Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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The Beatitudes of Jesus.
Sunday Mornings.

Requires Flash player to view. "What Are You Chasing?"
by Tom Goodman
February 7, 2007

Our Declaration of Independence tells us that "the pursuit of happiness" is a fundamental human right.  But if you don’t know what will really make you happy it’s futile to pursue it.

I read about an enterprising lady in New York City, where there are very few places to bury a deceased pet.  The city authorities will take your pet off your hands for $50, but for a while there was a woman who advertised the same service for half the price.  When she got a call, she showed up at the client’s apartment with a second-hand suitcase she had purchased at the Salvation Army for two dollars.  She would gently place the deceased pet in the luggage and leave the apartment.  Then she would take a ride on the subway, setting the suitcase down and acting like she wasn’t watching.  Invariably a thief would steal her suitcase, and she would look up and say, "Wait.  Stop.  Thief."

Her problem got solved, but my guess is the people who stole those suitcases got a real surprise when they got home!

Some of us are like those New York thieves.  We keep grabbing what we think will give us happiness, but we end up with something that doesn’t quite deliver.  Maybe that’s why only 20% of the people in the U.S. claim to be happy according to one study.  The right to pursue happiness is no guarantee that you will find it.

That’s why we’re going to look at Jesus’ definition of happiness the next four weeks at Hillcrest.  In our study through the Gospel of Matthew, we’ve reached the famous Beatitudes.  Eight times Jesus declared certain people "blessed" and explained why.

The Beatitudes stand alongside the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 as the most beloved passages of the Bible.  But what do they really mean?

That’s what philosopher Dallas Willard asked in his award-winning book, The Divine Conspiracy.  "The Beatitudes are acknowledged by almost everyone to be among the highest expressions of religious insight and moral inspiration," he said.  "We can savor them, affirm them, meditate upon them, and engrave them on plaques to hang on our walls.  But . . . how are we to live in response to them?"

For the next four Sundays we’ll figure out how to answer that question.  Join us in our study called "The Pursuit of Happiness" (9:30am or 10:45am).


Important Notes:

Baylor Alums, here’s a THEM event for any Austin-area Baylor Bears you know.  On Tuesday, February 13, join Baylor football coaches and the Linebacker Club for lunch, 11:30am at Texas Land and Cattle.  Cost is $14.00 (including tax) for a "smoked sirloin" or "outlaw chicken" meal, including garlic mashed potatoes, bread and a drink.  Contact me and I’ll sign you up.

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

In this Texas Monthly article, discover 10 resolutions for healthy eating.  I knew several of them already, but some were a surprise.

In last week’s sermon I quoted from Steven Weinberg’s review of Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion.  You can find that article here.

If you don’t know how to leave your church and you decide the only way you can do it is to fake your own death, here’s a hint: don’t attend the memorial service.

See the progress on a South Austin mural, updated regularly here.

This article points out that surfing the internet has become a favorite hobby for older adults.

Here’s an Associated Press article about LifeBox, the program we’re leading in our area to express support and outreach to our troops.

"Imagine that you were a college student, and pregnant," Serrin M. Foster says.  "So you go to the university health services for advice.  Two of the employees there, university employees, recount to you the embarrassment and inconvenience associated with pregnancy.  If you do decide to have the child, they explain to you, the university will almost certainly give you no support; it will do nothing to make things easier for you.  And then they urge you to have an abortion."  In this article, Foster points out that some journalists went undercover and discovered that this kind of thing happens all the time.  I thought abortion advocates wanted to give women all their options.

You’ll find other news and opinions at my online journal, "Get Anchored."  Check out the new feature: "Song of the Week," updated each Sunday.  It’s on the upper right side of the page.  To keep up with the journal, sign up for e-mail updates or assign the feed to your news reader.

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