Author: Trey Green

Homecoming

The tension was palpable in the airport. It was almost 3 a.m. and I was bleary-eyed awaiting the arrival of friends from the States. I had been living in the Middle East for several years and had made this middle-of-the-night airport run many times, but today, something was different. The crowd was larger than normal and there was an intoxicating electricity in the air. Normally, you would find me sitting in a chair in the waiting area, slumped over and questioning why I wasn’t in bed. Not today, today I was standing right behind this buzzing crowd, wondering what was about to happen. You could feel the anticipation, growing and waning, something significant was about to happen and I wanted to be in the middle of it, whatever it was.

THEN, IN A MOMENT, THE ROOM ERUPTED.

A single man in an NBA jersey walked around the security wall and it was as if someone lit the fuse of a bomb. Screams, shrieks and candy being hurled in the air were just a few of the things that my mind took in as this crowd of people’s expectations became reality. My heart started racing as I overheard conversations and realized that this man, 20 years between visits, was being welcomed back in to the family from which he had been separated. As I stood there taking it all in, mouth agape, my Father spoke to me and said, “This is nothing compared to the homecoming I have planned for you!” Tears were streaming down my face as I realized that this little Arab family had somehow captured a sliver of heaven in this small, nondescript airport.

A FORESHADOWING OF A HEAVENLY HOMECOMING THAT IS BEING PLANNED FOR ALL WHO ARE STRANGERS AND ALIENS IN THIS WORLD, LONGING FOR A BETTER REALITY AND RECONNECTION WITH THEIR TRUE FAMILY.

Few saw it and fewer still recognized it, but it was without question a holy moment, a foretaste of the tangible love and expectation of my Father and it changed me forever.

This experience reminded me that there is a world beyond what I see, a more real world. I have my U.S. citizenship for a few decades, but my eternal home is in heaven with the Lord. Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

There is a day coming, when we as believers, will walk around the wall that separates life on this earth and our eternal home with Jesus.

ALREADY, THE TENSION AND JOYFUL EXPECTATION IS MOUNTING IN HEAVEN.

If you stop for a moment, set your mind on things above and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart, you can pick up on it. The beginning rumblings of a welcoming party, buzzing with excitement over the coming reunion. Let us live our lives on earth to honor the One who loved us so much He gave His life to make a way for us to live with Him forever and who now has gone ahead of us to prepare for a place for us!

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3

By Trey Green – Church-Planting School Director

All Dressed Up And No Place To Go

“So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.” Exodus 13:18

They thought they were ready. The armor, newly and miraculously looted from their prior captors, shone in the sun and instilled a confidence not felt for 430 years.  They were warriors (just LOOK at the armor!) and they were itching for a fight. Growing up oppressed and in slavery will do that to a people.  After all, God had done so many miracles along the way and here they were, in the midst of the most stunning trick of all, walking out of Egypt — why shouldn’t they be ready to fight?

Not only were they parading out of their four-century tour of forced labor, but they were doing so in style, dressed for war courtesy of their former captors. It must have been quite mind-blowing for them to look down and see the clothing worn by their oppressors become the clothing in which they would conquer their enemies in order to enter the Promised Land.  Surely the hour of vengeance on their enemies was at hand!

“When Pharoah let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.  For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’” Exodus 13:17

GOD KNEW THEY WEREN’T READY.

He also knew if they didn’t believe that they were a people of destiny, driven forward by the pursuit of fulfilled promise, they would never leave their captivity. If they left Egypt with the mindset that they were slaves without a master, their sole drive would be to find a new master or return to the old one. So it became an issue of the utmost importance for the Israelites to believe, to KNOW, they were warriors, called to victory. But, their shoulders were not yet broad enough to shoulder the weight of war and God would not suffer His called-out ones to return to the shackles of slavery.

