Tag: antioch community chuch

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.

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

 

The Arrival: Peace Arriving

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Counter-Pressure Peace

On the night Jesus was born, Angels appeared to the least important people in ancient society;  the Shepherds.  Make no mistake, the wealthy and prestigious wise-men had seen a sign in the heavens as well, however the lowly shepherds received a message they couldn’t miss.  I love that God communicates so we can hear Him, no matter our education or background.

On that special night, the angels communicated that a savior had been born.  This was news all the people had been waiting for.  However, before the angels left the shepherds to return to heaven, they said something amazing;  “Peace to those on whom His favor rests.” 

The peace of God can be thought of as both a blessing and sustaining power.  Peace resides on the inside of us acting as a counter pressure against all the stress and anxieties of this world.

Jesus never promised that life would be perfect once we started following Him, but He did promise to be with us. 

Where Jesus is, peace is present.

As we celebrate the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas, I want to encourage you to take time everyday to connect with the counter-pressure peace of God.  Daily time reading God’s Word, the Bible, and speaking with Him through prayer is the only way to access the peace of God.  If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, His favor, and therefore His peace, is available to you.

If you’re unsure about where you stand with God and want to explore what relationship with Jesus looks like, I would like to personally invite you to join us for the next Alpha Course starting January 6th, 2015.  May God grant you an amazing new year, and give you His peace.

And don’t forget to join us on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the best gift we’ve ever been given; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We’ll have services at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and kids are invited to join us in the auditorium for the service.

By Van Vandegriff, Family Pastor

All Things New

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5

I love celebrating the New Year! In fact, a still unknown neighbor of mine called the police New Year’s Eve because we were celebrating a little too much. Once lit, the Vandegriff Family Firework Extravaganza sounded like World War III had started in my neighborhood. We had one fuse for about 5,000 firecrackers. It was total awesomeness. The police were nice and almost apologetic for having to come by, but nonetheless our production was over. It was only 8 p.m. and totally worth it. Why? Because we were enjoying life. We were celebrating. A new adventure in a new year was about to begin.

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John writes of his encounter with Jesus. In chapter 21, Jesus uses two tenses, both a future tense (something He is going to do in the future) and a present tense (something He is in process of doing right now). In Revelation 21:4, we read there will be no more death and no more mourning at some point in the future. In verse five, we read he is currently making all things new. Jesus then tells John to write it down because this promise is “trustworthy and true.”

I believe God wants to do something new in your life this year. Something good. Something rewarding. Something freeing. Something loving. Something significant. Why? Because it’s His character to do so.

Spend some time today asking God about the “new thing” he wants to do in your life. Then write it down. Hold it as a promise and prayer request for the year ahead. His words are trustworthy and true. He’s not done with you. He is making all things new.

 

By Van Vandegriff, Adult 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.

God Hearts Art

Considered the vast numbers of birds, fish and flowers with all of their brilliant colors? Pictured the trees in varying heights and shapes? Imagined people and the never-ending uniqueness of their faces, hair color, eyes or skin tone?

God was and is the ultimate artist. Being God, He had the profound opportunity to make something amazing out of the void. Since the time of creation, Solomon tells us, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). While that is true, it’s likely that untold amounts of things are left to be discovered.

I think that is what true art is about, discovering beauty. Madeline L’Engle calls it making cosmos out of chaos. It’s bringing order, and therefore life, to an otherwise dark and dead world. And it’s also about making things beautiful. Isaiah 61 says, “He gives us beauty instead of ashes…”

I want to take you into the story of my friends, Bez and Oho. Their Bible appearance is short but profound.

In Exodus 31, The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you.”

God called these men out, filled them with His Spirit and gave them the ability to accomplish all the beautification of the Tabernacle.  We may not be called to such a large task but we have the same qualifications. We also have been filled with His Spirit and blessed with skills that help us discover, and in turn, create beauty. It doesn’t matter the medium, be it paint, story, song or movement. The beauty in each of us, and in the world, desperately wants to be discovered.

How will you let your inner artist out? Consider how you might be a creator or curator this week.

By Allison McBrayer

Antioch Discipleship School Staff

Get on the Bus

I’m an idealist. If it’s corny or cheesy, chances are I love it. Actually, I can’t remember approaching my life with any other perspective. I was born that way. And instead of mellowing out, it seems as if my desire for picture-perfect, storybook narratives and endings has only intensified over time. I want the right circumstances, the right feel, the right angle and especially the right ending. This approach through which I view the world around me has placed in me a God-given drive for excellence, achievement and accomplishment. I want to take what is and make it into what it was supposed to be all along. It’s a desire that leads to victory, freedom and restoration. I believe this desire, which is placed in all of us, is an earnest desire to see the kingdom of God manifest in our lives; taking a broken world, healing it to wholeness and returning it to glory.

You see, if you’re anything like me, the right set of circumstances is key to any excellent endeavor. I want the right setting. I want just the right variables, and I want the perfect platform for success. I want to know that what I’m being called into will turn out the way that I see it in my head: romantic, magnificent and glorious. Unfortunately, this very desire, God-given but at times flesh-ridden, has sometimes prevented me from obeying Jesus’ call to follow him where He wants to go and when.

‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. – Matthew 4:19-20

If you’ve spent any length of time in the Church, you’ve likely heard these verses used and repeated often. It’s not that I want to pull a novel meaning out of this scripture that you’ve never heard before, but I’d like to remind us of this; the only appropriate response to Jesus’ call is immediate response. Scripture says the disciples dropped everything, even that which was crucial to sustaining their lives, in order to follow Jesus to where He was going. Immediately and completely, no questions asked (literally).

What does this mean for you and me? It means Jesus isn’t calling us to follow Him when it seems adventurous, romantic or ideal. Often I find that Kingdom beginnings are quite opposite. They’re lackluster, meager and mundane. But whatever your circumstance may be, His call remains. It’s like climbing onto an old, rusty bus, whose destination is mysteriously unknown but gloriously enticing. It’s imperfect at best and frightening at worst. But it’s here, on that run-down bus that we find the great irony of our desire; our deepest heart-cry is that Jesus would be glorified and exalted in all the earth. You see, it’s been his mission to take what is and make it into what it was supposed to be all along.  Where He’s taking us is exactly the place we’ve longed to go. When we drop everything, obey completely and enter into circumstances that are overwhelmingly imperfect, Jesus leads the way straight through mountains and impossible obstacles. In the end He gets glorified, we find ourselves in the midst of the great story for which we yearn to give our lives and His Kingdom is established on the earth, just as it is in Heaven. It’s the immediacy of our response to the invitation to get on His ol’ rusty bus that creates a place and space for God’s power to be perfected in His imperfect people.

Giving Back to the Community

We are so excited to have been able to provide backpacks and school supplies for every student at Provident Heights Elementary School!

Antioch is located in one of the poorest zip codes in Texas. Many kids in our neighborhood are struggling in school, which can be a barrier to getting out of generational poverty. One way Antioch is addressing this challenge is by supporting Waco Independent School District in practical ways. We want the administration, parents and students to know we’re behind them. Providing the more than 450 students with backpacks and school supplies was one of the most practical things we could do to help. Our hope is that students will know someone cares for and believes in them and that it will help the school year get off to a great start.

We also support WISD through the STARS Mentoring Project, which provides mentoring for local, at-risk third through fifth graders at Provident Heights and Waco Charter School. Antioch is a part of a larger, community-wide initiative with other churches to mobilize 1,000 mentors for students in the Waco Independent School District. Apply today to be a mentor!

Thank you to all of our volunteers who spent the day packing and delivering backpacks!

College in Capetown

Each summer, Antioch’s college ministry sends out teams of students on short term “Impact Trips,” giving them the chance to experience sharing the love of God in other countries, and even in other cities in the U.S.

This summer, the college ministry sent teams out to North Africa, Mongolia, India, Capetown, Brazil and Portland. We caught up with college staff member Maddie Phenix and asked her to share about her impact trip to Capetown, South Africa in July.

How do you think impact trips change the lives of the college students who go on them?

Our international college trips have the unique ability to have life-altering impact on each and every college student who chooses to go, voluntarily placing themselves in a new setting and environment where they are stretched out of their comfort zone and into a position where their dependence on God skyrockets. As a staff, we pray and converse with our long term teams (families and groups of individuals who have committed for a certain number of years to see a church network established) to find the best locations and destinations to send our college teams to for their trips. Students’ lives are transformed by the change in scenery, the relationships built with our long term teams and daily moments scattered throughout the three weeks. Almost every student returns with a testimony to share about their first time to share the full Gospel, their first time to see someone decide to follow Jesus, their first time to see God move in power or their first time to experience the power of the Church bringing hope, life, and joy to a broken nation. What God is able to do in the life of a student during a three week trip in a foreign nation cannot be replicated or duplicated in everyday life here in Waco.

What is something you learned about God specifically through meeting with Him in Capetown?

God is on the move in the African continent. It was exciting and inspiring to be a part of something that felt so much bigger than myself. Cape Town is a dynamic city because different parts and regions feel like our modernized America, while other areas have a European flavor and still other major parts definitely feel like underdeveloped Africa. Our team got to interact with believers and non-believers in both area!. It was powerful to see the gospel penetrate hearts and birth hope and life into every form of society in Cape Town. Also, the country is gorgeous! The best way to describe Cape Town is to say it is a collision of the Colorado Mountains and California beaches. Waking up to that environment every day awakened my eyes to the beauty of God’s creation.

How have you been changed by going on impact trips?

My first Impact Trip was to Haiti in 2010 after the enormous earthquake that devastated much of that country. That trip, in particular, demonstrated the power of the local church as our team of 16 college students shared the Gospel, baptized new believers and discipled Haitians.  In the face of poverty and utter destruction, we were able to shift the atmosphere of a nation by bringing the hope and life of Jesus.   Also having had the opportunity to go on trips to Uganda and India, my eyes have been opened to the beauty and glory of God that rests in different people from every nation, tribe and tongue.  My heart has been shaped by more than just what I grew up knowing as normal. Laying my hands on the sick in India, playing in the streets with orphans in Uganda, sharing the Gospel with college students in Cape Town and baptizing believers on the shore of Haiti have all dramatically altered my perspective of life, joy, purpose and my relationship with God and others. I am eternally grateful for my experiences on Impact Trips- they have forever changed me.

