The world goes out of its way to make you believe you are not good enough. Maybe you aren't sure you like where you've been, or who you've become. Maybe someone has made you believe a lie about who you are by speaking damaging words to you. The discovery of our true identities does not begin by looking within ourselves, but by looking to the One who made us. Hello, My Name Is will inspire you to not wear the nametag that someone else gave you, but to wear the name of who God says you are. Your name may be "Lonely" . . . He calls you Friend. Your name may be "Failure" . . . He calls you Redeemed. Your name may be "Broken" . . . He calls you Beloved. It is time to tear off the false nametags that cover up your true identity. Understanding who you are begins with knowing Whose you are so you can embrace your destiny as a child of the one true King. "Hello, My Name Is will silence the lies of the enemy so you can hear God whisper, 'You are mine. You are wanted. You are so incredibly loved.'" —Lysa Terkeurst, New York Times best-selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries "Hello, My Name Is gets to the heart of an issue that haunts the homeless and the hero, the kid and the king, the disabled and the diva—our identity." —Randy Frazee, Senior Minister at Oak Hills Church, author of The Heart of the Story Matthew West brings the rare combination of songwriter an pastor to his ministry. He is a modern-day King David, creating Psalms that touch the heart of God and God’s children. Now, as an added blessing to us all, he has compiled his thoughts into a book. A person can almost hear Matthew sing through the pages. I’m deeply grateful for this work, this singer, this friend. —Max Lucado, New York Times best-selling author Matthew West has always written honestly in his songs and stories. In his latest book, Hello, My Name Is, Matthew may offer his greatest truth yet: how to discover our God-given identity while building a closer relationship with our Lord. I gained a lot of insight while reading this book, and I know you will as well. —Scotty McCreery, ACM, BMI, and CMT award-winning country music entertainer and author of Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream
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About the Author
Matthew West is a multiple-ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner, a four-time GRAMMY® nominee, and was awarded his first American Music Award (2013) and a Billboard Music Award (2014). Matthew West’s discography includes acclaimed releases: Happy (2003), History (2005), Something to Say (2008), The Story of Your Life (2010) and GRAMMY®- nominated Into the Light (2012). West was nominated for a Primetime Emmy® Award for Original Music & Lyrics for The Heart of Christmas from the film of the same name. His songwriting credits include cuts by Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio, and more. He spent much of late 2012 and early 2013 on a pre-headlining stint on WinterJam Tour Spectacular, the number one tour in the world. He wrapped up 2013 with his own headlining tour in the fall of 2013 and “The Story Tour” in December. During 2014, West toured with the “Hits Deep Tour” as well as his sell-out “Hello My Name Is. . .” acousitc tour.
Read an Excerpt
Hello My Name Is
Discover Your True Identify
By Matthew West
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Matthew West
All rights reserved.
MY NEW BEST FRIEND
"Are we going to be friends forever?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," Pooh answered.
A. A. MILNE
She was all dressed up in a brand-new outfit from head to toe. Color-coordinated, of course. Lulu was born with an eye for fashion just like her momma. Her favorite color? Well, one look at family photo albums or her bedroom décor and you'd find the answer in no time: PINK! Two pink bows holding pigtails in place. Pink shoelaces laced up her new, predominantly pink sneakers, which were filled by unbearably cute little feet wearing frilly pink socks. Those socks paired perfectly with her brandnew backpack. Can you guess what color? Yep.
Now, for a guy who grew up pretending to be Hulk Hogan, practicing pro wrestling moves with two brothers in the backyard, this new world of tutus, tiaras, and the color pink frightened and confused me at first. I have learned the hard way that a father of two girls has as much of a chance escaping the house on a given day without his fingernails painted a bright shade of fuchsia as my little brother had escaping one of my backyard body slams. Reaching for my coffee cup at Starbucks and noticing the hipster barista staring at my painted nails prompts nothing but a grin and one word: "Daughters."
Well, the time had come. Lulu, my five-year-old fashionista, was ready to make a splash on her first day of school. And this was not just any first day of school. This was the first day of school. As in, the first ever day of school. The big dance. The show. Kindergarten! My little pink princess was poised and ready to venture out into the great academic unknown, her long, yellow chariot awaiting her. For her mother and me, the closing of the bus door and the folding of that stop sign signified the start of our countdown.
Time sure took its own sweet time that day. As we awaited Lulu's return from her first day of kindergarten, questions grew thick around us. Did she remember to eat her lunch? Was she scared in her new classroom? Had she made any friends? Were the other kids nice to her? I remember how we walked to the bus stop a good twenty minutes early that afternoon, homemade posterboard signs in hand that read "Congratulations, Genius!" Now, I'm not sure what changed, but she got on that bus my little baby girl ... and when she stepped off hours later, she looked like Little Miss Independent as she tossed her backpack into my arms and began skipping down the sidewalk toward home. As her mother and I ran to catch up with her, a little game of Twenty Questions ensued.
