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Christian Life Hacks-INTERACTIVE

The Internet Universe is over stuffed with “Hacks”, clever, small actions that improve your life. There are hundreds of thousands of “Hacks” out there showing you what you have been doing wrong. With them, you can improve everything in life from peeling pomegranates to ironing shirts. This is a list of spiritual practices. You aren’t necessarily doing them wrong but you might need a little jump start in order to experience a bigger spiritual impact.

Some of this list was collected from other places while others are my own. This is a living document. Please add your own in the comment section!

1. Bullet Point Journaling:“BUJO” is all the rage and has streamlined my rather hit-or-miss journaling. Another post on this blog shares my heavily adapted system. This system of journalling systematically and efficiently uses your journal as icon, focusing your spiritual goals in everyday living. The first page is an index followed by few pages of lists and goals. Know where you have been, where you are and where you are going in Christ through them. The rest creates space for daily lists of your encounters from each day. Rather than prose, you make bullet point lists-simple, clear and focused lists. One small blank book replaced my scattered notebooks.

2. Use color in your journal: I am not all that artistic but adding a cheap assortment of colored pens to my $5 blank book keeps me in the word longer and opens me up to the scripture from a different part of my brain. Simply adding the act of doodling helps me pray more creatively and connect with the word.

3. Create a “Monday Morning Briefing”: I have three e-mail devotional sources of different perspectives that I read each Monday and glance at through the week. This is an addition to and not a replacement of Scripture and prayer. You should choose three-A single source is thin while more than three clutters your in-box. Here are my three: Cary Nieuwhof-leadership, Patheos-a variety of posts that either edify or tick me off, and “Talent Smart”/Travis Bradberry-Emotional intelligence.

4. Create an email account for devotional posts: This keeps Spiritual matters from becoming lost in the pile and keeps you from checking work stuff at prayer time. My IPhone made this easy to check.

5. Keep it simple: I have chosen a small blank drawing-paper book and a small double-spaced journaling testament for morning devotions. These reside in my bag and go wherever I go. Prefer a tech solution? I carry an Ipad and phone anyway but I find too many distractions in them for quiet time. Analog or digital, keep it simple and easy.

6. Create a fixed devotional space with a mobile solution: My desk at home and at word are sacred spaces. At my knee is a bag where my prayer and devotional items live. I can work on sermons or pray through an issue wherever I am. My prioritized work list and prayer list share the same space and carry the same spiritual weight. How could this work in your life and

7. Make a photo of a critical prayer matter and use it as wallpaper: My kids, grands and church family rotate across the front of my phone as a reminder to pray and not just talk about praying. Even if your are just praying about bad weather, keep it up front.

8. Bookend your day with God: Condition yourself to make prayer your first conscious thought and a disciplined habit of your final thought as you go to sleep. This simple habit will change your life in Christ.

9. Turn those daily repetitive task into prayer time: I hate unloading the dishwasher and folding clothes but look forward to the prayer time. These mindless tasks are exceptionally rich times for prayer. The old monks worked with their hands while they prayed. We can make any space sacred.

10. Make Lists: Lists of Books read, edifying movies watched, Bible verses by topic, birds watched, prayers answered, and such can provide focus and depth for your devotional time.

11. Own a Psalm: Choose one psalm, pray through it until you own it, then choose another. This is God’s own devotional book and will open you up to spiritual riches.

12. Have and be a prayer partner: Devotional time is solitary but you were never meant to travel along. Find your intercessor then be available to someone else. NOTHING opens a disciple of Jesus up to deeper things like blessing another person in prayer.

September Bible Teaching Series

Join with our church family in studying five stories that we all know…or think we know.  Will you be surprised by what you think the Bible says about these foundations of faith?  Feel free to study with us on this schedule.  Email me at revavanhooser@aol.com for a hard copy or email attachment.  Comments are always welcomeseptember 2018 worship planner with study guide jpg

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Summer Worship: Don’t miss the possibility!

Christ meets us in the summertime too. Don’t miss an opportunity for growth in faith. Cheatham Memorial has a summer focus on teaching the equipping-skills that make our discipleship and disciple-making fun, fruitful and frankly, possible! Over the summer we will talk about concrete tools like public and private prayer, and study, small group leading. Watch for posts with “Take Aways” from this sermons

June 3,2018. 1 Samuel 3:1-20 “Equip for youth” The Skill of listening The life of faith is the key to a young soul. Our bodies age but we can keep a youthful and excited spirit by being equipped for and equipping others for healthy eternal living in the here and now! What does equipping mean anyway ?

