This past weekend a guy name Travis spoke at our weekend high school ministry service. He’s on staff with me at Saddleback Church. He spoke on the topic of “When I don’t know and when I do know who I am”. I thought he brought up some very interesting points and so I thought I would share them with you all. Here are my thoughts on three points that I took away from his message. I’ve also added some questions for you to ask yourself as you think about who you are in Christ. These are some of the questions I ask myself when I’m doing a spiritual checkup of my life.(John 1:12)
1. When I don’t know who I am in Christ, I try to be someone I’m not. – You begin to identify yourself by your life experiences (parents divorce, sexual abuse, being bullied, bad boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, etc…), and by the words of other people (verbal abuse from your parents or people you trust). I believe before Christ we all lived in this world and some of us even after we accept Christ. Here you have to ask yourself:
What’s motivating me to be who I am are trying to be?
Who am I trying to be?
Am I living for the approval of others?
2. When I know who I am in Christ, I understand the importance of my life. – You walk in the knowledge that you were not created to live for self. You were created for a purpose that deals with the eternal and not the temporal. When you realize who you are in Christ, you realize that you are a blessing to the people that are in your life. You realize that God created you to be loved by him, and in return love others the same way. You can live completely honest. ask yourself:
Who do I belong to?
Why was I created?
What does my life mean to the others?
3. When I know who I am, I can fulfill my purpose in life. – When you know who you are in Christ, you understand the power that comes with being a child of God. You understand that you are empowered through Christ to do amazing things, so that people may know Christ and his love. Through Christ’s life, death and resurrection we received the power to live a life pleasing to God and a life full of value and purpose.
My prayer for you is that you would know and understand who you are in Christ. I encourage you to ask yourself do you know who God created you to be? Then spend time reading your bible. Don’t believe the lies of Satan who says you have to be enslaved to your past or mistakes. Read expose it talks more about the lie. Ask yourself one question:
I’ve kind of built this list to help me remember some important questions to ask parents when they call for help. The conversations drive the questions that I ask, but for the most part I make it through most of the questions every call. I remember a call I had from a parent and it lasted for about an hour. The funny thing is she pretty much talked herself through the whole thing. Basically, the call was successful not because of my wisdom, but my asking the right questions allowed her to think more critically about the situation than she had before. I hope this is something you can use and even add to. I’m sure there are more great questions…
How old is the student?
What school do they go to?
What grade are they in?
What is the students situation?
How long has it been like this?
Do you have any idea as to why they are acting this way?
How is their relationship with mom/dad/siblings?
Are they seeing someone professionally?
What have you already tried?
How can I best serve you?
Is the student a Christian?
Are they involved in church?
Have they been in a small group (life group) before?
On a scale of 1 to 10 how violent do they get?
What’s the parents relationship like? Married/Divorced/Get along either way?
I remember having a conversation with a student who was not a christian and I ask him what did he think about Christians? He quickly said “Christians are too judgmental”. As we began to talk I found out that it had nothing to do with him but everything to do with how bad the church treated his family. Now, I can’t say if the church was right or wrong but what I can say is this kid needed an encounter with Christ. He needed to know what Christ thought about him and his family. We talked for a while and it was cool to see his heart change towards Christ and the church. This got me thinking about how we seem to be defined by crazy-makers or just incidents beyond our control. I know there are a lot of students who need to encounter Christ just like this. I really want to challenge you all to be proactive this up coming school year:
Pray for students at your school to have a real encounter with Christ.
Pray that God would use you to connect others to Him.
Pray for opportunities to share Christ.
Pray for boldness to share Christ.
Treat others like you want to be treated.
Show dignity to the outcast in your school.
Do what is right. Care more about your character than popularity this year.
Make these seven things your prayer everyday during the school year and watch God bring people into your life or path who needs a real encounter with Christ. Don’t say to yourself I’m not equipped to lead people to knowing Christ. You only have to be two things to be used by God ‘willing and available’ which both take zero skill.
I had a parent call concerned about her teen. The student had done something the parents didn’t see coming and it really rocked their relationship. So the parent called and told me what happened and that they wanted me to talk with their teen. Before we got off the phone the parent said, “oh and by the way, they don’t want to come talk to you. I’m making them come anyways!” Shocker right! The reality is that this is the nature of all the calls I get. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to talk with someone either if I’ve done something wrong. Especially if my parents are going to make me. Well, I’ve seen God work miracles in the lives of students through our conversations. So after I work through things with the students I started asking them what were their thoughts about meeting with me. These are some of things they said:
I was just going to try and fix them.
