Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Video shown in worship services
on Sunday, May 21.

Requires Flash player to view. "Are You Contagious?"
by Tom Goodman
June 7, 2006

“Don’t try this at home, kids!” warned the television announcer as the stuntman prepared for his daring exhibition.

Too many Christians think evangelism comes with the same warning:  “For professionals only; do not attempt!”  That’s too bad, because Jesus said that part of being his disciples involves making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).  He expects you to let others know of his life-changing forgiveness and leadership.

Now, who are these “others” Jesus expects you to influence?  Here’s a clue:  You are not in your particular apartment complex or subdivision by accident.  And you were not born into your specific family by accident.  Oh, and the people in your office?  The group you assemble with at that bus stop every day?  The coffee shop barista who welcomes you by name?  There’s a reason you know the people you know.  Nothing “just happens.”

No, God wants you interacting with the people in these circles for a reason.  Like the common cold, the gospel only spreads through human contact!  God has put you in contact with other people so that they might “catch” your faith.

So . . . are you contagious?

The Bible says, “Let us INVITE them to come and join us” (1 Chronicles 13:2).  We want to help you respond to that biblical call.  At Hillcrest, we teach you how to I.N.V.I.T.E. others to follow Christ with you.  The acrostic is a memory tool to help us remember six natural steps to draw the people around us into a relationship with Jesus.

This Sunday night, June 11, I want to share this six-step strategy with you.  It’s a 90-minute program that begins at 5:30 p.m., and child care is provided for kids up to fifth grade.  (Your teens can join us for the program.)  This is a required course for any of the diploma programs of the Hillcrest Institute, but you’ll benefit from the instruction and inspiration even if you’re not pursuing a diploma.  The event is free.

Leave the daring stunts to the professionals, of course.  But when it comes to sharing your faith, do try this at home!


Important Notes:

Interested in Membership?  Spread the word about our next Discover Hillcrest class.  It will be held this Sunday, June 11, from noon until 2:15 p.m.  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 our Ministry Assistant, Jami, at

Prayerwalk in Egypt without leaving Austin!  Join us in the Worship Center Wednesday, June 14 for this special event.  We’ll use a video presentation from our International Mission Board to “Prayerwalk through Egypt.”  The special night includes a video presentation featuring Christian musicians Rory and Jeni Partin.  The event will run from 6:30 to 7:20 p.m.

Next-Level Living.  We continue our summertime series through Colossians this Sunday morning at the 9:30 “Bold” service and the 10:45 “Smooth” service.  If you missed the sermon, “The Next Level with Your Lord,” listen here.  Let your passion for God rise with the summertime temperatures!

“Courageous Kids” Camp!  Wow!  We reached “capacity” in our Courageous Kids program this week!  The event turned out to be so popular that we had to put some kids on a waiting list.  BJ will tell you more in her article next week.

“In This Place.”  Over 350 people have viewed our video online!  Watch it here.  Forward this e-newsletter to your friends, tell them to click on the banner and see if they can catch a glimpse of you!  The video was shown on May 18 as a pictorial celebration of our first five weeks in the new Sunday morning schedule.

“Redeem the Time.”  Your church staff wants to pray with you about your outreach plans this summer.  Respond to our “Redeem the Time” challenge by completing a commitment card this Sunday.

Respond to The Da Vinci Code.  Help your friends separate fact from fiction in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel and film version of the story.  I’ve provided lots of helpful links about the subject on our website here.

Links to Your World

Apparently literal belief in the Bible is down 10 points across the last 30 years.  If so, we have our work cut out for us.  God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105), and we need to show people why it can and should be trusted.
USA Today highlighted the Christian influence upon one MLB team in “Baseball’s Rockies Seek Revival on 2 Levels.”  Colin Hansen has an interesting observation on this story for Christianity Today in “Onward Christian Shortstops.”
In the article, “No Excuses,” Walter Weber of the American Center for Law and Justice responds to three bad reasons for opposing a federal marriage amendment protecting marriage.  Also, I liked Scott Ott’s tongue-in-cheek proposal in Scappleface for an even fuller federal marriage amendment!
In “When are the Most Important Life Decisions Made?” (audio file) Albert Mohler contends the big ones are made between the ages of 15 and 23.  Do you think he’s right?  If so, what does that say about the role of our church in teaching parenting skills and developing student ministry?
I thought the article, “The In-Betweeners,” was a fascinating look at those born in the 1930s and early 1940s.  They aren’t the “G.I. Generation” (too young to serve in WW2), and they aren’t the “Baby Boomers.”  But certain in-betweeners (currently in their mid-sixties to mid-seventies) were highly influential and—for better and for worse—they set the stage for the cultural shift of the 1960s.

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

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