Author: Destiny Gonzalez

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.

 

All in All Part Seven //
Countercultural

This morning Drew Steadman continued our All in All series with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 10:1-12. In this passage Paul’s authority is challenged by the church of Corinth because of his physical appearance, preaching style and personality. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul didn’t respond by defending himself or directly addressing their remarks. Instead he states that he isn’t living by worldly standards, but by Kingdom standards. Living with a worldly perspective will never give us life. The good news is, we aren’t bound to worldly standards.

WE ARE INVITED TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WAYS OF THE KINGDOM.

It’s with that perspective that we find life. We aren’t called to disengage from the world in order to avoid the view surrounding us. Instead, we are called to renew our mind and live above the standards of this world. Throughout the passage, Paul alludes to strongholds that hold us back from walking out with a Kingdom perspective. We are constantly bombarded by thoughts and opinions from the world around us. In verse five, Paul tells us to, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s no mistake that he uses military terminology. He is admonishing us to aggressively take hold of our thoughts and shift our way of thinking. If we are passive and disengaged, we will ultimately be shaped by the world around us instead of being shaped by God.

EVERY SOCIETY HAS THEIR OWN STRONGHOLDS AND VIEWS.

Today’s worldview is very different than it was in Paul’s day. However, if we want to deal with our strongholds, we need to be aware of what is going on in our current culture. In his message, Drew presented two worldviews that he believes could be shaping our way of thinking. Both views have positives and negatives because neither of these perspectives align with the Kingdom way of thinking :

  1. Cultural Christianity // Cultural Christianity focuses on our behavior and appearance. This way of thinking says, “behave according to God’s commands, or at least look like you are.”
  2. Humanism // Humanism tells us that we should be true to ourselves, and live a life focused on our own dreams and passions. The problem with this perspective is that there is no reference to God. The only source of accountability is internal

Drew just briefly touched on both of these topics. If you would like to read more from Drew, check out these posts on his website. When we live with a Kingdom perspective, we live free of the pressure to look or act a certain way. We aren’t held to the standards of the world. We are only accountable to God, and He will always lead us to a place of life.

TAKE A LOOK AT THREE WAYS TO APPLY THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:

  1. Deal with strongholds // This week, ask God if there is a worldview that is shaping your perspective. Start renewing your mind with the truths of the Kingdom.
  2. Take thoughts captive // Just as Scripture says, we need to actively take thoughts captive and renew our minds. This week, start by memorizing a verse that counters a lie you have been believing.
  3. Serve // When we live with a Kingdom perspective, we no longer focus on ourselves. If thriving in our own giftings and talents keeps us from serving others, then we’re missing the point. Start by serving in some capacity, and trust God to set you up to thrive.

By Destiny Gonzalez  – Communications Staff

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

The God who Heals

“And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.’” Matthew 11:4-5 //

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist is calling out from prison, asking if Jesus really is the One he has been waiting for. John knew who Jesus was, but he was in a desperate situation and his faith was waning. There are times when we can all resonate with John. When we are feeling desperate, our perspective becomes blurred, and we start to lose faith.

Jesus, out of his kindness, responds with the passage above. He isn’t frustrated or annoyed; instead He simply reminds John that He is the God who will step into pain and bring healing. Jesus is still the same today.

HE WANTS TO STEP INTO OUR LIVES AND REVIVE OUR PLACES OF PAIN.

This past Sunday, we were stirred with faith for Jesus to move and bring healing to those who were in need. We paused during our service and took a few moments to pray for anyone who was experiencing pain.

I am so thankful Jesus hears our prayers and is faithful to answer them. After we prayed, one woman said her shoulder pain was completely alleviated. Another woman came to church believing for healing. After praying, she experienced healing in both her ankle and her back.

These are just two of the testimonies from Sunday morning, and I’m sure there are many more. Hearing about the healing power of Jesus will never get old! He is always wanting to intervene in the midst of our pain and bring a breakthrough.

If you are experiencing physical pain today or if you are believing for God to bring a breakthrough in an area of your life, I believe God wants to meet you in that place. You don’t have to wait for Sunday morning to be healed. The same Jesus who healed the sick and made the blind see is waiting to step in and bring healing in your life. Just ask Him!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.

