Identity and the First Commandment

For some time I have been wanting to create a blog series, so we will be looking at how the ten commandments relate to identity. It all starts with God’s words in Exodus 20:1 – 3… And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Before God gave the commandments, he made a statement of significance, a statement that is thematic throughout the Bible, a statement regarding his relationship with the image bearers he created. I am the Lord your God. Your God. While it is not used here, there is a complementary statement that the Lord uses in other places where he states his desire to be their God (for instance, see Exodus 6:7 and Leviticus 26:12), yet it is logically implied even here – I am the Lord your God, hence you will be my people. From the beginning, God has been concerned about our identity – the sense of self that we, as his image bearers possess. Our identity was always intended to be from the reference point of being his people. Our sense of significance was supposed to come from being the people of a God who was daily present with us. Our security was supposed to come from being the people of a faithful God. Our feeling of wholeness and love was supposed to come from being the people of a God who does not need anything from us. The Bible is a story of a God who wants people to see themselves as his, and of...

Answer the Phone

Ours is an age of media and instant communication. There is really no way to avoid that fact, particularly if you are in a sector that interacts with people. Like churches. Virtually every one of us carries in our pockets or on our hips the capacity to communicate with almost everyone anywhere we are or they are. The phone has become an incredibly powerful tool. Without saying so explicitly, this sets up several expectations in our culture of communication. One of these expectations is the efficacy of the communication. We have a lower and lower tolerance for not being able to reach someone on the other end of the line. Businesses understand accessibility. While I don’t think churches should be run like they are a business, those leading churches should understand accessibility better than anyone else. So, it is within the culture of communication that I have found several curious trends when contacting churches. It seems that many churches are not easy to communicate with and might be losing credibility because of a lack of awareness of what they are communicating by their lack of awareness of communication expectations. Each of these are real things I have encountered. Multiple times. And they are frustrating for the people you are claiming you want to serve. Avoid these at all costs. No answer during office hours. Answering machines are an amazing tool. But when the outgoing message tells me that I’ve called during office hours, yet no one has answered the phone, that communicates indifference. Now I realize you may have to run to the bathroom, or be engaging someone in...

Author and Perfecter

The celebration of Christmas and the birth of the Christ will be gone before we know it, and for many that brings on the holiday blues. Fun is over. Bills will come in. The extra weight is here to stay. But while the celebration is over, the reality is that Christmas never leaves us. In fact, everyday Christ is active in this world. Our celebration should be all the year through. Hebrews 12:2 is our reason to give thanks everyday: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. There is a lot there for which to give thanks. But my eyes today, in the shadow of Christmas, are on author and perfecter. The NIV uses author, in the ESV it is translated founder. Either way it means that Christ is the enabler of the value of our faith. He’s the foundation. This is the theological idea of justification. Few of us seem to have a problem giving Jesus charge over this aspect of our salvation. By the sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection, we are declared righteous. Christ is essential. He’s the author. But this verse does not just declare Christ as author of our faith. Giving us a new status. It also declares him the perfecter. This is sanctification, the process of being saved. This is where we have trouble. For we often function as if perfecting our faith is up to us. Here are three quick observations about this...

The Impact of Identity

Trying harder to produce ‘good’ fruit or mustering the willpower to just stop producing damaging, unhealthy, or unbiblical fruit is an exhausting exercise in self effort. Is there a better way? This video is a brief explanation of the impact identity has on our lives, and how developing awareness of identity is more beneficial and biblical than managing fruit. The Impact of Identity from Scott Perkins on Vimeo. Grab The Impact of Identity worksheet here. I work with pastors and the people they lead to energize discipleship and improve leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ. Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group/staff coaching,  speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact...

Adopting Roles or Identities

All of us have multiple roles that we assume each day. Even each hour. These different roles all come with differing expectations and are met with various levels of success and failure. Father, son, husband, coach, helper, volunteer, blogger, teacher, friend, and writer guy are a few of my own roles. Have you thought about the multitude of roles in your own life? Create a list of your own roles. For everyone, the danger is when these roles become components of our identity. As has been mentioned before on this blog, our identity is our sense of self, what makes us valuable or acceptable. When that identity or part of our identity is challenged, the result is not simply a failure – something to be grieved over, learned from, or done again  – it now becomes something that affects our sense of worth. The challenge uncovers shame. Example: If my identity, my sense of significance, is tied up in being a father, then what happens when my daughter acts out at a restaurant? Or won’t go to bed on time? Simple stuff. Yet, it becomes something more than a challenge to my role. Within me it becomes a statement of worth. Because it is a failure of identity, I am unacceptable. And I experience shame; anger, anxiety, or insecurity are a likely result. On the other hand, if my identity is secure in Christ, then my fatherhood is a role. My daughter’s actions, while possibly difficult to cope with at times and a source of frustration, will not cause me to doubt my significance or acceptability – those are rooted...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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