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Realigning Finances: Seeking First and Starting Fresh

The start of a new year is often the perfect time to pause, reflect, and set new goals. Take advantage of the opportunity to start fresh and begin anew by looking at your finances for the upcoming year. Not sure where to start? Josh Lawson offers practical advice and tips for managing your money with a Kingdom mindset in his book REALIGN.

In his book, Josh suggests the first step in realigning our finances is to “realign our beliefs.” Whether we recognize it or not, each of us holds onto a core set of beliefs, which determine the external “fruit” of our lives. “What you believe about yourself and the world around you determine how you will interact with your money,” writes Josh. “You may not realize it, but what you believe about yourself, God, and money is already manifested in your actions.”

Once we examine our own beliefs and core values, it’s time to examine our end goals. “All too often financial teachings and our personal financial goals communicate that the ultimate objective is to have enough resources to do whatever you want to do, whether it’s to buy a bigger house, a luxury car, or have a nice nest egg set aside for retirement,” Josh explains. “Rather than focusing on building the Kingdom of God, we are seeking self-gratification and security in our finances.”

Instead of chasing after comfort and security, God’s Word says to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” so that “all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33). Josh writes about his own journey learning to trust God with his finances by seeking the Kingdom first. Oftentimes it’s tempting to believe “we can control our finances and save enough money to create a little buffer zone of comfort” and eventually “avoid much of the pain life brings,” confesses Josh.

When we choose to value our own financial gain or security above God’s Kingdom, we miss out on His purposes and plans. “Instead of saying ‘yes’ to the great adventures God is calling us to, we end up settling for second best,” warns Josh. Although a great level of trust is required, choosing to seek His Kingdom first allows us to experience God’s best.

If you are looking for financial help, try reading Josh’s book or attending one of the REALIGN classes. Many people have been challenged and transformed through Josh’s teaching, including Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Robert Herber, author of The Partying God, and Todd Harper, President of Generous Giving. REALIGN is available on our website or through Amazon.
Realigning Finances: Begin With the End in Mind

Overwhelmed by Christmas shopping? This time of year it’s tempting to succumb to the stress of finances, especially when credit card debt seems normal and even unavoidable. Yet what if there was another way to look at your finances this season?

Josh Lawson, author of REALIGN, offers personal experience and advice for those seeking a Kingdom perspective on money and finances, especially for those under financial stress. “Everyone has a story, and if we peel back the surface-level problems of debt, anxiety, and money fights, we’d realize there is more brokenness than we would like to admit or probably even realize,” offers Josh.

Financial brokenness is much more common than many of us believe, which means none of us are alone. Come January many families will wake up wondering how their credit card bill got so high, wishing they would have thought through their spending choices the month before. Although Christmas encourages a spirit of giving, unfortunately, it oftentimes also encourages of culture of debt.

In the introduction of his book, Josh references a principle in Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encouraging readers to “start with the end in mind.” This is a simple strategy, yet has been incredibly effective in helping young adults, singles, and couples learn to manage their finances. It begins with “asking ourselves where we want to end up and then aligning our lives and behaviors to get us there,” Josh explains. “Every day of our lives we are taking steps, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in a particular direction. The question then becomes which direction are we going?”

This Christmas season resolve to start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be financially come January 1st? Which direction are you going to go this season? Once you identify this, start working backwards to determine your shopping and gift budget for the month (or next year).

If you are looking for financial help, try reading Josh’s book or attending one of the REALIGN classes. Many people have been challenged and transformed through Josh’s teaching, including Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Robert Herber, author of The Partying God, and Todd Harper, President of Generous Giving. REALIGN is available on our website or through Amazon.
Parenting Though Peer Pressure

When Jimmy and Laura Seibert first became parents, they knew they’d have to face the reality of peer pressure, even at an early age. Laura recalls their days as college pastors counseling students through wounds they had experienced years before that were still affecting their lives in a significant way. Peer pressure can be damaging if kids aren’t prepared to stand alone, knowing you’ll always have their back.

“Peer pressure is powerful. Everyone wants to be loved and fit in; at times I still struggle with that as an adult. But we believe living a ‘normal’ life will not change the world,” explains Jimmy in chapter ten of Parenting Without Regret. “Anyone who commits to radically following God will feel abnormal.”

Because Jimmy and Laura recognized the powerful influence friends can have on the lives of children, they set out to create a safe environment at home, in which their kids knew they were loved and supported. Laura explains that both she and Jimmy experienced the negative effects of peer pressure growing up. “We saw firsthand the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:33: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ As a result, when we started raising our own children, we committed to doing whatever we could to help them develop positive friendships.”

From the beginning, Jimmy and Laura committed to knowing and investing in their children’s friends, even when it meant extra time and attention. Laura remembers feeling tempted to clean or read when her kids had friends over at the house, but instead of using the time for herself, she often took the time to listen to how they were playing and stepped in when necessary, especially during the early years.

