How we see ourselves

 

If you See Yourself iN Christ (SYNC), what will you see? A new you who has received some new gifts that give you a new purpose. These are the gifts:

 

Each gift is a result of what SYNC calls a "game-changer," a specific act of God that makes a specific gift available in a new way from then on. Once we get that idea and embrace the gifts, we see ourselves as participants in this story that unifies the world. And it's a great story!   (See 5G diagram)

We see ourselves "in Christ" in the flow of this story. We are linked to him, his movement, and his strategy to bring good into the world.  

Why you will like where this is going
If you See Yourself iN Christ, you will like yourself. In SYNC with him, you are good for yourself and for everybody else. Jesus has everyone's good in mind, and when you are in him, so do you. All the parts of you that you don't like are the parts that are out of SYNC with him.
Seven things you will see in the mirror

 

Your identity, security, and significance

 

All kinds of good things happen when we realize that our basic identity will never be secure if we think it can be based on

  • expressing ourselves

  • achieving goals

  • righting some wrong we have suffered

  • being liked, or

  • obeying rules

 

What gives us a secure identity is SYNCing with something beyond ourselves, something that is already going on with its own life and energy. SYNCing with something huge, ancient, and good is not a chore or a challenge. It’s a privilege. It is our response to God’s grace.

 

God's grace makes these seven gifts available to those who SYNC with him. 

 
Each gift harks back to a particular game-changing act of God. As you explore these gifts and the specific game-changer that brought each gift within our reach, your view of yourself in Christ will grow. God had certain intentions in every game-changer, and we SYNC with those intentions. A few examples: 
  • “Lord, whatever you intended when you breathed life into the first human, fulfill those intentions in us.” 

  • “Lord, whatever you intended when you sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, fulfill those intentions in us today.” 

  • “Lord, whatever you intend to do in the world when you return in glory, please do some of that in us already.”

 

The common thread running through all seven gifts is that we are people who welcome the gifts, are changed by them, and share them. That’s who we are. That’s what we are here for. When we realize we are in SYNC with God’s ancient, brilliant, grace-soaked strategy and purpose, we know we are in a good place. 

 

We find terrific security in this identity in Christ, plus a great sense of significance without any desire to boast about it or look down on anybody. It’s like Christ is picking us up and carrying us along with him, and it starts happening long before we truly get our minds around it all.

The seven ways we see ourselves in Christ

 

  1. Life-bringers who enjoy and respect all creation

What does the Life icon mean?  

It represents water and green plants—symbols of creation and life.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for “life-bringers”: Genesis 1.1, God creates the universe 

  • The creation story: Genesis 1.1 - 2.3

  • How we see Christ: the Creator:  John 1.1-4

  • Jubilee Cards 1-7

 

Why do we get to be life-bringers?

God wants his life to fill everything and everyone, but he does not just zap that into everyone. He puts it into some people to carry to other people. We are the carriers, the life-bringers. We see what God is doing and why, and this is it:

We are part of a world God created. Beauty, music, children, food, colors, everything--was designed so that human life would be good and joyful. When Jesus came to earth, he took that to a new level—even better and more joyful. When we act like life-bringers, we are in SYNC with God’s plan. When we hurt or tear down other people, we are out of SYNC. That is not who we are.

We are life-bringers because we realize where life comes from. Since God created everything, he owns everything, just like you own whatever you make. That means that all the things we call “ours”—our clothes, our food, our toys—all actually belong to him because we ourselves belong to him. We just get to use “our” things for a while. So we should not get too grabby.

Instead, we should realize that life, every breath we take, is a gift not a right. Since life is a gift, our job is just to be thankful for it. Thankful people relax, enjoy life, marvel at it, and take good care of it. Our job is to share life, to be life-bringers not life-grabbers. Thankful people are life-bringers. That is us.

 

What will we do today as life-bringers?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • You are lively. How could you make someone else feel more alive, more loved, more valuable today? 

  • How can we do that for each other in our family? 

  • Who else can we do it for today? Is there any way we together can bring life to someone or some group?

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as life-bringers. (4-5 min to read aloud)

 

2. Fruitful branches on an ancient family tree

What does the Roots icon mean?  

