I found my identity in…

Identity is an interesting thing. We can find it in many things or we can find it in one. It can be what we strive for or it can be what we are seen as or looked upon as. The dictionary describes identity as, “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.”

I am a sports fan. Basketball is my main jam. I’m all about it. Summer is a rough time because there isn’t much basketball happening especially in light of basketball news going on. I like to follow the basketball sports news. It excites me to see what is going on. Playing and talking about basketball excite me as well. Recently a big name player went back to the team he was drafted by and spent his first seven seasons with. I saw a photo on the sports webpage he had posted. It was off one of his social media pages and it came with a question of what number to wear in his return to his former team. I gave a read to see what people were voting for. But as I read I became saddened. Most people weren’t voting for what number he should wear but more so bashing him as an individual. Swearing at him, calling him all sorts of negative things and using many derogatory terms and foul language pointed directly at him for a choice he made four years ago. I imagine a high profile celebrity doesn’t really have time to read all of the comments, but I often wonder if he does read them and what he thinks and feels about them. When you are in the spotlight is seems that your identity can change in a manner of moments. He was labeled as a bad guy four years ago after switching teams because he wanted to win and now he seems to have found favour again four years later going back to where he started. He didn’t do anything bad or illegal he chased a life goal achieved it and was seen as bad for doing so.

Take another athlete, he did things that were illegal and the worst being an illegal dog fighting ring. He lost everything and even spent time in jail. It has been seven years since he was put in jail and five years since he was given a second chance to play the sport again. Immediately once he got that chance a lot of media backlash happened because of the cruelty and severity of what he did. Now with It being five years later, have people forgotten? I don’t known that they have, but they sure have stopped talking about it as much.

Take a non famous person. In a manner of a few days their identity of who they are can change dramatically because of actions that happen and choices they make or things they didn’t handle correctly. Whether true or not, who this person was has now been changed dramatically. Do they/did they do good or even great things for the people around them? Yes. Does any of it matter now? At this time it seems that would be a saddened no. To go back to the people writing and cursing the sports star with a question about what number to wear. It is sad to read an article and see people say negative things about someone in a way that leaves them with no responsibility. I find it even more sad when negative things are being said about someone you know and the comments are from people you know but from behind a screen so that no one really knows who you are and no responsibility has to be owned up for. People with no names and photos not of themselves saying negative things because they can.

Identity of most these people isn’t known and why would it be or why would it need to be? Free speech has given people a chance to voice opinion after opinion from a comfortable place without giving out their true identity.

In no way am I bashing or looking down on anyone or speaking negatively towards people for what they have said in the things I have written above about. And in no way am I in general speaking negatively towards anyone for words said with no name or face put to them. I don’t like most negative comments from anywhere and in any situation because they usually are unnecessary and hurtful. But when I do encounter them I am usually reminded of the age old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And I try to put that into practice in any and all conversation.

I am in no way a perfect being. I’ve made my mistakes and continue daily to make them and try not to make them. I have made an identity of myself in the past and have longed to move forward. Something I’ve come to realise is that when we wrong people it can take long to be forgiven, it can stray us from who we are with the guilt of our mistakes and it can discourage us from carrying on in a positive way. We are affected by the things we do especially when we do things that affect others. Whether in a good way or in a bad way we garner some kind of emotion from the choices we make in life. We choose to make them and then we have to look back on them and live with them. Lifetimes can go by and things never change especially depending on who we are/were and what we did. Some people never forget. Somethings stay  with us forever and define us in regard to others thoughts towards us no matter what we do next.

Being a Christian was never said to be the easy life. The world automatically hates you because you choose to live a different way than it. We are called to be in the world but not of it. Living in a world that hates you and wants the worst for you, wanting you to conform to it and accept its ways and beliefs when they differ from the ones you hold and strive to live by, is hard. It is a daily task to walk away from the world and walk towards what God has for you. That is a challenge you will face everyday, every hour, every minute and every second.

Events happen and they change the future, they change lives, they change identity. Accidents happen and they change futures, they change people, they change identity. Life happens and it changes who we are and what our identity is.