What was a trip highlight for you?

I was in a group with four other people from my team and we were eating lunch at a place called “Wimpy’s.” Our waitress’ name was Susan and we had engaged with casual conversation with her as she took our order and brought us our drinks. Whenever she brought out our burgers and asked if there was anything else we needed, I simply told her that we were a group of students from America who loved Jesus and wanted to bless her by praying for any need she had or by sharing the story of Jesus with her. She excitedly responded to us by telling us that she had never been told the story of Jesus and that she wanted some of her friends that were working to come and hear the story. We were able to share the entire gospel with Susan and her friends, everything from God creating the heavens and the earth to Jesus dying on the cross for each of our sins and then how his resurrection gives us all victory over sin and death. By the end of our story, three more of Susan’s friends had joined the circle. It was amazing! After we wrapped everything up, we asked Susan and her friends again if they had heard that story. Each of them discussed and came to the conclusion that they had heard bits and pieces, but never the full story.  Hoping that today would be their day of salvation, we asked them if they wanted to have a relationship with God and ask Jesus to come and take away their sins by putting their faith fully in Him. They were hesitant to put their faith fully in Jesus because of some questions they still had but were open and willing to dialogue more on different day when could take another break from work. Before we left them all, we asked if we could pray for them. One of the ladies sitting there had a burn on her hand giving her much pain. We were able to pray for her in Jesus’ name and the pain immediately stopped. Also, we prayed for girl who was struggling with some issues that had surfaced from a broken relationship she had been involved in. As we prayed for her and told her how much Jesus loved her and had a plan for her life, she began to weep. It was an incredibly powerful moment and a life-changing lunch for 7seven waitresses at Wimpy’s Diner.

What does the college ministry do to prep students to go on these trips?

Our preparation for these trips begins at the very beginning of the school year as we start to prayerfully consider where the trips will be sent the next summer. By the end of October, we have our trips finalized and begin to talk with our college leaders to pray and plan on who will lead each trip. As soon as the trip locations are announced, the numerous interest meetings begin for each individual team. By December, teams begin to form, conversations with parents continue to happen and dates begin to be penciled into the calendar. After teams are finalized, we encourage our team leaders to have 3-5 meetings with their teams to build chemistry, communicate details and equip them on the culture of their chosen country. At the end of the spring semester, we have a day and a half training called School for the Nations. It is an orientation type format for every college student that is going with Antioch on any of our Impact Trips. At this training, we equip, envision, and inspire our students to go and make disciples of all nations. As a staff, we look forward to this time to equip the students, as well as give vision and encouragement to each of our teams that will be heading out the door as soon as the end of May.

If you have any questions about Impact Trips or Antioch’s college ministry, contact Meredith Gordon. You can also follow Antioch College Ministry on twitter!

Buck The Stuck

I remember riding up the chairlift one clear, crisp winter day with a buddy of mine as we spent the day snowboarding. As we flew over the tops of the trees beneath us, he asked if I had ever heard of a tree hole before.

As a born and raised Texan, I was new to the whole winter-sport realm and had no clue as to what he was talking about. What I learned that day, though, I will never forget. You see, as snow falls, the branches of a tree act as a ruff and stop the snow from gathering directly at the base of the tree. Still, the wind throughout the winter blows the snow underneath the tree, making it look like the snow has a consistent depth across the forest floor. In reality, that illusion of snowy, level ground is a deceptive false floor. If you find yourself in one of these tree holes, it is virtually impossible to make your way out alone. You are stuck with nothing to hang on to and no where to go.

It’s interesting that even though most of us haven’t been stuck in a tree hole, and have no clue about how that would feel, we know exactly what it feels like to be stuck.

Stuck might be one of the worst feelings on the earth, and trying to get unstuck on our own can at times result in becoming even more stuck. The heart of God isn’t that you would live stuck in a tree hole, but that you would “buck the stuck” in your life and live free of what seems to be holding you down. In Mark 5, Jesus has a run-in with a woman who was right there; she was stuck. She had been bleeding for 12 years and in verse 24 it says, “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”

Have you ever felt like you were doing all the right things and getting all the wrong results?

This woman at the end of herself took an aggressive step to be in a place where she would have an encounter with a man she had heard would “unstuck the stuck.” Starting in verse 27 it says, “ When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ His disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’

If you want to buck the stuck in your life, you need to break the silence and reach for Jesus. This woman did what very few of us are willing to do; tell the whole truth and reach out for help.

I believe if we get real, open up about what is happening in us and reach for Jesus, we will find ourselves rescued from what we thought we would have to endure.

I believe this week is a “buck the stuck” week in your life. Go ahead; break the silence and reach.

By Jady Griffin

Did you miss this sermon? You can watch it here!