“There’s no way any parent can control every detail of life, or should even try, but we chose to pay attention to whom our children spent their time with and where they were. This was a significant time investment for us, but sparing our kids the wounds that so deeply affected us was completely worth it,” explains Laura. The answer was not to control, but to listen and support.

In Parenting Without Regret, Jimmy tells the story of his ten year old daughter attending a birthday party sleepover. He received a call from his daughter a couple hours into the party asking if he and Laura would come and pick her up to spare her from an uncomfortable situation. Jimmy and Laura left right away to pick up their daughter and apologized to the parents for having to pick up their daughter so early unexpectedly. Yet they knew it was worth supporting their daughter, so she knew they’d be behind her no matter what.

“Training your kids to deal with peer pressure is important, even though it may lead to rejection. It requires courage to walk away and be willing to sit alone,” writes Jimmy. Sometimes this means helping your children set boundaries and preparing them for rejection, while simultaneously providing love and support. Friendships are important, and can be both a positive and negative influence in children’s lives. Choose to invest early and train your children to have a positive impact on those around them, rather than be negatively impacted, causing scars and wounds sometimes years down the road.

Read Laura and her husband Jimmy’s book Parenting Without Regret to hear more stories, practical advice, and Christian insight into the seemingly daunting task of parenthood. You can purchase the book on our website or through Amazon.
Celebrate Family This Thanksgiving

Regardless of how ready (or not) you feel, the holiday season has begun. And although it may seem too early or as if Christmas was just a few months ago, it’s time to start preparing for two of the biggest holidays of the year. Take some time this week of Thanksgiving to be thankful, especially for those you are enjoying your Thanksgiving meal with. This year, resolve to protect family time together before the chaos of the next month begins. Jimmy and Laura Seibert write about learning to value family time in their book Parenting Without Regret. Now that their kids are grown, it makes coming home so much sweeter.

“The relationships in your family are some of the few that will last a lifetime,” writes Laura. “Though it requires effort and sacrifice, there is no substitute for raising a family that truly enjoys each other.” Jimmy and Laura chose to make family time a priority as their children were growing up, often reserving one day out of the week for a family night together.

The Seibert’s second daughter, Lauren, recalls the time she spent with family as a child. “My parents repeatedly said, ‘Everyone else may move or leave, but family will always be there for you.’ Hanging out with our family was fun and central! Our greatest memories of growing up were being together and having fun with our family. Now that we are older, my parents and siblings are my first go-to.”

In Parenting Without Regret, Jimmy and Laura tell stories of family vacations, family nights together, and traditions they formed throughout the years. Jimmy offers some practical advice for parents looking for creative ways to spend time with their kids. “To this day, our kids feel more comfortable with each other than with anybody else on the planet. Because we valued their relationships, they valued their relationships. Things like daily meals, games, praying for one another, resolving conflicts, and being on mission together created a family that truly enjoys one another.”

No matter if you’ve prioritized family time in the past or not, try setting aside some time to be together this week. Your kids will remember the time you spent, just like Lauren and her siblings. Your choices now may be creating memories and developing relationships your kids will be thankful for later. And in the end, remember that God created families and intended for these relationships to be significant and long-lasting.

“God designed family to be a place of belonging; He intended for it to be a safe place of support where each other is truly known,” Laura shares. “Live intentionally now to build deep relationships. Choose to prioritize time together over the countless other distractions. Years from now, when all your kids are grown, you will never regret the hours spent building deep friendships. Your investment today will last a lifetime.”

Read Laura and her husband Jimmy’s book Parenting Without Regret to hear more stories, practical advice, and Christian insight into the seemingly daunting task of parenthood. You can purchase the book on our website or through Amazon.

 

Parenting Without Regret: The Parenting Book This Generation Needs

When bestselling author and speaker Francis Chan was originally introduced to Antioch and Jimmy Seibert, he was encouraged by and drawn to Antioch’s vision and values - so much so that he traveled to Antioch Waco several times and even sent teams from his own church to partner with Antioch overseas as a part of Engage the Crisis. Chan was invited to speak at Antioch’s global mission conference, World Mandate, two years ago and plans to speak again at the conference in January 2017.

Last Spring when Jimmy’s latest book, Parenting Without Regret, was published Chan endorsed the book, and having been challenged personally, he encouraged parents to purchase the book themselves. “As a father of seven, I found myself thinking, ‘Amen!’ throughout every chapter. Lots of helpful insights that I plan on implementing in my own family. I am so grateful for the example of Jimmy and Laura as parents and Christians.”

Jimmy and Laura confessed early on that neither of them walked into marriage with a perfect experience or idea of family. Jimmy explains that no matter what your family background may be, healing is essential. And when we intentionally begin from a place of wholeness, then we can begin to parent without regret.

