Hello my name is…

January 10, 2021   /   Jesus Church

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Hello My Name is…

(Part 1)

Happy New Year! – Starting a new series on Identity & Calling

  • Starting off the new year… Ironic how many 20/20 puns there were
    • I think it was probably the opposite
    • 2020 for many people was more like the year of fog
    • Where u were lucky if you could see 3 feet in front of your face
  • But starting into 2021… Not that changing a date fixes anything
    • But I think w/ all the time many of us had to spend “not doing”
    • There is a question of what am I doing… what is my purpose

It’s a question of Identity & Calling

Important: What we believe of Identity/Calling shapes who we become

  • It has a huge impact on what we do or don’t do with our life
    • Because the journey of discovery is a life long journey
    • And it’s a journey that all followers of Jesus are invited to go on
  • Sadly a lot of us never take that invitation or give up on it early
    • But I believe one of our key tasks of following Jesus
    • Is discovering our Identity & Calling
    • To say: God why am I here and what do you want me to do

TAG: So lets pray – Give time to Jesus – And dive in for next few months


Many of u know my daughter… more life/creativity than I’ll ever have

  • A couple weeks ago she did something totally Lyla – Super cute
    • It just made us smile & laugh… her brain is just so unique
    • And we can’t get enough of her
    • And she just goes all day until she crashes at night
  • That night I was putting her to bed… something was bothering her
    • At first didn’t want to talk about it – But wasn’t her sweet self
    • Finally said: I feel like when people laugh/smile when I do stuff
    • It’s like they are just making fun of me and don’t care

It was one of those parent moments – U know response better be good

  • If its not… gonna be paying for therapy for next 15 years
    • But it really broke my heart…
    • I said honey – You are amazing and my smile and laughter
    • Its from the joy you bring me just like everyone around you
    • You bring life just through being you… and if brings happiness
  • And I asked her… do you understand how special that is… you are
    • She said – You have to say that… you’re my dad
    • But I asked her… when we smile and laugh at what you do
    • And you think we don’t care – Is that the truth or a lie
      • She said: It’s a lie
      • I said: What’s the truth
      • She said: That you love me and think I’m special

And that was that (for now)… but next day was better – back to normal

  • What would have happened if we weren’t there to combat that lie
    • What if that lie was internalized… never exposed as a lie
    • Or (worse) what if I was there but added to the lie
    • And what if she started 2 believe the lie… and it became truth
  • And then think 10/20/30 years down the road
    • How would that lie (truth) influence her life trajectory
    • My guess is that she would land in a very different place
    • Than if she was secure in the fact she is loved & special

Point: Our understand identity/calling is so important

And this is something pointed out by many Xian leaders over the years

Augustine (400AD – Confessions)

How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self? Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee.

John Calvin

Our wisdom consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But these are connected together by many ties, it’s not easy to determine which of the two precedes & gives birth to the other.

Henri Nouwen

Your true identity is as a child of God. This is the identity you have to accept. Once you have claimed it and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world.

Point: Jesus teachers have always said: Self awareness isn’t just therapy

  • It is a key part of our relationship with Jesus
    • Just think… how many pastors start a church – know theology
    • At some point imploded and dragged 1000’s down with them
    • All because they were blind to their own shadows
  • Running from a father wound… lie planted as truth… scars buried
    • Or couples with so much potential – but ended b4 they began
    • Because they couldn’t see their own brokenness
  • How many parents do u know… no clue of their own darkness
    • All of that unhealth poured out on you… family… friends
    • Unintentionally – but still transferring it on to next generation

Self awareness (or lack there of) has a direct affect on us & relationships

  • It affects our relationship to God – Spouse – Kids – Friends – Boss

Pete Scazzero – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

The vast majority of us go to our graves without knowing who we are. We unconsciously live someone else’s life, or at least some one else’s expectations for us. This does violence to ourselves, our relationship with God and ultimately to others.

  • So this isn’t just about self-awareness… but Spiritual Formation
    • When I look at myself to discover who I am
    • A large part is beauty and good
    • But another significant part is brokenness and disfunction
  • And yes we are saved/delivered/free
    • But as Paul says… we are not perfect yet… being sanctified
    • To be self-aware is to discover the GOOD – BAD – UGLY in us
      • The places we are wounded… need to heal
      • The places we aren’t wounded… just kinda messed up
  • This is why many never go on journey of self-discovery
    • It’s too much work… scary… don’t feel safe to face ur dark side
    • And you have to feel safe to face some of those hard things

Instead people live in the cycle of unhealthy/toxic patterns

  • But facing ur darkside is the beginning of healing/freedom/growth
    • Its what we call spiritual formation
    • Its what it means to be conformed to be like Jesus
  • And the BEST PART: As u become more like Jesus…
    • Ironically you don’t become more like a clone (kool-aide)
      • You actually become more unique… not less
      • You actually become your true self
  • B/C u stop getting sucked into stereo types of our society
    • Which is everyone has to be different… so actually no one is
    • Following Jesus makes u the best version of you
      • Become more Jesus-ier… become more you-ier

