Tag: Summer at Antioch

20 Things to do in Waco This Summer

CHECK OUT SOME SUGGESTIONS FROM OUR KIDS MINISTRY OF SUMMER ACTIVITIES THAT ARE GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:

  • 1. Visit the bears at the Baylor bear enclosure and get a snack at the student union building
  • 2. Go to Baylor with your swimming gear and play in the fountains at the science building
  • 3. Ride bikes around campus
  • 4. Have a picnic on Fountain Mall, be sure to bring a frisbee or ball to play after you eat
  • 5. Go to the Waco Library, click here for a full list of their summer program events
  • 6. Go swimming at Tonkawa Falls
  • 7. Have lunch at the food trucks and play games on the lawn at Magnolia
  • 8. Spend an afternoon at the Mayborn Museum (admission is free on the first Sunday of every month)
  • 9. Picnic at Mountainview park, the park includes a playground and water features
  • 10. Visit Cameron Park:
    • Picnic at Pecan Bottoms and Splash Pad
    • Walk the River Trail and feed the ducks
    • Climb Jacob’s Ladder
    • Hike around Proctor Springs (be sure to find the spring)
    • Bike down one of the trails
  • 11. Check out the Dr Pepper Museum
  • 12. Take a swim at the YMCA outdoor pool – a day pass is $5 per child and $10 per adult
  • 13. Jump around at Urban Air
  • 14. Visit Cameron Park Zoo, check out their list of summer events
  • 15. Check out the Mammoth Cave
  • 16. Play putt putt or go go-kart racing at Lion’s Park
  • 17. Visit Hawaiian Falls
  • 18. Rent paddleboards or kayaks from Waco Paddle Company and head out on the Brazos
  • 19. Go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning
  • 20. Beat the heat and stop by Coco’s for a snow cone

Making Summer A Win

Summer can mean a lot of different things for a college student: maybe you’re at home with family and working a part-time job, maybe you’re at camp scrubbing dishes and keeping 10-year-olds suspended on a ropes course, maybe you snagged an internship in a new city and are getting great experience for your future career or maybe you’re in Waco taking summer courses and hitting the BSR cable park.

WHEREVER YOU ARE AND WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING, HERE’S SOMETHING I KNOW ABOUT SUMMER: IT CAN BE THE BEST OF TIMES AND ALSO THE WORST OF TIMES FOR A COLLEGE STUDENT.

We’re about a month into summer, and maybe you’ve already felt both. So, I wanted to share some thoughts on how to continue living your summer to the fullest potential, gaining ground in God, thriving in your relationships and making memories that will fuel you into the next school year.

At the end of the spring semester, our college ministry spent four weeks discussing the Holy Spirit – His person, His gifts and His fruit so that we could pursue the Holy Spirit all summer long. I’d encourage you to go back and listen to those messages on our College App or our Vimeo page. Then, revisit the summer plan you made in discipleship – what fruits of the Holy Spirit did you say you wanted to produce this summer, and how were you going to position yourself in order to see those fruits produced? Have you checked in with your discipleship group to let them know how you’re doing, and ask them to continue praying for you and holding you accountable?

A LACK OF CONNECTION TO COMMUNITY CAN OFTEN TAKE YOU DOWN A PATH YOU DIDN’T INTEND.

So, it’s important to keep your friends in the loop of what’s going on with you spiritually. They can encourage you, fight with you and celebrate with you if you let them in – but if you don’t, you’re on your own. Reach out today.

I ALSO WANT TO WARN YOU OF ONE OF SUMMER’S BIGGEST TRAPS: SELFISHNESS.

Somehow, after a long, hard school year, we feel justified, and sometimes even entitled to the me-myself-and-I mentality. I need to rest. I need to be by myself. I don’t want to visit so-and-so. That’s a waste of my time. But let me say, now is not the time to be selfish!

IN FACT, THE BIBLICAL REALITY IS THAT TRUE LIFE COMES WHEN WE GIVE OUR LIVES AWAY.