Every day is a new day. Every day is a new chance to make something of who you are and what people see you as. Does it matter? I guess in some weird way it might. For me, as I’ve been growing and learning and watching all I want is for people to see Christ. I don’t care what people think of me or think of what I’ve done, I just want them to see Christ. It is what I want my life to be about. It is who I want to be about. It is what I want my identity to be. I decided long ago that I didn’t care much for what people think of me because words just get you down and most news is always playing a bad tune. I’ve never been afraid to say I believe in Christ and that I will do my best to live for Him  even if that means I have to be put down for my mistakes and judged for my wrongs in light of the world or in light of Christ. I’ve read the Bible and read of the people God used. These people were full of mistakes and wrongdoings, but the story of the Bible and the people God used is full of Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, Healing and is much bigger than any one individual or their actions. The Bible is full of Love from someone bigger than life itself. Love from someone who created us, who saw us change our identity forever with the eating of the fruit in the garden, but in the end still loving us so much that He sent His only son to die so that we can have a life with Him. Why? Because He values our identity so much He choose to save it. He chose to save it from what the world says we are and from what we do, and have done and will one day do. He chose to save us. He chose to save us. He chose to save us. Why?! Because He loves us more than anything. He loves us just the way He created us (which happens to be in His likeness). He thinks we are beautiful just the way we are, He has our photo on His fridge, in His wallet, on His desk, in His family album. He brags about us. He knows us by name. He loves us. We have no place to get a better identity than from Him and in Him because He is love, He is the creator, He is our Heavenly Father who never leaves or forsakes us. He is the great I am. He has always been and will always be someone who loves us.

Christian artist Lecrae put it this way,

"I’m not the shoes I wear
I’m not the clothes I buy
I’m not the house I live in
I’m not the car I drive, no

I’m not the job I work
You can’t define my worth
By nothing on God’s green earth
My identity is found in Christ, is found in Christ”

Christian music group Tenth Avenue North said it this way,
"You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade”

Are you living behind some type of screen or mask? What is your Identity? Who are you trying to represent? Who do you actually represent? What are you living for? Who are you living for?

God remade us at the cross. He gave us a hope and a future a new life and importantly a new identity. No matter what happens in this life, no matter what we did or what we someday might do we have a God who wants us and wants us to be found in Him and all we have to do is commit to Him and we will be free from this world and its downfalls. That news is so wonderful to hear. That is a song that has a good tune.

There is a phrase that goes, “I’ve got 99 problems but a girl ain’t one”

That phrase has been remade and it sounds a lot better when put this way, “I’ve got 99 problems but my faith ain’t one.”

With the God of the Bible in our corner what else could matter…

how will they know…

we believe? How will they know that Jesus is the one we represent and follow? That we trust in God as our Father, Creator and Protector?

Christian musician Lecrae has a song in which he says, “can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep His name?”

I was just reading a post of my friend from New Zealand (http://girlthateatschips.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/my-poor-stolen-dresses.html) where she talking about how she was getting ready for a women’s conference which had a dress code and the dress that she wanted to wear was missing. She looked around and well to no avail it was gone and soon later to realise a few more were gone. What encouraged me was at the end what she said was, “It’s what you DO, not what you WEAR, that really matters.” It reminded me of when a leader on my Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in New Zealand got his iPod stolen from our van as we were on an outreach function. His iPod was only filled with Christian music and he said he hoped that maybe they would see Christ through it before they deleted the songs. Just as in my friends post she hoped that if someone did steal them that God would bless them and that they would come to know Him the way she does.

Things come and go, people come and go, stuff fades, breaks decays all returns to which it came from the earth whether compostable or not. I believe that if we believe in Jesus, God the Holy Spirit we don’t just fade. Our bodies do, the things we own do, but our souls go to a place with others who believe and of course the Creator God, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That place is called Heaven. God gave us a call, a call to go out into the world and share His name and His love. I’ve been encouraged by friends in the church such as The Godinho Family who goes to Mexico at least twice a year doing missionary work and is currently in Africa doing the same or my friend Ashley Buchert who spent a year in the missions field recently and as well a handful of other small missions trips and just the way she represents Jesus in her life as well as the way the Godinho family does too. And of course Im encouraged by the many friends I know in YWAM giving up the simple things in life, giving up what most consider real dreams of owning a home, a nice car, heaps of stuff and having a good paying job to live on faith, by faith trusting in bigger things with their minds set on eternal things. Its not just the missionaries who encourage me, I mean that is where my heart is but there are plenty of others who live in a way that you can tell, they know Jesus. Church families and friends and as well leaders of small groups and people who just be.