All in All Part Six //
Generosity

This morning, Vincent Carpenter continued our All in All series with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Throughout this passage, Paul admonishes the church in Corinth to express generosity. The same admonition is for us today. When we give someone what we have, it makes a significant impact in both their lives and in our own. Before we can learn to give, we need to learn how to receive.

RECEIVING IS THE KEY TO GIVING.

It may sound backward because the point of giving is not to receive. But if we want to freely give, we first need to learn how to freely receive from God. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul alludes to the Macedonians, who are described as living in extreme poverty and overflowing joy. Pause for a second and let the description sink in. It seems almost impossible to be filled with an overflowing joy in the midst of severe poverty, but the Macedonians had learned to receive from God. By the grace of God, they were fully sustained so their financial need didn’t cause a setback. We too, need to learn how to fully receive the grace of God, because when we do, we find that all of our needs are met in God.

When we give out of our own ability we begin to focus on our own achievements or compare ourselves to others. This mindset allows the lie to creep in that says, “my achievements merit the grace of God.” This completely nullifies the grace of God. We can’t earn anything, we just get to freely receive.

When we learn to freely receive, we are able to freely give.

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GIVE –

  1. Everyone is blessed // When we give, not only is the receiver blessed, but so are we. We are all called to help someone, and there is a joy that we receive when we extend generosity to someone else.
  2. God is glorified // Ultimately, we bring God glory when we give. Scripture says, “others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” (2 Corinthians 9:13) Others will be compelled to give thanks to God when they see that our gift to them is not out of our own abundance, but because of the grace of God.

THREE WAYS WE CAN RESPOND TO THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE –

  1. Renew your mind with the truth of who God is // This week, ask God to reveal more of His character to you. If we trust who God says He is, we will allow ourselves to freely receive from Him, and trust Him to sustain us.
  2. Make space to receive from God // Ask God to show you areas where He is wanting to provide. This could be in finances, in relationships or in some other area. Whatever it is, take a step back and allow God to breakthrough.
  3. Ask God how you can bless someone else // This week, take time to pray and ask God if there is someone you can bless this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communication Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.

All in All Part Five //
Discipleship Community

Yesterday, Vincent Carpenter continued our study in 2 Corinthians with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 7. Throughout the morning, we talked about repentance, perspective shifts and relationships.

Many times, we believe repentance means feeling bad about our sin, but it is actually so much more than that. Repentance is a gift, and allows us to align both our thoughts and actions with God’s. When we repent, we then have the ability to see things with God’s perspective instead of with a worldly perspective.

Repentance is an ongoing revelation of God’s truth. It begins with holiness; which then leads to wholeness. Holiness means to be pure and clean, and wholeness means being completely satisfied. God is both holy and whole. He calls us to be Holy not simply to avoid sin, but more importantly, to be more like Him and gain His perspective.

IN ORDER TO WALK IN HOLINESS AND WHOLENESS, WE NEED COMMUNITY.

We lose a part of God’s perspective when we are not a unified body. God created each of us differently, but He also called us to be one. Being unified doesn’t mean we all think the same way, but it does mean we are pursuing God’s perspective for the greater body of Christ. When we are together and whole, we are able to bring the perspective of heaven into every situation.

We are also led to repentance, and ultimately a perspective shift, when we realize both God and people are for us. It isn’t possible to say we love God, but dislike people. The way we feel about the people we are around reflects the way we feel about God. If we don’t believe people are for us, we probably don’t believe God is for us either. Once we gain the resolve that broken people who disappoint us still have our best interest at heart, we are able to push past conflict and build relationships.

BEING IN COMMUNITY IS WORTH IT.

It is not only God’s plan for us, but He also wants to use people to reveal His truth. This is why being present with the people around us is so important. Being present also communicates love for one another and allows us to build relational equity. When we have established relationships, we are able to encourage one another, and we have space to offer correction. It isn’t always easy, but it is important to speak truth into one another’s lives.

God wants to give us His perspective, and we find that when we are pursuing Him and relationship with His people.

