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     As I was sitting here thinking and praying about what my next blog would be about I felt strongly in my spirit to talk about our identity.  Now, anytime a topic about an upcoming blog post comes to mind I always try to first apply it to my life and see where this topic fits in my own walk.  I can remember growing up as a kid how fluid my identity was.  My elementary school years I sort of defined myself by what my parents or teachers said about me, because they were the authoritative voices in my life.  Thats not to say that I always listened to them by any stretch of the imagination but I didn't really know I could have my own identity at this point. Then I remember my high school teenage years, the part of my life where " I knew everything" and had " life figured out".  It was these years where I wanted to branch off an be my own person.  While my parents were still a strong voice in my life, I didn't always agree with what they were saying and felt like maybe they were holding something back from me.  I remember a lot of my identity came from my style of clothes, I wore big baggy pants, that sometimes sagged, with one big ole earring in my ear. I made sure that my shoes and hat matched all the time.  I put a lot of stock in how I looked and if people thought I looked "cool".  I was also defined by the people I hung out with.  I wanted to hang with the cool kids, and the kids who were into athletics.  Some of the people I longed to be around weren't always the best influence for me but again, I thought I knew everything. 

     Then I remember my twenties, I'm finally an adult, I no longer need any permission to do anything.  I lived on my own and I worked all the time.  I wanted to have a bunch of cool "stuff" and in order to have stuff I needed money.  In order to have money I knew I needed to work a ton, so that's what I did, I worked every chance I could get. My identity was in my independence and adulthood.  Just when I thought I had life all figured out and thought I knew who I was going to be, Christ came along.  I reached a point of hitting rock bottom and the only place I could turn was back to God.  Now I knew when I gave my life to the Lord in my 20's that some things would obviously change.  I knew some of my behaviors would need to be altered but I had no clue as to how much of my current identity would be altered.  It was after my conversion that I felt a confirmation of my calling of going into the ministry that I first felt back in high school.  I knew then that God wanted me to go into the ministry and to be a pastor and it was at that time that my current identity began to morph.  I realized that I can no longer live for myself, that my life is the Lord's, and this calling required every fiber in my being.  Am I saying I'm perfect and I have reached my complete identity in Christ?  Absolutely not, it's been over 15 years since I have given my life to Christ and in those 15 years I have moved all over the country, went to college and graduate school, accepted a role as a lead pastor in North Dakota, but I am still growing.

     So what does this have to do with you?  Well let's me be blunt and ask, "What would you say is your identity"?  What is the driving force behind your life?  If I were to ask those close to you what they would say your identity is, how would they answer?  Living in a small town I noticed that when talking about people in town and trying to learn about who is who, people will often add a qualifier to a person.  So for instance " Jack" (not a real person) he goes to the Lutheran church and he is a retired farmer Or "Bill" (again not a real person) he goes to the Catholic Church and he is a truck driver.  You see those are identities, that is how people see them and I'm not saying, per se, that those descriptions are wrong in and of themselves, but that got me thinking.  Shouldn't people who are believers in Christ be known, not by the church they attend, or by their occupation but by their passion and fire for the Lord?  Shouldn't people say something like "Jack" he's a nice guy but man he won't shut up about Jesus, that's all he talks about.  We should be known by how we live, and not where we go an worship.  We should be " weird" in the eyes of unbelievers because there is something different about us.  So, again I ask, what is your identity?  Is it your occupation, your family status, your reputation in the town, how much land you own?   Or is it your walk with the Lord?  Is it the fact that your heat sings the praises of God and you want everyone you know to hear about Jesus and what he has done for you.  We are in the Easter season and now more than ever is the time we should be inviting people to church and sharing our faith, it's now that we want to see victory in our churches and our communities. It all starts with your identity and willingness to be used by God to share what He has done in our lives.  So let's all take stock of your hearts and ask the Lord what our Identity is and ask Him to give us boldness to go out and live for Him.