Monday Morning Musings ...
Yesterday was a another good day. We had one of our projectors back and that helped during the music. The time of worship through music went very well. People really engaged, even though it was our worst attendance of the year, and the Spirit was very evident. We showed a brief clip about Celebrate Recovery, a ministry of healing and recovery that we are beginning in September. My wife shared a personal testimony and gave an update on this vital ministry. We had a good time of prayer as well.
The message was a stand alone message, although I am going to develop the big thought of the message for something in the future. The questions were "Who are you? What is your identity?". We examined Acts 19:13-16 and Matthew 16:13-20. Why do we struggle with the identity issue so much? I see a couple of issues that seem consistent with people and are revealed in these scriptures. We struggle because we often try to do it ourselves. We try to create our own identity and that always falls short. Consider Adam and Eve and the apostle Paul before he surrendered to the Lord. God has a plan for you and created you specially. We struggle because we sometimes try to be someone else. We like something about someone else and try to be them. That never works because we are not them. There is a difference in following someone's example and trying to be them. God has created us uniquely. We struggle with it sometimes because we try to get away with doing nothing. We try to tiptoe, or coast, through life without being who God created us to be. Tiptoeing and taking no risks is not how we were created to live, it is not our calling from God.
Your identity must begin in Christ. This is the plan God has for you. Until he followed Christ Peter was a fisherman. After Christ he was a follower/child of Christ who fished. Your identity must be personal. You must accept Christ personally, you cannot do this through your parents, spouse, grandparents or children. This is a personal choice. We also must make the call of God on our life personal. The call to reach others and meet needs must be personal for us. We will not be passionate about serving God if it is not personal. Our identity is evidenced when we live it. "Today, we are overboard on belief and bankrupt on obdedience." (From Matt Maloney through an unknown author) This is an overwhelming burden for me. We cannot just nod our heads, or claim to believe some printed set of values or a clever mission statement. We must be the living testimony of what we claim to believe. The world has quite enough of "in name only" Christians. There are people all around us dying and entering a Christless eternity for lack of people actually living as followers of Christ.
Who are you? What is your real identity? Are you just claiming it, or are you living it?