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. "Life Together"
by Tom Goodman
June 28, 2006

“People may e-mail 25 people a day, but they don’t really have anyone to discuss matters that are personally important.”

That’s what Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist, discovered in a recent study.  A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles.  That’s more than double the number who were found to be isolated in 1985.

Hillcrest is a place where people can overcome this crippling isolation.

“That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car,” Smith-Lovin said.  “There really is less of a safety net of close friends and confidants today.”

Compared with 1985, nearly 50 percent more people in 2004 reported that their spouse is the only person they can confide in.  But if people face trouble in that relationship—or if a spouse falls sick—these people have no one to turn to for help.

At Hillcrest we’re working hard to help people overcome this kind of isolation.  While most people start their Hillcrest experience anonymously in a morning worship service, we emphasize all the ways they can connect with others.  We encourage involvement in a Common Ground fellowship group after the first service, or a Sunday School class before the second service.  We stress the importance of ministry teams or mission trips.  We teach “P.L.A.C.E.” classes where people can discover their “place” of service.  And every six weeks we hold Discover Hillcrest classes to draw people into membership with the Hillcrest Family.

One of the chapters of my forthcoming book, The Anchor Course, is called, “Don’t Go it Alone,” which you can find online.  The book is designed to introduce people to the basics of the Christian faith—a faith that commands us to connect with others who love Jesus, too.  The book is due in September, God willing.

Pray for this book to have its impact, and pray for Hillcrest to be a place where more and more people can overcome the isolation of this world!


Important Notes:

We Appreciate Your Faithful Summertime Giving!  Here’s a note from Gene, who handles Hillcrest administration:  “The summer months are typically a challenging time financially for church.  It's a time of year when many of the expenses are up but also a time when people are spending time out of town on vacation.  That combination is upon us again this year.  Last year, as you may recall, our Budget/Finance Committee sent out a letter about our financial condition.  You responded in such a great way that June 2005 was one of the best months of the year in giving.  This year our financial condition going into the summer is in much better shape than last year, but it looks like June will not be one of our best months.  In the midst of you summer activities and travel, let me encourage you to continue your faithfulness in giving.”

Don’t Miss BJ’s Article!  Be sure to read BJ’s thoughts about serving in the Hill Elementary mentoring program this Spring.  If you want to help us partner with Hill Elementary in serving the kids and families of our surrounding community, write BJ!

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 Marriage,” listen here.  Let your passion for God rise with the summertime temperatures!

Links to Your World

Listen to the one-hour lecture, “Understanding Culture,” by Dr. Ed Stetzer.  Stetzer is a missiologist at the North American Mission Board.  He answers how we shift to a church born in culture, not a culture born out of the church, that is biblically faithful.  He also deals with how the church transitions from an “attractional” church to an “incarnational” church.  It’s worth your time to commit an hour to listen to his informative and passionate lecture.
Read “Mauritania votes on reform moves” and pray for the country.  You may remember that one of our Hillcrest families, the Shomba’s, emigrated to the U.S. from Mauritania, where Andre served as a pharmacist and the family attended a Christian fellowship in the Muslim country.  According to the latest update I’ve read, the reforms passed.  Colonel Elly Ould Mohamed Vall seized power in Mauritania in a bloodless military coup last August and immediately began liberal reforms, including the promise of free elections.
Gregory Tomlin makes some predictions for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  See if you agree.
You’ll find more articles and commentary at my blog, “Anchored,” hosted on MySpace.  There you’ll find comments about online porn and how contemporary Christian music handles the problem of suffering.  Subscribe today!

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