Some of u might think… where do u get all this from

Well… the only place to find truth – It comes right from Jesus

Matt. 3:13-17 (NKJV)

  • Scholars/theologians argue on when Jesus becomes self-aware
    • Some say it was very young… toddler age
    • Some say it was 12 at the synagogue
    • Some say it was right here
  • Any way… this was a significant moment for Jesus in his journey
    • Heavens are ripped open… God talking from the sky
  • We read that pretty non-chulauntly… God > Father / Jesus > Son
    • That’s true… this is about identity – The Son of God
    • But also… the Messiah was named as the “Son of God”
      • Which means this is about IDENTITY – also about CALLING
      • And the two are joined at the hip

We live in a culture that doesn’t really care about what you do

  • As long as you make money… famous… good looking… funny…
    • And the church will over react to the other extreme
    • It’s not about what you do… it’s about who you are
    • Think of the cliché: We are human beings… not human doings
  • Please go read Genesis – We were commanded 2 do/rule/maintain
    • You cannot separate your being and doing
    • What you do flows out of who you are (visa versa)
  • So 4 Jesus… his identity (Son of God) tied 2 calling (as the Messiah)
    • And the same is true for you and me
    • Our identity (called to be) is tied to calling (called to do)

Matt. 4:1-11 (NKJV)

In story Jesus is tempted by the devil… but notice what he’s tempted by

  • Its not Money/Drugs/Alcohol (In fact it’s not even a sin – per say)
    • It’s a temptation to hand over his identity & calling
    • And settle of a status quo kind of life

TAG: And Jesus isn’t the only one to face this temptation… turn to John

Jn. 1:19-23

  • Notice that John is crystal clear on who he is AND who he isn’t
    • What he is called to do / isn’t called to do
    • And BOTH are so important (3 no’s for 1 yes)
  • He has a laser focus… not that… not that either… nope guess again
    • Who are you then: I’m the voice of one crying out in wilderness
    • It is just important to know who you aren’t
      • As it is to know who you are
      • To know what u arent called to… as much as u are called to
  • John’s firm grasp of his identity and calling… No/No/No and Yes
    • Allowed him to be effective and impactful
    • And it gave shape to his life

Third example…

Matt. 16:13

  • So now I guess everyone is confused
    • Some think John the Baptist is the Messiah
    • Now some think Jesus is John the Baptist
    • So apparently discovering identity & calling can be tricky
  • Now this last verse… Catholics & Protestants split down the middle
    • Catholics believe the “ROCK” the church is built on is Peter
      • So Peter is the ROCK of the church
      • Each pope is the descendant all the way to Pope Francis
    • Protestants believe the “ROCK” is what Peter says
      • Foundation of church is that Jesus is the Son of God
  • I lean towards the 2nd half… but easy to miss what Jesus does here
    • Jesus is actually doing a play on words
      • Peter is “Petros” in the Greek… literally means ROCK
      • Your name is rock and on this rock I’ll establish my church
    • And that doesn’t mean a building
      • It means the Kingdom of Heaven invading Earth
      • It means the fellowship of believers in relationship/unity
  • All 2 say… whoever is right – It’s a story of Peter’s identity & calling
    • And from here on out it gives shape to his life
      • This is where he becomes leader of the 12
      • And then leader of church in Jerusalem
      • And then the church in the Mediterranean
    • And later on he (like Jesus) is tempted to deny his identity
      • But he actually fails and denies his identity (multiple times)
      • “I don’t know the man”
      • But then there is healing on the other side of that

3 stories: Jesus… John the Baptist… Peter the Disciple

All 3 – Go on a journey to discovery identity & calling (even Jesus)

  • And part of following Jesus… going on the same journey
    • If we are going to follow in His footsteps…
    • We are called to his journey as well – Step by Step
  • And for most of us – its a process… not an event
    • There are key moments on the journey
    • But it is a journey that will last a lifetime

1 framework on journey – From Prof. Bobby Clinton (Fuller Seminary)

