Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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A February-March Sermon Series
(Sundays @ 10)
Hillcrest Baptist Church

Be Ambitious About Controlling Ambitions
by Tom Goodman
February 29, 2012

One afternoon during his time as governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson received news of the sudden death of a personal friend, a New Jersey Senator.  He was still recovering from the shock when the telephone rang again.  It was a prominent politician.

"Governor", he said, "I would like to take the senator's place."

Wilson replied, "It's perfectly agreeable to me if it's agreeable with the undertaker."

The Governor was justifiably upset at the insensitivity of this eager politician.  But ambition can make us lose much more than tact.  In "No Other Gods," the singer warns:

Ambitions once good, once noble and pure
Now rule with a rod that I cannot endure.
These bonds I have forged with two willing hands
They're not easily torn by the strength of a man.

And my gods won't let me sleep tonight.
Oh, I want to sleep in peace when I lie down.

Our drive for success can cause us to neglect our health, our family, and our church responsibilities.  That's why I'm struck by the singer of Psalm 131:

My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Understand that what God hates is unruly ambition, not godly aspiration.  The Bible says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  God wants us impatient with mediocrity.  He wants us striving for the best God has for us.  He wants us to know the joy of excellence in the use of what talent God has given us.

But ambitions can get out of control.  How do you know when you've crossed the line?  And how do you take charge of it?

We have to struggle to master our ambitions in order to reach spiritual maturity.  It's one of the "Growing Pains of the Soul" that we're looking at on Sunday mornings.  You can catch up with the sermon series at our website.  And you can join us @ 10 this Sunday as we review the subject of ambition.

Also, don't forget about "Discover Hillcrest."  I teach this class for those who are considering joining the church.  We'll meet for an hour in the gym after the morning service this Sunday.


Beacon Articles Available Online:  The staff newsletters that appear each week in the Beacon are also available on our website.  You can find them here.

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