Discovering Your Authentic Identity

God knew you before you knew yourself. This means He knows you better than you know yourself. God also predestined you. He foreknew you and He planned you to be conformed. You might ask, “Conformed to what?” To be conformed into the likeness and image of His Son, Jesus. As a believer, you are conformed into Jesus’ likeness. Romans 12:2 (NET) says it like this: “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” What I God trying to accomplish? God has conformed you to Christ because that’s who you were created to be when you were born again. The greatest you has been transformed.

Here’s the problem. Most Christians are trying to change themselves to become more Christ-like. They have taken the sinful Nature and started making adjustments to try and make it look prettier. Make-up, do the hair, maybe a whole new wardrobe. But the sinful nature is being corrupted by deceitful desires, (Ephesians 4:22 NIV) whatever will you do? I know, try harder. Stop having low self-esteem, stop that addiction, and quit thinking about that nasty stuff. There, all better? Oops, fell off the wagon, try harder next time. Christians are trying to fix the old when actually the old is just better off left in the grave where he belongs. The old you is not you. The old you was never you. The Bible says the old you was crucified in Christ. We are to put off the old self…and according to Ephesians 4:24 (NIV) put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The new you is complete in Christ. Complete. Wait, what? Yeah, the reason you struggle is because you have probably followed the wrong road in your attempt to grow. You’ve worked so hard, alas, only to find out it didn’t really work. Are you ready for a clearer path to your identity? I have a surprise for you. The person who makes mistakes and feels quite like a failure, rejected and condemned, yeah, that’s not actually you. You’re operating out of the old self again. It’s a habit. I know. Do I have your attention now? Be patient, the answers are coming.

People are all trying to find themselves. Then we think, “Wait, in this book am I going to lose who I truly am as I recognize my conformed identity?” You’re not going to lose yourself; you’re going to find yourself. In this book, we are going to teach you how to find yourself in Christ, as opposed to finding yourself by backpacking across Europe. Everyone is off trying to find out who they are. “I just want to discover who I am.” We all do. But how do you accomplish that? How you approach your goal matters. You will either find yourself successful in reaching the goal or waste a great deal of time heading in the wrong direction.

In this book, we are on an adventure discovering who you are, but we are going to do it differently than everyone else. We are going to discover who we are through Christ. Sometimes we are concerned with being transformed or conformed, because it doesn’t sound like we will be authentic. Truth be told, God’s goal is to get you back to exactly who you were created to be when you were spiritually born, not the abused and tragedy-scarred person that looks at you in the mirror. There is no need to worry that you will have to let go of who you are. You’re not letting go of who you are. On the contrary, you’re discovering who you really are. In this, the scars and brokenness are attached to the old you. Who you thought you were is not actually who you are…

…The problem is we have bought into the idea that when we get born again we have to start fixing ourselves. Truth be told, you’re perfect. Hebrews 10:14 (NIV) For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The quest isn’t to restore the old you like you were some old beaten car. Instead, we have to realize we are already new, a new car. The quest then is to truly discover all of the new car, and at the same time, stop driving the old car. This is the transformation process. The new you doesn’t need to be restored, instead, it needs to be revealed. Revealing it happens through the process of growing in the word of God, seeing Christ’s glory. Why? It is because we are to be conformed to the image of Christ. And Christ is in us, the hope of glory. There is much to say later about all of this, but I want to be certain you are introduced from the beginning that you are already new. So our becoming happens through the revelation of Christ…

…The reality is, no matter your age, you are becoming something. Every age that you are, you are becoming. When you wake up tomorrow, you are becoming. You are becoming either better or worse. You are becoming. Make no mistake. And, God has information and wisdom to help you become who He designed you to be.

Now, the world will offer you information on how to become something that you’re not. That’s the wrong information. God says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The becoming happens in the language that the mind processes. The mind communicates in a language. It communicates in knowledge. God teaches that to transform the mind we need new knowledge. You may ask, “The knowledge of what?” The mind needs the knowledge of the likeness and image of His Son, Jesus. What if we currently have the wrong knowledge of the image of Christ? We would then have the wrong image of ourselves. Everyone has a different image and a different knowledge of who Christ is. This wrong image is created by the different things we hear, input from different sources, and the world’s perception of Christ. Add all these up and it has created an image of who Christ is to you. That image may need some tweaking. Or it may be altogether wrong…

Jesus wants us to seek him…

…“If you want to know me, you better dig. Don’t just assume cuz you heard me talk for a few seconds that you know me.” What was He saying? He was saying, “Dig!” Search for knowledge of who Jesus is. Do you want to find out who Jesus is? It’s not exposed on the surface, it’s not plain in its appearance and the Bible is a great big book. I’m here to tell you the Bible is a great big book of Jesus and if you want to find who He really is, you need to dig. You can’t just listen to what the world says about Jesus, you gotta get in that book and dig. If we want to find Jesus, we gotta dig. Let’s go digging…

Excerpt from Pastor Jason’s new book
Discovering Your Authentic Identity
Purchase here.

