Tag: Easter at Antioch

Easter Sunday 2019

“…Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:5-7

This week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus together at our Easter services! It was the sweetest morning as we worshipped and stood in the victory and life we are given because of Jesus. Lead pastor Carl Gulley shared a message centered around the story of Jonah. Though it seems like a non-traditional Easter message, the story of Jonah prophetically points to Jesus.

THE RESURRECTION OF JONAH POINTS TO THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, AND ULTIMATELY REVEALS THE PROMISE OF OUR RESURRECTION.

We spent most of our morning in Jonah 1-3. The Lord asks Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that is full of destruction and wickedness. To Jonah, this request makes no sense. Still today, God will unapologetically ask us to do things that don’t make sense in the beginning but will ultimately lead to life.

Jonah disobeys, runs in the opposite direction and finds himself in the belly of a whale for three days. It would be fair to say that Jonah got what he deserved, and his story could have ended inside the whale. In his desperation, Jonah cries out to God and the Lord delivers him.

Our story probably looks a lot like Jonah’s. We can find ourselves feeling hopeless, stuck and in need of a Savior.

JESUS IS THAT SAVIOR.

“because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights… But look – something greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:40 – 41

Jesus willingly went to the cross and died for our sins. But the story didn’t end there. He not only took on all of our mess, but He overcame by rising from the dead after three days. We are now invited to stand in victory with Jesus, fully forgiven and made clean.

FORGIVENESS CHANGES THE GAME FOR EVERYONE.

This is the reason we celebrate! We celebrate our risen Savior who gives us hope and brings us from death to life.

Palm Sunday

“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Matthew 21:9

This morning we celebrated Palm Sunday with a message on the triumphal entry of Jesus. As. Jesus entered Jerusalem, worship erupted because people are naturally drawn to excellence. In the presence of Jesus, we can’t help but worship.

Before going into an extended time of worship, we took a look at Matthew 21:1-11. At the time of Jesus’ entry, parades and celebrations were common for kings and rulers. This entrance was different because Jesus was, and still is, the only One worthy of all of our worship.

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY STARTED WITH AN ACT OF OBEDIENCE.

Jesus told His disciples to go and get a donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem. Honestly, it was kind of an odd request. The disciples had already seen Jesus as trustworthy, so no matter the request, obedience was normal. We are also called to obedience. When we choose to take that step of faith and obey, we see the grace of God personified. Obedience is the beginning of the journey into the glory of God.

JESUS CAME IN ON A DONKEY TO SAY, “I AM WITH YOU.”

Jesus didn’t ride in on a great white horse or on a chariot. He came in with humility to show us that He is with us, not above us. We express our worship when we too, choose to take on humility. When we go low, the enemy loses his advantage and we can see with a right perspective. Humbling ourselves draws the presence of the Lord.

WE WANT TO GIVE GOD OUR BEST, NOT OUR LEFTOVER ENERGY.

We worship through obedience, humility and in giving Jesus our best. When we choose to worship and spend time with Jesus first thing in the morning, we establish Jesus as central.

IF WE DON’T WORSHIP, THE ROCKS WILL CRY OUT.

We were made for worship. We declare victory every time we choose to worship regardless of our circumstances.

EASTER EVENTS //

Stations of the Cross: Stop by the Prayer and Equipping Center anytime throughout the week for self-guided prayer and reflection centered around the stations of the cross. This is a great activity to do with your family, as a Lifegroup or individually.

Good Friday Communion Service: This Friday, join us for a communion service at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium. This will be a stripped-back, contemplative evening as we take time to pause and reflect on all Jesus did for us.

Easter Sunday Services: We will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at our Easter services at 9 and 11 a.m. We hope to see you there!

Easter 2018

Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and the life we have because of Him! Lead Pastor Carl Gulley shared on the impact the cross has on our lives. Jesus closed the gap between our performance and God’s perfection, and now we can have relationship with Him. From our Kids Ministry to our main services, we are so thankful for everyone who joined and worshiped with us.

