Author: Antioch

Living Fully Alive // Part Two

This morning Jimmy Seibert continued our series, Living Fully Alive, with a message centered around Romans 8:5-11. He called us to live a life submitted to the Holy Spirit rather than live according to our flesh. He reminded us that our relationship with God is just that – a relationship. When we walk in the flesh, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Seeing our sin as personal and connected to a relationship help us be see the effects of our sin. It’s more than try to make our good outweigh our bad; it is wanting to live in a life-giving relationship with God! Walking in the Spirit is not a law; it’s an invitation to life and peace. We have the power to choose to walk in the Spirit which helps us step into the promises of God. But we also have the choice to walk in the flesh which results in grieving God. When we are hostile toward Him, we push away the One who gives us peace, encouragement, comfort and direction. We have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. So let’s choose again today to live a life connected with Him!

A FEW PRACTICAL WAYS FOR YOU TO APPLY THE MESSAGE THIS WEEK:

  • Pause and remember Jesus // Today we each took a red dot sticker and placed it somewhere we would see throughout the day. Whether you put it on your phone, your watch or somewhere else, we encourage you to pause and acknowledge God’s nearness every time you look at it. If you didn’t get a red dot this week, set alarms on your phone throughout the day, and create space to intentionally pause.
  • Spend time with God each day // This morning, Jimmy talked about laying a solid foundation in the morning in order to walk in the Spirit. If it isn’t a part of your daily routine already, we encourage you to set aside time to worship, pray and read Scripture every morning.
  • Romans 8 Challenge // As a part of that time in the morning, read through Romans 8 every day. Throughout the course of our series, we are reading Romans 8 and asking these three questions:
    • What does this passage say about God?
    • What does it say about me?
    • How can I respond or obey?

Follow Jimmy on Instagram or Facebook for daily devotionals.

Five Truths for Discernment

When I was in elementary school, I noticed a surprising fad. Everyone was walking around wearing little bracelets made out of string wrapped around plastic. They were all different colors but they had one thing in common; they all had the same letters embroidered on their outer side, “WWJD.” This was before I was a Christian but nonetheless I soon found myself wearing one everywhere, not having a clue what it meant. When I found out it stood for, “What Would Jesus Do?” I was perplexed. Was I supposed to ask myself this question every time I made a decision? “Homework or TV immediately after I got home from school?” WWJD. Homework. Cool. “Finish my dinner or demand that my mom make me something I like better?” WWJD. Honor my mom. Seems to be working so far. “Chocolate or vanilla ice cream for dessert?” WWJD. Uh… What would Jesus like better? (The answer is chocolate, by the way, I’m positive!)

This is just one of many silly ways we have tried to make discerning God’s will easier. Should you major in something you’re passionate about or something you could use to help a lot of people? Should you take that promotion that will allow you to do a lot of good in the community but take away time from your family? Should you invest your money in things God is doing overseas through an NGO that sponsors children living in poverty or give to a missionary?

Discerning God’s will can often be so difficult that it results in a kind of discernment paralysis, in which we can’t decide what God is directing us to do so we just wait on Him forever and end up doing nothing at all! In my life, I’ve found that I can often shake myself out of discernment paralysis not by a catchy slogan like WWJD, but by reminding myself of five simple truths about who God is and who I am.

1.GOD CAN SPEAK TO ME USING ANYTHING THAT WILL GET MY ATTENTION // He spoke to Adam by walking with him in the cool of the day. He spoke to Abraham through a promise. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He spoke to Gideon through a wet blanket. He spoke to Joseph through a dream. He spoke to John through an open vision.

2. GOD LIVES INSIDE OF ME // Jesus had the audacity to say it’s actually better for us if He left! Why? Because He could send the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. Do you think He’s too far away to hear him clearly? Think again.

3. GOD LIVES INSIDE MY CHURCH FAMILY // On “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” everyone knows what the best lifeline is: Ask the Audience. It’s a Biblical principle that by listening to wise counsel we are more likely to succeed (Proverbs 15:22). But how much more so when a group of people who have the Holy Spirit living inside them give that counsel?

