Author: Destiny Gonzalez

Where Mountains Melt //
Series Recap

“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” Psalm 97:5

Yesterday we wrapped up our worship series, Where Mountains Melt. Throughout our series, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley led us in talking about why we worship, how we worship and how to incorporate worship in to our daily lives.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR SERIES //

  • Worship is what we’re always doing, whether we realize it or not, and it’s our response to the magnitude of God.
  • When we are facing the impossible, our immediate response should be to get in the presence of God. Worship is our gateway into His presence.
  • In the context of worship, and really life in general, multitasking does not work. Our worship was made for God, and God alone.
  • True worship is not a compartmentalized life; it is an integrated one. When we invite God into every area of our lives, we ultimately find freedom.
  • It is always right to worship, regardless of how we’re feeling. We were never designed to be authentic to our feelings. When we choose to allow our feelings to hold us back from worship, we aren’t living in authenticity.
  • When our circumstances are telling us otherwise, we have to go back to the character of God. We may not always feel like worshiping, but there is beauty in choosing to offer up a sacrifice of praise.
  • The goal of worship is not an expression, it is love and obedience toward Jesus. Spiritual maturity is not achieved once a particular worship expression occurs.
  • Our comfort should not be our standard for worship. We want our worship to reflect heaven, even if it feels out of our comfort zone.
  • Worship is not a single expression, it is a lifestyle.

We worship when we are obedient to what Jesus is calling us to. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the Auditorium on Sunday morning, we want our lives to be a reflection of our gratitude for being set free.

This past Sunday, we set aside time to worship for the entirety of our service. Because of the unique service, we will not have a sermon video from this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Where Mountains Melt //
Part Four

This morning Carl Gulley shared part four of our series, Where Mountains Melt, with a message on why we worship the way we do. Some people jump around during worship, others raise their hands and some people sit quietly before the Lord. Maybe you’ve wondered which expression is correct. The truth is, each posture is an expression of worship, and there is no right or wrong way to worship.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS NOT ACHIEVED ONCE A PARTICULAR WORSHIP EXPRESSION OCCURS.

The goal of worship is not an expression, it is love and obedience toward Jesus. Believing there is a “right way” to worship leads to arrogance, and ultimately takes us away from the point of worship. We don’t need a particular formula or certain instruments to worship, we just need a heart directed toward Jesus.

Throughout our morning, we looked at Exodus 14 and 15. In Exodus 14, the people of Israel are finally leaving Egypt after being enslaved for 400 years. As their enemies begin closing in on them, the Lord parts the Red Sea, allowing them to get to safety. Immediately after their escape, Exodus 15 begins with the Israelites offering up a song of praise to the Lord.

WHEN ENSLAVED PEOPLE GET SET FREE, THEY ACTIVELY DISPLAY THEIR GRATITUDE.

Exodus 15 doesn’t happen without the freedom that occurred in Exodus 14. Once the people of Israel stepped into freedom, their automatic response was worship. This is still our response today. Once we realize that worship is an expression of gratitude and not a particular stance, we become the worship leaders. We are all worship leaders because we have all encountered great grace.

WE WANT OUR WORSHIP TO REFLECT HEAVEN.

Our standard for worship should not be what we are comfortable with here on earth. Heaven is our model. This morning we looked at Revelation 5:8-13. In this passage, we find John’s count of worship in heaven. Some have instruments while others are kneeling, and others are singing their own song, but all are worshipping the Lord. There is no particular formula and there are no stages of worship that we have to go through, there is just our praise that we get to give back to Jesus. When we focus on Jesus, the fear of how we look in worship falls away.

WORSHIP IS NOT AN EXPRESSION, IT IS A LIFESTYLE.

We worship when we are obedient to what Jesus is calling us to. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the Auditorium on Sunday morning, we want our lives to be a reflection of our gratitude for being set free.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Worship is about love and obedience // Is there anything God is calling you to that haven’t responded to yet? Take that next step of obedience this week.
  • Set aside space to meet with God // Set aside time each day to spend time with Jesus. If this is new for you, we encourage you to join us on Monday at noon in the Kids Auditorium for a guided hour of spending time with God.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Where Mountains Melt //
Part Three

On Sunday lead pastor Carl Gulley shared part three of our series, Where Mountains Melt, with a message on choosing to worship even when you don’t feel like it. It is easy to worship when everything in life seems to be going great. Other times our circumstances can cause confusion, and hold us back from worship. Basically, we get spiritual motion sickness because everything is saying God is good, but circumstances are saying otherwise.

