Tag: antioch waco

Vision Sunday

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert and the elders commissioned Carl Gulley as Lead Pastor of Antioch Waco. During this time of expansion, Jimmy is going to be looking forward while Carl takes us deeper and wider. As we look forward to where God is leading us as a church, Jimmy shared about the history of Antioch and reminded us who we are as community of believers.

GOD HAS CALLED US MORE THAN EVER TO LOVE HIM AS OUR FIRST LOVE.

  1. We are called to be a missional community // As a community we want to be committed to friendship with Jesus and committed to bringing the truth of Jesus to those who do not know Him.
  2. We want to revive our personal devotion to Jesus // Jesus is the only way to life, and we want to live unapologetic for who He is in all of His glory. We want to renew the exclusivity of Jesus in our hearts every day. We want to live with simple and whole devotion to Jesus.
  3. We want to live with an apostolic mission // There is nothing better than having the opportunity to live in partnership with Jesus. We want to be about His mission in our lives and in our church.

HERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT WE ARE COMMITTED TO AS A CHURCH:

  1. We are committed to the city of Waco // God wants Waco to be a city of refuge for the glory of God so that all the earth can rejoice because they see His presence being made manifest. We are committed to serving this community and raising up leaders who will share our passion for transforming the city.
  2. We are committed to our nation // We have 35 church plants that are reaching people all over our nation. There is hope for our nation because the church is alive, and we continue to see churches impact their communities all over the nation.
  3. We are committed to the nations of the world // As a people we are trained to keep our eye on those that have never heard the Gospel message. The greatest injustice on the planet is that everybody has not had a chance to hear about and know the person of Jesus. If everyone knew Jesus, injustice would be toppled from the inside out.

IN RESPONSE:

  1. Take a moment to ask God, “What would you have for me?” // Being willing to obey the next thing God is telling you to do puts you back into alignment with what God has for you. You don’t have to worry about the future; you just have to step out in obedience today.
  2. Identify areas where you can step in and serve the local body // Are there areas where you can serve the community with your gifts and talents? To learn more about all of the volunteer opportunities available you visit antio.ch/volunteer.

Four Back-To-School Tips for Families

It’s that time of year again – back to school. It’s time for new shoes and backpacks filled with sharpened pencils and glue sticks. Sports are starting back up and routines set the pace for the day. Some families are dreading the month of August. For others, it feels like this truly is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

For our family, back to school really means back to the basics. Summer is great with its laid back schedule and unending supply of popsicles. But we can’t live on kool-aid alone. So as our family prepares for a new school year, we try to keep a few simple things in mind as we head back into structured routines.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE THINGS WE DO AS WE HEAD INTO THE FALL SEMESTER –

  1. Family is always first // Before we commit to a new activity, we try to evaluate each person’s activities. We ask the question – can the entire family commit to the activity and support each other? We want to be each other’s biggest fans, so we try to make sure we aren’t too maxed out with activities. We don’t want those good ideas and new activities to become heavy burdens. We look at the overarching schedule and include family fun times, date nights for mom and dad and activities for the kids. Then we choose our commitments wisely. We try to do this altogether and, as a family, decide what things we can do and what we can’t. If everyone agrees on the schedule in the beginning, it’s easier to push through later on in the year.
  2. Devotionals are a priority // Our family devotionals aren’t fancy. We sit around the table and they look different each day. Usually we share what we’re thankful for between gulps of orange juice and bites of cereal. Sometimes we share how we can pray for each other. Other days we read certain passages from the Bible. For us, devotionals are about getting a little focused time as a family where we commit our day to the Lord before we go our separate ways. We declare that we will follow Jesus and support one another. We don’t shoot for perfection, but consistency. This helps us stay unified and reminds us who we are as a family unit.
  3. Nightly check-ins are important // This often happens around the dinner table. We share the best and worst parts of our day, or we share something that we think no one else knows yet. Sometimes check-ins happen in the car on the way to an activity. We ask questions like, “who’d you sit by at lunch?” or “Who did you play with on the playground?” We then ask what they talked about or what game they played. We also make sure to go into each kid’s room at bedtime and chat for a second, looking for an open window into their hearts where they feel safe to share. We try to prioritize this as we’re often tired, but we never regret taking those few moments to ask focused questions that give us insight into their private world.
  4. Pray together // We try to make sure we have a set time during our day to pray together for our kids. It’s not often a very long prayer time, but it’s focused solely on our kids and family. If you’re a single parent, look for a friend that will pray with you for your kids. Praying with someone else really gives us courage to believe the best and helps us trust God with our children’s lives.

