Author: Destiny Gonzalez

The Gifts We Give //
Part Two – The Gift of Praise

Praise: to glorify, to worship and to value

This week college pastor Luke Whyte continued our series, The Gifts We Give, with a message on the gift of praise. The songs we sing typically end up becoming the soundtrack of our lives. We have a tendency to match our music to our mood, but what if we shifted things? Let’s let praise resound regardless of how we feel because ultimately praise brings the power of God in our lives.

THE MUSIC OF OUR LIFE MAGNIFIES WHAT WE GLORIFY.

Throughout our morning, we took a look at Mary’s response when her life didn’t play out as planned. Mary had reason to be moody and fearful, but instead of allowing her circumstances to define her response, she clung to faith. Take a look at her response in Luke 1:46-56.

MARY PAVED A PATHWAY OF PRAISE TO ENSURE SHE WOULD LAND IN A PLACE OF VICTORY.

Mary declared the goodness of God instead of complaining about her problems. When we magnify our problems, they tend to become a lot bigger than they actually are. Really, the promises of God are way bigger than our problems. When we choose praise, we magnify God and His promises instead of our circumstances.

THE CHORUS’ WE CONSUME BECOME THE SONGS WE SING.

We won’t find freedom from fear if we focus on the thing that is causing us to have fear. We won’t find contentment by complaining. When we turn our focus from our circumstances to God, we position ourselves to consume the goodness of God.

THE SONGS WE SING ARE CONTAGIOUS.

The songs that we sing not only get stuck in our heads, but they also get stuck in other peoples’ heads. Our demeanor plays into the lives of those around us. If we sit in our anxiety and continually complain, the people around us will do the same. When we allow praise to be our anthem, we make a way for others to also sing a new song.

THREE POINTS OF PRAISE //

1.Praise is not about emotion, it’s about sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15-16) // We may not always feel like worshiping, but we can’t let our emotions dictate our actions. We have to allow our praise to shift our mood.

2.Praise is a pathway to His presence (Psalm 100:4) // Dwelling on our problems does not lead to a move of God. Praise leads to a move of God.

3.Praise lifts us up out of the pit, and puts our feet upon a rock (Psalm 40:1-3) // We need to stop singing our old songs, and start declaring a new song. When we stop proclaiming our problems and start praising our promises, we allow our praise to lead us into the presence of God.

Stand Amazed

On Sunday Adult Pastor Weston Nichols shared a message on incredible pain being turned into incredible hope because of Jesus. The holiday season tends to magnify our pain more than any other time of the year. Regardless of what this season holds, the truth is that our painful circumstances tend to fall to the side when we set our gaze on Jesus.

Throughout our morning, we talked about Job and David. Both men had deep, scarring pain in their lives, but they found hope when they leaned into Jesus. David was in pain because of choices he made. Job’s pain was just a result of living in a broken world. The pain he was in was not his fault. It can be easy to believe that good living leads to blessing. But Job’s pain was not punishment, it was actually a promotion.

OUR BROKENNESS IS A PLATFORM FOR GOD TO BE GLORIFIED.

Whether we feel like we relate to David or Job, the reality is, we all find ourselves in pain and in need of hope. Job and David both found hope when they realized the goodness of God, and they got there through worship. They didn’t find peace with God because their circumstances were resolved, they found peace because they set their eyes on their redeemer. Anyone can worship when everything is going right, but it becomes real when we worship through trials and pain.

IF WE WAIT FOR RESOLVE TO WORSHIP, WE’LL BE WAITING FOREVER.

The purpose of our life is not self-fulfillment. The purpose of our life is to glorify God. When we worship regardless of how we feel, we give God glory because the goodness of God is not defined by our circumstances.

IN RESPONSE//

    • If you are going through pain, God wants to be your greatest comfort. Give Him all of your emotion and your pain, He wants to be there for you.
    • As you gather with friends and family this season, ask the question, “what is something you love about Jesus?” The atmosphere shifts and everything else fades away when we talk about the goodness of God.

