Tag: antioch

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.

Grief and The Gospel

Many of us know the story of Lazarus. He was Jesus’ friend who was sick, dead for four days and was then brought back to life. The glory and power of God was displayed like never before, and many of those who came to grieve were stirred to believe as they saw the dead live again.

But before the miracle of verse 43 came Jesus’ emotional response in verse 35.

“Jesus wept.”

The shortest verse in the Bible, but I believe it is one of the most significant acts of Jesus’ life. These two words display God’s heart for us in a unique and powerful way. They essentially encompass the whole gospel.

His response was filled with deep compassion and proved that Jesus was, and still is, willing to “go there.” You know that place. The place we awkwardly avoid because we don’t really know how to engage the situation. The place of loss, and sometimes anger. That place of deep pain where no words ever seem to be enough solace. The place where confusion resides and grief seems to eliminate the possibility of hope.

JESUS KNEW THE OUTCOME.

He knew of the life He was about to speak back into Lazarus, but still, He took a moment to feel the raw and painful emotion of man. He grieved and wept with His friends. This part of the story always stirs something inside of me. There is something so significant and beautiful about Jesus’ response. He could have come to Bethany, told Lazarus’ sisters to stop crying and immediately revived Lazarus. Instead He comforted them by first mourning with them.

I believe the glory of God is magnified when we go to those deep places, allow ourselves to grieve and then still declare that He is faithful and good.

Ultimately it is the sin and brokenness of this world that causes our pain and grief. It isn’t until we are in heaven that the tears will forever dry up and we will experience eternal joy. Jesus wept 2,000 years ago with his friends, and He hurts for us still today. He grieves over the brokenness of the world, and there is an invitation for us to grieve with Him. Jesus isn’t intimidated by our emotions, instead He embraces them. If we try to numb and avoid our pain, we eventually won’t allow ourselves to feel joy either. There is space for us to grieve, and a promise that the Holy Spirit will comfort us.

THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN WEEPING IN GRIEF AND CELEBRATING IN VICTORY WITH ONE ANOTHER.

The gospel is preached every time we are willing to “go there” with someone and then declare hope in the midst of the hurt.

Jesus’ entire life proved His willingness to, “go there” with us. He came to save us, to the point of dying on a cross. But before He committed the act that gave us eternal hope, He stepped fully into our lives. He stood with us and experienced the brokenness of humanity.

Jesus’ ministry was fueled by compassion. We can’t fully declare Jesus to others if we aren’t willing to be stirred by the emotion and pain of those around us.

Grief isn’t bad. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Let yourself, “go there” because ultimately, we won’t stay in that place of pain. We will find that Jesus is willing to feel with us and then speak life over us.

IN RESPONSE:

  • Let yourself grieve // Maybe it’s a dream, the loss of a loved one or another disappointment. Whatever it may be, there is an invitation to grieve with Jesus. He isn’t intimidated by our emotions, and He won’t rush our grief process. Scripture says that it is in weakness that the power of God is made perfect through us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). When Jesus left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper and ultimate comforter (John 14:15-31). When we grieve there is a promise that the Holy Spirit will bring us comfort and hope. Take a look at this message from Jimmy on the role of the Holy Spirit.
  • Be willing to go there with someone else // If you know someone that is grieving, ask God how you can best support and care for them. I believe we express the heart of God when we are willing to listen to people’s pain, and when we are willing to cry and grieve with them. The heart of God is not to push away emotion, it is to embrace, comfort and declare hope in the midst of the pain. Carl Gulley shared a powerful message on grief this past fall. He unpacked practical ways we can respond to grief. Check it out here.
  • Read the story of Lazarus and ask God to reveal His heart to you. // This is one of my favorite passages, and Jesus still reveals something new to me every time I read it. I suggest reading it in another translation, I read it in the Passion Translation this morning, and it was a game changer.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff

 

Return to Radical: Jesus is the Head of the Church

Today Jimmy Seibert continued our series, Return to Radical, by unpacking the question, “Who do you say Jesus is.?” The way we perceive Jesus will determine the course of our lives. When we are confident in who Jesus is, we are set to make it for the long haul. We also took a look at three ways Jesus reveals Himself in Scripture:

  • 1. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
  • 2. Jesus is our Salvation
  • 3. Jesus is the closest friend we could ever have
Take a look at some more takeaways from today’s message:
  • Wherever Jesus is ruling and reigning there is peace, righteousness, health and love.
  • You have to know who Jesus is to take on the challenges of this world.
  • If you are waiting around to be good enough to get to God, you’re never going to get out. You need Jesus to get out of the stuff you’re in.
  • No matter what happens in life, there is only one Savior and one place of refuge. His name is Jesus.
  • God answers the cries of our heart.
  • In your pain, run to Jesus and not from Jesus because He is the only one who can heal you.
  • Everybody wants to know Jesus they just don’t know it yet.
  • Jesus is the exact representation of God’s glory.
  • When you want to understand the heart of God, look at Jesus.
  • There is nothing but good for you in the heart of God.
  • We aren’t inviting you to a religion, we’re inviting you into a relationship.

By Jimmy Seibert

antioch, jimmy seibert

How Then Shall We Live? Commandment 10: You Shall Not Covet

Today Jimmy wrapped up our How Then Shall We Live? series with a message on the last commandment, “You shall not covet.” Coveting is defined as having a strong lust or desire for something or someone that isn’t yours. Coveting can be broken down into three areas: people, possessions and positions. When we put Jesus at the center of all three areas, everything else will fall into place. Check out some of our takeaways from today’s message:

  • When we humble ourselves and cry out for a deliverer, God comes.
  • Until we come to the understanding that God is right on all things, we’re going to wrestle Him for everything.
  • When you don’t get your direct orders from God, you don’t end up walking with Him for very long.
  • The key to the Kingdom has been given to us in the person of Jesus.
  • We will never have enough until we’re at rest in Jesus.
  • When we compare ourselves among ourselves, we miss Jesus.
  • If you go to rule instead of to serve, you will always lose.
  • You know how we find contentment in our obsession with possessions? By being generous.
  • When we deal with people issues we speak truth. When we deal with position issues we serve. When we deal with possession issues we give.

Dreaming With God

Have you ever had a eureka moment? A miraculous instance of “ah ha!”? One of the most profound examples of such a thing happened to me years ago while I was ankle deep in a river, trying and failing to catch a fish. I’d just spent the past 10 minutes spilling the proverbial guts to my best friend about what mattered most to me, what my dreams were and how amazing it would be to see them through, but then I also shared how it just seemed too good to be true for God to want the same thing. There were just so many more important things in the world He had to deal with than my so called “dreams.”

My friend casted his line, then looked over with a furrowed brow. “Seems to me God made you to dream like this, bro. So why wouldn’t He want to make them come true? That’s His character.”

This single statement helped change the trajectory of my life.

You see, for much of my existence on the earth, I’ve pretty much felt like a misfit. When I was younger I saw my personality and interests as something to remedy, to escape rather than pursue. As a result, I often crammed my calling and career into a nice and tidy little box. No rocking the boat. No coloring outside the lines.

But there were always my dreams, stubbornly churning under the surface. It wasn’t until my best friend reminded me of God’s goodness – His perfect Father heart – that I started dreaming with God, talking to Him about my passions and desires, my longings for the future.

I felt like a withered branch suddenly grafted to the vine.

Slowly but surely, I began to awaken to God’s best for me – which involved risk and guts and faith. It required a willingness to fail. A new and improved security in God rather than the opinions of others.

For so long I waited around, desperate for someone to give me permission to dream.

It never really happened. But when I started dreaming with God, listening to what He had to say about my life and calling, the anxiety that had rendered me so timid for years faded like a mist.

So this year I started my own business, Fullwrite Creative, and you know what? It’s thriving! I can hardly believe it. But of course its no surprise to God. It’s His idea anyway. My lifelong dreams of publishing books and making movies are already in motion. The road might still be long, but I’m on it!

Creating with God is a profound delight. That’s what He made me for. It’s my talent given to invest, my light to shine. To shrink back in fear and doubt and timidity is to squander the very reason I walk the earth.

In Response:

What are your dreams? When was the last time you slowed down long enough to talk with God about them? Do they seem too crazy? Too strange? Even too boring? Nonsense. God has made you with such unique intricacy, you are a work of art. And I believe He whispers our dreams to us when we stop to listen. They might not look like any one else’s on the planet, and to that I say THANK GOODNESS!

Dream now. Dream fearless. The world will be better because of it.

By Robert Fuller

 

 

ENGAGE THE CRISIS Update 7

There are three weeks left of ENGAGE THE CRISIS this summer and God has done many signs and wonders in our midst. He’s shown His deep love and opened doors where it was once thought impossible.

