HCI News and Updates

Os Guinness' Explore Truth Summit Talks Online

Explore Truth Summit 2015 was a huge success! Os Guinness presented in six different venues over the three days he was in Austin, and left us all challenged, inspired, and encouraged. Os is one of the most insightful, articulate speakers and thought leaders of our day. Each of his talks was packed with fascinating stories, lessons, exhortations, and wisdom. Three of the talks were recorded and are now available online:

Time for Truth—Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype and Spin.  Presented Wednesday, April 15, at The University of Texas at Austin

Renaissance—The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times. Presented Wednesday, April 15, at Hope in the City

The Global Public Square—Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity. Presented at Bethell Hall; St. David's Episcopal Church in downtown Austin.

If you missed the events, you have the opportunity to hear some of the talks Os gave. For those of you who were able to attend, these recordings provide a wonderful way to revisit the material Os presented and help you think more in depth about what he had to say.

All recordings, both video and audio, are available on this website at http://www.hillcountryinstitute.org/Resources - Apologetics.

Explore Truth Summit 2015 with Os Guinness

April 15-17 in Austin, TX

If you're thinking about our society and the direction we're going in; if you're wondering how it's all going to work out; if you're interested in thinking about the meaning of life; if you ponder how to navigate the streams of contemporary culture . . . or, if you just enjoy hearing a well-known speaker with profound insights on current cultural and societal issues . . . then Explore Truth Summit is for you!

Co-sponsored by Hill Country Institute and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), Explore Truth Summit takes place over three days with a series of five events in multiple venues.  Os Guinness, author and social critic, will be the keynote speaker.

Os Guinness

Great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer, Os was born in China where his parents were medical missionaries during World War II and where he witnessed the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949.  Os has written or edited more than twenty-five books including:  "The American Hour", "Time for Truth", "The Call", "Invitation to the Classics", A Case for Civility"and "A Free People's Suicide".  His latest book is "Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times".

Os has been a frequent speaker and seminar leader at political, business and other conferences in both Europe and the United States (including "TED") and has addressed audiences from the British House of Commons to the U.S. Congress to the St. Petersburg Parliament to the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences.

The Truth Summit is open to the public, and two of the events are free of charge.  Three are over lunch or dinner, so ticket purchase is required.  

Ticketed events are sold separately.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!  Download ready-to-print promotional materials.

Time for Truth - Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype and Spin
Wednesday, April 15  
Cost:  FREE

Renaissance - The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times
Wednesday, April 15  
Hope in the City; 4407 Monterey Oaks Blvd.
Cost:  FREE

The Journey - A Thinking Person's Quest for Meaning
Thursday, April 16  
11:30am - 1:00pm
Sullivan's Restaurant—Sully's Side Bar; 300 Colorado Street
Cost:  $25/person

The Journey - A Thinking Person's Quest for Meaning
Thursday, April 16  
6:30 - 8:30pm
County Line on the Lake; 5204 Ranch Road 2222
Cost:  $30/person

The Global Public Square—Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity
Friday, April 17  
11:30am - 1:00pm
St. David's Episcopal Church—Bethell Hall; 301 E. 8th Street
Cost:  $18/person

Dr. Jeremy Begbie is Coming to San Antonio

Those of you who attended Transforming Culture: A Vision for the Church and the Arts, a conference on faith and the arts put on by HCI in partnership with several individuals and organizations, will remember Dr. Jeremy Begbie who spoke on the relationship of the Church and artists.  His message deeply touched the hearts and minds of everyone in the room, and his unique style of lecturing from behind a piano was like nothing we'd ever seen before.  (Watch the video of his talk here.)

Dr. Begbie is the Director of Duke University's Initiatives in Theology and the Arts. He teaches systematic theology and specializes in the interface between theology and the arts; in particular, the interplay between music and theology.  Inspiring both the musician and the non-musician, the pastor and the layperson, the theologian and the seeker, he uses music to explain Kingdom Truths about Hope, the work of the Holy Spirit, the beauty of uniqueness, and much more.

Hill Country Institute is pleased to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas's Commission on Liturgy and Music to bring Dr. Begbie to San Antonio for a one-of-a-kind lecture series in February.  Titled "More Than Meets the Ear:  What Does Music Have to do With God", the conference will feature Dr. Begbie and his captivating lectures on the unique ways in which we can know and express God through music.


