Tag Archives: self-worth

Doing, Being, and Identity

Two Questions

Would you take just a second and think about something? Take a second and think about the following two questions:

  1. “What do you want to be?”
  2. “What do you do?”

When would you ask these questions? I bet I can answer that for you.

The first question (“What do you want to be?“) is one that you would pose to a young child. It would be asked with the qualifier of “when you grow up.” I’ve asked kids this question many, many times, and the answers are always entertaining. Children want to be things like firemen, doctors, cowboys, baseball stars, movie stars, even school bus drivers. Some even want to become the mythical, like super heroes, monsters, or unicorns.

When you ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, all you are doing is opening up before him a world of possibility – the sky’s the limit. The question doesn’t limit him in any way. On the contrary, it affirms his potential to be anything he wants to be.

The second question (What do you do?) is one that you would likely ask an adult. Think about it, you wouldn’t ask a 10-year-old, “What do you do for a living?” Obviously, the child is just a student and preparing for the riggers of future employment as a “safe space” attorney, not an actual lawyer, or doctor, or super model.

But when you pose this question to an adult, instead of offering him the opportunity to dream big and affirming his ambitions, you cause him to face the here and now, the cold reality, the fact of what his childhood dreams have turned into. Unfortunately, affirming and praising one’s potential is a whole lot easier than affirming one’s present state.

When you ask a child what she wants to be when she grows up there is the possibility her dreams will come true. When you ask someone what he does for a living the answer is what he is doing, not what he is dreaming, and what he is doing might be all he ever does.

Is Doing Being?

I have always struggled with the temptation to find my identity in what I “do.” In other words, I’ve never wanted to just do things, I’ve always prided myself in being things. Do any of you feel the same way?

I have been a pest control technician, an industrial engine builder, a Sunday School teacher, an adjunct professor, a Level I Nuclear Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technician, a sales manager, an eyeglass maker, an insurance salesman, a preacher, a pastor, a chaplain, a song writer, and an author. Right now I am a school bus driver and driver trainer, along with being a bi-vocational pastor.

No, I wasn’t a pilot. I just flew a lot when I worked in the nuclear field. (circa 1989)

I have always liked name tags, badges, lapel pins, and titles…because they give me identity.

But in reality, honestly, none of those things are really me, are they? They are only what I do. If I were to quit pastoring or driving a bus, would I cease to exist? Of course not! Even if  you were to take away my freedom, I might be labeled an “inmate” or “refugee,” but not even those labels would be me, only the condition of my existence.

Yet, I still find my deepest self wanting to be identified with something, to be known for something, to have a title, to find worth in what I have done or am doing.

I do what I do, but I am what I am. On the other hand, I do what I do because I am what I am. So, what am I to make of it?

What I Am

I am created in the image of Almighty God, so I am intrinsically valuable – my value is based on Who made me.

I am loved beyond measure, first by my Lord Jesus Christ (because He loved us first), then by my family.

I am a child of God, not by my own works, but by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ – that is my identity.

I am a soldier in the army of God, for He called me to serve in battle against the spiritual forces of wickedness in high places.

I am a Christian, because I’ve been given that title as one who identifies with Christ.

I am priceless, because of the price that was paid on the Cross to redeem me.

What I do doesn’t make me a child of God, a saint, or anything of the sort, but what Jesus did for me, on my behalf, thereby crediting those works to my account, is what makes me those things.

And all the things I do – whether it be drive a bus, be a husband, preach a sermon, mow a yard, or be a dad – I do for the sake of the one Who makes me His own, and I do it in His strength.

So, ask me what I do, and no matter what I end up telling you, I will no longer stress over the answer, for what I do is not what I am…

I do what I do because I am what I am, because of the Great I AM; my identity is found in Him.

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Filed under Christianity, Depression, God, self-worth, Uncategorized

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

As close to a recent family photo that I have. But hey, we escaped in time!

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s; your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? How wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.
  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

 

This article was first posted 6/13/2014 and has been edited

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Leftovers and Sermons

Sandwiches

What do you think of leftovers? Do you like them? Hate them? Some people never eat them, while others save every crumb to make meals for days to come. Personally, it really all depends on what is being saved, like turkey.

