Author: Destiny Gonzalez

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.

 

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.