Tag: antioch waco

The Gifts We Give // Part One – The Gift of Silence

On Sunday adult pastor Vincent Carpenter kicked off our Christmas series, The Gifts We Give. Throughout the Christmas season, we will be unpacking various gifts that lead us to celebrating the ultimate gift of Jesus. The season is more than the material gifts we give one another.

IT IS A SEASON OF ABUNDANT JOY.

This morning we took a look at Zechariah and the unexpected gift he was given. Zechariah was promised a child, but because of life circumstances he had doubt. In his disbelief, God made him silent until he saw the promise of God come to pass.

SILENCE WAS GOD’S GIFT TO ZECHARIAH.

We all find ourselves in a season of silence. It’s those seasons of waiting for a promise to be fulfilled or for problems to be resolved. It’s those seasons when we sit down to spend time with God, but feel like we just can’t connect. Silence typically feels like anything but a gift.

SILENCE LEADS TO LISTENING, LEARNING AND LOOKING.

  • Listening // The season of silence is an invitation to lean in and listen. God longs to speak to us, but sometimes we just need to lean in, ask and wait for Him to respond.
  • Learning // Silence is never a punishment, but an opportunity to learn things about God that our life circumstances could never teach us.
  • Looking // The worst thing we can do in the silence is look at ourselves. Many times we put the focus on ourselves, and God is asking us to look outside ourselves and look at Him.

SILENCE ULTIMATELY LEADS TO BREAKTHROUGH.

The silence will not last forever. And in the midst of the silence, we can still declare what God has done and what He will do. Our declaration in the physical will ultimately lead to breakthrough in the spiritual.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Start your day off with thankfulness! When you sit down to spend time with God in the morning, start by writing down a few things your thankful for.
  • This morning we talked about the story of Zechariah. Throughout your week read the full story in Luke 1, and find out how Zechariah learned to listen, learn and look.
  • Take time to declare the goodness of God. Even if we are in the middle of silence, we can declare what God has done and what He has promised to do.

Stand Amazed

On Sunday Adult Pastor Weston Nichols shared a message on incredible pain being turned into incredible hope because of Jesus. The holiday season tends to magnify our pain more than any other time of the year. Regardless of what this season holds, the truth is that our painful circumstances tend to fall to the side when we set our gaze on Jesus.

Throughout our morning, we talked about Job and David. Both men had deep, scarring pain in their lives, but they found hope when they leaned into Jesus. David was in pain because of choices he made. Job’s pain was just a result of living in a broken world. The pain he was in was not his fault. It can be easy to believe that good living leads to blessing. But Job’s pain was not punishment, it was actually a promotion.

OUR BROKENNESS IS A PLATFORM FOR GOD TO BE GLORIFIED.

Whether we feel like we relate to David or Job, the reality is, we all find ourselves in pain and in need of hope. Job and David both found hope when they realized the goodness of God, and they got there through worship. They didn’t find peace with God because their circumstances were resolved, they found peace because they set their eyes on their redeemer. Anyone can worship when everything is going right, but it becomes real when we worship through trials and pain.

IF WE WAIT FOR RESOLVE TO WORSHIP, WE’LL BE WAITING FOREVER.

The purpose of our life is not self-fulfillment. The purpose of our life is to glorify God. When we worship regardless of how we feel, we give God glory because the goodness of God is not defined by our circumstances.

IN RESPONSE//

    • If you are going through pain, God wants to be your greatest comfort. Give Him all of your emotion and your pain, He wants to be there for you.
    • As you gather with friends and family this season, ask the question, “what is something you love about Jesus?” The atmosphere shifts and everything else fades away when we talk about the goodness of God.

Giving

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

This week Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert shared a message on giving. We don’t give out of compulsion, we give because God wants to set us free in the area of finances. We need the hand of God in the middle of things. When we hold on to resources that are ultimately God’s and not ours, we invite the enemy to create chaos in our lives.

HOW DO WE GIVE?

  1. We give consistently // Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our finances and give Him our first fruits. We give consistently through tithing; meaning we give our first 10 percent to the Lord by supporting the local church. When we give the best first, we are trusting that God will bless the rest. Tithing is our consistent base for provision.
  2. We give above and beyond // We want to be a part of what God is doing in the world around us, and we can do that through offerings. Consider partnering with an overseas missionary or a local non-profit. When we give consistently through offerings, we get to be a part of the inheritance in the nations.
  3. We give spontaneously // This is the fun part! We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the joy of giving. Without the discipline of consistency, we can’t have the spontaneity. When we submit our finances to the Lord, we can trust that He will provide for our needs and the needs of others. God doesn’t just want us to be blessed, He also wants us to be a blessing.

