Identity Theft - Week One
May 24, 2019 • Bill Koogler
Expats know the value of identity. Living outside our home countries, it’s easy to define ourselves by the cultures, families, and experiences we left behind, or by the job, lifestyle, and legal/resident status of the country we’ve chosen to call home. Even though we have passports, birth certificates, and visas, global nomads like us also face a heightened risk of identity theft. We can get so wrapped up in our busy Dubai lives that we forget where we’re from, where home is, or even who we are. Businesses know the value of guarding against identity theft – shouldn’t we be equally concerned with protecting our own identity? Forgetting who we are is much more dangerous than a lost passport, a stolen bank card, or a pilfered password. For this new five-week “Identity Theft” series we go back to the official identity document (the Bible) and let God clarify our understanding of who we really are. When we guard against identity theft and recognize who we are, we find refreshment, peace, and renewed perspective.
Identity Theft - Week Two
May 31, 2019 • Warwick de Jersey
We all know what it’s like to run into someone we haven’t seen for ages, someone from way back in the past. We’ve all felt the flush of deep embarrassment as we've reminisced with them and they bring up something that we’ve said, or worn, or done. At that point, every fibre of our being longs to cry out, “That’s who I was … it’s not who I am!” That’s when we recognise the seemingly inescapable power of a past that claims to define us. The past is the most pervasive of the identity thieves that we all wrestle with: What I’ve done, what my family has done, what my tribe has done...
Identity Theft - Week Three
June 7, 2019 • Bill Koogler
One of my favourite things about life in Dubai is meeting people from all over the world. Where else could you meet so many people from all over? As much fun as it is meeting people from different countries, we can still be left with the challenge of feeling like people do not know us deeply. Sure, people may know about us in Dubai, but do they really know us? Most of us have left our home countries where people knew us. We had history. We shared a common understanding. We discerned subtleties as we communicated. But here, we wonder if anyone really knows us. For long-time Dubai residents, people can come and go so quickly that it can be difficult to really be known by other UAE expats… and when we don’t feel like people know us, we can struggle with knowing ourselves.
Identity Theft - Week Four
June 14, 2019 • Jim Burgess
Purpose has been called the key ingredient in happiness. In our fast-paced, hurried-up world, few of us have the time to think about why we are put on earth – and the result can be catastrophic: “The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost, to be everywhere is to be nowhere.” -Michael de Montague “The ability to maintain a sense of purpose in life is a significant factor in protecting a person from a decrease in quality of life, and helps to avoid the onset of depression. Individuals reporting no meaningful understanding of their purpose are 6 times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.” -US National Institute of Health Do I know my purpose? Does my life have meaning and significance? At the end of the day do I feel fulfilled, or do I feel…empty? If this is a problem in your life, Jesus has a simple answer in John, chapter 6.
Identity Theft - Week Five
June 21, 2019
When things go well in my life, it’s easy to feel good, to feel loved by God, to richly feel His favour. When I can tangibly touch His hand of blessing, it is so natural to feel like His beloved child. But… when things go south, when I suffer loss, when life is painful, that feeling of being loved soon creeps into the background and is often replaced by a feeling of fear – fear that I’m being judged or punished, fear that I’m being abandoned by God, fear that He has walked away from me. When life is hard, it’s so easy for my eyes to turn inward and for questions to fill my mind. Questions like, “What have I done to deserve this?” or, “Am I to blame?” or, “Am I still God's child?" Over the past four weeks in our “Identity Theft” series, we’ve discovered our purpose in life – that we are uniquely created by God, given our identity as His saints, that we are fully known and deeply loved. We are going to unmask our final Identity Thief – our feelings – and discover how we can hold firmly to our true identity no matter what life may throw at us.