Giving

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

This week Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert shared a message on giving. We don’t give out of compulsion, we give because God wants to set us free in the area of finances. We need the hand of God in the middle of things. When we hold on to resources that are ultimately God’s and not ours, we invite the enemy to create chaos in our lives.

HOW DO WE GIVE?

  1. We give consistently // Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our finances and give Him our first fruits. We give consistently through tithing; meaning we give our first 10 percent to the Lord by supporting the local church. When we give the best first, we are trusting that God will bless the rest. Tithing is our consistent base for provision.
  2. We give above and beyond // We want to be a part of what God is doing in the world around us, and we can do that through offerings. Consider partnering with an overseas missionary or a local non-profit. When we give consistently through offerings, we get to be a part of the inheritance in the nations.
  3. We give spontaneously // This is the fun part! We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the joy of giving. Without the discipline of consistency, we can’t have the spontaneity. When we submit our finances to the Lord, we can trust that He will provide for our needs and the needs of others. God doesn’t just want us to be blessed, He also wants us to be a blessing.

IF YOU’RE BORED WITH THE KINGDOM, IT’S BECAUSE YOU AREN’T ACTIVE IN THE KINGDOM.

Choosing to give is choosing to be a part of what God is doing. It is also choosing to trust God with all that we have. When we give what we have, we can trust that God will multiply it and provide above and beyond.

IN RESPONSE //

For the next six months, we want to take on the challenge of giving consistently, giving above and giving spontaneously.

  1. Tithe // Choose a local church to partner with, and commit to giving your first 10 percent to that church. It can be Antioch, or it can be another church in our city. Whatever you choose, trust that when you give your best first, the other 90 percent will be blessed. If you would like to partner with Antioch, you can do so here.
  2. Offerings // Pray and ask God for a missionary or an organization that you can partner with for the next six months.
  3. Give spontaneously // Ask the Holy Spirit how you can be a part of blessing someone else.

Trust God with your resources because He will always give you a hundred fold return.

Turn Your Ears On //
Part Three

“IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND TO US…” ACTS 15:28

This week Lead Pastor Carl Gulley concluded our series, Turn Your Ears On. Throughout our series we talked about hearing God through the Holy Spirit and through the Bible. This week we talked about hearing God through His people.

THERE IS NO FORMULA TO HEAR GOD.

The three ways we discussed are not the only ways we can hear from God, they are only handrails. God will do whatever it takes to speak to us and give us direction.

The Bible says that we see and know in part, so it is right to seek wisdom when making a decision. When stakes, emotions and the potential for confusion is high, we need community to speak into our situation. We may not always feel completely clear on what God is speaking, but there is grace and freedom to listen. God honors our faith not our accuracy.

SEEKING WISDOM FROM OTHER PEOPLE TAKES VULNERABILITY AND RISK.

It is risky to let people in to your situation, but it is so worth it! God shows up when we put ourselves in community. When we decide that we are more concerned with what God has to say than with receiving our answer, we leave space for the Holy Spirit to speak to us and to those around us. If you’re afraid to go to someone who could tell you, “no,” then you might be walking into a bad decision.

God can speak to other people through us, but we can’t casually throw out the words, “God said…” We need to humbly submit what we sense God may be speaking. Before giving a word to someone else, we need to ask ourselves if the word is Biblical. We should also give the word in a loving and humble manner.

It is not always easy to discern what God is speaking.

WE DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR EASY.

We are signing up for Jesus and Biblical, no matter the cost.

Turn Your Ears On //
Part Two

“Oh how I love Your law, it is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97

This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series, Turn Your Ears On. Throughout our series we are learning more about what it means to hear God and how we can respond. This week we talked about hearing God through the Bible. The Bible is the very written voice of God.

THE MOST PREDICTABLE WAY TO HEAR GOD IS TO READ, MEMORIZE AND APPLY THE WRITTEN VOICE OF GOD.