Believe it or not, I am plan to be enjoying Thanksgiving turkey well into the week before Christmas! I froze just enough of the leftover meat so that I could have leftover turkey sandwiches whenever I wanted for weeks to come! Brilliant!

Sermons

The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving I preached an unusual topical sermon about “Leftovers,” one even the most died-in-the-wool expositionalist should enjoy. I would love for you to listen to it, so I am including it in this post (and posting a link in the Sermon Archive page).

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing (it is unedited and includes all my misspoken words, flubs, etc.), then at least fast forward till you get to the “Personal Context” part – that’s my favorite 🙂

Click on the photo to listen :-)

Click on the photo to listen 🙂

If you’d like, you can follow along while looking at the actual outline I used as I preached (it’s not much, but it was a guide – I don’t normally use outlines).


 

III. Personal Context – For those who feel like leftovers.

For those who may feel they’ve already given away the best & freshest, good news! God loves you! And if we’ve learned anything from the feeding of the thousands, the Lord hates letting things go to waste. As a matter of fact:

  • God loves to SAVE!
    • He will save YOU! 2 Peter 3:9 “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” In Luke 19:10 Jesus said the reason He came was seek and to save the lost. I personally believe that if you were created, you’re not meant to be wasted.
    • He even saves your SORROWS! Psalm 56:8 NLT – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
  • What God SAVES, he SEALS! 1:13; 4:30
  • God is a SPECIALIST in making new recipes out of leftovers!
    • God can’t use me… Really? “There are no leftovers with God. Adam plunged the human race into sin. Moses was a murderer. Jacob was a liar. Samson lusted after heathen women. Rahab was a harlot. Peter denied the Saviour. God used them all.” He used these people, even Paul, then he can use us.
    • 21:5 “…I make all things new…”
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV – “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Remember, our God wastes nothing, including our tears! 

 

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Filed under Depression, Food, God, Love of God, Preaching, self-worth, Thanksgiving

Because of Who Made Me

Good Monday afternoon to those of you here on the east coast of the U.S. I hope you are enjoying the weather wherever you are, though.

I am writing a quick post before I head off to drive my afternoon routes on the school bus (I wrote a book about that – hint hint).

Value. What makes you valuable? What makes your life worth living? 

There is a teenage boy one of my daughters has been talking to. All he seems to want to discuss is how worthless he is because a couple of other girls don’t “love” him. Ever known a teenager like that? I might have even been one…ewww.

Here’s the thing, though: being loved doesn’t make you more or less valuable.

Now, I know that there are some of you who would say, “Anthony! You’re wrong! What makes us valuable IS the fact that we are loved – at least by God.” Well, I know that being loved by God is supremely important, but is that the sole reason for our worth?

The Price paid? Does the price paid for us – I’m talking the Cross of Calvary, here – determine our value? I used to think that way. It is certainly one of the things that determines value. For example, a piece of paper with a few scratches of ink on it could be worth millions, simply because someone is willing to pay that amount for it.

But let me tell you what I have been pondering. Do you remember the old illustration that tells of a beat-up, dusty violin that nobody wanted to buy, that is, until the Master picked up, tuned it, and began to play? It was/is a great illustration of how God can take what seems worthless and use it to make something beautiful, thereby increasing its value.

But here’s the thing: if that old violin had the name of Stradivarius written on the inside, it wouldn’t have mattered what it looked or sounded like; it would have been worth a fortune.

Simply put, we are valuable, not because we are loved, but because of Who made us. Our value is increased even more because of what’s been paid to redeem us.

Now, if one does not believe in the Maker, then one’s perception of value can only be understood as completely arbitrary. At that point the teenager’s value is truly reduced to his worth in the finicky eyes of other individuals. Where am I wrong on this?

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Filed under Abortion, Culture Wars, Depression, Love of God, self-worth

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

Photo: Andy Britt

Photo: Andy Britt

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s; your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? How wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.
  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

 

This article was first posted 6/13/2014 and has been edited

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Love of God, salvation, self-worth, World View

Promise Fulfilled

Daddy, Will You…

Not long ago I received a list from my 12-year old daughter. It was a list of things she wanted to do with me. It was a list of things that she wanted to do with her daddy, when he could make the time.

