Tag: Summer at Antioch

The Time Is Now

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 // 

This Sunday senior pastor Jimmy Seibert reminded us of our corporate vision for the year, The Time Is Now. He encouraged us to press in and  run into the last third of the year. We are called to move beyond past mistakes and press on toward prayer and community both personally and corporately.

WHEN GOD SAYS IT IS A NEW TIME, WE DON’T LIVE IN THE OLD.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrew 12:1 

To live this new time, walking out in obedience to the “now” words, we cannot continue to live in the past. We are not the accumulation of our failures. If we step into the new season with that mindset, we will not be able to run with the freedom and endurance to which we are called. Instead, we take what we learned and go forward in God.

OUR OBEDIENT RESPONSE TO GOD SETS OTHERS FREE.

Having an obedient response to the invitation of God is important, not just for ourselves but for those around us. Our response has the potential to forge a way for others around us to encounter Jesus and find freedom.

Saying, “yes” to the next thing can feel risky, but if we never step into the new, we will have no idea how God desires to move in us individually, as a church body, throughout the city of Waco and ultimately the world. We are called to be a people who fully live by faith, finding freedom, introducing people to Jesus and positioning ourselves to receive God’s breakthrough.

OUR NOW MOMENTS //

There is a quarter of 2019 left, and there are two key words for us to respond to, both personally and corporately:

  • Community //  In October we are launching a 40 Days of Breakthrough series because we believe breakthrough is found among the people of God. Throughout the six-week series we are creating opportunities to find community by starting 200 new small groups. Whether you are already a part of a Lifegroup or you’re looking to get plugged in, we are encouraging everyone to be a part of a small group where we will take time to connect and dive deeper into the topics covered on Sunday mornings. If you are interested in joining a group, keep your eyes open because in a few weeks we will have an opportunity for you to sign up! If you want to make a way for others are find breakthrough in the context of community, whether or not you are currently in a Lifegroup, you can sign up to host a group! Please fill out this form and one of our pastors will get in touch with you.
  • Prayer // We are creating space for prayer and worship throughout the week, and we hope that you join us for these opportunities. Jesus Hour happens every weekday from noon – 1 p.m. in the Kids Auditorium. This is a time to refocus our attention on Jesus through thanksgiving, worship and intercession. We also have Encounter Nights every Friday starting at 7 p.m., also in the Kids Auditorium. If God has been putting something specific on your heart to carry in prayer or you want to stretch your prayer muscle, you can visit our Prayer Ministry’s website to see what groups are praying for and sign up to pray with them or start your own time slot.

We are expectant and excited for these last few months of 2019. The time is now for breakthrough.

Family Matters //
Part Seven

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 // 

This morning senior pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series, Family Matters. Throughout the summer we have been studying the book of Ephesians and learning what it looks like to live as a part of the family of God. This week, Jimmy focused on Ephesians 6, and shared on living with a victory mindset in the midst of spiritual warfare. There are very real struggles that we face on a daily basis, but we are called to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and stand firm.

THERE IS A SUPERNATURAL ANSWER FOR THE NATURAL STRUGGLE.

To stand firm, we need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the heart of God, and when we spend intentional time with God every day, we are filled with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us peace and strength to face the things in front of us. All of our problems probably won’t disappear, but we have an anchored trust in the faithfulness of God.

WE AREN’T FIGHTING A BATTLE, WE’RE CLAIMING A VICTORY.

When we are in Jesus, we have authority and can approach situations with a victory mindset instead of a victim mindset. We can’t ignore spiritual warfare, but we also can’t let the enemy overwhelm us. The attacks of the enemy are very real, but he is not a co-equal with God. He has already been defeated. It’s necessary to acknowledge that there is a battle, but it’s a battle that has already been won.

THE GRACE OF GOD ALONE

The enemy tries to use our brokenness to challenge our salvation. The good news is, our salvation is not contingent on how good we are. Our salvation is secure as a result of the grace of God.

