Keep breathing.  


Such a small 4 letter word that often brings about such painfully intense emotions. Many times I have found that our fast culture does not provide the space or time for grief. I have also sometimes felt the urge to grieve a situation but have not known how to start to communicate my emotions to God or to others. In all honestly, I have sometimes chosen the hidden journey of silence. It can be hard to take the time to process all the emotions that grief brings. However, if I choose to enter into the process of grieving with God and with others I have experienced it to be a healing journey.

A few weeks back, Steve Fahrenkrug shared some great wisdom in his message about how we grieve. I felt so encouraged that as a church we talk about hard emotions that we all carry with us. This is a practical example in how we can live out our value of “living on mission”.

We want to be a community that supports each other and that walks with each other. I have found that when I have had someone walk with me during my seasons of grief, it was a faster healing process because I was not alone. As Steve mentioned on Sunday, when we walk with someone it is easier to be reminded of God’s goodness and sovereignty even when it’s hard to wake up in the morning.

In my personal experience, having someone close to me during a time of grief was essential in the process of healing.  

Having a friend who can point me back to the truth of who Jesus is: someone who can remind me of the cross and the truth that the Lord loves me and has a purpose for my life.

I want to share with you the 4 points that we learned! They are so practical. I also want to encourage you to take these 4 points and a journal and go spend some time asking God to search your heart and start the process of grieving any area of your life that you have felt you have hidden from Him. But don’t stop there. I also want to encourage you to find a safe person you can talk with as you process and heal.  

  1. Embrace God’s sovereignty.
  2. Embrace the way God made you to grieve.
  3. Share the good memories.
  4. Have a heart of gratitude despite our grief.  

I know that talking about grief can be extremely painful and that is OK! It is ok to be sad, frustrated, and even cry.  After all didn't Jesus cry? John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept”. However, when we allow ourselves to walk down the path of grief we also need to use this time as a challenge to our faith to see the goodness of God despite our feelings. This is not easy but it is the foundation to ultimately allow us to grieve well and receive the Lord’s perfect and complete healing. It will allow us to know the Lord in a richer way and to grow and heal so that the Lord can use what was once a painful, intense emotion for His Glory.  It will allow us to minister to someone He has put in our path. It will allow us to walk down the hidden journey with someone that is grieving in the same way we did. Grief does not need to be hidden.

About the Author: Maribeth has recently discovered a love for writing and communicating what the Lord has put on her heart through the written word. Maribeth currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is part of Antioch Community Church. You might find her drinking chai at a local coffee shop with a good book in hand, working at the local hospital as a nurse, or enjoying her new friends. But one thing is certain, she will probably have on some form of pink attire.

Embracing Growth.

 "A goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I recently read this quote while I was looking for apartment ideas on Pinterest. On one hand, I was proactively making plans to reach a goal. On the other hand, I was probably procrastinating on school work. Regardless of how I came across it, the message struck me as important not only for my personal life, but for my spiritual life as well. One of my hopes is to actively pursue spiritual gifts. Walking in spiritual gifts is not only a blessing to myself and the church body, but also to people who do not yet know God. But how have I made these hopes into goals? How do I prioritize the hopes that I have for my spiritual life with relational, personal, career or academic goals? What are the mission, vision and core values that ultimately drive these goals?

Actively Embracing Churchwide Vision

As a church, we are re-envisioning our commitment to our core values of encountering God, discipleship, and missions by expressing them in a fresh way. As a church family, we will be embracing the Holy Spirit, healthy relationships, and a heart for the nations. This past Sunday, Jordan spoke about how we have the choice to embrace or resist. As a church, I believe we have a value for each of these three areas. However, how are we actively embracing growth to move towards this vision? How are we turning hopes and wishes into goals?

One way that Jordan directed us in embracing the Holy Spirit was to test in our own lives our response to the Holy Spirit. Are we...

  1. Despising some gift of the Holy Spirit?
  2. Neglecting some gift we have?
  3. Shutting down our emotions and refusing to give expression to them?
  4. Resisting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives?

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 states that:

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

A Season of Growth: How action brought fruit to my hopes

When I first started attending Antioch in Waco my first year of college, I realized that people in church and my life group walked in many of these gifts, and I often saw the fruits of their faithfulness impacting my life and many others. In a desire to grow in gifts of the Spirit, I started to be more intentional about participating in church community through life group, prayer meetings, and services. I also began to be discipled by people in my life group. This accountability helped me spend more time reading the bible and making time to “be still” before God. I grew a lot spiritually during my four years of college, particularly in the area of prophecy (also known in the church as encouragement). Then after graduation, I decided to do the discipleship school. I was nervous about walking out in gifts of the Spirit, and I wanted to encounter more of God, so it felt very clear to me that this was the next step. The discipleship school brought me in contact with the Antioch in Ann Arbor, and I haven’t looked back since. 

Embracing the Holy Spirit

God is continually at work in us, and the work that Jesus has begun on earth is not done either. Contrary to popular belief in our culture, the work of salvation does not end with revelation of the cross- it begins there.

How we work out our salvation comes as we embrace the Holy Spirit and fullness of life in Christ. 

As we step into this week, my prayer is that we would intentionally take time in our normal rhythms to engage the Holy Spirit. This can be as simple as praying as we walk around the grocery store for people, and if we hear a word of encouragement for someone, to be bold enough to share that word. If that sounds absolutely crazy to you, that’s okay. If you recognize that you’re not “there,” take some time to identify what that next step is for you. Maybe it’s seeking out someone to disciple you, or more actively participating in community through a life group. Maybe it’s setting aside time in your day to read the Bible and meditate on scripture. Maybe it’s a conversation with a trusted friend. It’s okay to be right where you are, but I hope it encourages you to know that there is always more. And as we discover that truth more in our own lives, I hope that we will, in increasing measure, own the value that our gifts have to ourselves, our spheres of influence, and beyond.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”
Ephesians 3:20

About the Author: Gabby is currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. This summer, she will not only be graduating but also getting married to her future husband, who she met at the climbing gym. Geography is her favorite subject, and as the American daughter of Filipino immigrants, she is no stranger to a diversity of food, culture and travel.

Living God's Vision

There was a lot that was covered in church a couple weeks ago, as Jordan led the way in sharing stories of the beginnings of Antioch Ann Arbor. A lot of amazing stories. A lot of good words. There was friendship. Foolishness. Exhortations. Change.