Women Teaching in the Church

One of the most asked questions in church is, “Why do you let women speak in church?” I know this to be true, I have a church. Still, if it is asked so often, then the answer should be given, and believers should all be armed with the answer. I want to arm you with the sword and shield you need to answer what is so often posed.

It’s interesting that the question is being asked so often. When it’s asked, it’s because someone is trying diligently to be obedient to God’s idea of church, and not have our morality weakened by changing cultural and social norms. But the question poses a deeper question about God’s positioning and value for the women who He created.

In many cultures and throughout history, the beloved women that God so wonderfully created have been devalued. They have been pushed down, held back and oppressed. American women have only been allowed to vote since 1920. And women in other parts of the world are still waiting for that privilege, as well as the right to drive a car, become a lawyer, or even sit at the same table with their husbands in public. Over the years, women around the world have been forbidden to read or learn, for fear they might get ideas and start thinking for themselves.

Is the oppression of women God’s intention? Is it a theme in the Bible? Some non-believers think the Bible and God are oppressive to women. Is that true? Are liberated women in violation of God’s plan? Are men better than women? Are they smarter? From my own personal experience, I would have to say that’s a resounding, “NO!” I’ve been married long enough to know that my wife is a formidable thinker. She can remember things far better than me and can find a needle in a haystack (by “needle” I mean my keys or my wallet). I can’t argue with her for very long, because her memory arsenal reduces me to a four-year-old child. I’m like, “Well, yeah, you…you…um, okay wait, give me a second…” And she’s still going, saying things like, “You always get home late from work! Even years ago! Remember that time when my parents were over for dinner and you came home late from working at the jiffy Lube?” My inside voice screams, “Wait! I don’t even remember working at Jiffy Lube; let alone being late on a particular day!”

When women began to enter the American work force during WWII, companies were impressed. Here was an untapped labor source that was often sharper and more organized than their off-at-war predecessors. I’m not saying women are better than men, or vice versa; I’m simply pointing out the reality that we each have our own strengths and weaknesses that create a balance of equality. This shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible is not some male-dominating, sexist book; it notes from the beginning that we, both male and female, are created in God’s likeness and image.

Genesis 1:27 (NIV) 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

So, on to the topic of this book, the question at hand, and a question I hear frequently: “Why are women permitted to teach in the church? The Bible forbids it.” It is a common question, especially among new believers, because there are places in the Bible where Paul tells us that women should be silent in the church. In this book I will show you God’s view of woman, His creation, and her ability to lead and certainly to speak in the church. We will discuss the idea that Paul’s teaching on the subject is specifically relevant to the era in which he lived and a particular situation that he was addressing, so that we can rightly divide God’s Word and be in His will. We will also take some time to view impressive women in leadership, their roles in the church and the idea of us all being one in Christ…

There are many instances of women being placed, by God, in positions of leadership over men. I really only need one though, Ready?

Judges 4:4-6 (NIV)
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramahand Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoamfrom Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor…
A prophetess would have been in the tabernacle ministering, as well, as Moses did. Moses was the prophet and judge while Aaron was the High Priest. Here she is – Deborah. She was the “Moses” of her time, she was in charge, and God put her there. It’s a good thing she was in charge, too, because under her reign, Israel was freed from oppression.
She was over the General of the Army, Barak, the son of Abinoam. He was taking orders from her, as was God’s design.
Man may fear having a woman in leadership, but God does not. During Paul’s time, he felt it best to address these issues, but they were not God’s views.

Not only do we see God’s intentions in His actions, but also in the way He has spiritually empowered women, just as He has men. Women are armed with the same born-again spirit as men. They received the same Holy Spirit on the inside of them, when they receive Jesus. God makes this all clear to us, in many ways, so that we won’t make the mistake of suppressing the ministry God has given them. Praise God that, in today’s Church, the leadership has studied enough to see these truths and have made them evident. In Acts, God points out how it is also the women who are endowed with power:

Acts 2:17-21 (NIV)
17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

God clearly has daughters prophesying. He makes mention of “sons and daughters” and “men and women.” It makes good sense that Satan has attempted to twist God’s Word a bit in an attempt to get 50 percent of the Church to be silent. This is not God’s plan. He gives women the same access to the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead…

It was Paul who noted that, in Christ, everyone is equal:

Galatians 3:27-28 (NIV)
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, there is no difference between male or female…

Excerpt from Pastor Jason Anderson’s book
Women Teaching in the Church: Why do you let women speak in church?
Purchase here.

