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Summer Reading List

SummerReadingMy church leadership was gracious enough to grant me a sabbatical this summer as we finish up six years together. I know there is a limited number of people who really care what I read but for the few that do, I thought I would share my summer reading list with you. These books fall roughly into three categories so I have divided them into groups for you. Of course, there will be others that I pick up along the way, but this is what I have set out to read between now and August 7.

Next Steps for the Church I Serve:

Transformational Groups by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger

Transformational Discipleship by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Phillip Nation

Who Stole My Pulpit? by Thom Rainer

Shared Reading with Peers and Pastors I Am Coaching:

Reaching Toward Church Revitalization and Renewal by Tom Cheyney and Larry Wynn

Nuts and Bolts of Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials

Personal Growth and Renewal:

Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger

How to Make a Meatball by Marie Armenia

Your Ministry’s Next Chapter by Gary Fenton

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

Building Below the Waterline by Gordon Macdonald



Safety Measures

The following is the text of a letter that most of you will get in your mailbox next week. I know many of you communicate better via blog/Facebook/Twitter and don’t often open your mail unless it is money related, so I am posting this here.images

February 13, 2017

Dear Church Family,

I am putting this in writing to you for a several reasons. I need all of us to know this and if I just announce it on Sunday morning, you may be absent or attending to something else in the building when it is said. I also don’t want to use worship time to address logistics and quite honestly, I don’t want to unnecessarily frighten the children. There is much that goes on behind the scenes of Antioch Church that you never see and planning for safety in the event of an emergency is one of them.

This letter is to let you know what we need you to do in the event of an attack or an emergency. In the world we live in today, it is not uncommon for churches to be the target of a domestic terrorist attack. We have no reason to believe anyone would target Antioch but we do believe God wants us to be prepared so here is what you need to know.

  1. In the event of an active shooter, we need you to protect yourself first and allow our safety team to deal with the intruder. Because we believe in the constitutional right to bear arms, a number of us have conceal carry permits and often have weapons on us. However, during a terrorism attack, the greatest danger is that innocent bystanders will get hurt in a crossfire so please do not utilize your weapon unless you are under direct attack. We have men in place, who we do not identify for obvious reasons, and they have a plan they have been trained and prepared to execute in case of such an emergency. Please do not complicate the situation for them.
  2. In the event of an active shooter, part of our safety team will immediately secure our children and shelter them in place or move them as quickly as possible out of the building, depending on their assessment of the danger. Please do not attempt to go get your children – you will not be allowed in until the police and our safety team has declared it “all clear.”
  3. In the event of a medical emergency, we ask that all nurses, doctors, and EMT’s make themselves available to our security team and follow their directions. If you are unsure where to go, check with the people in the sound and video booth. There is an AED available in Information Central in the lobby of the Worship Center.
  4. If you experience an emergency of any kind, inform someone in the sound and video booth and they will secure assistance.
  5. In the event of a fire, exit the building as quickly as possible in a safe and orderly manner. Determine from where you sit or attend Small Group, the nearest exit and plan accordingly. Again, please do not stay in the building and go looking for your children – we will move them to a safe location in an orderly manner.
  6. When possible, announcements will be made continually over the PA reminding you of these guidelines. Please listen carefully and follow instructions.
  7. Please abide by guidelines established by our Children and Preschool ministry teams even when there is no emergency. Check-in and check-out procedures are for the safety of our children and to make sure no one can pick up a child that should not. The weekly rhythm of adhering to these policies insure us against that one exception that could devastate the church and your family. The inconvenience is worth it and we will know we are successful if that inconvenience is all you ever have to deal with.
  8. Please be patient with us when doors are locked during services. If you arrive late, you may have to walk to one of the main doors. Once our kids classes are underway, we want it to be hard to get in that part of the building without passing a staff member or safety team member. A key to that is being on time, but that is a sermon for another day. 🙂
  9. On a similar note, we strongly discourage you from going out locked doors except in an emergency and strongly encourage you to use the main exits as people often step out those doors and don’t make sure they are closed, leaving our children vulnerable. Anytime you go out a door, please make sure it latches behind you.

Obviously, we cannot plan for every possible emergency, but if you will be aware and cooperative in the event of an emergency, our chances of coming through it unscathed are much better. If you have specific questions, see Pastor Lewy Cornett, who is our Lead Pastor over safety issues.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pastor Pete

Antioch 2.0 Update – Our First Goal

Nearly two years ago, I stood on a temporary stage in our worship center and laid out a vision for Antioch 2.0. Along with our leadership, we asked you to prayerfully consider helping us accomplishing three goals that would enable our vision of making and mobilizing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.It is a vision that will help bridge us to become the kind of church in we see in Acts 2.