In church on sunday the pastor brought up a famous Christian who apparently buys fancy things and spend extraordinary amounts of money on things like tables and random things in their house. At first I had the feeling of who cares we aren’t the ones to be the judge of her, God will in the end, but then he read somethings things she said. I got the feeling she missed something about the call of Jesus about how to show who He is.

I want to be a missionary. I want to show those who don’t know God His love. Something that stood out from my first outreach trip to Fiji was what our leaders told us about sharing the gospel. People in Fiji have heard it all. They need to see actions not hear words. It goes back to the saying, “Go out and preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.”

The world we live in almost anything we do can show up somewhere that everyone in the world can see. Are we doing life so others see Jesus? Do they see how we value Him by the way we represent His name? Do they see the heart behind what we are doing?

To quote one last song. Artist Jamie Grace describes a song she wrote titled do life big, by saying Jesus lived a big life and calls us to live a big life. Jesus loved, served and gave His all, He lived life big, now its our turn.

“Oh, I wanna love, wanna give every day I live,
I wanna do life big,
I wanna love, serve, and give every chance I get,
I wanna do life big,
Oh, I wanna love, wanna give every day I live,
I wanna do life big,
I wanna love, serve, and give every chance I get,
Oh I wanna do life
I wanna do life big, big”

More Than A Thousand Words

I’ve often heard it said a picture is worth a thousand words. A thousand words is actually quite a lot when you think about it. Much can be said in that word frame, much can be conveyed. Stories can be passed on told from one to another in just a thousand words. For me it has been three years now since my best friend Anna Joy Booth passed away and a thousand words is not enough to describe her. This photo about doesn’t even hold simply a thousand words to it. There is heaps more. There is a story. A story of the end of a wonderful day. A story of an outreach team that went to the South Sea Island in Fiji for a fun day and is on the bus ride back to town in this photo. So much happened on this day that it couldn’t be described in simply a thousand words. Anna’s life could never be summed up by the photos that her many friends and family have left of her to remember her by. Nor could they be summed up in just a handful of the memories. She was more than that. She was a follower of Christ, she was a role model, a loving soul, an auntie, a beautiful person, someone who loved all and all loved her back because of her simple heart. She had compassion, she had love, she laughed, she served she was the definition of a heart for people. Most of all she showed me what it looks like to have a heart for where you grew up for the people around you and the place you call home. She showed me what its like to care, to laugh and to cry when its rough. She showed me heart in everything. Anna Joy Booth I miss you just as much as I always have and I am so thankful that I got to know you and your wonderful family. I am thankful for all the memories I have of our fun times together and for the photos and the videos of you that make me both laugh and cry. I am thankful that if I want to hear your voice I still can through the many funny videos you made on outreach and more. I am thankful for most of all for you and for having been in my life and the footprints you left on my heart never to fade away.

A guest post I worte for Stuff Christians Like

Well Jon Acuff I waited. I sent you this post as a guest post for your blog Stuff Christians Like and well I never heard anything back as I was told. I am sure you are busy and get heaps of writings and things you have to sort through and I am okay with that. But I laughed the whole time I was writing this, so now I post it for myself because I just feel the planet earth needs a laugh and I hope they get one from this. *Hint if you have never heard of Stuff Christians Like you should look it up. Funny stuff and the guest post and all of his posts are supposed to be full of satire (which is the funny part of course)…with the exception of serious Wednesdays. Anyway here goes nothing…

Missionary Goggles: Where Real Love is Found…? (originally titled YWAM Goggles: Where Real Love is Found…?, but I felt it needed to be more relevant to all Missionaries)

Does anyone in the missions field even know what real love is? I mean of course those in the missions field love something. They are there volunteering to do Gods work, whom they love. Most likely in a particular place or setting or culture or with a people group they love. But when it comes to relationships with other people (as in the opposite sex) do they know what real love is?