 

It represents the roots of the Abraham family tree going down into the promises of God.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for “fruitful branches”: Genesis 12.3, all families blessed through Abraham’s family

  • The story of God’s promises to Abraham: Genesis 12.1-3

  • How we see Christ:  the one who grafts us into the family tree:  Gal. 3.29

  • Jubilee Cards 8-14

 

Why do we get to be fruitful branches on the Abraham family tree?

 

God wants his blessing to go to every family in the world, but he does not give it to every family directly. He created a special family through Abraham, and he uses that family to bless all the rest. Because of Jesus, we get to be members of Abraham’s family, fruitful branches on Abraham’s family tree. We see what God is doing and why, and this is it:

He is keeping his ancient promise to Abraham. He promised that Abraham’s family would grow to become millions of descendants, and God would bless every family on earth through that huge family. Jesus was one of those descendants of Abraham. He expanded the family to include spiritual descendants, not just Abraham’s relatives by birth. That means we can be grafted into the Abraham family tree like branches being grafted onto a fruit tree.

Once we are attached, we have Abraham’s faith and Jesus’ life flowing into us by his Holy Spirit. Then we can produce lots of fruit like love and joy that can bless many people. We are part of the fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to bless every family through Abraham’s family.

 

What will we do today as fruitful branches?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • God wants to bless other people around us by producing fruit in us that they will be glad for. How can we encourage and bless each other in our family today? 

  • Who else do we know who needs some help or encouragement today? 

  • What little things can we do to bless people, like a smile or taking notice of somebody who is having a hard day?

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as fruitful branches on the Abraham family tree. (4-5 min to read aloud)

 

 

3. Freedom activists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Freedom icon mean?  

 

It represents the tomb Jesus was raised from. 

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for freedom activists:  Luke 4.18-19, Jesus’ proclamation of the dawn of an era of freedom

  • The resurrection story: Matthew 28.1-20

  • How we see Christ:  the King who issues a proclamation:  Luke 4.43, why Jesus was sent to earth

  • Jubilee Cards 15-21

 

Why do we get to be “freedom activists”?

 

God wants everyone on earth to be free of everything that is ruining their lives, but he does not just break all their chains magically. He sends out “activists,” official messengers to take the freedom message to the whole world. Jesus sent us to carry on what he started.

He was an activist, proclaiming a new era of freedom and calling people to follow him into it. His enemies in the establishment executed him to show the world that Jesus’ proclamation was bogus, but God brought him back to life to show the world it was true. That’s why the resurrection of Jesus is so important. It validates his proclamation.

Jesus did not Tweet his proclamation. He put the message into people, all of us who welcomed the proclamation when we heard it. We get to show the world what it feels like and looks like to live free. Nobody has to live any more like they are tied in knots by their desires, their habits, their traumas, or their fears. They can be free if they live “in Jesus,” that is, if they welcome him as their King.

That’s who we are—“freedom activists,” authorized representatives who declare that Jesus is alive and are ready to do anything it takes to draw others to join us in his Freedom Era. That is our cause, and we are not going to shut up about it.

 

What will we do today as “freedom activists”?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • What has Jesus already freed you from? 

  • Is there anything else you want to ask him to free you from today? 

  • Everybody likes freedom. How can we show them what living free in Christ means today? 

  • Is anyone around us poor, broken-hearted, addicted, or abused? Is anyone in a tough situation they don’t know how to get out of? Let’s help them discover Christ’s freedom.

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as activists announcing freedom. (4-5 min to read aloud)

 

 

4. Walking evidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Power icon mean?  

 

The fire represents the Holy Spirit, the source of our power in Christ.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for us as God’s “walking evidence”: Acts 1.8, power to show that Jesus is alive

  • The story of Jesus sending the Holy Spirit into his followers: Acts 2.1-21, especially v. 1-4

  • How we see Christ:  the holder of all power and authority: Matthew 28.18-20

  • Jubilee Cards 22-28

 

Why do we get to be walking evidence of God’s power for good?

 

God does not want the world to have to wait to see his power until Jesus comes back to earth in person. He wants the whole world to be glad right now that Jesus brought heaven’s power to earth, and that it is still here. That is where we come in. We are walking evidence of his power for good. We see what God is doing and why, and this is it:

He is continuing the work Jesus did on earth. Jesus did many miracles. When he left, he took all that power to heaven with him, but not for long. Ten days later, he sent his power back down into his followers. He sent his Holy Spirit to live in them.