  • Did a huge study of 1000+ xian leaders (Bible/History/Pastors)
    • To see: Do their lives have patterns from the journey they go on
    • In the end he saw significant patters
    • Found 7 common stages b/w almost all of those he studied
  • Sacred Foundations
    • What ur born into: family/gender/personality/year/economics
    • And you have little to no control over all of it
    • But these are first signposts to point you to identity & calling
  • Discovery
    • This is sorta messy/awkward
      • And we get the Jesus in Jordan kinda moments (revelation)
      • But then we just sorta wander in the wilderness for awhile
    • It’s a season of learning… failing… getting back up
      • Do somethings – People are just blown away… amazed
      • Other things – People are like “Don’t quit ur day job!”
    • But that is all part of this stage… you fail and succeed
      • And learn through all of it
      • Learn more of who u are… and aren’t (failure can be a gift)
  • Stepping out
    • This is where you at least have a good idea of identity & calling
      • But at some point you actually have to step out and do it
      • Take the job/get married/have a child/start the business
      • You have to eventually risk it and take that step
  • Getting Good
    • Many famous studies (books written on it)
      • It takes around 10,000 hours to get good at anything
      • So that means – 40 hours/week… that’s a decade of ur life
    • So if you start at 25… not until 35 that you’ll start getting good
      • Sales/Marketing/Parenting/Teaching the Bible…
      • I’m 6 years in – Reason we didn’t record early sermons
    • Frustrating thing about parenting… just when ur getting it
      • Your kids turn 18 and go off to college
      • And its all too late… only hope left is grandkids
  • The wall
    • Not really a stage… b/c it can happen anywhere on journey
      • And you could hit it more than once in this journey
      • And it’s what St. John called the “Dark night of the Soul”
    • Where identity & calling is tried/tested… but refinded as well
      • And a lot of people tragically never get past the wall
      • They just go back to the easy way… status quo… beginning
    • But if u will stay strong and not give u – come out on other side
      • And you will be a strong… changed human being
      • Maybe beat up a bit… but forged in fire
      • And a sense of inner freedom and confidence in who u are
    • And again – you will go through this… it’s not a stage
      • I’ve been through at least 2 in my life
      • They are brutal and dark in the moment
      • But coming thru it… I thank God for those times (changed)
  • Staying faithful and fruitful
    • Much different stage than discovery or stepping out
      • It’s more like in your late 30’s/40’s/50’s
      • Different emotionally – Idealism of youth is worn down
    • Many times there is some dealing with disappointment
      • Maybe ur tired… well into ur life and with perspective now
      • There are responsibilities that now take president
      • Realize other things are possible to pursue right now
    • But this stage (longest) can actually be the best… most fruitful
      • We live in culture that idolizes youth (looks/vitality/youth)
      • But that is kingdom of America… not kingdom of God
      • If u set success not by social media but teaching of Jesus
        • That value system says every decade better than last

Ps. 92 – You will be like a palm tree… bearing fruit in your old age

    • Palm tree is 1 of few trees in world… never stops bearing fruit
      • Actually bares more fruit the older it gets
      • This is the picture for a follower of Jeuss
      • And ur best years by God’s kingdom… keep getting better
        • Takes faithfulness… w/o faithfulness – no fruitfulness
  • Ending well
    • Not many get here… but we all can get here
      • There are so many that start well – end in disaster
      • The Bible is full of stories like this (Saul)
      • Actually only 30% of Bible characters end well
    • In the end… ur character is ur destiny – you can’t outrun it
      • So ending well is really hard
      • So many end their marriage/ministry/career… not well
      • Again… all of us can but not many of us do
  • Afterglow
    • Elderly sweet grandparent that made it through… failed a ton
      • But kept with it and learned every step of the way
      • And everyone wants to hear from you… ur advise
      • You don’t even have to do anything… just live in afterglow
    • This is living 80 hard years… I put in the work…
      • I’m just gonna hang out and love on my grandkids
      • Don’t remember their names – But I don’t need to

TAG: And very few people live to this… but every single one of us can

Point is: This is our journey – It isn’t a checklist to get through

  • We live in different times… 1st century where u can do anything
    • And you don’t have to just follow in what dad does
    • If your name is smith – You’re the next town blacksmith
    • No you have the freedom to do whatever you want
  • And our children even more than us (Greatest calling as a parent)
    • Proverbs: Train up a child in the way they should go (STORY)
      • We got Joey “Catan” for Xmas… we’ve been playing it a lot
      • Lyla made her own game called “Catool” [PIC]
        • Wanted us to play it… we did… it was fun
    • But it is my job to see that – help point her towards her gifts
      • But when we let ipad’s babysit (I’m guilty too)
      • Or when parents are absent
      • Or we’re just not available… emotional/mental/physical
  • This world of “I can do anything I want” can become aimless
    • It’s why so many just sorta wander through their 20’s or 30’s
    • So its now normal to live
      • Tired… fearful… unmotivated… insecure
      • Paralyzed… commitment phobia… scared of failure

And if that is you… you are not alone

  • But this isn’t just to paint a bleak picture but to say…
    • It’s more important than ever to go on this journey
  • It’s a journey that is anything but easy… but it is also healing
    • And part of you will always want to take the easy road
    • To turn the stones to bread… instead of be nailed to the cross
  • But at each fork… there’s Jesus saying “Come and follow me”
    • And this IS NOT something to do alone
    • This community needs to be there for each other
    • But that is up to you – Reach out and allow others in
      • We need it… Jesus wouldn’t have made church if we didn’t

Story – Elderly Rabbi named Zuysa

In the coming world, they will not ask me: Why were you not Moses? They will ask me, Why were you not Zuysa?

  • Meaning when you come to the end and stand before Jesus
    • He won’t ask you why were you not like _________
    • Why didn’t u ________ like him… think like him… work like him
  • What God cares about is that u would be who u were created to be
    • You have that freedom and ability to become that
    • If you are willing to put in the work
    • Trust God… and preserver through the walls of life
  • And I can’t give you a map… but over the next several weeks
    • We will see we have a guide and his name is Jesus
    • He wants to lead you… if you will let him



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