Tag: antioch waco

Am I Feeling Enough? //
A Response to Current Events

The crisis at the border. Family separation. Immigration laws.

It feels like our world is in total disarray, and the images, videos and headlines surrounding this topic have flooded our news feeds, television screens and conversations. You might be numb to another voice on the subject. That’s okay; I have felt the same way.

This post isn’t meant to be another political response. This isn’t the church’s stance on immigration (If you would like to read Antioch’s official response from Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert, you can find that here). This isn’t me telling you how you should feel or giving you “three practical ways to respond to our nation’s immigration crisis.” This is simply me extending an invitation to process with me. It’s my way of saying, “If you’re hurting for our nation, if you’re not totally sure how to feel or if you have no idea how to respond, I’m with you.”

SO IF YOU WANT, LET’S PROCESS TOGETHER.

First off, I am definitely not a political expert. I am an informed American, but my attempts to fully understand the policies and the laws surrounding immigration have left my head spinning. I am not a theologian either. I love Jesus and His people, and I try to follow Him with all that I have. But I can’t give you a perfect answer for how we should respond as the people of God.

I can’t even fully explain how I feel because I have experienced a full range of emotions. Sometimes all I can do is sit on my couch and grieve. My heart hurts for the families that have been broken. I am filled with an anger that I can’t fully explain by a world that seems so unfair. In those moments, I am left shouting in my car and asking God for peace. Then there are the nights that I lay in bed contemplating a trip to one of the detention centers on the border because it doesn’t feel right that I get to rest in my comfortable bed. The fact that I still get to live my life without fear of my family being separated leaves me feeling guilty rather than settled. As a Hispanic-American woman, I sometimes feel like my emotions surrounding the situation should be more extreme.

IF I FEEL OKAY, AM I FEELING ENOUGH?

I feel ashamed if I don’t feel convicted to call my local congressman. Ultimately, I feel helpless, discouraged and longing for Jesus to come quickly.

It may sound strange, but I often desire to feel nothing at all. Maybe you’ve been there too. In that place between feeling everything and wishing I could feel nothing, there is exhaustion. We’re human; we naturally avoid pain. My admonition to you is to not push your emotions away. It isn’t easy, but we must fight against the temptation to become unengaged. We must fight the temptation to sit idly and wait until it stops. I’m fighting with you, and I promise, it’s worth it to allow yourself to feel and to go to those emotional places with God.

I ALSO WANT TO PAUSE AND TELL YOU THAT YOUR EMOTIONS ARE VALID.

As someone who is highly emotional, I constantly have to remind myself that my emotions are valid and God cares about them. There are plenty of people and articles telling us how we should feel, but don’t let that dictate your emotions or your conversations with God. As I have gone through my own process,

I sense God waiting there with open arms. He wants me to come to him with my anger, my sadness, my disappointment and my confusion. And I believe He is waiting for you, too.

HE PROMISES TO COMFORT AND FILL US WITH A PEACE THAT SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.

Right now I am desperate for that peace, and He is faithful to give it.

I wish I could provide an answer to the problems of this world or solace for the pain so many are experiencing. I can’t. What I can do is share two truths that I hold on to when everything else leaves me confused –

  1. God is Faithful // This is the only thing I can be confident in. From the beginning, God has been for us. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” God cannot be anything but Himself, and He is a God who will pursue, rescue, comfort and wholeheartedly love His people. I have found that holding on to this truth is one of the only things that keeps me sane. The declaration of the faithfulness of God is the only thing that will stand through the ages. It is the only thing that gives me hope in the midst of the brokenness of our world. God is faithful, He loves us and He is ultimately victorious.
  2. God hears my prayers // Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) There is an assurance that God not only listens to our prayers, but He is faithful to answer them. Just like our emotions, God wants to hear the deepest cries of your heart. I promise, my prayers are less than eloquent, but it’s okay. God promises to listen to me. Knowing that my prayers are heard pull me out of that place of helplessness.

These two truths help me in my process, but I mean it when I say that my heart is not to give you a formula on how to make everything better. I simply want you to know that I am hurting with you, but I am also for you. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I am convinced that is why God puts us in community. When we can’t always see how He is working, He puts people around us to help us press on. No matter where you are, I encourage you to not avoid, but to press in. Discover your own process and let God meet you there. He’ll do it, I promise.