June 10, 2018. Mark. 3:20–35 “Forgiveness is standard equipment”. The Skill of ForgivenessWe are born to forgive and lose this skill along the way somehow. When we forgive we are freed, even if others think we are crazy for doing so. How do you forgive that one who doesn’t deserve it?

June 17, 2018. 2 Corinthians 5:6-17. “I See…”.The Skill of DiscernmentDad’s only know where to go when they walk by faith. Many don’t and bear the bitter fruit of walking alone. This applies to all disciples. Discernment is a skill learned through prayer and applied in every day ways. The voice of the Spirit is often dismissed. How do you listen for God’s direction. Prayer is an essential skill.

June 24, 2018 Mark 4:35-41. “Life-Speak” The Skill of Planning for AdversityAdversity is real and essential to our witness. How do we speak of our “storms” as victory and not failure. Holding a spiritual conversation in our own words is an essential skill. How do we speak life?

July 1, 2018 Acts 20:8-17 “Pay Attention” The skill of Sacramental LivingThe sacraments are a gift to the church and a pattern for living for each disciple. How can your life be a means of grace EVERYDAY?

July 8, 2018 Mark 6:1-13 “ A Mutual Education” The skill of TeachingNo one out learns a true teacher. The gift of teaching is not upon everyone BUT the ability to teach is a skill that can be learned. We all teach others the things we know. How will we share the gospel honestly and personally.

July 15, 2018 Guest Pastor: Rev. Mike Toland!

July 22, 2018 Music and Worship with ”Tin Top Road”July 29, 2018

2 Samuel 6:1-13 “Real Might” Worship. The skill of communicationWorship is directed to the one true God but interpreted differently by different people. True might in worship is that connection between hand and heart that comes when we let down our guard and celebrate the Holy Spirit.

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Honest Joe! August 2017 Worship together!

honest joe source slide in jpgThis month’s series looks at the life of faith through the lens of Joseph, son of Israel/Jacob. He was the pampered youngest son of a family that put the fun in dis-functional. We will explore four answers to the questions we have about faith in real life and in real time. Joseph’s story is an important cross road in both Jewish and Christian history. Join me in studying through his story! Joseph is more than a colorful coat!

Continue reading “Honest Joe! August 2017 Worship together!”

An Honest Joe: Worship and Study Guide

honest joe source slide in jpgThe Bible is a living connection to God and people.  In Joseph, the son of Jacob/Israel, found in Genesis 37-50 is a life full of those connecting moments.  Honest Joe’s story is more than just a colorful coat and contains tips for successful living.  Our Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church family will being studying through these chapter in our August 2017 sermons.

We welcome you to follow along and comment.  Begin with this  “Infographic”, follow the study guide and  make comments from your own experience.  Everyone is welcome to comment.  Check out our Cheatham Memorial website for more details. (  Put your US Mail address in a comment and I will send you a paper copy if you wish)

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Here are the four topics that I picked and a 30-Day reading guide.  This is less than one page per day f reading!  Please leave comments to those things that gave you something that adds value to your life!

August 6, 2017: Weekley Reading Genesis 37-39
Genesis 37:12-28 “Faith is a Journey”.

August 13, 2017: Weekly Reading: Genesis 40-42
Genesis 39:1-23 “Life Can Be a Dream”

August 20, 2017: Weekly Reading: Genesis 43-46
Genesis 45:1-18 Forgiveness: A New Beginning”

August 27, 2017: Weekly Reading Genesis 47-50
Genesis 50:22 “Faith Gives Birth to Faith”

Where do  you find yourself in Joseph’s story?  LEAVE A COMMENT! Thanks for reading along with us!  Looking for a church home?  We have a great church family. Join us!

WELCOME HOME!

Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church

SUNDAY WORSHIP 10:00 AM

Office Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 3 pm
205 South Houston Street/P.O. Box 800
Edgewood, TX 75117
Tel: 903-896-4935 Fax: 903-896-4935
www.cheathamumc.net
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New Beginnings: May 2017 Sermon Series

 

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May Marks our “ A Day of New Beginnings”.  Easter marches into Pentecost with new opportunities to grow in Christ.  Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church invites you to join us for worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday.  Click Here to learn more about our active and loving church family. Make church worship and service a part of your new beginning. 


“Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.”

-Brian Wren 

(This is a Day… UM Hymnal 383)

 May 7:  4th Sunday of Easter

John 10:1-10  “Hey Porter!”  This rich parable has a special meaning to the resurrected Church.  Where are you in this story?  I want to be the gatekeeper. 