THEY NEEDED TO GO THROUGH A PERIOD OF INTENSE TRAINING THAT WOULD DRAW THEIR HEARTS INTO A PLACE OF TRUST WITH THEIR DELIVERER,

so captivity dwelt only in the halls of reminiscence and never polluted the paths of destiny so carefully laid out for them.

“Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:12

You know the rest of the story. God was proven right as we see the reaction of the Israelites to the threat of war from the pursuing Egyptians. The mindset of slavery had not yet been fully purged and they immediately returned to it when a threat came their way.  The Lord won the victory for them by swallowing up the Egyptian army in the Red Sea and a new mindset began to form in these prior slaves.  A God who delivers and who goes before them can empower them to win battles.  They were well on their way to becoming a people who could, and ultimately would, win battles as mighty warriors.

IN RESPONSE

How long have you waited? What things have been spoken over you as identity-defining words from Heaven that have yet to come to pass?  What if you changed your perspective on the season between spoken promise and fulfillment?

You are having your shoulders broadened in the Spirit, so when the time of commissioning comes, you aren’t tempted to return to the place of bondage.  After all, God will not suffer His called ones to return to the shackles of slavery.

WE MUST REMEMBER THAT HAVING A CALL ON OUR LIVES DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE READY TO WALK IT OUR IMMEDIATELY.

God wants to show us the power of His deliverance and the security of walking in relationship with Him, so that when the times of trial come and the hour of our destiny is at hand, we rise to the challenge, shoulders strong from the hours of training in the secret place.  The place where we cultivate dependence on the One through whom destiny is realized.

 

By Trey Green, Director of Antioch Church-Planting School

 

What’s Next?

“Why are you doing the Antioch Discipleship School,” I asked?

As she looked up at me, an unknown staff member, the practiced response of, “God told me,” escaped from her mouth.  Sensing a deeper question was in order, I responded with, “Really? Is that the whole story?”  It wasn’t. Her story began to flow, slowly and hesitantly at first, followed by a deluge of passion long kept in check by the threat of disappointment.  She had been serving in the church for a long time, but somehow in the midst of the service, she felt she had lost the ability to hear the Lord’s voice.  She was devoted, but had lost intimacy and direction and realized something had to change.  As the emotion stilled, she looked up at me and said, “I can’t go on like this, so I guess it all comes down to what’s next.”

What’s Next?

As the disciples sat in awe of their resurrected Savior as He ascended into heaven, this question of, “What’s next?” had to be pounding in their hearts and minds. Jesus had left them only one command they were capable of obeying; “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift that my Father promised…in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4). They knew the rest of his commands couldn’t be followed without His help. They had no idea how to make disciples of all nations, but staying put seemed like a reasonable request.  You see, they knew they needed more than just their own giftings and talents to accomplish the great things Jesus had promised they would do.  So they took some time to wait until God had given them the very thing they needed, the Holy Spirit. Then, fully released and equipped for mission, they went about changing the world, just as Jesus had told them they would.

As He did with the disciples, God often calls us into periods of preparation and waiting so He can sow into us the things we need to walk out the Kingdom adventure He has prepared for us.  Those periods may feel like a holding pattern of preparation, that challenging time between today and the anxiously awaited release into the dreams God has put in our heart. We have all been there at one time or another and many of us may find ourselves there today. Sometimes we need a safe environment in which to encounter God and hear His voice, to journey with others who are asking similar questions and to commit in faith to walk out the things God speaks.

The Antioch Discipleship Schools were formed with these ideas in mind.  As we get ready to kick off a new year, we are excited about what God has in store for those who have set aside a year of their lives to seek Him and get the answers to that pesky, “What’s next?” question.  This year we have more than 125 students in our various schools and they are all seeking direction and clarity on how to move forward in their relationship with God, how to hear His voice and obey and how to live out a Kingdom life.  As you pray for them, ask that they would submit themselves fully to the process of learning and growing. Ask that they would receive from God everything they need to mature and move forward and that God would speak and clarify the calling on each and every one of their lives. Ask that each of them would know with confidence the answer to the question, “What’s next?”

