Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
March 29, 2006

I love my iPod, but don’t try to give me an iChurch.

My iPod puts me in control of what I want to listen to.  I can create playlists to suit my own unique tastes.  In fact, some say that iPod playlists reveal a person’s real personality.

I wouldn’t want an iChurch, however.  A church is where we experience life together.  Rubbing elbows with other believers broadens my tastes, challenges my prejudices, and affirms my hopes.  “No man is an island, entire unto himself,” said the poet.  You and I need each other.  “I want us to help each other with the faith we have,” Paul wrote in Romans 1:12 (NCV).  “Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.”

This Sunday, April 2, we’ll look closely at this truth.  It’s part of our 21-day Worship Campaign.  We’re discovering that worship isn’t just “about me.”  Worship is . . .

       . . . about me before my God,

       . . . about me among my church family, and

       . . . about me with my THEMs.

It’s the second relationship we’ll examine in Week 2 of the Campaign.  We’ll find out the difference between a church and an iChurch.

It’s important that we recognize this truth before we go to two services on April 16.  Don’t think that our move to two services is about catering to individual tastes in worship music.  If that was our goal, it would take far more than just two services to satisfy every preference in our congregation!  There will never be enough organ music for some people, for example, and there will never be enough hand-clapping for others.  No matter which service we attend, all of us will need to lay aside our preferences out of love for those sitting around us.

God never intended Hillcrest to be our personal iChurch.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” Paul said in Colossians 3:16.  How is that accomplished?  He continued, “…as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

Come this Sunday and learn more about life in the Family of God!



Daylight Savings Time Begins This Sunday.  Time to “Spring Forward!”  Before you go to bed Saturday, set your clocks forward one hour!
Easter Weekend Prayer Vigil.  We’ll end our 21-Day Worship Campaign with a Prayer Vigil.  Help us keep our Prayer Room occupied from 9:30 a.m. on Good Friday (April 14) to 9:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday (April 16)!  Commit to one hour, beginning at the bottom of the hour (for example, 9:30-10:30).  We especially need help filling those late-night and early-morning hours!  Sign up this Sunday or contact Jami Dismukes at the church office (345-3771) or by e-mail to ask about available hours.  When you sign up, we will give you directions to the Prayer Room and instructions on working your hour.
Interesting Links:  Like many Christians, I have been riveted to the Afghanistan trial of Abdul Rahman, who is threatened with death for converting from Islam to Christianity 15 years ago.  As of this writing, the court has set him free but the majority of his Islamic countrymen still think he should be killed.  I think the comments at the “Rhymes with Right” blog are worth reviewing, as well as last week’s articles by Tony Perkins, Nina Shea.  The tepid and belated response to the Rahman case by American political leaders has frustrated Christian conservatives like Chuck Colson.  So far, there’s been no comment from the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries.  “Remember my chains,” Paul wrote in Colossians 4:18.  Abdul Rahman and hundreds of thousands like him around the world would ask the same of us.
What do you think of “Indentured Families,” an article in this week’s Weekly Standard?  Allan Carlson argues that “social conservatives” have been ignored by the GOP and may be ripe for reconsidering which party has their best interests in mind.
Also, did you read about the trouble at over their search engine?  The company has various automated suggestions to correct spelling errors and display related items.  These are based on computer algorithms of other users' activity.  Type in plaque, for example, and Amazon asks, "Did you mean: plague?"  But the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice complained to the company that when you typed in abortion, Amazon asked, "Did you mean: adoption?"  Wow!  Is there a (holy) ghost in the machine?
Also, see What Wives Want.  Girls may "just wanna have fun," as Cyndi Lauper once sang.  But when girls become wives, they want love and support like what country heartthrob Randy Travis says: "forever and ever, amen."  The article interviews psychologist Bill Harley, a veteran marital counselor and author of "His Needs, Her Needs," who says, “What I spend most of my time doing is training men how to make women happy.  If you want a woman to be in love with you, [meeting her top five emotional needs] are the things you have to be trained to do and do well, and she will follow you to the ends of the earth."
Speaking of family life, this article says that children and teenagers who are exposed to sex through the media are more likely to engage in sexual activity than those who are not, according to new research.  Well, duh!  Also, it was sobering to read “Lives of Quiet Turbulence,” covering an extensive study of the grown children of divorce.  If you’re between 18-35, a fourth of you saw your parents split up, and 60 percent of your own marriages end in divorce.  What can Hillcrest do to help?
Finally, the CS Monitor has a good article about what Christians are doing to prepare for the upcoming film release of “The Da Vinci Code.”  Be praying for our 3-week series, “The Da Vinci Code Breakers,” following Easter.

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