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 May 14: 5th Sunday of Easter Mother’s Day

John 14:1-14  “Which Way’s What” Followership is the first step in leadership and discipleship.  What way do we go and how do we know?  This is a lesson in listening to the Holy Spirit. 

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 May 21:

1 Peter 3:13-22  “Free to Obey” Obedience isn’t giving in and being tied down.  There is great freedom in knowing Christ through obedience. 

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 May 28:   Conference Sunday, Confirmation Sunday

Acts 1:1-11  “Lifted to life” Jesus was lifted to his rightful place-he did not jump up there.  In Christ we are lifted up.  Not by our own strength, but the very hand of God’s grace.  This marks a new year for us to minister together!

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Fire, Shipwrecks and Serpents: Worship for Preparation and Easter

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You are invited to join our Cheatham Memorial Church family for worship!  This is a brief sketch of our Lent and Easter worship.  You can also follow us on Facebook and our website www.cheathamumc.net .  If you are in our corner of East Texas, don’t drive by, drive in.  We would be honored to show you our “Welcome Home”.   Here is our worship journey toward Easter

 We need a breakthrough.  In our hearts, homes and communities we need that breakthrough of awareness of God.  God is already at work in the parts of our lives that hold us spiritually hostage.  Have we intentionally sought God?  Have we taken personal responsibility for a breakthrough of Grace.  What we lack is the intimacy with God that is key to breaking the chains. 

For our part of the breakthrough, we will focus on three spiritual practices.  They are to GIVE-time talent or tithes, FAST-at least missing lunch on Wednesdays, and PRAY-specifically for that particular move of God we desperately want and need.   This is not a weight loss program nor manipulating God for a new car but a celebration of the living resurrection of Jesus!  God will provide direction and BREAKTHROUGH

Where is God moving in your life?  What is holding you hostage-habits, addiction, relationship, employment, finances fear, health, or other?

 

 The sermons are a 5 part journey through Acts . We will gather each Wednesday Evening at 5:30 for studies, centered on our Spiritual Gifts and practices.  We will have many of our traditions but our goal is to be prepared for a personal, walking around, and living resurrection. 

March 1: Ash Wednesday

Matthew 4:1-11  “The Desert Journey”. We are setting the stage for our Lenten preparation by meeting in the desert.  In the desert we are all on the same level and totally reliant on God.  The contest for the Christ’s will is the same temptations that we experience in our daily living.  Where will our BREAKTHROUGH come?  It starts with intentionally becoming more intimate with God. 

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 March 5:  The First Sunday of Lent , Lent Begins, Holy Communion Sunday

Acts 2:42-47  “A Community on Fire”

Pentecost started a spiritual fire in the homes and workplaces of the believers.  After the overwhelming breakthrough, the new “Christian” community responded by church worship, personal worship, prayer, charity, and fellowship.  Faith was for everyday living.  Where are we being led to take the Pentecost fire?

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March 12:The Second Sunday of Pentecost

Acts 6:8-7:3, 7:54-8:1  “Discipleship’s Cost

The walk with Christ is free of charge but very Costly.  What will we pay?  What riches will be receive?

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 March 19:  The Third Sunday of Pentecost- We will have a guest Preacher, Jesse Brannen

Acts 8:25-40  “Living Water Alive” (This is my study text for the series. 

We wear our baptisms and others find the living water for themselves. There is not shame in needing a guide!  In our words, ways and relationships, we will share our water with others. 

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 March 26:  The fourth Sunday of Lent

Acts 9:1-31”The New Transfiguration

Paul’s conversion mirrors the Christ at the mount of Transfiguration.  Where did God meet you on the road.  Where is the road before you headed? 

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 April 2: The Fifth Sunday of Lent  Holy Communion

Acts17:16-31  “Knowing the Unknown”

God is made known to us with the images and experiences of daily living.  God is shared with those who live with and around us.  It is not accidental that we have the story in the exact way we need to share with those around us. 

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 April 9:  Palm Sunday: with a reading by a child at the beginning, A Children’s Play, Special Music, Procession of Palms!

Matthew 21:1-11 read by a young person or persons and possibly using the “Voice” version  as a format. 

Acts 28:1-23  “The 29th Chapter of Acts”

Help me read the 29th chapter of acts!  Oh wait, you must write it first.  The Holy Spirit is writing it through you! Thank you Terry Teykl-Check out his book here!

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April 10-15:  Holy Week

We will focus our attention on a Good Friday ,“7 Final Words Service, with several speakers .  We will also offer a prayer Labyrinth and a time of praying through the Scriptural Stations of the Cross.  Pat and are  using the stations with Children’s Church. We will plan further use of the art work throughout the church. 