But my one question that I walked away with was this:

What does God have for my life?

No, seriously!

What does God have for your life?

The only reason that all those stories were told this week - the only reason we were all sitting together in one space at all - is because some people received a vision, a dream, from God - and they ran with it!

Do you have vision for your life?

Proverbs 29:18 says,

“Without vision, the people perish.”

Another version says,

“Without revelation, the people cast off restraint.”

Our leaders have modeled incredibly the working out of their faith with fear and trembling. Having caught on to a big vision, they were willing to take the stumbling, not-always-glamorous or clear steps to work out in faith steps towards a vision, a dream!

God has vision for your life! He has dreams! Whether we count them big or small, He always sees them as big! It could be humbling oneself enough to reconcile with a family member, loving a neighbor sacrificially, giving extravagantly as a lifestyle, writing a book, writing poetry or songs, dancing, putting your kids to bed with intentionality.

God has vision for our lives!

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11)

God said this to His people in a time when they were in exile! When their cities were destroyed, their government unwound, and their people enslaved. How could God say this?

Yet He still would dare to say it!

And He says it also over your life. Yes. Yours.

What keeps us from living into His vision then, with its daily habits and joys and expectations and disciplines?

There are four things that come to mind:

  1. We don’t have the vision.
  2. We know the the vision but we fear it.
  3. We don’t have articulated steps toward the vision.
  4. We know the steps but we fear them.

Which one are you at?

For me, I have had a dream for my life since I was in high school. But I haven’t talked about it at all until just this year. Because I was afraid of it! I was afraid of what the vision would ask of me that maybe I’d find out I couldn’t give. I was afraid of the sacrifice it might require, or the facing of my inadequacies.

But - we ARE inadequate! Jordan and Jason confessed as much. They received a vision. They had an awe of the vision, but didn’t let that keep them from flying to Detroit. They had to face their own inadequacies and lack of resources, but they kept going. They didn’t always know what was going to come next, but they trusted God and walked forward.

This is the same as the military-less Israel walking into the Promised Land and declaring that they will conquer it.

It’s the same as Jesus coming in flesh and dying on a cross and saying this will defeat death.

It’s the same as Noah spending his daily time for years to build an arc and saying at the end rain will come.

All these people did this without knowing, without seeing with their eyes, that their vision would actually happen and that their long-term, daily sacrifice would actually amount to anything.

It’s the small steps, the weakness, and the moving forward despite the weakness that brings breakthrough. And as Jordan said - God is even more committed to his vision than we are!

Guys. If we are to follow the vision and plans God has for our lives, let us go hard!

Tell someone of your vision!

Even if that is done timidly. Or without confidence. Just speak it out!

Or tell someone your vision but ask for ideas for steps. Or ask God for steps.

The only way for new life to come up is for the old ways to die! Jesus, our brother and the first of the resurrected, also experienced how HIS death brought forth new life. Our daily, weekly, yearly deaths will also bring forth new life! Dying to our fears and walking in boldness and faith. Dying to our emotions and living in faith, belief, and obedience. Dying to our contentment or comfort and walking in vision and hope and dreams.

Go for God's vision and live God's dreams!

About the Author: Allison is a massage therapist working out of her own studio at A2 Yoga. If she isn't helping people’s bodies on their journey to health, she's probably doing something around Antioch! She loves prayer, worship, and spending time with her roommates, the families around the church, and her lifegroup!

Living on Mission

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

"Living on mission" is a phrase we use many times, but what does this mean?  What does it mean to live on mission?  Simply put: it is to live the life that Jesus has called us to in Matthew 28:8-20.  This passion is known as the Great Commission.  In the Gospel of Matthew, this is the grand finale, the last words of Jesus before ascending from Earth…in other words, this is the culmination of all that Jesus had done and taught.  He reminds them that all authority everywhere lies in him, and then from that, he tells them to “live on mission.”  He is sending them out into their lives to make disciples of all nations.  A disciple is a follower - one whose life looks like his or her teacher.  Jesus is calling His disciples to make more disciples where ever they go.  This is ultimately what living on mission is all about: making followers of Jesus whose lives look like Jesus’ life. 

The last thing Jesus said before ascending to be with the Father was this: live on mission by making disciples everywhere you go.  So where do you go?  This past week we heard from some of the mothers of our church. Where they go is into workplaces across the region. But they also go into their own homes. They go into stores and parks and other places all around us.  These women are making disciples and spreading the light of Jesus in all of these places.  They are telling their co-workers about Jesus, but they are also telling their cashiers about Jesus, they are telling people they meet at the park about Jesus, they are telling their children about Jesus, where ever they go they are telling people about Jesus. They are living on mission.  They admitted that it is not perfect, but they are living out the Great Commission. They are living on mission. 

So go live on mission.  Tell others that there is hope in the world because Jesus came to save us.  Tell them though all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3.23) and the wages sin is death (Rom. 6.23), there is hope because the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus!! (Rom 6.23) Because God showed us how much He loves us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5.8).  If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved (Rom. 10.9-10).  Tell them what it means to live as Jesus lived and help them to live like that. This is living on mission.

About the Author: Ted is a father of six, our families pastor at AntiochA2, and helps lead our prayer ministry. He loves Jesus, being a husband, being a father, and loving people.  Ted enjoys hanging out with his sons and enjoying God’s beautiful creation. Ted has a desire to see families wholly following Jesus with passion and being transformed by His love.  Ted believes that as we make disciples of Jesus who truly understand their new identity in Him, the world can’t help but be dramatically changed by the local church.

A House of Prayer & Maintaining Justice


“...these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Isaiah 56:7

What does it mean to be a house of prayer, and why is it important?

This past Sunday, Jordan closed out our series on Isaiah with a message on being a house of prayer.  In Isaiah 56, a house of prayer is described as God’s house, and the place where God gives joy to those who devote themselves to him, regardless of their status or position (in this passage, as a non-Jew or a eunuch). This passage emphasizes the statement made in Isaiah 56:7, that God’s house would be “for all nations.” Interestingly, the next time this statement is mentioned in the Bible is when Jesus quotes it in Matthew 21:13:

“‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you (money changers) are making it a ‘den of robbers.’”