Our first goal was to take what was a gym with a temporary stage and turn it into a usable worship center that would have the tools needed to present the gospel to a modern community. Every week, we worship in that fully refurbished building and God is blessing us with new people and expanded ministry as a result.

We thought we could do it for $500,000 but after finding out the total cost would be closer to 700,000, you stepped up, voted, and began to give. Today, as you worship in this environment, you, through the sale of some property and what you have given plus what you did in-kind, have paid down 337,000 of that, leaving a balance of 362,000. We have an additional $224,000 either currently committed and still to come in or through the final payment next July on the property we sold, leaving a balance that will have to be amortized in February, 2018, of $138,000.

As we relaunch and update you on this process, I am asking you to renew your efforts to pay this off. Our staff is doing our part, saving enough money that not one dollar of your giving is going to interest.  Plus, we are adjusting our budget each years so that by 2018, we can absorb a monthly payment into our budget.

I believe we can handle this if not one more cent is pledged or given. However, today, I am asking you to pray over this response card and let us know of your renewed commitment to get this project over the finish line. You can pick up a hard copy of this card under the seats in the worship center or in Information Central.

Lori and I are prayerfully going to be able to fulfill our goal this fall and plan to give an additional amount to try to pay down the $138,000 balance. I trust you will pray and respond. If all of us do just what the Lord says, God will be satisfied with us no matter what the outcome. Our job is to obey the Spirit and leave the results to God.response-card


An East Tennessee Pro-Life Update


The following post is lifted from a report to pastors and pro-life advocates by Joan and Dan Pohlgeers. Please take note and take action….

October is Respect Life month and there are many things that you can do to support the Pro-Life movement in East TN.  The first being to pray!  Pray for Judge Sharp to be led by the Holy Spirit, for he will be deciding if TN can have a 48 hour waiting period for women prior to an abortion, if women should have informed consent before an abortion, and if abortion facilities should be licensed and inspected by the State.  Many feel that with the Supreme Courts ruling in Texas this summer, that he will negate many, or all of this legislation.  He is supposed to give his ruling  on this matter after the election.

Also, in a separate decision by Judge Sharp this summer, he ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, that there needed to be a recount of all the Amendment 1 (Yes on 1) ballots, and ruled that all who voted for the Amendment, but did not vote for the Governor, that all of those votes should be thrown out.  This is now headed to the 6th District Court of Appeals.  If you wish to read the brief, you may find it at the TN Right to Life website.  I urge all of you to go to http://www.yeson1tn.org/protect_the_peoples_vote and sign their petition to present it to the judges on this appellate court. Please let these judges know that Amendment 1 was passed by the MAJORITY of TN voters, and ALL of our votes should be counted.

The fall 40 Days for Life campaign will begin on Sept.28th, and will go until Nov.6th.  This is a prayerful demonstration outside of the Bristol Regional Women’s Center on the corner of W. State St. and Slaughter St. in Bristol, TN.  You may join in this peaceful prayer outside the clinic from 8 am to 4 pm every day except Sunday.  All are welcome to participate! Even if you are there by yourself, it is a powerful reminder to the people of Bristol, that this clinic remains in their city!

Finally, this year, the 2016 Life Chain event will be held at three different locations in Johnson City.  We hope many will join us at Heritage Baptist Church, 1512 John Exum Parkway, at University Parkway Baptist Church, 219 University Parkway, or Hosanna Fellowship Church at 715 Sunset Dr.  Please plan to meet at one of the host churches from 2-3:30 pm on Sunday, Oct. 2nd for another opportunity to be a visible peaceful, prayerful protest against the practice of abortion.  We also are asking those who participate to bring an unopened package of diapers so that we can take them to our local abortion alternative locations. These will be given to those women and girls who have made the decision to be Pro-Life!


A Prayer for Things that Matter

As I journaled on this day five of my sabbatical, I was struck by how easy it is to get caughtd06fc84289229d4f81afa1a472073307 up in the urgency of things that matter to me and others, but may not matter at all to God. To paraphrase a quote by our state Baptist convention Executive, Randy Davis, I am less fearful of failure than I am of succeeding at things that do not matter to Him. To that end, I am letting the Lord remind me today of the things that matter to Him and trying to establish a process of prayer in my life that will keep me focused on these things as I return to Antioch in August. This is not an exhaustive list but here is what I have been asking God to renew in me today.