“We all need a work of restoration. No parenting tips will fix your brokenness. We all need to look inward first and let the Holy Spirit transform our hearts,” offers Jimmy. Because of this commitment to find Jesus in the midst of brokenness first, Jimmy and Laura set themselves apart as individuals and as parents. Rather than parenting out of their own experiences - good and bad - they chose to parent based on a Biblical foundation.

“We have found that many people tend to parent out of what they saw was wrong in their own families,” Jimmy explains in the first chapter. “Whatever your past is there has to be an agreement in marriage to not react to the past, but to lay a healthy path to the future. It was our Biblical commitment that would lay the foundation for how we would see life and do life together.”

Now many are being encouraged to follow Jimmy and Laura’s example by meeting with Jesus first, and allowing Him to do a work of wholeness and healing. “I hope that many many parents will read this book and follow their example,” Chan exhorts. “This is the exact kind of parenting book this generation needs.”

To read more about Jimmy and Laura’s parenting experiences, visit our bookstore or Amazon to purchase Parenting Without Regret: Raising Kids With Purpose, Not Perfection.
Embracing Motherhood


Ever wondered how you’re going to survive being a parent? Laura Seibert writes about her first babysitting experiences as a twelve-year-old in her book Parenting Without Regret and confesses her fear of motherhood, even after the birth of her first child. Yet after meeting with God and hearing Him speak about this great mission and privilege, Laura shares about how her perspective began to shift as she embraced her role as a parent and mother.

In a recent Inspired to Action podcast, Kat Lee encourages listeners who may identify with the feeling of fear in regards to motherhood and affirms Laura’s experience and legacy as a mother. “There are few people I could recommend with more integrity, just having watched Laura’s life (and) having seen her children grow up.” Now almost on the other side of motherhood, Laura has “this wonderful legacy in (her) kids.”

Many moms or young singles may be hesitant to admit their hesitancy toward motherhood, yet Kat explains that she “really appreciated (Laura’s) vulnerability because it’s not something we hear all that often.” It’s freeing to hear someone talk honestly about the struggle to “change your identify and really understand God’s heart for being a mom.” Laura shares about both in the book, Parenting Without Regret.

In the book and during the podcast Laura explains how she grabbed hold of her own vision for her new role as a mom. Laura confesses being inspired by successful women in careers and other stages of life, yet as she began to dialog with God about this, she sensed Him affirming her role as mother - the only mother her kids would and could ever have. “Other people can ‘mom’ your kids, but you are their mom… and nobody else can be that. That was revelation to me.”

Kat affirms this idea in the Inspired to Action podcast after hearing from Laura. She says “It’s a common thing to be a mom, but there is a richness and depth to it that I don’t think everyone gets to experience.” If moms will truly learn to lean into God during this time of redefining identity and rhythms, gain vision for their new role and allow God to speak promises of hope over their children, it will set their children up for the long haul.

In addition to gaining personal vision and revelation, Laura also shares about gaining this vision for the sake of her kids. “Kids are so discerning. They know when you don’t like being somewhere… they feel it.” After the birth of her first child, Laura determined to change the way she shared with others - especially her kids - about her job or role as a mother. She recalls changing her tone of voice and placing emphasis on the word ‘mom’, rather than replying she was “just a mom” when asked what she did for a living.

In the book, Laura shares how, in the moment, it’s rare to find glimpses of the kind of fruit your investment in your children will bear, yet the role of mother is irreplaceable. Kat ends the podcast encouraging listeners to grab hold of this truth. “As a mom… we will never be unimportant in our kids lives.” Furthermore, in any other job or sphere, our role could easily be replaced, but no one else has the privilege of being a mom to your kids, no matter how good of a parent you think you are.

Read Laura and her husband Jimmy’s book 'Parenting Without Regret' to hear more stories, practical advice, and Christian insight into the seemingly daunting task of parenthood. If you missed the Inspired to Action podcast, you can listen to it here and purchase the book on our website or through Amazon.

To read more about Jimmy and Laura's parenting experiences, visit our bookstore or Amazon to purchase Parenting Without Regret

When You Call: A Cry From the Next Generation

For many college students at Antioch Community Church, hearing radical testimonies and stories of God’s power on display is normal, and even expected to some degree. If you stick around long enough, you will eventually hear Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert tell stories from his experiences overseas in his early 20’s. So when the opportunity arose for students to travel to Europe to engage what’s been labeled the greatest refugee crisis of all time, over 200 students from Waco alone jumped at the opportunity.