A CHANGE IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TENDS TO ROCK OUR FAITH.

We aren’t the only ones who are tempted to lose faith when our circumstances seem to be pointing to everything but Jesus. Throughout our morning, we looked at John the Baptist. In Matthew 11, John the Baptist is in prison and he asks Jesus, “Are you the One?” John spent his life preparing the way for Jesus, but in the place where he couldn’t see what God was doing, he began to question. I am sure we have all been in this position before. Jesus’ response to John is beautiful. He points John to what He is doing instead of what He isn’t.

When we are experiencing that spiritual motion sickness, there is a temptation to focus on what Jesus is not doing, rather than what He is.

WHEN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE TELLING US OTHERWISE, WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE CHARACTER OF GOD.

The cure for motion sickness is allowing your mind to come back to what is correct. The same is true with that spiritual motion sickness. We have to come back to truth, and the truth is God is good.

This isn’t always easy, but there is beauty in choosing to offer up a sacrifice of praise. When we choose to worship even when we don’t feel like it, we declare the truth of who God is, and we allow that truth to sink deeper into our hearts.

WE WERE NEVER DESIGNED TO BE AUTHENTIC TO OUR FEELINGS.

When we choose to allow our feelings to hold us back from worship, we aren’t living in authenticity. It is authentic to align ourselves with what we know is true. And the only thing we know to be one hundred percent true is the character of God.

WORSHIP IS A SLEDGEHAMMER TO THE POWER OF DARKNESS.

Like we talked about during week one, worship is our gateway into the presence of God. And in that place, we find freedom, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. We are called to stand in the gap and invite others into the presence of God so they will find freedom.

It is always right to worship, regardless of how we’re feeling. All of our problems will not all disappear in an instant, but we’ll find the presence of God. And in that place, we find freedom.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Take some time to reflect on the character of God this week, and let the truth of who He is sink in. Start by googling who God is as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and reflect on those passages.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

Where Mountains Melt //
Part Two

This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our Where Mountains Melt series with a message on multitasking. Some of us tend to think we’re great at multitasking while others will freely admit to being bad at it. Regardless of what camp we’re in, the truth is that multitasking forces us to quickly switch our focus between tasks. We end up losing out because we can’t devote our full attention to any of the tasks before us. And in the context of worship, multitasking doesn’t work.

OUR WORSHIP WAS MADE FOR ONE.

Our worship was made for God alone. We each have things that we value, and whatever we value most will receive our worship. We can’t split our worship between things. Eventually, one thing will take precedence over the other. God placed a desire to worship within us, we can’t change that. But we can determine what or who we worship.

Now, it isn’t bad to have money, passions, dreams, etc. God provides those things for us out of His kindness. When we shift our worship to the things God provided rather than fixating our worship on the provider, we begin to exalt other things over God.

Throughout our morning, we looked at Exodus 32. In this passage, we find the Israelites who have just been set free from Egypt. For 56 days they are at a standstill, waiting to see what is next. Just like us, something within them had a desire to worship. So, out of the gold they got from Egypt they made a calf sculpture, and that became a focal point of their worship. As we continue to read the passage, we see that they are also planning a feast unto the Lord. They worshipped the calf, but they still wanted to worship God. Basically, they tried to compartmentalize and multitask.

TRUE WORSHIP IS NOT A COMPARTMENTALIZED LIFE, IT IS AN INTEGRATED ONE.

Like we talked about last week, we are always worshipping, whether we realize it or not. Many times we want to compartmentalize our lives. We separate God, our finances, relationships, time commitments, etc. God wants to be a part of all of these areas. When we keep things separated and shift our attention, we are also shifting our affection, and taking it away from God. God doesn’t want us to surrender these areas to Him so that He can control us, He invites us to surrender because in that place we find freedom.

THE THING THAT GETS OUR ATTENTION EVENTUALLY GETS OUR AFFECTION, AND ULTIMATELY OUR ALLEGIANCE.

