I Am Not But I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God

I Am Not But I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God

4.1 15
by Louie Giglio

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God is looking for ordinary people
to play significant roles
in His story.
Our God is more expansive and powerful than we could ever imagine, the all-mighty creator of galaxies beyond our reach. But He is also the loving creator who has formed and fashioned you.  Yet, as valuable as you are to Him, God’s


God is looking for ordinary people
to play significant roles
in His story.
Our God is more expansive and powerful than we could ever imagine, the all-mighty creator of galaxies beyond our reach. But He is also the loving creator who has formed and fashioned you.  Yet, as valuable as you are to Him, God’s best for your life is to invite you into a story that is all about Him.
In this intensely personal and highly motivating book, bestselling author, pastor, and Passion founder Louie Giglio shows you how to embrace your “smallness” in light of God’s greatness—and live with more meaning than you have ever dreamed possible.
I am not…but God knows my name.
I am not…but He has pursued me in His love.
I am not…but I know the Creator of the universe.
I am not, but I know I AM!
Now updated with all new content to encourage you in your quest to live for what matters most.

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The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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5.46(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.50(d)

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Life is the tale of two stories—one finite and frail, the other eternal and enduring. The tiny one—the story of us—is as brief as the blink of an eye. Yet somehow our infatuation with our own little story—and our determination to make it as big as we possibly can—blinds us to the massive God Story that surrounds us on every side.

It’s a little like me being shocked a few weeks ago by the reaction of two of New York City’s finest as they motioned me over to their squad cars in the middle of my midmorning run. The first officer’s opening line (the exact wording of which, I’m sad to say, cannot be repeated here) led to the inexcusable reply,

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

I quickly realized I had said the wrong thing, especially to a New York cop. In a heartbeat my hands were on the hood of his car and threats of arrest were flying all over the place. I was startled and unnerved, and though it was now too late, my mouth was shut. Unless asked, I wasn’t saying another word, especially a sarcastic one.

To make matters worse, all I could produce in the way of identification was a hotel key card—one of those fancy new ones that looks cool but doesn’t even contain the name and address of the hotel. The whole scene was going downhill fast…

Things had started off innocently enough that morning as I headed out the door of our midtown-Manhattan hotel and began plodding down the sidewalk toward the East River about eight blocks away. But before I was two or three blocks away it started to rain. First it was just annoying—an intermittent spitting kind of rain. Then the wind picked up and a steady, chilling downpour started making things miserable. Assessing the situation, I determined I was too far from the hotel to make turning back a sensible option, so I kept running north along the river, pressing on in the driving rain.

I don’t know what kind of shape you’re in, but when I run I think more about survival than scenery. And when I’m running in a cold downpour, I barely think at all. I certainly don’t look around to read a lot of the signs. Thus, I wasn’t paying much attention when suddenly my path was blocked by a chain-link fence. It stretched from the riverbank on my right to a concrete lane divider that had been following me on my left. Once again I considered my options. Retracing my steps still didn’t make sense. What made sense was getting out of the rain. So without thinking I hopped over the lane divider and headed for the shelter of an overpass I now noticed across the way.

Quickly the overpass turned into an elevated roadway, so I could keep running under cover. I continued north, not really noticing that the lane to my right at some point became two lanes of traffic, and then three. After another mile or so, all three lanes of traffic were moving slower than I was and a driver in one of the cars shouted something in my direction. But in the rain and traffic, I couldn’t quite make out her words and was trying to ignore her anyway. Then the overpass drifted away to the left and I was once again exposed to the rain.

Soon I noticed the lower levels of the United Nations buildings on my far left, and nearer and just ahead two police cars parked on a wide concrete median. A single officer sat in each car, their eyes meeting mine as each step I ran drew us closer. Everything seemed to be fine, until my forward progress was interrupted by the piercing “blurp” of one of the officer’s sirens and the intense motion of his hand directing me to approach his car.

It was at that moment I realized for the first time I was running down the middle of the FDR, a six-lane expressway that snakes along the eastside shoreline of Manhattan. No wonder the officer’s first question when I finally splashed to a stop in front of his car was incredulous and unprintable.

How can you run down the middle of a New York freeway and not know it? I think the same way you can live your entire life completely oblivious to the grand story of the Creator of the universe that is unfolding all around you. The same way you can spend your days making so much of someone as small and transient as you or me, and so little of someone as glorious and eternal as God.

That’s why this book is not about you and making your story better, but about waking up to the infinitely bigger God Story happening all around you, and God’s invitation to you to join Him in it. It’s about looking up to see that there’s a story that has been going on long before you arrived on the planet and one that will go on long after you’re gone. God is the central character of this story and of this book. He commands center stage in existence, Creation, time, life, history, redemption, and eternity.

I’m not trying to put you down or imply that you don’t matter. Nor am I saying that you are absent from the grand Story of God. In fact, just the opposite. Amazingly, you appear on every page, existing in God’s thoughts long before this world was made. I’m simply stating the obvious—that THE STORY ALREADY HAS A STAR, AND THE STAR IS NOT YOU OR ME.

