Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Missing the Heart of the Father
by Tom Goodman
September 2, 2009

A new semester of the Hillcrest Institute begins soon!
Learn more here; register for classes here!

Do you know the heart of the Father?  Churchgoers need to ask themselves this question as much as those who have been absent from church life -- maybe more so.

John Haggai (not John Hagee) is the founder of the Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership Training.  I still haven't found a better leadership book than his 1986 book, Lead On!

He once told the story from his boyhood days.  It was 1935, and his minister father ran a Christian camp for boys in Michigan.  The Great Depression made finances tight, and they had to watch every penny.  One day his dad filled the car with gas to get to a city 15 miles away.  Before he got there the car stalled, out of gas.  Someone had punctured the tank with a spike.

It did not take long to identify the culprit: a 10-year-old boy in the camp.

Haggai wrote, "I disliked this rich, spoiled, arrogant boy.  I wanted my father to see that the 'spoiled brat' was severely disciplined."  But Haggai was both appalled and angered to see his father sitting on the edge of the dock with his arm around this boy, calmly discussing what happened.

He admitted he did not know the heart of his father.  As a result, he was surprised and stunned by his father's compassionate forgiveness toward someone who had created such an expensive problem for the family.

Jesus told a famous story about two sons who missed the heart of their father.  We often call it "The Parable of the Prodigal Son," but we miss an important truth when we give the story that label.  There were actually two sons in the story, and both were separated from the Father.  One was separated through self-expression and the other through self-righteousness.  The troubling word in that sentence is neither "expression" nor "righteousness" but "self."

In the parable of the lost sons (plural), Jesus wanted us to know that there are actually two ways to be lost.  One way is widespread among those who do not put church-going on their schedule; the other way can be found among those who do.

This Sunday we'll look at this parable and apply it to life.  It's the introduction to our new study series called Get a Life!  Join us at 10am!

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored."  Some things to look for...

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