Well, today I got to check off one of the things on her list – shooting.

Daddy Needs To…

One of the big problems of today’s society is a lack of father participation. Oh, many men (I use that term loosely) are more than happy to make babies and play house, but few are willing to make lifelong commitments, especially to being there for their daughters.

Men, your daughters need you. They need you to love them, to hug them, to have tea parties, and to go shooting. They need you to be the first men in their lives, and the ones that all others are judged by.

Daddies, don’t make your little girls look for love in the arms of some prepubescent, jobless, video-gamer. Don’t let some condom-packing thug come along and be the first one to tell your daughter she’s a princess. Every girl wants to feel special, so prove to her that she is.

Not a Victim

If you really want to do your daughters a favor, teach them how not to be a victim. You know what boys are like, so be the hero…warn your girls! Teach them that it is OK to say “no” to those hormone factories in hoodies. And for when the Justin Bieber wannabe’s try to make a serious move, teach your girls how to take away their offspring-producing capabilities.

And…where possible…teach them how to use a weapon. You can’t protect them forever.

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Filed under America, Life Lessons, Relationships and Family, self-worth

Ashamed?

Sometimes I’m Ashamed

Of my past. Do you have a past? I do. We all do. And I have done many things in my past of which I am ashamed. Some things I did while I was an unbeliever, but others were after I had become a Christian. My past haunts me. Does yours?

Of course, on a positive note, one’s past can prove beneficial when rearing children. For example, my children are not totally sure if I was a secret agent, a hired gun, or a former special ops helicopter pilot who had his license taken away for excessively brutal conduct. They will never know for sure, either. The “not knowing” helps keep boyfriends away.

Of my accomplishments (or lack of). Have you ever stopped to compare yourself to others? Bad idea. There are always going to be people who can do what you do a lot better than you ever could – some before they even start elementary school.

I am a preacher, a pastor, an aspiring writer, etc. I am also 44 years old. Have you ever looked at what preachers of yesteryear were able to accomplish by my age? Don’t even start with Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, or even Billy Graham. I have been faithful, but I have little by way of accomplishments to show for it. For crying out loud, I haven’t even written one book!

Of my education. At 44 years of age I am working on my Master of Ministry degree. Guys younger than me are teaching in the seminary, for Pete’s sake! By the time I receive a doctorate, I will need full-time hospice care.

What could I have done if only I had gone to school earlier instead of working, getting married, learning about life, having beautiful children, or experiencing God’s grace? I mean, I could have been a pastor at age 20! Now that would have been shameful.

Of my lack of discipline. There are some people who wake up two hours early in order to pray. If I tried that, I’d have to be on my knees at 3 a.m.! I rarely even get to sleep until after 11 p.m.!

There are some who read at least one book a week. There are others who do all this and run, ride bikes, climb tall mountains, hunt mountain lions, and keep a spotless house. I hate them.

Seriously, I am ashamed at my lack of discipline. As a pastor, a pillar of society, I should be an example of what a disciplined person should look like. But I’m not. I struggle for every minute of sleep I can get. Sad, isn’t it?

Of my appearance. If I had the previously mentioned discipline, the kind that says, “Hey, I have a long day ahead of me, so how ’bout we go run 5 miles before breakfast,” I would be a stud. Before long I would look like a Green Beret, or Joel Osteen (with less perfect teeth). Instead, I look more like a tall Danny DeVito who has a thing for monkeys.

Yes, I can be ashamed of a lot…

But Never of the Gospel

I thank God for being able to use a weak, inadequate, undisciplined, uneducated, unattractive fool. As a matter of fact, it is only because of the gospel that I can accept my shortcomings, putting everything behind me, and look forward to what lies ahead.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16

Only through someone who admits his shortcomings can Christ bring glory unto the Father. If I had it all together I might take all the credit, but I can’t. If there is anything good in me, it is because of Jesus (Rom 7:18; 2 Cor 3:5).

One last thing. Many times I am tempted to feel ashamed of myself. Nevertheless, even with my lack of accomplishments, etc., I know that God is not ashamed of me. And if He is not ashamed of me, then maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just need to keep walking and looking ahead, hoping for the day when I will be home.

But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:16

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, Uncategorized