Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Messy Church
by Tom Goodman
October 14, 2015

Church is messy.

I'm not talking about a building of with dinged-up walls and overflowing trash baskets.  I'm talking about a congregation that struggles with moral compromise, theological shallowness, and relational tension.

Welcome to church.

This is church?  Of course.  Haven't you read Paul's letters to the Corinthians?  The believers in Corinth had a member who was sleeping with his stepmother.  They snubbed each other.  They didn't understand the resurrection, one of the most important truths of the Christian faith.  But Paul understood that these were men and women drawn to the gospel out of a culture with very different views of success and sex and God.  Their spiritual progress couldn't be microwaved.  It was going to take time for them to live out the implications of the gospel they had received.

So he wrote to the church of God in Corinth.

And to the church of God in Austin.

Paul's letters to the Corinthians are remarkably relevant for us today.  So, this Sunday we'll begin a study through 1 and 2 Corinthians.  We'll see how Paul accepted them as members of God's family, and yet patiently and firmly pressed them to live more consistently as those who belonged to God.

This should be a great encouragement for us whether we're coming out of the surrounding culture or leading people out of the surrounding culture.  In a sense all of us come out of the surrounding culture.  Even if we've been raised in a Christian home, we are deeply influenced by our culture.  It takes time for all of us to believe the gospel and to live it out.  And if you have the responsibility to lead people through this process, Paul's letters help you lead patiently but diligently.

Join me this Sunday at 10, and let's listen to Paul address a messy church -- ours.

Baptism.  I'm baptizing in this Sunday's service.  Watch a video of some of our members explaining their decision to be baptized at www.Hillcrest.Church/Baptism.  Contact Lisa ( if you want to schedule your baptism.

Keep on Prayerwalking.  We had a great experience at our first prayerwalk through the neighborhoods immediately around our church building!  We'll schedule another churchwide effort in the future, but you don't have to wait.  Write Lisa (, and she will send you a map with a one-mile assignment.  Return that map with your name and the date you walked it.


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