The Spirit changed them inside. They became new people, more and more like Jesus every day. They were able to do things that were not humanly possible so that people would know the power of Jesus himself was still working on earth. On the day this started, they all spoke languages they had never learned! They were praising God in these languages, pointing to Jesus as the one who had released the power for this.

The Holy Spirit is still pointing to Jesus by doing things in us and through us that we could never do on our own. The Spirit reaches the parts of us that we can’t reach, and he changes the parts of us we can’t change. And the Spirit still works miracles sometimes, not every time we snap our fingers, but every time God decides to do something special. Watch for it.

 

What will we do today as walking evidence of God’s power?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • When people see us, we want them to think, “There must be a God.” How might God change us inside so they would think that? 

  • What do we wish we could change about ourselves that we just can’t change on our own? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to change that today.

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as walking evidence of God’s power for good. (4-5 min to read aloud)

 

 

5. Forgiveness agents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Mercy icon mean?  

 

It is drops of blood creating a pool. It reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice of his life on the cross.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for “forgiveness agents”: Romans 5.8, Christ died for us out of sheer mercy

  • The story of Christ’s one-time sacrifice in the heavenly Temple: Hebrews 9.1-14

  • How we see Christ:  the sacrifice whose wounds heal us: Isaiah 53.4-12, especially v. 5-6

  • Jubilee Cards 29-35

 

Why do we get to be forgiveness agents?

 

God wants people to be living guilt-free lives. He does not want them kicking themselves for the bad things they did, nor does he want them faking it, pretending they were never guilty of anything. But God does not just give everyone a free pass and tell them they do not have to feel guilty. He sends his representatives to show and tell how genuine guilt removal works. That is who we are, God’s forgiveness agents, God’s guilt-busters.

This does not come naturally. When someone hits us, the natural reaction is to hit back. They are guilty. They deserve it. If we forgive them, we think they will hit us again because we let them get away with it the first time.

Jesus shows us that life is not like that. He let people hit him, torture him, and kill him, but it did not mean they could do it again. It meant he was letting it happen because he realized he was an innocent, willing sacrifice. He took the punishment we deserved. His death killed our guilt.

When we see that and accept Christ's mercy and sacrifice, we are changed inside. We never really get over it. We start showing mercy even to the “bad” people, and that is how evil loses its control of the world. The "good" people accept God's mercy and become merciful people, so that even the “bad” people can change.

 

What will we do today as forgiveness agents (guilt-busters)?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • There is way too much guilt in the world, and it really messes people’s lives up. Let’s get out there and put a stop to it in the only way that really works—showing people that we forgive them. 

  • But first let’s be thankful that Jesus forgave us for things we were guilty of. Then let’s start forgiving by practicing on each other. Are we still holding any grudges against any other family members? If so, let’s forgive them right now. 

  • Are we holding any grudges or bad feelings toward any other people because they hurt us or don’t like us? If so, let’s let those feelings go. Let’s forgive them like Christ has forgiven us—the big things and the small things. 

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as forgiveness agents. (4-5 min to read aloud)

6. Honorable finishers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Honor icon mean? 

 

It is a person carrying a heavy beam of wood. It reminds us that Jesus said we would have to carry our cross when we follow him.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for “finishers”: Hebrews 12.2, Jesus heroically endured the cross and despised the shame

  • The story of Jesus being flogged and mocked by the soldiers, then being too weak to carry the cross all the way to his execution Mark 14.15-21

  • How we see Christ: our commander and example, carrying the cross: Luke 14.27

  • Jubilee Cards 36-42

 

Why do we get to be finishers, never giving up?

 

God knows how unfair the world is. Even when his messengers do everything right and are good to everyone, the world will still attack them and try to shame them.

 

Jesus never told his followers that following him would be easy. In fact, he said the opposite. They would need the endurance of a long-distance runner plus the courage of a person facing a dangerous attack. In a word, they would need grit—toughness, determination, and loyalty.

