Author: Destiny Gonzalez

Confirming New Elders

We are thrilled to announce three new elder candidates to help govern our church!

They are Susan Peters, Vincent Carpenter and Carl Gulley.

We will be taking the next two weeks for you to submit any questions or concerns to our current elder team. You can email [email protected] or call our church office at 254-754-0386. We will be commissioning our new elders on Sunday, June 28th. The Antioch Movement has recently released position papers on our stance regarding Women in Ministry as well as Race and the Glory of God. Click on the links below to read those.

Get to know our Elder Candidates:

Susan Peters, Unbound Global Director

Vincent Carpenter, Adult Pastor

Carl Gulley, Lead Pastor

Prayer & Fasting // The Gift of Repentance

Today is the final day of our corporate fast. We have centered these days on 2 Chronicles 7:14, “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.” This passage was an exhortation to God’s people and is equally relevant for us today as we seek to respond by humbling ourselves, praying and repenting.

Repentance means to change.

It is the act of turning away from our will and instead embracing God’s. Repentance is an internal act that transforms external behavior, and it is at the very heart of what it means to be the Church.

Acts 2 begins by describing how the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples after a period of prayer and waiting. A large crowd gathered to see the commotion and Peter stood up to preach the gospel. As he preached, God stirred people’s hearts and they began crying out, asking how what they must do in response.

Peter’s reply is important. He immediately told the desperate crowd to repent and be baptized. Baptism, though common to us today, had previously been an initiation ceremony for Gentiles who wanted to convert to Judaism. This is what made the ministry of John the Baptist so shocking— he taught that Jews, God’s people, needed baptism just as much as a foreigner. In other words, a person’s spiritual heritage was not enough; everyone needed to repent and turn.

Peter picked up this same theme. Standing in front of him were representatives from countless nations gathered together and he gave everyone the same command: repent and be baptized. We all must turn away from our sin and turn toward Jesus. Though baptism is a one-time act, repentance is a lifestyle. It is a continuous turning back to Jesus and away from our own ways.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit sparked a revival that continues to this very day. Throughout history, genuine revival movements have always begun by people giving themselves to repentance. When we encounter his holiness, we start to see our sin for what it really is. Church history is filled with revival stories in which people wept for hours under the fear of the Lord and began confessing sin so they might be free.

The power of repentance is found not in our own introspection or self-criticism; instead, repentance causes us to recognize the destruction of our sin but even more so, it leads us into an encounter with grace. Too often we minimize the power of grace because we fail to understand the true nature of sin.

The grace of Jesus alone can set us free.

Repentance, like fasting, is uncomfortable. It forces us to confront our weakness and sin while we live surrounded by a culture that instead prefers to celebrate our strength.

In this season of Lent, repentance lifts our gaze to the Cross, so that we might understand the weight of sin placed upon Jesus’s shoulders. This journey is not easy, but repentance also leads us to an empty tomb and to the revelation that we are forever freed from sin and death, and that we have become a new creation.

We encourage you today to embrace repentance as we close this time of pasting and prayer. Then, as you break your fast this evening, celebrate God‘s provision—of food but even more so of His grace. Let’s believe together for healing for our land as we, the people called by His name, turn back to Him.


Read this article for more tips for a great fast.

Here’s a crafted prayer centered on 2 Chronicles 7:14 to pray throughout the day as we humble ourselves, pray and repent through this fast.

Join us live on YouTube for Jesus Hour Monday – Wednesday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

Prayer & Fasting // Called to Pray

Prayer is central to following Jesus.

He modeled a life of prayer and repeatedly taught His disciples to pray. He taught specific prayers, He promised to answer us and He challenged His disciples to pray in faith.

In one parable, found in Luke 18:1-18, we read a peculiar story about a judge who was indifferent to the plight of a poor woman who was seeking justice. He initially refused to hear her case, but she persisted and confronted him every day until he finally relented. Luke informs us that Jesus told this parable to teach His disciples that they “ought always to pray and never give up.”

Faith is the key to understanding this story and a powerful lesson for us. The woman knew her strength was insufficient, but she knew the judge had the power to help. In other words, she had faith and this faith caused her to “cry out day and night.” Do we have this same faith? Do we recognize our need? Do we trust that God’s power is enough? The God we serve is not an indifferent judge but a loving Father who joyfully gives us good things.

