Tag: antioch baton rouge

Sharing Life With God

The other night as I was bathing my seven month old daughter, she breathed in some water while I was rinsing the shampoo from the tiny amount of hair on her head. For a few terrifying seconds, she was gasping for air, then not breathing and finally, as I patted her back, she coughed and began to breath normally. It was scary for this first time mom and I cried as I dried her off. She was totally fine and happy, in fact, she didn’t even cry. But I wasn’t. Immediately after she was in her pajamas and peacefully asleep in bed, I texted a couple friends, called my mom and told the story. Their words of affirmation, comfort and compassion made me feel better and I was thankful for people to confide in. However, as I was doing all of this sharing, I felt a nudge from God.

I FELT A GENTLE NUDGE TO SHARE WITH HIM.

Remember when you were little and your parents were constantly hounding you to share your toys? It’s interesting to think it was such a struggle then, and now we have all grown up to be expert sharers. Maybe not of our possessions, but we live in a world where we do a lot of sharing, sometimes too much. As my grandpa put it: “I don’t want to tweet. I don’t want people to know I’m brushing my teeth!” He’s clearly not from our generation. I am a sharer. Whether it is emailing recipes and book recommendations to friends, posting photos of my baby and dog or sending my husband funny YouTube videos, I love to participate in community both in person and through the world of social media. Sometimes what I want to tell other people most are the happy moments in my day, but many times it’s also the things that bothered, upset or frustrated me. It’s how I’m wired and maybe how you are wired too. Community driven, social and participating in life with people around us.

WE ALL EXPRESS IT DIFFERENTLY AND TO  VARYING DEGREES, BUT IN US ALL IS THE DESIRE TO CONNECT WITH AND BE KNOWN BY OTHERS.

As I felt prompted to share the bathtub story with God, I couldn’t help but think: “Does God really desire this type of intimate sharing?” You may wonder as well. Does He really want us to fill Him in on our concerns and even things that seem trivial or silly? I think He does, more than we know.

Matthew 10:29-31 tells us this:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”

God knows if a tiny bird falls to the ground and He knows the number of hairs on your head. Think about that for a minute. He knows the intimate details of your life and wants to share them with you. Yes, there are crazy things going on in the world and most of them feel bigger and more important than your lousy day at work or the comment someone made to hurt your feelings. But that is who God is.

He is big, strong and powerful, and also near, gentle and caring.

IN RESPONSE:

When was the last time you shared with God first rather than with other people? When was the last time you allowed Him to fellowship with you in the details of your life? Take time today to develop new depths of friendship with God by sharing with Him. And I bet you’ll find that He really does care.

This post was originally written by Jillian Armstrong – Antioch Baton Rouge Young Adult Pastor and UnBound Director

A Response to the Baton Rouge Floods

Our church family at Antioch Baton Rouge has been serving and caring for the people of their city this week in response to the devastating flood. Here is an excerpt from a recent update sent by their senior pastor, Jake Griffin:

“Thank you for the outpouring of concern and support for our city over the last few days! While the need is great, it has been incredible to watch the community and local churches rally around one another. We believe God will be glorified and draw many people to Himself through this tragedy.

The largest shelter in the city is located 10 minutes from our church office and is currently sheltering more than 4,000 people. We have been given a unique opportunity to serve at this shelter and will focus most of our resources on this location during this initial response phase.

There is an unending amount of work to be done so if you are looking for a way to respond, we can utilize any and all help. We want to be able to show up and meet needs that haven’t been met. We need resources to buy the materials no one is buying. If you would like to give financially, please go to antiochbr.com. For those of you asking about donating physical items, the most pressing needs are ever evolving, but a list can be found here.

Please continue to pray for the peace and presence of God to surround so many who are hurting and for wisdom for us to know how to best serve and minister the love of Jesus in the coming days!

Blessings,

Jake Griffin
Antioch Baton Rouge Pastor

jake

 

 

 

IN RESPONSE:

PRAY:

  • For the peace and presence of God to surround so many who are hurting
  • For wisdom to know how to best serve and minister with the love of Jesus

GIVE:

  • Antioch Baton Rouge is accepting donations on behalf of flood victims. All funds will be used to aid those displaced by the flood. Give here.