 

Where do we get that? Jesus showed us what it looks like to endure shame and torture, and we get strength from his heroic example. Since his Spirit lives in us, we can finish like he did—fearless, with our heads held high. And we also have God's promise to honor those who "overcome" what they suffer for his name (Revelation 3.21). 

We are finishers not quitters because we keep looking at Jesus, letting his Spirit give us courage, and trusting his promise. We can even inspire others, passing on some of Christ's inspiration. That is what we pray for. “Lead us on, Jesus, until we hear you say, ‘It is finished!’”

 

What will we do today as finishers?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • Did Jesus help us get through anything yesterday? Let’s thank him for that. 

  • The key to finishing is keeping our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12.1). How do we do that? How do we make sure that we are thinking more about him than about any hard things that come up in our day? 

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as honorable finishers. (4-5 min to read aloud)

 

 

7. "Movie trailers" for the coming world of peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Vision icon mean?  

 

It is a sunrise, reminding us of the glory of God that is already dawning in us. We will see it completely when Jesus returns.

 

Relevant Scripture

  • Key verse for us as “movie trailers”: Revelation 11.15, Christ takes power on earth

  • The story of the seventh trumpet heralding the beginning of Christ’s reign on earth:  Revelation 11.15-19

  • How we see Christ: the Messiah, the perfect King of the whole world:  Daniel 7.14

  • Jubilee Cards 43-50

 

Why do we get to be trailers for a movie about the coming world of peace?

 

God wants people’s lives to be full of hope about how the world will turn out in the end. He knows they have plenty of reasons to be afraid it will be awful. That’s why he puts out some signs of things to come, so people can have a good reason to trust him about the future. As we trust Jesus today, he puts some of the good things of the future world of peace into us. We are from the future! And we can tell people what we know is coming when Jesus takes charge.

Jesus’ plan is for us to work like movie trailers, showing people enough of what is coming that they want to get in on it. When Jesus returns to earth, he will rule everywhere and there will be peace and life everywhere. Right now he rules inside us. That means he is already doing in us what he will do everywhere later. So when people see us, they see the future.

We don’t show it perfectly or show it all. Movie trailers never show you the whole movie. But they show you enough that you know what kind of a movie it will be. And this “movie” is going to be great!

 

What will we do today as movie trailers?

  • What’s happening on our schedule today? 

  • What does today’s Jubilee Card have to do with that?

  • The main thing we have to do is look more like Jesus. We have to get more of his peace and joy inside us so others can see it. How can we do that? 

  • What is there in us that is not peaceful and joyful? How can we get rid of that so it does not block people’s view of how good life is when Jesus rules?

 

More

The story of the world, told in a way that shows why we see ourselves as trailers for a movie about the coming world of peace. (4-5 min to read aloud)

These are not mere ideals you aspire to. These are what Christ turns you into when you "get it." Here's how it works. It's "5G" in an old school way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There are  seven game-changers  in the SYNC version of the story of the world, each bringing a different gift and a different way of seeing yourself. Each game-changer starts a cascade that goes down five levels until at the end we are authentic people, genuine products of the flow of the grace of God. Let's look at the first game-changer, the creation of the world, as a sample.

 

Top level of the diagram:  

the first game-changer is the start of the story--the creation of the world. That makes life available to us as human beings. 

Second level:

The ancient game-changer comes down to us today as a gift -- the blessing of life itself. We wouldn't be here now if creation hadn't happened way back then.

Third level:

When we get that idea, that life is a gift from a personal God and not just a chance happening through the laws of physics and chemistry, we become grateful. It's a natural response to a fantastic gift. 

Fourth level:

Our gratitude motivates us to "go with it," that is, to SYNC our lives with God's intentions when he did the game-changer. We start seeing ourselves as life-bringers for the good of everybody. We promote life, we liven things up, we live life that is real life, and we bring life to those in our world.

Bottom level:

We are authentic people. We are not promoting life and being life-givers in order to score points with God or to impress anyone. We are not pretending or bragging. We are not taking any credit for our goodness because we know it didn't come from us. It came from the flow of the grace of God, just the way he intended when he did the game-changer in the first place. In other words, his strategy is working. His intentions are coming true. And we get to be in on that! That is genuine humanity and genuine goodness, by the grace of God.

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