Summary: Are you a saint or a sinner? What is your true identity?

Your Identity

Last week, new name, new identity, new character

Illustrate – women take on name of husband (new name-new beginning)

Daddy, who am I?

- you are the my daughter…a member of the Jones family in a long line of Jones’.

- Oh that’s good, because the TV said I was a cereal lover.

Who you are comes from whose you are

What you do comes from who you are.

You are what you believe, if you believe a lie, you will live a lie.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to live your life, climbing the ladder, and find out your ladder was leaning on the wrong wall?

Story about self esteem needed here.

by Sid Galloway


Many of the animals he once cared for, back when he was a zookeeper, had destructively distorted self-perceptions. I remember a huge and powerful male gorilla, Scottie, who would duck down and cover his head, whenever a male zookeeper picked up a broom. Yet, in all the years Scottie was at that particular zoo, no man had ever hit him with a broom. So, why did Scottie believe that men were likely to hurt him? He believed it, and reacted to his belief as if it were truth, because he had been mistreated by male zookeepers way back when he was a young gorilla at another zoo. Decades later, Scottie, still had difficulty trusting male keepers.

One of his leopards, a black panther, named Ali, who hated people with a vicious rage. Whenever a person came near his cage, Ali would charge the bars, crashing into the hard metal, growling and spitting with bitterness. Why? All of the Zookeepers loved him, fed him, cleaned up after him, and had never abused him. Then he found out how he had been raised at a different zoo. He was pushed, poked, shocked, shot with BB guns, and hosed with water to make him move from cage to cage. He learned and deeply believed that all humans were cruel and dangerous creatures.

So, he determined to prove to Ali, that at least one human was his friend. It took him over a year of patient, step by step efforts, but he eventually came to trust me. In fact, he trusted me so much that he would come into the cage and lean his body gently against the bars, so he could rub his stomach! His perception of me, life, and himself had been changed, yet the process took many months of sensitive, loving, often frustrating work.

Visionary message:

Some Pastors have focused on the good news, that repenting from our own "natural", sinful responses to life’s hurts is the primary key to overcoming them and living a victorious life. But, they neglected to also emphasize the other side of reality. It is also truth that deeply hurtful experiences leave lasting memories and distorted beliefs about God, others, and self, which are extremely difficult to unlearn. These twisted beliefs about reality are a part of the roots, which produce much of the dysfunctional fruit in our lives, families, churches, and the world, to the dishonor of God’s image.

Through the actions of a whole church family, must prove to our new brothers and sisters that they are loved, in spite of their sin. We are the face of our Father to the lost and lonely in this painfully dangerous world. We are the arms that our Lord Jesus wants to use to touch and hug the ones who come for help. We must speak the truth in love. This means that truth must be wrapped in obvious, self-sacrificial care, or it can hurt instead of heal.

Here’s Hope Baptist Church mission is to provide a safe harbor where people can be pulled up by a demonstration of real Christianity and help people discover God’s love and to share His love.

We can do that by:

1. loving people through their mistakes – imagine someone going thru a divorce. They wonder if anyone can love them!

2. loving people who have left the church and wonder if they have a safe place to return

3. accepting people who come in who don’t know Christ…with all of their worldliness, and love them so that they can find Christ.

Martin Luther: "God does not love us because we are valuable, we are valuable because God loves us". This means there is something wonderful about God, not us. He is worthy, not us. The appropriate response to the cross is not self-esteem, but worship of God!

And this is the key. When our worth is dependent on what those around us think of us or on what we think of ourselves, it is a bogus worth. The only worth we have is not a worth that comes because we ARE worthy, but because God is love

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