  • A consuming concern for the lost. I ask, Lord, that you give me a fresh compassion for those I meet who are far from you. Let me see them as Jesus saw them, as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Help me to reorder my life in the months to come to be more gospel-centric than church-centric.
  • A holy hatred for sin. Help me, Lord, to see the results of the little sins in my life and the lives of others that ruin lives and hamper your Kingdom and grant me a greater hatred for my own sin than for the sins of others. I pray that my hatred for sin in others will be focused on the damage it does to people and that it never becomes a hatred of people who sin.
  • An unconditional love for His church. Grant me unconditional love for the church universal and help me to resist an arrogant spirit when anything happens in any church that makes my church look better than them. Help me to love the church God has allowed me to shepherd with a deeper, abiding, compassionate concern that has nothing to do with how they treat me or how I feel.
  • A compassion for the spiritually oppressed and defeated among His sheep. I ask God that you would stir in me love and only love for those believers in our fellowship and in our community who have been entrapped by sinful habits and addictions.
  • A love for and commitment to time spent with HIM. Father, please forgive me for letting busyness become a badge of courage and the approval of others be a reason to neglect my relationship with you. Remind me that time spent with you IS time spent in ministry and to let my service to you flow from that time with you.

What else comes to mind that you would add to that prayer list?

Contact Governor Haslam re: HB 2414

A bill (HB 2414) is before the Tennessee General Assembly to requiring school and college students to use the locker and rest rooms of the gender listed on their birth certificate at the time of birth. In essence, it prevents students who consider themselves transgender from invading the privacy of the bathrooms and locker rooms of members of the opposite sex.

I have written a lengthy post about what I believe our position should be on this and similar matters. You can read it here.

A letter or e-mail to the Governor in support of HB 2414 is urgently needed. While reflecting your personal thoughts and attitude, the following are some points you may wish to consider including:

  • God created us “male and female.”
  • Important and long standing cultural traits like modesty and decency are being forever removed.
  • The state has a responsibility to value and protect the privacy of school children while in their care.
  • Children have a right to personal privacy in the school setting where they expect to be safe and secure.
  • Less than 0.3% of all students are identified as “transgendered”, yet the vast majority are forced to yield, change and accept.


Mailing address: 

Governor Bill Haslam

State Capitol, 1st Floor

Nashville. TN 37243



A personal note in your own words would be best, but if you don’t have time, here is a brief note you can copy and paste to paper or email.

Dear Governor Haslam,

I am writing to you today in support of House Bill 2414, the “bathroom bill.” I support this bill for the following reasons:

  1. My children and grandchildren have a right to expect privacy in the most intimate of settings and as adults in a state mandated environment, we have a responsibility to provide that.
  2. Allowing people to choose bathrooms based on their “psychological” sex rather than their physical gender allows all kinds of abuse by people who are predatory in nature. We have spent years as a state trying to make sure predators were not allowed close to our children. This is not a statement about transgender but an acknowledgement that this move toward open transgender bathrooms will make protecting our children from predators impossible.
  3. My faith dictates that God created them male and female and while that is not the only reason I support this bill, it is one of them.
  4. There are important, longstanding cultural traits like modesty and decency that are being swept aside seemingly without thought to the unintended consequences.

Know that we are aware of the difficult political environment in which you find yourself, but knowing of your faith, I trust you recognize that you have come to this position for “such a time as this.” I will be praying for you and waiting expectantly for you to do the right thing on House Bill 2414.



Your Pastor’s Perspective on TN HB 2414 and 1840

Jude 3-4 – “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The Pope occasionally issues an encyclical and the apostle, Paul, famously wrote several epistles establishing the church’s position on matters of culture. While I am not the pope nor Paul the apostle (I am just Pete the Tackett), I do have a responsibility to establish spiritual leadership for our church family.

From the beginning of my pastorate, I have urged us according to John 1:17, to follow the example of Christ and be people of grace and truth. No where has that been more trying of late than the ongoing bullying of Christians, non-profits, and churches by those who are militantly pro homosexuality and will take nothing less than for the church to agree with them that it is normal and it is not a sin.