And here’s why it matters—if we don’t get the two stories straight, everything else in our lives will be out of sync. We’ll spend our days trying to hijack the Story of God, turning it into the story of us. Inverting reality, we’ll live every day as though life is all about you and me. We’ll live as though life is our one-act play and history our story—as though Creation is our habitation alone, existence our playground, and God our servant (that is, if we decide we need Him at all). We will throw every ounce of our energy into the fragmented and fleeting story of us. Calling the shots ourselves, me-centered thinking will dictate every move we make and how we feel.

And in the end—when the last clap is clapped for our tiny tale—our story will fade to black, a pitiful return on our one-shot chance called “life on earth.”

About thirty minutes into my ordeal with the officers, the situation lightened a bit as I realized the worst that was going to happen to me was a ticket for jaywalking, something I certainly deserved. As we were waiting for my life’s history to appear on the squad car’s computer, the nicer of the two cops asked within earshot of the other, “So what do you do for a living, anyway?”


Opting for the short answer, I said, “I’m a pastor.” Two sets of eyebrows rose.

“A pastor! What kind of pastor are you?”

I think he was looking for the name of a denomination, but I replied, “I’m a Christian.”

“Oh, yeah? Well what are you doing in New York?”

“I’m here to speak to a group of college students tonight out in Queens.”

“So, what are you going to tell them?”

For a split second time stood still. And then I told him, “I’m going to remind them that life is short and our time on earth is really brief,” I said. “That’s why we have to make sure our lives count for the stuff that lasts forever.” That’s what I want to do in these pages, too. Lead you to a fresh awareness of the six-lane-wide-freeway-sized God Story that you and I are running down the middle of every day.

It’s a place that requires a constant choice. We can choose to cling to starring roles in the little-bitty stories of us, or we can exchange our fleeting moment in the spotlight for a supporting role in the eternally beautiful epic that is the Story of God.

Think of it as trading up. Abandoning the former and embracing the latter will allow our little lives to be filled with the wonder of God as we live for His fame and the unending applause of His name. And joining our small stories to His will give us what we all want most in life anyway: the assurance that our brief moments on earth count for something in a story that never ends.

Meet the Author

LOUIE GIGLIO is the pastor of Passion City Church and founder of The Passion Movement, a ministry with a global reach that has inspired this generation of college-aged young people to live for God’s fame. Louie is the author of I Am Not But I Know I Am, Indescribable, The Air I Breathe and Wired: For a Life of Worship. With his wife, Shelley, he leads the music label, sixstepsrecords. The Giglios live in Atlanta.

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I Am Not but I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Louie Giglio. I’ve never personally been to any of the Passion Conferences, but I’ve heard that they’re amazing. I’ve listened to his sermons and Mr. Giglio just has a tonne of amazing things to say. I recently received his latest book, “I Am Not But I Know I Am” from Multnomah Publishers. I received it for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Everything I say is completely my opinion.  Anyway, I love Mr. Giglio. His book “I Am Not But I Know I Am” is wonderful. It’s short, not even reaching 200 pages, so it’s a very quick read. This book focuses on the story of God – how He’s more than enough, so we don’t have to be these perfect people. It talks about His love and how His love has been extended to us, so we can extend it to other people. This book has a lot of solid theological depth in it, but it’s broken down into bite-size pieces so the non-theologians among us can grasp them. We may be sailing in deep waters, but Giglio has given us a set of floaties to keep us going. This book is, in a word, encouraging. If you’re questioning who God is or what He thinks of you, read this book. Then it encourages you to go and LIVE your faith instead of just talking about it. Five out of five stars.
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KarenNadyne More than 1 year ago
The title of this book is what intrigued me. It definitely gets your attention and draws you in. Reading this book definitely was a blessing because it got me to focus on the I AM instead of myself (i am not). If you are a person who tends to be a "control freak", someone who thinks more highly of themselves than they ought (see Romans 12:3), then this is a book for you. Specifically on pages 33-35, where Louie Giglio breaks down who I AM is versus who i am not, will be an eye-opening, humbling revelation. I hope everyone who reads this book will come to realize that I AM is the answer to every question, frustration, problem, conflict that you will ever have. No matter what the situation is, I AM is the Orchestrator of it all. I AM is in control, i am not!!! I also appreciated the (OBSM)>One-Word Bible Study Method, which I have incorporated into my personal Bible study. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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Blake_Galloway More than 1 year ago
Louie Giglio is a traveling preacher who tells young adults what life really means and why we are all here. In this book, Louie explains to the reader that we are miniscule in the massive scheme of life. But at the same time we CAN make a difference if we do it through HIM. The author teaches us that everything in the universe was created by and revolves around God. Throughout the book, Louie uses a great amount of theology through scripture. I recomend this book to everyone. Everybody deserves to know why they are truly here and what each of our purposes are. It is an easy read and can be finished in about a week if you read quickly. I love how the author uses scripture frequently to make a point. This shows that God really means these things. I am a student from Hewitt-Trussville High School in Alabama.
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