TAKE A LOOK AT THREE PRACTICAL WAYS TO PURSUE GOD’S PERSPECTIVE THIS WEEK:

  1. Press into a challenging relationship // Being in community is worth having a few challenging conversations. This week, ask God for His perspective about someone you may have a challenging relationship with. Ask Him how you can show that person love this week.
  2. Ask God to reveal more of His character to you // If we don’t believe God is good, we won’t believe people are either. If it feels difficult to let people in, ask God to show you more of His character.
  3. Invite feedback // Community is not only a source of encouragement, but also correction. Invite your community to speak into your life. Start by asking one – two people if there is anything they see in you that doesn’t align with who God has called you to be.

By Destiny Gonzalez; Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.

Am I Feeling Enough? //
A Response to Current Events

The crisis at the border. Family separation. Immigration laws.

It feels like our world is in total disarray, and the images, videos and headlines surrounding this topic have flooded our news feeds, television screens and conversations. You might be numb to another voice on the subject. That’s okay; I have felt the same way.

This post isn’t meant to be another political response. This isn’t the church’s stance on immigration (If you would like to read Antioch’s official response from Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert, you can find that here). This isn’t me telling you how you should feel or giving you “three practical ways to respond to our nation’s immigration crisis.” This is simply me extending an invitation to process with me. It’s my way of saying, “If you’re hurting for our nation, if you’re not totally sure how to feel or if you have no idea how to respond, I’m with you.”

SO IF YOU WANT, LET’S PROCESS TOGETHER.

First off, I am definitely not a political expert. I am an informed American, but my attempts to fully understand the policies and the laws surrounding immigration have left my head spinning. I am not a theologian either. I love Jesus and His people, and I try to follow Him with all that I have. But I can’t give you a perfect answer for how we should respond as the people of God.

I can’t even fully explain how I feel because I have experienced a full range of emotions. Sometimes all I can do is sit on my couch and grieve. My heart hurts for the families that have been broken. I am filled with an anger that I can’t fully explain by a world that seems so unfair. In those moments, I am left shouting in my car and asking God for peace. Then there are the nights that I lay in bed contemplating a trip to one of the detention centers on the border because it doesn’t feel right that I get to rest in my comfortable bed. The fact that I still get to live my life without fear of my family being separated leaves me feeling guilty rather than settled. As a Hispanic-American woman, I sometimes feel like my emotions surrounding the situation should be more extreme.

IF I FEEL OKAY, AM I FEELING ENOUGH?

I feel ashamed if I don’t feel convicted to call my local congressman. Ultimately, I feel helpless, discouraged and longing for Jesus to come quickly.

It may sound strange, but I often desire to feel nothing at all. Maybe you’ve been there too. In that place between feeling everything and wishing I could feel nothing, there is exhaustion. We’re human; we naturally avoid pain. My admonition to you is to not push your emotions away. It isn’t easy, but we must fight against the temptation to become unengaged. We must fight the temptation to sit idly and wait until it stops. I’m fighting with you, and I promise, it’s worth it to allow yourself to feel and to go to those emotional places with God.

I ALSO WANT TO PAUSE AND TELL YOU THAT YOUR EMOTIONS ARE VALID.

As someone who is highly emotional, I constantly have to remind myself that my emotions are valid and God cares about them. There are plenty of people and articles telling us how we should feel, but don’t let that dictate your emotions or your conversations with God. As I have gone through my own process,

I sense God waiting there with open arms. He wants me to come to him with my anger, my sadness, my disappointment and my confusion. And I believe He is waiting for you, too.

HE PROMISES TO COMFORT AND FILL US WITH A PEACE THAT SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.

Right now I am desperate for that peace, and He is faithful to give it.

I wish I could provide an answer to the problems of this world or solace for the pain so many are experiencing. I can’t. What I can do is share two truths that I hold on to when everything else leaves me confused –

  1. God is Faithful // This is the only thing I can be confident in. From the beginning, God has been for us. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” God cannot be anything but Himself, and He is a God who will pursue, rescue, comfort and wholeheartedly love His people. I have found that holding on to this truth is one of the only things that keeps me sane. The declaration of the faithfulness of God is the only thing that will stand through the ages. It is the only thing that gives me hope in the midst of the brokenness of our world. God is faithful, He loves us and He is ultimately victorious.
  2. God hears my prayers // Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) There is an assurance that God not only listens to our prayers, but He is faithful to answer them. Just like our emotions, God wants to hear the deepest cries of your heart. I promise, my prayers are less than eloquent, but it’s okay. God promises to listen to me. Knowing that my prayers are heard pull me out of that place of helplessness.