So, my challenge to you is to invest in other people and contribute to a local church. Take a younger sibling to an amusement park, teach a neighborhood kid to ride a bicycle, make a meal for a family in your church, offer to run an errand for your parents or sign up to volunteer for the new ministry your church is starting. Whatever it is, you’ll find that rejecting your own selfish desires and investing in others will launch you into the abundant life you’re looking for this summer.

LASTLY, DO FUN STUFF THAT WILL FILL YOUR TANK!

Take road trips to see friends, meet people at the park to play Frisbee golf, host a movie marathon, learn a new sport or skill or hit the local pool with your family. Whatever you enjoy doing, do a lot of it! Stock up on good fun and make some serious memories so when you come back in August, you’re full of life and energy, telling stories and building excitement for what’s to come.

We can’t wait to see you all back in Waco soon – until then, make it the best summer of your life!

By Meredith Gordon – College Ministry Staff

To the Philippians: To Live is Christ // Week Two

This week we continued our study in the book of Philippians by focusing on Paul’s declaration, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” When we realign our life and put Christ first, everything else falls into place. We live in a world full of distractions, and if we don’t prioritize, we could get distracted and miss the very things that matter most. Check out three practical ways to apply this week’s message followed by an in-depth study guide for this week’s passage.

THREE WAYS TO APPLY THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:

  • 1. Get plugged in to a Lifegroup and discipleship // We need godly examples in our lives so we don’t get on auto-pilot, that’s why community is so important.
  • 2. Begin looking at life with the perspective of, “to live is Christ, to die is gain” // Put your relationship with Jesus first, and everything else around that. Be sure to get time in the presence of God every day.
  • 3. Live free from distractions // Set aside time to search your heart and ask, “what am I living for?”

DIGGING DEEPER:

SCRIPTURE FOCUS: Living for Christ // Philippians 1:12-30

This is a fairly unique way for Paul to start off one of his epistles. Rather than discussing a theological point, he instead gives a report on his missionary activity and subsequent imprisonment. It seems that one of the main reasons for writing this letter was to provide an update to the Philippians, most likely because of their partnership with the Gospel through prayer and financial giving.

Paul penned this letter from a prison cell in Rome. The Philippian church was worried for their spiritual father and close friend. It was a time of uncertainty – what will happen to Paul? What will happen to us? Division was creeping up within the church, what if he is dead and cannot guide anymore? These concerns are emotional and personal, and they remain relevant. How do we respond to uncertainty? How do we respond when things don’t go according to plan?

Opposition Cannot Stop the Gospel (1:12-14)

Verse 12 dramatically challenges our assumptions about opposition. Paul’s imprisonment seemed like a block of the Gospel to those who desperately needed it. Instead, he informed the Philippians, his imprisonment actually advanced it!

Through his chains the very palace guard of the Roman Emperor heard the message. Furthermore, though Paul sat in jail, many other believers began to step out in increased boldness. One man was partially stopped, yet countless others stepped up in his place.

Verse 14 states that, “most…have become confident in the Lord.” When someone boldly proclaims Jesus it inspires others to do the same. Perhaps a few people will shrink back as they see the consequences that arise from boldness, but most believers will be inspired to rise up in faith.

Man’s Evil Motives Cannot Stop the Gospel (1:15-18)

Many believers stepped out in increased boldness due to Paul’s imprisonment, but not all of them did so with pure motives. Selfish ambition, envy and rivalry motivated some to preach, presumably recognizing that Paul was inaccessible and thus maximizing the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-2:5 for further insight into Paul’s mindset. We need to guard our motives! We are called to minister, preach the Gospel and live as ambassadors to those who don’t know Jesus, but we need to carefully maintain the right perspective. People are saved because of the power of the Spirit, not due to our eloquence or wisdom. God does not move in power so we can build up our earthly fame.

Despite this tragic tendency, we need to keep perspective: In the end, the Kingdom will advance regardless of our motives. And because of this we can rejoice and live at peace.

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain (1:19-26)

Paul was assured of his deliverance because of two things: The Spirit within him and the prayers of the saints. God empowers us to overcome the trials of this life, but that power is not due to our strength. Instead, He has created us to need others. We need the Spirit, and we need the Body of Christ if we want to overcome. Beware the enemy’s ploy to isolate us – both from God and from His people.

