Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Video of activities at the recent
Courageous Kids Day Camps.

Requires Flash player to view. "Honorable Fathers"
by Tom Goodman
June 14, 2006

While popular culture can’t seem to honor our fathers, conservative churches are busy making honorable ones.  That’s something to think about as we prepare for Father’s Day this Sunday.

In his article, “The Doofus Dad,” John Tierney wrote, “Where did we fathers go wrong?  We spend twice as much time with our kids as we did two decades ago, but on television we’re oblivious (“Jimmy Neutron”), troubled (“The Sopranos”), deranged (“Malcolm in the Middle”) and generally incompetent (“Everybody Loves Raymond”).  Even if Dad has a good job, like the star of “Home Improvement,” at home he's forever making messes that must be straightened out by Mom.”

In fact, the National Fatherhood Initiative examined the evidence and reported that when it comes to network sitcoms and dramas, dads were eight times more likely than moms to look incompetent and irresponsible.

It’s as if our culture has swung the pendulum from “Father Knows Best” to “Father Knows Nothing.”  Most of us dads would like to think we fit somewhere in between.

Despite our culture’s unwillingness to honor our fathers, though, I’m happy to report that our churches—at least the evangelical ones like Hillcrest—are busy making them honorable.  That’s what sociologist and author W. Bradford Wilcox found.  In his new book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands, Mr. Wilcox says that conservative churches are willing to take a stand on men’s roles and responsibilities, and therefore these churches do a better job preparing men for fatherhood.  In the article, “Faith and Fatherhood,” Wilcox told Nathan Burchfiel that active evangelicals spend more time with their children, have better relationships with their wives and are less likely to be abusive when compared with unchurched men.

“The key issue is not whether one is affiliated with a church or claims to have had a ‘born-again’ experience,” Mr. Wilcox said.  “It is if they regularly attend church.”  His research led him to conclude that men who spend time in church and understand the teachings tend to make better fathers.

In our worship services this Sunday, we’ll recognize our dads and lift them up in prayer.  Join us at either the 9:30 a.m. “Bold Blend” service or the 10:45 a.m. “Smooth Blend” service.

I’m proud to serve as pastor of a church that honors fathers—and makes honorable ones!


Important Notes:

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.

Paul and Martha Buford will bring a report on their work in Honduras this Sunday night in PraiseHill, 5:30 p.m.  Paul was raised right here in northwest Austin, but I met Paul and Martha in Grand Cayman.  They now serve as missionaries, dividing their time between Honduras and Canada.

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!

Our International Mission Board thanks you.  One of the most important events in Baptist churches is the yearly Christmastime offering for international missions.  I recently received this note from the IMB that I’m passing on to you:  “Thank you for giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to reach a lost world!  We are excited to report that Southern Baptists gave a record amount – $137,939,677.59 – through the 2005 offering.  Your faithful giving enables us and more than 5,100 colleagues to continue our work and to support new colleagues coming to join our efforts.  Lives have been changed because of your giving.  Last year we, along with our overseas partners, baptized more than 459,000 new believers and planted 17,000-plus churches.  Also, 137 people groups had access to the Gospel for the first time.  I am grateful for your faithfulness!  Please continue to partner with us to complete the unfinished task.”  Watch a brief video on this report on low resolution, medium resolution, or high resolution.

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

The Motion Picture Association of America gave a film a “PG” rating because a character in the film urges another character to “look to Jesus.”  I kid you not.  In the article, “Narrow focus draws 'PG' rating for Baptist-backed film,” Terry Mattingly says that the MPAA considers the new film, Facing the Giants, too evangelistic for parents to think it is safe for children to watch without parental guidance.  Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, said the MPAA told her that “the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion [Christianity] and that this might offend people from other religions.…  It is kind of interesting that faith has joined that list of deadly sins that the MPAA board wants to warn parents to worry about.”
In, “A New Kind of Urban Christian,” the remarkable church leader, Tim Keller, says, “The relationship of Christians to culture is the singular current crisis point for the church.  Evangelicals are deeply divided over how to interact with a social order that is growing increasingly post-Christian.”  It’s worth your time to read.
You can see a beautiful shot of a rare “Rainbow of Fire” here.
Even as we work toward a marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, let’s heed the warning that the real enemy of marriage is divorce.
You’ll find more articles and commentary at my blog, “Anchored,” hosted on MySpace.  There you’ll find reaction to Kathleen Parker’s recent column about parents aborting children for such trivial imperfections as clubfeet, webbed fingers, and a cleft palate.  You’ll also learn the advantages of “convergent” Christianity, and research that shows that those who marry in their mid-20s have the best shot at a lasting marriage.  Subscribe today!

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