Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Gorillas in the Midst
by Tom Goodman
July 24, 2013

How many gorillas have you missed so far this week?

Maybe you've seen that video created by two Harvard psychologists.  It's become one of the best-known experiments in psychology.  I think it's become so popular because it reveals how we see our world -- and how we don't see it.

In the experiment, test subjects were told they would see a short video of a team in white T-shirts and a team in black T-shirts.  They were told to count the number of times those in white passed the ball to each other.

But in the midst of all the basketball passes, someone in a gorilla suit walked into the frame, beat its chest, and walked out.  At the end of the video, the viewers were asked how many passes they counted.  Then they were asked whether they had seen anything unusual.  In every setting where the video has been shown, only about half noticed the gorilla.  There's no accounting for age or gender or level of education:  Some see it, and some don't.

I see a lesson on evangelism here.  Opportunities for spiritual conversations show up in our lives all the time, but we often miss them.  We're too busy counting basketball passes.  Our whole focus is on getting through football practice or band practice, or completing our school assignments.  Our whole focus is on our work obligations or meeting budget.  Our whole focus is on the fact that we don't feel well, and the doctor hasn't quite figured out how to fix it.  We're just counting basketball passes; and right in the middle of it all, opportunities for natural spiritual conversations arise like a gorilla beating his chest, and we don't even notice.

That's what our citywide "Explore God" campaign is all about.  It's about becoming more sensitive to the opportunities we've been missing -- opportunities to engage in productive spiritual conversations.

It's incredibly important to get prepared for this campaign.  Last Sunday our gym was packed with adults and youth for the Session One training.  If you missed it, please join me Wednesday, July 24 at 6:15pm in A-161 (in the Adult Wing), or Sunday, July 28 at 11:00am in A-161.  Or just get trained online at our "Explore God" portal on the church website.

This training will help you open your eyes to look for the "gorillas in the midst" of your busy life this week!


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