$25 online

$35 at the door


Friday, Feb. 6

7:00 - 8:30 pm   Lecture and Demonstration/Q&A

Saturday, Feb. 7

9:00 - 10:00am   Breakfast and book signing

10:00 - 11:30am   Lecture and Demonstration/Q&A

11:30am - 1:30pm  LUNCH  (on your own)

1:30 - 3:00pm   Lecture and Demonstration/Final Q&A

You can learn more about Dr. Begbie online at https://divinity.duke.edu/academics/faculty/jeremy-begbie and on YouTube by searching Jeremy Begbie.  The Right Reverend Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, interviewed Jeremy prior to a lecture he gave at Duke.  You can get an idea of his unique teaching style and powerful message in this short video:

2014 Year of Laying Down Stones

2014 - It has been a very good year.  "Aslan is on the move."  We at Hill Country Institute want to thank all of you for your interest and support of the work we do.  This year has been amazing as we've stepped into some new areas we felt God was calling us to, and you all have been tremendously supportive.  Thank you.  We'd love to share what we've been up to this year . . . (click on title below to access the story)

Be sure to Like us on Facebook  and Follow us on Twitter for ongoing news and event announcements.

More Than Just Another THING

We've all been bombarded with messages about buying, buying, buying.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday: your chance to score that great deal on some THING to spend more money on.  Today, December 2, we're reminded about the power of our dollars to make a difference in someone's life, to bring change, to impact our communities.  It's #GIVING TUESDAY!  Today you can celebrate GIVING by supporting Hill Country Institute.  Your donations help us put on events to help Christians engage the people around them with the heart and mind of Christ and online resources to provide ongoing education and inspiration. Our C.S. Lewis events, arts conferences, the Vibrant Dance of Faith & Science,  Conversational Sundays, the Hill Country Institute Live radio program, and the HCI Live Podcast—all are made possible from your generous gifts.  Thank you for considering making a gift to Hill Country Institute this month (and beyond!)  it's easy!  Just CLICK HERE.

Nov. 10 and 11 - Mere Education: C.S. Lewis as Teacher for Our Time

Dr. Mark Pike, Head of School and Professor in Educational Values and Pedagogy in the School of Education at University of Leeds, will be speaking at Regents School of Austin and at Concordia University on Lewis' educational vision and how it applies to issues of critical importance for parents, students, teachers and school leaders.  Mere Education clearly describes the boundaries Lewis perceived that will protect schooling from an incoming tide of ideological assumptions that threaten to erode and undermine excellence.


Sponsored by Concordia University, Hill Country Institute and Regents School of Austin.

Both events are free and open to the public.  No reservation required.

Monday, November 10, 7pm - Regents School of Austin, 3230 Travis Country Cir.; Knights Hall, 3rd Floor of the School of Rhetoric Building

Tuesday, November 11, 9:00am - Concordia University, 11400 Concordia University Drive; The Black Box Theater in Building B, Room 230.

C.S. Lewis was an inspirational teacher and took a keen interest in secondary schooling. Yet the contribution of C.S. Lewis to the field of education goes far beyond this. During the Second World War, Lewis taught the people of a whole country through his radio broadcasts and criss-crossed Great Britain giving talks and answering questions on military bases about the purpose of life. He also showed how schooling could be undertaken in the light of that purpose.

As parents, teachers and school leaders we know we are responsible for helping our children and young people to acquire knowledge and skills, but also virtue and good character. C.S. Lewis believed educational excellence concerned the cultivation of both. Mere Education shows how excellence should be nurtured in school leadership, teaching and learning by evaluating a range of current policies and practices in schooling in the light of the thought of C.S. Lewis. The result is a much-needed and controversial appraisal of modern education.

For more information, contact Larry Linenschmidt at 512-680-7993.

Hill Country Institute Live Special Edition on Day of Prayer for Mexico

If you are in the *San Antonio area, tune into Radio Station KSLR AM 630 - "The Word in South Texas" - on Saturday, September 27, and Saturday, October 4, at 11:00am for a special edition of HILL COUNTRY INSTITUTE LIVE: Exploring Christ & Culture

These two broadcasts will be about the upcoming Day of Prayer for Mexico and general coverage of what God is doing in this neighboring country.

With special guests:  Pastor Gilbert Perez from Temple of Praise; Pastor Jose Daniel Montanez from Central Church of God; and Rick Lane, Founder of Proyecto Amistad.


September 27, October 4

*The program will also be accessible from any location via the web at http://www.kslr.com/.  September 27 and October 4 at 11:00am.