In Isaiah 55:11, God promises that His word will not return void.

It’s a promise we can firmly stand on knowing that God’s plans will prevail. Sometimes those promises look different than what was originally expected, but God’s kindness and faithfulness always deliver true on His word. We have a story this week about the faithfulness of God over many years, many trials and many places of pain. For safety of everyone involved, the story will be as vague as possible.

One ENGAGE THE CRISIS participant, C, used to be a worker in a closed country in the Middle East. While she was there God gave her a promise of seeing a move of God through the Kurds. The Kurds are the largest people group in the world without a home country and speak different dialects of the Kurdish language. They are spread throughout the Middle East. They too have fled to Europe seeking asylum. While C was living in the Middle East she would pray and believe for Kurds but did not see any immediate fruit. When C moved back to the United States she put that promise on the back burner, knowing that God’s word would come to pass whether she would see it now, or later in life.

C visited Germany on her ENGAGE THE CRISIS trip praying for God to put Kurds in her path while there. On her first day of outreach she met two Kurdish men who had traveled from the Middle East. Since she speaks Kurdish she was able to carry on a conversation with them.

C shared the Gospel and Prophet Story with the men in their native language – something that no other team member in Germany was able to do. When she was finishing the Prophet Story she said “and Jesus is the only way…” expecting them to respond with “but Muhammed” because of her past experiences. But she was met with silence. Shocked, C repeated, “and Jesus is the only way..”

The men responded, “Yes, we believe Jesus is the only way. We want to be Christians.”

C was blown away. After praying for, believing for, and sharing the Gospel with Kurds for many years she had yet to hear this kind of response.

Not only did C meet these Kurdish men this day, she met new Kurds everyday on her trip and every single one of them wanted to know Jesus and become Christians! One Kurd even asked C, “Is this house church? I have heard of that before!”

C is fluent in Kurdish and was concerned about who would disciple these new believers because no one else spoke Kurdish nor was there Kurdish materials for them. C decided to stay an extra three weeks to disciple them and teach them how to do Discovery Bible Studies with their friends and families.

WOW! Thank you, Lord for speaking that promise years ago and not forgetting it. God is after the Kurds and He is using C and her life to reach them with His love. Please join us in praying for these Kurdish groups to thrive and multiply like never before.

ENGAGE THE CRISIS Update 6

In Matthew 10:42 Jesus tells us,

“And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Our Italy base has been on the ground for years sowing seeds and believing for a move of the Holy Spirit with Italians and refugees. The team went out one day to share the Gospel and met a young, malnourished boy. He only spoke French so they communicated through Google Translate. They learned his story, shared the Gospel and prayed for him. The team was trying to ask him when they could meet up again but were finding it difficult to translate. After a few attempts the young boy hopped up, took them by the hand and led them to where he lived.

His house was home to more than 50 young refugee boys without any of their parents present.

A few days later the team returned to the boy’s home with backpacks full of essentials, and with 50 handmade crocheted stuffed animals. These were no ordinary stuffed animals either. One of our ENGAGE THE CRISIS team members felt like God spoke to her about crocheting more than 50 elephants to bring to Italy for very special children in need of some joy. She knew these boys were the perfect ones for the elephants.

On the team’s next visit to the boy’s house they found the boys had wrapped the stuffed animals around their bed posts. The boys’ faces lit up when they saw the woman who made the elephants for them walk into their house.

The line to hug her and thank her was 50 boys deep.

Our team has continued to follow up with this house and the boys knowing that God has big plans for them. Simple acts of kindness and love like this have more weight and power than we could ever imagine. God uses everything from cups of water, clean laundry at a community center or stuffed animals to show His love to those who need it.

More Of Jesus: Week 5 – Relationship v. Regulation

This week, Jimmy continued our More Of Jesus series with a message out of Colossians 2:16-23. Knowing God personally is more important than a set of rules. Check out three ways to apply this week’s message:

Three Ways to Apply This Week’s Message:
  • 1. Meditate on the character of Jesus.  “Jesus is the substance”
  • 2. Connect to community. “Hold fast to the Head… And the body.”
  • 3. Pray in your pain