Associate College Pastor Maddie Phenix considers her experience volunteering this past summer an opportunity that brought “so many of the passions and real purpose” that she was made for to life. “It was an honor and privilege to attempt to live out so many of the stories I have read and heard about in the past 8-9 years of being a part of the Antioch family. Having the opportunity to be on the front lines of what God’s doing in the nations was the adventure that my soul has been craving…”

It seems as though a new generation is rising to live radically for Jesus, no matter what He says or where He calls. In his book Passion and Purpose, Jimmy shares about his experiences early on when He started saying yes to Jesus in a radical way. Now many college students and young adults are following His footsteps - this time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a broken people in great need.

A few weeks ago the Antioch College Worship Band released a new album, “When You Call.” Many of the songwriters and musicians who contributed to the album experienced God’s call in Europe this summer while serving refugees from the war-torn Middle East, inevitably marking them forever. The songs are a representation of the heart cry of the upcoming generation and describe the longing to say yes to Jesus in every circumstance - even overseas in the midst of sobering reality. Now 10% of the proceeds of the album are being donated to Antioch’s work with refugees in Northern Greece.

Songwriter Caleb Seibert describes the album: “There was just something so right about singing songs of absolute surrender to Jesus, telling Him again and again that we will say “yes” with everything in us any time He calls, because what we have found in Him is so much better than anything we could find in the world.” Since the live recording last Spring, Caleb has moved to Northern Greece to continue volunteering with Antioch’s relief organization, Acts of Mercy.

In many ways, the students who participated in the relief effort, Engage the Crisis, created stories of their own and deeply resonated with the songs included in the album. Singer Arden Beckham explains how much one song in particular meant to her throughout her time in Europe.

“The song ‘Yes Lord’ absolutely came to life in me this summer. The words of the chorus were basically my cry the entire three months we were there… Every single day God gave us fresh purpose and showed us the fruit of simply saying yes,” explains Arden. For several band members, the album captured the theme of surrender to Jesus and provided language for the responses welling up in their own hearts.

When asked about her experiences overseas in relation to the album, Arden shares “laying down our lives, risking looking foolish, pressing in when it doesn’t make sense, and then being absolutely desperate for more of Him… all these things rose up in me throughout my time in Greece… These revelations, truths and emotions are all things we hope people will experience personally when they listen to the album.”

The album released on September 30th and is available for purchase in iTunes. Join the hundreds of college students following the lead of those who have gone before and choosing to surrender their lives to Jesus. Whether it’s through volunteering overseas or reaching out in your local sphere of influence, our hope is that these words inspire you to say yes to Jesus.

To get a closer look into Antioch’s relief and development efforts in Northern Greece, follow Engage the Crisis and sign up for their newsletter. And to read the stories that played a part in inspiring it all, visit our bookstore or Amazon to purchase Jimmy Seibert’s book ‘Passion and Purpose’.
An Interview with Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines found themselves in a hard situation a few years back wondering what do you do when dreams die and you just can’t make ends meet? When the economy took a nosedive in 2008, many people suffered, especially those in the housing industry. Chip remembers feeling as if they were in a “real bonafide pickle” after recently purchasing a development property in Waco and closing Joanna’s little shop on Bosque. Recently, in an interview with Chip and Joanna Gaines at Antioch Community Church, Chip recalls sitting in the back of a service hearing Jimmy Seibert invite the congregation to come forward with whatever needs they had.

“I sat in the backrow and I felt completely overwhelmed by our circumstances,” explains Chip. “I told God in a very transparent but very honest way, I’m not goin’ up front because I’m not going to waste anybody else’s money… and I don’t think there’s enough money to solve our issues even if I do go up front.”

Several weeks later Chip and Joanna were invited to meet with some friends from their community at church at the property to pray and discuss their options. Toward the end of their time together, the couple handed Chip and Jo a check - an amount that made Chip Gaines’ knees shake.

“I almost fainted,” recalls Chip. “I knew that God had heard my plea. He let me know right then, if you need anything else, let me know. What else can I do for you? All you gotta do is ask.” After the initial shock, the couple explained they had already imagined if Chip and Jo weren’t able to pay them back. “I remember feeling overwhelming gratitude that I felt not only for them, but… community… and if we weren’t walking with these people, if we weren’t calling out to God in a real practical way, who knows if we would have missed that opportunity of a lifetime to see God in action.”

In the years after receiving this generous gift, Chip and Joanna worked hard to manage their business, create sustainable systems and get both their personal and business expenses back on track. Looking back, Chip and Joanna recommend the book REALIGN by Josh Lawson as a practical and helpful tool for managing and mastering your finances.

“If you are looking at your financial house and realizing that it needs major help or even a minor repair, then we highly encourage you to attend REALIGN and DO WHAT IT SAYS,” says Chip. You won’t regret it.”

To purchase the book or discover more information about the REALIGN classes, visit our website and the REALIGN website! And if you missed the interview with Pastor Jimmy Seibert and the Gainses, visit the Antioch website.