I’m looking forward to Christmas! This year as been filled with challenges but in midst of uncertainty God offers us hope, peace, joy, and love in Christ. To help you focus on the reason for the season we are making available to you a free Advent Devotional. You can pick one up in the vestibule of the Sanctuary. I will also send an electronic copy in the Mission Update email that goes out each Wednesday. If you’re not signed up to receive our Mission Update email then you can go to our website www.thehillbaptist.com and subscribe. Below is an introduction to the devotional and how to use it. I hope you will participate in the Advent readings and the Advent services this season!
Pastor Ron Jones
INTRODUCTION: GOOD NEWS IN TROUBLING TIMES
We’ve made it! We’ve made it to Advent and the Christmas season! And wow, can we certainly use some Christmas! It’s been a year like no other, to put it mildly. Global pandemic, economic recession, mass unemployment, political division, cultural upheaval, racial reckoning, record wildfires, extra powerful hurricanes, devastating floods. Did I miss anything? Maybe whatever personal struggles you are facing are a result of those wide-scale events or completely unrelated. In whatever form they’ve come for you, the realities of life have been heavy and humbling. We have been aware of the darkness around us.
It’s the ideal setting for some light.
It’s just the kind of backdrop for a Savior to come.
It’s the perfect time to rediscover Christmas.
Because no matter how troubling the times, and no matter how heavy our hearts, there is good news. The greatest news! As the angels proclaimed it on the night of Jesus’s birth long ago:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God
and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom
his favor rests.” (Luke 2:10-14)
This is the news of the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. This is the news that drives away fear and fills us with joy and holds us in peace. It’s news of the reality we are invited to step into and experience. And Advent is the time of our journey into this rediscovery of hope, peace, joy, love, and of Christ himself.
Wherever you are this year on your level of anxiety, uncertainty, or pain—
Wherever you are on your own spiritual journey—
Wherever you are in the midst of holiday stress or pressure—
Let me invite you into this journey of Advent.
HOW TO CELEBRATE ADVENT
Advent is a season that is officially observed in many churches. The four weeks before Christmas are set aside as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’s birth. The term advent is a version of the Latin word that means “coming.” But Advent is not just an extension of Christmas; it is a season that links the past, present, and future. Advent offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, to celebrate His birth, and to be alert for His second coming. It is a season to explore and experience several key traits embodied in the arrival of Christ: hope, peace, joy, and love.
While the core concept of Advent remains the same, some traditions and practices vary. This reading plan is based on common practices, and we invite you to adapt it to match the traditions of your own church. One of the main traditions of Advent is the weekly lighting of the candles on an Advent wreath. A circular evergreen wreath represents God’s unending love for us. And the lighting of five candles throughout the season represents Jesus’s coming to a world lost in darkness. Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” This can be both a meaningful and fun tradition for kids of all ages, and it can be easily adapted to fit individual, group, or family needs.
This reading plan contains devotions for each of the four weeks before Christmas. Based around the weekly themes of hope, peace, joy, and love, there are seven devotions for each theme. There is also a devotion for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Day. These emphasize the rediscovery of Christmas in the practice and experience of each trait, and they lead us in reminders of good news in our troubles and uncertainties. Practical questions help to spur us toward ways to apply hope, peace, joy, and love in our own lives.
In addition, each weekly section contains an introduction page with a song to sing, verses to memorize, a question to ponder, and a verse to focus on throughout the week. We encourage you to use these sections as a guide for a weekly lighting of your own Advent wreath. Whether you do this alone, as a family, with friends, as a small group, in person, or virtually, the tradition of the lighting of the candles will add to the richness of your Advent experience. And singing the songs can make the experience especially fun and meaningful if you have kids.
In a season often marked by frenzied busyness, Advent is an opportunity to set aside time to prepare our hearts. The tradition and the devotions in this book are designed to help us place our focus on a far greater story than our own—the story of God’s redeeming love for our world. The story of His presence with us always.
So no matter what the department stores try to tell you, Christmas has not yet arrived. There is value as well as excitement in patient and expectant waiting. May this be a season of wonder for you. May it be a rediscovery of Christmas. And may the Holy Spirit lead you on a journey of peace, joy, and love—and ultimately to a deep encounter with Jesus.
