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Last week we began considering who we are according to God. We are not our own, and we are alive even though we used to be dead. Here are a several more Gospel-informed realities that frame the core of our identity.

“Who am I?” From Bible characters like Moses to Greek philosophers to a slew of people in “mid-life crisis,” humans have asked this question in a variety of forms. Today from the earliest ages our children are told to be true to themselves, whatever that means and assuming they have that capacity. Countless numbers of labels vie to stamp themselves on us. “I am American,” “I am poor,” “I am Republican,” “I am an addict,” “I am a mom,” “I am Hispanic,” “I am ...” Some are innocent truth, some sad truth, and many fall far short of satisfactorily answering who we truly are and are meant to be. What are some ways that the Bible tells us to think of ourselves? Because only there will we find profound, deeply accurate, and directional descriptions of ourselves that lead us to become who we are made to be.

We are excited to announce that we have purchased property for the future home of our church buildings. The Lord has provided around 15 acres at 1101 Marion Street, Kingsburg, at what used to be the Del Monte Plant. It's amazing to see how closely this property fits what we were hoping for, from direct freeway access to a connection to town. From the location to the timing to the cost, God has done abundantly more than we could ask or think. We're looking forward to working alongside the City of Kingsburg as we move forward and there are a lot of decisions still to be made, but we're excited to have land in hand. Praise Him!

Have you ever had one of those intense, possibly even heated doctrinal discussions that led to a massively strained relationship with a friend? Ever had a healthy discussion with a fellow-Christian where you peacefully but forcefully disagreed on your interpretation of a passage, and in the end neither of you changed your minds? Maybe seeing a doctrinal discussion dissolve into red-faced anger, or maybe just seeing it lead to no change whatsoever, has left you feeling like doctrinal discussions are all pointless and to be avoided like the plague. And certainly some are. But as Bruce Ware reflected on a well-known story from Jesus’ life, he arrived at some helpful takeaways for us.

The Valley of Vision is a treasure of Puritan prayers. Reading it has helped instruct me on how to pray, reminded me that God’s Word should inform the words of my prayers, and reprimanded me for praying small and weightless prayers. I highly recommend getting the book and even using it during your regular devotional times, and I think your soul will benefit from reading along with these prayers from the past. Here’s just one example, called “A Present Salvation.”

I haven’t sat down to write the epitaph for my gravestone, but one word I would hope to be on it would be “churchman.” Few qualities resonate as deeply with me as those that would mark a man as belonging to the church, of loving her and growing in her and giving his life for her. So any time I read of others prizing the local church I’m immediately drawn and delighted. Carl Trueman is one such modern churchman, and the following article reflects well a passion for the centrality of the local church and a prophetic call to recognize the corrosiveness in some of our American church culture.