Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"God is Closer Than You Think"
by Tom Goodman
August 9, 2006

As your kids make a fresh start with their school, make a fresh start with your church, too!  This weekend’s events are a great way to get back into our Sunday routine.

First, this Sunday we begin a sermon series called, “God is Closer Than You Think.”  I’m convinced that we all need a fresh reminder that God is active and involved in life.  Four characters in the Old Testament discovered this, and we’re a lot like them:

  • Some of us are like Jacob in Genesis 28:  Jacob met God in his daily routine when he wasn’t looking for God.
  • Some of us are like Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings 6:  The servant met God in a crisis when he really needed God.
  • Some of us are like the pagan king Belshazzar in Daniel 5:  Belshazzar met God when he didn’t want to.
  • And some of us are like the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:  Elijah met God in a time of burnout and disappointment.
In our routine times, in our crisis times, in our sin, and in our disappointments, God is closer than you think.  Come experience the challenge and encouragement that these Bible studies have to offer.

Take a moment right now to pray for me as I prepare the lessons.  And pray for the things we’re doing to promote this important series.  We’ve mailed a bunch of postcards to all the homes within 3 miles of the church, and we’re advertising on The River 102.3, Austin’s contemporary Christian music station.  In fact, this week’s radio spot is announcing that The River van will be parked at Hillcrest between our two services this Sunday.  Stop by their booth in the MPC between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m.

In addition to the new sermon series, we’re kicking off the school year with a Summer Fair at the Quarries this Sunday afternoon.  Come learn about ministries you can support, enjoy a BBQ supper, and celebrate communion and baptism with us!

This would be a good weekend for parents to bring grown kids who have stalled out in their spiritual growth.  In the last two issues of Winning Ways, I asked you to write me if you were a parent with an adult son or daughter uninvolved with Christ and his church.  If they live in the Austin area, invite them to Hillcrest this weekend!


Important Notes:

Get Advertised!  A little boy had just made his commitment to Christ, and he asked the pastor, "When can I get advertised?"  The boy used the wrong word—but he had the right concept.  When we become believers, we need to ask, "When can I get advertised?  When can I publicly proclaim that I'm a believer in Jesus Christ?"  You can get "advertised" at an outdoor baptism, Sunday, August 13.  We're holding a Summer Fair at the Quarries that day.  At the Fair, you can walk through our "Ministry Expo" in the air-conditioned recreation center and find out about the ministries and missions of our church.  Then, after a free BBQ dinner, we’ll enjoy worship outdoors.  We'll celebrate the Lord's Supper and then baptize new believers in the lake.  If you'd like to follow Jesus in the water immersion that the Bible calls baptism, contact me!

Hillcrest Institute of Lifelong Learning.  The Fall semester of the Hillcrest Institute begins in just 2 weeks.  Review the courses and pre-register online!

Links to Your World

The internet is a great source of information, but it’s useful only if you have ways to manage all that information.  In “A New Tool for Keeping Up,” I show you how to set up your own Google Personalized Home Page.  When I open my web browser, the first thing I see is a page of links from web pages that I have chosen.  The page allows me to check the content on various websites all on one page.  I can then click the headlines of items that interest me, and the browser will go to the website where that headline and story can be found.  Learn how to set up your own web content management tool.
Get inspired with the article, “Ten Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven.”
Read “Kids Have Porn Access” and examine if you are providing your kids the online protection they need.
Although I don’t try to mimic any particular pastor or try to get our church to copy any particular church, I’ve enjoyed the insights from pastors like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels.  If you’ve heard attacks on them and their approach to ministry, read Lee Strobel’s response to attacks on his friend, Rick Warren.  Also, read a biblical defense of the seeker-sensitive movement by Mark Mittelberg of Building a Contagious Church.  And Willow Creek has some “answers to common misunderstandings about seeker-sensitive churches.
You’ll find more articles and commentary at my blog, “Get Anchored.”  Check it out, and assign the site to your Google Personalized Home Page today!

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