4. GOD IS CAPABLE OF CHANGING MY DIRECTION IF I CHOOSE THE WRONG OPTION // In Acts 16, Paul and his companions were all set to go preach the gospel in Bithynia (a province in what is now Turkey), but the scripture says the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to! If it’s time for you to make a decision about what God’s will is, step out in faith toward whichever direction you’re leaning and trust that He’ll stop you if it’s not the right decision.

5. MY CALLING IS TO MAKE DISCIPLES // At the end of the day, we all have the same calling: to make disciples. We just might be led to do it in different ways. Some will do it by bringing justice through an non-profit. Some will do it by leading out in business missionally. Some will do it by raising children. Some will do it through cross-cultural ministry. But whatever you do, you can be sure you’re not too far off from what God wants for you as long as you’re answering the simple question: “How can I use this to make disciples?”

Last but not least, remember this saying from Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but to search out a matter is the glory of Kings.” This should remind us that oftentimes, discerning God’s will has very little to do with the destination and much more to do with the process. That feeling of struggle you feel is a good thing. It draws you closer to Him and builds character. That’s what is really important.

By An Antioch Missionary

Mercy House –
Hope, Healing and Restoration

Mercy House is our addiction recovery home for men. Each year men enter the program, and are invested in and empowered to live free from addiction, rooted in their worth and envisioned to make a positive impact in the community around them.

This biblically-based program has four phases:

  • Phase One: Orientation // Individuals are oriented into a new life of structure, accountability and healthy living.
  • Phase Two: Foundation // Individuals experience a holistic approach to recovery that addresses the mental, physical, spiritual and relational health of a man.
  • Phase Three: Reintegration // Individuals re-enter the work force and begin to practice financial skills they have learned, while preparing to transition into independent living.
  • Phase Four: Transition // Individuals live the last two months in independent living, outside of Mercy House with high accountability, while practicing the skills necessary to live a healthy life free from addiction.

The Mercy House is a non-profit organization and is able to operate based on donations and partnerships with people from around the community.

One way you can partner with Mercy House and support the work they are doing is by attending their annual banquet this Thursday, April 12th. Come enjoy dinner and hear powerful testimonies of the healing power of Jesus. Last year, we raised $60,000 at the banquet. Funds went toward programming and house operations.

By partnering with the Mercy House, you get to be a part of allowing men to learn who God has called them to be, and you’re giving them the opportunity to be fathers, sons, brothers and friends once again. Click here to learn more about their upcoming banquet and to buy tickets.

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST YEAR’S BANQUET:

Easter 2018

Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and the life we have because of Him! Lead Pastor Carl Gulley shared on the impact the cross has on our lives. Jesus closed the gap between our performance and God’s perfection, and now we can have relationship with Him. From our Kids Ministry to our main services, we are so thankful for everyone who joined and worshiped with us.

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR MORNING:

Check out yesterday’s message from Carl Gulley here.

John, His Story – A Recap

This past weekend was our Palm Sunday production, John, His Story. This production creatively tells the story of Jesus as written in the Gospel of John. Four actors came together to portray 27 different characters, and brought the Gospel to life. We are so thankful for our team who worked on this production, and for the opportunity to share the love of Jesus in such a creative way!

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRODUCTION:

A special thank you to Fadi Salem for taking photos and helping us capture the event.

2017 Year in Review

2017 WAS  A GREAT YEAR, AND HERE’S WHY:

We completed our Kids Ministry renovation in 2017! The renovation included 11 new classrooms, an outdoor playground and a Kids Auditorium for our elementary students.

 

Lifegroups are at the core of who we are as a church. Between the Youth Ministry, College Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, Families and Caleb Zone, 244 Lifegroups met weekly throughout the year.

 

UnBound, our anti-trafficking ministry, has seven chapters world-wide. Through STARS Mentoring Project, 1,400 books were read in Book Clubs. Mercy House and Grace House continued to see men and women set free from addiction.