IF YOU’RE BORED WITH THE KINGDOM, IT’S BECAUSE YOU AREN’T ACTIVE IN THE KINGDOM.

Choosing to give is choosing to be a part of what God is doing. It is also choosing to trust God with all that we have. When we give what we have, we can trust that God will multiply it and provide above and beyond.

IN RESPONSE //

For the next six months, we want to take on the challenge of giving consistently, giving above and giving spontaneously.

  1. Tithe // Choose a local church to partner with, and commit to giving your first 10 percent to that church. It can be Antioch, or it can be another church in our city. Whatever you choose, trust that when you give your best first, the other 90 percent will be blessed. If you would like to partner with Antioch, you can do so here.
  2. Offerings // Pray and ask God for a missionary or an organization that you can partner with for the next six months.
  3. Give spontaneously // Ask the Holy Spirit how you can be a part of blessing someone else.

Trust God with your resources because He will always give you a hundred fold return.

Turn Your Ears On //
Part Two

“Oh how I love Your law, it is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97

This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series, Turn Your Ears On. Throughout our series we are learning more about what it means to hear God and how we can respond. This week we talked about hearing God through the Bible. The Bible is the very written voice of God.

THE MOST PREDICTABLE WAY TO HEAR GOD IS TO READ, MEMORIZE AND APPLY THE WRITTEN VOICE OF GOD.

When we meditate on Scripture and memorize His word, we find intimacy with Jesus. Knowing the Bible is not about being a model christian, it is about knowing God.

GOD DOESN’T SPEAK ONLY  THROUGH HIS WORD, BUT HE’LL NEVER SPEAK CONTRARY TO HIS WORD.

When we are trying to discern what God is speaking, the Bible should be our filter. God will never tell us something that goes against His words. When we store up the Words of God in our heart, we give God vocabulary to speak to us.

God wants to speak to us. He wants to show us His ways and give us direction. We go to the Bible because the ways of God are greater than our own. God doesn’t expect us to make decisions on our own, He wants to be in the process with us because He knows what is best.

We also need the words of God engraved on our hearts in order to combat the lies of the enemy. When we have truth within us, the lies stand no chance.

IN RESPONSE //

This week, we want to focus on spending time reading the words of God.

  1. Read // Take a passage of Scripture to read and meditate on this week
  2. Memorize // Intentionally memorize that passage and let the words sink in
  3. Apply // When reading a passage of Scripture, take time to ask God these questions –
    1. How does this passage apply to my life?
    2. How can I respond?

Turn Your Ears On // Part One

“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the wind words, the Spirit blowing through the churches…” Revelation 2:17 (MSG)

On Sunday Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, Turn Your Ears On. Over the course of the next three weeks, we are going to be unpacking the importance of hearing and responding to the voice of God.

THE VOICE OF GOD SPARKS HUNGER INSIDE OF US.

Relationship with God is not meant to look like a monologue, but an ongoing dialogue. He longs to speak to us, to give us direction, affirmation and so much more. We find deeper intimacy with Jesus when we pause and allow Him to speak.

The thought of hearing God can sometimes seem confusing. We may think that we’ll hear the audible voice of God booming from within the clouds, but often, it is much more simple than that. When we hear from God, we typically have a thought that comes into our mind and it brings a sense of peace or causes us to pause and meditate on something. Basically, if it aligns with the Word of God, we can trust that it is the from God.

GOD HONORS OUR FAITH.

When we are learning to hear God, we don’t have to live in fear of getting it wrong. As long as we are using the Word of God as our filter, we can step out in faith and obedience.

Throughout our morning, we took a look at Samuel 3. In this passage, Samuel is being called by God, and his response is, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel eagerly responds with a heart postured to receive.

IF YOU WANT TO HEAR GOD, YOU HAVE TO START WITH SURRENDER.

God longs to speak to us, and we can be confident that what He has for us is good. So, we shouldn’t start by asking God to tell us what we want to hear. Instead, we should have the same response as Samuel, and ask God to speak whatever He wants. Because of who God is, we can trust that what He wants to say is way better than anything we can come up with.

Our understanding of the character of God determines what we hear from God. If we see God as our loving, kind and generous Father, we will eagerly wait and ask for Him to speak to us. If we see God as judgmental, annoyed or harsh, we will approach God with fear and hesitation.

Throughout our series, we will be talking about how we hear God’s voice. This week, we encourage you to ask God to speak. This may be a new concept, but hearing God for yourself really is a game changer. This week, start by asking God the question, “What do you think of me?” Wait for Him to speak and write down His responses, using the Word of God as your filter.

