Author: Olivia Andrade

Whales + Worms // Part Four

“Are your concerns God’s concerns?”

This week, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series, Whales + Worms: Our reluctance. His relentlessness. During the course of the series, we are looking at the life of Jonah and how God’s relentless pursuit led Jonah into the divine purpose God had for him.

GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES

In Jonah 4, we see God is continuing to provide for Jonah – even while he is hoping for the downfall of Nineveh. God appoints a plant to grow up over Jonah and offer him shade and comfort. Up to this point in Jonah’s life, God has provided a storm, a whale and now, a leafy plant. After the comfort of a little shade, God provides for Jonah one more time. But this time, it makes Jonah uncomfortable: God provides a worm. The purpose of the worm is to attack the plant, so Jonah is no longer taking comfort in earthly things, but in God. Jonah’s response? “It would be better for me to die than to live.” We witness Jonah missing the point of God’s deliverance to Ninevah; it was not to seek his own comfort, but to be the vehicle for the revival of an entire city.

BE ABOUT THE FATHER’S BUSINESS

It’s easy for us to read the story of Jonah and make ourselves the hero; we would never ignore God’s calling on our life, right? Maybe not. Our tendency, just like Jonah, is to retreat under our own “plants” for comfort. We gravitate towards introspection and ease over risk and engagement with the assignments God has for us. When faced with the choice to stir revival in a city or to sit in the comfortable shade under a plant, more often than not, we choose the plant. It is in these very places God will continue to pursue us out of our comfort zones – like how He provided a worm to attack the plant. Where in your life are you sitting under a plant in the shade instead of stepping into the assignment God has given you?

OUR RESPONSE //

Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to make God’s concerns our concerns:

  • Ask yourself, “Do I really care about what God cares about?” This is a hard question, and it may reveal places where you are not aligned with God. As we saw through the story of Jonah though, God’s heart isn’t solely for the people Jonah will impact but for Jonah himself. As we partner with God and examine ourselves to see if our heart matches His, He is kind and faithful to correct us so we can draw closer to Him.
  • Pray for a worm. Ask, “Lord, would You send a worm to attack whatever leafy plant I am sitting under?” This is a bold prayer, and we need to be prepared for areas of ease to become uncomfortable. But we ultimately know it will align us with His heart for us and for others.

We hope to see you next week as we wrap up our series!

Whales + Worms // Part Three

“Those you deem unchangeable might be on the verge of breakthrough.” – Carl Gulley //

This week lead pastor Carl Gulley continued our fall series, Whales + Worms: Our reluctance. His relentlessness. During the course of the series, we are looking at the life of Jonah and how God’s relentless pursuit led Jonah into the divine purpose God had for him. As we unpack his story together, we can see parallels in our own lives.

GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

All throughout Jonah 3, we see how God is the God of second chances to Jonah and the people of Nineveh. God repeated His message to Jonah and forgave the Ninevites as they repented. As seen in this story and in our own lives, those who have been touched by grace are the first to give it away and sometimes we need to reflect and be reminded of the grace we have received. Whether it’s from God, a friend or a stranger, where have you received grace?

GRACE & MERCY

Part of what comprises grace and mercy is the fact that they are not deserved – if they could be, then it wouldn’t be grace and mercy. You are given these things as a gift and so is everyone else. This puts the responsibility on us to give away grace and mercy freely because it isn’t ours anyways. So, who are the people that you can extend grace and mercy to? What type of breakthrough would happen, especially in the lives of those we think are unchangeable? Maybe the person you are most hesitant to extend grace to is on the verge of breakthrough!

IN RESPONSE //

Ask God, “Lord, would you show me my Ninevites so I can show them grace and mercy?” Don’t just see the people who frustrate you and don’t just say that you will show them the same grace and mercy you have received: get specific with how you can encourage these people and shift your perspective toward them. Here at Antioch, we say that we are a people with a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the earth. This can start with us receiving and giving grace to those around us. What will that look like for you this week?

We hope to see you this next week as we continued our series!