Whenever we fast, we set aside extra time to pray. The two go together.

Fasting is an act of voluntary weakness and a confession of human need. Prayer is a partnership with God to see His will done on the earth. God does not need our human help, as though His power were lacking; instead, God chooses to work through human partnership.

This is seen as early as Genesis 2 when God created the animals but asked Adam to name them. Throughout Scripture, God works through people. He chose Abram, He called Moses and He anointed David. These people repeatedly failed but God never abandoned His plan. God choose to partner with us to do His will on the earth.

Prayer is central to this partnership. It’s like young children working with their father. The father doesn’t need the child’s strength. After all, he could work much faster by himself! Instead, the father seeks relationship and the joy of working together. If the children ignored the father while working than they would have missed the point entirely. The same is true for us.

Prayer is a partnership, but even more so, prayer is a relationship.

We often overvalue our ability and strength, as though human effort is the cure for all problems. Our society views prayer as merely a last resort or perhaps a tool to gain inner peace. But a right view of God and a right view of ourselves flips the equation. Prayer is the greatest work. Prayer acknowledges the power of God is far greater than our own and reorients us to a partnership with Him. We still work hard but we do so in a relationship with Him.

Today, set aside expanded space to pray. You can use tools here to help guide your time. Ask God to increase your faith as you enter into prayer. We need a move of God to stop Coronavirus, to heal the sick and to guide our leaders and medical professionals. Even more so, we need a move of God to restore our hearts and revive our land. Press in today and let’s live with hearts of faith as we believe for God to move.


Read this article for more tips for a great fast.

Here’s a crafted prayer centered on 2 Chronicles 7:14 to pray throughout the day as we humble ourselves, pray and repent through this fast.

Join us live on YouTube for Jesus Hour Monday – Wednesday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

Prayer & Fasting // We Humble Ourselves

“If my people humble themselves…then I will hear from heaven…”

We are using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a guide for our corporate prayer and fast as we believe together for a breakthrough in our land. Today we begin this time by embracing the call to humility.

Throughout Scripture, God calls His people to humble themselves. He promises to save, guide and sustain the humble, but He warns that the proud will be brought low. The Bible mentions humility nearly 100 times and the call to humility can be found from the beginning to the end, from the Old Testament to the New.

The importance of humility is at the center of the Bible’s entire story. Genesis 1:27 reveals that God created humanity in His image, with a blessing and a purpose to reveal God throughout the world. But in Genesis 3 we discover that humanity was discontented and sought to supplant His authority. In other words, we wanted to be our own god rather than worship the true God. This is the root of pride.

Human history became a story of idol worship. In most cultures, idols are a physical statue in the image of creation, carved by man and worshipped. However, in the Western world, we no longer worship physical statues and instead simply worship ourselves—human wisdom, desire and strength.

When we install ourselves on the throne, God’s image is hopelessly marred, and we reflect a cheap substitute. Our wisdom is never quite sufficient, our desires never truly fulfilled and our strength always fails in the end.

Therefore, we must humble ourselves. Humility is an act of spiritual warfare that confesses human limitations. It is not self-deprecation; instead, humility is simple honesty. We are created in God’s image, but we are not God. We need Him. Every time we embrace humility, we turn our back on the sin in the Garden and open the door for grace.

Humility restores us to our calling: to reveal God’s image to the world, not our own.

Fasting is a powerful reminder of our need to humble ourselves. We should never fast to prove our spirituality – that misses the point entirely! Jesus warned against this type of fast in Matthew 6:16-18. Fasting is not a means to show our strength; instead, fasting reminds of our weakness. Through fasting, we declare we need God even more than food and we need His strength more than our own.

Let your hunger pangs drive you to Him throughout your day. When you feel weak, and you certainly will, embrace your weakness and use those moments to pray and confess your need for Jesus. Ask God to gently reveal places of pride in your life. When He does, take time to repent. As we reorient our hearts, we adopt the right posture before our Father and can walk in confidence that He will hear us.


Read this article for more tips for a great fast.

Here’s a crafted prayer centered on 2 Chronicles 7:14 to pray throughout the day as we humble ourselves, pray and repent through this fast.