 

In 2017, we launched four international churches. The Antioch Movement is now working in 39 countries and in 77 locations.

 

CHECK OUT THE FULL 2017 ANNUAL REPORT HERE.

Sharing Life With God

The other night as I was bathing my seven month old daughter, she breathed in some water while I was rinsing the shampoo from the tiny amount of hair on her head. For a few terrifying seconds, she was gasping for air, then not breathing and finally, as I patted her back, she coughed and began to breath normally. It was scary for this first time mom and I cried as I dried her off. She was totally fine and happy, in fact, she didn’t even cry. But I wasn’t. Immediately after she was in her pajamas and peacefully asleep in bed, I texted a couple friends, called my mom and told the story. Their words of affirmation, comfort and compassion made me feel better and I was thankful for people to confide in. However, as I was doing all of this sharing, I felt a nudge from God.

I FELT A GENTLE NUDGE TO SHARE WITH HIM.

Remember when you were little and your parents were constantly hounding you to share your toys? It’s interesting to think it was such a struggle then, and now we have all grown up to be expert sharers. Maybe not of our possessions, but we live in a world where we do a lot of sharing, sometimes too much. As my grandpa put it: “I don’t want to tweet. I don’t want people to know I’m brushing my teeth!” He’s clearly not from our generation. I am a sharer. Whether it is emailing recipes and book recommendations to friends, posting photos of my baby and dog or sending my husband funny YouTube videos, I love to participate in community both in person and through the world of social media. Sometimes what I want to tell other people most are the happy moments in my day, but many times it’s also the things that bothered, upset or frustrated me. It’s how I’m wired and maybe how you are wired too. Community driven, social and participating in life with people around us.

WE ALL EXPRESS IT DIFFERENTLY AND TO  VARYING DEGREES, BUT IN US ALL IS THE DESIRE TO CONNECT WITH AND BE KNOWN BY OTHERS.

As I felt prompted to share the bathtub story with God, I couldn’t help but think: “Does God really desire this type of intimate sharing?” You may wonder as well. Does He really want us to fill Him in on our concerns and even things that seem trivial or silly? I think He does, more than we know.

Matthew 10:29-31 tells us this:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”

God knows if a tiny bird falls to the ground and He knows the number of hairs on your head. Think about that for a minute. He knows the intimate details of your life and wants to share them with you. Yes, there are crazy things going on in the world and most of them feel bigger and more important than your lousy day at work or the comment someone made to hurt your feelings. But that is who God is.

He is big, strong and powerful, and also near, gentle and caring.

IN RESPONSE:

When was the last time you shared with God first rather than with other people? When was the last time you allowed Him to fellowship with you in the details of your life? Take time today to develop new depths of friendship with God by sharing with Him. And I bet you’ll find that He really does care.

This post was originally written by Jillian Armstrong – Antioch Baton Rouge Young Adult Pastor and UnBound Director

Reaching our City this Easter Season

With the Easter season, comes the opportunity to not only celebrate the life Jesus gives us, but also invite those around us to hear the gospel message, again or for the first time.

“Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

This verse is what we are inviting people into when we invite them to attend the Palm Sunday production or Easter services. There is really nothing better than having the opportunity to invite people into relationship with Jesus! If you are looking for ways to invite people and get involved in our Palm Sunday production and Easter services, here are a few practical ways you can be a part.

