June 2023 Column

Identity in Christ

Who am I?

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Truthfully, the expanse of the identity we’ve been given in Christ could fill much more than a few paragraphs, but I love this definition of identity found in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, and how stepping through each portion gives us a new element of answering the question: who am I? 

First, we are made to praise! Now that we know the reason for the hope we have, we are overflowing with gratitude. This doesn’t look like always being cheerful, happy, or faking enthusiasm; this looks like meeting the day and its challenges with an awareness of the goodness and love of God. And even when we are met with those challenges, we are told we will be victorious! It’s important to note that we are promised THE victory, and not every victory. We will still have struggles and trials, we will still have hurt and doubt, but ultimate victory–leaving the pain of this sin-soaked world behind to be with our Creator and Redeemer– is assured.

Further, from these verses, we learn that we have a family! Other versions include the adjective of ‘beloved’, but not only are we treasured by our Heavenly Father, we are given an earthly community with His Church. While it would be nice if that meant one community, one specific congregation, life changes set us on a path to other places. Our purpose doesn’t fade when we switch jobs, move apartments, get married or start a family, get promoted or go back to school. The work of the Lord is ahead of us, and we can give ourselves to it. We are the hands and feet of the body, but Jesus is the head–the work we do needs to be in accordance with His will. 

This passage counsels steadfastness, too. We have this calling to be immovable, and we do not conjure this strength from nothing, but instead are made strong in the Lord. The psalmist says that the one who meditates on the law of the Lord is made to be like a tree by moving waters–when we study, internalize, and live out the Word of God, we are strengthened. He hasn’t given us an impossible task, but one that He will equip us for. And even when it doesn’t feel like it, we will be fruitful, because that is also His promise.

Questions for Discussion

How does knowing we are promised victory add perspective to our current struggles?

What can we do to stand firm in Jesus?

How does our identity in Christ affect our creation of/desire for Christian community? What about our commitment to/role in ministry?

What can you do when you feel like the labor you’re doing for the Lord is in vain?

Ministry is hard, tiring work. But praise God, that He knows we will be exhausted, but He will still work! What a beautiful promise that the identity we have in Christ, the self and talents that we have surrendered to Him, WILL be used for the furthering of His kingdom.  

Contributors

Editor
Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Christina Lindsay

Christina Lindsay

Human Relations Director

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Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.