If you’re like me, once November begins you start thinking about Thanksgiving. For many, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family for a wonderful meal. However, this year will look very different. In a recent article dealing with holidays in our “new normal” it stated that,
Fifty-three percent of consumers say their family holiday get-togethers will proceed
amid the pandemic, but 47% say their get-togethers will be canceled, according to
a Morning Consult survey of 2,212 U.S. adults conducted in early September; 74% say
they’ll be having a smaller gathering than usual. Meanwhile, 68% say they’ll be traveling
less than usual for the holidays, with most people reporting they aren’t planning to
travel for or around Thanksgiving (75%) or any winter holidays (72%).
This Thanksgiving is going to look different for many. Due to the health risk we have decided not to have our church family Thanksgiving meal that usually occurs the Sunday before Thanksgiving. In my conversations with many of you, I know that many of your get-togethers will be very different this year as well. You may cancel your traditional plans or you may decide to meet outside or perhaps even meet virtually.
Even though the day will look different one thing should remain the same. We should give thanks. Paul writes to the Christians in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
We must be intentional in giving thanks. If we simply look at the circumstances we will probably be tempted to complain and get discouraged. However, if we look to God we will be reminded that although our circumstances change He remains the same. Because of HIs unchangeableness, we can move into Thanksgiving confident of His love for us, His presence with us, and that in Christ we have a future and a hope.
I want to encourage you this Thanksgiving to be thankful, be grateful, and get creative in how you can celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and family. In whatever way you chose to celebrate the holiday this year let us be sure to give thanks!
In September, I met with the financial management board and the deacons. In both meetings we looked at how you’ve responded during this pandemic and we were amazed! During a season of uncertainty and change you’ve responded with great generosity. We are actually ahead in our giving compared to this time last year! I want to encourage you to continue with your faithful giving!
Also, we are seeing more and more people return to gathering in-person on Sunday mornings. We are currently averaging about 75% of our pre-pandemic attendance. In addition to the in-person attendance I want to encourage those of you who have been watching online. You have been faithful in staying engaged while sheltering in place. We will continue to provide our services online. We hope to be able to livestream our Sunday morning worship service soon. This will enable those of you who are watching from home to be able to watch the service on Sundays at 11am as it is happening. This is important because it will enable you to get back into the habit of worshipping with your church family on Sunday mornings.
The next step for us is to reintroduce our in-person Wednesday evening Bible studies. We will take this step on Wednesday, October 7th at 6:30pm. We will gather in the Social Hall for a time of prayer and Bible study. We will continue to incorporate a way for you to watch online through Zoom and Facebook. The youth will gather on the 3rd floor in the Youth Room for Bible study. As for the children, we are going to delay the relaunch of our children’s program until a later date. The reason for this is to enable us to launch an excellent children’s program that will minister to the families in our church and in our community. This program will be different than what we’ve offered before and I anticipate it will be a major emphasis of our Wednesday evenings. I’ve been in conversation with the families in our church and we’ve discussed some great ideas. I’m looking forward to how God is going to use Wednesday evenings to help children becoming growing followers of Jesus! With that said, if children attend before the launch date we will have an activity for them. Pray for us as we continue to put together this program!
One final thought, we are approaching the presidential election. In order to prepare for this national election as well as for our state and city elections we are going to do two things. First, we’re going to pray. During the month of October you will be provided with a small American flag and a prayer guide. I’m asking you to place the flag somewhere you will see it each day. As you see the flag I want you to allow it to prompt you to pray for our country. Truellen Baker has created a prayer guide for us to follow throughout the month leading up to the election in November. Both the flag and the prayer guide are available for you to pick up at the church. The second thing we’re going to do is walk through a sermon series entitled “The Elephant, The Donkey, and The Lamb.” Each Sunday leading up to the November election we will explore the relationship between Christianity and politics. The goal of this study is to help us represent Jesus as we engage in the political process.
In times of constant change and uncertainty it’s important for the Christian to remember that God knows our needs and that He watches over us. Jesus said in Matthew 10:29-31, “29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” As I was thinking about this truth the well-known hymn entitled “His Eye is on the Sparrow” came to mind. That author of the hymn, Civilla Martin, said this about what inspired her to write the song:
“Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience.”
Even in the midst of difficulty, change and discomfort God is with us. He not only watches over us but He is working for our good. Keep this truth in mind as we continue to walk by faith through these changing times.
August tends to bring with it a sense of routine. Vacations are usually behind us. Students and teachers go back to school. New programs start at the church. However, as we enter August this year there are many unknowns. As I sit and type this letter, schools from the elementary to college level are still working out their plans. Everyone is watching and waiting to see if the number of infections with the coronavirus will increase or decrease in our city.