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR MORNING:

Check out yesterday’s message from Carl Gulley here.

Waiting Well

Being a Gulley brother is the best. (Sorry, I don’t make the rules.) This is, of course, my entirely biased opinion. But that doesn’t make it any less true. We Gulleys laugh together, cry together, fight together and pray together. We even have a Gulley Man Motto:

MAN OF GOD – FULL OF FAITH – TOUGH AS NAILS – LOVE ALWAYS

And we live by that motto.

Sounds incredible, right? Nah, it’s downright enviable. But let’s cut through the highlight summary and remember that anything worth having has been painstakingly fought for. This is absolutely true for my family. And I gotta tell you: it’s been a hell of a fight. And by that I mean we have literally fought against the powers of hell for our brotherhood. And in case you missed the reality check, there was a time when we were not all men of God. Each of us has his own story of being rescued from the clutches of darkness, but one story has defined us all: the story of the youngest.

Jeff, our youngest brother, walked a wayward path. His choices were short-sighted and selfish. After several years of dangerous living and burned bridges, he didn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact he was gaining speed toward destruction, affecting others negatively. That’s when my dad called Jeff to his house for an intervention with the brothers. It took a while, but Jeff received our words and even gave His life to Jesus. That is a night I’ll never forget. And I mean that.

But there I go again with the highlights. What I did not include in the story above is the grueling moments of watching my parents worry whether he would come home at night. Day after day after day of witnessing them anguish in prayer for his salvation only to hear news that he’d gotten in trouble again. Minutes and hours and days of embarrassment as people’s lives were damaged by the sins of, “the Christian family.” And so many prayers and songs and cries from every last one of my family members, day and night, over and over that God would break through his blindness already and save him from himself! I told you the highlights but glossed right over the in-between place: the minutes and hours and days and months and years before that breakthrough moment in August of 2004.

BUT THAT IN-BETWEEN PLACE IS VITAL.

Life can sometimes feel like a long road going from problem to breakthrough to problem to breakthrough. But most of the time spent in our lives is lived in the in-between place. That season in which we are painfully aware that a looming need has taken over, and worse yet, there’s little to nothing we can do about it. This in-between place is called waiting.

I found a song that puts into words exactly how I’ve been feeling lately, and I’ve been listening to it almost every day. The first lines are ones I feel deeply.

Walking around these walls

I thought by now they’d fall

But You have never failed me yet

Do It Again, Elevation Worship

My life circumstances can feel like those walls of Jericho: insurmountable and impossible to penetrate. Only God can bring the breakthrough I’m waiting for… and He hasn’t yet.

This Easter week, we can peer into the Scriptures and see ourselves in the characters we find there. When Jesus’ followers saw that He had died and was buried, they lost hope. Afraid and confused, they waited, unsure of exactly what they were waiting for. All they knew was to stick together and pray. So in the darkest moment of history with the Savior of the world dead and gone, and with Him their hopes of life and freedom – they had nothing else to do but wait.

Waiting is not merely sitting on the dock until our ship comes in, twiddling our thumbs and staring into space.

WAITING WELL IS A CONTINUAL CONVERSATION WITH GOD, ACTIVELY TRUSTING THAT HE WILL COME THROUGH FOR US BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS.

We do what we can to prepare our lives for good circumstances, but in reality we have no control over anything but our focus. And that’s where the battle is fought.

It is utterly human to desire relief. We have a propensity toward comfort. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the children of God know there are two realities we cannot shake this side of eternity:

LIFE IS NOT EASY AND GOD IS GOOD.

That first truth hits us in the face every day; the second we must make a conscious choice to remember.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

So trouble and sorrows are a foregone conclusion. I hope your theology includes this truth. While Jesus has promised us comfort, He has not promised us ease. So we would be wise to focus on the constant in our lives: God’s character and His ways. Life will ebb and flow with problems and breakthroughs. The light at the end of a dark tunnel is not your preferred form of circumstance-improvement. The Light is Jesus Himself.