This passage highlights a fundamental message: Paul’s hope was secure, both in life and in death. Stop for a minute. Consider this radical perspective! Paul wrote these words while sitting in a jail cell, unjustly charged and awaiting his fate, yet despite his circumstances, his message was hope and assurance.

These verses reveal an emotional struggle, putting to pen an internal wrestle the apostle faced. But pay attention to his choices: on the one hand, he saw how much better it is to be with Christ, while on the other he saw the need to keep proclaiming the Gospel and strengthening the Church. Noticeably absent was my preferred option of being released from jail and living a peaceful, comfortable life.

This section is summarized in verse 21, “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” If we see Jesus clearly and our hope rests in heaven then this is a natural perspective. This faith causes us to maximize this life by proclaiming Jesus, while living with the assurance that death is the doorway to our inheritance, not something to fear. Why squander this opportunity to bring God glory by instead choosing cheap, temporary pleasure?

So much of our internal wrestle stems from this issue. We want to live for Christ… mostly. And, if we are being honest, a little bit for the world. Paul exposed his deep internal wrestle so that we might be challenged to follow his example. In verse 25, we read that Paul lived “convinced of this” and thus was assured and at peace.

Live Worthy of the Gospel (1:27-30)

Paul exposed his soul, his commitment to live for Christ and his assurance that far from being defeated, death itself was the ultimately victory. And now he challenges believers to carry this same perspective.

Verse 27 begins with the phrase “whatever happens.” Paul was not naïve. He recognized that he might be killed for his faith. Regardless of the outcome, he was assured of the deliverance of God for eternity, but he also wanted to assure the Philippian church that they too can overcome.

The command is to, “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” The original Greek language the book was written in calls us to, “Live as citizens worthy of the Gospel…” Paul is challenging us to embrace our heavenly citizenship (see also Philippians 3:20). We are aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11); we need to live according to our new identity (Romans 12:2). Paul recognized that he may never see the Philippians again and wanted them to succeed, even after his death, and that starts by wholeheartedly committing to live as citizens of Heaven.

One important concern was that they, “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one.” This theme of unity is further developed in the next chapter. Chapter 4 verses 1-3 indicate division was an emerging problem within the church. When Jesus is central to our lives then we are free to serve others.

His other chief concern was that they stand strong in the midst of opposition, “without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” Suffering will come and will challenge the Church. When we live for Christ then we have no need to fear death or suffering in this life and these trials transform into a catalyst for growth. But if we live for this life, then we will shrink back when difficulties emerge.

Paul shared his journey to set an example. Yes he suffered, but he also conquered, and God invites us into this same calling.

By Drew Steadman – Adult Pastor

A Letter from Jimmy – Making the Most of Your Summer

Dear Antioch Family,

Summer is a great opportunity to be refreshed, renewed and to move forward in our personal lives and in the Kingdom of God not only as a family, but also as a church.

Through the years Laura and I have realized that every great family not only has great intentions but takes time to make plans for what matters most. For us, we use a tool called Roles and Goals. We take time personally, and as a family, to evaluate where we are currently and where we feel God wants to take us over the summer in six key areas:

  • Spiritually
  • Mentally
  • Family
  • Financially
  • Relationally
  • Physically

I encourage you and your family to set aside time to fill out your own Roles and Goals sheet for the summer.

The second part of having a great summer is antiochcc.tv!

During the summer the schedules change, kids are out of school and we go on vacations or travel. What is exciting for us as the Antioch family is that wherever you go you can still do church! You can stream our 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services at antiochcc.tv wherever you are and enter into the service with us. So whether you are overseas or having a “staycation” as a family, you can track with our Philippians series all summer long.

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Ephesians 5:15-17  “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I also suggest diving into a book this summer. I’m reading through Purpose Driven Life with my boys right now, and I highly recommend it! Some other suggestions are:

Have a great summer, Antioch!

In His strength,

Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor

To The Philippians: To Live is Christ // Week One

Today we kicked off our summer series, To the Philippians: To Live is Christ. It’s going to be a rich summer as we study the book of Philippians together. Each week we will post three practical ways you can apply the message to your life and provide a more in-depth study of the Scripture for those of you want dig deeper. Happy summer, Antioch family!