I have most recently spent quite a bit of time in community living with a missions organisation called Youth With A Mission (ywam.org). What a great opportunity it has been to learn more about God and then go make Him known around the world. On my first school I attended my school leaders presented relationships and rules and guidelines and things to know and follow for the school. Funny how the thing that stood out the most was what he called “YWAM goggles.” Just like beer goggles he said. “You know the more beers you drink the more prettier the people you’re hanging out with get.” He told us that because we would be in such close quarters with everyone seeing them day and night and in all walks off life they may suddenly become attractive when normally they really wouldn’t.

I didn’t believe him, but as it turns out I was wrong. Apparently you can get YWAM goggles and begin to like a girl (or for the girls begin to like a guy) you spend heaps of time with and not even realize it. I know because it happened to me (liking a girl that is) and even though over my first 3 years in YWAM where I took part in being a student and staff I didn’t find real love with a human person, I did meet people who did. I meet people that seemed to never fit end up getting married. Some of those couples looked like Ron Burgundy drinking milk on a hot day, but turned out to be like peanut butter and jam in the end…perfect together (of course as long as its strawberry jam and crunchy peanut butter).

So I guess what I am saying is if you do YWAM or another missions organisation or just go into the field for missions don’t date there, but do date there but then don’t date there or better yet just don’t drink beer. And as well remember God always provides and by that I mean the right mate of course, not the beer.

That is my so called inspirational wisdom for the time being, so enjoy it.

A Simple Message

Jesus said go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28.19)

Pretty simple right?

Well, maybe not. Back then the fastest way they got around was camel or donkey maybe. Nowadays though in a matter of hours we can be in another country crossing over land and seas in an instance.

Jesus still says go into all the world and make disciples (Mark 16.15)

Its still a simple message, that requires a simple action.

The message of Jesus is not a formula. It’s not Algebra trying to find its x. It’s not science trying to decide whether Pluto is a planet or not (by the way Pluto you will always be a planet to me). It is simple. Jesus left the comfort of Heaven and God and His glory to be a man. One that was mocked, spit on and beat up crowned with thorns and then put to death in a horrific way, a way generally meant for criminals. He survived. And by that I mean the mission His Father sent Him to do was accomplished. He died on that cross for the lives of us all. You, me, Kelly Clarkson, your neighbour, your boss, the homeless guy you see on your block, Eminem and the rest of the world. He didn’t die so we could continue to sin, He died so we could be saved from sin, and by saved not just watch out for the ball about to hit you saved, but reaching out to grab your hand to pull you up from drowning in the water saved.

God is calling. Jesus is calling. The Holy Spirit is leading.

Answer. Follow. Share. Go.

Birthdays.

Birthdays according to facebook:
1. the day when all your friends gang up on you for good

2. the day when you become the most popular on facebook (of course outside of celebrities, television shows, any one else that has a birthday on the same day and Justin Bieber)

3. the day when no matter what time login your wall and inbox are full

4. the day when people you haven’t talked to in days, weeks, months or years decided its a good day to write you (and of course those you talk to regularly as well)

5. your special day of birth and now even facebook acknowledges it

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6. the day when family says happy birthday without saying happy birthday

7. finally the day I choose to avoid the hoopla and wait a couple of days before going back online so I can try and manage all the chaos

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thanks to everyone who said happy birthday in some form whether it be via message, wall post, phone text/phone call or in person. For my first birthday in ‘MERICA in three years and first one I worked on in around four years it was a pretty sweet as day.

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Chur.

Michelle asks if Tim and I had peanut butter and jam to eat. I respond Michelle do we need air to breath? We both laugh, cause you know there is no Tim and Kyle without PB&J. What a fun time!

Michelle asks if Tim and I had peanut butter and jam to eat. I respond Michelle do we need air to breath? We both laugh, cause you know there is no Tim and Kyle without PB&J. What a fun time!