Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"Raising Ebenezer"
by Tom Goodman
May 17, 2006

Wasn’t that a great article about Hillcrest on the front page of the Austin-American Statesman!  You can find it here.  We want you to be prepared to use conversations about the novel and the film as witnessing opportunities.  I’ve prepared a resource page on our website, so check it out.  Also, we’ve prepared tapes of the 3-week series that you can buy for friends.  To be sure we’ll have a copy for you, write Patty today.

This Sunday we’re going to raise an Ebenezer.  There’s a story from 1 Samuel 7 about the old prophet Samuel.  The Philistines were threatening to attack Israel and when the people prayed, God helped them win.  To honor that victory, the prophet Samuel set up a stone and called it “Ebenezer,” which in Hebrew means “stone of help.”  He explained the marker to the people, saying, “This marks the place where God helped us” (verse 12).

After each crisis is resolved, after each prayer is answered, after each project is over, after each journey is completed, after each goal is accomplished—we need to set aside time raise an Ebenezer stone and say, “This marks the place where God helped us.”

We’re going to do that this weekend.  The Sundays from Easter to Mother’s Day served as a five-week platform to launch our new Sunday morning schedule.  We now have two options in worship music, two options for small-group Bible study, and a great kids program that meets the diverse needs of our families.

It’s always scary for a congregation to go through such a big change.  But God responded to your prayers and your openness!  He has blessed us beyond our expectations.  Through this Sunday’s music and message, we’re going to take the time to say, “This marks the place where God helped us.”  I think you’ll especially like the “music video” that Steve Williams is preparing from film footage of the last five weeks.

This Sunday we’ll raise another Ebenezer with several families celebrating graduations.  Since our graduates attend the 9:30 service, we’ll take a moment in that service to recognize them.  We’ll highlight these names in the second service so you can congratulate the families when you see them.


Links to Your World:

In “A Leap of Faith,” the Washington Post reports on parents who shy from religion but still want their children to taste its psychological and spiritual comforts.
Philippians 2:14 says that a lack of grumbling and argument is the trademark of a blameless and pure life.  In “Venting and Losing,” Suzanne Hadley tells us the dangers of habitually “venting” our frustrations.

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