OVERCOMING THE BATTLE //

Throughout our morning, we talked about four places that the enemy tries to take ground –

  1. Our Hearts // Our hearts are the greatest battleground. Day by day, we need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and claim victory in our own hearts. Starting with a  surrendered heart gives us discernment for the battles ahead.
  2. Our Homes // Our home is the one domain we have complete authority, and it is intended to be a place of refuge. When we are intentional about monitoring what we bring into our homes, we don’t give the enemy any ground.
  3. Our Workplace // No matter where you work, you have the authority to claim victory in that space. Pray the will of God into your space. We each have influence, and we are called to glorify God in whatever space we’re in.
  4. Our City // We are called to believe for our city. Intercede and declare the Kingdom of God over our city.

We are in a battle, but we can stand firm because it is a battle that has already been won. We are in the battle so the Kingdom of God can be proclaimed on the earth, and people can be set free.

Family Matters //
Part Six

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:20-21 // 

This week family pastors Weston and Shanna Nichols continued our series, Family Matters. Throughout the summer we have been studying the book of Ephesians and learning more about how God has called us to live as a part of His family. When we become a part of the family of God, the way we live changes. This week, Weston and Shannan led us through Ephesians 5, and talked about how we are called to live in relation to one another.

Whether in marriage, friendship, with our parents or in the workplace, our relationships look different when we are in relationship with Jesus.

BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT…

Throughout our morning we focused on being submitted to one another out of reverence for Christ, but we can’t do that without first, being filled with the Holy Spirit. We are filled when we set aside time everyday to meet with Jesus. As we invest into time with Jesus, we learn more about what it looks like to live in sync with His Spirit. Out of that place flows three things –

  1. Encouragement // Ephesians 5:19 tells us to address one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, His words will naturally flow out of us.
  2. Worship and Thanksgiving // Out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit, we can’t help but express our gratitude through worship and praise.
  3. Submission to one another // Submitting is not mutually exclusive, it is just another byproduct of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It comes out of reverence and desire to be more like Jesus, not performance or demand.

THE PURPOSE OF OUR LIVES IS THE PLEASURE AND GLORY OF GOD.

The purpose of our relationships is not our happiness. Colossians 1:16 says, “all things have been created through Him and for Him.” The purpose of our life is not self-gratification, it is to glorify God. When we understand this truth, we have a foundation to build our relationships off of.

WHEN WE SUBMIT, WE LIFT OTHERS UP.

The term submission can sometimes be confusing, and many times, people think of it as synonymous with suppression. However, submitting to one another means coming under and championing one another. Embracing an attitude of humility, and lifting one another up not only changes us, but also the world around us.

JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF SUBMISSION.

When we choose to submit, we look more like Jesus, and ultimately glorify God. Jesus chose to submit to the will of the Father to the point of death, and in that decision humanity was changed forever. Submission is a game changer. God’s design is mutual submission, but even if you are the only one relating with an attitude of submission, it is the nature of Jesus and will bring the transforming power of the Holy Spirit into your relationships.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Spend Time with Jesus: Throughout our morning, we talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit continually. To do that, we need to spend intentional time with Jesus every morning. If this is new for you, start by setting aside 30-minutes in the morning, and spend 10 minutes in Word, worship and prayer.
  • Understanding the Holy Spirit: If you are looking to greater understand the role of the Holy Spirit, check out this four-part series from lead pastor Carl Gulley.
  • Marriage Conference: Marriage was jus one of the relationships we talked about this week. To learn more about the heart of God for marriage, we encourage you to mark your calendars and save the date for our very first marriage conference December 6th – 7th. More details will be available later this fall.

 

Family Matters //
Part Five

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true..” Ephesians 5:8-9

This week Chase Moore led us through part five of our series, Family Matters, with a message on living a life of purity. As a part of God’s family, we are called to walk in purity and holiness. God gives us boundaries, not to confine us, but to bring us into total freedom and intimacy with Him.

WHERE IMPURITY EXISTS, INTIMACY CANNOT.

God calls us to walk in purity because He longs for us to have deeper intimacy with Him. Whether in our relationship with God or other people, we cannot draw closer to one another when impurity is present.

IF WE’RE FOCUSED ON THE DON’TS, WE MISS OUT ON FREEDOM.