I want to be there with you, too. Feel free to contact me here, I’d love to hear from you!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.

Where Else Can I Go //
A Worship Devotional

It has stoked my heart to hear how our church has been blessed by the song Where Else Can I Go. I want to dive a little deeper into the Scriptural basis behind the song, and I hope you will go there with me. My desire is to help us draw nearer to Jesus as we look closer at the lyrics. We have many sources of inspiration in songwriting like experiencing nature, watching people, hearing powerful sermons and paying attention in our own relationships. Our greatest source of inspiration is the Bible. But more than a mere song factory, it is more fundamentally our basis for truth and life. God’s Word is both our litmus test and our sounding board, meaning our songs are often born from our experiences and desires, but we will only offer to the Body of Christ songs that reveal and reflect the heart and character of God as revealed in the Scriptures.

LET’S JUMP INTO WHERE ELSE CAN I GO TOGETHER:

VERSE – 

You’re the only One I truly need

The only One who calms my anxious soul

You’re the only One who brings me peace

Reassures me that I’m not alone

This song is rooted in John 6:68 where we find Peter’s reply to a life-altering question from Jesus. We’ll delve into that particular verse later, but it is clear from Peter’s response that Jesus is the answer to every longing of the human heart. While this is unquestionably true of all of God’s creation, I wrote this verse quite personally from longings that Jesus has met in my own life. We have all experienced anxiety, but if you have been through a long season feeling consistently unsettled, I encourage you to rest in these lyrics. They echo the truth found in God’s Word.

Reading Psalm 94:19 is like opening the diary written in the deepest place of my heart. The New King James Version says it well; “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” 

I can be so prone to worry. Not the nibble-your-fingernails kind of worry. It’s the more subtle kind that lies under the surface through the mundane moments of life. It can sway us from walking in the humble confidence afforded us by following Jesus’ Word and voice throughout our days and plunge us into a kind of paralysis in our decision-making, first frozen beneath a quiet, confusing fear and then swinging like a pendulum to comforting ourselves by indulging in fleshly pursuits. This is the problem with allowing anxiety to be our “roommate.”

BUT JESUS GIVES US ETERNAL COMFORT – REAL, UNADULTERATED COMFORT – THAT ALLOWS OUR SOULS TO SIGH WITH RELIEF.

Not because all trouble has been removed from existence but because He has touched our hearts’ deepest longing – we do not want to be alone. No one else’s attempts at bringing us peace will do the trick. So we sing this truth to remind our souls: You’re the only One.

PRE-CHORUS – 

My heart longs

For all You are

Peter could be brash. But he was real, and he wanted all of Jesus. Even as his part in Jesus’ betrayal was about to be revealed the night that Jesus offered to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter asked instead for his whole body to be washed. He was all in, and wanted as much of Jesus as he could get! If Jesus is all, then we want all of Him.

AND SINCE WE CANNOT CONTAIN ALL HE IS, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK FOR MORE REVELATION EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I love the way David puts it in Psalm 63, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (ESV)

CHORUS – 

Where else can I go what else can I do

But fall down to my knees and worship You

“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68 ESV)

The chorus of this song is its clarion call. It echoes Peter’s heart-rending question: where else can I go? This is the cry of the believer who says, “I have searched through this weary world to find true life and fulfillment, and I have come up utterly empty. I have found that Jesus is the only One who brings true life to my heart. So I will stop the fruitless search and give You what You want and what You deserve – my heart.”

CHORUS – 

You alone are God and evermore my heart is in Your hands

Jesus I’m Yours

I want you to take a moment here and own this truth:

GOD DECLARES THAT YOUR HEART IS PRECIOUS, AND NOT TO BE TREATED CARELESSLY.

Your heart is God’s treasured possession. It is a serious thing to entrust your heart to someone. There is no better person in whom to trust this treasure than in the strong, tender hands of Your Maker and Redeemer. I wrote this song with Thomas Wilson, and we labored for quite a while on getting these lines just right. But the phrase, “my heart is in Your hands” has been in the song since the first day of its conception. That part is sure: Jesus is the most trustworthy person in my life, and I choose to bow down my heart to Him in passionate worship and surrender.