These two truths help me in my process, but I mean it when I say that my heart is not to give you a formula on how to make everything better. I simply want you to know that I am hurting with you, but I am also for you. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I am convinced that is why God puts us in community. When we can’t always see how He is working, He puts people around us to help us press on. No matter where you are, I encourage you to not avoid, but to press in. Discover your own process and let God meet you there. He’ll do it, I promise.

I want to be there with you, too. Feel free to contact me here, I’d love to hear from you!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.

Grief and The Gospel

Many of us know the story of Lazarus. He was Jesus’ friend who was sick, dead for four days and was then brought back to life. The glory and power of God was displayed like never before, and many of those who came to grieve were stirred to believe as they saw the dead live again.

But before the miracle of verse 43 came Jesus’ emotional response in verse 35.

“Jesus wept.”

The shortest verse in the Bible, but I believe it is one of the most significant acts of Jesus’ life. These two words display God’s heart for us in a unique and powerful way. They essentially encompass the whole gospel.

His response was filled with deep compassion and proved that Jesus was, and still is, willing to “go there.” You know that place. The place we awkwardly avoid because we don’t really know how to engage the situation. The place of loss, and sometimes anger. That place of deep pain where no words ever seem to be enough solace. The place where confusion resides and grief seems to eliminate the possibility of hope.

JESUS KNEW THE OUTCOME.

He knew of the life He was about to speak back into Lazarus, but still, He took a moment to feel the raw and painful emotion of man. He grieved and wept with His friends. This part of the story always stirs something inside of me. There is something so significant and beautiful about Jesus’ response. He could have come to Bethany, told Lazarus’ sisters to stop crying and immediately revived Lazarus. Instead He comforted them by first mourning with them.

I believe the glory of God is magnified when we go to those deep places, allow ourselves to grieve and then still declare that He is faithful and good.

Ultimately it is the sin and brokenness of this world that causes our pain and grief. It isn’t until we are in heaven that the tears will forever dry up and we will experience eternal joy. Jesus wept 2,000 years ago with his friends, and He hurts for us still today. He grieves over the brokenness of the world, and there is an invitation for us to grieve with Him. Jesus isn’t intimidated by our emotions, instead He embraces them. If we try to numb and avoid our pain, we eventually won’t allow ourselves to feel joy either. There is space for us to grieve, and a promise that the Holy Spirit will comfort us.

THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN WEEPING IN GRIEF AND CELEBRATING IN VICTORY WITH ONE ANOTHER.

The gospel is preached every time we are willing to “go there” with someone and then declare hope in the midst of the hurt.

Jesus’ entire life proved His willingness to, “go there” with us. He came to save us, to the point of dying on a cross. But before He committed the act that gave us eternal hope, He stepped fully into our lives. He stood with us and experienced the brokenness of humanity.

Jesus’ ministry was fueled by compassion. We can’t fully declare Jesus to others if we aren’t willing to be stirred by the emotion and pain of those around us.

Grief isn’t bad. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Let yourself, “go there” because ultimately, we won’t stay in that place of pain. We will find that Jesus is willing to feel with us and then speak life over us.

IN RESPONSE:

  • Let yourself grieve // Maybe it’s a dream, the loss of a loved one or another disappointment. Whatever it may be, there is an invitation to grieve with Jesus. He isn’t intimidated by our emotions, and He won’t rush our grief process. Scripture says that it is in weakness that the power of God is made perfect through us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). When Jesus left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper and ultimate comforter (John 14:15-31). When we grieve there is a promise that the Holy Spirit will bring us comfort and hope. Take a look at this message from Jimmy on the role of the Holy Spirit.
  • Be willing to go there with someone else // If you know someone that is grieving, ask God how you can best support and care for them. I believe we express the heart of God when we are willing to listen to people’s pain, and when we are willing to cry and grieve with them. The heart of God is not to push away emotion, it is to embrace, comfort and declare hope in the midst of the pain. Carl Gulley shared a powerful message on grief this past fall. He unpacked practical ways we can respond to grief. Check it out here.
  • Read the story of Lazarus and ask God to reveal His heart to you. // This is one of my favorite passages, and Jesus still reveals something new to me every time I read it. I suggest reading it in another translation, I read it in the Passion Translation this morning, and it was a game changer.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

 

Resolving to Leave Perfection in 2017

Welcome to 2018!

