Summary: This is the first message in the Lousy T-Shirt series. It’s all about our identity: how it’s formed, how it shapes us, and how it changes because of Christ.

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This message is an adption of one from Vince Antonucci - he wrote the book and has loaned this series out - I preach shorter than he does, so I had to adapt his quite a bit...

Today we start this new series at Phoenix based on a book by a guy named Vince. In fact, we are doing the same series that they did a few weeks ago - and it’s all about trying to live life (this thing we call a Christian life) to the fullest... Jesus says in John 10:10 “I came so that you could have life and life in abundance” - but if most of us are honest - we don’t always feel that way. It’s like when our parents go on a great vacation to the bahamas and all we get is the T-shirt. They did all these amazing things, saw incredible sights, lived to the full - but all we got was a t-shirt. Well, I don’t want my life to be like that. I want to experience all that God has to give me - I don’t want just the t-shirt - I want the whole enchilada.

So tonight we are talking about our identity. Who are you? Who are you really? ...and do you like what you see? Are you happy with who you’ve become? Your identity is pretty important in deciding what kind of a person you are - but did you know that God says, as a Christian you have a new identity. There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creature, the old is gone, new has come.” That sounds simple right? We become a Christian we get a new identity - but it’s really not that simple. Our old identity is hard to shake...

I want us to watch a clip from Ice Age 2: the Meltdown - and meet Ellie - she’s a Mammoth that thinks she’s a possum. Manny has been searching for another mammoth - he thinks he’s the only one left, but when he finds Ellie, he begins to realize that her identity is a little out of whack. (Role Clip of Ellie’s introduction)

Can you imagine all that Ellie has gone through, trying to live out this false identity? In the story of the movie, everyone is fleeing because of this cataclysmic event. She joins Manny on this journey, and as hard as he tries to convince her she’s a mammoth he can’t, but something triggers her memory. She remembers that as a baby she was orphaned and raised by possums. It all begins to come into focus and she starts to live as a mammoth, but it’s not easy living this new life... But the only way for her to find love - big hairy mammoth love - is to drop that old identity and embrace and live in the new identity.

Where do you get your identity? Did you know that your identity is formed pretty early - messages that you hear often and early are messages that become the script for your life. If you hear, “you’re ugly, you are a nobody, you can’t do that” chances are you will grow up to become someone who thinks that they are ugly, are a nobody and can’t do anything. The opposite is also true. You can have so much positive reinforcement - so much positive self image that you can try to do things that you are no good at, but you believe you are... I think that’s what happens with American Idol tryouts - all these people have been told, “you are good, you sing great,” but then it takes Simon, Paula and Randy to say,” dude, you really stink.” Yet how many of those people storm out saying, you are wrong... I’m a possum, not a mammoth!

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