BRIDGE – 

The fires may burn but You are with me

The winds may blow but You make me strong

The seas may rage but You walk on water

Even in the silence You’re my song

This portion comes from an array of Scriptures that describe the troubles of life as natural disasters. When the fires of life burn hot, Jesus is with us like He was with the three Hebrew friends in the fiery furnace of Daniel 3. When the winds of worry blow, like a gardener to a tree, Jesus ensures we are rooted deeply in His love (Ephesians 3:17-19). He stands by our side and uses the resistance to strengthen us and grow us. When the seas of turmoil rage, we can remember that Jesus walks on water. He is able to silence the storm (Matthew 14). And when there are no words to say, the simple utterance of the name of Jesus will bring us the assurance and help we need.

“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior and He will not fail me.” (Psalm 62:5 TPT)

That last line of Psalm 62:5 can be your humble, confident declaration when you have been redeemed and have found your fulfillment in Jesus:

HE WILL NOT FAIL ME. 

Everyone and everything else will fail us – it’s inevitable. But Jesus never leaves us empty or alone.

The bridge in modern worship songs is meant to build a truth like a tidal wave that crashes back into the chorus, the central theme. And so we find ourselves building on the truth that Jesus is perfectly righteous, supremely strong and unfailingly good. And He is present – He will never leave us alone. So, where else can we go to find what our hearts need? He alone has the words of eternal life.

IN RESPONSE:

Take a moment today to sing through the song Where Else Can I Go and declare these truths to God and to your own soul. Put aside other distractions and give Him your heart again today. Take a deep breath and allow Him to speak to you. Write down what you sense He is saying to you, no matter how simple or lengthy. Let those words guide you today. He alone has the words of eternal life.

By James Mark Gulley – Worship Pastor

All in All Part Four //
Wholehearted Living

This morning Vincent Carpenter continued our All in All series with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 6 and the sufficiency God gives us to live a wholeheartedly. To live wholehearted means to stick with something even if it isn’t always easy. God is wholeheartedly committed to us, and He gives us the grace we need to wholeheartedly love and follow Him.

There is constantly temptation to fall into half-hearted living. Distractions and a desire to do things on our own keep us from stepping into all God has for us.

We are surrounded by distractions that pull our attention away from our relationship with God. Between our families, jobs, friendships and other responsibilities, it is easy to feel stretched and overwhelmed. When we allow our focus to be split between multiple things, we become passive. But when we put God in His rightful place as our first priority, He gives us the grace to live wholehearted in every other area of our lives.

God’s desire is to provide us with everything we need, we just have to be willing to receive from Him. When we don’t receive what God is trying to do for us, we try to do for ourselves what only God can do. Because of our insufficiency, we will ultimately fail and get burnt out. When we become tired and discouraged, we fall into half-heartedness. But when we lean on Jesus, we have the ability to shift our perspective and see adversity and challenges as something to celebrate. When God becomes central, our challenges become a place for God to be glorified through our weakness.

When we live wholeheartedly, we fully trust God to be our all in all and do what we cannot.

TAKE A LOOK AT THREE WAYS WE CAN LIVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY THIS WEEK //

  1. Start your day with worship // Allow your heart to be realigned every morning; putting God as your sole focus. When we put God at the center, everything else falls into place.
  2. Eliminate distractions // Ask God if there are any distractions that are keeping you from wholehearted relationship with Him. Be proactive about those things this week – this could look like getting off social media for a week or setting your alarm an hour earlier. Ask God for a practical way to respond.
  3. Step into wholehearted living // Ask God if you have been half-hearted in relationship with Him or in relationships with your family, friends or co-workers. Ask God to show you how to step into wholeheartedness.

As we continue our series, be sure to follow along with our 2 Corinthians reading plan, and renew your mind with the truth every day. Download a copy of our reading plan here

Ambassadors in a Foreign Country –
An All in All Devotional

Ambassadors are a country’s highest-ranking representatives to a specific nation. They work there to support their country’s interests. Even though they live and work in foreign countries, they retain citizenship in their home country. Some of their duties include notifying their home country of developments happening in the host country, acting as their home country’s official representative at events and advising their host country in decisions regarding political, social and economic issues.