Yep, I Have Teens

“They don’t want to go, and I’m tired of asking.” Changing the root inside of them as only Jesus can.

Satan’s biggest attack in your Christianity will be your belief about church. He is going to try everything to keep you out, since it is his gates that cannot stand against the church. Satan tries everything to keep people out of church. His arguments are heard among believers – from the new believer to the seasoned veteran. You will hear things like: It’s not relevant. Not practical. Too far. I’ve been wounded. They are hypocrites. Fake. I can’t find a good church. They just want your money. It’s full of sinners. I’m not good enough to be around those people. God would strike me down if I went to church. It’s boring. The parking is too hard. It’s too hot. It’s raining, better stay home. It’s too nice a day; I think I’ll go to the lake. I have to work Sundays. It’s boring. It’s too loud. I don’t like the music. They don’t really teach anything…

…But the most frequent attack will be on what you believe about God’s House. Why? Because satan knows that if he can keep a Christian on the sidelines, out of the body of Christ, stuck in the bleachers, or even throwing stones, then he can keep that Christian from flourishing, from reaching their God-given potential. One day a week is God’s system. Just one. He wants us in His house one day a week, and the other six we are out reaching others, being a light…

…And so you can expect satan to attack everything imaginable about God’s house. Your only real defense is to love the House. Love will never fail. It will put the grace and forgiveness in your heart to walk through the drama and crisis, and keep your roots nice and deep, drawing in the blessed and prospering water…

…This chapter exists to show you the importance of making sure your teen is in church one day every week. First thing you will often find is that your teenager doesn’t want to go to church. I want you to realize they will know exactly what to say to you so that you won’t make them go anymore. They will tell you, “It’s just a lot of games. We don’t even have a teaching most of the time.” That isn’t true. But it is what they will say. Truth be told, if there were no teaching and it was all fun and games, you probably wouldn’t get a lot of complaining from your teen. You can bet there are leaders who deeply care about teaching and training the young people. Okay, so your teen has a convincing argument about why they won’t go. First, if your teen said they were not going to be going to school anymore, what would your response be? You would make them go to school. It isn’t even a discussion. Of course you have to go to school. Why? Well, because not going will be future-altering. The same is true of God’s house. Not participating is going to be a future-altering action. If you would make them go hear about evolution for one hour a day (public school), then make them go hear about Jesus for one hour a week.

Second, go to the teen group with them and see for yourself. Volunteering in the group may be amazing, or it may be a put off for them, but you could sit in the back for a meeting and see if it really is as pointless as they had described to you. I had told my Dad they were teaching really weird stuff at church, about angel worship and demon worship, and my Dad got all upset. I had told him exactly what he would want to hear so that I wouldn’t have to go. But the very next meeting he sat in the back, and I didn’t know. So when I went to tell him again how messed up the teaching was, he caught me.

Third, I encourage you to keep your teen with you for at least one service so they can hear from the pastor. They are totally ready. They are learning complicated equations, physics, atomic mass; they can certainly sit and hear the parable of the sower and the seed with you…

…One of the many strengths of being in God’s house is they are hearing the right message once a week. Here is an opportunity to have someone else saying exactly what you are saying. It’s watering the seed for love, forgiveness, attitude, hope, faith, prayer, and the like…

…If your teen knows that you make God’s House number one in your house, they will have a much easier time being impacted by God’s house. Whatever is important to you will be important to them…

Excerpt from Pastors Jason & Kelli Anderson’s book
Yep, I Have Teens
Purchase here.

Pastor Jason – Designed by God for Significance

Today I want to talk to you about a key that David gives us to succeed in our race—our God given assignment. When Hanna hit the bar, she won, she fulfilled her purpose, and she described it as her horn being exalted. A horn held the anointing oil. We are each anointed for a purpose, David was anointed to be King! It comes with a title, a mission, and strength. But lots of kings didn’t serve God with their purpose. They got the title. They got the strength. But they missed the mission. And herein lies the problem. There are so many gifted, skillful, amazing people on this planet, doing so many things that seem great, so many trying to make a difference, but they’re unhappy and unfulfilled. Hanna said, “My heart rejoices.” David said, “My heart rejoices.” These two found out a secret that we need.

Pastor Jason – Designed by God to Hope

Today I want to teach you that you were designed by God to hope—to hope with God’s kind of hope. His word is always telling us things are getting better, we are getting freer, good news! And now let the poor say I’m rich, let the weak say I’m strong. I had an old car when I was a 16, and the gas tank had rust in it. Every week or so the fuel filter would get completely plugged with rust, and the car would stop moving. The car was designed to operate at its full potential, given the right environment and ingredients. When we lose hope, when we get disappointed, we lose access to all the potential that is in Christ. Consider that we are given everything we need to remain hopeful. God has given us power, position, and purpose, all with His partnership. He has called us to remain full of hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, when we leave hope we find ourselves disappointed, discouraged, and deceived, unable to inherit what God has promised.