Special Day of Prayer for Mexico

Hill Country Institute joins with First Presbyterian Church and other churches in San Antonio to encourage believers to pray for the nation of Mexico.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015, has been set aside as a Day of Prayer for Mexico, a day of focused, coordinated prayer for this nation so dear to the heart of God.

A Prayer Service is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church San Antonio from Noon to 1pm. If you would like to host a service at your own church, please contact us at 830-719-5812, and we will post the information on this page.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join in the prayers for Mexico that day.  Gather other believers from your church or community and pray together or pray as an individual wherever you are.  Contact us for suggestions on how to set up a focused day of prayer for Mexico at your church.

OCTOBER 13, 2015

12:00pm       First Presbyterian Church   210-226-0215

  • Pray for Christian leaders in Mexico.
  • Pray for Mexico to flourish.
  • Pray for God-honoring relationships between Mexico and the U.S.
  • Pray for the Churches of Mexico.
Hill Country Institute Live: Exploring Christ & Culture recently hosted the leaders of AMO Mexico, Chris & Francelia Chavez McReynolds. You can hear their thoughts on the current situation in Mexico, why education, and in particular Christ-centered education, can restore the nation, the ministry of AMO, and much more in this two-part podcast

Groundhogs, Chariots, Red Pills, and Jesus

Using Movies to Stimulate Conversations About the Big Questions of Life


Everyone loves a good story.  Most of us yearn for a hero.  And who doesn’t love watching a good movie?  This is why movies are a fantastic way to open up spiritual conversations with people in a fun, non-threatening, and entertaining way.  Movies entertain us at the same time as they stir emotions, raise questions, and cause us to ponder the deep things about life, God, ourselves and others.

As we think about how to actively and intentionally engage the people around us with the love and mind of Christ, sometimes it’s challenging to know even how to START a conversation! Continuing our series of “dinners with a purpose” based on John Burke’s book, “Mud and the Masterpiece:  Seeing Yourself and Others Through the Eyes of Jesus”, our guest speaker, Walter Bradley, is going to show us how to use movies to create exciting conversations about God and life with people from any background or worldview.

Christians often tell people “Jesus is the answer”, when the person may not even know what the question is!  Movies can help illuminate the big questions common to mankind in an interesting, non-threatening way and can provide perfect openings for ongoing spiritual discussions. 

Come join us September 14 at Zhi Tea Gallery in East Austin to learn how to host a movie night and to use films as a fun way to generate spiritual conversations with people.

Click here for more info and to register.

Love THAT Neighbor, Too? Building Friendships With People Who Have Different Worldviews From Our Own—Conversational Sunday No. 6

Hill County Institute is running a series of dinner parties called "Conversational Sundays".  The first one, "Looking Through Christ's Eyes" was held Sunday, March 30, at SWOOP House in Austin, Texas.  The second one was "How Should We Consider the Extraordinary People Around Us", the third was "Truth...Imagination...and Meaning", and the fourth one was "Restoring the Lost Art of Conversation".

Continuing our series of seven "dinners with a purpose" based on John Burke's book, "Mud and the Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself and Others Through the Eyes of Jesus", our sixth dinner will be about building friendships with people who have different worldviews from our own.

As we think about how to actively and intentionally engage the people around us with the love and mind of Christ, certainly there are times when we find some people challenging to love. People who are very different from us.  People we don't understand.  People we disagree with.

As Eric Bryant points out in "Not Like Me", for far too long, the world has been made aware of what we as Christians hate rather than whom we love. People are far more aware of what Christians are against than of what we support.  Rather than coming across as judgemental, homogenous, isolated, conflict-filled, and irrelevant communities, we need to show the world what Christ truly intended us to be—reflections of Him.  The top two things we're commanded to do often are obeyed only if we like the person, agree with the person, feel comfortable around the person. But Jesus' commands didn't come with any exclusion clauses.

Come join us ON AUGUST 17 in an intimate setting around the picnic table to explore what it means to love as Jesus loved, to treat the people in our lives as the extraordinary masterpieces they are.  Our guest speaker is someone who spends much of his time building relationships with Muslim neighbors.

Click here for more info and to register.

See photos from past Conversational Sundays here.


Dates for the remaining Conversational Sundays:

September 14:  Using Movies to Generate Discussion and Explore Truth; lead by Walter Bradley, Fellow of Hill Country Institute