They would share as little as possible and give short answers.
I can’t help them because I don’t know the whole story.
They feel judged.
I’m going to help their parents control them.
The most common response amongst the students I’ve asked was that they think I have automatically taken their parents side on the issue so why bother?
I’ve used this information to help me navigate conversations with students. Here are a few of the many steps I take in response to the way the students are thinking:
First, I remember only God can change the heart. So I take time to pray for the time I’ll be meeting with the student.
I do not jump right into talking about the problem.
I intentionally ask questions about their family relationships, school, sports or a hobby of theirs. -The problem tells you nothing about who the student is, so I ask questions in these areas to give me a more holistic view of the student.
I’m not here to add onto the guilt or shame the student already feels. I’m here to connect the student to Christ. So I’m careful to use language that encourages and pushes them in the right direction. Speaking the truth in love just like Christ did. You don’t want to add to the people in their life speaking negative to them.
Ask questions about their walk with Christ or the lack of their relationship with Christ. I’ve found that a lot of students problems stems from problems in their relationship with Christ or the lack there of. Of course there are practical steps the student needs to take but Christ is the ultimate solution we must push.
I’m transparent with my own life when the holy spirit leads me to be in relating with the student. – Students respond when they know you can truly understand them. Word of Caution: “Be lead by the Holy Spirit”.
I’m very conscious to the fact that I need to see the student the way God sees them and not allow anything that they have done to alter my view.
There is definitely a lot more that I could say as I think about this topic. Interacting with students can be easy when they think your awesome, but can be very challenging when you have to be the leader who has to speak the truth. I’ve seen God work miracles in the lives of students. I’ve seen God change their hearts and instead of being a hassle to their parents they become a blessing to their parents.
So I got a chance to own a weekend in our High School Ministry. I’ve programed a lot of services but this time I actually got to teach. I kicked off a three week series in the book of Ephesians called “Before and After”. It was awesome because I got to preach the gospel to students. My message was on the fact that before Christ we were indebted to sin, trapped by Satan, but most importantly we were loved by Christ. I talked about the fact that Christ loved us while we were enslaved to sin, completely rejecting his love for us and how His love is like no other love anyone has ever experienced. I also broke down some christian stereotypes such as…
My life has to be like my friends life if I want to accept Christ. – Jesus Christ wants an authentic relationship with you and it will be an original relationship unlike anyone else. Stop comparing.
I gotta clean my life up before I come to Christ. – You don’t have the power to clean your life up. Receive Jesus Christ as you are and allow him to clean your life up. He’s the only one who can.
I’ve done so many bad things in my life that God has to be mad at me. – God is not mad at you but madly in love with you. Don’t run away from him but run towards him. It’s never to late.
I have to work to receive Christ into my heart or be saved. You can’t be good enough even on your best day. I can’t say it any clearer than the scripture verse I read.
Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Here is some of what I shared on video. Love serving Christ!!!!
Receiving Christ means believing Christ to be who he says he is and accepting what he did on the cross for you and I, and if we truly believe that, then our lives will begin to reflect that belief, and even more so as you learn more about him. Christ doesn’t want your performance but he wants your heart.
I was recently asked the question how do I break up with someone and not seem like a bad person. In which I replied it is nearly impossible. The bible doesn’t talk about this subject specifically but it does speak on how we should treat one another. Luke 6:31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
It is so important that you take being in a relationship seriously (Dating Right!!). Starting a relationship right doesn’t take away from the fact that breaking up is hard to do, but when you start a relationship right you increase the chances of not being destroyed if you do break up. If breaking up with someone is the road you must take, consider these steps in light of Luke 6:31.
First and foremost you must weigh the reasoning behind ending things. Sometimes the reasoning is something that can be worked out. Your emotions might not allow you to see that. Talk with and go over the reasoning with someone you know will tell you the truth and give Godly wisdom. Also, they need to have both of your best interest at heart.
It must be done face to face. Don’t be a COWARD!!!!!
Be respectful to the girl/guy. Don’t talk to everyone about it. If you have anything questionable to say about the person share it with that person only.
Be open and honest – Communication is key. Make sure everything is said that needs to be said.
Don’t prolong the inevitable. The sooner the better. They will appreciate you not wasting their time later down the road.
Give each other space. Be cordial when you see each other but don’t feel the pressure to be best friends.