by Tom Goodman
January 18, 2006
In late 1992 the Hubble Space Telescope photographed an intriguing image from a galaxy 20 million light-years away. Astronomers turned the Hubble telescope toward this so-called "Whirlpool Galaxy" to examine what they believed was a black
hole in the center of the galaxy. What they found was fascinating. A giant cross was found at the galaxy's center, made from the interplay of light and blackness.
When the photograph appeared in Time magazine, the “Letters” department was flooded with letters from people who believed the cross was some kind of divine sign in the sky. No doubt the image has some natural explanation. But doesn't it
ignite the imagination! Up there in the sky, creation itself has formed an image of the cross.
The cross is the mark of God upon this universe. It displays how much God hates sin and how much God loves us. That’s what we discover in the Bible: “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus], and through him to
reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
This Sunday, January 22, we’ll look at this amazing truth as we continue through Paul’s letter to the Colossians. We’re calling our five-month study “Next-Level Living,” because everything in Paul’s letter is designed to take us to the
next level from the one we’re on now.
Thanks for all the great comments on our first study this past Sunday. I look forward to God’s response to so many renewed commitments to prayer. If you missed the message, you can listen online at Click here. On that page, you can also sign up to receive the weekly talks as podcasts for that new iPod that you got for Christmas.
Finally, spread the word about our “Discover Hillcrest” class this Sunday, right after the morning service. LUNCH IS PROVIDED! The class is for those who want to become members, and for those who just want to learn more about
Hillcrest. 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 my assistant, Jami, at email@example.com.
The Hillcrest Institute: Begins This Sunday, January 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the gym. Find out more and sign up online at www.HillcrestAustin.org/discipleship. If you just can’t decide which great course to choose, come to “No Perfect People Allowed,” which Diane and I will co-lead.
Pastor’s Chat: I began my three-week meeting with John Smith’s class in the Adult 4 Department last Sunday. All 50-something adults are encouraged to be a part of this Chat, even if you normally don’t
attend John’s class. We’ll talk together about our church’s vision.
Pastor’s Prayer Meetings: Diane and I are committing two nights a week for seven weeks to pray with every Hillcrest member and interested attender. If we have your address, you’ll soon get a letter inviting you to a
particular night. Watch for your letter, then contact my assistant to confirm that the date works for you. Jami can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 345-3771. It will
reduce our work load in the office if you reply to the letter once you receive it.
Can Hunger: Wow! Great response to our “Can Hunger” effort this past Sunday! For more information and a sign-up form, go to www.HillcrestAustin.org/canhunger.
Beyond the Gates of Splendor: Mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 25. At 6:30 p.m. we will show the 45-minute documentary, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” This film tells the story of five
missionaries killed by Acua Indians and the eventual conversion of the tribe. We’re showing this to promote the full-length film about the same story, End of the Spear, in theaters this month. For more information, go to www.HillcrestAustin.org/#H5.
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