No matter how you feel about the start of school, doing a few simple things to prepare will help you start off on the right foot!

By Shawn and Connie Dunn

Shawn serves with our Kids Ministry as one of our pastors. He and Connie have three kids.

Volunteer Sunday

We declared today volunteer Sunday because our volunteers are so worth honoring! Our church could not function without the men and women who carry the vision in their hearts, and give their all to see the Kingdom come in the lives of those around them.

From Lifegroup leaders to Guest Ministries ushers and STARS mentors, we are so thankful for our volunteers! They create an atmosphere of kindness and love, and pave the way for transformation.

This fall, we invite you to jump in with one of our volunteer teams. Why?

BECAUSE WE BELIEVE YOU WILL COME ALIVE TO THE DEGREE YOU GIVE YOUR LIFE AWAY.

This morning, Carl read out of  Matthew 8, where we find Jesus going to Peter’s house after preaching the sermon on the mount and healing the leper and the centurion’s servant. As He enters, He sees Peter’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. Jesus touches her and she is healed. Immediately after Scripture says, “she arose, and ministered unto them” (Matthew 8:15). She is healed and immediately begins serving.

THE PLACE WHERE GOD HEALED YOU IS THE PLACE HE WILL USE YOU TO BRING HEALING TO ANOTHER.

When we are healed, we then have the opportunity to be a healer. Serving is more than just filling a role, it is stepping in and being a healer for someone else. So, that’s what we’re inviting you into because when we serve, we embody the DNA of Jesus.

IN RESPONSE:

  • Ask yourself where you have been healed. How can you use that healing to be a healer for someone else?
  • To learn more about our volunteer opportunities and to jump in, fill out this form.

We can’t wait for you to be a part of one of our awesome volunteer teams!

By Destiny Gonzalez

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

Volunteer Spotlight –
Jordan Brown

Jordan is 22 years-old and works as a freelance graphic designer and photographer. Originally from California, he moved to Waco almost two years ago after getting connected to the Antioch Movement through ENGAGE THE CRISIS. Jordan moved to be a part of the Antioch Discipleship School, and has since jumped in with our college ministry and serves as a photographer on our media team!

FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT JORDAN AND WHY HE ENJOYS SERVING WITH OUR MEDIA TEAM –

Why did you decide to volunteer with the media team?

I’ve always loved being creative, so it just made sense to use my gifts in a way that would bless the church. I also knew a couple of people on the media team who I looked up to, so I wanted to learn from them and see the way they did things.

What is your vision for serving?

It’s no doubt that our society as a whole has become more and more visual and uses media in a variety of different ways. My vision in serving the church through media is to capture the experiences of our church and to display them to the world around us, showing them what the Kingdom of God is like. It’s a window for people to look through to see for themselves our community and culture. Then they can decide if they want to come in the house. And for people already in the house, it’s a way to recall and remember the faithfulness of God. The thing that gives me life is simply capturing the different ways God is moving in our church. Because that’s what He does, He brings breakthrough and celebrating that breakthrough is who we are. Antioch is a moving and breathing church. It’s really an honor to be a photographer of what God is doing through this body of believers.

Do you have a testimony to share from your time serving?