God is continually pursuing us because He ultimately wants our affection. In fact, our personal affection, is the one thing we can give to God that no one else can. Our affection and our worship is the thing God wants most. He wants it; He doesn’t need it. There is a war going on for our worship. Satan needs worship because it affirms his downfall. God wants our worship because ultimately, He just wants us.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Identify areas where you have compartmentalized your life, and invite God into those areas.
  • Join us on Mondays at noon in the Kids Auditorium to learn practical ways to spend time with Jesus. And set aside time every day to meet with Jesus.
  • If you are looking for some new additions to add to your playlists, check out this playlist from our worship team.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Coordinator

Where Mountains Melt //
Part One

The mountains melt like wax before the Lordbefore the Lord of all the earth.” – Psalm 97:5

This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, Where Mountains Melt. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at worship and what it looks like in our lives.

Many times we reduce worship to a set of three songs at the beginning of a service, but it’s actually so much more than that.

WORSHIP IS WHAT WE’RE DOING ALWAYS WHETHER WE KNOW IT OR NOT, AND IT’S OUR RESPONSE TO THE MAGNITUDE OF GOD, WHETHER WE REALIZE IT OR NOT.

This morning we looked at the story of Joshua preparing to lead the Israelites into the promised land after 40 years in the desert. Their first challenge is crossing the Jordan River. Joshua is facing the seemingly impossible, and as they prepare to cross the river he says, “as soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it” (Joshua 3:3). He sends the Levites, the worshippers, first.

THE LEVITES ARE GREAT WORSHIPPERS BECAUSE THEY’VE ENCOUNTERED GREAT GRACE.

The Levites understood the grace of God because God redeemed them from murderers to ministers. Our revelation of grace shifts our perspective of the impossible. For the Levites, the impossible was not crossing the Jordan River. God had already done the impossible when He forgave and cleansed them of their past sin. When we are facing the impossible, our first move should be to get in the presence of God.

Worship is out gateway into the presence of God. When we take God’s presence into the impossible, we can have confidence that He will take care of the rest.

IN RESPONSE:

  • Seven-day Challenge // This week, set aside time to meet with Jesus every day. Spending time with Jesus is a daily invitation into grace. If you aren’t sure where to start, we invite you to join us on Mondays from noon – 1 p.m. in the Kids Auditorium for guided Time with Jesus led by one of our pastors.
  • Spotify Playlists // Each week our worship team will be creating Spotify and YouTube playlists for you to use throughout the week. Check out this week’s playlist here!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

 

Vision Sunday

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert and the elders commissioned Carl Gulley as Lead Pastor of Antioch Waco. During this time of expansion, Jimmy is going to be looking forward while Carl takes us deeper and wider. As we look forward to where God is leading us as a church, Jimmy shared about the history of Antioch and reminded us who we are as community of believers.

GOD HAS CALLED US MORE THAN EVER TO LOVE HIM AS OUR FIRST LOVE.

  1. We are called to be a missional community // As a community we want to be committed to friendship with Jesus and committed to bringing the truth of Jesus to those who do not know Him.
  2. We want to revive our personal devotion to Jesus // Jesus is the only way to life, and we want to live unapologetic for who He is in all of His glory. We want to renew the exclusivity of Jesus in our hearts every day. We want to live with simple and whole devotion to Jesus.
  3. We want to live with an apostolic mission // There is nothing better than having the opportunity to live in partnership with Jesus. We want to be about His mission in our lives and in our church.

HERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT WE ARE COMMITTED TO AS A CHURCH:

  1. We are committed to the city of Waco // God wants Waco to be a city of refuge for the glory of God so that all the earth can rejoice because they see His presence being made manifest. We are committed to serving this community and raising up leaders who will share our passion for transforming the city.
  2. We are committed to our nation // We have 35 church plants that are reaching people all over our nation. There is hope for our nation because the church is alive, and we continue to see churches impact their communities all over the nation.
  3. We are committed to the nations of the world // As a people we are trained to keep our eye on those that have never heard the Gospel message. The greatest injustice on the planet is that everybody has not had a chance to hear about and know the person of Jesus. If everyone knew Jesus, injustice would be toppled from the inside out.

IN RESPONSE:

  1. Take a moment to ask God, “What would you have for me?” // Being willing to obey the next thing God is telling you to do puts you back into alignment with what God has for you. You don’t have to worry about the future; you just have to step out in obedience today.
  2. Identify areas where you can step in and serve the local body // Are there areas where you can serve the community with your gifts and talents? To learn more about all of the volunteer opportunities available you visit antio.ch/volunteer.

Volunteer Sunday

We declared today volunteer Sunday because our volunteers are so worth honoring! Our church could not function without the men and women who carry the vision in their hearts, and give their all to see the Kingdom come in the lives of those around them.