FOUR PRACTICAL STEPS FOR HEARING AND RESPONDING TO THE VOICE OF GOD:

  1. Wait: Be still before God
  2. Write: Steward what you hear
  3. Pray: Take what you hear back to God
  4. Obey: Quickly obey and respond to the voice of God

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Passport Sunday

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” Revelation 7:9-10 

Yesterday we celebrated Passport Sunday, a day of declaring our willingness to go wherever Jesus calls us. We want to be people that are committed to sharing the love of Jesus until all hear and know. The Church is God’s plan A for spreading His love to all people.

Throughout our morning, we talked about seven reasons why we want to be a part of the mission of God //

  1. World evangelization is possible
  2. We are the people of God on display for His glory
  3. People are hungry for Jesus, but the laborers are few
  4. We are motivated by God because He has already given us the power of the Holy Spirit
  5. Obedience is better than the sacrifice
  6. Eternity is forever, and the only way to get there is through Jesus
  7. Jesus is worthy

Everyone is made for relationship with Jesus, but many people still do not know about the very One they were made for. We want to be the people that respond and invite people into the greatest relationship they will ever know.

IN RESPONSE // 

We encourage you to pray and ask God how you can be a part of His mission. Here are a few opportunities we have here at the church –

  1. Sign up for World Mandate // Join us February 1st – 2nd as we gather for a weekend of worship and teaching, and believe for God to awaken our hearts to what He is doing in the nations of the earth.
  2. ENGAGE THE NATIONS // ETN is an opportunity to serve for three months with one of our international teams. More information will be coming soon.

The Fear of the Lord is… //
Part Three

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series on the fear of the Lord. Throughout our series, we have defined the fear of the Lord as living in awe, respect and love of God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. We also learned that we are blessed when we have a balance of both the fear of God and the love of God. Today, we talked about joyful obedience.

THERE IS NO ADMONITION FROM GOD THAT ISN’T FOR OUR GOOD.

When we have a righteous fear of the Lord, His commands are not burdensome but a joy. God’s desire for us is to experience unity, joy and adventure with Him. Joy is different than happiness because happiness is contingent on our circumstances. Joy is a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, regardless of circumstances. When we abide in Jesus and obey Him, we have joy.

THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US THE POWER TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

The Lord will never ask us to do anything impossible. He will always give us the grace and strength to do the things He asks us to do. It’s in that place of surrender and obedience that we find the adventure and joy God intended for us.

THE GREATEST ACT OF JOYFUL OBEDIENCE IS FORGIVENESS.

When we choose to forgive someone that hurt us, we are obeying the command to forgive just as Jesus forgave us. Forgiveness is central to the gospel. We nullify the grace of God when we are unwilling to forgive. We are al accountable to God, and when we choose release and forgive someone, regardless of what they have done to us, we find freedom. We also give someone else the opportunity to find freedom. For more on what it looks like to choose forgiveness even when it’s hard, check out this past message from Jimmy.

Two hurdles that keep us from joyful obedience are –

  1. Misunderstanding of God’s character // If we don’t believe God is who He says He is, we are hesitant to obey. We have to believe that God is good, faithful and so worth trusting. Ask God to reveal more of His character to you this week, He’s faithful to meet you.
  2. Democracy and negotiation // God gives each of us free will. He will never make us do something. However, until we surrender our will to the will of God, we will never experience the fullness that God has for us. We need to trust that God’s way is so much better than ours.

When we live with an awe, respect and love of God, we will joyfully obey Him because we can be confident that His ways are for our best!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

The Fear of the Lord is… // Part Two

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our series, The Fear of the Lord is…, with a message on the blessings we receive when we fear God. Fearing God is different than the human fear we typically think of. Human fear causes us to pull away, while Godly fears causes us to lean in because we don’t want to be away from God.

Like we talked about last week, the fear of the Lord is living in awe, respect and love for God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. While we need the fear of God, we also need the love of God. The love of God is His mercy, kindness and grace toward us as undeserving people. The fear of God is His protection, boundaries and covering.

WE NEED THE PURSUIT, COMPASSION AND GRACE OF GOD PARTNERED WITH HIS PROTECTION, BOUNDARY AND LEADERSHIP.

If we focus heavily on the love of God and disregard the fear of God, or vice versa, we will get off track. We need a balance of God’s love and of reverence and awe for Him.

EVERY ASPECT OF GOD’S CHARACTER IS FOR OUR GOOD.

Acknowledging the awesomeness of God is ultimately for our good. When we put God in His rightful place, we are blessed.