When we meditate on Scripture and memorize His word, we find intimacy with Jesus. Knowing the Bible is not about being a model christian, it is about knowing God.

GOD DOESN’T SPEAK ONLY  THROUGH HIS WORD, BUT HE’LL NEVER SPEAK CONTRARY TO HIS WORD.

When we are trying to discern what God is speaking, the Bible should be our filter. God will never tell us something that goes against His words. When we store up the Words of God in our heart, we give God vocabulary to speak to us.

God wants to speak to us. He wants to show us His ways and give us direction. We go to the Bible because the ways of God are greater than our own. God doesn’t expect us to make decisions on our own, He wants to be in the process with us because He knows what is best.

We also need the words of God engraved on our hearts in order to combat the lies of the enemy. When we have truth within us, the lies stand no chance.

IN RESPONSE //

This week, we want to focus on spending time reading the words of God.

  1. Read // Take a passage of Scripture to read and meditate on this week
  2. Memorize // Intentionally memorize that passage and let the words sink in
  3. Apply // When reading a passage of Scripture, take time to ask God these questions –
    1. How does this passage apply to my life?
    2. How can I respond?

Turn Your Ears On // Part One

“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the wind words, the Spirit blowing through the churches…” Revelation 2:17 (MSG)

On Sunday Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, Turn Your Ears On. Over the course of the next three weeks, we are going to be unpacking the importance of hearing and responding to the voice of God.

THE VOICE OF GOD SPARKS HUNGER INSIDE OF US.

Relationship with God is not meant to look like a monologue, but an ongoing dialogue. He longs to speak to us, to give us direction, affirmation and so much more. We find deeper intimacy with Jesus when we pause and allow Him to speak.

The thought of hearing God can sometimes seem confusing. We may think that we’ll hear the audible voice of God booming from within the clouds, but often, it is much more simple than that. When we hear from God, we typically have a thought that comes into our mind and it brings a sense of peace or causes us to pause and meditate on something. Basically, if it aligns with the Word of God, we can trust that it is the from God.

GOD HONORS OUR FAITH.

When we are learning to hear God, we don’t have to live in fear of getting it wrong. As long as we are using the Word of God as our filter, we can step out in faith and obedience.

Throughout our morning, we took a look at Samuel 3. In this passage, Samuel is being called by God, and his response is, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel eagerly responds with a heart postured to receive.

IF YOU WANT TO HEAR GOD, YOU HAVE TO START WITH SURRENDER.

God longs to speak to us, and we can be confident that what He has for us is good. So, we shouldn’t start by asking God to tell us what we want to hear. Instead, we should have the same response as Samuel, and ask God to speak whatever He wants. Because of who God is, we can trust that what He wants to say is way better than anything we can come up with.

Our understanding of the character of God determines what we hear from God. If we see God as our loving, kind and generous Father, we will eagerly wait and ask for Him to speak to us. If we see God as judgmental, annoyed or harsh, we will approach God with fear and hesitation.

Throughout our series, we will be talking about how we hear God’s voice. This week, we encourage you to ask God to speak. This may be a new concept, but hearing God for yourself really is a game changer. This week, start by asking God the question, “What do you think of me?” Wait for Him to speak and write down His responses, using the Word of God as your filter.

FOUR PRACTICAL STEPS FOR HEARING AND RESPONDING TO THE VOICE OF GOD:

  1. Wait: Be still before God
  2. Write: Steward what you hear
  3. Pray: Take what you hear back to God
  4. Obey: Quickly obey and respond to the voice of God

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Passport Sunday

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” Revelation 7:9-10 

Yesterday we celebrated Passport Sunday, a day of declaring our willingness to go wherever Jesus calls us. We want to be people that are committed to sharing the love of Jesus until all hear and know. The Church is God’s plan A for spreading His love to all people.