In the age of social media, everyone has a voice and practically no one has an editor or seems to slow down long enough to let their conscience be their guide. No where has that been more true than in the public discourse over Tennessee legislation, House Bill 2414 and House Bill 1840. The latter says no counselor or therapist shall be required to serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor, provided an appropriate referral is made.The former requires state schools and other buildings to restrict access to bathrooms based on a person’s gender at birth. I want to publicly go on record today here as I have on social media and in letters to legislators in support of both and urge all of you to contact your representatives and senators to ask them to stand with us in spite of economic threats of gloom and doom. At the end of the day, our faith and its teaching is not for sale.

I actively oppose any bullying of anyone, no matter their sexual orientation. However, there is a great difference in practicing “grace and truth” and being pushed to condone what we know to be wrong. Without truth, there can be no grace. We fail our God and our culture when we fail to stand for truth. The most unloving and unGodly thing a believer can do is know the pain that can be caused by sinful choices and not do all we can to protect our friends from that pain.

I support these and other bills before our legislature and actively oppose all legislative and judicial attempts to normalize same sex relationships for several reasons.

495 years ago tomorrow, the famed reformer, Martin Luther, at the Diet of Worms, confronted those who asked him to recant his position with these words. “Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word
of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

images-15Luther’s conviction then and mine now, is that the word of God must dictate the choices and beliefs of those who call themselves Christians and that we cannot bow to a council of 9 judges nor a legislature of 535 nor even a social media mob that would call us self righteous, unkind, and bigoted, words that have all been used to describe people like me by my Christian friends on social media. Romans 1 is but one teaching that reminds us that the writers of the Bible, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, considered homosexuality to be a sin and the result of a deceived mind. For us to say different is to contradict God’s word and it is neither right nor safe, so here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen.

I also hold to this position because for 225 years our government has erred on the side of religious freedom. The first amendment opens with these words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” To tell a counselor who believes homosexual marriage is wrong that he must counsel a gay couple and more specifically, his counsel cannot be that it is wrong and that their ultimate good is served by repentance is a clear infringement on the free exercise thereof. Without the safeguard of this long held right to exercise your religion as you see fit under the leadership of your God, it is simply a matter of time until the government tells me that I cannot say the Bible teaches homosexuality to be a sin. (Parenthetically, for that same reason, I support Gov. Haslafirst-amendment-text-scroll_738902221m’s promised veto of the bill making the Bible the official book of Tennessee. I believe it crosses the establishment line.)

Finally, I take this stand for the good of the proponents of gay marriage and all things lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and whatever other initials they want to add. If my lifetime of observing history has taught me anything, it is that the winds of change blow back and forth. If the gay lobby succeeds in destroying the historic line of protection for people of faith, when the winds blow the other direction, and conservatives come back into vogue as has happened every 8-12 years for the past 60 years, there will be nothing in place to protect those who are in power today from being bullied in the future. We cannot continue to deconstruct both the Bible and the constitution and not pay a great price.

For that reason, I ask you today to contact your state legislators on behalf of Bill 2414 and to contact Governor Haslam asking him to sign it when it comes to his desk. My friend, Rep. Sheila Butt of Columbia says the governor told her almost all his constituent contacts on this bill had been against it. I am asking you to help turn the tide on that. I further ask that you determine how your legislators voted on 1840 and send a note of thanks to those who voted in favor. Finally, I ask you to educate yourself on important matters of religious freedom. A good place to start is the website Family Action Council of Tennessee.

Jesus of Nazareth, King of ______________? (Day 3)

Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19:19 ESV)g21

John 19 gives an account of an interesting conversation between Pilate and the religious leaders over a sign he had posted on the cross of Christ. They were fearful that people would see the simple sign as a statement of fact. It said, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Their back and forth really centered on two things. Was He a King and if so, whose King was He?

As we prepare for the Lord’s Table on Sunday, we would do well to address that ourselves. Is He really King and if so, is He our King? If you have clicked on a devo geared to prepare you for communion, chances are you believe He is King and for most of us, we declare by our actions and words that He is our King. Yet, we often get so caught up in life that we act like anything and everything else is king of our lives.

Claude King, co-author of Experiencing God, often says the problem is not the sinful actions that beset us, but a foundational heart issue. Our hearts have departed from our first love. We set out with Jesus as King but we have let the pride of life, the lust of our eyes, and the lust of our flesh crowd Him out. (I John 2:16) Then, other good things that are not sinful in and of themselves, become sinful because they have taken the place of the one who rightfully should occupy the throne of our lives. We turn those good things into idols of the heart that take preeminence over the one who is preeminent!