Guess what? If you are a Christ follower living on planet earth, you fill the above position. Second Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ.” Mull this thought over for a minute.

THIS EARTH IS NOT OUR TRUE OR ULTIMATE PLACE OF RESIDENCE.

Philippians 3:20 says,“our citizenship is in heaven.” So, our words and actions should be motivated by the eternal Kingdom we are a part of, not the temporary place we call home for just a brief time.

As an ambassador of an everlasting Kingdom, our roles take on eternal significance. Just as a government ambassador notifies his or her home country about developments in their host country, so do we. Daily prayer is our line of communication to the King of our permanent residence.

As we act as heaven’s official representative on earth and advise people here on issues facing them, we find ourselves having to take stands that may challenge the status quo – standing for life, for justice, for truth and for mercy.

WE CAN STAND WITH CONFIDENCE THOUGH, KNOWING THAT OUR KING AND HIS KINGDOM ARE PERFECT AND ETERNAL.

When our assignment in our host country, earth, is done, we receive the ultimate promotion, life eternal in our true home – Heaven.

Check out this video, and meditate on our true home.

By Penny Allison – Women’s Pastor

God of the Breakthrough – A Worship Devotional

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40: 1-5

We can all relate to the image of being trapped in a pit, helpless and hopeless. Life is full of difficult circumstances that are out of our hands.

THANKFULLY IT’S THERE, IN THE UNCONTROLLABLE CHAOS, THAT WE MEET THE GOD OF THE BREAKTHROUGH.

Our God is a miracle worker and a rescuer by nature. I wrote about this in the God of the Breakthrough song story, but here are just a few quick examples: He created everything from nothing (Genesis 1), delivered His people out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12), empowered David to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17), healed the sick (Matthew 8), calmed storms (Matthew 8) and raised Jesus from the dead (Matthew 28). He has always been a supernatural God who breaks through human impossibilities, and it’s still who He is today.

When we sing God of the Breakthrough we make a bold declaration about our need for a supernatural God. It’s not a song for the prideful, but for the humble—those who know their need.

HUMANS ARE FASCINATED BY MIRACLES, BUT WE DON’T WANT TO NEED A MIRACLE.

In fact, more times than not, I think we’d prefer to not need God at all. Needing God means trusting in someone else rather than ourselves. It means we aren’t in control. But as long as we live in this sin-tainted world, let’s face it—we’re going to find ourselves in circumstances that are totally out of our hands. And it’s in those moments where God breaks through and His glory shines brightest.

WHEN WE GIVE UP CONTROL, WE ALLOW GOD TO BE GOD.

Surrender is the most freeing place to be, because in surrender the world rests in God’s hands—not yours. Surrender brings peace, joy and life. Rather than obsessing over what could go wrong (which is what being a slave to fear looks like), you’re free to enjoy each day as it comes, leaving the ultimate outcome to God. This is what Jesus addressed in His sermon on the mount:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  (Matthew 6:25-27)

Of course, unless we’re convinced of God’s goodness, we can’t fully surrender control to Him. But on the cross, God proved His character to us once and for all. It’s there that we see God’s ultimate breakthrough. It’s there that we learn how outrageously good God is.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

IN RESPONSE:

  • If it’s true that nothing is impossible for God, that He’s extravagantly good and that He’s on our side, why not give Him control? What if instead of dreading the challenges of life, we viewed each one as an invitation to behold God’s miracle-working power from a front row seat? What if we saw each mountain as a breakthrough waiting to happen?
  • It can be difficult to have this outlook on a life you can’t control. But perspective is based on what you meditate on; and ironically, that’s the one thing you actually can control. What is your thought life like? Are you mostly dwelling on the mountains of life? Or are you feeding your soul on God’s character?
  • Testimonies of what God has done are so incredibly important in the fight to maintain right perspective. I’ve begun a discipline of writing mine down, and I’d encourage you to do the same. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness in the past gives us hope for the future, and it shatters the discouragement that can so easily creep into our lives day by day.
  • So what area of life do you or someone you know need a breakthrough in? Put your trust in Him, as Psalm 40 says. Wait for His deliverance. Is there anything you’re holding onto for safety? Let it go. True safety is resting in God’s hands.
  • And in the waiting, let’s take time to meditate on the ways God has been faithful—not all the ways things could go wrong. We’ll probably find ourselves with a lot more peace and faith the next time a mountain appears.

