First of all, I am pleased to announce that our new Leadership Team Member is Gary Johnson!  So the Leadership Team is Gary, Darryl Boyd, Lonnie Cunningham and Jeannie Jury.  I certainly hope you are praying for them as much as you pray for me.

As of today, we begin a new book to study:  Ephesians.  Paul’s aim of this book is to help us know who we are before God through Christ, and to live according to that identity.  Not to get ahead of myself, but Chapter 4 has two very important passages to me.  4:10-12, which are my orders as your pastor;  …to equip the saints for works of service.  What follows is a description of what a mature believer looks like:

Ephesians 4:13-16 (ESV) 13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

My hope in covering this book is to help you identify who you are through Jesus (who He means you to be).  We have all had people try to force on us their ideas of who they believe we should be.  The more we understand who we have been made to be, the easier it is to stand up to those (perhaps) well-meaning (but misguided) individuals and remain true to who we are!

For example, I have always been big (I used to be in really good shape, I am still in shape, round is a shape) and my dad expected me to play sports.  I really enjoyed being on the swim team and the dive team and was really good at both, but I had no real desire to play baseball, basketball or football.  In fact, what I have always really loved is singing.  Singing!  I was built for sports!  Was I a disappointment to Dad? – you bet I was!  He got over it.  Oh, I tried to play.  The basketball coach suggested I try track.  The football coach was perfectly willing to sacrifice my body for a “win.”  Baseball bored me.  I actually tried track; turns out I was pretty decent at the pole vault.  That, however, was not what Dad had in mind.  It caused problems for both of us for a number of years.

A great example of someone who knows who they are is Bev’s sister-in-law, Pamela.  There are certain roles that seem to be expected of a pastor’s wife; she will lead the women’s Bible study and play the piano.  When Pamela was asked if she did either, she smiled and said, “No, that is not who I am.”  If anyone had a problem with that, it was their problem, not Pamela’s.

When we know who we are, we also know who we are not, and that is a very handy thing to know.