Since we know troubles and breakthroughs will come, we would do well to resolve to fix our eyes on the God who has “breakthrough power” rather than on the illusive breakthrough itself. Of course, it is natural to long for ease over all things, but why would you aim to live a merely natural life? Don’t you want to live a supernatural life? It is short-sighted to live your life constantly looking for circumstances to become easier.

This is not merely a pithy philosophy that belies a broken tendency to hide from pain by choosing not to look at it. Mountains do not move by ignoring them. But neither is it a decision to cling to fear and pain in order to be “real.” Anyone who would rather sit in darkness to be seen as genuine instead of standing up and walking into the light is not well.

WE WERE NOT MADE TO LIVE IN THE DARK; WE WERE MADE TO OVERCOME IT.

There are two kinds of God’s children who cry out for the gift of breakthrough: one is a selfish child who, when she receives the gift, says a quick “thanks” and runs off to play with her new toy and returns only to ask for another. The other is a child of the King who knows that God created us all for relationship, and her life is a war to remain connected to her Father no matter what, so she does whatever it takes to remain in His presence. Breakthrough is coming for both of these children. Which will we be today?

I recently visited a friend whose wife was admitted to the hospital with a debilitating condition. I asked how his kids were handling it, and he described an ongoing conversation he’d been having with his oldest child who had been taking the sickness very hard. Fear had crept in, all but paralyzing her. The sadness had become overwhelming. My friend is a good father and said to his daughter, “Listen baby, we can feel any feeling we want. No feeling is wrong. But at the end of the feelings, we are going to land on the goodness of God. I want you to share your feelings with me because I love you – and then we are committed to take those feelings to Jesus and stand on the foundation that God is good.” Sitting in that hospital, I felt the Spirit of God touch my heart and speak to me, “That goes for you too, son.”

I have received His encouragement, and I hope you will, too. If you are waiting for a breakthrough, I want to encourage you: wait well. The Psalms are our most qualified teacher in these seasons. When he wrote Psalm 13, King David was merely pouring out his heart to God, but he also ended up teaching generations to come how to bring a complaint to God. So let God have it! He’s a big boy; He can handle you. Start in Psalm 13 or Psalm 142 as a guide for how to cry out for a breakthrough in your situation. Pour out your pain to God in the most honest language you can muster. Resist the temptation to skip talking about the mountain in front of you simply because God already sees it. Your Father wants to hear from you: what it feels like to be you. Tell Him what you see, what you want Him to do about it and why.

And then do what my friend does: land on God’s goodness.

But how? Thankfulness.

THE WAY TO REGAIN OUR SIGHT OF GOD’S GOODNESS IS THROUGH EXPRESSED GRATITUDE.

The Bible says, “Give thanks.” It does not say, “Feel thanks.” Having grateful sensations is not a prerequisite for worshipping God in the waiting; in fact, I would imagine it is rare. So we can begin to thank God with little to no positive emotion. Start by saying, “Thank You, Jesus.” Say this three times, five times, ten times – whatever it takes to move your focus to Him. Your mind will begin to search for a place to pin that thankfulness. What has God shown you about Himself? What has He done for you? “Thank You for creating me. Thank You for loving me, and for setting me free. I’m thankful for Your faithfulness to me throughout my life. You’ve always provided for me, Jesus.” Remember: stay in the game here. When the pain tries to creep in through the cracks of your conversation, simply turn your gaze back to God and keep thanking Him.

This is your battle! The battle of the moment for your attention, for a healthy view of God. Victory may come sooner than you think, or it may not – but it will come. Two things cannot occupy the same space, and your active thankfulness will push away the things that distract you from seeing and hearing from Him clearly.

If you are committed to walking with Jesus through every season of life and you don’t want to be sidelined by bitterness or overwhelmed by the trouble that will inevitably come, then you must get serious about this: be thankful.

WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN INVITATION TO BECOME FLUENT IN THANKSGIVING.

Fight for your vision, to see clearly. Thank your Father in Heaven at every turn. We will spend a lot of life waiting. If you’re going to wait for your breakthrough, my friend… then wait well.

By James Mark Gulley – Worship Pastor

The Meaning of the Cross

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

EASTER IS A TIME TO NOT ONLY CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, BUT ALSO ALL HE ACCOMPLISHED ON THE CROSS.

Jesus took our sin on the cross, was dead for three days and then was raised to life before He ascended to heaven. This new life we each have access to is unbelievable and wonderful, but at least for me I know I can become accustomed to this good news. The power of what Jesus did on the cross is not diminished, but my celebration and sensitivity toward it can be. The approach of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter are reminders for me to re-examine my heart and invite God to sink the power and magnitude of the cross deeper into my heart.

WE WANT OUR HEARTS TO BE OPEN TO GREATER REVELATION OF WHAT JESUS DID FOR US ON THE CROSS.

Because of this, March 29th through Aril 1st, we are having the Stations of the Cross in Antioch’s Prayer and Equipping Center. This room, located at Fort and 20th, will be a place where you can engage in a self-guided time of Scripture reading, reflection and prayer. There will be multiple interactive stations as well as an opportunity to take communion.

My prayer is that through the Stations of the Cross, the revelation of what Jesus has done for us would continue to sink deeper into our minds and hearts, we would experience more deeply the love of the Father and draw nearer to Jesus in anticipation of Easter.

Please come join us as we journey through the Stations of the Cross!

By Olivia Andrade

John, His Story – A Recap

This past weekend was our Palm Sunday production, John, His Story. This production creatively tells the story of Jesus as written in the Gospel of John. Four actors came together to portray 27 different characters, and brought the Gospel to life. We are so thankful for our team who worked on this production, and for the opportunity to share the love of Jesus in such a creative way!

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRODUCTION:

A special thank you to Fadi Salem for taking photos and helping us capture the event.

Reaching our City this Easter Season

With the Easter season, comes the opportunity to not only celebrate the life Jesus gives us, but also invite those around us to hear the gospel message, again or for the first time.

“Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

This verse is what we are inviting people into when we invite them to attend the Palm Sunday production or Easter services. There is really nothing better than having the opportunity to invite people into relationship with Jesus! If you are looking for ways to invite people and get involved in our Palm Sunday production and Easter services, here are a few practical ways you can be a part.

WAYS YOU CAN JUMP IN:

  • INVITE SOMEONE TO OUR PALM SUNDAY EASTER PRODUCTION // Performances of “John, His Story” by Jeannette Clift George are Saturday, March 24th,  at 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 25th, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. In thjs production, four people creatively portray 27 characters, and bring the Gospel of John to life. It’s family-friendly, but we will also have Kids Ministry available for birth through 6th grade. If you aren’t bringing someone with you, we encourage you to attend the Saturday performance to make room for guests as we anticipate large attendance on Sunday.
  • INVITE SOMEONE TO JOIN YOU EASTER SUNDAY // We will have inspiring music and an encouraging message in our Auditorium, as well as fun activities planned for kids ages birth through 6th grade. This is a wonderful time to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to hear the Gospel. Services are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
  • INVITE SOMEONE TO THE ALPHA COURSE STARTING APRIL 9th // Alpha is for anyone who is looking for a place to explore the meaning of life and have open discussions about the challenging questions regarding the Christian faith. Whether you are new to following Jesus or not, anyone is welcome as we explore these important questions.
  • VOLUNTEER MARCH 24th, 25th OR EASTER SUNDAY // We’re expecting lots of guests this Easter season and invite you to serve during a service and bless our guests! If you’re available to volunteer, please let us know by filling out and submitting this form.

We are so excited to celebrate this Easter season together!