Some of you have had your lives dramatically restricted since March. You are also waiting to see if the number increases or decreases. As a church, we have restarted our Sunday gatherings but out times together look different than they did back in March. We too are watching and waiting to see if the number increases or decreases.
While we’re all watching the numbers I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. Read this encounter between Jesus and Peter in Matthew 14:28-33.
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you
on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked
on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was
afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus
immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O
you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the
boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him,
saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Peter was a man of faith but when he stepped out onto the water his eyes shifted from Jesus to the wind. When he focused on the circumstance rather than the Lord he began to sink. I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus whether the numbers go up or down. If we focus too much on our circumstances we will sink into a place where we’re no longer living by faith. If you find yourself sinking then call out to Jesus to help you trust him with your circumstances.
The wind is blowing and there are many waves that are rocking the boat of our lives but we serve the One who has the power over the wind and the waves. Let us remember what well-known hymn says:
Summer is officially here but many of our summer activities look different this year. Vacation Bible School has been postponed. Many of the youth trips have been canceled. Several of the adult activities at the church had to be taken off the calendar. Family vacations have been changed.
However, slowly but surely we have been able to restore some of the activities that were once part of our weekly routine. Gathering for Sunday school in person at 9:45am was recently restarted on Sunday, June 28th. Our weekly in person Sunday Worship Service at 11am was restarted at the beginning of June. Although everything hasn’t been restored, I’m confident that God can restore what has been lost, canceled, postponed, and held back. God tells His people in Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the the swarming locusts has eaten.” This doesn’t mean that we will forget the pain, inconvenience, and discomfort of what we experienced. But it does mean that we can be confident that God was and is at work in our lives during this time. We can also be confident that God has the ability to restore our lives.
Our lives may not look the same as they did in March but do we really want them to look the same? I hope you will allow this interruption in your life to turn your faith and focus even more so on God. I hope you will become more sensitive to His leading in your life. I hope that you will become more committed to gathering with your brothers and sisters in Christ when you become able to do so. I hope you will become more available for how God wants to work in and through your life to help others become growing followers of Jesus. Yes, we want our lives restored but we also want our lives changed. We don’t want to be the same people we were back in March. Let’s trust God together to make us into the people He wants us to be!
I hope this letter finds you well! It’s hard to believe that it’s been two months since we last gathered together in our church building. During this time we’ve become more familiar with Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and worshipping the Lord together online. I’m thankful for the technology that we have available to us. At the same time, I recognize that nothing can take the place of physically gathering together.
This is an interesting time for the church. We long to gather together but we also want to guard against spreading the virus that threatens those most vulnerable among us. Thankfully we have seen the number of cases of those infected with virus decrease in our city and state. With the decrease in cases, the governor has lifted many of the restrictions on businesses and other activities. In view of this trend, the deacons and I believe that we can begin to safely reopen our church facility. This reopening will be gradual. We will seek to adhere to the guidelines for gathering suggested by the Center for Disease Control and the executive orders by the governor of the state of Georgia. We are continuing to monitor the virus situation locally and will modify our decision if necessary.
On Sunday, June 7th our church will have a worship service at 11am in the Sanctuary. Here are some things you need to know if you plan on attending the worship service.
There will be no Sunday School, Children’s Church, or nursery.
We ask that you refrain from shaking hands or touching anyone. Greet each other with a wave.
We ask that everyone enter through the front of the Sanctuary. If you need to enter through an entrance that is handicap accessible please let me, one of the deacons, or one of the ushers know prior to the service.
We will have the ushers open the doors for you or the doors will be propped open. We ask that you try to refrain from touching the doors.
There will be hand sanitizer in the vestibule. Children under the age of 2 should not use hand sanitizer.
The ushers will escort you to your seat in the Sanctuary. We will follow social distancing guidelines which require us to be six feet apart. People living in the same household may sit together. At the end of the service we ask that you remain seated until the ushers dismiss your row. This will help us maintain the social distancing guideline throughout our service from beginning to end.
Wearing masks is optional. We will have masks available for you to use if you need one. Masks should not be used on children under the age of 2.
We will have offering plates set up in the vestibule. If you would like to give your offering you can place it in the offering plate before or after the service. We will not be passing the offering plate during the service.
The bathrooms located directly behind the Sanctuary will be open. We ask that only one person enter the bathroom at one time unless you are escorting a child. We ask that children be escorted to the bathroom by their parent or guardian to ensure these guidelines are followed.
We ask that you do not go into other parts of the church facility at this time.
