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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Books on Suffering

by Tom Goodman



I was asked for a list of books that deal with suffering. Here’s what I recommended to start with.

The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis

A Place for Healing, by Joni Eareckson Tada

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, by John Piper

The Question That Never Goes Away, by Philip Yancey. The ebook version is only $2 right now.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Recommended Books

by Tom Goodman

In yesterday’s sermon I recommended the following books. These will help you develop confidence in answering questions that nonbelievers may ask about your faith.

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. In fact, any of Strobel’s “Case” books will help.

The Reason for God by Tim Keller. I also recommended his newer book, Making Sense of God. But at least start with his “Reason” book.

Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford. I don’t agree with everything about this book, but what he gets right he gets very, very right. My comments here.

True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World, by David Skeel

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Released in the 1950s, it’s still relevant.

The Anchor Course: Exploring Christianity Together

I also quoted from Lesslie Newbigin’s The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.

So, there. Your summer reading list is complete!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Outreach with the Okinawa Tomonokia Drum Corp


by Tom Goodman

I asked Bruce Murray to give us a quick report on a program we hosted at Hillcrest. The program gave the Japanese Church of Austin an opportunity to reach out to the Japanese who attended. Here's his report. 


Bruce Murray and a performer

Our church hosted the New Year celebration of the Okinawa Tomonokia Drum Corp! Some 300 people gathered in the MPC last Saturday, many of whom speak Japanese, and pastor B'young Lee had the opportunity to speak to them about the Japanese Church of Austin that meets here at Hillcrest, Many of these folks did not know of the church's existence and indicated an interest in attending! We provided a great outreach opportunity for this church!                 --Bruce Murray

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Japanese Church Thanksgiving Fellowship

by Tom Goodman


The Japanese Church of Austin meets at Hillcrest. On Thanksgiving Day they held a fellowship for Japanese students and families. Here is Pastor Byong’s report. You can find photos at the Japanese Church’s Facebook page here.
________________________

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your prayer and support.

Japanese Church of Austin had the 2nd Free Thanksgiving Lunch for Japanese students and Japanese family on November 24.

God sent various people who needs encouragement, comforts, and fellowship in Christ. Most of all, I really thank God for sending nonbelievers so that they can listen to the Gospel. God sent 8 nonbelievers and they have the opportunity to listen to the Gospel and have fun time with Christians in Jesus!

Seeing their dark faces become bright with gifts and delicious foods, I pray that they can be filled with real joy by believing in Jesus someday. We had lunch, special music, praising time, Gospel message, game and raffles time! Thanks God for blessing the Thanksgiving Lunch meeting.

We have several purposes to hold this Thanksgiving lunch.

1. To preach the Gospel to unbelievers who usually do not come to church. Many Japanese do not know what church is. That’s why they even do not think of going to church. But they like event to join. Especially, Free Thanksgiving Lunch is a great opportunity to present God’s free gift, Jesus Christ!!

2. To give encouragement some Christians who do not have family in the States. Thanksgiving Day is very lonely day for them. This time, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Serbian attended from Austin area, even from Killeen and San Antonio.

3. Wonderful opportunity of advertising: Many Japanese people do not know the existence of Japanese church of Austin. This event is a wonderful opportunity for them to know that there is Japanese Church in Austin. We uploaded our event advertisement on Japanese community bulletin and many people watched it and some of them even visited our home pages. One of new comers said that he has many Japanese friends and let them know about our church.

4. Give good impression about God and church: Usually, the center of Japanese community is Buddhism and Shinto, not Christianity. Therefore, many Japanese have no idea about church; what it is, what it does, what pastor does..etc. One of nonbelievers told me that she is so impressed of this Thanksgiving lunch and she feels that church is different from other Japanese religion groups: serving and sharing God’s love with people through this Thanksgiving lunch.

Please keep praying for the seeds sown in their heart grow and bear the fruit of salvation!!

Once again, I really thank for your support and prayer. Your support enables us to have this wonderful time!

Blessing,

Byoung

Japanese Church of Austin
______________________

Great report! Three first-time visitors came to the Japanese Church on Sunday following this Thanksgiving fellowship. If you’re available, visit Hillcrest at noon on December 7 when Pastor Byong holds a baptism service for new believers reached by the Japanese Church. 


















Sunday, November 06, 2016

Personal Reflection in Light of the Election

by Tom Goodman




In this Sunday’s service, I led a time of personal reflection in light of the November 8 election. Here are the notes and questions I had in my hand as I led you. I thought it might be helpful to post them as you continue to take personal inventory. 

Politics are important but not ultimate.

There's a lot at stake: immigration policy, health care, religious liberty, abortion policy, Supreme Court Justices. Not to mention the character of the man or woman we want representing our nation the next four years. Clearly participation in the political process is important. 

But let’s distinguish what is important from what is ultimate. What is ultimate is grasping what Jesus has done for us and living out what he expects of us.

In our church, we use the acronym “HILL” to remember what he expects of us. Each letter in the word “HILL” reminds us of one of four actions he expects us to take. Bow in prayer and let’s ask ourselves some questions at each of these four actions. I’m going to lead us in a prayer up the HILL.

H: Honor the Lord of Life: After I vote on Nov 8, will I wake up Nov 9 trusting that God works out his purposes? Does the way I express my anxiety about this election reflect a lack of faith in God? Does the way I talk about this election reveal that I’m more dependent on Washington than on the throne room of heaven?
(Lead in a prayer thanking God for revealing himself to us.)
I: Invite Your World to Life: Do I work as hard to persuade people to my Jesus as I do to persuade people to vote my way? Do I present my political opinions in such a manner that alienates me from the people I’m called to reach for Jesus?
(Lead in a prayer thanking God for the Great Commission he’s placed in our hands.)
L: Love the Fellowship for Life: Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another so the world can see that I sent you.” Do I recognize that what I have in common with another believer across the political divide means more than what I have in common with a nonbeliever within my political convictions? Do I work to understand my fellow believers who differ with me on how the country ought to be run?
(Lead in a prayer thanking God for the spiritual family he’s placed us in.)
L: Live the Word in Life: Does the time I spend in the Word come close to the time I spend on TV and radio and social media? Am I letting my priorities and my passions and my way of dealing with political opponents be shaped by media personalities instead of by the eternal word of God?
(Lead in a prayer thanking God for his Word.)











Sunday, July 17, 2016

Resources for Sunday's Message

by Tom Goodman

Today’s message on 1 Corinthians 14 can be found here. I found the following resources helpful in understanding tongues-speaking and it’s relevance for today.

D.A. Carson’s Showing The Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Gordon Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians.

Journal Articles:

Toward a Pauline Theology of Glossolalia,” by Gordon Fee.

Sighs Too Deep For Words,” by Frank Macchia

Linguistic and Sociological Analyses of Modern Tongues-Speaking: Their Contributions and Limitations,” by Vern Poythress. Don’t let the technical-sounding name turn you away. Skip the first half of the article, which covers sociological and linguistic studies of the phenomenon of tongues-speaking. I found the second half of the article most helpful. It starts on page 379 and runs to 388.