Forged: Part Six
I Am No Victim • February 10, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
We enable our past and present to mold our future when we fail to address the deeper issues taking place in our hearts. This leads to getting and staying stuck in patterns of thought and behavior. Without even knowing it, we see ourselves as a victim. Our circumstances seemingly validate our actions and attitudes. Personal responsibility goes out the window because we can't help ourselves. If we have an excuse, we will likely use it. We look for God to bring us comfort in our misery when perhaps He wants us to experience a victory we couldn't imagine on our own. Jesus comes in and confronts the things that stand in the way of our transformation. Receiving Christ goes deeper than just an acknowledgment. It involves allowing Him to touch every part of our lives. We must drop our quest to prove our identity and let His life to shape us. Transformation takes place when we have a vision for who we are becoming and a vision for God's purpose in our lives.
Forged: Part Five
Identity & Identification • February 3, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
The longer we accept the labels people place on us, or we put on ourselves, it becomes easier to buy into the lie that these labels define us. Sometimes when we believe what everyone says about us, we will live it out. Labels influence the way we perceive the world and our part in it. These titles try to tell us who we are and what we should do. Labels prove to be an ideal hiding place. They allow us to retreat into the safety of "that's just who I am." But, as believers, we have a message of hope. We have a different perspective. We don't want just to let go of our labels; we want to embrace a new identity. God’s love possesses the power to conquer any label. Jesus didn’t come to change our beliefs; He came to change our lives. He can and will break the labels that have held all of us hostage.
Forged: Part Four
Finding Your Center • January 27, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
Finding our center enables us to experience security and stability while living in a world that pulls us in many different directions. Whatever we put at the center of our lives will define everything else. We serve the master we put in the middle. The thing that lays claim to the throne of our heart influences our words, actions, emotions, and relationships. It directs how we approach the world around us as well as the way we approach God. When we understand our center, we begin to recognize what has the authority to determine our identity. Our relationship as a friend and follower of Jesus is the way in which we become all that God created us to be. As a result, we are able to bring whole self to our core roles and steward them in a way that brings God glory.
Forged: Part Three
Who Do You Think You Are • January 20, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
Who do you think you are? A question like this cuts us to our core. It not only puts our actions on trial, but it also challenges our character and identity. We instinctively long to know our identity. We discover who we are by knowing who we belong to. Our relationship to our father is the origin of our identity. The tendency is to read a statement like that and reflect on our relationship with our biological father. But, no matter how good or bad our earthly father might have been, they all pale in comparison to God, our Heavenly Father. Our first birth doesn't have the final say because Jesus gave us a second birth.
Forged: Part Two
A New Center • January 13, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
Approval. We all crave it, search for it and fight to achieve it. We design our whole world around this one thing. If we feel that our approval resides on shaky ground, we are left with the pressure to prove. In our quest to find acceptance, we become vulnerable. We allow everything under the sun the ability to captivate our heart and shape who we are. When something lays claim to the allegiance of your heart, your identity becomes sealed. We find our center by exposing what captivates our heart.
Forged: Part One
Becoming Somebody • January 6, 2019 • Mike Ashcraft
You are somebody. You are becoming somebody and chances are good, you hope that future somebody is a better version of your current self. But, your future depends on how you respond in the current moment and the work you put in now to have Christ’s heart forged into your character. Transformation and growth require intentionality. Whether you realize it or not, who you are becoming is the most important thing about you. Instead of being formed and shaped by this world, Christ calls us to form and shape the culture around us. This can only occur if we are willing to bring our whole selves to God and allow Him the authority to do His work within us. Identities are forged when we avail the deepest parts of our heart to Him.