WAYS YOU CAN JUMP IN:

  • INVITE SOMEONE TO OUR PALM SUNDAY EASTER PRODUCTION // Performances of “John, His Story” by Jeannette Clift George are Saturday, March 24th,  at 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 25th, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. In thjs production, four people creatively portray 27 characters, and bring the Gospel of John to life. It’s family-friendly, but we will also have Kids Ministry available for birth through 6th grade. If you aren’t bringing someone with you, we encourage you to attend the Saturday performance to make room for guests as we anticipate large attendance on Sunday.
  • INVITE SOMEONE TO JOIN YOU EASTER SUNDAY // We will have inspiring music and an encouraging message in our Auditorium, as well as fun activities planned for kids ages birth through 6th grade. This is a wonderful time to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to hear the Gospel. Services are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
  • INVITE SOMEONE TO THE ALPHA COURSE STARTING APRIL 9th // Alpha is for anyone who is looking for a place to explore the meaning of life and have open discussions about the challenging questions regarding the Christian faith. Whether you are new to following Jesus or not, anyone is welcome as we explore these important questions.
  • VOLUNTEER MARCH 24th, 25th OR EASTER SUNDAY // We’re expecting lots of guests this Easter season and invite you to serve during a service and bless our guests! If you’re available to volunteer, please let us know by filling out and submitting this form.

We are so excited to celebrate this Easter season together!

AWAKEN 2018 Recap // Days Three and Four

We cannot believe that this week is almost over! Day three started with our college pastor, Carl Gulley, challenging us through taking a look at the life of David. We came together again in the afternoon to hear from Nate Hutcherson and Caroline Doolittle speak on tending to your heart. We finished our day with more park and neighborhood outreaches where we shared the gospel and prayed for people. On day four, we heard from Maddie Phenix at our morning session and had a kickball tournament between the different sections in the afternoon. To end the day, we did park outreaches and hosted a carnival. God is on the move and we are excited to be a part!

One big team did a flash mob while out on a mall outreach. Check it out!

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR LAST COUPLE OF DAYS //

We share testimonies every morning, and are filled with faith for what God wants to continue to do in and through us.

We kick everyday off with worship. It is always refreshing to start our day in the presence of God.

On Tuesday, we took the afternoon to hear from Caroline Doolittle and Nate Hutcherson as they shared about tending your heart.

Each year we have a kickball tournament between big teams, and it is a blast!

After some down time, we head out to outreaches in the afternoons.

We are so filled with faith for the people of the Rio Grande Valley. God is on the move and we are so thankful to be a part!

In addition to outreaches at the parks, we have also hosted carnivals at the Echo Hotel.

We love getting to serve and do outreach alongside everyone on our big teams. Each day ends with team time! There is nothing better than gathering together to share testimonies and encouragements.

TODAY, PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:

  • The last of our carnivals to draw in the people of Edinburg so they can hear the Gospel.
  • Our students to be energized and encouraged as they go out today with fresh boldness.
  • The last of our outreaches to be fruitful and for people to have responsive hearts.
A huge thank you to our amazing volunteer photographers for helping us this week: Fadi Salem, Isaac Overton, Josh Lo, Sydney Cope, Rebecca Burris and Sarah Berlinsky

AWAKEN 2018 Recap // Day Two

The second day of AWAKEN was amazing! We had our first morning session where Luke Whyte talked on the father heart of God before we headed out to service projects all around the city. We ended our day with multiple outreaches in parks as well as neighborhoods.

HERE IS A LOOK AT OUR SECOND DAY

We start every morning with worship, there is nothing like coming together to praise Jesus!

Luke Whyte kicked off our first session with a powerful message on the father heart of God.

After our morning session, we headed out to various work sites across the city.

It is so fun to serve the city alongside the rest of our big teams.

Prayer brings transformation and healing, and we are not only believing for the people of the Rio Grande Valley to be healed, but also our students.

We love sharing testimonies because it stirs our faith and raises our expectancy for all God is going to do.

We believe people’s lives are getting transformed! We take opportunities to share the gospel and pray with people whenever we can.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PARTNER WITH US IN PRAYER!

Pray for// 
  • Good weather for the rest of the week
  • Our students to be responsive and encounter Jesus in the morning sessions
  • The people of Edinburg to have open hearts to respond to the gospel
A HUGE thank you to our amazing volunteer photographers for helping us this week: Fadi Salem, Isaac Overton, Josh Lo, Sydney Cope, Rebecca Burris and Nate Emerson.