Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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What Drives Your New Year's Resolutions?
by Tom Goodman
January 7, 2015

Are you the foreman of a self-salvation project?

You're involved in self-salvation if you're saying, "I need to obey the rules more consistently so I can be accepted by God."

The gospel shows us a different way.  The one who lives in response to the gospel says, "I am accepted by God, therefore I obey."

Most pastors know that our churches have both kinds of people in attendance.  In his New York Times bestseller, The Reason for God, Tim Keller wrote, "Two people living their lives on the basis of these two different principles may sit next to each other in the church pew.  They both pray, give money generously, and are loyal and faithful to their family and church, trying to live decent lives.  However, they do so out of two radically different motivations, in two radically different spiritual identities, and the result is two radically different kinds of lives."

Maybe you made some new year's resolutions last week.  Great!  But make sure you're living out these commitments with the right mindset.  We work to improve ourselves not in order to be accepted by God but because we are accepted by God.  Salvation comes through what Christ has done for us, not through what we have done for him.

Let's talk about that a little more this Sunday at 10!

Special Thanks to Herb Ingram.  Writing the Common Ground discussion guide has passed to me in 2015.  Herb and I began Common Ground about 8 years ago when he was on staff as our Minister of Education and Outreach.  It has been one of our most successful programs.  Every week, Herb would get an early copy of my sermon manuscript and build a list of discussion questions from it.  Most of his staff responsibilities became mine upon his retirement, but I asked him to keep writing the Common Ground guide for a while.  This year, I take up that task.  I'm so grateful for the creative ways Herb made each week's discussion guide a joy to work through.  I have big shoes to fill!

Discover Hillcrest.  This Sunday I host my "Discover Hillcrest" class for those ready to join and for those just checking out the church.  It's a one-time class that meets for one hour in the MPC after the morning service.  Visit our website or contact Lisa for more information (512-535-3771 or email).


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.

Check out my weblog here.

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