Throughout our morning, we talked about seven reasons why we want to be a part of the mission of God //

  1. World evangelization is possible
  2. We are the people of God on display for His glory
  3. People are hungry for Jesus, but the laborers are few
  4. We are motivated by God because He has already given us the power of the Holy Spirit
  5. Obedience is better than the sacrifice
  6. Eternity is forever, and the only way to get there is through Jesus
  7. Jesus is worthy

Everyone is made for relationship with Jesus, but many people still do not know about the very One they were made for. We want to be the people that respond and invite people into the greatest relationship they will ever know.

IN RESPONSE // 

We encourage you to pray and ask God how you can be a part of His mission. Here are a few opportunities we have here at the church –

  1. Sign up for World Mandate // Join us February 1st – 2nd as we gather for a weekend of worship and teaching, and believe for God to awaken our hearts to what He is doing in the nations of the earth.
  2. ENGAGE THE NATIONS // ETN is an opportunity to serve for three months with one of our international teams. More information will be coming soon.

The Fear of the Lord is… //
Part Three

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series on the fear of the Lord. Throughout our series, we have defined the fear of the Lord as living in awe, respect and love of God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. We also learned that we are blessed when we have a balance of both the fear of God and the love of God. Today, we talked about joyful obedience.

THERE IS NO ADMONITION FROM GOD THAT ISN’T FOR OUR GOOD.

When we have a righteous fear of the Lord, His commands are not burdensome but a joy. God’s desire for us is to experience unity, joy and adventure with Him. Joy is different than happiness because happiness is contingent on our circumstances. Joy is a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, regardless of circumstances. When we abide in Jesus and obey Him, we have joy.

THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US THE POWER TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

The Lord will never ask us to do anything impossible. He will always give us the grace and strength to do the things He asks us to do. It’s in that place of surrender and obedience that we find the adventure and joy God intended for us.

THE GREATEST ACT OF JOYFUL OBEDIENCE IS FORGIVENESS.

When we choose to forgive someone that hurt us, we are obeying the command to forgive just as Jesus forgave us. Forgiveness is central to the gospel. We nullify the grace of God when we are unwilling to forgive. We are al accountable to God, and when we choose release and forgive someone, regardless of what they have done to us, we find freedom. We also give someone else the opportunity to find freedom. For more on what it looks like to choose forgiveness even when it’s hard, check out this past message from Jimmy.

Two hurdles that keep us from joyful obedience are –

  1. Misunderstanding of God’s character // If we don’t believe God is who He says He is, we are hesitant to obey. We have to believe that God is good, faithful and so worth trusting. Ask God to reveal more of His character to you this week, He’s faithful to meet you.
  2. Democracy and negotiation // God gives each of us free will. He will never make us do something. However, until we surrender our will to the will of God, we will never experience the fullness that God has for us. We need to trust that God’s way is so much better than ours.

When we live with an awe, respect and love of God, we will joyfully obey Him because we can be confident that His ways are for our best!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

The Fear of the Lord is… // Part Two

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our series, The Fear of the Lord is…, with a message on the blessings we receive when we fear God. Fearing God is different than the human fear we typically think of. Human fear causes us to pull away, while Godly fears causes us to lean in because we don’t want to be away from God.

Like we talked about last week, the fear of the Lord is living in awe, respect and love for God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. While we need the fear of God, we also need the love of God. The love of God is His mercy, kindness and grace toward us as undeserving people. The fear of God is His protection, boundaries and covering.

WE NEED THE PURSUIT, COMPASSION AND GRACE OF GOD PARTNERED WITH HIS PROTECTION, BOUNDARY AND LEADERSHIP.

If we focus heavily on the love of God and disregard the fear of God, or vice versa, we will get off track. We need a balance of God’s love and of reverence and awe for Him.

EVERY ASPECT OF GOD’S CHARACTER IS FOR OUR GOOD.

Acknowledging the awesomeness of God is ultimately for our good. When we put God in His rightful place, we are blessed.