Pastor Jason – Designed by God

Today, I want to announce to you that you were designed by God. That design came with a purpose. There is a vessel that was placed in you, attached to your life, that is filled with desire and a destination. Your life came with a plan. You are unique. Your gifting, talents, and desires are entirely distinct. God designed you. Predestined: God foreknew you, and He knows why you are here, what your purpose is.

Pastor Jason – God Will Restore the Years

Today we are going to start in Joel 2:25 (NKJV), “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust. My army I sent among you.” There are four types of ways the curse has stolen from us. This passage is a prophecy of what happened when Christ came. Christ broke the curse, but then He didn’t just stop there. He promises to restore what the curse steals, what Satan steals, the years stolen from you. And so He identifies each of the four. They represent your effort/time, your relationships, your money, and your fruit. You worked for years and years and it was all wasted. You were married to the wrong man, he was abusive, he didn’t love you, 10 years, and you look at the time, ugh, what a waste. You made that investment; the money vanished like thin air. You raised your children to love the Lord, but they are running to the world.

Too many Christians have seen theft in their lives. The curse gave Satan access to steal, kill and destroy. But we must realize he has that access no more. God says, “I will restore the years.” The years of investing in the wrong job only to have the doors close, you went to a church that didn’t tell you about the Holy Spirit and the power, your parents abandoned you and stole your childhood. You thought those years were just gone, but today you are going to find out that God is restoring those years. That mistake you made and the years spent in prison, those years as a young girl abused and molested repeatedly, building a business with a partner only to have them steal all that you worked for, that deadbeat man that won’t pay child support. God says to you today, “I will restore those years, the years where the curse bled into your life, get ready for restoration!”

Pastor Jason – Led by the Spirit – Direct Messaging

Today I want to talk to you about being Spirit-led through divine inspiration, a supernatural visitation for your distinct and unique life experience, a personalized message to you from God. The Holy Spirit’s primary way of leading is by teaching us the word of God. He also leads us through our desires. He gives us the desires of our heart; in other words, the reason He wants to fulfill the desire in your heart is because He put it in there. It’s part of His way to get you to want to do what He wants you to do. But today I want to talk to you about the daily leading of the Spirit through every facet of life that comes to us by the Spirit’s direct messaging, the specific and direct communication from the Holy Spirit that is for your personal and distinct life destination.

There is a leading available to Christians that many are completely missing, either because they are unaware, or not listening and trusting. Or they think the Holy Spirit is some far away, distant conceptual God that has no possibility of being actually real to them. Think of it this way, God’s Word is leading all of us; it is like a group text for all of us. It’s like a FB post. Instagram. But He is also direct messaging you. Here’s His group text for us today: John 16:12-13 (NKJV) “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and HE WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS YET TO COME.” It’s like a Direct Message – a personal text just for you. “Turn here, go back, talk to that person, lock your car, move your purse.” The Holy Spirit’s gonna help you at work, “Say this.” You’re a mechanic, “Check that.” Or you have a dream and your all, “Whoa! That was from God!” So today I want to talk to you about this voice, about the nudges, the Divine visitations, the dreams, the visions… the WHAT IS TO COME stuff!

Pastor Jason – Led by the Spirit – Distractions

Today I want to talk to you about distractions. We are so busy. And so busy and so many distractions sometimes leaves no room for God’s plan. We just don’t have time for that right now. God’s trying to put his plan in motion, but there just aren’t any seats left on your bus. The movie in our mind is sold out. Jesus talks about this in the parable of the sower and the seed. One of the types that didn’t really get the life-changing word of God just had too much going on; too many things distracted them from producing what God had given. The boss comes in with a new project and it gets put on the bottom of the pile of what I’m doing. But is everything we are doing producing? Or maybe some of my busy is just that, busy. I believe too many Christians are being pulled off God’s path by distractions.

Pastor Jason – Led by the Spirit – Revelation Moment

Today I want to talk to you about graduating to the next level. Every May students are graduating – my daughter is graduating high school this year. At the graduation there are speeches given about the new opportunities facing the graduates. You can become anything. The world is an oyster. For college graduates, they have been studying for a particular career; new information has been preparing them to be released into purpose – engineer, microbiologist, accountant. The definition of graduating is to pass from one stage of experience to a higher one. Promotion to a higher place resulting from study, preparation, and testing to determine readiness.

The Holy Spirit is our teacher. We are called to understanding. The Spirit leads us by revealing to us, through the Word, moving us along in our purpose.