Idols of the heart can be anything. It can be your job, fishing and hunting, your children, golf, Facebook, an organization, or a million other things. These may be a great part of your life, but as a King, they are terribly lacking in purpose and payoff.

So, how do you know if Jesus is still King of your life or not?

  1. Evaluate your calendar and checkbook.
  2. Take an honest look at whether worshipping God has been pushed into a convenience in reference to your favorite hobby, job, or organization.
  3. When you get up or get to your desk, do you first open our Bible or your email?
  4. When you pray, are you always distracted by things that must be done? (Note, I said always.)

Spend some time this week seeking the Lord and evaluating whether He has been crowded out as King. Return to your first love by letting Him reveal idols of your heart and by confessing and forsaking them.

As you prepare this week, click here to listen to the late Rev. S. M. Lockridge in his famous oration, That’s My King. It will help you get things back in right order.

Hide and Seek (Day 2)

Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” (John 18:4 ESV)

hide_and_go_seekSunday morning at Antioch, we will come to the Lord’s Table in what Jesus intended to be the most intimate and special worship event this side of heaven. He met with His disciples for a final meal in which he celebrated passover and instituted a celebration of the new covenant that we call communion. From there he goes out across a little brook into a garden not far from where they had dinner. It was there, the betrayer brought the soldiers to Jesus to arrest Him. Ever in control and knowing the hearts of men, He asked a simple question. Who are you looking for?

That is a good question for us to ask ourselves as we prepare to worship at the Lord’s Table. Who (or what) are we looking for?  Clearly, Jesus intended it to be a very significant event, but what about you? What will you be looking for this week as you prepare your heart? Will you even take the time to prepare your heart? What about Sunday? Who will you be seeking on Sunday?

Some will come expecting a “feeling,” kind of a goose bump experience where they can say “that was a really good service this morning.” Others come expecting nothing, in fact will not even remember until they walk in the door and see the preparations that we are having a special service. So, what should you be seeking? The answer to that is so simple, it sounds trite. We should be seeking Jesus.

Like the soldiers and the crowd that day, we often fail to see him even when we are seeking him because of the crowd and the noise and the activity. It poses a challenge to us then. Who do we seek and how do we seek Him? Can I suggest you spend some time today praying and focusing on two things.

First, focus on getting quiet and still enough that you can recognize Jesus when you see Him. Even if you daily read the Bible, try to clear out a little extra time on either side of it so you are not too rushed to see Jesus as He reveals Himself in His Word.

Secondly, and more importantly, work on sharpening your vision. Look for Christ in the comings and goings of your day. Let Him reveal Himself in that encounter with a co-worker or store clerk that might otherwise annoy you; see Him in the beauty of the Springtime around you; hear His whisper as you suddenly know the answer to a problem or question that has been plaguing you; and recognize His still small voice as you feel the urge to help someone out.

If you will tune your ears and eyes to hear and see Jesus this week, it will be much easier for you to see and hear Him in communion on Sunday.


Go There (Day 1)

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  Mark 14:12

This Sunday at Antioch Church, we gather at the Lord’s Table. It is never something we come to flippantly or take lightly. We gather there at the invitation of our Lord, who told us to do it regularly in remembrance of Him. As  you know the Passover meal was the Jewish worship event that Jesus fulfilled and so it was that he celebrated His final passover just hours before his betrayal. As we prepare for the communion we will celebrate Sunday, we would do well to look into those final hours and use them as a guide to prepare our hearts.

043His Jewish disciples knew it was time to celebrate this feast so they did what anyone would do. They began to make preparations. They asked a question of Jesus. Basically they wanted to know where they should go to get ready for it. As we begin this week, that is a good question for each of us. “Jesus, where will you have us go and prepare for you…?”

While we know they were talking about a physical place, the challenge for us is a little different. Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t go there?” For us, as we prepare for the Lord’s Table, there are some places we probably would prefer not to go, but if we are to be prepared, we have to “go there.” While this is not an exhaustive list of the places you may need to go, it should serve as a discussion starter for you and the Father as you look inward and prepare to meet with him.

  • Is there any known sin in your life, something you know is wrong but have continued to do or have simply ignored?
  • Is there someone you have wronged and from whom you need to seek forgiveness?
  • Has God told you to do something, give something, or say something and you have resisted or delayed?
  • Has anyone offended you and you have refused to extend forgiveness?

I assure you that if  you will “go there” and prepare your heart, Sunday will be a high and holy day as you encounter the Living Lord Jesus at His Table.