Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Many Ways to Be Lost
by Tom Goodman
August 21, 2013

Lots are lost, but not everyone's lost in the same way.  Our involvement in the Explore God campaign will bear fruit if we grasp this truth.

The Explore God campaign is designed to bring spiritually prepared believers together with spiritually curious people so conversations about God can take place.  As you engage with people, you will soon discern different reasons people are far from God, and different attitudes toward this distance.

In Luke 15, Jesus told three stories about being lost: the lost sheep (verses 3-7), the lost coin (verses 8-10), and the lost son (verses 11-24).  Each was lost in different ways.

The sheep got lost through personal carelessness.  While feeding in the pasture, the sheep drifted off and soon found itself separated.  That's the way some of our friends are.  Through a series of small personal choices over time, they find themselves a long way away from where they need to be spiritually.

Then there's the lost coin.  This represents people who are lost through someone else's carelessness.  A child who is never taken to church, never allowed to participate in church, a child whose parents never have any answers to his spiritual questions -- that child is a lost coin.  That child becomes a teenager who has no friends to influence him.  That teenager goes to a university where biblical faith is belittled.  Through the carelessness of others, that person is now a grownup "lost coin."

Then there's the lost son who through personal, deliberate, conscious rebellion makes choices that put him a long way from God.

I've discovered that I can be more effective at introducing people to the Savior if I pay attention to the manner of a person's lostness and not just the bare fact of it.  Someone with no background in a church may have to be engaged in a different way than someone who has rejected the Christian message through a bad church experience in the past.  Someone who has honest intellectual questions shouldn't be treated the same as someone who's explored enough and just needs encouragement to cross the line of faith.

This Sunday we'll learn more about how to verify the spiritual condition of our friends.  It will help us commend Christ to them.  Join us at 10 for worship, and stay an extra hour to make some friends in one of our small groups!


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