We ask that if you’re sick that you do not attend. We ask that if you’ve been around someone who has shown symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days that you do not attend. We will record the service and make it available online.
We ask that if you’re in the vulnerable category that you continue to shelter-in-place until the governor’s executive order is lifted on June 12th.
Following these guidelines will allow us to begin to safely gather in our building. As time goes on we will gradually restart our other activities. Please continue to pray for me and the deacons as we seek to make plans that are wise. I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon. In the meantime, let us continue to trust the Lord who is our refuge and strength and let us continue to represent Christ well to our city!
Truellen Baker has put together a wonderful prayer guide for us for the National Day of Prayer. I encourage you to take some time today and pray through this guide as we lift up our nation together!
National Day of Prayer
May 7, 2020
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14
Introduction: Never has our Nation needed our prayers as much as now. If you will, use this guide just as if you were in the service. There is a topic and a prayer to introduce and then if you will, spend time on each topic after the printed prayer, praying your own prayers for that topic.
COVID 19 in our Nation
Lord, grant us all the strength we need today during this crisis to serve one another in love. We especially pray your extra measure of protection on those doctors, nurses, and medical personnel of all kind on the front line.
Also, Lord there are those who are essential workers that provide good nutrition, clean water, sanitation, electricity, access to one another by communication and technology. For each and every person, we ask Your blessing and protection. Remind us of our responsibility to encourage them by expressing our gratitude as we have the opportunity.
In this crisis we praise you for Jesus, the high and safe Rock, the ultimate trustworthy foundation for any and every storm of life.
COVID 19 Recovery and Protection
Asking You, Merciful and Able Father, to give those scientists working on COVID the knowledge needed to develop the safest and most effective medicines and therapies to help the ill recover and protect the well from contracting the virus. Give those physicians and agencies delegated with such authority the wisdom to approve the release and apply the use of those treatments to patients in Your perfect timing. We pray for this, Lord Jesus, to minimize the suffering and loss of life this contagion is leaving in its wake.
COVID 19 and our Elderly, Nursing Home Residents, and Those Hospitalized
Lord, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Those at home sheltering in place for a very long time, Nursing Home Residents that can’t have visitors and those hospitalized that are there with no visitors feel so isolated. I pray they feel Your Loving Arms around them and Your UNLIMITED Love for them.
President and His Advisors
Lord, You have said that “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 On behalf of the President of the United States, I pray for him to have wisdom, discernment, and knowledge for every decision he needs to make. I pray that the president and his advisors will not just do what seems right, but will seek Your counsel so they will do that which they know is right in Your eyes.
Lord, help those in charge of our National Security to make decisions according to Your will and Your ways. Show our leaders of National Security wise things to do and the precautions to take in order to insure our safety. Guide them in installing the most effective measures for protecting the people of our country.
Justices of Supreme Court
Lord, I pray that each of our Supreme Court Justices would meditate on Your laws before they interpret the laws of the land. Give every judge the wisdom and integrity to judge righteously so they will never violate Your laws, and may Your will be done in each decision they make.
Lord, give godly wisdom to those in high office in our military to make the right decisions in defending our country.
I pray for protection of all the men and women of our armed forces. When they must go into battle, put a hedge of protection around them. Give them strength to endure.
Spiritual Life of the Nation
Lord, how I thank you that even with this terrible Pandemic the good that has come is that your Gospel is being put out there in all kind of media more than ever before. I pray for every person sharing the gospel from Sermons, Sunday School Lessons, and Bible Studies to be led by Your Holy Spirit to give just what is needed from You to bring Spiritual Healing to our nation.
Economy of the Nation
Lord, we are facing a crisis in the economy of our nation due to the pandemic. I pray that You would give those in positions of making decisions regarding our economy Your wisdom in these decisions. Especially protect people living in poverty, or on the edge of it, who are most painfully affected by our slipping economy.
Educators, Teachers, and Students
Father, all three of the above are being challenged in different ways because of the pandemic. Help them to feel Your presence and seek Your guidance in decisions that are so different from any they have had to make before.
Please continue to help the technology to stay up and running so our students can finish the year strong.
Lord, I pray you would give our local officials Your wisdom in decisions they are needing to make that are so new to them.
Local Policemen and Firemen
Protect our local police and firemen as they continue to do their job in these challenging days.