In both the passage in Isaiah 56 and in Matthew 21, God is calling out his people to maintain justice. Isaiah 56 begins with an admonition from the Lord: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed” (Is. 56:1). Foreigners who believed in God were doubting that they were also God’s people, and eunuchs who also followed God felt as if they had no place because they could not produce offspring. But God tells these people clearly that as those who honor him and keep his Sabbath, he “will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off” (Is. 56:5). It is such a clear picture of God’s heart and definition of justice: not only are the righteous upheld and the wicked to bear the consequences of their actions, but God gives special care and attention to the outsider and those who are oppressed. Regardless of a person’s means, background, gender, ability, they are welcomed as equal inheritors in the house of God.

Similarly, Matthew 21 highlights God’s heart for a number of socially marginalized groups: the poor, people who are disabled and children. People selling in the temple courts would scam and cheat people, most likely overpricing their wares precisely because people would come to give their sacrifices to God. Matthew 21 specifically mentions that doves were sold, the animal most often sacrificed by poor people, as a less expensive yet scripturally acceptable offering (Leviticus 14:21-22).

Why would scripture emphasize the connection between a house of prayer and justice?

I believe that it is a reminder that as the people of God, we don’t pray simply for ourselves, that we would receive comfort, riches, high-standing. As people of God, we should already know we have all these things in abundance. Instead, our presence on earth is to share the good news that God has made a way for everyone to be adopted as sons and daughters into this inheritance. Jesus came as a bondage breaker, earth-shaker, proclaimer of the Lord’s favor; to totally upend the order of business that humanity has created for themselves of saying who does and does not belong, of who is worthy to receive God’s goodness. Scripture has been speaking this message for years, but if we look at the world around us today, we as the Church can’t afford to be unawakened to who we are in Christ. We need to stay sharp, to continuously flex our prayer muscle. The world needs to know the good news.

I confess that I’ve been a bit squishy in prayer lately. I’ve been very distracted by the things of the world, despite the fact that I’m engaged in a lot of good things right now (for those of you who know me, this is an unintentional pun). But the message on Sunday, as well as follow up in life group afterwards, has spurred me on to be more proactive in my prayer life. I love how Gail emphasized creating a prayer list in whatever form works for you. For Jordan, it’s a straight up pen to paper list; for Christy it’s notecards. For me, because I spend long stretches of time in my car, it’s post-it notes on my windshield. It’s a small step, but I’m trusting that God will bring breakthrough, and returning to Isaiah 56:7, a wealth of joy for myself and many others.

When we realize who we are in Christ, and are awake to the message of the Gospel, I think that prayer will be a natural response.

The excuses that we make- no time, can’t focus, don’t know what to pray- will ring less true. I will be the first to admit that I’ve used these excuses many times. But God returns me lovingly to where I need to be when I’m reminded that I have the Holy Spirit to help me. In Christ, I have a Spirit of power, love and self-discipline, and I’m far from alone.

I also agree with Elisabeth that prayer ministry is a solid step to sharpening our prayer lives. As Jordan said, the excuses we make are not the real reasons we don’t pray. Often it’s deeper, coming from a place of not believing in our identity as a daughter or son, feeling condemned before God, or wrestling with disappointment and pain from unanswered prayer and relational issues. These are real and challenging things, but there’s also hope to bring them before God and find healing. If you find these and other issues hindering your ability to pray, prayer ministry or simply reaching out to a trusted friend may be exactly the support you need.

I hope that we will grow in our ownership of being a house of prayer. I’m also hopeful that we as a house of prayer will send out many people to preach good news in many different places. I know that we do that already. Praise God for a family of believers who doesn’t shy away from hard things, but trusts that God will continue to uphold them. I am so thankful.

Lord, thank you that in Christ, we have been given a joyful inheritance and an abundance of peace in the midst of pain and hardship in the world. I pray that this body of believers will grow in our ownership of being a house of prayer. I pray that we will rise up and fight the injustice that we see in the world, and preach the good news that invites everyone into righteousness in God. Help us grow in our awareness of injustice, that we will see people with your eyes, and feel about them as you feel about them. Help us to lift up our brothers and sisters who are preaching the good news near and far, so that all the world will know that you are Lord. Protect us as we submit to your will, and help us to always know that we are deeply loved. Amen.

About the Author: Gabby hails from Waco, Tx where she received her undergraduate degree in social work. She calls herself a Michigander now, and is excited for the next adventure with God in Ann Arbor and Detroit! Geography is her favorite subject, and as the American daughter of Filipino immigrants, she is no stranger to a diversity of food, culture and travel. You can often find her at the local rock wall, hitting the pavement around Ypsi/A2 or, her favorite, getting quality time with good friends.

Alone or With Others

I process my thoughts and feelings internally.

I'm more likely to extensively think about what I'm going to say, or try to understand an idea in my own head before speaking out loud.

That tendency to process quietly by myself plays out in different aspects of my life. If I'm going through a challenging time, I'll default to thinking about it, working through it, agonizing over it, and trying to problem-solve alone, without bringing anyone in.

Can you relate?

Let's not be fooled. That's not internally processing. In my life, such self-led problem-solving has been the result of pride and shame. Pride, due to feeling like I was (or should be) strong enough to handle it on my own...and that all I needed was to pick myself up. Shame, because of not wanting anyone to know what I was going through. And loneliness, feeling like no one truly understood my pain, or could offer any support that would actually help.

On Sunday, April 15, Nate Woznick shared a powerful message about discipleship, about intentionally walking alongside people who are also following Jesus and sharing life with each other. One of his takeaway points was about the need for humility and vulnerability in discipleship - opening ourselves up, and allowing others to see how we're living so we can grow and become more like Jesus.

Discipleship challenges the part of me that wants to hide away. Over the past year especially, I've been vulnerable with the two women in my discipleship group, sharing things that I struggle with, patterns of sin, hurts and frustrations. But also, joys and triumphs, successes and wins. These two women rejoice with me, listen to me, speak corrective truth, intercede for me in prayer, and spur me on in all aspects of my life. They encourage me in leadership, as a single woman, and in my career, just to name a few.

  Photo credit  :  Ben White

Photo creditBen White

Sharing the joys is easy. Sharing the struggles literally pains me as I'm talking. I can't even look them in the eye sometimes.

But each time I share what's happening in my life, I'm encouraged to do it again in the future. I don't do it because I'm incredibly open and want to tell everyone my inner-most, deepest secrets.