GO:

Sharing Life With God

The other night as I was bathing my seven month old daughter, she breathed in some water while I was rinsing the shampoo from the tiny amount of hair on her head. For a few terrifying seconds, she was gasping for air, then not breathing and finally, as I patted her back, she coughed and began to breath normally. It was scary for this first time mom and I cried as I dried her off. She was totally fine and happy, in fact, she didn’t even cry. But I wasn’t. Immediately after she was in her pajamas and peacefully asleep in bed, I texted a couple friends, called my mom and told the story. Their words of affirmation, comfort and compassion made me feel better and I was thankful for people to confide in. However, as I was doing all of this sharing, I felt a nudge from God.

I felt a gentle nudge to share with Him.

Remember when you were little and your parents were constantly hounding you to share your toys? It’s interesting to think it was such a struggle then, and now we have all grown up to be expert sharers. Maybe not of our possessions, but we live in a world where we do a lot of sharing, sometimes too much. As my grandpa put it: “I don’t want to tweet. I don’t want people to know I’m brushing my teeth!” He’s clearly not from our generation. I am a sharer. Whether it is emailing recipes and book recommendations to friends, posting photos of my baby and dog or sending my husband funny YouTube videos, I love to participate in community both in person and through the world of social media. Sometimes what I want to tell other people most are the happy moments in my day, but many times it’s also the things that bothered, upset or frustrated me. It’s how I’m wired and maybe how you are wired too. Community driven, social and participating in life with people around us.

We all express it differently and to varying degrees, but in us all is the desire to connect with and be known by others.

As I felt prompted to share the bathtub story with God, I couldn’t help but think: “Does God really desire this type of intimate sharing?” You may wonder as well. Does He really want us to fill Him in on our concerns and even things that seem trivial or silly? I think He does, more than we know.

Matthew 10:29-31 tells us this:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”

God knows if a tiny bird falls to the ground and He knows the number of hairs on your head. Think about that for a minute. He knows the intimate details of your life and wants to share them with you. Yes, there are crazy things going on in the world and most of them feel bigger and more important than your lousy day at work or the comment someone made to hurt your feelings. But that is who God is.

He is big, strong and powerful, and also near, gentle and caring.

When was the last time you shared with God first rather than with other people? When was the last time you allowed Him to fellowship with you in the details of your life? Take time today to develop new depth of friendship with God by sharing with Him. And I bet you’ll find that He really does care.

By Jillian Armstrong, Young Adult Pastor – Antioch Community Church Baton Rouge

 

Compassion Trumps Strategy: How a Church Can Change a City

Ninety-Nine Plus One

12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:12-14)

My two-year-old daughter is fearless. She runs full speed ahead to whatever she is focused on for that particular 15 seconds. From climbing on playgrounds to kitchen tables, she doesn’t slow down, even after a fall. This fearlessness in her is a quality I love, but do not always appreciate. As much as I see how God created her to live without fear, I am a nervous wreck awaiting every potential opportunity to make a diving save for my falling daughter. Because I’m continually looking to protect her from any future pain from falling, my immediate response when she does fall is to make it a teaching opportunity.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to logically reason with a crying child, but those discussions aren’t very fruitful.

When I first moved to Baton Rouge, LA to start Antioch Community Church, I quickly learned it is one of the most hospitable, influential, loving and passionate cities I have ever had the privilege of calling my home. But even in a great city, you begin to see consistent issues surface as you observe and spend more time with people. I have seen cycles of brokenness set by a distorted perspective of who God really is, mainly in knowing God the Father. Respect and reverence of God is understood, but knowing God as a Father who draws near is a different story. Historically, Baton Rouge is a place where God has moved powerfully. Just as God always does, He has moved through the Church. Unfortunately, the moral failures of leaders have been a part of creating this gap between knowing God as an authority and knowing Him as a Father.

Like with my daughter, my initial response to brokenness is to teach and preach in the midst of other people’s pain and brokenness. Instead of bringing comfort by listening and praying, I pull out every book and resource I know to help people understand God as a Father. I could preach on this topic until I turn blue in the face, but my words will not heal wounds.