Really, every photo is a testimony. One specifically that I’m reminded of is our most recent baptism bash, I was pretty much just documenting the whole experience. But for friends and families of people who actually got baptized the event holds so much meaning. It’s a declaration of their life being transformed, so to be able to capture that and give those photos to the families is an honor. To give parents photos of their young kids declaring faith in Jesus will never get old. Ultimately the photos are mementos of God’s faithfulness. A testimony.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

There are many ways to view media and the church; Does it have a place in the church? What’s the purpose? How can we create an impact using media? Does it build up the church? Is it necessary? Why isn’t there more of it in the church? How can we use it to honor God and people?
As with all things, to worship God it must be done in Spirit and truth. No matter what. So when you create, allow yourself to be inspired by the Spirit and centered on truth found in the Bible, and let’s worship Him with our talents!

If you are interested in being a part of the media team, or in another area of the church, fill out this form

All in All Part Nine //
God’s Strength in Weakness

This morning young adult pastor Chase Moore concluded our All in All series with a message on embracing authentic obedience over appearance and achievement. Throughout his message, we read 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. In this passage Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about embracing their weaknesses. The Corinthians were a lot like us, and they were continually missing the point. Their focus was on having it all together on the outside instead of embracing authentic relationship with Jesus.

Living in a social-media-centric world, it is easy for us to appear to have it all together. As long as we have the perfect camera angle and Instagram filter, no one will know about the pain that might be going on inside. We want people to focus on our highlight reel instead of seeing our places of weakness.

THE HIGHLIGHT REEL IS NOT WHAT MAKES A WAY FOR THE POWER OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES OR IN THE WORLD AROUND US.

Paul recognized that we do not need appearance or achievement; instead we need to live lives of authentic obedience. Even when he was being questioned, Paul did not boast over his achievements. Rather, he celebrated his weaknesses and places of pain.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

It is in our places of weakness that the power of God is made perfect. Facing our weakness is a doorway to greater intimacy with Jesus. When we try to pull everything together on our own, we essentially reject his grace. The grace of God isn’t about just surviving.

THE GRACE OF GOD IS ABOUT HIS POWER BEING FULLY DISPLAYED IN OUR LIVES.

When we lay down the desire to perform and embrace our brokenness, the power of Jesus is made perfect in us. Our places of brokenness give us the opportunity to speak into the lives of others. When we declare the goodness of God in the midst of weakness, we bring hope to those that are hurting.

We were made to step into the chaos of the world. But we can’t step into the chaos on the outside if we don’t let God deal with the chaos on the inside. It all starts when we let go of appearance and achievements, and allow God’s power to be made perfect in your weakness.

IN RESPONSE:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable // Let go of appearance and performance, and confess your places of brokenness. Allow God to speak into that place, and let His power be enough.
  2. Live lives of authentic obedience // Regardless of what it looks like, we must live a life of authentic obedience. Think about the last thing God asked you to do. Ask yourself if you were faithful to obey. If not, ask God to reveal to you what is holding you back.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

Real vs. Fake //
An All in All Devotional

The years was 1966. I was 16 years old and living with my parents in our house in the Bosqueville area, just on the edge of Waco. Our family enjoyed watching TV together in the evening and in 1966, one of our favorite shows premiered – Mission Impossible. Many people may know about the movie franchise starring Tom Cruise. But before the movies, it all started as a popular television show.

Why the talk of Mission Impossible? Well, the consistent theme is one of trickery and deception. Through elaborately built, fake locations and deftly crafted disguises, the team offered up alternate realities that led people into responding in certain ways. This is how the Mission Impossible team got results and defeated the “bad guys”.

The tactics these fictional teams used are as old as time, since the garden, actually. Read 2 Corinthians 11 and notice one of the themes – believers being deceived. Verses 14 and 15 say, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness…” The deceiver often sets things up in our world to cause us to respond in certain ways, leading us to defeat and destruction. Those responses may be in the form of anger, jealousy, fear, bitterness, hatred, etc.

