"A Shepherd’s Heart"
by Tom Goodman
May 23, 2007
This past weekend four years ago I started sharing life with you as your pastor. It was a meaningful weekend to reflect on the life we share.
The weekend began at the home of Peggy Wilson. Her husband of 54 years died Saturday morning. I remember many prayers with Peggy and BJ a few years ago when she faced a life-threatening illness. She’s convinced that she was healed
for the sole purpose of being there for BJ as he became unable to take care of himself. Significantly, Diane and I drove from the house of our newest widow to the widows/widowers banquet that our deacons host annually.
Further down our church’s age range, Sunday morning we celebrated three baptisms, including a high school student and his mom, and we cheered our church’s 2007 graduates. Then, on the youngest end of our church’s age range, I sat in Gattiland
Sunday night for pizza with Awana kids and their parents. I held Ethan McKanna, who’s coming up on his first birthday, and thought about the fact that our nursery is anticipating nine more babies by Christmas.
I count it a joy to shepherd this flock, and that’s not just a sentimental “Hallmark” line. As I’ve told you before, the search committee received over 200 applicants, but you got your most reluctant candidate to come. Leaving my beloved
former church was not easy, and our boxed-up household goods left the Cayman Islands long, long before my heart did.
But somewhere along these last four years, that part of the shipment must have arrived, because this weekend I found myself saying, “I’m home.”
We continue the work I launched on my first anniversary with you, when I said God was leading us into three renovations:
Our heart. This is the renovation of how we think. We’re learning how to be a congregation where Austin can find and follow Jesus together. I’ve prepared an eight-day devotional guide that will help you understand this
better. Pick it up at church or or download a copy from our website.
Our program. This is the renovation of what we do. Our biggest changes in this renovation phase have been the Hillcrest Institute on Sunday nights and the launch of a second morning service.
Our space. This is the renovation of how we look. A team is developing recommendations for a big campus update, and you should get that report sometime in 2008.
Thank you for sharing life with me! Onward together!
Hillcrest Mission Statement. Do you want to find out what the mission is for our church? Pick up a copy of the eight-day devotional guide after Sunday’s worship service or download a copy from our website.
Holy Land Trip! Join me in the Holy Land! An unforgettable trip set for March 2008. Come to a “discovery meeting” Sunday evening, June 10, 6:30pm (following PraiseHill) in Room A-161.
Links to Your World
Christopher Hitchens is a militant atheist with a new book out. Recently, Marvin Olasky was invited to debate him in Austin. Olasky is a UT journalism professor, author of the book The Tragedy of American Compassion, and most famous for
coining the phrase “compassionate conservatism.” He also follows Jesus as the Messiah promised in his Jewish heritage. See some video footage of the Olasky-Hitchens debate in Austin here.
“If the Rev. Jerry Falwell personified the Christian right in the past, then the Rev. Frank S. Page may represent its future,” says the Washington Post, referring to the current president of the
Southern Baptist Convention as an example of the “new face” of 21st-century evangelicalism. In the same week, the New York Times also covered what they see as a new shift in
emphasis among evangelical leaders addressing national and global concerns.
A pastor and blogger addresses “The Myth of Hard-Hearted Southern Baptist Conservatives” here.
“While we Southern Baptists consider Christ to be the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, we do not consider him fit to serve as a trustee for the Southern Baptist Convention.” A provocative article at The Evangelical Outpost about barring candidates who drink alcohol from serving in SBC positions.
Theology Unplugged. Cool.
Tired of the standard hard hat on job sites? Get your cowboy hard hat at http://www.discountsafetygear.com/vucohahatres.html.
The Futurist’s Bookshelf: At the 2007 “annual gathering” of the Association of Professional Futurists, participants were to bring one book that is a “must read” for every
futurist. The resulting list was fascinating. I’ve added some of their recommendations to my reading list: Counterculture Through the Ages; The Futurist (a novel); Everyware: the Dawning of the Age of Ubiquitous Computing; Visual Language: Global
Communication for the 21st Century; Why? by Charles Tilly; and The Clock of the Long Now. Too many books, not enough time.
In “What Did Jesus Do?“ learn the seven priorities that guided Jesus’ decisions that can help us in our daily choices.
The article, “Mother-to-Mother Evangelism” can help moms work the INVITE Strategy.
There’s more at my weblog, “Get Anchored,” including the “Song of the Week” (“Joy” by Austinite Ruthie Foster), a comment about the “New Baptist Covenant” meeting in Atlanta, six ways to communicate your ideas in a way that will “stick,” and an observation about the rising thirst for revenge in our culture. To keep up with the journal, sign up for e-mail updates or assign the feed to your news reader or Google Personalized Home Page.
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