“Who I Will Be”

At Gateway Church in South Austin we concluded our series called “Who I Am.”

Because of Jesus, we can bring Heaven to Earth. And one day that process will be complete. There will be no more hurt, no more sickness, no more struggle, and no more death. In the ocean of temporal life, we have an eternal anchor in hope, and that is Jesus.

Digging Deeper:

Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner,  life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

Digging Deeper

Message Video:

Message Audio:

Message Notes from Carlos Ortiz and Eric Bryant:

What would you do if I only gave you one shot? 

One decision that could impact the rest of your life. 

10 seconds to choose exactly what you would do.

No time to consult anyone, no time to google the best and most practical answer. 

The only clue I could give you would be, your answer needs to be lined up to who you want to be one day….ready…here we go…what would you do (I’m only going to give you 10 seconds)…what would you do if I gave you a million dollars?  

I know this is an improbable situation…no one is going to give you a million dollars, and if someone did offer that they wouldn’t only give you 10 seconds to decide. 

But here’s what we do know…your answer is directly tied to you.  Maybe it’s tied to your financial situation, family situation, spiritual situation, future goals…but it’s tied to you.

You can’t help but bring you to the decision-making table. 

But when we bring our whole self it just isn’t enough to keep us out of trouble. 

Imagine you had bought a lottery ticket, and the improbable did happen, YOU WON!!!  Imagine what those first 10 seconds feel like to become an instant millionaire without a care in the world. 

Now imagine 5 years after that, and you are one of the 70% of lottery winners, and imagine the first 10 seconds after your accountant tells you that you’ve lost it ALL.  

No one wants to show up to be a statistic, a loser, to prove the naysayers right. We want to be the anomaly, the one who beat the odds, and we can be, if we can somehow grab a hold of who we should be…who we can be…who we will be. 

Mark 8:34-36

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life b will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 

On this journey of exploring God, not only do we learn more about God’s nature, but we also learn about our own nature, and how much we can change in light of who God is through his son Jesus. 

We sometimes don’t realize that the closer we are to Christ, the more we should be ever changing.

Our life has holes, blindspots if you will, and God’s desire is for us to address these things, and here’s the reason why:

Who I Will Be is directly tied to God’s desire for us to be WHOLE.

We’re going to break down today’s message into 3 parts:

  1. Life – Searching before Christ “Who I Was”
  2. Life – Growing in Christ “Who I Am”
  3. Life – Eternally with Christ  “Who I Will Be”

If God is truly in the business of making us whole then he helps us by understanding where we are falling short, reconciling us to be his image and then bringing us to completion. 

II Corinthians 4:1-2; 7-12; 16-18

Who I Was

1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God… 

Who I Am

 …we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Who I Will Be 

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life – Searching before Christ  –  “Who I Was”

…we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception… – II Corinthians 4:2

This little phrase is so power packed…especially when we use it as a filter for how we see who we are without Christ. 

  • Before Christ we are forced to keep secrets.  We disguise it by saying that we are just private people, and we don’t want to overshare, but the truth is, our nature is to be secretive about toxic and unhealthy patterns in our life. 
  • I wonder if we are truly self aware around the level of shame we all have the ability to carry?  Our secrets lead to shame…and our shame keeps us hidden from truth, people who are truth tellers and the ability to even recognize truth.  This is why this third part is so important…
  • Without Christ we are deceivers.  We not only deceive those around us, but we work really hard to deceive ourselves. 

Each of these things have a blank space where we can all put our own version to make it sound like us.  For example, someone might have a secret that they binge eat, and then when the shame sets in they purge what they have eaten, and then lie to themselves about why they did it in the first place.

Or, you may have a secret that you hook up with random people to enjoy sex without any strings attached.  Then carry the shame of how that would sound if the people in your life found out about your unhealthy pattern(s), and then we tell ourselves that it’s just sex, it doesn’t mean anything, and “I have a right to do whatever I want.”  “God knows my heart.”

Knowing these patterns is important so that we do not return to them. 

Proverbs 26:11 – 12 

As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

So if we have a life without Christ, then this second part is an actionable part of our progression. 

Life – Growing in Christ  –  “Who I Am”

 we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Life is hard. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back

Jesus warned us life would be hard.

In this passage from 1 Corinthians, Paul is reminding his friends at the church he started that a life following Jesus would be hard.

What is all this talk of death? Dying to self is the only way to truly come alive!

You cannot kill a dead man!

In 2020, just after the pandemic began and we were all online, I shared a message online.

My family was on tight lockdown. We still didn’t know what was going on. Weren’t supposed to even leave the house.

So how do we let go of SELF?

Letting Go of…SELF

  • Selfishness
  • Ego
  • Labels
  • Fear


Listen to how Jesus says this:

“Those who love their lives will lose them, but those who hate their lives in this world will keep true life forever.” – John 12:25

It is so counterintuitive.

When we hold onto something too tightly we break it.

When we let go, we get more than we could have ever imagined.

What does it mean to let go of self?

Aren’t we supposed to take care of ourselves?

Doesn’t God want me to be happy? 