Whales + Worms // Part Two

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27-19 (ESV) //

This week lead pastor Carl Gulley continued our fall series, Whales + Worms: Our Reluctance. His Relentlessness. During the course of the series, we are looking at the life of Jonah and how God’s relentless pursuit led Jonah into the divine purpose God had for him. As we unpack his story together, we can see parallels in our own lives.

WHAT’S YOUR WHALE?

We dove into Jonah 2, seeing the unique viewpoint Jonah has even while in the belly of the fish. He declared God’s love and salvation even when it looked foolish to do so because he was still trapped. He maybe didn’t see the full picture the whale played yet, but he did see God at work. What if we took time to understand the whys behind the whales we are in? If we try to get out of the hardship, we could be taking ourselves out of the transformation God has for us and into another whale.

BROKENNESS IS A SEASON. IT IS NOT THE DESTINATION.

How could Jonah know that the fish was taking him to where God originally called him? It was one of the reasons why God called the fish. But Jonah did not know that. However, even though he didn’t know if he ever would get out of the fish, Jonah still declared that, “But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.” Even while in a broken season, Jonah still declared the goodness of God. We can do the same thing in our lives. God pursues us through our brokenness and feelings of being stuck. We have the opportunity, like Jonah, to declare God’s character and love for us because what we are in currently is not our destination. Our circumstances may not change, but as we see in Jonah’s story God uses broken people who surrender their lives to Him and takes them to their destiny.

IN RESPONSE //

If you find yourself underwater and in a whale, Carl called us to pray in three different ways:

  • Pray Specifically. If you have a specific concern, you can’t have a generic prayer. What is one thing you are specifically praying for in this season?
  • Pray with Strength. This doesn’t mean that we have to pray loudly but pray with conviction believing God hears our prayers.
  • Pray using Scripture. Take what God has spoken through Scripture and pray it back to Him.

If you are wanting to grow in your prayer life, join us at Jesus Hour every weekday from noon – 1 p.m. in the Kids Auditorium for times of worship and prayer. There also are resources for prayer on our website.

We hope to see you next week as we continue our series!

The Time Is Now

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 // 

This Sunday senior pastor Jimmy Seibert reminded us of our corporate vision for the year, The Time Is Now. He encouraged us to press in and  run into the last third of the year. We are called to move beyond past mistakes and press on toward prayer and community both personally and corporately.

WHEN GOD SAYS IT IS A NEW TIME, WE DON’T LIVE IN THE OLD.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrew 12:1 

To live this new time, walking out in obedience to the “now” words, we cannot continue to live in the past. We are not the accumulation of our failures. If we step into the new season with that mindset, we will not be able to run with the freedom and endurance to which we are called. Instead, we take what we learned and go forward in God.

OUR OBEDIENT RESPONSE TO GOD SETS OTHERS FREE.

Having an obedient response to the invitation of God is important, not just for ourselves but for those around us. Our response has the potential to forge a way for others around us to encounter Jesus and find freedom.

Saying, “yes” to the next thing can feel risky, but if we never step into the new, we will have no idea how God desires to move in us individually, as a church body, throughout the city of Waco and ultimately the world. We are called to be a people who fully live by faith, finding freedom, introducing people to Jesus and positioning ourselves to receive God’s breakthrough.

OUR NOW MOMENTS //

There is a quarter of 2019 left, and there are two key words for us to respond to, both personally and corporately:

  • Community //  In October we are launching a 40 Days of Breakthrough series because we believe breakthrough is found among the people of God. Throughout the six-week series we are creating opportunities to find community by starting 200 new small groups. Whether you are already a part of a Lifegroup or you’re looking to get plugged in, we are encouraging everyone to be a part of a small group where we will take time to connect and dive deeper into the topics covered on Sunday mornings. If you are interested in joining a group, keep your eyes open because in a few weeks we will have an opportunity for you to sign up! If you want to make a way for others are find breakthrough in the context of community, whether or not you are currently in a Lifegroup, you can sign up to host a group! Please fill out this form and one of our pastors will get in touch with you.
  • Prayer // We are creating space for prayer and worship throughout the week, and we hope that you join us for these opportunities. Jesus Hour happens every weekday from noon – 1 p.m. in the Kids Auditorium. This is a time to refocus our attention on Jesus through thanksgiving, worship and intercession. We also have Encounter Nights every Friday starting at 7 p.m., also in the Kids Auditorium. If God has been putting something specific on your heart to carry in prayer or you want to stretch your prayer muscle, you can visit our Prayer Ministry’s website to see what groups are praying for and sign up to pray with them or start your own time slot.

