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Summary: This message is the first in the "I AM" series that focuses on knowing Jesus. It deals with our first impressions of Jesus and how they can differ from who he really is.

“I AM: The Jesus We Think We Know”

Part 1 - Impressions

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**NOTE: THIS IS A CONCEPT OUTLINE OF THE MESSAGE, NOT THE FULL MANUSCRIPT. GRAPHICS AND MULTIMEDIA ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS SERIES UPON REQUEST.

Video Clip - “Lost [Season 1]: Walkabout” [ch.6; 00:39:10 – 00:41-34]

Slide 1

In this scene from the TV show “Lost”, the character John Locke is attempting to undertake a walkabout.

• “Walkabout” is a term referring to the belief that Australian Aborigines embark upon a rite of passage for a boy entering into the next stage of his life as a young man

• where he goes out and walks the trails of his ancestors and relives their journeys and accomplishments.

• For John Locke, his walkabout was of a spiritual nature, a journey of self-discovery and identity. He was attempting to work out and find an answer for the great question “Who Am I?”

Slide 2

We see in this scene Locke’s frustration and anger as he is categorized and classified by the tour guide as unable to participate in the walkabout due to his physical condition.

• The guide knows nothing more about John Locke than what he sees in front of him

• but he makes his determination of who Locke is and what he is or isn’t capable of based on that first impression

• his impression is of a man in a wheelchair, unable to walk, and for that reason, unable to participate in a journey of this magnitude.

Locke replies to this casual dismissal with, “You don’t know who you’re dealing with – don’t you tell me what I can or can’t do!” And he continues to repeat that as the tour bus pulls away.

In the next part of the clip, though, we see a new John Locke.

• This Locke has crashed on a mysterious island

• his legs are completely healed.

• In one moment, Locke realizes that he has the opportunity not only to live as he had previously, with full control of his limbs

• he also has the opportunity to let people see him in a new way

• to allow them to see new sides of John Locke

• to make that first impression a different one.

Slide 3

The Power of Impression

Our society is governed by the power of impression. Psychology Today (Online – May 14, 2004) reported a study where untrained subjects were shown 20-30 second clips of applicants greeting interviewers, and were then asked to rate the applicants on attributes such as self-assuredness and likeability. Surprisingly, their assessments were very close to those of trained interviewers who spent at least 20 minutes with each applicant.

We rely greatly on our impressions

• We create our friendships and relationships on them.

• Careers can be made or stalled depending on how a boss or manager views our work and ability.

• Politicians and government officials are often selected not by what they actually believe and represent, but what people think they believe and represent. They have an entire staff dedicated to making sure that what they say and do leaves a positive impression on the voter.

Slide 4

Impressions play out in other parts of our lives: what we buy is greatly influenced by our first impression of a product. How many of you make purchasing decisions based on commercials? The goal of advertising is to create in us an impression of what the product is and what it has to offer and how much we need it right now.

I spent time earlier in the week with Alie, helping her buy a new bass guitar. We probably looked at every bass in two different stores, comparing them, playing them, listening to them, and going back and forth over which one sounded better, which one looked nicer, and of course, the biggest deciding factor of all: which one had the best price.

Slide 5

Impressions influence our spiritual lives.

• Our views of God, of spirituality, and of the church have all been impacted by our upbringing and our life-experiences.

• People who come from homes with abusive or neglectful fathers often have a hard time relating to and knowing God in a personal way.

• People who come from broken homes or dysfunctional families can find the concept of a church family difficult to accept and participate in.

• Those who have been raised in strict, traditional environments tend to have a harder time expressing their faith freely;

• many who have spent most of their time in “free-er” settings don’t understand the rules and disciplines of the conservative group;

• those raised with no “church background” often think both groups have issues.

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