Join us live on YouTube for Jesus Hour Monday – Wednesday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

The Power of Fasting

On Monday, March 30th, we are beginning a three-day corporate fast based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 which states, “if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

As we begin, it’s important to remember why we fast. After all, food is a gift from God, given to us at creation and a reminder of His provision for us. Food strengthens us, food provides refreshment and joy, and food helps us to build community with one another. Like all gifts it can be abused, but it is fundamentally good.

So why would we voluntarily give food up during a fast?

The spiritual discipline of fasting is important. The people of God have fasted for thousands of years, often in times in which securing food was a matter of survival and not convenience. Some early Christians even made it their practice to fast twice per week! Jesus Himself spoke about fasting several times. He always affirmed its importance but also reminded the disciples of its purpose.

Jesus was once asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the Pharisees. Jesus’s reply is a powerful reminder of why we fast: “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast”. (Matthew 9:14-15)

Fasting is the voluntary surrender of something we need in order to remind us that we need Jesus more.

Fasting acknowledges our weakness and confesses our dependence. It may seem counter-intuitive to voluntarily embrace weakness during a time of crisis or a time of need, but that is the purpose of fasting. It reminds us that our strength is limited and that we are not able to fix our problems on our own – whether in our personal life, our family or our nation. When we fast, we re-orient our hope in the person of Jesus and declare that He alone can save and restore.

This is why we embrace the discipline of fasting and this is why we fast in times of crisis. We need God to intervene in our world! Though we celebrate the hard work of the countless people who care for the sick and find ways to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, we must pause to acknowledge that we need God to move in this hour more than anything else.

During times of uncertainty, we are tempted to react in fear and to hoard the things we feel we need. Fasting calls us to a different response. If anything, the last few weeks have reminded us that so much of life is outside of our control. Ultimately, human strength cannot save us, even if it can stop the spread of a disease.

These are difficult times, but within the trial, we have an opportunity to focus our attention on Jesus, the only One who truly saves. Join us as we fast and pray for a breakthrough, believing that when we humble ourselves God hears us, when we pray God heals us and when we repent God forgives us.

Consider the following suggestions to have a great fast:

  • Before you fast, plan what you are fasting from and what you’re fasting for.
  • During your fast, set aside extra time for worship and prayer. Be sure to drink lots of water and juice.
  • At the end of your fast, break your fast with healthy food and community!

Who Should Not Fast?

  • Those on medication which prevents it.
  • Those with specific medical conditions (hypoglycemia, pregnant women, etc.) Consult your physician if you have any questions.
  • People who have hard physical jobs need to be sure and drink plenty of liquids (up to 64 oz.) of water/juice a day.

Read this article for more tips for a great fast.

Here’s a crafted prayer centered on 2 Chronicles 7:14 to pray throughout the day as we humble ourselves, pray and repent through this fast.

Join us live on YouTube for Jesus Hour Monday – Wednesday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

 

Responding to Coronavirus Devotional: Faith Over Fear

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

This story holds a profound lesson challenging our response to fear.

It is important to recognize that the fear in this story was valid. This is not a story about irrational anxiety. Notice the language in the text describing “a great windstorm,” “the waves beat[ing] the boat” and “that the boat was already being swamped.” This was real. The disciples were lifelong fishermen who knew the sea and could recognize genuine danger, and they were convinced they’d die.

This makes the contrast with Jesus all the more remarkable. Look at how Jesus acted: “He was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.” Mark paints a picture of serenity, but one surrounded by chaos. I wonder how the disciples viewed Jesus at this moment. He was one of the few in the boat who was not a trained fisherman. Perhaps they viewed his nonchalant attitude as a symptom of ignorance rather than an enduring sign of faith. They faced real danger, one they expertly understood, while their teacher seemed oblivious and out of touch.

It was at that moment Jesus awoke. I like to picture Him slowly sitting up, maybe stretching for a moment and then stepping out to command the waves to “be still!” Instantly, the wind died and seas calmed. At His word. The very word that spoke the sea into existence.

His question is one we must all answer, “Why are you afraid?”

Take a moment and ask yourself.

Fear can be a symptom of a lack of faith. It is human to imagine a worst-case scenario occurring in the future—whether a pandemic, economic collapse or something else entirely. But, do we remember that God will be with us in that future? Do we see only waves or is our attention fixed on Jesus who still rests in the boat? Fear is a form of thinking in which when we imagine a future in which God will not be present. Even in a “worst-case scenario,” Jesus has a funny habit of showing up and transforming into something else entirely.