We are expectant and excited for these last few months of 2019. The time is now for breakthrough.

Family Matters // Part Three

“… to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel … according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.  To me … this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:6-10 //

This week Vincent Carpenter shared part three of our series, Family Matters. Throughout the series, we are diving into the book of Ephesians and learning about what it means to be part of God’s family. Because we are part of God’s family, the way we live matters. As we read Ephesians three, we see that as children of God we have access to a spiritual inheritance.

WE ARE ALL IN THE PROCESS OF RECEIVING OUR SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE.

If we think that we have nothing to give, we are not receiving the inheritance God has for us. Before we can give something away, we first have to receive. This inheritance is available to everyone. In Kingdom of Heaven the more you give away, the more you receive. The same revelation through the Holy Spirit that Paul describes in in Ephesians 3:4-6, is part of the spiritual inheritance that Jesus made a way for all of us to receive.

WE SHOULD USE OUR SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE TO DEVELOP UNITY.

Paul had a revelation and stewarded it to form a bridge between the Jews and the Gentiles. In the same way, the revelation we receive as children of God is not just for us to know, but to steward wisely to create unity. We also can be bridge builders, unifying others and ourselves in Jesus. When we are unified, the world gets its inheritance by being introduced to the life and hope found in Jesus.

IN RESPONSE //

If we are going to receive our inheritance, we need to have a relationship with the One we are receiving from. When we spend time with God, we create space to continue receiving greater revelation. This week, take time to press pause and spend time in Word, worship and prayer.

  • Word // Throughout our series, we will be reading through the book of Ephesians. Follow along with summer reading plan and spend time reflecting on the truth of God every day.
  • Worship // Whether in your car, at work or in your home, we want to create an atmosphere of continual worship. In that place of worship, we create space for the reality of heaven to come to earth.
  • Prayer // Have a conversation with God, and pray into the things you’re believing for.

Reflect //

  • Who can you be cultivating unity with this week? This person could be someone in your world who is different from you. Pray, ask for revelation and choose to think the best about the person. Extend the inheritance you receive, and act on it to create unity.

Five Tips for Studying the Bible

“For the Word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

There are numerous verses pertaining to the power of the Word of God.  In John 1:1 we read that the Word was with and is God.  From Isaiah 55:11, we understand that the Word of the Lord will never return void.  We know that all Scripture is breathed by God from 2 Timothy 3:16.  In Psalm 12:6, we find that the words of the Lord are pure, like refined silver.

THE WORD OF GOD IS GOOD, HELPFUL AND BRINGS LIFE.

However, I have found that though I know the value of studying Scripture, I can sometimes feel stagnant in this. But because I know the value of Scripture, it is worth it to persevere during dry seasons in pursuit of deepening my knowledge and love for the word of God.

We know the Word of God is essential to our understanding of ourselves as individuals, as a church and as part of the body of Christ.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant[s] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

FOR US TO BE QUIPPED, WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT WE POSITION OURSELVES TO FULLY RECEIVE EVERYTHING SCRIPTURE HAS TO OFFER US.

We don’t want to grudgingly study the Bible, but rather jump in with joy.

Here are five practical tools that I hope will bring fresh life and perspective as you read the Word of God:

  1. Read a passage in a different translation // Far too often we become comfortable and ingrained in our habits, even when it comes to spending time with God. Reading and studying different version gives fresh perspective and can provide new insight that we would not otherwise have. No matter the version, there is new insight to be gained.
  2. Summarize the passage in your own words // Studies show that we are likely to remember 70 percent of what we write down, as opposed to only 10 percent of things we read. After reading a passage, write down the full passage and then write it again in your own words. This will help you actually retain what you are reading.
  3. S.O.S Method // The S.O.S acronym stands for say, obey and share. After reading through a passage, ask yourself three questions –
    1. What is this passage saying?
    2. How can I obey?
    3. Who can I share this with?

