Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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The "Get Anchored" Dinner is Tonight!

The Anchor Course is a book study I lead for 9 weeks.  It's designed for those asking questions about Christianity and also for those trying to explain their faith to others.  Come to dinner tonight from 6:30-8:00pm to find out more.  If you decide the Course is for you, we'll give you the textbook for free and meet each Wednesday for dinner and discussion from 6:30-8:00pm.  Find out more at or call the church office at 512-345-3771.

Cleanliness Really is Next to Godliness
by Tom Goodman
January 27, 2016

It's interesting how we humans make a fundamental link between guilt and washing.  Psychological studies bear this out.

"Showering -- a simple everyday activity -- is linked to morality in a way we never knew," said Katie Liljenquist of Northwestern University, the co-author of one study.

Liljenquist and her colleagues asked a group of 60 college students to concentrate on either something ethical or unethical that they had done in the past.  The researchers discovered that students who remembered their own unethical behavior were more likely to act as if they felt unclean.

For example, the students were given the word "W_ _ H" and asked to complete the letters.  Students who reflected on an unethical memory were more likely to say that the unfinished word was "WASH" instead of "WISH."

Again, when given the word "S _ _ P" they completed the letters as "SOAP" instead of "SOUP" or "STEP."

In another similar experiment, after students were asked to remember some ethical or unethical action from their past, each student was given a choice of two free gifts: a pencil, or an antiseptic wipe.  Sixty-six percent of the students who said they had recalled an unethical memory took the antiseptic wipe.  It was as if they wanted to wipe themselves clean of the recollection.

It's a common impulse, universal across the cultures.  When King David called out to God in confession of his adultery, he cried, "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:2).

It's good to know God responds to that kind of heart cry.  In fact, the Bible often reminds us that the blood of Jesus washes out the shame and stain of our sins.  Revelation 7:14, for example, speaks of believers who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  In these opening weeks of 2016, we're reviewing the biblical images that help us understand the meaning of the cross.  We've already visited the altar, the market, and the courtroom.  This Sunday we'll conclude the series in the laundry.  Join us at 10am onsite or online!


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