TAKE A LOOK AT FIVE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE WHEN WE WALK OUT WITH A RIGHTEOUS FEAR OF GOD //

  1. Survival (Deuteronomy 6:24)// Out of His mercy and kindness God gives us boundaries. He isn’t trying to control us, He is actually trying to keep us away from destruction.
  2. Free from Sin (Proverbs 16:6) // Our actions don’t determine how much God loves us, but there are consequences for our sin. God’s heart is for us to walk out free of brokenness and free from sin.When we obey His commands, we find that His ways are always best.
  3. Contentment (Psalm 34:9-10) // Scripture says that those who fear the Lord have no lack. When we seek the wisdom of God, He provides us with everything we need. There is no longer striving, but total contentment and provision.
  4. Those around us are blessed (Psalm 128:1-3) // When we are right with God, we not only bless those around us, but we also pave the way for our families in the future.
  5. Intimacy with God (Psalm 25:4) // When we submit to the ways of God and lean in, we experience deeper relationship with God. When we fear God, we understand that He is a covenant-keeping God.

The fear of the Lord is central to our freedom, and it is for our good. When we partner the fear of God with the love of God, we ultimately are blessed.

IN RESPONSE //

In order to get the balance of the love and fear of God, we need to –

  1. See God for who He says He is, and acknowledge both His grace and awesomeness.
  2. Repent of anything that is keeping us from God.
  3. Read and meditate on the Words of God
  4. Obey the next thing God tells us to do

Throughout our series, we are diving into what the Bible says about the fear of the Lord throughout the week. Take a look at this card for verses to use in your time with God this week. You can also follow Jimmy on Instagram for morning devotionals centered around this topic.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

The Fear of the Lord is…//Part One

The fear of the Lord is living in awe, respect and love for God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things.

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert kicked off our new three-week series, The Fear of the Lord is… Throughout our series, we will be talking through what it looks like to live with a righteous fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord and the love of God go hand-in-hand. You can’t have a revelation of the love of God without a revelation of the fear of God. We need the love of God partnered with the fear of God in order to see the power of God.

When we live with a righteous fear of the Lord, the benefits are:

  • Blessing
  • Cleanliness
  • Deliverance
  • Friendship
  • Guidance
  • Holiness
  • Honor
  • Hope
  • Life
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Prosperity
  • Protection
  • Rest
  • Reward
  • Righteousness
  • Trust

In the next couple of weeks, we will dive deeper into how each of these benefits play out in our lives. This week, we talked about what it means to fear God.

There is a big difference between human fear and the fear of God. Human fear causes us to pull away, but fearing God causes us to lean in because we fear being away from Him. When we are confident in who God is, there is nothing else we will run to. When we have Jesus, there is nothing to be afraid of in the natural.

When we fear God, we allow Him to set boundaries so we don’t end up in destruction. God does not set boundaries because He wants to control us, He sets them because He loves us. We can’t back up from the boundaries set in place by God just because we’re learning how to walk with God.

FEARING GOD MEANS BEING IN AWE OF HIM.

We have to pause and acknowledge God throughout our day because God is present at all times. But often, we live as if He is only present on Sunday mornings. If we don’t worship God for who He is, we end up worshiping man.

GOD IS TO BE RESPECTED.

We will always end up following what we fear. If we fear no one, we will ultimately lead ourselves. To live in respect of God means we will trust His words and follow Him. We can trust God because He gives us boundaries for our protection. Unless you personally respect God, there will be destruction in your relationships.

JESUS WILL ALWAYS TRAMPLE OVER BROKENNESS.

The fear of God is also the love of God. Loving God means protecting His people. Even when we didn’t deserve it, Jesus showed us unmatched love. Our automatic response is to love and worship Him. When we are under Jesus, we are protected by Him. We nullify the grace of God when we turn away from Him.

We need to live a life of respect, love and awe toward God because He is truly all we have. And ultimately, He is all we need.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Follow Jimmy on Instagram for daily devotions centered around this topic.
  • Read through these Scriptures to learn more about the Fear of the Lord.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director