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 Four

Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series on the life of Jonah titled Whales + Worms – Our reluctance. His relentlessness. God provided in a variety of ways for Jonah, including ways that he didn’t necessarily want, all to align Jonah’s heart with His heart. When our hearts and concerns do not match God’s, God will provide a “worm” to get our attention and realign us with what He cares about.

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 Three

Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series on the life of Jonah titled Whales + Worms – Our reluctance. His relentlessness. God is the God of second chances, as we saw through the story of the city Nineveh. Carl challenged us to not only receive grace and mercy for ourselves, but to extend it to those around us because we never know when people are on the verge of a breakthrough.

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!

Whales + Worms // Part Two

Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our fall series on the life of Jonah titled Whales + Worms – Our reluctance. His relentlessness. Carl challenged us to be a people who pray specifically, with strength and using scripture. When we allow ourselves to become broken and surrendered to God, He has the freedom to work within us to take us to our destiny.

Whales + Worms // Part One

Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our fall series on the life of Jonah titled Whales + Worms – Our reluctance. His relentlessness. He called us to live lives of obedience that look beyond the inconvenience of temporary for the victory of the future. Throughout our series, we’ll be looking at our own reluctance and how God relentlessly pursues us in the midst of it.

All Peoples // Part Two

This morning our lead pastor Carl Gulley wrapped up our series, All Peoples. In this series, we have been taking a look at racial reconciliation with a biblical perspective and dialoguing about what that looks like in the church and beyond. Today, we took a look at the dual narrative dynamic and what it means to be bridge builders. Racial reconciliation conversations can feel difficult because there are always two sides to every story. Our story makes sense to us because of our background and life experiences. It’s easier to just stay with our people and be comfortable with our story. We won’t find unity until we are willing to go over the barriers and seek to understand the other side of the story.

All Peoples // Part One

This week Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off a new series titled, All Peoples. For the next couple of weeks, we will be talking about what it looks like to embrace culture and diversity, and live with a Heavenly perspective. It’s on all of us to reach across cultural lines and open up the conversation about diversity. Racial reconciliation can become a reality when we take steps to connect and learn from one another.

Baptism Bash

This week, we celebrated with 86 people as they publicly declared their decision to follow Jesus through baptism. There really is nothing better than seeing people step into new life with Jesus! Throughout our morning, lead pastor Carl Gulley led us through a recap, and took a look back at all God did throughout the year. We capped it all off with baptisms, and it was the sweetest end to an incredible school year!