By Thomas Wilson – Associate Worship Pastor

History’s Anthem
Release Night

On Friday we came together to celebrate the release of AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem, and it was the best kind of family night! Our band led us in worship as we declared and celebrated the faithfulness of God.

History’s Anthem is a collection of the anthems of our church, and it is available on all digital outlets. Get your copy today!

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NIGHT:

A special thanks to Corey O’Connell for helping us capture the night!

All in All Part Three //
Living for Eternity

This morning Drew Steadman shared part three of our series, All in All. Today’s message was centered around 2 Corinthians 4:1 – 5:10, and we talked about how Jesus is sufficient enough to shift our perspective. In our broken world, it is easy to lose sight of what God is doing, and ultimately lose heart. When our perspective is centered on what we can do, we become discouraged. But when our perspective is centered on what God is already doing, we have renewed confidence. Despite the challenges of this world, God is wanting to take us from being people who lose heart to people who are confident in His character and His plans.

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to control our own circumstances rather than being confident in who God is. There is a guarantee that God will never change. He will always be who He says He is. He loves us, He is with us, He put His Spirit within us and He is working all things together for our good.

When we’re in the midst of a difficult situation, it can be hard to see that God is moving and working things together for our benefit. When you realize the value and beauty that is happening beneath the surface, everything changes.

SO, HOW DO WE GET THAT PERSPECTIVE SHIFT? THE ANSWER IS FAITH.

By definition, faith means to live by a different perspective. Faith is learning to live in light of heaven because heaven is what we’re made for. Our faith cannot be rooted in this world, it has to be in Jesus. If we think this world is meant to satisfy us, we will always be disappointed. While faith is choosing to trust in what we cannot see, faith is not ignoring the pain we experience in this world. Pain is real, and it is right to grieve. But even in grief, we can live in the hope of our eternal inheritance. Carl Gulley preached on grief this past fall, and we encourage you to listen to that message if you haven’t already.

God has given us an eternal hope with the promise of heaven. He also gives us His Spirit to help us through this life. The Spirit reminds us of the guarantee of what is to come. We don’t have to live with a hope that is in the things of this world, but with a hope that is in heaven.

TAKE A LOOK AT THREE WAYS TO PRACTICALLY APPLY THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:

  • Ask Jesus to increase your faith and shift your perspective // Jesus is faithful to meet us and answer our prayers. This week, pray this –
    • “Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief and increase my faith.”
  • Declare 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 this week // In the midst of trial, it is easy to become stuck on our circumstances. We may feel struck down, but the Word of God says we are not destroyed. Read through the truth of who God says we are, even in the midst of trial.
  • Read through 2 Corinthians with us // The Word of God overcomes how we feel, and cultivates an eternal perspective. Follow along with our 2 Corinthians reading plan, and renew your mind with the promises of God. Download a copy of our reading plan here.

What is your Terroir? –
An All in All Devotional

I learned a new word recently—terroir.  It is a French word that refers to the set of environmental factors that impact how crops like wine, coffee and chocolate grow.  Think soil, amount of moisture, farming practices and temperature.  All of these factors make up the character of the crop—the flavor of the coffee, the aroma of the wine, the texture of the chocolate, etc.

We humans are impacted by our terroir as well.  As we look at pursuing a life of holiness—a life set apart and dedicated to God—a look at our personal terroir is important. Obviously, we are not in control of everything that impacts us, like our family, our innate abilities, physical disabilities, etc.  We can make many choices, though, that can change the trajectory of our lives.

AS BELIEVERS, OUR DESIRED PATH IS TO MOVE FROM GLORY TO GLORY, BEING TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

That holy transformation has more to do, perhaps, with what we run to than what we run from.