When we talk about walking in purity, it’s easy to just think of a list of boundaries or rules. When we do that, we’re missing the heart of God. God isn’t trying to keep us in a box, He’s trying to liberate and draw us closer to Himself. There is life and freedom to run within the boundaries that God has set. But when we become hyper-focused on the limits, we miss out on that freedom.

LET GOD DEFINE WHAT IS GOOD.

The fall of humanity stemmed from humans trying to define what was good. Genesis 3:6 says, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes…” What looked good ended up being the thing that brought pain, brokenness and sin into the world. God’s perspective is so much greater than ours, and we need Him to define what is right, pure and good. His heart is to see us thrive, and we can trust that what He says is good.

PURITY IS NOT PASSIVE

In Ephesians 5, Paul admonishes us to, walk as children of light.” Meaning, we are called to continually move forward and take ground. As humans we are easily influenced by the things around us. This doesn’t mean we should avoid the areas of impurity, we are called to bring light into those places, but we also need to be  on the offense. We are a part of God’s family, and our purity matters.

HOW DO WE ACTIVELY PURSUE PURITY?

  1. Confession // James 5:16 says to confess ours sins so we may be healed. It’s painful and hard to bring things into the light, but when we do shame and sin no longer have a hold on us. In our confession, we find freedom.
  2. Community // We need the people of God to speak truth when our perspective is clouded. It’s in community that we find understanding, forgiveness and accountability to help us stay free.
  3. Challenge // We need challenge just as much as we need acceptance. In community, we hold one another accountable and challenge one another to walk in the light.

It’s not just about what it took to get free. We need confession, community and challenge to stay free.

OUR CALL TO PURITY IS NOT A CALL TO LIMITATION, IT’S A CALL TO INTIMACY AND FREEDOM.

Ultimately, we are God’s beloved children, and He desires for us to be free. God doesn’t demand our perfection. When we allow ourselves to believe that we need to get it together before coming to God, we miss out on grace. God just wants us and our pure-hearted pursuit of Him.

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

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

All in All Part Seven //
Countercultural

This morning Drew Steadman continued our All in All series with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 10:1-12. In this passage Paul’s authority is challenged by the church of Corinth because of his physical appearance, preaching style and personality. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul didn’t respond by defending himself or directly addressing their remarks. Instead he states that he isn’t living by worldly standards, but by Kingdom standards. Living with a worldly perspective will never give us life. The good news is, we aren’t bound to worldly standards.

WE ARE INVITED TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WAYS OF THE KINGDOM.

It’s with that perspective that we find life. We aren’t called to disengage from the world in order to avoid the view surrounding us. Instead, we are called to renew our mind and live above the standards of this world. Throughout the passage, Paul alludes to strongholds that hold us back from walking out with a Kingdom perspective. We are constantly bombarded by thoughts and opinions from the world around us. In verse five, Paul tells us to, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s no mistake that he uses military terminology. He is admonishing us to aggressively take hold of our thoughts and shift our way of thinking. If we are passive and disengaged, we will ultimately be shaped by the world around us instead of being shaped by God.

EVERY SOCIETY HAS THEIR OWN STRONGHOLDS AND VIEWS.

Today’s worldview is very different than it was in Paul’s day. However, if we want to deal with our strongholds, we need to be aware of what is going on in our current culture. In his message, Drew presented two worldviews that he believes could be shaping our way of thinking. Both views have positives and negatives because neither of these perspectives align with the Kingdom way of thinking :

  1. Cultural Christianity // Cultural Christianity focuses on our behavior and appearance. This way of thinking says, “behave according to God’s commands, or at least look like you are.”
  2. Humanism // Humanism tells us that we should be true to ourselves, and live a life focused on our own dreams and passions. The problem with this perspective is that there is no reference to God. The only source of accountability is internal

Drew just briefly touched on both of these topics. If you would like to read more from Drew, check out these posts on his website. When we live with a Kingdom perspective, we live free of the pressure to look or act a certain way. We aren’t held to the standards of the world. We are only accountable to God, and He will always lead us to a place of life.