Or you can even get spiritual and ask:

Didn’t Jesus say to summarize the message of the Scriptures: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

How can you let go of self when you are supposed to love your neighbor as you love yourself?

And shouldn’t we have a high self-esteem and confidence?

You see there is a difference between letting go of self and being self aware or being able to take care of yourself. There’s a difference between self-reliant and selfish or self-centered.

So why should we let go of self?

When we let go of self, we actually have the opportunity to become who we were truly created to be. You see, we were created to love God and love people.

We weren’t designed to only take care of ourselves. 

We were designed for relationship, for creativity, for generating life that lasts.

When we live for self, all that we lived for eventually dies, but when we die to self to live for God, God multiplies our lives into the lives of others eternally.

There’s a true freedom in letting go and dying to self.  

  • We don’t have to prove anything or make anything for myself.
  • It’s a surrender and trust that my worth is not at all in what I do, but who I am to God.  
  • The amazing irony of dying to self, is that then you’re free to fully BE yourself, try things, risk things, use your gifts, and even DO more than you ever dreamed, but out of a fullness of BEING who God created you to be.

As you walked in you received a card.  On the front it says Who I am, the name of our series, and on the back is a series of statements that are grounded in scripture.  You are going to help me “preach” this part of the message.

So get your card out, and we will engage this together.  I will read the first line, you’ll read the second, I’ll read the third and then you the fourth, and so on.  Ready?  Here we go:

This is Who I Am…

I am infinitely loved by God. 

I am chosen and celebrated.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

I am worthy of the best that God has for me. 

With Him, I have everything that I need.

He never leaves me or forsakes me.

I am able to do hard things because the Lord is with me.

I am not my past and I am hopeful for the future.

I am forgiven.

I am free.

I love the people God has put around me.

I’m here to be a blessing to them.

I choose to live a generous life.

I am a grateful person.

God’s Spirit makes me powerful, not fearful.

He hears me when I call, and He answers me.

When I turn to Him, He makes me new, good, and holy.

I am free from the pressure to perform, because I am saved by grace.

I am valuable and confident.

I am victorious.

That had to be life giving for some of us, and also painstaking for others of us.  Sometimes saying words that we hope are true, but we know them not to be, can feel like we’re lying.  But there is a fight for who you are.  For weeks we’ve addressed how evil tries to attack and steal who we are.  

So, if who you are is a nobody…if who you are is a person who constantly drops the ball and isn’t going to amount to anything near what you dreamed about…then why attack you?  I know why…because you are ALL of those things in the eyes of God.  

When kids were little.

They were in process!

You too, God’s sons and daughters are in process.  Once you’ve decided you believe and Christ is going to be at the center of your life, then growth in Christ begins to take place.  This process is called Sanctification.  You may have heard of it, but it is NOT an endeavor to be a super Christian…it is the process of molding and shaping to be more and more like Christ.  

And the fact that you are in process, means you get to say these I Am statements not because of you who are in REALITY, but because of who Will Be in Christ. 

Life – Eternally with Christ  –  “Who I Will Be”

This one is tough because I grew up with a house full of faith in Jesus. We would hear alot about Heaven and Hell, and although my parents had a pretty realistic and down to earth view of Heaven, it wasn’t out of the norm for people to long to go and be with Jesus.  The weight of this life can be burdensome, sometimes it’s just downright unbearable. But it always felt like Heaven was an escape route for some people.  Now that I have responsibilities, pay taxes, have a mortgage, have to take care of a lawn, have aging parents, raising children who actually expect something from me, a body that is getting older, and straight up adulting…I kind of don’t look down on people who sometimes say it’s all just too much. 

But it’s important that we don’t skip part 2…what God is shaping each of us in to.  But about Heaven, about eternally being with Christ, you might ask what does that mean?

John 17:3 is quoting Jesus when he says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know  you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” 

Heaven is not a proverbial escape route from this life’s toils and troubles…no heaven is about making us complete and whole…God’s intent all along.  

Heaven is the reward for being an overcomer. 
Heaven is our reward for a life in Jesus, and helping to bring Heaven to Earth. 
Heaven is about healing and our spiritual bodies being free from pain and sickness. 
Heaven is about final freedom from evil’s attack on who we truly are in God’s eyes. 

Heaven is about a new name…not because your parents gave you a horrible one on earth, but because your journey there deserves a name that reflects it.  Maybe your new name will be Victor, because you have become victorious.  

Revelation 2:17

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

When God marks your life it can not be shaken or stolen from you. 
Your identity will be attacked, frankly some of us may even self-sabotage our identity. 

But as a good father, God speaks life over you and I.  The words he speaks may seem foreign because an earthly parent may not have done the same thing, but it does NOT make any less true. 

The chorus to the song we’re about to sing says this:

“I am good, You say I’m good

I am worthy, wanted, loved by You

This is living breathing proof

That I am chosen, wanted, loved by You

I’m undone with love for You”

This isn’t a slogan for a tshirt design on etsy, or by your favorite IG influencer.  These are words straight from Heaven that reflect a Father’s heart towards his children who believe in him, trust him, and are being formed to like the I Am.  God is the original I Am…and we are made in his image.

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