I remember the day
when, as a 27 year-old undercover cop, I wanted to return to being a street cop
with short hair, a visible uniform and a marked patrol unit. Something went
down with a crooked cop that forced my hand. 
My partner and I exposed a criminal enterprise and now our lives were in
jeopardy. I not only wanted out of the undercover world, but I needed a change
of scenery. It was then that Jan and I decided to move north from the San
Francisco bay area to a new life as a cop in small town Oregon. It was in
Oregon where I discovered my destiny in God’s Kingdom and that destiny has
brought me to the place where I stand today.

For a couple of
years before I made that decision, I had been working in the seamy world of
drugs, vice and organized crime. I carried a California driver’s license issued
in another name. I drove an untraceable Dodge pickup. My hair was long. The
beard I wore made me look like an outlaw biker. Television dramatizes these
assignments, but they expose a person to the darkest fringes of our world. I
saw things I could never share publicly because of their graphic nature. Only
through the work of the Spirit and the detergent of love have those images been
finally washed from my memory.

Some of you reading
these words are living like I did when I worked as an undercover cop. You are
living under an assumed name. It is not the real you. I am not saying you are
living in sin or that you are a fake. What I am saying is this – you need to
rediscover your true identity. You have forgotten the real you.

You were
spiritually birthed under the power of the Spirit, but something took place and
somewhere along the way you started living under an assumed name. You have come
to realize, like I did as an undercover cop, that it is time to reconnect with
the real you.

As a spouse you may
have discovered that you walked away from the real you driven by your need to
be loved by another person. The person to whom you are married has never met
the real you. Some of you are involved in a ministry and the ministry, not the
Spirit, has reformed you into an assumed person. Others have wanted so badly to
belong to a group that you took up the group identity in order to belong. You
now live lost in the crowd.

2017 can become a
year filled with the same failed resolutions and familiar promises or it can be
a year where something truly different takes place. Real change must first
start by discovering or rediscovering your true identity in Christ. Everything
of value flows from that single understanding. If you are willing to make this
journey of discovery you will experience what I felt the day when I returned to
being a street cop. I felt washed and free. It was like I was being reborn.
Your identity has that kind of resurrection power. It was given to you as a map
to help you find your way back home again.

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