I do it because I can't successfully address what I struggle with on my own.

God designed humans to be in community.

It is not good for man to be alone. -Genesis 2.18

And in James 5.16, I'm quite plainly told that community is a requirement for healing - ie, victory.

 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (NIV). -James 5.16

I would normally be the first to say that I'm "a private person." And there's nothing wrong with not wanting everyone to know your business. But if God is trying to use people to bring encouragement, correction, truth, and love into my life, secluding myself makes me miss out on those life-giving moments. And it makes me more susceptible to accepting the lies of the enemy as truth, and keeps me from experiencing freedom.

I’m so thankful for these women God brought into my life who accept me as I am, continuously speak truth over me, and help me see who God created me to be.

About the Author: Lis is an entrepreneur and a musician, hailing from the East Coast. She enjoys reading in the grass, and is always ready to engage in some improv. She may or may not try to outrun children in playgrounds so she can get to the swings first.

Poured Out

Easter and Good Friday are two of my favorite holidays. Every year on Good Friday, I'm reminded not only of the power of the cross, but also brought to a place of worship - praising God that the story didn't end at the cross. Resurrection came three days later and is a potent reminder that hope is here. That redemption is here. And that new fruit and new life are here.

  Photo by  rawpixel.com  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

As a church, we have been studying the book of Isaiah and looking at how Isaiah was stunned, seared and sent. Last week, we looked at Isaiah 53: 10-12. These verses speak about how Jesus was crushed and how fruitful offspring would result as Jesus paid the penalty for all sin (past, present and future). We looked at Jesus as the ultimate model of pouring out his life for humanity as a result of love.

The question that Jordan presented in his message was: "how do we live a resurrection life?" In Romans 12, Paul exhorts us to pour out our lives as sacrifices, which serves as worship that is holy and pleasing to God. When you love someone, you pour out your life for them. Jesus's life was not taken from him. He chose to lay it down.

This is the life being poured out, and we can live a resurrected life by subscribing to the model of Jesus.

"Out of gratitude for what Jesus has done and the generosity of God in our lives, how do we pour out our lives for others?"

Jordan challenged us to ask the Lord what area in life we want to commit to pouring out for the sake of others. While reflecting and processing this message through re-listening to it (shout out to our podcast!), I decided to google what "pour" means. Per Merriam-Webster, one definition of "pour" is to "supply or produce freely or copiously." That means that what we pour out for others is whole-hearted, 100% in, not giving half of our efforts or half of our abilities. But instead, giving freely and without restraint, as Jesus modeled for us when he was dying on the cross.

For me, the Lord highlighted a few different people/areas to pour out of my life for, some of whom are the women in my spheres of influence. By intentionally setting aside time to invest in their lives and through this time, facilitating the feeling of being known.

Practically, for me, in a season of discipleship school, planning a wedding, and working a full time job, this looks like setting aside one night a week to specifically invest in women who feel marginalized, unknown, or invisible. As a result of feeling known, heard and sought after, I'm believing that the Lord will bless this commitment and utilize it to launch women into the purposes that He has called them to fulfill.

Who is God asking you to pour into?

About the Author: Christiana thrives on saying "yes" to new adventures, connecting with people on a deep relational level, and eating Saturday morning brunch. She works locally as a Physical Therapist and also serves at Antioch Ann Arbor as the Production Director. Christiana is passionate about partnering with individuals to prepare, equip and mobilize them to operate best in who God has made them to be and accomplish the purpose that the Lord has set upon their life.

One Step Ahead

  Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

I was at a meeting recently with some young adults and families. We were worshipping together, and I was kneeling down with my eyes closed in worship. When I sensed God calling me to stand up, I put my hand on a knee, opened my eyes, and was surprised to see a little girl kneeling next to me, staring straight at me. One of her hands was on her knee, just like me, and as I paused to look at her, she paused to. I pushed myself up and she imitated me, straightening slowly. I smiled softly. She smiled back and ran off.

I know who this little girl's parents are, but I have never interacted with her before. I don’t know her name. I’ve never taught her in Sunday school. Yet in this moment, I was a model to her.

In our sermon a couple of weeks ago on parenting, our guest speaker, Artie Sudan, encouraged us that we don’t need to be a Bible scholar to bring our kids up in the way of Christ.

All we need is to be one step ahead.

This is powerful! I don’t have any kids. I’m not a biological parent of any child, but as I live and breathe, I "parent" other people. All of us can act as spiritual, if not biological, "parents." How we serve. How we smile. What we say. How we act. If we’re one step ahead in years, in maturity, or in life-stage, we parent in the sense that we help raise people up to their next level as they watch and learn from us.

There is no shame in being just one step ahead. Aladdin’s power in staying free was to be “one jump ahead of the sword.” He even laughs about it as he sings, “That’s all - and that’s no joke!”

Sometimes, all we have is to be one step ahead. Most of the time, though, we wish we were miles ahead of the people we are influencing. We think “I’m just barely keeping ahead of my own life! I’m no role model! I’m barely making it!”

But we ARE making it. We’re one step ahead.

There’s a lot of honor in being one step ahead, too. One of the values of Lifegroups is that they are communities that are DUPLICATABLE. You don’t need a Masters in Theology to lead a Lifegroup. You don’t need to have all the answers. All you need is faithfulness, availability, teachability, and a servant heart. A Masters in Theology takes four years to duplicate. It’s not very replicable. But what can be replicated is the simple, powerful things of life. A generous spirit. A humble heart. A willingness to ask forgiveness from a friend.

If you have any of these things, you have something worth duplicating into the life of another, including very young others.

Kids LOVE being shared with. They will eat up your love, laughter, and playfulness. They will sit behind you and read whatever you are reading. They will pick up a book and imitate you reading. They will want to help you cook in the kitchen. They will imitate your perseverance, intentionality, friendliness, and graciousness.

This is the power of the church, and this is the power of true leadership. It’s duplicatable. It can be imitated. For parents, you might not know all the answers to your kids difficulties, but are you living a life worth duplicating? Do you imbue your actions with integrity, gentleness, truth, and joy? For non-parents, what in your life do you have that are your strengths, that someone else can duplicate in their own lives? Maybe it is cheerfulness, positivity, determination, vision, study of Scripture, a love of prayer, a love of worship, soccer, piano.

We don’t have to have it ALL together. Where you are one step ahead, others follow. And where are others are one step ahead, follow them.

