messages, that we may have to schedule another series of talks on the movies in the future!

Talking about a movie with someone can be great place to start a conversation about God and his ways.  For example, there’s the recent Mel Gibson film, The Passion of the Christ or the soon-to-be released film The Chronicles of Narnia.

Then you have your movies about Christian conversion, which can be great conversation-starters.  In Steven Spielberg’s movie Amistad, for example, one of the African slaves is given a Bible with pictures in it, and though he can’t read the English words, the pictures tell him of a Lord who came from heaven, was chained, whipped and killed, and rose again.  And the slave becomes a believer.  You have The Mission in which Robert Deniro’s character becomes a Christ-follower, and Robert Duval plays a washed up country singer who converts to Christ and is baptized in the Texas film Tender Mercies.

Then you have films about people whose Christian faith sustains them, which can start a conversation about how faith sustains you.  There’s Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins as the famous Christian, C.S. Lewis, grieving his wife’s death.  The Christian faith is center-stage in the Oscar-winning film, Chariots of Fire (about Olympic runner Eric Liddel), and in the Civil-War-era film Gods and Generals (about “Stonewall” Jackson).  Most recently, the real star of the Tom Hanks film The Ladykillers was Irma Hall, who played the godly old lady whose trust in the Lord is rewarded.  Then there’s young Bob in the film we talked about last week, The Big Kahuna (note, though, that Ladykillers and Kahuna are rated R for language).

So, there are a lot of films that deal explicitly with God, with his Son, and with his people.  These are great conversation-starters.  But then you have movies that don’t deal with explicitly religious themes, and yet they can lead to religious discussions.  How about Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, which is a movie about how you can’t move forward without learning to love others?  Or Billy Crystal’s City Slickers which is a movie about finding what’s really important in life.  Or A Beautiful Mind, which deals with the transforming love a man experiences from his wife.  None of these are Christian movies or stories about Christians, but they deal with themes that are important to all of us.

The point is, let’s take advantage of the films our friends are watching to get into conversations about God.  I hope this series on Sunday mornings is giving you some ideas on how to do that.  This Sunday, September 12, we’ll continue the series with a Bible study on the main theme of The Lion King:  rising to your responsibilities.  See you at 10:45!


This Week at Hillcrest:

Book Look:  I’m writing a book and you can help me review it.  I’m hoping to present a chapter a week in the midweek service (Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.).  If you can’t make it to the services, you can still read and comment on the chapters at>Reading these chapters will help you explain the faith, and forwarding these chapters to your seeking friends will help them explore the faith.  If you want to get an e-mail notification when I’ve added a new chapter to the website, write me at and I’ll add you to the distribution list.

New College Class is Underway!  We’ve had a number of college students visit us in the last two or three weeks.  We’ve started a special six-week study for all college students.  Jim Siegel is leading a study of comparative religions at 9:30 in a room just off the Worship Center.  Spread the word!

Does Your Neighborhood Association or Apartment Complex Have a Newsletter?  If so, please sponsor an ad in your area’s newsletter about our upcoming Purpose-Driven Life campaign.  You’ll want to contact those who publish your newsletter to find out about cost, deadline, and other details.  Then contact Patty Waldo at so she can get you the information you’ll need.



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