The word holy in Hebrew means to be “set apart.”  Of course, it is important to set ourselves apart from the pits that the world, the flesh and the enemy dig for us (lust, pride, greed…), but our primary goal is to fill our days with what Jesus is doing.

Where are you spending your time, your energy, your daydreams and your resources? This lifestyle is impossible to live on our own, but thankfully, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, giving clarity, motivation and wisdom.

SO IF YOU WANT TO LIVE HOLY, RUN TO JESUS AND PLANT YOURSELF THERE IN HIS PRESENCE.

May we live in the terroir of the Kingdom, setting ourselves apart for Him and setting ourselves apart from the things that pull us away.

Check out this song and be moved closer to Jesus by the power of His spirit.

By Penny Allison – Women’s Pastor

History’s Anthem –
An Interview with
the AntiochLIVE Team

AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem, releases tomorrow, and we can’t wait! This album is a collection of songs recorded at church on Sunday morning and at World Mandate. Many of our worship leaders were a part of making this album, but we specifically wanted to sit down with the AntiochLIVE leadership team to hear a little more about the heart behind the album.

The leadership team consists of James Mark Gulley, Owen Wible, Thomas Wilson and Brandon Seibert. James Mark leads the team and oversees each of our songwriters. Owen serves the team as the project manager and keeps things moving logistically. He has also contributed with songwriting. Thomas leads out on the songwriting side of things. He looks at each of the song ideas and chooses the ones that we feel have a message that our church and Movement need. Brandon* serves as the producer, audio engineer and mixer. He has also contributed as a songwriter.

Take a look at what James Mark, Owen and Thomas had to say about History’s Anthem:

First off, tell us a little about the vision behind the album:

  • James Mark: The vision behind the album of History’s Anthem for me is first and foremost we feel like God has called us to be worshippers who minister to His heart and lead people to encounter God through worship, and any way we can do that is our privilege.
  • Thomas: As we talked about where we were headed, we agreed on how important it was for our songs to really reflect the life of our church. In the past we’ve written songs specifically for albums. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes we ended up with these songs that we literally only played one time at church. We didn’t want to do that again. So, we decided to just take it one song at a time, one month at a time, and focus on writing songs for the people of our church.
  • Owen: I love that this album is recorded at church. It’s our volunteer team leading with our church body worshipping together. These aren’t just songs to fill an album. They’re the anthems from our church over the past year and a half.
  • Thomas: It was so cool because we’d introduce each new song during a Sunday service, and watch how people responded. If a song went well, we’d record it, but if something didn’t seem to connect with people, we’d take the time to make the song better. Eventually when we felt like people were really resonating with a song, we’d pick a Sunday and just record it at church. And we wouldn’t even tell our church we were recording. To me it felt more genuine that way. It was like we were actually capturing the sound of our church, like our focus was on the people encountering God, not recording cool songs for a project.
  • James Mark: As we began to put together songs for this season a couple different themes began to stick out. The first is that the simple name of Jesus has so much power. Just the power in the name of Jesus and the person of Jesus is unlike anything else in the world, and so we wrote songs that have so much to do with calling on His name. All in All just sings the name of Jesus over and over again. Your Name is just really a declaration of the power in Jesus’ name.
  • Owen: The theme of God’s faithfulness also kept coming up over and over. My hope is that people are reminded of His unchanging nature and it propels them to worship Jesus.
  • James Mark: We as a generation want to pay attention and be aware of the faithfulness of God. That is what compels us to worship Him, and worshipping Him is what He’s worthy of. That’s really the message behind History’s Anthem, that the anthem of history is God’s faithfulness, that God has been faithful to us when we have been faithless as a people in this world. Just like the song says, “Let heaven shout You will never fail.”

How did you decide on the album title?