About the Author: Allison is a massage therapist working out of her own studio at A2 Yoga. If she isn't helping people’s bodies on their journey to health, she's probably doing something around Antioch! She loves prayer, worship, and spending time with her roommates, the families around the church, and her lifegroup!

Spaghetti for Scotland


On March 7, our Antioch Discipleship School class leaves for Scotland for a two week outreach. We are so excited to partner with the River Churches in ministry, and we're so grateful for your partnership in getting us there! Earlier this month, we hosted a spaghetti dinner to raise money for our upcoming trip.

We were so blessed by all of you who came to support us. We know that having a family like you behind us, supporting us in prayer, is crucial as we ask God to move as we go.

Between the raffle and donations, you all generously gave $3100 toward our trip.

Thank you!


We know that your generosity and your prayers will result in fruitfulness in Scotland!

Bummed you missed out?

Don't worry! There's still a chance to support us!

As of last week, we were $15,000 short of our financial goal. If you're in a place to give, please consider donating toward our goal: click here.

In addition, would you commit to praying for us now through our return on March 19?

Here are some things you can pray for:

  1. Team Unity
  2. Humility to respond to the Spirit's leading as we engage in outreach and ministry.
  3. Boldness to share the gospel and pray for others.
  4. Breakthrough and protection over the River Churches' congregations who are experiencing spiritual warfare right now.
  5. That the Church in Scotland would awaken and step into what God is calling them to.

Thank you all for your support, and we look forward to sharing the stories of what God does in Scotland!

Learning to Fly

This week's blog is by guest blogger, Meredith Jolley. Although her home is in Australia, Meredith attended World Mandate 2018 in Detroit and was greatly impacted by her experience. We're so grateful for her open heart to share her reflections with us!

So how does an Aussie girl end up at World Mandate Detroit?

God of course!

I live in Adelaide, Australia (google it) and about a year ago God plucked me out of a personally harmful church situation - a legalistic church I had grown up in and been to for 29 years. Since that time God has taken me on an amazing journey of faith and healing that has been tough and yet liberating. Each step of the way has required me to let go of something and simply say "Yes" to God - like dropping off a cliff and learning to fly for the first time. So much of me and my heart has been suppressed all of my life and now the prison doors are open and I am free to worship and serve God. I have a God-given heart desire for people that burns inside of me - to see people set free from whatever imprisonment is in their life.

So when a friend told me about World Mandate, something resonated very strongly with the beating of my heart. I felt God saying very clearly:

"just be there, take hold of this opportunity."

 One way we encountered God at World Mandate was through the incredible times of corporate worship. As a church, we joined together to lift God up in song.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

One way we encountered God at World Mandate was through the incredible times of corporate worship. As a church, we joined together to lift God up in song. Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

I came with no expectations apart from being open to God. And He filled my heart in overflowing abundance! I had a real encounter with my Father and experienced His embrace, bringing release and hope. And re-igniting the burning desire to step off the cliff by saying "Yes" to God no matter what.

As a result of World Mandate, I have 3 things I believe God wants me to step out in faith:

  1. Step away from my past - open my heart to be healed, find a group of people to run with.
  2. Step back into Bible study - deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ so that I can touch people's lives in a deeper way.
  3. Reach out to a disadvantaged people group in a practical way.
 God also encounters us through prayer, as we lift one another up to him.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

God also encounters us through prayer, as we lift one another up to him. Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

World Mandate 2018 was an amazing, challenging, uplifting and life-changing experience. Through energetic worship, powerful teaching and a real encounter with God I felt so surrounded by love and freedom from anything that would hold me back - the Holy Spirit was definitely at work and evident in this place. I walked away from the time with a heart to say "Yes" to God no matter what, whatever he says and whenever he desires.

Two other thoughts stood out to me:

When we drink of Him at the wells of intimacy there is power and freedom.


Saying yes to God is saying I am going until He says no.

 Singing "Jehovah Jireh" is an Antioch Tradition that dates back to the early years when World Mandate was a small missions conference in Waco, TX. Over 20 years (and a few musical updates) later, Jireh lives on. We closed out the conference with a full-out worship party, complete with balloons.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Singing "Jehovah Jireh" is an Antioch Tradition that dates back to the early years when World Mandate was a small missions conference in Waco, TX. Over 20 years (and a few musical updates) later, Jireh lives on. We closed out the conference with a full-out worship party, complete with balloons. Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

I am inspired and re-energized to be part of God's work around the world reaching out to meet people's needs and available for His use. God used World Mandate in a powerful way to open my heart to Him. Life is a journey and God is asking me to take a chance and step out in faith.

What is he asking you?

Looking Back to Look Forward

I’ve recognized something….I constantly am looking ahead, looking towards the future, what’s next. When I do that I can miss the present and overlook the past.

Well, to prevent us as a church from doing that, this past Sunday we concluded our "This Is Us" series with a family State of the Church message. It was basically a year in review. Looking back on 2017 recognizing the grace of God and celebrating His faithfulness. As we look back, we also look forward with excitement about the opportunity the ground that will be taken in 2018. Here is the 2017 Report…..


These numbers are your stories, your invitations to Lifegroup or Sunday service, your giving, serving, sharing the gospel!  I love our church family and am so glad to be a part of it with you!

We are so excited about all that God is going to do in and through you and our church in 2018! BE EXPECTANT!

About the Author: Jason serves as the connections pastor at Antioch Ann Arbor. Jason loves helping people discover who God is and who they are in Christ. He is usually next to one of his four prettiest girls on the face of the earth (his wife or three daughters.)

New Resolutions

  Photo by  Ian Schneider  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

For most people, the New Year is seen a time of improvement for oneself. It is likely that the most frequent question you have been faced with this month is “Oh, so what is your New Year’s Resolution?” Statistic Brain’s published the most recent responses to that exact question for the year of 2017:

 Rank                       Top Resolutions                                %

1                      Lose Weight/ Healthier Eating                21.4  

2                     Life/ Self Improvements                          12.3

3                      Better Financial Decisions                       8.5

4                      Quit Smoking                                           7.1

5                      Do More Exciting Thing                           6.3

6                     Spend Time with Family/ Friends            6.2

7                     Work Out More Often                               5.5

8                     Learn Something New on my Own          5.3

9                      Do More Good Deeds for Others            5.2

10                     Find the Love of my Life                        4.3

11                      Find a Better Job                                     4.1

----                    Other                                                     13.8

Are any of them relatable to your personal change?