TAKE A LOOK AT FIVE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE WHEN WE WALK OUT WITH A RIGHTEOUS FEAR OF GOD //

  1. Survival (Deuteronomy 6:24)// Out of His mercy and kindness God gives us boundaries. He isn’t trying to control us, He is actually trying to keep us away from destruction.
  2. Free from Sin (Proverbs 16:6) // Our actions don’t determine how much God loves us, but there are consequences for our sin. God’s heart is for us to walk out free of brokenness and free from sin.When we obey His commands, we find that His ways are always best.
  3. Contentment (Psalm 34:9-10) // Scripture says that those who fear the Lord have no lack. When we seek the wisdom of God, He provides us with everything we need. There is no longer striving, but total contentment and provision.
  4. Those around us are blessed (Psalm 128:1-3) // When we are right with God, we not only bless those around us, but we also pave the way for our families in the future.
  5. Intimacy with God (Psalm 25:4) // When we submit to the ways of God and lean in, we experience deeper relationship with God. When we fear God, we understand that He is a covenant-keeping God.

The fear of the Lord is central to our freedom, and it is for our good. When we partner the fear of God with the love of God, we ultimately are blessed.

IN RESPONSE //

In order to get the balance of the love and fear of God, we need to –

  1. See God for who He says He is, and acknowledge both His grace and awesomeness.
  2. Repent of anything that is keeping us from God.
  3. Read and meditate on the Words of God
  4. Obey the next thing God tells us to do

Throughout our series, we are diving into what the Bible says about the fear of the Lord throughout the week. Take a look at this card for verses to use in your time with God this week. You can also follow Jimmy on Instagram for morning devotionals centered around this topic.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

Generations Sunday

“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” Psalm 78:4

This week we celebrated where we have been and where we are going with a special generations Sunday. Throughout our morning Carl Gulley shared on why we invest in the next generation, and who we are as an inter-generational church. In a culture that can be divisive, our heart is to see the Church unite the generations for Kingdom impact.

WE ALWAYS WANT TO HONOR AND INCLUDE THE GENERATIONS THAT HAVE GONE BEFORE, WHILE LOVING AND INVESTING IN THE NEXT GENERATION.

No generation is more significant than another. We believe everyone has value, and the best stage of life to be in is the one you are in. It is at the core of who we are as a church to believe in and empower the next generation. When we invest in the next generation, we are living out Psalm 78:4. Our goal is not to fill volunteer slots in the Kids and Youth Ministries.

WE WANT TO CREATE A CULTURE OF INVESTMENT AND DISCIPLESHIP.

We may not all have the stamina to volunteer with the five-year olds on Sunday mornings, but we all have something to offer the next generation. It can be easy to feel like our past mistakes disqualify us from having something to offer someone else. But actually, our mistakes give us credibility to speak into the next generation. When we are willing to invest and vulnerably share our weaknesses, we are telling the next generation –

I WANT YOU TO GO FURTHER THAN I EVER DID.

As a church, we are experiencing the impact of people who took up the Psalm 78 admonition. Many of us do not know these people, but their investment has marked our church family. Take a look at this video, and find out why they believe in investing in the next generation-

If you are interested in learning more about how you can play a part in empowering the next generation, fill out this form.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

Where Mountains Melt //
Series Recap

“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” Psalm 97:5

Yesterday we wrapped up our worship series, Where Mountains Melt. Throughout our series, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley led us in talking about why we worship, how we worship and how to incorporate worship in to our daily lives.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR SERIES //

  • Worship is what we’re always doing, whether we realize it or not, and it’s our response to the magnitude of God.
  • When we are facing the impossible, our immediate response should be to get in the presence of God. Worship is our gateway into His presence.
  • In the context of worship, and really life in general, multitasking does not work. Our worship was made for God, and God alone.
  • True worship is not a compartmentalized life; it is an integrated one. When we invite God into every area of our lives, we ultimately find freedom.
  • It is always right to worship, regardless of how we’re feeling. We were never designed to be authentic to our feelings. When we choose to allow our feelings to hold us back from worship, we aren’t living in authenticity.
  • When our circumstances are telling us otherwise, we have to go back to the character of God. We may not always feel like worshiping, but there is beauty in choosing to offer up a sacrifice of praise.
  • The goal of worship is not an expression, it is love and obedience toward Jesus. Spiritual maturity is not achieved once a particular worship expression occurs.
  • Our comfort should not be our standard for worship. We want our worship to reflect heaven, even if it feels out of our comfort zone.
  • Worship is not a single expression, it is a lifestyle.

We worship when we are obedient to what Jesus is calling us to. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the Auditorium on Sunday morning, we want our lives to be a reflection of our gratitude for being set free.

This past Sunday, we set aside time to worship for the entirety of our service. Because of the unique service, we will not have a sermon video from this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director