I was reading an article about the history of the phrase “thank you” and it said that the word “thank” comes from the Latin root word that means “think.” Translated loosely, the phrase might mean “I will remember what you have done for me.” Being thankful requires us to be thoughtful. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we should “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Giving thanks to God requires us to be thoughtful. When our circumstances are pleasant it’s easy to give thanks. But our circumstances are not always going to be pleasant. When we find ourselves in unpleasant circumstances, we must look beyond them and think about what God has done and is doing for us in Christ.
Whether you’re facing pleasant or unpleasant circumstances try praying one of these prayers each day.
“God, thank you for how you provide for me.”
“Father, I’m having a hard time dealing with this situation but I want to thank you that you’ve given me your Spirit to comfort and guide me.”
“Lord, thank you for my church family and for the opportunity you’ve given me to love and serve your people.”
“Lord, I’m feeling discouraged but I want to thank you that you are working all things for my good.”
“Father, thank you for my family and friends that you’ve placed in my life.”
“Jesus, I’m feeling lonely but I want to thank you that you will never leave me or forsake me.”
“God, I want to thank you for who you are and for blessing me with __________________.”
Being thankful requires us to be thoughtful. Let us remember what God and others have done for us and be a thankful people.
I talked to someone the other day about their life plan and he mentioned several possibilities. Sometimes thinking about all the options and all the decisions that need to be made can become paralyzing. What if I make the wrong decision? What if step four doesn’t come after step three? What if I don’t get into that degree program? What if I’m not married by this certain age? What if I never have children? What if I don’t get that job? There are so many questions that come to mind as we seek to move forward and make progress. As I was talking to my friend about all the decisions and details of what may come in the future, I told him that he needs to simply ask the question, “What’s next?” I told him he needed to simply focus on taking his next step. In a similar way, as you think about knowing God, growing in your relationship with God, and serving God in the world, you may become paralyzed by all that you could do. So, I want you to simply ask the question, “What’s next?” What’s your next step? I’ve compiled a list of the next steps I want you to consider taking. There are several listed but I want you to simply pick one. I want you to take your next step. Look over the list below and chose which one you will take.
Sign up to receive the weekly Mission Update email (You can sign up at thehillbaptist.com or by calling the church office.)
Begin attending the Worship Service on Sundays at 11am
Begin attending a Sunday school class on Sundays at 9:45am (We offer two adult classes.)
Place your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior for the first time
Get Baptized (schedule a time to talk to me and we’ll plan a date)
Become a member of The Hill Baptist Church (Fill out a membership card located in the vestibule of the Sanctuary.)
Go through the six-lesson curriculum entitled Discipleship Essentials (Talk to me about scheduling a time to go through this curriculum.)
Begin attending the Wednesday evening prayer time & Bible study
Begin using your giftedness to serve in a specific role in the church at least once a month (Ask me about specific serving opportunities in our church.)
Start giving financially to the mission of the Church (You can give your gift in person, or you can mail it to the Church, or you can give online at thehillbaptist.com and click on GIVE.)
Invite someone to come with you to a Worship Service
Share the gospel with someone
Begin reading the Bible every day (I encourage you to start with the New Testament letter to the Philippians.)
I hope this specific list helps you take your next step! If you have any questions or if there is any way I can help you take your next step please let me know. You can email me at email@example.com, call the church office, or talk to me in person.
It’s so encouraging when you witness the birth of the desire within a person’s heart to grow spiritually. I was able to witness this in one of our youth at the end of the youth beach trip. Many of you were involved in this ministry effort as well through your prayers and financial support. Thank you for investing in our youth!
As we exit the summer months and enter a new school year, I want to challenge you to continue to be engaged in the mission. It will take effort but the effort is worth it. Your participation in helping people become growing followers of Jesus will help both you and those you’re working with move forward with the Lord. Here are a few ways you can engage in the mission.
Be Present - Make it a priority to attend Sunday School and the Worship Service every Sunday. Try scheduling your other activities so they don’t conflict with gathering with the Church. Your presence is a blessing to our Church!
Serve - Look for ways to use your gifts and abilities to help our Church fulfill its mission. Talk to the pastor if you would like to find a way to serve.
Is there a role you can take on in your Sunday school class?
Are you interested in helping with the children or youth?
Are you interested in college ministry?
Would you like to incorporate your musical ability into our worship services?
Do you enjoy planning activities?