There is something about the start of a new year that has me running to the nearest Target to get calendars, colored pens, sticky notes, a new planner and anything else that is sure to help me have the most successful year yet. My motivation is at an all-time high and my list of resolutions extends down a page in my journal.

But to tell you the truth, my motivation dies out after about a month. I can’t remember one thing that was on my 2017 resolutions list, and my planner has sat idly on my desk for the past few months, just waiting to be replaced on January 1st. I love the idea of a fresh start. I think we all do. But each year after the holidays pass, I find myself caught between the same responsibilities and struggles I woke up with on December 31st, and the desire to check off every single item on my resolutions list.

The recipe for my seemingly perfect year is all there, but things never really play out the way I expect them to.

WHEN MY EXPECTATION IS PERFECTION, I AM TEMPTED TO FEEL LIKE A FAILURE WHEN A RESOLUTION GOES UNCHECKED.

If you’re anything like me you may be wondering, “How do I get out of this cycle of feeling like I fail every year?”

I’m not going to tell you to give up on making resolutions or to set low goals because I don’t think that is the answer. I believe the answer is to shift our expectations away from perfection.

GOD DOESN’T EXPECT US TO BE PERFECT.

If perfection were achievable, Jesus never would have died on the cross. Instead, God invites us to press into Him in the areas where we fall short. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”

WHEN WE LAY DOWN OUR EXPECTATION FOR PERFECTION, WE CREATE SPACE FOR GOD TO DO WHATEVER HE WANTS.

And there is an assurance that His plan is always better than we can comprehend.

So, as we look forward to the New Year I encourage you to resolve to leave perfection in the past. Make a list of resolutions and dream with God about the year ahead. And cut yourself some slack, you don’t have to check everything off your list right away. We are covered by the grace of God, and it’s time for us to extend grace to ourselves.

IN RESPONSE:

With the desire for perfection in the past, check out three ways to help you set yourself up for a great year:

  1. Invite God into the process and ask Him what He has for you in the coming year.
  2. Stick to three or four resolutions; don’t overload yourself with a ton of things.
  3. Quantify your goals. Instead of saying, “Read more,” set a more quantifiable goal, like, “Read one book every three months.”

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Three Things I Learned From Anxiety

“You really aren’t good enough. You missed the mark again, are you actually surprised? You have to get better; you’re only going to hold people back. You can’t even get yourself together, why do you think you can lead people?”

These irrational and paralyzing thoughts swirled around in my head until the familiar feeling of my chest tightening came and I fought to keep my breathing at a normal pace. My heart raced and tears burned the corners of my eyes. My car became my only safe haven, and I drove around squinting to see between the streaming tears that clouded my vision. The thoughts mocked me, and I pleaded for them to stop. When I came to a place of feeling completely defeated, my panic attack would end. I breathed a sigh of relief, but instead of being at ease, I was left feeling defeated and humiliated.

This past spring was one of the hardest seasons of my life because this was my reality. Anxiety lingered over my head for years, but during this season it completely took over.

I CONTENDED AND PLEADED FOR GOD TO MOVE, AND THROUGH THE PROCESS, HE DID.

Processes are hard and at times they feel hopeless. Even after I felt freedom from anxiety, the enemy wanted to replace my anxious thoughts with shameful ones. But this is why I’m so thankful for the process! I am left with a foundation of truth to stand on when the enemy wants to paralyze me with shame.

THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS, THERE ARE THREE MAIN THINGS I LEARNED FROM ANXIETY:

  • 1. God isn’t afraid of your emotions // In some of my deepest places of pain, I found God to be my greatest comforter. Out of confusion and pain, I found myself yelling and asking God why this was happening to me. He didn’t take my anxiety away right away, and I expected Him to eventually get irritated by my wild emotions. I waited for Him to go silent, but God shattered my expectations. He continually spoke words of comfort and peace. I realized we are known and loved by a God who isn’t only able, but willing.
  • 2. Isolation keeps you trapped // Time and time again, I convinced myself isolation was safe. Letting people in is risky, and I believed it would only cause me more pain. What I’ve learned is the ways of the Kingdom don’t always make sense because it’s actually the complete opposite. We need community. The Bible states it so clearly in Hebrews 10: 24-25. God places people in our lives to lift our arms up when we can’t. I spent so much energy hiding my anxiety from my roommates. Out of fear I wanted to keep them out, but they ended up being a sole source of encouragement and truth when I needed it most.
  • 3. Healing doesn’t always happen overnight // I had my first panic attack when I was 15-years-old. Anxiety was prevalent in my life for eight years before I really felt like I had a breakthrough. Sometimes we pray and we see God miraculously heal and restore in an instant, and it’s amazing. Other times, it is a process. In times like this, the enemy wants to creep in and make us believe God will never bring a breakthrough. The Lord hears the cries of His people (Psalm 34:17-19), and I’m confident that He loves to answer our prayers. But my unanswered prayers were an invitation to deeper intimacy with Him. In those moments of desperation, I learned more about God’s character and more about who He has called me to be as a daughter. I am more confident now in His faithfulness because He was faithful to meet me every step of the way.

IN RESPONSE

I am thankful for the process because it brought me into a place of freedom and deeper intimacy with God. Whether it’s anxiety or something else, I believe God has breakthrough for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to be real with God. Let Him into your places of pain, He isn’t intimidated by it.
  • Let people into your process. It isn’t always easy to be vulnerable, but it’s always worth it.
  • Don’t stop believing for breakthrough. God hears the cries of His children and He’s faithful to answer.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

How to Pray for Our City

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14

I’m convinced Waco is a city set on a hill. The Lord has spoken words of life over Waco time and time again, and we have the opportunity to partner with Him to see the glory of God magnified in this place.

In the early 1900s Waco was known as a place of hope and healing. People would travel from all over to visit the artesian springs that supposedly had healing powers. The springs are long gone, but healing, restoration and hope is still something that marks our city.

WEEK AFTER WEEK PEOPLE POUR INTO WACO WITH HOPE AND EXPECTANCY.

Waco doesn’t only hold an expectation for physical healing it has also poised itself to be a place for people to find restoration and life in Jesus. Years ago revival was evident at Baylor University. At a conference, students were stirred by the presence of God and found themselves with a desire to be completely sold out to God. This desire is still alive in people all over our city. Last week we hosted Nights of Revival, and the Auditorium was packed night after night as people encountered the presence of God and hungered for more.

Driving around Waco, it is evident our city is filled with different cultures. Our city is painted with diversity, and it’s not only beautiful, but needed. As we’re unified throughout our city, God is glorified. Two years ago churches across the city came together to host The Gathering, a city-wide worship celebration. The culture of Heaven was on display at McLane Stadium as people were unified to worship Jesus.

Waco is a place marked by God, and through prayer, we have the opportunity to believe for His Kingdom to come in our city.

HOW TO PRAY FOR WACO

  • Hope and Healing // Whether someone is in need of physical or emotional healing, pray for God to miraculously heal those needing a touch from Him. Pray for hope to be ignited throughout Waco, and for the hopeless to find fresh life.
  • Revival // Pray for a move of God to spread across Waco, and for people to deeply encounter the presence of God. Pray for those in our city that don’t know Jesus to meet Him in a real way.
  • Unity // Pray for the culture of Heaven to be a reality in Waco as we learn to celebrate the diversity of our city. Pray for the churches in our city to lead out in being unified.
  • The Gathering // This Sunday, April 9th, our city will come together to host The Gathering at McLane Stadium once again. Pray for the leaders and speakers to be covered, and for people to fill the stadium and find hope and life in Jesus.

Join us at The Gathering, this Sunday, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at McLane Stadium. It will be a powerful time as we worship and hear from Pastor Miles McPherson, Baylor basketball coach Scott Drew and musical artist Anthony Evans. Doors open at 4:15 p.m. and the event is free, but we encourage you to bring canned goods to donate to Caritas and Shepherd’s Heart food pantries. Learn more, including information on where to park at thegatheringwaco.com.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Coordinator