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

  1. Deal with strongholds // This week, ask God if there is a worldview that is shaping your perspective. Start renewing your mind with the truths of the Kingdom.
  2. Take thoughts captive // Just as Scripture says, we need to actively take thoughts captive and renew our minds. This week, start by memorizing a verse that counters a lie you have been believing.
  3. Serve // When we live with a Kingdom perspective, we no longer focus on ourselves. If thriving in our own giftings and talents keeps us from serving others, then we’re missing the point. Start by serving in some capacity, and trust God to set you up to thrive.

By Destiny Gonzalez  – Communications Staff

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

Where the Rubber Meets the Road –
An All in All Devotional

Everyone has experienced the ask – this family needs meals, this person needs a vehicle, this family needs help with childcare, the building program at church needs funds, these people need a place to stay, those people need someone to befriend them, this couple needs marriage help and on and on. All of these are important and valid needs.

The choice before us is either yes or no. We may think, “yes” is the correct answer and, “no” is the wrong one. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.

THERE IS A FOUNDATIONAL STEP WE MUST BE TAKEN BEFORE MAKING A DECISION.

Second Corinthians 8:5 describes that step as this, “First, you must give yourselves to the Lord.” This crucial first step is the key to how we live in every area of life, not just in the area of giving.

In the July 18th entry of her book, Jesus Calling, Sarah Young says it well, “Concentrate on keeping in step with Me. I set the pace in keeping with your needs and My purposes.” Guided by the Holy Spirit, we will know more clearly how and when to give, and we won’t be motivated by guilt, performance or our own good ideas.

Although we should not be motivated by what we will receive when we give, we will reap what we sow, according to 2 Corinthians 9:6. More than 25 years ago, our family opened our home to a young woman who lived with us for several months. Today, because of our being open to sharing our space and our lives with her, I have gained a dear friend who recently told me that I will always have a place to stay in her home, if there is ever a need. That was such a gift to this widow!

Be generous! Let the Father set the pace for that generosity, and watch how He uses you as you do.

By Penny Allison – Adult Pastor

Penny serves on our Women’s Ministry leadership team and as an adult pastor.

 

All in All Part Six //
Generosity

This morning, Vincent Carpenter continued our All in All series with a message centered around 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Throughout this passage, Paul admonishes the church in Corinth to express generosity. The same admonition is for us today. When we give someone what we have, it makes a significant impact in both their lives and in our own. Before we can learn to give, we need to learn how to receive.

RECEIVING IS THE KEY TO GIVING.

It may sound backward because the point of giving is not to receive. But if we want to freely give, we first need to learn how to freely receive from God. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul alludes to the Macedonians, who are described as living in extreme poverty and overflowing joy. Pause for a second and let the description sink in. It seems almost impossible to be filled with an overflowing joy in the midst of severe poverty, but the Macedonians had learned to receive from God. By the grace of God, they were fully sustained so their financial need didn’t cause a setback. We too, need to learn how to fully receive the grace of God, because when we do, we find that all of our needs are met in God.

When we give out of our own ability we begin to focus on our own achievements or compare ourselves to others. This mindset allows the lie to creep in that says, “my achievements merit the grace of God.” This completely nullifies the grace of God. We can’t earn anything, we just get to freely receive.

When we learn to freely receive, we are able to freely give.

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GIVE –

  1. Everyone is blessed // When we give, not only is the receiver blessed, but so are we. We are all called to help someone, and there is a joy that we receive when we extend generosity to someone else.
  2. God is glorified // Ultimately, we bring God glory when we give. Scripture says, “others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” (2 Corinthians 9:13) Others will be compelled to give thanks to God when they see that our gift to them is not out of our own abundance, but because of the grace of God.

THREE WAYS WE CAN RESPOND TO THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE –

  1. Renew your mind with the truth of who God is // This week, ask God to reveal more of His character to you. If we trust who God says He is, we will allow ourselves to freely receive from Him, and trust Him to sustain us.
  2. Make space to receive from God // Ask God to show you areas where He is wanting to provide. This could be in finances, in relationships or in some other area. Whatever it is, take a step back and allow God to breakthrough.
  3. Ask God how you can bless someone else // This week, take time to pray and ask God if there is someone you can bless this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communication Staff

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