This method challenges us to take what we’re reading a step further by asking God how we can apply the passage to our life, and sharing what we learn with someone else.

  1. Scripture Typer App // Having the Word of God engraved on our heart gives us tools to combat anxiety, fear and temptation. The Scripture Typer app uses different exercises to help us memorize Scripture. Once you have a verse mastered, the app will send you reminders in the weeks ahead to keep the passage fresh on your mind.
  2. Do a word study // Whether it’s something you may be struggling with or simply something you want to learn more about, a word study is when you read and examine the verses that include or are about the same word. Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible are great tools for this as you can search a word and find all of the verses pertaining to or including that word. This gives your study of Scripture a very specific focus, which can better enable you to dive deep into what it says.

My hope is that as you dive into the Word of God, you also gain greater understanding of His character and heart for you.

By Olivia Andrade – Communication Staff

The Meaning of the Cross

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

EASTER IS A TIME TO NOT ONLY CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, BUT ALSO ALL HE ACCOMPLISHED ON THE CROSS.

Jesus took our sin on the cross, was dead for three days and then was raised to life before He ascended to heaven. This new life we each have access to is unbelievable and wonderful, but at least for me I know I can become accustomed to this good news. The power of what Jesus did on the cross is not diminished, but my celebration and sensitivity toward it can be. The approach of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter are reminders for me to re-examine my heart and invite God to sink the power and magnitude of the cross deeper into my heart.

WE WANT OUR HEARTS TO BE OPEN TO GREATER REVELATION OF WHAT JESUS DID FOR US ON THE CROSS.

Because of this, March 29th through Aril 1st, we are having the Stations of the Cross in Antioch’s Prayer and Equipping Center. This room, located at Fort and 20th, will be a place where you can engage in a self-guided time of Scripture reading, reflection and prayer. There will be multiple interactive stations as well as an opportunity to take communion.

My prayer is that through the Stations of the Cross, the revelation of what Jesus has done for us would continue to sink deeper into our minds and hearts, we would experience more deeply the love of the Father and draw nearer to Jesus in anticipation of Easter.

Please come join us as we journey through the Stations of the Cross!

By Olivia Andrade

Living Out World Mandate

Sometimes it feels like so much happens during World Mandate weekend that it can be hard to keep track of it all, process it and develop practical steps to respond. So much wisdom and revelation is being declared through the speakers, hearts and lives are being shaped during ministry time and the Spirit of God is speaking individually to people. In the midst of everything going on, everything that God is pouring out in that short weekend, how can we be good stewards? How can we hold onto all that God has done in us so it is not just a weekend experience but life-long transformation?

This is a question that I have asked myself after every World Mandate. I first started going to the conference in 2008 when I was thirteen, and each year I have walked away more in love with Jesus and envisioned to pray, give and go. But how can we cultivate that to last so we are not living FOR World Mandate but living it OUT all year long?

I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER THREE PRACTICAL STEPS THAT HAVE HELPED ME HOLD ONTO WHAT GOD HAS DONE IN ME AT WORLD MANDATE:

1.WRITE IT DOWN // This one is so simple and practical that it is easy to overlook. However, it is still just as important. Whether or not you would say that you like to journal, write down what God has spoken to you at World Mandate. Not only does it help you to remember what God has done in you because you are able to look back and read it, but when doubts may come your way it can act as a lifeline to remind you of the promises God has spoken.

2. TELL COMMUNITY: CELEBRATE and ACCOUNTABILITY // “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:8

We are not only made for community but we are also made to celebrate and have accountability with our community. Share with your community what God did in your life during World Mandate. Celebrate your victories with them and in places where you need to grow or follow through, invite them to hold you accountable.

3. RELEASE IT TO GOD // Even if there are things that you forget from World Mandate, God sees all and does not forget. The fulfillment of God’s promises to us does not depend on us being able to remember everything He has spoken. We can fully trust and release those promises to God.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” Jeremiah 17:7

World Mandate is a life-changing weekend that catalyzes people into the love of Jesus and the calling He has upon their lives. Let’s take the time to steward what has been spoken and what God has been doing so that we can look back on this World Mandate and not just see an incredible weekend but life transformation.

By Olivia Andrade