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April 16: Easter Sunday

 

Easter Sunday will be tradition rich with special music, breakfast at 8:30, Easter Eggs by age group at 9:00 and rousing worship! Watch for further details on the CMUMC Website

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June 2016 Sermons at Cheatham Memorial

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The Cheatham Memorial Family invites you to join us for worship at 10:00 am each Sunday.  We have a variety of activities and service projects that you can check out at our WEBSITE!

Do you ever feel like you have lost direction?  We will discuss ways to “Face the Fire by Faith”.  What do I do with faith in a world that seems so random.   Transformation is a mystery that begins and ends with faith.  The fun stuff lies in the middle.  Find your way with us as we seek Christ together.

June 5:  The 3rd Sunday of Pentecost, Communion Sunday,

Text:  1 Kings 17:8-24 “Now What”

Transformation in the soul is built by our experiences in the day to day.  We need companions for the journey and our eye on God.  With each day’s ups and downs, let’s face it, faith can just be difficult.  And yet we grow through these experiences.

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June 12: 4th Sunday of Pentecost. 

Text: Galatians 2:15-21,” Faith is Dead Right”

The way to faith is faith.  God is faithful to plant the seeds of faith within us and water them with our experiences. Faith expressed leads us to faith experienced.   “Paul speaks of what kind of sinner he is and asks, “what kind of sinner are you?”

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 June 19: 5th Sunday of Pentecost, Father’s Day

Text Luke 8:26-39  “Hey, those are my pigs!”

A dad’s promise does not come from a perfect life but by following a perfect Jesus.  Faith opens our eyes to our own brand of distress and randomness.  Rather than excuse our lives as “Just the way it is”, a new way is given, by faith, to all who will fearlessly face the challenge.

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 June 26:  6th Sunday of Pentecost

Text:  2 Kings 2:1-14  “Pass it on”

Faith is not a possession to hold but one to nurture and pass on.  Our companions in life feed our faith but also depend on us to build them up too.  Leadership is successful when we let god and watch another grow.

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 Welcome-Home-logoCheck our out main website at cheathamumc.net

 

 

The January 2016 Sermon Schedule

The Cheatham Memorial Family invites your to a brand new year of Spiritual Growth in Jesus Christ?  We worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday with activities for disciples of all ages and places.   The Theme for January centers around our church family’s growth goals:  Loving Scripture, Deeping the life of prayer, and developing our basic skills for ministry.  Each message will include everyday ways of doing and being a growing Christian.

Watch our website for our many worship, learning, service and fellowship activities!  Here are our study offerings.  Everyone is invited to search the sermon text BEFORE worship and then follow up with the Sermon briefs afterward.  Here are our offerings for January!

January 3, 2016:  Three Kings Sunday-“Epiphany”  Matthew 2:1-12  “Becoming a Star“.  We will search this story, which everyone thinks they know, and find some details that are their plus some things we thought but aren’t there.  In this story we will celebrate the role of searching with the eyes of Christ for grace in our everyday living.

January 10, 2016:  Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, “For Such a Time as This”.  In this passage that some call the “Desiderata”, we will celebrate and discover the role of timing in our everyday life in Christ.  Not just any timing but that of God’s timing.

January 17, 2016: the Second Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, “You’ve Got This”.  Have you ever said, “Spiritual gifts?  I don’t have any.”  Wrong!  “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” 1 Cor 12:7.  Everyone has gifts from God to use for God.  By using them we watch God build us and others.  We no satisfaction and peace that we never knew was possible.

January 24, 2016: The Third Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, “Pieces, Parts and Whole”  In this often quoted text we will celebrate the role of order in our discernment of God’s direction for our everyday living.  We each are a part of someone else’s lives as well as taking care of our own.

January 31, 2016:The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians: 13:1-13, “Never Fails….: This is a continuation of last week’s text and a discovery of our driving motivation to be and become a Christian disciple-LOVE.  The very word is often abused and misused.  To grow in grace is to grow in love in our everyday living.  This is more than a wedding scripture!!

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Monday School: November 30, 2015, Coping with Christmas 1 of 3, Matthew 20:20-28

This is an overview of our discussion and not a text for success.  This is not just a Holiday thing either.  We are sharing stories and principles for coping with life and not just Christmas.  This is not a discussion of right and wrong behaviors but of healthier and unhealthier.  This is not a discussion of living stress free wither-only dead people are stress free. The trick is living in heathy stress and not constant distress. There are no quick fixes but this story gives us a framework for discussion.