From Lifegroup leaders to Guest Ministries ushers and STARS mentors, we are so thankful for our volunteers! They create an atmosphere of kindness and love, and pave the way for transformation.

This fall, we invite you to jump in with one of our volunteer teams. Why?

BECAUSE WE BELIEVE YOU WILL COME ALIVE TO THE DEGREE YOU GIVE YOUR LIFE AWAY.

This morning, Carl read out of  Matthew 8, where we find Jesus going to Peter’s house after preaching the sermon on the mount and healing the leper and the centurion’s servant. As He enters, He sees Peter’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. Jesus touches her and she is healed. Immediately after Scripture says, “she arose, and ministered unto them” (Matthew 8:15). She is healed and immediately begins serving.

THE PLACE WHERE GOD HEALED YOU IS THE PLACE HE WILL USE YOU TO BRING HEALING TO ANOTHER.

When we are healed, we then have the opportunity to be a healer. Serving is more than just filling a role, it is stepping in and being a healer for someone else. So, that’s what we’re inviting you into because when we serve, we embody the DNA of Jesus.

IN RESPONSE:

  • Ask yourself where you have been healed. How can you use that healing to be a healer for someone else?
  • To learn more about our volunteer opportunities and to jump in, fill out this form.

We can’t wait for you to be a part of one of our awesome volunteer teams!

By Destiny Gonzalez

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

All in All Part Nine //
God’s Strength in Weakness

This morning young adult pastor Chase Moore concluded our All in All series with a message on embracing authentic obedience over appearance and achievement. Throughout his message, we read 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. In this passage Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about embracing their weaknesses. The Corinthians were a lot like us, and they were continually missing the point. Their focus was on having it all together on the outside instead of embracing authentic relationship with Jesus.

Living in a social-media-centric world, it is easy for us to appear to have it all together. As long as we have the perfect camera angle and Instagram filter, no one will know about the pain that might be going on inside. We want people to focus on our highlight reel instead of seeing our places of weakness.

THE HIGHLIGHT REEL IS NOT WHAT MAKES A WAY FOR THE POWER OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES OR IN THE WORLD AROUND US.

Paul recognized that we do not need appearance or achievement; instead we need to live lives of authentic obedience. Even when he was being questioned, Paul did not boast over his achievements. Rather, he celebrated his weaknesses and places of pain.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

It is in our places of weakness that the power of God is made perfect. Facing our weakness is a doorway to greater intimacy with Jesus. When we try to pull everything together on our own, we essentially reject his grace. The grace of God isn’t about just surviving.

THE GRACE OF GOD IS ABOUT HIS POWER BEING FULLY DISPLAYED IN OUR LIVES.

When we lay down the desire to perform and embrace our brokenness, the power of Jesus is made perfect in us. Our places of brokenness give us the opportunity to speak into the lives of others. When we declare the goodness of God in the midst of weakness, we bring hope to those that are hurting.

We were made to step into the chaos of the world. But we can’t step into the chaos on the outside if we don’t let God deal with the chaos on the inside. It all starts when we let go of appearance and achievements, and allow God’s power to be made perfect in your weakness.

IN RESPONSE:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable // Let go of appearance and performance, and confess your places of brokenness. Allow God to speak into that place, and let His power be enough.
  2. Live lives of authentic obedience // Regardless of what it looks like, we must live a life of authentic obedience. Think about the last thing God asked you to do. Ask yourself if you were faithful to obey. If not, ask God to reveal to you what is holding you back.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

Grace Always Wins

I am fiercely competitive.

Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing. I am always nervous that a game night may result in me losing some friends. Maybe it’s because I’m an “all in” type of person, or maybe coming from a competitive family just ingrained it in me. I can’t be completely sure.

But one thing is for sure, in the second grade, my competitive drive was in full force. I was a Girl Scout and it was cookie season. The minute I found out the title of “Top Seller” was on the line, I was committed. I went door to door, stood outside the K-Mart down the street and somehow convinced each of my family members they needed at least seven extra boxes of cookies to store in their freezers. I can’t tell you what the official prize was. But I remember loving the affirmation and the feeling of being, “the best.”

It started small, but wanting to be the best quickly turned into a need to be the best. High school turned into a series of competitions I created in my head. From needing the best outfits to holding titles in the organizations I was involved in and striving to get better grades; I quickly became consumed by competition and comparison.