THREE WAYS TO APPLY THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:

  • 1. Recognize that your decisions determine your destiny. Your greatest regret in life was preceded by a string of poor decisions. Imagine knowing the secret to making wise decisions about life! The Apostle Paul gave us that all important secret which is: to grow in LOVE for God and others.
  • 2. Resolve to grow in love, knowing that, “The larger your love for God and others, the better your decisions will be.” (Ephesians 1:9-10) The Apostle Paul prayed that his dear friends in Philiipi would abound in love more and more because he knew this would enable them to “discern what is best.” When we view the world through the lens of love we gain a perspective that enables us to see clearly the best path to take in life. We can’t avoid all tough situations in life, but we can avoid regret because regret is something we bring on ourselves through our own decision making.
  • 3. Re-tank everyday with a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. We can live from a place of love only because God loved us first. We cannot give away what we have not received ourselves. Allowing God to fill us everyday with a fresh wave of His love is key to Paul’s secret of love abounding more and more. The Holy Spirit can and will fill you today with all the love you can hold and then some when you simply ask Him.  Let’s live life with no regrets!  Love.

DIGGING DEEPER:

SCRIPTURE FOCUS // PHILIPPIANS 1:1-2

All of Paul’s letters follow the same introductory format:

  • Identifying the writer

Both Paul and Timothy are mentioned here. As we read in Acts 16, Timothy accompanied Paul when this church was first formed and presumably also had deep relational ties to the church.

Paul designates both Timothy and himself as servants of Christ Jesus. Most other Pauline letters bear the title “Apostle”. There are perhaps many reason for this departure, but it is worth noting that the idea of being a servant is a central theme to the book of Philippians.

  • Identifying the audience

The church in Philippi was established in Acts 16:6-40. God supernaturally led Paul to this city through a dream and the initial converts were a Jewish lady named Lydia, along with her household and many others within the Jewish community, along with a Gentile jailer and his family.

We further read about their incredible generosity in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. They care deeply about Paul and Paul loved them dearly, as a father to his children. This relational warmth is evident throughout the book.

  • Imparting grace and peace

His format was consistent with the letters from this time period, much like we have modern formulae for introducing a letter. However, Paul made one important change: Hellenistic letters generally began with a word of “Greetings” while Paul instead chose to impart “Grace and Peace”

THE ESSENCE OF THEOLOGY IS THE GRACE OF GOD WORKING THROUGH US, ULTIMATELY TO PEACE – PEACE WITH MAN AND PEACE WITH GOD:

  • Peace: The concept of peace is that of “Shalom,” not the mere absence of conflict as English might infer but instead life as it should be, a restoration to fullness.
  • Grace: Everything in this letter is meant to lead us to grace and peace. That’s the mission of God.

As we read this book, let’s embrace the Word of God and the work of the Spirit within us and He leads us to a greater revelation of grace and peace.

By Van Vandegriff, Adult Pastor

To the Philippians: To Live is Christ – A Summer Bible Study

We are excited about our summer series and a chance to dive into the book of Philippians. While the book was written nearly two thousand years ago, it is just as relevant to our modern lives as it was to the early church. The core themes of living for Christ instead of the world, of the unity of believers, of generosity and contentment and of growing in our walk with God through empowering grace speak to our greatest struggles – relationship, character, and money – and ultimately provide the breakthrough we all desperately need.

Philippians will be our sermon series throughout June and July, but more importantly, we encourage everyone to study the passages themselves through the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) tool.

THIS METHOD ASKS THE SAME FIVE QUESTIONS OF EVERY PASSAGE:

  • What is the main point? Start by summarizing the passage in your own words. This helps us to capture the main themes of the book.
  • What does it reveal about God? Write out what the passage teaches us about the character of God.
  • What does it reveal about us? Look for commands, “if/then” statements and statements of identity that describe who we are and what we are called to do.
  • How can you apply this passage to your life? We don’t want to just hear the Word, but instead want to do what it says (Matthew 7:24-27, James 1:22-25). Ask the Spirit to highlight a specific thing you can do this week in order to obey the Word.
  • Who can you share this with? Lastly, we never want to merely accumulate knowledge nor be content with our own growth. God calls us to live on mission (Matthew 28:18-20) and to give away what we’ve been given. Reach out to someone else who is spiritually seeking and go through this book together – let’s see this work of transformation begin in us but extend far beyond in our community!