As we close our prayer time Lord, help us always to be reminded that our weapons of warfare are always Prayer and God’s Word.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing you for four reasons. The first reason is to encourage you that God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46). He is with us and He is working all things for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28). We also know that even in the midst of trials of various kinds that God is at work in us to make us more like Jesus (James 1). In the midst of the uncertainty, let us cling to God and walk by faith and not by fear.
The second reason I am writing you is to provide you with ways that you can communicate with me and our church family if you have prayer requests or needs that we can help meet. The deacons and I want to ensure that you have what you need spiritually, physically, and financially during this unique time. Please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know if you are in need of prayer or have another need that we can help meet. We are the body of Christ and we have the privilege of being connected to one another through Him. We are here to serve you! Here are some ways you can communicate:
The church office is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30am-3pm. During these office hours, you can call our administrative assistant, Jocelyn Owens, and share your prayer requests or needs. She will then relay the information to the appropriate person. If no one answers the phone or if you are calling outside of office hours, you can leave a message and someone will get back in touch with you as soon as possible. The church office number is 706.736.8446.
You can also communicate through social media. You can send a direct message through our Facebook page or Instagram page.
Finally, you can communicate by calling my cell phone. My cell phone number is 706.945.7619.
The third reason I am writing you is to share how you can stay updated regarding our church worship services. The deacons and I are closely monitoring the state of our city regarding the spread of the virus. We have canceled all Wednesday evening activities until further notice. If possible, we desire to preserve our Sunday morning worship service at 11 am. We will monitor the situation throughout the week and we will make an official announcement each Saturday at noon. The announcement will be made through email, our website, and social media. If you do not have access to these methods of communication then please contact me, your deacon, or another church member on Saturday to receive the announcement.
The fourth reason I am writing you is to give you some direction about what to do when you attend the worship service during the spread of the coronavirus. First, if you or your child is sick, please stay home. Our mission is to love people and you are not loving people when you spread your sickness. If you are sick and would like to receive an audio of the worship service, please contact the church office, and we will be glad to provide one for you. Second, the doors will be propped open as you enter and leave the service. Please try to refrain from touching the doors. Third, sit at least three feet from the closest non-family member during the service. Fourth, the offering plates will be placed at the front of the Sanctuary and in the vestibule. You will have an opportunity to give your offering as you leave the service. I want to encourage you to continue your giving to the mission of the church. If you’re unable to attend the worship service, I encourage you to mail your offering to the church office. Fifth, when greeting those around you, please wave but do not shake hands. Sixth, we will have hand sanitizer available for you to use as you enter the Sanctuary. However, our supply is low. If you have hand sanitizer that you would like to give to the church, please bring it by the church office this week or you can bring it with you on Sunday. Seventh, if you are in the high-risk category with regard to this virus, it would be wise for you to remain quarantined in your home. Even with the precautions that we are implementing, there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of coming in contact with the virus. Again, we can make an audio CD of the worship service available to you. If you would like one, please let the church office know and we will send you one.
This is truly a unique time for our country, our city, and our church. Although many things are canceled, the mission of God has not been canceled or postponed. As we navigate this season together, let us keep our focus on loving God, loving people, and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
I was sharing with my Sunday school class this past Sunday the similarities between the wilderness journey of the Israelites and the Christian life. Like Israel was delivered out of slavery from Egypt, we are delivered out of slavery to sin through faith in Jesus. However, Israel had to go on a journey before they reached the Promised Land. That journey was filled with blessings and great tragedy. As Christians, we must go on a journey as well before we reach the ultimate Promised Land that Jesus will usher in at His return. This journey of life between conversion and consummation is one that is filled with blessings and tragedy.
We’re only a month into 2020 and we’ve seen wildfires ravage Australia, an impeachment trial for the president of our country, a helicopter crash that has killed one of the greatest and well-known basketball players of all time, and a strand of the coronavirus that is making its way from China into the rest of the world. At the same time, we’ve experienced moments of happiness over a child making the soccer team, going to the movie with friends, spending time with family, a promotion at work, answered prayer, spending more time in God’s Word, and ministering to those around us. Life is a journey and one that is filled with blessings and tragedy. But life with Christ is one that is also filled with hope. It’s filled with hope because we know that there is more to life than this life. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” The hope that is found in Christ is that we are on a journey that is full of meaning and purpose. It is a journey that leads to an eternal destination where we will be all that we were meant to be and enjoy life with God forever. It is this hope that helps us navigate the blessings and tragedies in the journey of life. As we journey together let us consider how we can encourage and challenge one another to keep our minds set on the things above and the glory that is to be revealed to us.