Do you love helping people in need?
Do you like visiting with people who are homebound or in extended care facilities?
Are you interested in learning how to operate our sound and video equipment?
Would you like to serve on the Prep Team that will make sure everything is set up for our Wednesday evening dinners?
Give - We are behind in our giving and as we exit the summer we need to catch up. We need everyone to give financially in order for us to meet our budget needs. There are three ways you can give.
You can give Sunday morning before or after the Worship Service by leaving your offering in the offering plate.
You can give by mailing your check to:
The Hill Baptist Church
2165 Kings Way
Augusta GA 30904
It’s very encouraging when you witness the birth of the desire within a person’s heart to grow spiritually! We can all be involved in helping people become growing followers of Jesus. How will you be engaged in the mission?
This past week we had a construction crew tear down a structure in our backyard. When this structure was originally built it was built solid. It was well planned and constructed meticulously. It probably took several months to build.
The crew that took the structure down had between three and four men depending on the day. They didn’t use any heavy equipment or machinery. What took several months to construct they were able to tear down in three days. It’s amazing how much easier it is to tear down than to build up something.
What’s true of structures is true of people as well. How much easier is it to tear down someone than to build them up? Why is it easier to find fault rather than to encourage? There’s something within our fallen nature that causes us to effortlessly locate the shortcomings in those around us. Perhaps it’s to make ourselves feel better than the other person. But whatever the reason, as followers of Jesus we’re called to build rather than demolish. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica, “encourage one another and build one another up (1 These. 5:11).”
I want to challenge you to say an encouraging word to those around you every day this week. Look for ways to acknowledge how God is working in their lives rather than focusing on their failures. Let’s be intentional in building one another up.
Summer is upon us. Yes, that means the heat is upon us. But it also means the kids are out of school, the pools are open, and the countdown to vacation is nearing the single digits. The summer is also a unique time of year that provides many opportunities to minister to our members as well as to our community. In order to make the most of the summer season, we’ve implemented a new summer schedule of gathering opportunities. Read through the weekly opportunities below and see how you can get involved as well as invite those you know to join you!
9:45am - Sunday School for all ages - Sunday School is the best way for you to get to know other Christians and study the Bible together!
11am - Worship Service - I hope everyone will come to worship the Lord with us on Sundays! This is the main time during the week that we can all worship together!
5pm Jones Sunday School Class Summer Sundays at Ron’s House
7pm - College Bible Study at Ron’s House
Youth Hangouts - Brandon is planning a different youth hangout each Tuesday. The first one is a cookout and pool party at Ron’s house on Tuesday, June 14th at 5pm.
10am-12pm or 1pm - Wacky Wednesdays for children 4 years old through the 5th grade (youth can be volunteers)
11:30am-1pm - Adult Lunch & Bible Study in the Social Hall (Please RSVP the Monday prior by going to our website thehillbaptist.com and clicking on Wednesday Lunch or by calling the church office at 706.736.8446). Cost is $5.
There is something for everyone during the week. I want to encourage you to be as involved as you can this summer. I also want to encourage you to look for opportunities to invite children, youth, college students, and people of all ages to plug into one of these great ministry opportunities! Summer is upon us and I’m excited about what God is going to do in this season!
Who enjoys moving? As many of you know, we recently purchased a home. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed living in the Kings Way house but it was time to get a place of our own. Over the past several months we’ve been in the moving process. Although we’ve made the transition to the new house, we’re still moving. Moving is a process. Some things came with us and some things didn’t. We also had to buy some new things that we needed that we didn’t have. Moving is a process.
Moving forward with God is also a process. In Christ, we’re made new. The old has gone and the new has come. As we make that move, there are some things that need to go with us and there are some things that should not. Even though we have made the move into a new relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is continually helping us see what we need to remove from the house of our lives. Maybe we need to remove a toxic relationship, maybe it’s a particular sinful behavior that we’ve packed up and brought with us from the old house, or maybe it’s a false belief about our identity or self-worth that we’re trying to find a place for in our new house. Moving is an opportunity to get rid of some things that you no longer need.
Moving is also an opportunity to enjoy some new things as well. In Christ, we are fully accepted by God. God has set His love upon us and nothing can make Him love us more or less. God has given us His Spirit to live within us to help us, teach us, convict us, intercede in prayer for us, and guide us, We have a new family in the church. These benefits and many more are new to us in Christ.