After high school, I still found reasons to compete and people that I wanted to be better than. Ultimately, my worth was being found in my achievements and in the way people perceived me. I believed that in order to be liked or worth anything, I had to prove it by doing and achieving more.

I know I’m not the only one that has felt that pressure, maybe you’ve felt it too. It makes sense if you have. We live in a world that constantly tells us that we need to make more money, have a nicer car and be better than the person next to us. Living with that mentality is exhausting.

My freshman year of college, I finally broke when I realized I couldn’t always win or be the best. My high school titles no longer mattered and my grades suffered with the new rhythms I was trying to get adjusted to. I truly believed that I was no longer worth anything and insecurity swept over me.

That same year, I was told of the grace of God for the first time. It blew my mind. I didn’t understand how a perfect God could ever want me. Surely, He would want me to prove to Him that I was worth something, right? So wrong.

JESUS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT MY RESUME, HE JUST WANTS RELATIONSHIP WITH ME.

Scripture says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:4-5.

Before we ever won anything or gained a title, God chose us. From day one, He called us enough and invited us into relationship with Him.

Once we realize Jesus just wants us, regardless of what we have to offer, we are free of the pressures to perform, compete and achieve.

The grace of God still blows my mind. Sometimes I get frustrated with my weaknesses, and I still feel like I need to prove myself to God.

BUT I’VE REALIZED STRIVING IS ACTUALLY REJECTING THE GRACE OF GOD.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love some friendly competition. But the minute I let my worth be dictated by whether I win or lose is the minute I lose sight of the grace of God and who He has called me to be.

I don’t know where you are today, but if you’re feeling caught in the need to compete and strive, I want you to know that you are enough. You can’t do anything to change that. Jesus already chose you. My prayer is that you will find peace in that truth today.

IN RESPONSE //

  1. Surrender the places where you have felt a pressure to compete // If you find yourself striving in a specific area, ask God to help you surrender that to Him.
  2. Ask God to speak identity // Our identity isn’t found in our achievements. Pause and ask God who He says you are.
  3. Stop competing and start championing // Instead of competing with other people, be the first to encourage. Ask God if there is someone specific you can encourage this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

All in All Part Eight //
Real vs. Fake

This morning, Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our study in 2 Corinthians with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 11:1-3. In this passage, Paul is calling the Corinthians back to sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. The people in Corinth knew Jesus, but grew distracted by the things of the world and eventually grew distant. They wanted Jesus and the things of this world, and Paul reminded them that they can’t have both.

Like the Corinthian church, we can’t have both either. When we sideline our relationship with Jesus to pursue the things of this world, we are giving our all to things that will ultimately leave us broken.

JESUS IS EVERYTHING, WE CAN’T TREAT HIM LIKE A SIDE THING.

The temptations and distractions that caught the Corinthians’ attention really aren’t that different from the challenges we face today. The enemy isn’t creative. He uses the same tactics, and once we identify them, we can overcome them.

HERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT DISTRACT AND DRAW US AWAY FROM JESUS:

  1. Allowing our appetites to lead // When we allow our hunger and desires to take the lead, we slowly drift away from the things God is calling us to. If Jesus isn’t in the lead, we aren’t going anywhere that will lead to life.
  2. Comparison and jealousy // Comparison and jealousy distract us from who God has called us to be. When we are so caught up in what others are doing, we become exhausted and miss what God has specifically for us.
  3. Striving for more // It feels good to get a promotion or another achievement. But when we get so caught up in achieving more, we get on a cycle of striving and insecurity. We’ll ultimately miss out on the opportunity to invest in the people around us, and we miss the rest God has for us.

In the end, Jesus is calling us back to friendship with Him. He wants our all, and He’s worthy of it. We can’t be both intimate with Jesus and with the world. The world will ultimately pull us away and leave us broken.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, Jesus just wants our pure and simple devotion.

HOW CAN WE RESPOND THIS WEEK?

  1. Commit to spending time with Jesus every morning // This is more than just reading the Bible. Jesus wants you to enjoy being in His presence. If this is something that is new for you, start with 15 minutes every morning – spend five minutes in worship, five minutes reading the Bible and five minutes praying.
  2. Identify areas where you have let comparison or jealousy take the lead // Are there any areas where you have become more distracted by what someone else has? Ask God to shift your perspective and show you what He wants to do in your life.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.