Only Jesus moving me with compassion will place me where He wants to bring transformation in His name.

I quickly learned my greatest place of impact in my city is not my sermons but my dinner table. Our favorite thing to do is to welcome people into our home for a meal and listen to their stories. In doing this, we are hearing their testimonies, their passions and their dreams. As we hear the hearts of individuals, their stories shape our strategy.

We are not trying to grow a church, but to enlarge our church family.

When we try to bring change and healing to a broken society with methods and strategies as the driving force, we may educate people to a degree and encourage them for a moment, but until the heart is healed, the overflow of the heart will remain the same.

Are there places in your city where you are moved by compassion to know the abundant life only found in Jesus? Maybe it’s a particular school, your workplace, a neighborhood, etc.…That is probably a place where God is moving you to be the change agent needed for holistic transformation by the Gospel of Jesus!

Compassion towards the one will lead to breakthrough with the masses.

Let us all be aware of the compassion moving us to leave the 99 for the one. When we do so, transformation in our cities is inevitable.

By Jake Griffin, Senior Pastor at Antioch Baton Rouge

Week in Pictures

Last week was a big week for us!

Our College Ministry took more than 500 students to Edinburg, Texas for Awaken. Our church-wide mission trip went to serve our church plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and more than 250 adults and kids participated. What a week!  Take a look:

Awaken:

Baton Rouge:

 

Church-Wide Mission Trip: Baton Rouge

Our church-wide mission trip to Baton Rouge began bright and early Thursday morning as people gathered at 7 a.m. to load onto our five buses. The bus ride was a great time for kids and adults alike to connect with Lifegroup friends and begin new friendships with new faces. We pulled into Baton Rouge that night ready to worship Jesus and after dinner together we all headed to our rooms to rest up for a full day on Friday.

Friday started with powerful equipping sessions- adults got to hear Jake griffin, senior pastor at Antioch Baton Rouge share his testimony. Their faith was stirred as jake shared how community and transparency pulled him out of habitual sin cycles, into the church and off to Baton Rouge to plant a church. Our kids had a blast practicing their drama for the outreach and learning about how Jesus is the best and most faithful leader to follow.

Our awesome junior-high kids spent the afternoon passing out invitations to our Friday night outreach, a carnival night with face-painting, games, bounce houses, food and lots of fun. Both the kids and adults performed dramas. We shared the Gospel and many people gave their lives to Jesus! There were around 1000 people together in the park and many members of the church were able to meet someone from Baton Rouge, pray for them and invite them to church on Sunday!

Today we went to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and passed out water and invited people to a cookout this evening where we will have food, games and share the Gospel.

Baton Rouge is an amazing city! The people here are so fun, kind and welcoming. It’s been a blast to make new friends and share the love of Jesus with the people of Baton Rouge.

 

An Invite to Baton Rouge from Jimmy

Dear Antioch Family,

I am so excited about the upcoming church-wide mission trip to Baton Rouge! I grew up in Beaumont, Texas which is just three hours away from Baton Rouge. We always called Louisiana a foreign country, so for all of those who want to be involved in foreign missions with another culture, come on and join us in in Baton Rouge!

When Laura and I look back on our life of raising kids, we have found these kinds of trips were the most impactful thing, not only for our whole family but also for each of our kids as individuals. As we sit around the table with our adult kids and share favorite stories from their childhood, conversation always lands on the mission trips where our kids met with God, became closer to another family or how they believed God for the resources needed for the trip.

So let me encourage you – whether you are single or married, whether you have little kids or older kids, come and be a part of this incredible opportunity to reach out to the people of Baton Rouge. God cares about the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and as you share the good news of Jesus with them, lives are changed for eternity.

In His Strength and Love,

Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor

Changing the World

Each year, Antioch Discipleship School students take week-long trips to church plants around the country to encourage the churches and reach out in their cities.

This year, the 70+ students from the school were divided into five groups and sent around the country.

