Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“When It Don’t Come Easy”
by Tom Goodman
June 22, 2005

“Sometimes I watch your program and I'm helped, and sometimes I want to take my shoe off and throw it through the screen.”

That’s what one woman in her mid-twenties wrote to Sheila Walsh when Walsh was co-hosting the 700 Club.  The young woman was suffering with MS and cancer.

In an interview with Leadership Journal, Walsh recalled that letter and said, “I was so fascinated by her honesty.  I called her, and we became friends.  One day she said, ‘One of the things I hate about what you do is you always present people whose marriages get better in ten minutes, people who get healed, people who have the nice, packaged answers.’  She said, ‘What about people like me who are dying and still love God?  What about people who take very few steps, but every step leaves a big impression in the snow because it cost every ounce of strength they have left?’”

Walsh told Leadership, “She changed my perspective.  Christianity is not this nice ‘everything’s going to work out okay’ attitude.  When you think of Christ at the tomb of Lazarus, he wept because it wasn't supposed to be like this.  He had spoken this beautiful world into existence and it was so broken, so messed up.  I think one of the greatest gifts we can give is just a dose of reality that life down here is disappointing, that God doesn't always give us answers, but he does always give us himself.”

Read that last line again:  God doesn’t always give us answers, but he does always give us himself.

What a profound truth!  That’s what we’ve discovered in our Sunday morning series, “David Sings the Blues.”  The Blues Psalms are in our Bibles so we’ll know how to pray when life doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work.  We end our series this Sunday, June 26.

At the end of the service, be sure to pick up an Outreach Kit for our Ramblin’ Road Trip!  We’ve prepared an outreach kit for every household in the church, so don’t leave yours in the lobby!  The Kit will give you instructions and materials for inviting those you know to our one-of-a-kind VBS.

It’s one-of-a-kind because it will be held across five Sunday evenings instead of five weekday mornings.  It’s also one-of-a-kind because adults and youth will have their own classes.  Herb Ingram will take adults through five-week road trip through key Old Testament events.  Jim Siegel will take the youth on a real road trip to surprise Austin-area destinations each week.

This is a churchwide event, and it begins Sunday, July 10.  When you pick up your Outreach Kit this Sunday, you’ll have two weeks to spread the word!


Important Announcements:

Discover Hillcrest:  This Sunday, June 26.  The class will be held right after the morning service, AND LUNCH IS PROVIDED!  The class is for those who want to become members, and for those who just want to learn more about Hillcrest.  Topics include:

The most important thing you need to know about Jesus
Four fundamentals of spiritual growth, using the acronym "H.I.L.L."
Our church's key values and strategy
How to "connect" with others in the church
While I teach the adult class, BJ teaches "Discover Hillcrest Kids" for children ages 8-12, and Jim teaches "Discover Hillcrest Youth" for students in grades 6-12.  Childcare is provided for children under the age of 8.  Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.  You can register by contacting our Ministry Assistant, Jami, at

VBS Outreach Kits and Outreach Party.  There are two great ways to spread the word about our exciting Sunday night Vacation Bible School.  First, pick up an Outreach Kit and follow the simple directions to reach out in love to your friends, relatives and neighbors.  Second, join us this Sunday evening, June 26, for an Outreach Party at Hillcrest.  We’ll meet in the gym at 6:30 p.m. for instructions, and then you will be released to blanket the immediate neighborhood with flyers.  After an hour of prayer walking and flyer distribution, we’ll all meet back at the church to celebrate.  This will be our evening service program for June 26.

New Sign.  Many of you have noticed our new sign at the corner of Steck and Greenslope.  The left panel can be changed to promote big, churchwide events that should interest those driving by.  Between these events, we’ll post a sign that says, “Come Climb With Us!”  The right panel simply advertises the start time of our morning worship hour, and it gives the website where people can find out about all our other activities.  We still have some landscaping to do around the sign, and Tom and Craig Johnson’s crew still plan to cover the concrete retaining wall with stonework.  My thanks to our “First Impressions Team” for all they are doing in the “Renovation of Our Look!”  Be sure to thank Curtis Roberts, Judi Raymund, Elishea Smith, and Paul Waldo!

Do you know friends who would appreciate Winning Ways?  Just forward this e-mail to them!

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