Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"God's Gym"
by Tom Goodman
October 11, 2006

I admit it.  I have an unusual way to count off my reps during my exercise routine.

Like most people who work out, I do three sets of ten with my weight-lifting or push-ups or (yuk) sit-ups.  But I have a different way to count to ten.  I count the first motion with, “The fruit of the Spirit is. . . .” and I continue the count by saying, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

That’s a line from Scripture that’s worth memorizing—Galatians 5:22-23.  There Paul lists the “fruit” or “outcome” of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit.  I use the list in my exercise routine to remind me of the character God wants to form in me.  The Bible says, “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)  So, while I work out in my home gym, I review how I’m developing in God’s Gym, too.

Look at that list again.  Think about each word carefully: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Who would not want this kind of life?  The Bible promises that this kind of life can be ours as we depend upon the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 isn’t a “to do” list.  Instead, it’s evidence.  The more you yield to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the more these nine qualities will show up in your life.

If we’re going to depend upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power, we need to know more about the Spirit.  That’s our topic this Sunday morning.  We’ve been going line by line through the ancient Apostles Creed, and this Sunday we’ll examine what it means to say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”

By the way, Jim and Gene are doing a great job selecting the music to match the theme of each Sunday’s topic!  I look forward to the music experience they will lead us through this week!

You will get more out of the sermon series if you keep up with the book readings.  This week, read chapters 11-13 of The Anchor Course to learn more about the Holy Spirit.  Then join us this Sunday at 9:30am or 10:45am for this important study.  To catch up with the series, listen online (iTunes or website).  You can receive a free book when you attend Hillcrest during our current sermon series, or you can order copies online by clicking here.  To learn more about the book, read the introduction by clicking here or check out the website at


Important News

Interested in Membership?  Spread the word about our next Discover Hillcrest class.  It will be held this Sunday, October 15, right after the morning service.  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

Youth Basketball and Cheerleading!  Click here to find out how to enroll your child in our new program!  Spread the word about our new basketball program for grades 5-6.  It’s called Hillcrest Hoops, and it’s designed to get them ready for school basketball!

High Attendance Day is October 29.  Find out more in Herb’s article.

Branson Trip!  Want to go to Branson?  Read more in Gene’s article.

Calling all Students, Grades 6-12.  The “Big Barn Blowout” and the Craft Show are coming!  Read more in Jim’s article.

Links to Your World

This week’s homework assignment is to read Chapters 11-13 in The Anchor Course.  You may also want to read the article, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” on a website designed to strengthen Christian college students.
I’ve uploaded my article, “Jesus in History and the Bible” at  This article shows that even without a New Testament we can learn seven things about Jesus from the writings of non-believers in the first and second century.
At his weblog, Ben Witherington asks, “Where Are our Evangelical Youth Going?”  He comments on the widely-circulated warning that so many churchgoing teens will drop out of church by the time of adulthood that only four percent will be Bible-believing Christians in adulthood.  Not everyone agrees with that dire warning (see comments at Weblog at and the Austin-American Statesman coverage of a recent national youth leaders conference held here in Austin).  Still, Witherington has some important comments.
You’ll find my comments about the Witherington article at my weblog, “Get Anchored,” along with other news and opinions.  To keep up with the weblog, sign up for e-mail updates or assign the RSS feed to your news reader.

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