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Don’t Go to Antioch

Today I’m working on a brief article for an Antioch Magazine that’ll be coming out in September.

The title that I’m going with is “Don’t Go to Antioch.”

You’ll have to wait for it to find out what it’s about :)


Posted in: Antioch

Additional Office Space

Today we got the keys to an additional office on the same floor as our current offices… it is a Godsend!

We’ve been working on top of each other for weeks and now we can spread out a little (and Brandon Reynolds can actually have an office… as seen below!!)

Baptism at the Deschutes

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Baptism yesterday…

These pictures remind me that every person is their own unique story and that nothing is more exciting than changed lives and seeing evidence of a love for God in people’s hearts!!

(We’ll collect all the pictures and have a photo album online soon)

Good Day

Today we baptized 16 people in the Deschutes River…

It was one of the most meaningful ministry events that I’ve ever been a part of.

On top of that, Tamara and I get a night on the town tonight. We are heading out with the Reynold’s and the Bittner’s to Greg’s Grill and then to see The Bourne Ultimatum.

Today is a good day!!

Benjamin Edwards

The best photographer I know now has the best website I’ve seen…

Check it out:

Family Camp Photo Album

Click here to go to the Shutterfly photo album that Kim just loaded up from Family Camp.

There are some spactacular pictures that people are going to want to order!!

Thanks to Greg, Tamara, Gary and Kim for capturing the memories!!

November 26th

It looks like I’ll be going to Uganda on November 26th for two weeks.

I’ll be going with Sisters Community Church who is headed to Gaba and Kapchorwa in Uganda to put on marriage conferences, work with their partner village and to meet and strategize with Africa Renewal Ministries.

It’ll be a great opportunity for me to see how conferences work (something that Antioch might be involved with in the future), how a village partnership looks years down the road and to sit in on discussions and brainstorming with Pastor Peter Kasirivu who founded Africa Renewal.

Lastly, it’ll give me a chance to work out the details with the Africa Renewal team for Antioch’s upcoming trip in February to Uganda.

Lots to look forward to!!

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Posted in: Uganda

Back and Forth

We’ve been working on a little experiment in the Wytsma home by putting Sara in with her two sisters in their bedroom – all three girls together.

There’s been a lot more playing than sleeping the last two nights!!

Sara is on cloud 9 and reminds me of the kids that would never go to sleep when I was a camp counselor. We’ll see how it all plays out, but in the meantime there’s a lot of back and forth.

The Blob

So if you didn’t make it to Family Camp… here’s something you missed!!


Someone sent me this quote today:

“No local church can afford to go without the encouragement and nourishment that will come to it by sending away its best people.” – David Penman

It echoes the mantra that we attached to the name of Antioch… that we would be willing to take the best of what God gives us and give it away.

We developed the saying from the example we see in the original church at Antioch (written about in Acts chapter 13) who took the best of what God had given them — Paul and Barnabas, and gave them away — sending them on mission to help others.

This value (what we call “missional”) is reflected in Antioch’s core commitments.

It is a pretty freeing thing to try and hold everything with open hands… even if it isn’t always easy.

In the end, we’ll have done well if we have been able to focus more on the Kingdom of God and what we can give than merely caring for our own church and what we can get.

Family Camp

The Family Camp shirts just came in (as modeled by Brandon Reynolds)!!

Family Camp fun starts today at 4:00 at Camp Tadmor!

Intern Goodbye Party

The staff just said goodbye to our summer interns with a little help from the Westside Bakery.

Caitlin leaves in the morning and Rachel heads to China in two weeks.

It was a blast having them on board and pioneering a program that we hope to have 15 – 20 college students in next summer!

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Posted in: Antioch, interns

Till Next Year

Summer Swamp Days were a hit with the Wytsma girls… and I’m betting that they were with lots of other kids as well!!

P.S. The girls won the “penny wars” – the spare change competition that raised over $360 to benefit Uganda.

Till next year…

The Greatest Problem in the World

It’s official!! We’ll be starting a second service (8:00) in the next couple of weeks.

Having too many people in church has got to be the greatest problem in the world :)

Who is Your You?

So I’ve been thinking a lot about something that came out in the sermon last Sunday.

I was discussing Paul’s writing in the book of Philippians where he states:

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Philippians 1:21_24

The thing that stuck with me was the thought that Paul’s reason for remaining alive, instead of being finished and with God in heaven, was the dependence of others on him. As Paul said, “it is more necessary for you…”

In other words, the need of other people (the “for you”) is what necessitates our being. We have a reason for living, to labor on behalf of others. We exist as God’s agents of love in this world.

Paul says this another way:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18_19

This is heavy stuff on one hand, but on the other it is utterly freeing. If we want to know God’s will for our lives it is simply to be an extension of his working hand in this world.

The question is, “Who is your you?” Who is it that needs your life? What needy group gives you reason for remaining on earth? What needs necessitate your being?

Again, who is your you?

The Bridge Ministry Video


I love the t-shirts for Summer Swamp this year!!
(The models aren’t half bad either!)

The Marathon

Last night I met with an elder board from another church in town and someone asked me what we do at Antioch to help people grow spiritually.

The first thing I said was that I had messed up by under emphasizing small groups when we started and that there really wasn’t any other formal discipleship process (both are things that we hope to change in September).

I then want on to add this… “Even though we don’t really have anything formal to help people grow spiritually, there literally are dozens of people who are growing like weeds and are beginning to study scripture, seek advice, ask people to pray for them and birthing new ministries etc.”

I continued by saying, “Every church I’ve been a part of treats spiritual growth like a doctor would treat a surgery. What we’ve learned at Antioch, without looking for it, is that one of the best ways to help people get healthy is to set a goal other than health. Lots of people aim at eating right and exercising, but never follow through with it. Others, however, set their sights on a big goal, like running a marathon, and that vision compels them to eat well and exercise. In other words, the marathon drives growth better than the desire for growth drives growth.”

I then said that “Antioch has been trying to show people the world and the potential that they have to change it. And, even though we haven’t had a lot of set programs, the people who have caught the vision and are setting their sights on being significant and making a difference are, by nature of that goal, growing spiritually.”

It’s a principle that we are learning by accident, but its one that I see everywhere in scripture. Jesus when he called Peter told him that he was going to make him a “fisher of men.” And then when Jesus again commissioned Peter after the resurrection he switched metaphors and said, “Feed my sheep.”

I think it is important to see that in both instances Jesus did more than give Peter a bunch of do’s and don’ts and instructions on how to “be the man”… rather, he simply focused him on the marathon. Jesus pointed Peter to the goal.

I believe that in America, where the focus is far too often on ourselves and our own self actualization, we really need to get this. Jesus would have us focus on his calling in our lives… he would have us look to the big picture and the overarching goals… he would point us to the people who need to be loved… and if we catch that vision, the little pieces will fall into place.

If we commit to the marathon, we’ll naturally grow.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

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