Last Sunday, Jordan (the pastor at Antioch Ann Arbor) presented the same cultural question with a biblical twist. He referenced first Corinthians chapter three verse two (1 Cor 3.2), which says “I gave you spiritual milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” This correlates with the New Year by emphasizing the notion that spiritual growth can be an area for intentional improvement as well - not just physical, mental, and emotional.

At the time that the letter was written, the citizens of Corinth were going through their own process of imitating Christ. Paul addressed the idea that the place they were at was of low maturity in the Spirit. They were given a simpler resolution, one of “milk.”

No matter where you are at spirituality, there is always room for growth; don’t be discouraged if you still need “milk.” At times, I think we all need to be fed metaphorical milk, instead of solid food. I would encourage you to take this New Year’s resolution as one distinct from more mundane or worldly resolutions. Instead, ponder how you can grow in the Spirit with the help of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.

About the Author: Gabby Sines is a student at Washtenaw Community College and a scholar of the History of the Near East. Her favorite animal is the giraffe, and she strives for her primary aspiration to be to glorify the Lord in everything.

“New Years Resolutions Statistics.” Statistics Brain, 1 January 2017, https://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/. Accessed 13 January 2018.

Hopeful Anticipation


Such a simple word, but one that brings up so many emotions and memories. As a kid I was always amazed at how various cultures celebrated holidays so differently. I grew up celebrating Christmas outside in 90-degree weather, with fireworks and ice cream. Since moving to the States, I have realized that my “normal” Christmas feels more like the “normal” 4th of July for most people raised in the USA. Yet this difference in traditions has only made me appreciate more the pre-season festivities and anticipation that Christmas brings.

 Photo by  Pablo Heimplatz  on  Unsplash

I have learned to enjoy all the traditional Christmas carols that kick off the season. I was so excited when I found out that we were going to learn more about this topic as a church through the advent season. Music has a unique way of reaching to the depth of our hearts and influencing the way we think. This year I have been thinking a lot about what it means to anticipate. During the Christmas season, we anticipate Emmanuel. We look for. We hope. We await. Through music, we hear the message of salvation over and over again – and we let it take root in our heart.  We anticipate the “Holy Night.” The night where “the stars are brightly shining; it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…”

As we enter the new year, let us continue to grow in anticipation.

Just as we await the celebration of the birth of our Savior during the Christmas season, let us increase in hope as we await his return. At Christmas, we celebrate because God sent His son to bring hope to a hopeless world. Now, that hope has come, and we eagerly await the fulfillment of that hope. At the start of this year, as we look ahead, let our thoughts and our goals be characterized by the hope that Jesus brought, and the anticipation of his coming.

About the Author: Maribeth has recently discovered a love for writing and communicating what the Lord has put on her heart through the written word. Maribeth currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is part of Antioch Community Church. You might find her drinking chai at a local coffee shop with a good book in hand, working at the local hospital as a nurse, or enjoying her new friends. But one thing is certain, she will probably have on some form of pink attire.

Love and Worship

Last Sunday, Ian, one of the worship pastors, spoke about the seven Hebrew words for praise described throughout the Old Testament. As a recap, below are “The Seven Hebrew Words for Praise” that Ian outlined for us:

  1. Zamar- “to pluck the strings and sing along”
  2. Tehillah- to sing out who God is; such as when we sing “The Lord is enthroned on the praises of his people”
  3. Barak- to kneel down and bless God in adoration
  4. Yadah- to extend hands in adoration or acceptance
  5. Towdah - to throw up your hands, expressing excitement; may also refer to drawing or painting during worship
  6. Shabach - to triumph, to shout, to proclaim
  7. Hallal - to be clamorously foolish and hopeful
 Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Some of us come from church traditions that are comfortable with many of these forms of corporate worship, while others of us may be familiar with singing along to a worship band, but may be less familiar with the more expressive forms. While the idea of raising our hands in worship, let alone jumping or dancing around, may seem foreign and awkward, Ian highlighted how corporately praising God with our whole selves - body, soul, mind - is a manifestation of God’s Presence. It prepares a space for Him to come among us. The message is an important aspect of Advent - coming together to celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the One who saves.

It took time for me to let go of my self-consciousness to embrace all seven forms of praise. Because my church growing up did not have a culture that encouraged all of these ways of praising God, I felt awkward and self-conscious when I would feel the desire to “throw up my hands” exuberantly. Yet I knew it was right to express praise through hand raising and a bit of dancing. We would sing jubilant songs, and talk excitedly at the pulpit about the goodness of God, yet our corporate worship didn’t express those feelings. It wasn’t until college that I found a place where I felt free to step outside of my comfort zone.

Praise is inherent to who we are as human beings. Our actions often reflect our hearts, and can also reorient our hearts, even if we do not feel something in the moment.

If scripture says “...people look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7), then why is it valuable to cultivate a church culture that embraces all seven forms of praise?

The answer is also in Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:5 states “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” It is a command, but not an obligation. When we truly love something or someone, it will be evident in our words and actions. If our love of God is not evident through these things, it is quite possible that we have yet to truly experience the fullness of His love for us.

And how do we experience that love? The answer is again in Scripture. John 15 states that to remain in God’s love we do what he commands. And his command is to “love each other” as God has loved us. When we remain in Christ by following his commands, we bear much fruit - leave a lasting legacy that leads to flourishing of ourselves and others.

One way that I remain in God’s love while I am in corporate worship is to ask Him how he wants to me to engage Him in that moment. Sometimes that is listening to the worship leader and responding to what they say, whether it is raising my hands, singing loudly, or kneeling before God. Sometimes he will bring a person to mind that I will go and pray for. Other times he is revealing something in me that I feel conviction of, which I can confess before Him and other people. Sometimes I will feel really stretched to be more dynamic in worship, to really dance at my seat or move to a space where I can move without inhibiting others’ worship. Sometimes that is making my own song to the Lord during breaks in the music. Sometimes, he is simply encouraging me, and I experience his sweetness and closeness in an almost palpable way. Those moments are my absolute favorite.

There is a lot of freedom in corporate worship, but the objective is the same - to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And, to love each other.