Of course, what we experience here on earth is real but not the true and higher reality, which is God and His kingdom. As 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 

Since we know that we live in the shadowlands presently, how do we stay vigilant in our battles with deception? This is a serious challenge for us.

THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT LIVES WITHIN US AND THE WEAPONS PROVIDED TO US, WE CAN WALK IN LIGHT INSTEAD OF DARKNESS AND REALITY INSTEAD OF DECEPTION.

These weapons are familiar ones – prayer, time in the Word, worship, godly counsel, stopping certain activities and embracing others. The ultimate key, though, is living in a moment by moment awareness of the trinity’s presence in our lives. That is reality!

IN RESPONSE:

Consider watching the movie The Shack. Out of unspeakable tragedy, the main character, Mac, encounters a supernatural reality.

By Penny Allison – Women’s Pastor

Grace Always Wins

I am fiercely competitive.

Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing. I am always nervous that a game night may result in me losing some friends. Maybe it’s because I’m an “all in” type of person, or maybe coming from a competitive family just ingrained it in me. I can’t be completely sure.

But one thing is for sure, in the second grade, my competitive drive was in full force. I was a Girl Scout and it was cookie season. The minute I found out the title of “Top Seller” was on the line, I was committed. I went door to door, stood outside the K-Mart down the street and somehow convinced each of my family members they needed at least seven extra boxes of cookies to store in their freezers. I can’t tell you what the official prize was. But I remember loving the affirmation and the feeling of being, “the best.”

It started small, but wanting to be the best quickly turned into a need to be the best. High school turned into a series of competitions I created in my head. From needing the best outfits to holding titles in the organizations I was involved in and striving to get better grades; I quickly became consumed by competition and comparison.

After high school, I still found reasons to compete and people that I wanted to be better than. Ultimately, my worth was being found in my achievements and in the way people perceived me. I believed that in order to be liked or worth anything, I had to prove it by doing and achieving more.

I know I’m not the only one that has felt that pressure, maybe you’ve felt it too. It makes sense if you have. We live in a world that constantly tells us that we need to make more money, have a nicer car and be better than the person next to us. Living with that mentality is exhausting.

My freshman year of college, I finally broke when I realized I couldn’t always win or be the best. My high school titles no longer mattered and my grades suffered with the new rhythms I was trying to get adjusted to. I truly believed that I was no longer worth anything and insecurity swept over me.

That same year, I was told of the grace of God for the first time. It blew my mind. I didn’t understand how a perfect God could ever want me. Surely, He would want me to prove to Him that I was worth something, right? So wrong.

JESUS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT MY RESUME, HE JUST WANTS RELATIONSHIP WITH ME.

Scripture says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:4-5.

Before we ever won anything or gained a title, God chose us. From day one, He called us enough and invited us into relationship with Him.

Once we realize Jesus just wants us, regardless of what we have to offer, we are free of the pressures to perform, compete and achieve.

The grace of God still blows my mind. Sometimes I get frustrated with my weaknesses, and I still feel like I need to prove myself to God.

BUT I’VE REALIZED STRIVING IS ACTUALLY REJECTING THE GRACE OF GOD.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love some friendly competition. But the minute I let my worth be dictated by whether I win or lose is the minute I lose sight of the grace of God and who He has called me to be.

I don’t know where you are today, but if you’re feeling caught in the need to compete and strive, I want you to know that you are enough. You can’t do anything to change that. Jesus already chose you. My prayer is that you will find peace in that truth today.