The challenges and blessings of moving are that it’s an opportunity to change. I want to encourage you to make the move into a relationship with God if you haven’t already. If you have made that move, then I encourage you to ask the Lord if there is anything that you’ve brought from the old house that needs to be discarded and replaced with something new from the Lord. Moving is a process. Let’s listen to the Lord in the process and become the people He wants us to be.
April is a full month! As we enter the first week of April, our city will be filled with guests for the Masters Golf Tournament! Kids and teachers will be enjoying a break from school and many people will be traveling. Then after spring break we enter into Holy Week. Palm Sunday is Sunday, April 10th. Our Maundy Thursday Service is Thursday, April 14th at 6:30pm. Our Good Friday Tenebrae Service is Friday, April 15th at 7pm. Then we will gather Easter Sunday for Sunday School at 9:45am and Worship at 11am. Then we will conclude the month with our Food, Fellowship, & Fun gathering on Wednesday, April 27th at 6:30pm.
I want to challenge you to make the most of these opportunities. Invite someone to come with you to one or more of these services. One tool you can use to invite them is the Facebook Event that we created. You can share the event on your Facebook page as well as invite your Facebook Friends to the event. Also, the most effective way to invite someone is through personal invitation. I know we’re all busy but let’s not let our busyness blind us to the opportunities God will give us to reach people for Christ. Holy Week reminds us of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. Let us display that type of love to those around us by giving them the opportunity to come and hear the gospel at one or more of our services. I’m looking forward to how God will bless our steps of faith.
In the month of March, I’ll be going through a sermon series entitled “One Hit Wonders.” Each week we’ll study one of the shortest books of the Bible (Obadiah, Philemon, and Jude). Although these books are small, each containing only one chapter, they contain large truths. I encourage you to take some time and read each of these books before the sermons. Here is the order of the series.
Sunday, March 6th - Obadiah
Sunday, March 13th - Philemon
Sunday, March 20th - Jude
I’m looking forward to diving into these small books with you and discovering the large truths that God has for us!
I read this the other day. “Most people have birthmarks that are specific to them, whether moles or other kinds of unique identification marks, Designers are known by their trademarks. They have logos of various kinds that even if you don’t read the name, it becomes clear who made it. God likewise has established a mark, a very clear mark, by which His children who have been birthed by the Spirit ought to be known. Love is the birthmark of the Christian. Without the birthmark of love, other people really don’t know who you are.”
February is the month of love. But what is love? What is this birthmark mentioned above? In 1 John 4:8, we read that “God is love.” Paul tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If God is love and God shows His love for us by sending His one and only Son then what is the definition of love? However you define love, the definition must line up with the character of God because God is love.
I believe a simple and accurate definition of love is seeking the good of another. God is love and therefore He acts in a way that seeks our ultimate good. In Romans 8:28 we’re told, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God works for the good of His people. Love is seeking the good of another.
In 1 John 4:19 we learn that “we love because he [God] first loved us.” This means that the only way we can truly, fully, and consistency love both God and man is by understanding and experiencing God’s love for us through Jesus Christ. Love requires that we forgive. Love requires that we show grace and mercy. Love requires that we speak truth. Love requires that we speak up when we see injustice. Love compels us to share the gospel. Because it’s only through a relationship with God that people can become who God created them to be. It’s only through faith in Jesus Christ that we truly know what love is. During this “month of love,” let us put the love of God on full display toward one another and those in our city!
While the people of God were in exile during the ministry of the prophet Isaiah, God spoke to them and said:
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
The people of God were probably discouraged and their hope for a return to the land God had given them was most likely diminishing. As their grip was slipping on the rope of hope, God assured them that He was present and at work. He told them, “I am doing a new thing.” This reminder that God is at work in the present just as He worked in the past offered hope to His weary people.
If you’re like me, you may be entering 2022 weary. It has been a challenging two years. Like the people in Isaiah’s day, we need to be reminded that God is at work in this very moment to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). As we move into the new year, let us allow the Word of God to strengthen our grip on the rope of hope. One way we can do this is by reading through the Bible.
I want to invite you to join me in reading through the Bible this year. I’ve included the reading plan for January in the newsletter. Also, there is a printed copy in the vestibule of the Sanctuary. I’ll include the reading plan each month. It is so easy to forget what God has done and what He continues to do in the world. Let’s allow the daily reading of God’s Word to strengthen our faith this year!