About the Author: Gabby hails from Waco, Tx where she received her undergraduate degree in social work. She calls herself a Michigander now, and is excited for the next adventure with God in Ann Arbor and Detroit! Geography is her favorite subject, and as the American daughter of Filipino immigrants, she is no stranger to a diversity of food, culture and travel. You can often find her at the local rock wall, hitting the pavement around Ypsi/A2 or, her favorite, getting quality time with good friends.

Can we shift the atmosphere this Holiday?

3 words come to mind when I think about going home for the holidays:



and family.

For many of us, we get excited about the holidays and about spending time with loved ones, but may have apprehension about the conflict or tension that often naturally arises when you gather half a dozen or a dozen adults together that live very different day to day lives.

  Photo by  Wesley Tingey  on  Unsplash

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Many of us have ourselves or have seen other people shy away from spending time with loved ones because of deep seated conflict, relational tension, or disagreements that have been allowed to fester in our hearts, contributing to roots of bitterness towards our loved ones. 

I've been praying for breakthrough in a handful of familial relationships in my life for a few months now, but have recently struggled with the question of: What does it look like to hope for change, breakthrough, restoration, and reconciliation in these relationships? When I think about trying to dig into these issues, I almost automatically shy away, believing that this is just the way it's “meant” to be. It's as if the promise that the Lord gives Habakkuk in chapter 1 -

“For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.”

- is not a good enough promise to be true in my life. It's as if I’m telling the Lord that He is not trustworthy to bring breakthrough in the area of familial reconciliation.

In discipleship last month, we were digging into Romans 4:13-25 which is a passage about Abraham’s faith when it comes to the Lord’s promise to give him and Sarah a child. Verse 18 says: 

“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping.”

Abraham was nearly 100 years old, well past the “be fruitful and multiply” years, yet he kept hoping because

“he was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.”

Abraham clung to God’s promise, knowing that God is the God who creates new things out of nothing. Our God is a God who breathes hope into hopeless situations.   

So, my perspective is shifting in this season from being one of hopelessness, believing that the familial relationships in my life were too far gone, to a place of declaring hope, especially when there is no reason for hope. My prayer has become, "Lord would you give me a glimpse of heavenly hope and bring Heaven to earth through reconciliation of familial relationships?"

The Challenge:

Go into the holiday season with proclamation of the Lord’s promises over your life and over your family. As the Bryan and Kate Torwalt song says, “Our Champion, You fight for us. You made a way, where there was none…We will shout it out, from the mountain tops, that our God is good, He has overcome.”

The Practicals:

How can we practically engage with those relationships in our families that seem to be too far gone? 

Last week in the discipleship school, Ted (our discipleship school director) challenged us to be thermostats during the holidays instead of thermometers. You see, thermometers rise and fall in temperature based on their atmosphere. Thermometers are driven by their circumstances. On the other hand, thermostats set the atmosphere. Thermostats drive the environment instead of being driven by the environment. When conversations turn towards conflict or situations are filled with tension, stop and call out the gold in someone. It can be as simple as saying, "hey I just want to let you know that I really appreciate your smile and value the way that you served us at dinner last night." 

Try it out. You may be surprised how powerful it can be to be a thermostat, one who shifts the atmosphere, instead of being a thermometer, one who allows themselves to be shifted by the atmosphere. Let's believe together this holiday season for breakthrough in our families and pray for Heaven to come to earth in our familial relationships.

About the Author: Christiana thrives on saying "yes" to new adventures, connecting with people on a deep relational level, and eating Saturday morning brunch. She works locally as a Physical Therapist and also serves at Antioch Ann Arbor as the Production Director. Christiana is passionate about partnering with individuals to prepare, equip and mobilize them to operate best in who God has made them to be and accomplish the purpose that the Lord has set upon their life.

Is this Righteous Anger?

*Published with the happy permission of my father and myself, who are now in a place of peace and unity.

I was angry at my dad.

I went for a four mile run in the brisk spring air. Snow and ice was melting all around, and it caused rivers of water to drain down the sides of street. I ran, sprinting between pockets of pavement and ice.

  Photo by  Emma Simpson  on  Unsplash

It seemed as if it was the hundredth time my dad and I had tried to have a civil discussion to smooth out our differences. He tried; he honestly did. I think I could believe that. But how did he still fail to understand or respect how I thought differently than him? It was as if my political views were the only thing worth talking about; not anything else I did. I was summed up in what I believed politically. I felt like a project he needed to fix.

It had been two years after I went to college and came home excited by new thoughts and conversations, and we still hadn’t figured out how to talk. My dad seemed to not understand me or respect what I was thinking about, and so I struggled to feel that I and my convictions were valued by him.

I prayed as I ran. Was there anything we hadn’t tried yet? My dad and I were both committed to Christ. We prayed. We cared about our unity and the peace between us. But we just seemed unable to get it.

As I neared the last quarter mile of my run, exhaustion set in and I stilled myself by the road, staring down at the streams of water flowing past me. It was cold and I started to shiver, but I knelt down and put my fingers into the cold, crystal water.

“If your father never changes, will you love him?”

I heard the question clearly, and tears sprung into my eyes.

I don’t want him to not change, I told God. I don’t want this to be my lot for the rest of our time as family.

“It doesn’t have to be.”

It was clear now to me what God was asking, and I started to cry more. It had been a long time since we had started to try to settle our differences. I tried to learn different argument techniques to explain myself. I tried different listening techniques to open myself to hearing him better. But we still just felt aggravated.

It was time to forgive him.

I tried to argue with God. I don’t want to settle, I told him. I don’t want to give up on this.

But that was exactly what I needed to do.

Anger is an emotion of injustice. “Hate what is evil,” God says, “and cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Anger at racism is an appropriate response. Anger at mistreatment, at lying, at the oppression of others or ourselves. Anger motivates us to keep going and press in and right wrongs.

If I never accepted my dad for not understanding me, though, I would be treating him exactly as I felt he was treating me. I had to give it up. Then there would be peace.

Throughout this process with my dad, I had often wondered if I was unnecessarily clinging to anger, and I tried to offer my anger to God regularly to take it away. It wasn’t until this moment, though, that God was calling me to lay it down. He was ending the battle.

The Bible calls us to “be angry and do not sin.” Right after that it says, “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Right before this it says, “Put away lying. Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25-27).

See that order?

  1. Speak truth.
  2. Be angry and do not sin.
  3. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.

Do you have anger in your life?