Lawrence, Kansas

This group of students got to jump in with the Lawrence church the week of their second church service. They spent their afternoons reaching out on the KU campus and around the city in the evenings. One evening, they went to get some ice cream, and a few of them started talking to a group of freshman girls. That morning, someone on the team felt like God gave them a picture of a crescent moon. One of the girls was wearing a shirt that said “Crescent Moon” in large letters. They shared this with the girl, and she was encouraged and eager to meet up again. After meeting with one of the Waco team members several times, she came to church, stayed late to help and got connected to a leader from Lawrence.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Antioch A2 is a second-generation church plant, sent out just two months ago by Antioch Dallas to reach out to students at the university campuses and the greater Detroit area. In partnering with the Ann Arbor team, the students’ simple goal was to “make friends for the church.” While there, they had the first two college Lifegroup meetings and gathered contact information for many people who were interested in the church as they boldly reached out and shared the Gospel.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Thirteen students road-tripped down to Baton Rouge to partner with Antioch BR. The church there started their discipleship school this year with eight students, so the Waco students got to spend a lot of time with them – building relationships and reaching out on LSU campus together. They were amazed at the warmth and openness of the students on campus who were eager to be prayed for and encouraged!

Norman, Oklahoma

The students who went to Norman were so encouraged by the culture of freedom and passion of the church there! The church provides rides to Walmart each week for the many international students at OU that are without transportation. Three of the students from Waco were telling people about this service when they met a girl from South Africa who invited them into her home. After talking to her for a while, she opened up and shared with them her birthday had been the day before, but no one had remembered. The students then bought her a cake, celebrated her and encouraged her with the love of God.

Tempe, Arizona

This team of students loved getting to partner with this church plant from Boston. While there, they reached out to students at ASU, which has almost 75,000 students. One afternoon, two of the girls walked around campus with signs reading “need some encouragement?” and “want a compliment?” hoping to start some conversations. They stopped to talk to one guy who said he could use some encouragement. They prayed and asked God to speak to him, and he felt like God told him how to save his marriage. After sharing more with him, he decided to give his life to Jesus! That night, he brought his wife to the college service, and she gave her life to Jesus as well.

Want to have a week like this? Get more information on Antioch Discipleship School.

Kimberly and Candice: A Testimony from Baton Rouge

“When I was little, my mom wanted me to go to Sunday school, but since I only knew the story of Adam and Eve, I didn’t want to go because I felt dumb.”

Kimberly, who had been coming to our Lifegroup for a couple months, told me this after I asked her if she had a relationship with God. I followed up by asking her what was different now and why she liked to come to church and Lifegroup. Her response stirred my heart: “I come because I love the community. Anytime you guys read a scripture in Lifegroup, I go home and I look it up. I like being around y’all and I don’t feel dumb.” I could’ve cried hearing these words, as this is what we are all about; building a life-giving community that reaches people no matter where they are in their walk with God. Kimberly shared with me that she didn’t know how to have a relationship with God, but would be interested in finding out. I shared the Gospel with her and her immediate response was a desire to know Jesus and give her life to him! We prayed together and she said she had specifically felt God with her that day as she had almost gotten into car wrecks three different times. She felt like God was keeping her safe that day and that He was with her.

Kimberly’s friend Candice also started coming to Lifegroup after my husband and I met them over lunch one Sunday. Both girls quickly jumped into our church community, even though neither of them had made a personal decision to follow Christ. A couple weeks before Kimberly’s decision, Candice and I went on a walk, during which I asked her about her relationship with Jesus. She told me that although she had gone to church for many years, she had never made a specific decision to give her life to Christ. Normally in this situation, I would’ve shared the Gospel with her, but I felt like I was supposed to hold off. A few weeks later, during worship at a friend’s birthday party, Candice asked the group gathered in the room if she could say something. She shared that on the day of our walk, she had decided in her heart to follow Christ and give her life to Him. Then she said, “But tonight, I want to publicly tell all of you that I have decided to give my life to Jesus and follow Him.” Of course the room erupted in cheers and praise as we gathered around to pray for her. Candice later said that what drew her in was community, the body of Christ gathering together to love Jesus wholeheartedly.

Through community, Kimberly and Candice saw Jesus. And through that same community, both girls decided He was absolutely worth following. It is incredible to be a part of that community, and to see lives powerfully changed for eternity.

By Jillian Armstrong

Jillian and her husband, Matthew, are pastors at Antioch Baton Rouge