Digging Deeper: Relationship vs. Regulation

Scripture Focus: Colossians 2:16-23

Colossians 2:16-23 – Two Traps

  • Don’t live under empty religious regulation (Verses 16-17)
    • The context appears to be Jews who sought to enforce the Mosaic law in the church but this applies to all of us
      • Don’t live trying to conform to dietary restrictions or special days! This is a religious spirit and is a consistent problem – people try to prove their worth by being faithful to the rules but God calls us to be faithful to the Person
        • It is a form of salvation by works and negates the Gospel
    • These Old Testament regulations are a shadow of Christ
      • There were signs pointing to Jesus – valuable in their purpose but not the goal. Jesus is the fullness; our goal is to walk in union with Him
  • Don’t live by spiritual experiences (Verse 18)
    • This is the other end of the spectrum – people who reduce their faith to spiritualism
      • They chase supernatural encounters and use this as a justification for their life. They view themselves superior by what they have seen – maybe even legitimately seen
    • The problem? They lost connection to the Head (implying they once had it)
      • The Head gives direction, apart from it we are aimless
      • People who fall into this trap become their own god. They allow their experiences to justify their behavior and beliefs rather than submit to the person of Jesus
  • Both of these traps are ever present to stunt the growth of the Church (Verse 19)
    • Often it is a two-pronged assault with both sides seeking to waylay believers. What is the solution? The preceding passage:
      • ‘therefore…’; because of who we are in Christ and our firm foundation of the Gospel, we must not fall into one of these traps (Verse 17)
      • We survive this minefield by fixing our eyes on the real thing, the Person of Jesus and submitting our lives to Him, not to a human philosophy or system of rules

Colossians 2:20-23 – Rules apart from relationship are futile

  • All mankind is separated from God, and we long for restoration. The problem is we try to do it in our own strength (Verses 20-21)
    • This is self-righteousness
      • We mistakenly believe through our acts of righteousness or religiousness we can be reconciled with God. This flawed philosophy does not understand the reality of sin – we are already convicted and condemned
    • It does not matter how well a prisoner on death row behaves, the sentence is already set
      • This is the sad reality of man but with Jesus we have hope
      • Romans 3:21-28 clearly describes the grace of God, which alone can save us
  • When we are saved by grace through faith and go back to religious legalism, we demonstrate we do not really understand salvation (Verse 22)
    • Galatians 3:1-14 is a blunt rebuke toward believers who fall into this trap
      • If the Law failed because of sin in man’s heart then why do we keep going back to it?
    • Grace frees us from sin; we are dead to sin in Christ!
      • If we boast in and rely upon extreme religious acts for our justification then we miss the point
      • God may call us to something extreme – long fasting, persecution, etc – but the point is never to earn His grace or love
    • I am skeptical of any group that uses some extreme practice as a measuring stick of faith. Let’s make faith in Jesus the point and then He will lead us into the Spirit of the Law
  • One last point, a simple pragmatic problem with legalism: it doesn’t work! (Verse 23)
    • We cannot simply restrain our flesh through our own strength. If we could then the Law would have worked millennia ago
    • Instead, we must be filled with the grace of God which both forgives past sin and empowers us to conquer future sin

 

Baptism

Today, our Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert talked about taking steps of obedience and the power of baptism. By definition, baptism means to immerge and to plunge. For believers, baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing our declaration to follow Jesus.

Key Takeaways:
  • Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward reality.
  • A simple act of obedience turns a key that opens the door to breakthrough and unlocks your destiny and purpose.
  • Baptism identifies us with Jesus.
  • Baptism is an act of obedience.
  • Baptism is a picture of cleansing from sin.
  • Baptism unlocks power and ministry in and through our lives.
  • Matthew 28 isn’t the “great suggestion,” but the Great Commission.
Key Scriptures:
Get Baptized!

If you would like to be baptized, sign up to participate in our Baptism Bash on Sunday, May 29th!

Risk

Today, Jady Griffin shared a message on transitions and the risks we have to take to make it through. Life transitions aren’t easy, but there is a promise from God that He will be with us through the process and bring us to our destination.

Key Takeaways:
  • There is nothing in life actually more complex than transitioning from one place to another place.
  • Don’t let the pain of your transition allow you to miss your destination.
  • The only way we can make it through a transition into our destination is by remembering that God is with us along the way.
  • God wanted the Israelites to know: You’re wandering is not a waste.
  • Don’t stop one lap short.
  • How we respond in our holding patterns often determines how we enter into the destiny we’re waiting to for.
  • I will be with you,” Jesus went through great lengths to make that a reality for us.
Key Verses: