Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Presented by Hillcrest Kids

Sunday, May 7, 7:00 p.m. 

in the MPC "Believing the Worst About Christianity"
by Tom Goodman
May 3, 2006

Does the church help or hinder our relationship with God?  In the last few years, tens of millions of Americans have bought two books with very different answers to this question.  In The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren presents the church as a place where people form friendships, find opportunities to serve, and mutually encourage each other.  In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown presents the church as an oppressive, unhealthy community.

Both books have sold incredibly well, which means that we have two groups in our nation: those who trust the church, and those who view the church with deep suspicion.  Lynn Garrett, the religion editor of Publishers Weekly, said that The Da Vinci Code feeds into “a willingness on peoples’ part to believe the worst about Christianity.”

So, what should we do when we discover we’re surrounded by people with such a low view of the Christian church?  We have to hold up Christ’s original vision for his church.

As believers, we have to humbly admit that what we are isn’t consistently what we want to be.  As we hold up Christ’s vision for his church, we can say to the world, “We’re haven’t reached it yet, but here’s the vision we’re trying to fulfill.”

When I’m talking with someone about faith, sometimes they express disappointment or anger over their past experience with churches.  But have never heard them express disappointment over Christ’s intent for his church.  Never.  Whenever seekers hear about Christ’s design for the church, it inspires them.

This Sunday, May 7, we’ll take a fresh look at Christ’s vision for his church.  It’s the last week of our biblical response to Dan Brown’s popular novel.  I designed this series to give you the tools you need to assess the book for yourself and discuss it with others.  If you missed the first two messages, you can listen online.

If you have friends who have been disillusioned by a past church experience, bring them to this week’s study.  Join us for our 9:30 “Bold” service or our 10:45 “Smooth” service.  Adults who attend the first service can stay after the service and discuss the topic at our new “Common Ground” coffee fellowship.


Important Notes:

The Power of the “Forward” Button!  Want to invite someone to join you for our response to The Da Vinci Code?  Just click the “forward” button on your e-mail program and send this e-newsletter to them!  Also, we have an e-card you can send from our website!

Baptism This Sunday.  If you’re ready to follow Christ in baptism, contact me immediately.

Children’s Choir Musical.  Spread the word about our children’s choir musical, “Donkey Tales.”  Join us at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday, May 7, for all the fun.  Send an e-card to your friends!

Do You Still Have Questions About Our Sunday Morning Schedule?  If you’re wondering what to do with the kids, click here.  If you want to know how the schedule impacts middle school and high school students, click here.  If you have a question about adult Bible study, click here.  For all other questions about our new Sunday morning schedule, click here.  If these web pages don’t answer your question, write me.

Show Kids Christ’s Love! Speaking of a place to serve, take a Sunday with the little ones in our nursery.  As the song says, they are “precious in His sight.”  Write BJ for more information or to let her know you want to serve in this ministry.

Interesting Links:

See Rod Dreher’s article, “A green Christian conservative,” and reflect on the position we Christian conservatives should take on environmental issues.
USAToday had an interesting article on the immigration controversy: “Religious communities at odds on immigration.”  A lot of you are, like me, still trying to figure out where to stand on this complex issue.
In “Seeking Truth at the Movies,” the Wall Street Journal wrote about religious leaders who plan to use The Da Vinci Code to teach people about faith.  H-m-m.  Sounds like a great idea . . . .

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