Read our story from the Gospel of Matthew and follow along as we ask the text some questions:  Click here for Matthew 20:20-28

Our discussion of the text:  James and John show up to see Jesus with their mom.  She asks them to make these two the number two and three people in His messianic kingdom.  She misunderstood the kingdom to be an earthly-political one while Jesus was teaching that it would be one in heaven.  While she only had her community model to understand a kingdom, she knew Jesus, recognized  and she had faith that He could make her request happen.

Jesus gave them all a question as an answer and used Holy Communion language to teach them.  He is asking, “do you really know what you are getting in to.  They said sure and then Jesus said, “You’ve got it!”  BUT the three seats of leadership are not His to give nor theirs to receive-they are for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Later, Jesus would gather them together, with all of the grumbling, and explain that their mission was not to set up another human led, lord and master government system.  The Kingdom of God would be spiritual and focused on serving others rather than being the big dog in charge and being served.  Jesus did not die the make them power people but to be their ransom-payment-redemption, freeing them for a rich life that changes the world.

After this rather lively discussion of the text, we turned the worksheet over and asked these question.

  1. Who brought whom to Jesus? Did mom bring the boys? Or did the boys bring mom to fade the heat?  Who brings their mom to something like this!  Perhaps mom was that strong willed and didn’t trust her kids to stand up for themselves.  Maybe the sons brought mom to take the heat and passively do their talking to Jesus for them.  It makes a difference in our family dynamics.  Who is the strong willed in your family and who waits to be brought along.  Neither is more right or more wrong but you need to understand how that works to understand how a group of people come together and operate in a healthy way.
  2. Why did anyone have to bring anyone? The short answer is anxiety.  one or another was worried more than the other and pushed this action to relieve the anxiety.  Mom worried about sons, or sons worried about what Jesus would think or all of them just wanted to make sure they got to the front of the line.  Some things to consider
*The anxiety of each person in any group or family effects the anxiety of others.
*Some handle stress and anxiety better than others but everyone is two people; how they are normally and how they are when anxious.
*Self identity effects how we see God and hence how we see everything.  “Know thyself!”
*When unhealthy living is all you know, that’s how you go about living and will strive to make that happen.  Likewise when your family is healthy you will strive to maintain healthy living.
  1. First from verse 22: He calmly refocused the question in a spiritual way  in a calm place in a focused way.  When our family is in crisis we can begin by getting focused around facts and not emotion.
  2. Second from verse 23:
  3. And third from verse 25     How did this effect the group dynamic?  I made the other 10 “indignant”!  It caused stress and acting out.  He and gathered this family of disciples.  Being together in a familiar place is powerful but has to be mutually respectful  to be healthy
  4. What happens in football when you have 12 players on the field.. “Too many players on the field” gets a flag and the loss of control.  When an outsider or one unhealthy voice gets control the play has to change directions!  This is hard and usually goes against long standing patterns.  Jesus didn’t let the two define the mission that was to be their lives.
  5. What happens when one (or more) try define a group members identity.  anger with yelling?  anger with silence, isolating?  or….calmly sharing the cause and asking God to lead rather than the emotion of the moment.  Prayer is amazing when we do it at first instead of as a last resort.  Following Jesus’ calm yet firm persona.  He did not yell back and taught then retaught the role they would have and the one they would follow.  Consistency and discernment is a key.  Seeing God clearly through the fog of anxiety is key to getting started.  Knowing whose you are is key to knowing who you are and living in the healthy light of faith.
  6. What correction did Jesus offer?  Seek to serve and not be served.  Seek to follow God in spirit and truth rather than lead from your own limited vision and strength.  His witness and example would lead and guide all of those who follow.  It was suggested that this confrontation by James and John’s mom was embarrassing!  They probably knew the answer but pushed the point any way.
  7. Fusion versus differentiation:  Sometimes we are “Fused” as a group to the point that we lose all individuality-this is called fusion.  Sometimes we are so focused on ourselves that we don’t need anyone else-this is called differentiation.  The truth is that we float around somewhere in the middle.  We must know ourselves well enough to go to Jesus without mom making our case for us.  We also have to take on our life’s role with or without Mom’s approval and be ok.  We must be connected to our group but not to the point we have no identity-that describes a cult.  To lack any need for our family makes us empty shells and narcissists.
  8. Ideally, who should we “fuse” with?  The only perfect person that ever walked was Jesus.  He is the one who gives us an identity that gives us a life of significance here and life eternal hereafter.