This does not negate the reality of human suffering and grief. Jesus repeatedly demonstrates His compassion for those suffering. Furthermore, we should not feel condemned for the fear we feel. It’s natural to worry and, no matter how strong your faith, you’ll probably still deal with it to some extent. But this does challenge us to lift our perspective so we are not defined by fear. No matter what occurs in this life, Jesus—the very Word of God—is still with us. He still has authority over the storm, and He has conquered death itself. We may go through trials, but we live in hope.

It is all-too-easy and all-too-human to let fear grow bigger than God. Like the disciples, we follow Jesus during everyday life, but what happens when a storm appears out of nowhere and threatens to swamp us? How do we view Jesus? As a man who doesn’t understand the danger of the situation? Or as a God who reigns over all the earth? Our perspective changes everything.

 

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Whales + Worms // Part One

“Is there anything you’re running FROM that you should be running TO?” – Carl Gulley // 

This week lead pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, Whales and Worms: Our Reluctance. His Relentlessness. Throughout our series, we are taking a look at the life of Jonah and how God’s relentless pursuit led Jonah into the divine purpose God had for him. The life of Jonah is more than just a story we heard in Sunday school. As we unpack his story together, we’re sure to see parallels in our own lives.

THE ONE THING GOD ASKS US TO DO IS TYPICALLY THE ONE THING WE DON’T WANT TO DO.

We spent our morning unpacking Jonah 1:1-16. At the beginning of the chapter, the Lord asks Jonah to go to Nineveh. In those days, Nineveh was seen as the worst of the worst; violent and full of terror. So naturally, Jonah ran in the opposite direction. From our perspective, it’s easy to judge Jonah for his response. But many times, we have the same response as Jonah because the things God asks us to do aren’t always convenient.

GOD SEES THE RESTORATION ON THE OTHER SIDE OF OUR OBEDIENCE.

When the Lord invites us into something, He doesn’t promise convenience. Obedience will cost us something, whether it is our reputation, comfort or something else, but the restoration on the other side is worth it. Rather than trying to preserve our comfort, what if we looked at our, ‘yes’ as a win for the Kingdom? Our willingness to be stretched and uncomfortable could open the door for someone else’s breakthrough.

WHEN YOUR RELUCTANCE TURNS TO RUNNING, YOU’LL EXPERIENCE THE RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF GOD.

Because we don’t see the victory on the other side, we typically find ourselves responding in the same way as Jonah. We run. In Jonah’s case, the Lord sent a storm to deter Jonah. For us, He may send people to call us out or something else. Either way, the Lord will relentlessly pursue us because He is more committed to us than we are to Him.

In the end, if the Lord asks us to do something, we can rest in the truth that He sees something we don’t. There is something greater on the other side, and our obedience will ultimately lead to life.

IN RESPONSE //

Is there something that the Lord has asked you to do that feels inconvenient or uncomfortable? Our tendency is to run, but press in.  Trust that God has a plan so much greater than we can see.

Be sure to join us next week as we continue our series!

Celebrating 20 Years

“Who we are and who we will always be is a people with a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the earth.” – Jimmy Seibert // 

This week we celebrated our twentieth anniversary as a church! We worshiped to a medley of significant songs through the years, watched a documentary telling the story of Antioch Waco and our senior pastor Jimmy Seibert shared stories from the past two decades. Though much has changed through the years, our mission has remained the same. We are a people who have a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the earth.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR MORNING //

Be sure to follow along on YouTube to watch the documentary, worship from the morning and the full service.

Family Matters //
Part Seven

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 // 

This morning senior pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series, Family Matters. Throughout the summer we have been studying the book of Ephesians and learning what it looks like to live as a part of the family of God. This week, Jimmy focused on Ephesians 6, and shared on living with a victory mindset in the midst of spiritual warfare. There are very real struggles that we face on a daily basis, but we are called to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and stand firm.

THERE IS A SUPERNATURAL ANSWER FOR THE NATURAL STRUGGLE.

To stand firm, we need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the heart of God, and when we spend intentional time with God every day, we are filled with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us peace and strength to face the things in front of us. All of our problems probably won’t disappear, but we have an anchored trust in the faithfulness of God.