IN RESPONSE //

  1. Surrender the places where you have felt a pressure to compete // If you find yourself striving in a specific area, ask God to help you surrender that to Him.
  2. Ask God to speak identity // Our identity isn’t found in our achievements. Pause and ask God who He says you are.
  3. Stop competing and start championing // Instead of competing with other people, be the first to encourage. Ask God if there is someone specific you can encourage this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

All in All Part Eight //
Real vs. Fake

This morning, Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our study in 2 Corinthians with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 11:1-3. In this passage, Paul is calling the Corinthians back to sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. The people in Corinth knew Jesus, but grew distracted by the things of the world and eventually grew distant. They wanted Jesus and the things of this world, and Paul reminded them that they can’t have both.

Like the Corinthian church, we can’t have both either. When we sideline our relationship with Jesus to pursue the things of this world, we are giving our all to things that will ultimately leave us broken.

JESUS IS EVERYTHING, WE CAN’T TREAT HIM LIKE A SIDE THING.

The temptations and distractions that caught the Corinthians’ attention really aren’t that different from the challenges we face today. The enemy isn’t creative. He uses the same tactics, and once we identify them, we can overcome them.

HERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT DISTRACT AND DRAW US AWAY FROM JESUS:

  1. Allowing our appetites to lead // When we allow our hunger and desires to take the lead, we slowly drift away from the things God is calling us to. If Jesus isn’t in the lead, we aren’t going anywhere that will lead to life.
  2. Comparison and jealousy // Comparison and jealousy distract us from who God has called us to be. When we are so caught up in what others are doing, we become exhausted and miss what God has specifically for us.
  3. Striving for more // It feels good to get a promotion or another achievement. But when we get so caught up in achieving more, we get on a cycle of striving and insecurity. We’ll ultimately miss out on the opportunity to invest in the people around us, and we miss the rest God has for us.

In the end, Jesus is calling us back to friendship with Him. He wants our all, and He’s worthy of it. We can’t be both intimate with Jesus and with the world. The world will ultimately pull us away and leave us broken.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, Jesus just wants our pure and simple devotion.

HOW CAN WE RESPOND THIS WEEK?

  1. Commit to spending time with Jesus every morning // This is more than just reading the Bible. Jesus wants you to enjoy being in His presence. If this is something that is new for you, start with 15 minutes every morning – spend five minutes in worship, five minutes reading the Bible and five minutes praying.
  2. Identify areas where you have let comparison or jealousy take the lead // Are there any areas where you have become more distracted by what someone else has? Ask God to shift your perspective and show you what He wants to do in your life.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator and manages the blog and social media pages for Antioch Waco.

 

Living Against the Grain //
An All In All Devotional

“She didn’t see the two young men step out into the road and bring the van to a sudden halt…She didn’t get a chance to answer the question, ‘Who is Malala?’” Shots rang out as Malala Yousafzai slumped into the lap of the friend sitting beside her, shot in the head.”

This scene is described in the book, I Am Malala. Malala’s life is a stunning example of living counterculturally. Born into a Pakistani family that deeply valued education, Malala pursued her education passionately and vocally. Education for women was opposed by many in her country. Ultimately, her stand against much of the culture around her led to being shot. Fortunately, Malala survived, finished college in England and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2014.

AS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS, WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO LIVE COUNTER-CULTURALLY, TOO.

Second Corinthians 10:3-5 goes to the core of that cultural conflict:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful…”

We live in a constant tension between what happens in our flesh and blood world and what is happening in the spirit realm, where the real action happens. Do we have to make choices, take stands and live in real time? Yes. But, we need to realize our real enemy is not the one staring at us across the dinner table or through the TV screen. Our real enemy is the deceiver and the liar, Satan. He often appears as an, “angel of light” to make things even more complicated. Our own speculations and mental and emotional strongholds can also be our enemies.

So, we are in a spiritual battle at the core, and often that spills over into life on this earth. Make no mistake, though, the victory is found in, “destroying these speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Malala had human enemies, but her real battles were the strongholds and ways of thinking that influenced her society. Let’s choose to live counter-culturally by recognizing where the battle really is and picking up the powerful weapons we have in the Spirit.

