Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"A Super Sunday to Talk About Fishing!"
by Tom Goodman
January 31, 2007

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Warren Whitaker admits it's the most unusual way he's ever used to land a fish, but it worked.

While competing in the Texas Outdoor Adventure Series Big Bass Championship a few years ago, Whitaker latched on to a bass he knew would be a winner.  He also knew it would be a problem.  The big bass had wrapped Whitaker's 20-pound test line on a submerged tree.

Not wanting to lose his prize, Whitaker jumped in after the fish.  At first, the fisherman kept his head above the water while he freed the fishing with his toes.  But the bass had wrapped itself around the tree much lower.  So, removing his life vest, Whitaker took a deep breath and dived down nearly 17 feet.  Opening his eyes in the murky water, he saw the exhausted fish's tail and reached out and grabbed it.  He pulled the big bass to him and held it against his body as he returned to the surface.  Altogether, Whitaker had been in the water thirty minutes.

Back at the weigh-in, Whitaker's bass weighed 12.7 pounds, the biggest fish of the three-day event.  For his labor, the fisherman took home a total prize of $18,300 in cash and merchandise.

I wonder if we have Whitaker's passion when it comes to catching people for Jesus.  The Bible says that Jesus passed by Simon Peter and some other fishermen one day and said, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!"  This Super Bowl Sunday, February 4, we'll focus on that call.  It's the next story in our weekly study of Matthew's Gospel.  I think it's interesting that when Christ began his ministry the first thing he did was look for partners for that work.

Last Sunday I challenged you to contact those you've been missing and invite them to join you for worship and Bible study this Sunday.  Now you know why.  This Super Sunday (9:30am or 10:45am) I will challenge the Hillcrest family to partner with Jesus in his outreach to our town.

We need everyone who's connected with Hillcrest to hear this call, so stop now and contact someone you'd like to see in attendance!  The easiest thing to do is click the "forward" button on your e-mail program and send this edition of Winning Ways to your Hillcrest friends.  Add a personal note encouraging them to join you for this Super Sunday morning.  Forward it to your entire Sunday School class or Common Ground table group!  Forward it to those you've been missing!  Forward it to those who sit around you each Sunday!

Wouldn't it be great if everyone at Hillcrest ended up getting 2 or 3 copies of this week's Winning Ways!  I think this would highlight the importance of this week's worship service.

Warren Whitaker has raised the definition of what a real fisherman is willing to do.  When it comes to fishing for people, do we measure up to his example?


Attention Austin-Area College Students!
  Join me for a small-group study of The Anchor Course at the Baptist Student Ministries building on the UT campus.  For the next couple of months we'll meet with other students every Monday.  The event is called "Matrix," and it includes a free meal at 6pm, with the small group studies starting at 7pm.  Jennifer Adams from our church teaches one course called "Habitudes," and I teach "The Anchor Course."  There is a small cost for the book.  Find more information about the BSM and a map to get their building here.

Church Anniversary.  Our 80th Anniversary will be celebrated March 24-25.  If you know of any past members and/or staff who should be invited, contact the office immediately!  Don't assume we already have their names and contact info!  Also, if you have any photos or memorabilia from the past, drop it by the church office on loan.

Links to Your World

As the Colts and Da Bears face off against each other in Super Bowl XLI this week, their head coaches remain good friends.  In this article Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith say that the fact that they are African-American is not the most important thing about them.  They are Christian mean who "both operate without regarding football as the most important aspect of their lives.  They don't yell and curse at players; instead they are known for the calm demeanor that Dungy suspects cost him a chance to become a head coach earlier.  "For two guys to show that you can win that way," Dungy says, 'I think that's just as important for the country to see.'"  In this Lifeway article, the executive director of Athletes in Action said, "We could not have picked two better coaches to represent all that is good about sports."

In "A Mom's Guide to MySpace," Connie Neal tells you what you need to know about this popular website.

See the New York Times article (here) on changing attitudes toward dancing in conservative churches.  Most of us have known about this change in attitude for a long, long time, but it's good to see the Times explain how tired and old the jokes sound regarding Baptists and dancing.

"What is antiseptically called 'screening' for Down syndrome is, much more often than not, a search-and-destroy mission: At least 85 percent of pregnancies in which Down syndrome is diagnosed are ended by abortions."  Read George Will's moving reaction to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recent recommendation here.

You have probably heard of Jim Elliott's famous quote: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."  Now look at the actual journal entry in the famous missionary's own handwriting as found in the Billy Graham Center archives here.

Visit Herb Ingram's new blog, "Herbal Essence."  Currently, he's introducing the six steps of our "INVITE Strategy."  Learn more about how the INVITE Strategy got started here.

You'll find other news and opinions at my online journal, "Get Anchored," including a new feature called "On-Mission Mondays."  Each Monday I'll post about what it means to be "on mission" with Christ. To keep up with the journal, sign up for e-mail updates or assign the feed to your news reader.

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