  • Thomas: One of my favorite parts about this last year was seeing a common theme develop throughout the writing process. We talked about a few different ideas for the title, but ultimately, it felt right to use a song title for the album title. The lyrics of History’s Anthem completely sum up the heart of the album. In the chorus alone, it’s almost like each phrase references a different song on the album. And then you come to the bridge and it’s almost like it’s saying, “In light of everything we’ve just said through each song on this album, we will ‘follow you with total abandon.’” It’s cool that it’s the last song on the album because to me it really ties it all together.
  • James Mark: History’s anthem and the faithfulness of God became a theme that stuck out in a big way. Also, I think it was really cool that so many of these songs began in other nations. Specifically, History’s Anthem began in Greece with Caleb Seibert and his team there. God is faithful everywhere, all places to all people, and so History’s Anthem seemed to be a great title.
  • Owen: The title is indicative of how all of history has seen God to be faithful. This album is our moment to join the anthem of the saints of old declaring that His promises are still true today and to tell future generations that He will continue to be faithful. It’s our testimony in music form.

How does the artwork tie in to the overall album?

  • James Mark: When we started thinking through how we wanted to communicate about this album, the idea that came was to use actual artwork instead of just creating something on a computer. The artwork was put together by Tyler Guinn from Antioch Austin. He spent time praying and thinking about what he wanted it to look like, and we didn’t even really know what it would look like until we turned on the video camera and started filming him in his process. What came out was so colorful and beautiful and really kind of messy and unpredictable. That’s a lot like life and the journey that God has all of mankind on. But threaded throughout all of that is the fact that God is always faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He’ll never deny His own name, so to me that is what the artwork means to the album.
  • Thomas: It’s funny because when we had Tyler create the painting, half the songs hadn’t been written yet. So, in a lot of ways, Tyler’s painting was like a prophetic statement. All of the different colors and textures blended together to communicate one cohesive message, before we even knew what that message would end up saying. When we decided on the album title History’s Anthem we realized that this artwork really was like a visual representation of that theme. To me, the artwork symbolizes an invitation for you to sit in that empty chair and just gaze at God’s faithfulness in all its varied colors and forms.
  • Owen: An art gallery is a window into what was happening at different times in history. It helps a single moment endure. In the same way, we want this album to testify to future generations that we have seen Him to be faithful in our day. The painting hung in a gallery is representative of what we’ve written on this album. The empty chair is your invitation to come and ponder what’s being said. And ultimately to add to the anthem of history the He’s been good to you.

Is there a particular song you are most excited for people to hear?

  • Thomas: Ironically, because of the way we recorded these songs, none of them will be new to our church. So, I can’t say I’m excited for people to hear any of these songs for the first time – they already know them by heart! I do love the acoustic versions of God of the Breakthrough and Where Else Can I Go – I feel like they express the message of each of those songs in a really cool and different way.
  • Owen: I’m also really happy with how the acoustic version of God of the Breakthrough came out. It has a different feel from the way we play it live. This arrangement is actually a lot closer to the way the song was originally written, and I think this version will help the lyrics sink in a little deeper.
  • James Mark: Gosh, I can’t say there’s one that I am most excited about for people to hear. Asking me to pick a favorite song is kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. I feel like I’m kind of a dad to all of these songwriters and all of these songs, but I would say the last song that got finished, Where Else Can I Go, is a really special one to me. I wrote about it on the blog if you want to read more about it. It was really meaningful when I felt God was telling me that He wanted me to lead it for our church so others would be able to sing it as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

  • James Mark: I am just so proud of all the people who contributed to this record! This album is really a reflection of the culture of people that we have here at Antioch Waco and also in Antioch globally. I am someone who has been able to come alongside and kind of take the torch and keep going, but I love that all of us are just carrying that torch. We get to carry the anthems for this point of history. And hopefully our due desire is that we would sing the anthem with our lives so passionately and so powerfully that generations to come will be able to hear and say, “I experienced the faithfulness of God through the revelation that this church, this movement and these people were proclaiming and that gave me a confidence to walk in so that I can sing my own song, take up my part in the anthem of history that God is faithful, He is real, He is good and He is here with us right now.” That what I want people to get out of the album, and really out of all the albums we make.

History’s Anthem is available now! Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and all other music streaming platforms. To celebrate the release of the album, we will be having a worship night at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium. We hope to see you there!

*Brandon is a part of ENGAGE THE ISLANDS this summer, so we were not able to connect with him.

