Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"Solving A 'Critical' Problem"
by Tom Goodman
July 11, 2007

We need to be more discerning and less judgmental.  It's a tough balancing act.

On the one hand, we need more discernment.  The legendary baseball player, Ted Williams, had such an intuition for the way a bat was supposed to feel that he once returned to the maker a batch of his Louisville Sluggers because he sensed that the handles were not quite right.  It was discovered that the handles were off by five-thousandths of an inch.  And when once challenged to find from among six bats the one that was half an ounce heavier than the others, he quickly did.  Jesus wants us to develop that kind of intuition when it comes to moral evaluations.

But he doesn't want to see any scowling faces of condemnation among his followers.  In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer sees his born-again neighbor, Maude Flanders.  "Hey, I haven't seen you in a couple of weeks.  Where have you been?"  Maude replies, "Oh, I've been away at a Bible camp, learning to be more judgmental."


So, can we improve our ability to discern what is morally "off" without falling into sour judgmentalism?  And, on the other hand, can we quit being judgmental without also weakening our moral insight?

As I said, it's a tough balancing act.  In Matthew 7:1-6, Jesus called on us to have moral insight as well as compassion.  This Sunday, July 15, we'll see how to practice his words in a world where, strangely, people judge you for how nonjudgmental you are.  Join us at 9:30am for the "Bold Blend" service or at 10:45am for the "Smooth Blend" service, or listen online Monday (iTunes; website).

By the way, many thanks for your comments about last week's message, "You Can Win Over Worry."  This week may be a good time to tell your friends about our online sermon archive, where they can listen to the "Win Over Worry" message for free.  There they can also download the sermon outline and the Common Ground discussion guide.  And don't forget the "Daily Cup" -- each weekday get a brief e-mailed devotional based on the previous Sunday's sermon.  Ask Herb to sign you up (!


Don't Miss the Deadlines for "Adventures with Tom"!  You've been reading about our four summertime adventures, and now is the time to sign up!  To go to the Rockbox Theater in Fredericksburg and Large Marge the Party Barge in Volente, go ahead and turn in your registration fee in while you're at church this Sunday, July 8!  For more information, go online at or call the church office at 345-3771.

Kids Music Theater!  Spread the word about this new kids ministry!  Get more information in Gene's column.

Preschool Play Day!  July 28, from 10:00am to 1:00pm.  Get more information in BJ's column.

Uncivil War!  July 16-20, for middle school and high school students.  Get more information in Jim's column.  Also, Jim's column will inform you about the next Parentline.

Links to Your World.

It's Never 'Just a Movie':  Chris Leland explains why Christians must live not as passive sponges but as mindful agents of the media.

In "The gospel according to church 'hoppers'," Betsy Hart says flitting from church to church is the ultimate "all about me" experience.

Scientists find drug to banish bad memories.  What would you like to forget?

Are Mormons Christians?  The Beliefnet debate between Dr. Albert Mohler and Orson Scott Card.

Study Finds 5 Types Of Alcoholics.  More than half are young adults.

The psalmist said, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."  But if you're wondering how precious your body is to science, check out the Cadaver Calculator.

Woman Finds $20K in Bank Deposit Tube.

A summer camp where you get to blow stuff up?  My sons would sign up in a heartbeat.

When your god melts into a puddle, it's time for a new god.

Go ahead and yawn during my sermons; it cools the brain and sharpens your thinking.

Adds a new meaning to "rocker" -- Lullabies of Pink Floyd songs to put your baby to sleep.

Sign me up for the air car!

True or False: All religions are essentially alike.

There's more at my weblog, "Get Anchored," including the "Song of the Week" ("Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin), part one of "Four Secrets to Success," the perils of worry, and reflections on the new "Transformers" flick.  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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