WE AREN’T FIGHTING A BATTLE, WE’RE CLAIMING A VICTORY.

When we are in Jesus, we have authority and can approach situations with a victory mindset instead of a victim mindset. We can’t ignore spiritual warfare, but we also can’t let the enemy overwhelm us. The attacks of the enemy are very real, but he is not a co-equal with God. He has already been defeated. It’s necessary to acknowledge that there is a battle, but it’s a battle that has already been won.

THE GRACE OF GOD ALONE

The enemy tries to use our brokenness to challenge our salvation. The good news is, our salvation is not contingent on how good we are. Our salvation is secure as a result of the grace of God.

OVERCOMING THE BATTLE //

Throughout our morning, we talked about four places that the enemy tries to take ground –

  1. Our Hearts // Our hearts are the greatest battleground. Day by day, we need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and claim victory in our own hearts. Starting with a  surrendered heart gives us discernment for the battles ahead.
  2. Our Homes // Our home is the one domain we have complete authority, and it is intended to be a place of refuge. When we are intentional about monitoring what we bring into our homes, we don’t give the enemy any ground.
  3. Our Workplace // No matter where you work, you have the authority to claim victory in that space. Pray the will of God into your space. We each have influence, and we are called to glorify God in whatever space we’re in.
  4. Our City // We are called to believe for our city. Intercede and declare the Kingdom of God over our city.

We are in a battle, but we can stand firm because it is a battle that has already been won. We are in the battle so the Kingdom of God can be proclaimed on the earth, and people can be set free.

Family Matters //
Part Six

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:20-21 // 

This week family pastors Weston and Shanna Nichols continued our series, Family Matters. Throughout the summer we have been studying the book of Ephesians and learning more about how God has called us to live as a part of His family. When we become a part of the family of God, the way we live changes. This week, Weston and Shannan led us through Ephesians 5, and talked about how we are called to live in relation to one another.

Whether in marriage, friendship, with our parents or in the workplace, our relationships look different when we are in relationship with Jesus.

BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT…

Throughout our morning we focused on being submitted to one another out of reverence for Christ, but we can’t do that without first, being filled with the Holy Spirit. We are filled when we set aside time everyday to meet with Jesus. As we invest into time with Jesus, we learn more about what it looks like to live in sync with His Spirit. Out of that place flows three things –

  1. Encouragement // Ephesians 5:19 tells us to address one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, His words will naturally flow out of us.
  2. Worship and Thanksgiving // Out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit, we can’t help but express our gratitude through worship and praise.
  3. Submission to one another // Submitting is not mutually exclusive, it is just another byproduct of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It comes out of reverence and desire to be more like Jesus, not performance or demand.

THE PURPOSE OF OUR LIVES IS THE PLEASURE AND GLORY OF GOD.

The purpose of our relationships is not our happiness. Colossians 1:16 says, “all things have been created through Him and for Him.” The purpose of our life is not self-gratification, it is to glorify God. When we understand this truth, we have a foundation to build our relationships off of.

WHEN WE SUBMIT, WE LIFT OTHERS UP.

The term submission can sometimes be confusing, and many times, people think of it as synonymous with suppression. However, submitting to one another means coming under and championing one another. Embracing an attitude of humility, and lifting one another up not only changes us, but also the world around us.

JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF SUBMISSION.

When we choose to submit, we look more like Jesus, and ultimately glorify God. Jesus chose to submit to the will of the Father to the point of death, and in that decision humanity was changed forever. Submission is a game changer. God’s design is mutual submission, but even if you are the only one relating with an attitude of submission, it is the nature of Jesus and will bring the transforming power of the Holy Spirit into your relationships.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Spend Time with Jesus: Throughout our morning, we talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit continually. To do that, we need to spend intentional time with Jesus every morning. If this is new for you, start by setting aside 30-minutes in the morning, and spend 10 minutes in Word, worship and prayer.
  • Understanding the Holy Spirit: If you are looking to greater understand the role of the Holy Spirit, check out this four-part series from lead pastor Carl Gulley.
  • Marriage Conference: Marriage was jus one of the relationships we talked about this week. To learn more about the heart of God for marriage, we encourage you to mark your calendars and save the date for our very first marriage conference December 6th – 7th. More details will be available later this fall.