A Discipleship School Testimony

Justin and I have been working hard to get the word out about the Day, Night and International Discipleship Schools at Antioch.  As we have spoken with people, we have come to realize there are some common misconceptions about the schools. The first being that the schools are only for people who feel called into pastoral or mission work. The second is that it is something to do if you don’t have any other options at the moment – a sort of placeholder while you’re figuring out life.  We are happy to announce that neither of these perceptions are true! The schools are for anyone with any calling at any age and stage of life. Our goal is to equip you to be a lifelong, fruitful disciple of Jesus within the context where God has you. Instead of trying to explain this further myself, I figured it would be best to hear from former students. JR and Ginger Dollins attended the Night Discipleship School last fall.

CHECK OUT THEIR STORY:

I’m a 45-year-old woman, and when a 12-year career in the turbulent wine industry came to a halt last spring, I decided to venture out on my own in a direct marketing skin care and makeup company. In the midst of his 22-year career, my 48-year old husband felt like God wanted him to get involved in a family business. This was a difficult step of faith for him since he received a raise and an offer of promotion the very week he resigned. Both career changes happened while we were attending Antioch’s Vision and Values Course. Coincidence? No.

IT WAS GOD MOVING THINGS OUT OF THE WAY.

During this season, both my husband and I felt like God might be suggesting we apply to the Discipleship Night School. Between kids and new businesses, we couldn’t imagine how we would find space to do the school. We wrestled with the questions of, “God, are you really calling us to attend the Night Discipleship School? How can we swing this? It isn’t possible, is it? There’s just not any time? School is not what you do midlife, and definitely not a school that doesn’t add letters to your last name, right God?  We have two teenagers with multiple after-school activities, see how busy we are God?  Isn’t the Discipleship School for those called to the mission field? Are you calling us to the mission field? We have two new companies that we are trying to get off the ground – is that mission enough? Aren’t the schools only for recent college grads and empty-nesters” 

There was absolutely no time for us to fit the Discipleship School into our schedule.

Still, we enrolled in the Night Discipleship School this past fall.

Looking back we ask ourselves, “Why did we ever put this off?”

WE WERE SLOW TO OBEY, AND WE’VE LEARNED THAT DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS REALLY DISOBEDIENCE.

But God is gracious and had us right where we needed to be.  The depth of how much the Father loves us means more to us than ever.  Our time in the school transformed our friendships, our family and our marriage in a way that is beyond words. Learning that we are made God’s righteousness because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, plus the real, practical, everyday ways to be able to share what we learned is remarkable and is making a difference. It is affecting almost every conversation and our businesses, although difficult, are exceeding expectations in so many meaningful ways.

The speakers throughout the semester were incredible, and their teachings still challenge us. One speaker shared this, “Where is your joy on a day to day basis? The Bible says in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy.  So, who have you been meeting with every morning in your quiet times?” Another speaker said, “Jesus died on the cross and that is enough for ANY situation that might arise in your life.”

God’s dreams for our happiness and mission in life are MUCH bigger and better than we could even imagine. The sovereignty, holiness and love of God was continuously presented in a powerful way amidst a class community that changed the relationship we have with Him; it was just so good. Words are too finite.

Our classmates were amazing. If we could just shout one thing to everyone reading this, it would be this –

THE PEOPLE THAT TAKE THE CLASS WITH YOU WILL PERMANENTLY CHANGE YOU FOREVER AND FOR THE BETTER.

This is truth. We had young people and seniors taking the class with us, all with a unique relationship with Jesus. This constantly taught us how we need diversity so we can have a healthy body. The vulnerability and friendships we made changed us forever. We found we couldn’t wait until the next class, and we never wanted the class to end. We were shocked that our spiritual hunger grew throughout the semester and beyond, where in the past we would normally be disenchanted after a short time.

The Discipleship Schools are for anyone, no matter the age or the life stage. God changed our lives forever through the Night Discipleship School. If God is prompting you, don’t hesitate! Say yes to the Discipleship School and the next step in your life-long relationship with Jesus.

Our application is live, and you can access it by clicking here. Applications are due June 15th.  If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Justin or myself.

For more information about the Night Discipleship School, email Mick.

For more information about the Day Discipleship School, email Justin.