What defines your identity?

What if the new 2017 Fall college student was able to say to the hazing rite offered by the campus Greek Squad:  “No thanks – my identity is in Christ”?

What if the latest job application was denied but still you could say in your heart, “Thank God my identity is not based upon their approval of me”?

What if your children’s rejection of your hope in Christ, though painful, did not unravel you, but you could still say, “I love my children, but my hope is not found in them but in Christ alone”?

What if a disability, a disease, a physical catastrophe, even old age are all whispering, “you’re not worth much these days” was met with “my heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26)?

What if your boyfriend, or employer, or a certain other who can elevate your status wants you to have sex with him/her was found to be a cheap commodity compared to the extravagant wealth that you already have in Christ?

What if your hero is no longer heroic – yet, your eyes are still on Christ?

What if hoarding the things of this earth finally felt empty compared to the abundance of joy that is found in Christ’s love for you?

What if you could move toward whatever fear is telling you to run – simply because no matter what happens you will still have Christ – and he would be enough – no matter WHAT HAPPENS!!??

Today is Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. What if from here on out you will fight against identity-dysfunction by preaching the gospel to your heart? What if you were no longer a slave to fear, but knew your identity as a child of God? Here is a song that our worship team is learning and will lead in congregational worship soon. Enjoy!


When Sunday becomes both the hardest and the most hopeful day of the week at the same time.

Image result for juxtaposition

I remember when I first heard the word ‘juxtaposition’ used in a sentence. To this day, I never use it because I think it sounds snooty. But, Sunday has become just that: a contrast of two opposites at the same time. On Sunday, I now and forever will feel sour and sweetness, hope and despair, joy and anger, ‘dream way’ and ‘dead end’ at the same time. Corporate Worship with the saints on Sunday reminds me of years and years punching the time clock with my dad. Like Sanford and Son, though many miles apart, yet, my dad and I worked side-by-side preaching the gospel, shepherding and discipling the saints, evangelizing the lost. I sorely miss my Monday reviews talking with my dad how things went on Sunday.

Each Lord’s day was like working with my dad. And now that he’s no longer working with me, I feel very alone in the shop that we once milled about. Sunday brings this out: a feeling that feels like my right arm is missing but I must raise it anyway. It’s very hard to do something when you feel like a piece of you is missing. And this brings me to saying something to you, dear reader:

When your Sunday becomes your hardest day of the week, it just might be a mixed blessing. Why? Because Christ-centered worship exposes what is broken with this world, and you need to be reminded weekly of that brokenness lest you become too infatuated with the false hope that this world offers. People who spend their Sunday sleeping in, then get up and make a late breakfast, attend a local baseball game, start eating burgers by mid afternoon, stop by the grocery store to pick up a few copies of the latest tabloid scoop at the check-out, spend 3 hours on social media getting all whacked out over politics, wrap the day up purchasing a few lottery tickets and going to sleep midway through the latest Redbox fair, NEVER feel the awful weight of their sin and the consequences of sin – death. And consequently, NEVER feel the awesome hope that is found in Christ’s forgiveness of sin and his death-defying Resurrection. Sunday is now my hardest day of the week because worship exposes the deep, deep loss that comes with living in this world.

When I hear ‘Tis So sweet to trust in Jesus’ – it now hurts because my need to trust in Jesus is more urgent than before my dad died. When we sing ‘In Christ Alone My Hope is Found’ it now hurts more deeply because I feel more deeply my need to put even more hope in Christ alone. When on Sunday morning we read together, “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4), it is like a knife in my heart because I feel more deeply the present impact of “the former things” having lost my dad. Do not be surprised then if Sunday becomes your hardest day of the week. But there it is: you will find it your most hopeful day of the week at the same time. Why? Because what worship exposes as loss it also then offers the greatest hope: Christ really does become your all in all. Christ becomes sweeter the more you lose in this life.

So dear reader, if the losses in this life are beginning to pile up, and you feel like skipping church because it reminds you now of that loss on a deeper level, you are prime for putting even more hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t let the awful pain of loss deter you from the very worship that exposes your need to put more hope in Christ. Your Joy depends on it.