Always start by praying and asking the Holy Spirit for revelation. I encourage you to write out the answers to your questions in a journal to help organize your thoughts and then share with your discipleship group the ways you feel led to respond.

In addition to studying the Bible using DBS, we will provide weekly study notes. I suggest reading the Bible on your own first, but then use this resource as a way to fill in gaps. Moises Silva’s excellent commentary on Philippians has been a helpful resource in creating this study and I recommend it for anyone looking to dive even deeper into this book.

The structure of Philippians is up for debate amongst scholars. There is a clear introduction (1:1-2), thanksgiving (1:3-11), main body (1:12-4:20), and conclusion (4:21-23) as is typical for Paul’s letters. I’ve found Peter Wick’s 1994 work helpful in understanding the structure of the main points by identifying themes found in pairs throughout the book.

THEMES IN THE PHILIPPIANS:

  • Living for Jesus and for Heaven – 1:12-26 and 3:1-16
  • Living according to the example of Jesus to radically serve – 1:27-2:11 and 4:1-3
  • Living the fullness of our faith – 2:12-18 and 4:4-9
  • Living a life of rich generosity and contentment – 2:19-30 and 4:10-20

Regardless of the exact outline, the main points are clear and highly relevant to our lives. Let’s dive into the Word and trust the Spirt of God to speak to us and ultimately experience His transforming grace!

By Drew Steadman, Adult Pastor

Three Keys to a Successful Summer

I grew up deep in the woods of northern Minnesota in a house set on top of a hill overlooking the peninsula of a small lake. Winter there would last nine months out of the year and spring lasted all of one week. There were no April showers, but the snow that had previously been up to a person’s waist would slowly melt leaving behind a messy sludge. Once that dried out, the flowers started to bloom, the grass turned green and the loons started singing on the lake again. All these sights, sounds and smells meant one thing: Summer!

The indication of summer in Texas looks pretty different than in Minnesota, but regardless of where you are, summer brings a fresh wave of opportunity.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS SUMMER A SUCCESS:
  • 1. Use the extra time as an opportunity to go deeper in your relationship with God.

For many people, responsibilities slow down significantly in the summer, making it a land of opportunity. There’s no school for kids and work eases up just a little. Spend that extra 10 minutes reading the Bible as a family. Reach out to the other parents at your kid’s little league game. Whatever you do, let God pull you out of your comfort zone and stretch your faith this summer.

  • 2. Process the first half of the year and recharge for the second half.

There’s a spot in Cameron Park I go to at the start of each summer to write for an hour or so about all God did in and around me the previous six months. We were made in the image of God and even God needed rest. Take a couple days to relax from the first six months and get envisioned for the next half of the year. Ask God:

  • What do You have for me?
  • Where do You want me?
  • Who will I be walking with in this stage of life?
  • How can I serve You?

For more practicals on how to rest well watch this sermon on the Sabbath from our How Then Shall We Live series.

  • 3. Make a summer resolution and set plans and goals to see it through.

On average, more than 80 percent of people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions before the end of the winter. Summer is a great time to make new ones! Decide as a family to turn the TV off and go outside together. Pick up a new hobby like learning an instrument or a language. Make a schedule for your resolution and bring friends in on it to help keep you accountable.

Stop and think for a moment about the changing of the seasons. God wanted each of us to experience differences in weather, so He stretched out His hand and tilted the Earth ever so slightly. Then He gave the Earth a little push around the Sun and put it into orbit. As the Earth orbits, parts of it are angled directly at the Sun and other parts are angled slightly away making some spots hotter and some colder.  The changing of winter into summer has been used as an allegory for transformative power of God in our lives (see Song of Solomon 2:11 and Hosea 6:3).

God takes the places in us that are frozen and breathes fresh wind on them, calling them to life. Reflect for a moment on how God has already done this in your own life. Invite Him into the places where you need a breath of fresh air. May God breathe on us all this summer!

By Nate Emerson – Worship Staff