Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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"Make the Right Choice"
by Tom Goodman
July 25, 2007

"There are three kinds of people in the world," a friend likes to say.  "There are those who can count and those who can't."

And he's an accountant.

Jesus said there are just two kinds of people in the world: those who follow him and those who don't.  Your choice between those two groups has serious consequences here and hereafter.

We're reluctant to reduce our entire world down to just two groups.  After all, we do our shopping in a marketplace that someone once called a "Baskin-Robbins society" where everything comes in at least 31 flavors.  George Will pointed that out in a 2005 column for Newsweek:

If you are 62 or even if you are a spring chicken of 50, try to remember the way it was when you were, say, 15 and you wanted to listen to the popular music of the day.  You would fidget around the radio dial, flitting from one to another of the -- if you were fortunate -- three or four stations that played the kind of music you fancied.  And you could just hope that the disc jockeys would choose to play a few of the songs you especially wanted to hear.

Now, try to explain that bit of ancient history to your children.  Before you can bend their ears, you will have to remove the earphones that connect them to their iPods, in which they can store as many as 10,000 songs of their choosing, which they can hear whenever they choose.

You'll get no complaint from me about wider choices in the marketplace.  I like my iPod, three kinds of sugar substitutes, varieties of mustard, and more choices for coffee than simply Folger's or Maxwell House.

But when it comes to the most important choice of life, Jesus said there were only two options:  You are among those who follow him, or you're among those who don't.  At the end of his Sermon on the Mount, he said we must walk on one of two roads, decide on one of two trees, and build like one of two builders (Matthew 7:13-27).  And he said the choice leads either to life or destruction.

This Sunday, we'll wrap up our study of Christ's Sermon on the Mount by looking at this simple life-changing choice.  Bring a friend and join us at the 9:30am "Bold Blend" service or the 10:45am "Smooth Blend" service, or listen online Monday (iTunes; website).


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

Links to Your World.

In "Sentenced to Life," learn how Shawn Hagwood ended up in prison, and how a stranger's kindness showed him that he didn't need to stay there.

Housing:  Should you rent or buy?

See the Highlights Videos from this year's Uncivil War!

Read the fascinating account from our newest member, Art Starratt, about life as a WW2 POW.

I've been Simpsonized.

Fire crew tests their skills -- on the wrong house.

What Austin's skyline will look like in the future. (HT: Simply Missional)

So it's true:  There really is no time like the present. (HT: The Morning News)

Untamed nature:  A fascinating photographic project by Steve Bloom. (HT: Presurfer)

"He sees colors in the eye that most of us never notice.  For one recent patient, an 84-year-old woman from Montana, he painted an iris with a dark gray-green base color and a dark reddish-brown central area.  He highlighted the work with a rusty-gold colored border and dotted it with brownish freckles."  The work of a prosthetic eye builder.

In "A Royal Ruin," Douglas Groothuis explains Pascal's argument for the truth of Christianity from the combination of both greatness and wretchedness in humanity.

Find out the basics of what you need to know about the night sky here.

How to spend five minutes a day in the Bible with your child.

Julie "Bible Girl" Lyons asks some probing questions about your comfort level with people of different races and cultures.

I missed the print edition of Eileen Flynn's coverage of Hope Chapel's arts festival in the Statesman.  Here it is online.

Have you read the previous posts this week?  They include the "Song of the Week" ("Almost Fed Up with the Blues" by John Hiatt), highlights from the Uncivil War, part three of "Four Secrets to Success," the power of prayer, and getting Simpsonized.  To keep up with the journal, sign up for email updates or assign the feed to your news reader or Google Personalized Home Page.

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