And now, I have the same question for you… What’s next? A year spent in the Antioch Discipleship School would not be a year wasted.

Antioch Discipleship School is a life-changing experience for students of any age, background, vocation or season of life.

It is a place to experience radical transformation and find clarity for a lifetime of following Jesus. It could very well be what’s next for you.

In Response

Apply for the Antioch Discipleship School today.

Got questions? Ask away.

By Trey Green, Antioch Night Discipleship School Director

The Deep Things of God: An Invitation to Intimacy

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9-12).

This verse is so often quoted when we find ourselves in the midst of circumstances we don’t understand and are desperately longing for a yet undisclosed future time when these “prepared things” of God will be revealed.  We sometimes take on the mindset that God is working beyond the fabric of our understanding and we are merely slaves to our ignorance until His work comes to fulfillment and we can see it fully.  Well, I have some good news, and it looks like this —. Yep, it’s a dash.  You see, the above quoted Scripture is actually only half of what is written and the second half packs quite a punch.  Are you ready for it?

“But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”

Whoa, the surprise ending really turns that whole verse on its ear!  You see, this verse was never intended to be an explanation for why we can’t know or understand, it was meant to be an invitation TO know and understand.  Let’s look at the three verses following –

“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what He has freely given us.”

Did you catch that? The Spirit knows the deep things of God, including His thoughts.  That same Spirit is in YOU, which means that you, through the Spirit have access to the deep things of God.  It is a beautiful, vulnerable invitation to intimacy given by the Father to you.  It is not, nor was it ever intended to be, an explanation for denied understanding.

So, my encouragement to you is to take those things in life that are vexing you and ask God for clarity and meaning through His Spirit, which was given so you can understand what He has freely given you.  When we understand that God has given us a clear invitation to dive into the depths of His heart, it will change our mindset towards Him.  It is impossible to perceive Him as distant when He has freely given us His Spirit, the key to His most intimate places, and welcomed us to explore.

By Trey Green, Director of the Night Antioch Discipleship School

Not One

It seemed too good to be true. I was sitting with Charles Davis, the 80-plus year old saint who had invested so much in the Antioch movement, and he was telling me something that seemed to contradict my experiences and perceptions of life. “Not one of the promises of God has ever failed me,” he said. “I have found Him to be unwaveringly consistent in His fulfillment of the things He has promised me, and none of them have failed.” I was taken aback. After all, I had signed up for this time at our international missions conference to get some solace for all the “failed promises” I was shouldering at that moment: promises of breakthrough amongst the people we were working with, promises of fruitfulness in my own life and promises so prominently written in the Word, yet so conspicuously missing from my life. I found myself speechless at the bold words of this incredible man of God.

It’s moments like these where a right response can alter the course of one’s life. I decided to allow this revelation to settle into my heart and to change me, rather than to toss it away as fanciful thinking or an overly optimistic interpretation of life. The results of this choice were staggering.

Over the next two years, I began to truly believe the promises God had given me were not sources of imminent disappointment but foretastes of inevitable breakthrough. With that, the way I prayed began to change. I began to see myself partnering with God to bring those things promised to pass. Faith levels began to rise in my heart and in the hearts of those around me, and then the floodgates of Heaven proceeded to deluge the nation where I was working. In those two years, I saw promise after promise fulfilled, many of them 15-20 years in the waiting. I began to understand that when God speaks something, it immediately exists in the Spirit and it is our job to partner with Him through faith to bring it into the natural.

As part of the Antioch community, we are on a journey of faith fueled by promise. Whether believing for finances for our new building or answering the call to see the lost in our midst come to Christ, we are being invited by God to navigate the road ahead by His unfailing Word; not by what we see with our eyes.

Will you respond to that invitation and stand in belief for the things that seem impossible, in light of a God who keeps ALL His promises?

By Trey Green