IN RESPONSE:

List people you may have conflicts with, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to move the battles into the spirit where real victory is found.

By Penny Allison – Women’s Pastor

Five Ways to Incorporate Worship in Your Time with God

God is the same at church as He is at home. Yet, frequently I will hear people say that their worship at home just isn’t as powerful as it is at church.

HERE ARE FIVE TIPS TO HELP MAKE YOUR PERSONAL WORSHIP TIMES AS IMPACTFUL AS CORPORATE ONES:

1.Be intentional about what you worship to //

There are thousands of worship songs out there, and you aren’t going to know them all. Worshipping to songs that are unfamiliar is hard. Pick ones you know.

Personality and emotions play into how we worship. Be aware of your natural bent to a certain type of worship. It’s okay to worship to Hillsong Young & Free if you’re feeling a little happy, wild and crazy. But if your worship playlist is all high energy, party songs you might miss a place of intimacy with God. In contrast, if your playlist is all worship songs that make you cry, you won’t ever celebrate God in worship. Jesus is the fullness of happiness, joy, comfort, love and sympathy rolled into one person. The way we worship Him and the songs we choose should reflect all ends of the spectrum of His character. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out these Spotify playlists our worship department has created.

2.Remove distractions //

Whether you realize it or not, our Auditorium is set up in a way to direct our focus toward God. It’s probably not feasible to put giant projector screens on your home walls or have spotlights directed at the worship leader on your TV. However, you can take some practical steps to remain undistracted in worship. Start by putting the phone down. Don’t look at those emails and texts you missed last night – they can wait. Find somewhere you can be uninterrupted. Get away from the roommates, family members and other people who might distract you. Oh, and save the coffee for Bible time – it’s hard to sing with coffee in your mouth.

3.Lead yourself //

When JMG starts rocking out on his guitar on Sunday morning, we all know the presence of God is about to show up. Unfortunately, James Mark can’t show up to your home every morning, but we can all learn how to lead ourselves in worship. Leading yourself in worship is all about responding to what God is doing. One way to do this is to declare the truth of God or Scriptures that relate to what you are worshipping to. Take for example the song, History’s Anthem off the new AntiochLIVE album. The bridge says, “Your faithfulness is history’s anthem, Your constant love the song of creation.” Take a few moments to declare out loud ways that has been true in your life.

4.Be expressive //

God wants our whole heart, mind, soul and body. If one of these is left out, we’re missing out! If my heart, mind and soul are celebrating God, I shouldn’t cross my arms and put my pouty face on. In his book The Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis writes letters from the perspective of the demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. In one of those letters Screwtape writes, “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”  If we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to do something, we should do it. That could be bowing in reverence, dancing for joy or putting our hands up. Let’s not let fear of action numb our ability to feel.

The Hebrew words for worship often had actions built right into them. Here are a couple examples:

  • Yadah – to give thanks or worship with extended hands. This word is used 64 times in the Bible -most famously is in Psalm 100:4. Our thanks should be given with outstretched hands.
  • Hallal – to act wildly or crazy especially in praising or boasting. While this word isn’t used as frequently in the Bible it still shows us that even wild dancing and shouting can be considered worship.

5. Switch things up //

Habits can be a very good thing. However, habits can also lead to monotony, and God is anything but monotonous. Make intentional changes in your morning time with Jesus routine to keep experiencing freshness in your relationship.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Change your location. Don’t go to that same recliner with your guitar every morning. Try going outside or into a different room.
  • Don’t always put worship at the same spot in your time with Jesus. Do it first, after Bible reading or after prayer.
  • Try reading/meditating on the lyrics before listening to the song

Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz, “I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.” However you choose to incorporate these tips into your everyday, remember God is a God worthy of our wonder. May we never lose our wonder.

By Nate Emerson – Worship Staff

Nate serves as the administrator for the worship department and plays keys for the worship team.