Have you tried all of these steps? Have you tried telling someone about your anger? It doesn’t have to be the person or people that cause the anger at first. Seek insight from someone you trust: someone in your Life Group, your discipleship group, your spouse.

Have you just let yourself be angry? Have you accepted that, and cried out to God about your pain? Have you let yourself be angry but committed to not acting out of vengeance or aggression?

Is God calling you to let go of that anger? Have you asked him recently what he thinks about it? Is He calling you to let go of it?

The comfort is that when God is calling us to give up anger, we will know it - if we are staying close to him. Like Jordan was saying this week, God is not looking to demand a list of rules from us. He’s looking for relationship, and He is for us. If we say the same as the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart,” we place ourselves right in the center of God’s heart to be safely comforted.

If we regularly submit our emotions, our rights, and our anger to God, this will keep bitterness out of our soul and keep us pliable to the direction God would lead us in. Then we need not fear anger getting a hold of our lives. We need not fear anger at all.

About the Author: Allison is a massage therapy student at Schoolcraft College and waitress at Zola Bistro. When she isn't doing these two things, she's probably doing something around Antioch. She loves prayer, worship, and spending time with her connect group!

Do we walk in victory?

Last Sunday, we stood together and declared: “Hallelujah, you have won the victory. Hallelujah, you have won it all for me.” But what do these words really mean? And do we really believe them?

  Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hines

Let’s face it. We often walk around feeling defeated. Defeated by our own sin. Defeated by the world’s sin. By spiritual darkness. Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Defeated by apathy, lethargy, or complacency. (Now, to be clear, facing these things is different than feeling defeated by these things.) Maybe you have accepted defeat by shelving dreams the Lord has put on your heart or accepting “good enough” as your calling.

To walk around feeling defeated (as a follower of Christ) is to walk in a lie. Let me say that again.

To walk around in defeat is to live outside of reality.

Let’s take a look at what scripture has to say.

Psalm 3: 2-3, 8
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain…From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

If I may, allow me to paraphrase the first part of that passage…

“I could believe what I’m hearing, that I am defeated and will not be delivered. But that’s a lie. You guard me, Lord. You are my victory and honor. And with you, I don’t walk with a downcast expression and my eyes lowered in defeat, because you lift my head up high.”

Furthermore, in John 16, Jesus tells us to have hope and courage when we face the hard things. Why? Because he’s already overcome them.

John 16:33
“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.”

If we already have the victory in Christ, why do we so often feel defeated?

I don’t have all the answers, but I know in my life, it’s often because I allow lies to reign. I don’t combat them with truth. I accept that whatever I’m facing or feeling is “just how it is” and forget that I don’t have to walk in what I feel is my this moment-reality, because I’ve obtained an eternal victory through Christ. And even when the lies, or the complacency, or whatever brokenness it is feels crushing, I won’t be crushed, because I have a firm foundation of victory. Even if I’m sitting on the floor feeling a little shattered, I sit on a foundation of victory, and it’s sturdy and constant and full of hope.

It may also be a faulty understanding of what victory is that prevents us from walking in it. We assume victory feels one way, when it really doesn’t. We assume it feels like power and joy and rainbows. We assume that because we face resistance and repetitive battles that we don’t have victory. But Proverbs 24:16 says,

...for the righteous falls seven times and rises again...

Maybe the victory isn’t necessarily in the not falling but in the getting up again, in having the power to get up again and again and again until you reach that place where you aren’t knocked down. And before you go thinking you don’t have that power…

1 John 5:1, 4
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God... everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world...


As we sang about victory this past week, God reminded me of dreams he’s placed in my heart, dreams I had labeled as idealistic “maybes” for the very distant future, and he spoke victory over them: “I have already won the victories for these. You just have to walk in them.”

What victories has God won for you that you need to walk in?

1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

About the Author: Ana is a Michigan native who likes putting honey in her coffee, singing in the car, and dancing when walking would do. She currently works in the Ann Arbor area as a dance teacher and as a receptionist at Arbor Woman Pregnancy Center. Her heart is for every person to know the deep love, identity, and mercy that can be found in the Father.

The Strangest Thing

So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people generally are pretty self-interested. We have a culture in America that not only tolerates but promotes it. It’s “right” to do what we want, which is usually in the interest of ourselves. And, though we're told this is how we should live, is that even Biblical?

  Photo by  Rémi Walle  on  Unsplash

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash


Here are some examples from my daily thoughts—you’ll get the idea.

  • “I don’t want to interact with my classmate, I have homework that I could be doing and I don’t think we’d have things in common.”
  • “I don’t want to have to give her a ride in my car so I just won’t invite her.”
  • “Man, I have a whole day free, what can I do that will be fun?”
  • “I need to get to work on time, why is everyone driving so slow?”
  • “I need help myself, I am not going to offer help.”
  • “Why haven’t I heard back from the UofM about my application, I deserve an answer.”

I’m sure you get the point.

A lot of my day (maybe yours too) is me-centric (I think I just made that word up). Okay yes, so, I am so me-centric. But this attitude is in no way biblical. It’s man-made. In fact, Philippians 2:3-4 offers quite the opposite perspective:

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

The message that was given last week by Jordan Ogden addressed the Nicene Creed. What is that? Essentially in 325 AD Christians across Europe met together to combat a heresy that was spreading rapidly. The blasphemy was that Jesus Christ was not divine, he was made by God like Adam, Noah, Seth, David, me, you, etc. By the way, this is the only time in history that the ecumenical church came together to agree on a creed.

Here’s where I am going with this whole thing, if Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are of one—in perfect union—then they didn’t have to invite humans into their life. It wasn’t critical to their existence to create woman and man, but they did! They did in order to bring us into their perfect, united circle.

This is the strangest thing. Get ready. So, the last month I have been letting go of my needs and trying to look for the needs of others. If you’re reading this, know me, and think I am pretty selfish…awkward. But really, I have! So, I have been actively seeking out the needs of others and it is actually more satisfying than serving myself. Strange, right? 

So, to sum this up. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit invited us into their lives of fullness, which enables us to do that for others. They sacrificed for us; we are to copy their example for others. The strangest thing is that it is worth it.

That’s a wrap.

About the Author: Gabby Sines is a student at Washtenaw Community College and is studying the history of the Near East. Her favorite animal is the giraffe, and she strives for her primary aspiration to be to glorify the Lord in everything.