"Lulu, tell us all about it! How was your first day?"
"It was great!" she replied with a toothless grin. "I made a new best friend!"
"That's great, Lulu! What's your new best friend's name?"
She stopped for a second, rolled her eyes up as if she were trying to see the top of her head, and then with a shrug answered, "I don't know. But she's my best friend!"
MY BEST FRIEND'S NAME
I have a best friend too. One who knows me better than anyone does. One who has never left me. One who loves me deeply. My best friend carries me through my most difficult days. I talk about my best friend often. I even write books and compose and record songs proclaiming how much I love my best friend and how much he loves me. Yes, like Lulu after her first day of kindergarten, I can shout, "I've got a best friend!"
I grew up fascinated by Sunday school stories about this man named Jesus. How he spread mud on the eyes of a blind man and gave him sight (John 9). How he fed more than five thousand hungry people from just five loaves of bread and a couple of fish (Matthew 14). How he brought his friend Lazarus back from the dead (John 11). How he sacrificed his own life, an innocent man being put to death (Luke 23). How he rose from the dead three days later (Luke 24). I remember feeling an undeniable stirring in my soul when I first read scriptures describing the power of Jesus's name. "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9–11 ESV). But what really blew me away was learning that this powerful, miracle-working, life-sacrificing Jesus calls me friend. "I no longer call you servants ... Instead, I have called you friends" (John 15:15 NIV). On Sunday mornings, I would stand with my family and sing timeless hymns that told me so.
What a friend we have in Jesus All our sins and griefs to bear What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer
I wanted to know this Jesus. I had read, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13 NIV), so at the age of thirteen I prayed. I talked to Jesus and asked him into my heart while watching a televised Billy Graham crusade. That began my journey with my new best friend.
Yet, if I'm being honest, I'm afraid I would lose count of how many times I live my life as if I've forgotten my best friend's name and the power that name holds. The years since that first prayer have at times forced a forgetfulness that mirrors Lulu's return from her first day of kindergarten. Somewhere between the playground and the bus ride home, she forgot the name of her new best friend. Somewhere between a bedtime prayer of a junior high kid and a Monday-morning crisis in the real world of an adult, I have done the same.
WHAT'S MY NAME AGAIN?
Can you remember how you felt on your first day of school? Remember walking into a new classroom for the first time? Even as I write this, I'm having flashbacks of my own kindergarten initiation, and it's making me start to perspire. I was so nervous that I could hardly remember my own name, let alone the name of a new friend I might have just met. Come to think of it, the first day of kindergarten (and every day since) has been a challenge to do two things: (1) Remember who I am and (2) Remember who my best friend is.
Oscar Wilde wrote, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." Sadly, I'm afraid there are times when we live that way. Perhaps this is because the journey that leads us to the core of who we really are requires a level of honesty that makes us feel uncomfortable. Oh, but we were born for that journey! And deep down, we crave the freedom that is hidden behind the honesty it takes to find it. Not one of us aspires to be a replica, because we were never created to be a copy. Not Lulu the kindergartner. Not me. Not you. Even identical twins each have unique fingerprint patterns. And you were meant to leave your one-of-a-kind fingerprint on this life, this world. No one knows this better than our Creator. After all, each of us is his idea. And his idea to create you comes with a perfect plan. "For I know the plans I have for you ... plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Don't know who you are? God does. Don't have a plan for your life? God does. Don't see any hope? God does. Don't see anything but disaster? God does. Discovering our true identities does not begin by looking within ourselves, but by looking outside of ourselves to the one who made us. There is no greater authority on your life than the one who gave you life. The more you get to know him, the more you will discover who he created you to be.
These days Lulu is a book-reading, sentence-writing, number-adding, piano-playing, dance-class-taking fourth grader. I am happy to announce that she did eventually remember the name of the best friend she made on her first day of kindergarten, and as I am writing this chapter, I can hear them upstairs playing. Lulu is learning who she is. And she remembered who her best friend is. Do you remember who yours is?
If Jesus is your best friend, how is it possible to forget his name and the power in that name?
When do you forget who you are and end up living someone else's life, rather than the one God has for you?
Read Jeremiah 29:11. God says that he has great plans for you. How can you live in such a way that shows you believe that promise? When do you struggle to believe it?CHAPTER 2
OOH, THAT'S MY FAVORITE!
If you can't see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you've never felt thunder and lightning you'll be impressed with fireworks.
You don't want to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July with me. I'm quite annoying. At least that's what my family tells me. And I'm sure they tell me that in love. It's like when someone begins a sentence by saying, "No offense, but ...," chances are they are about to offend you. But I can't really blame them. I am that guy. The annoying one who can't keep quiet during our town's pyrotechnic display of patriotism. The guy who tries to get my family to say "ooooh" after one firework and "ahhhh" after the next. For some reason, they never join in.
I also like to name the fireworks based on their unique characteristics. Let's see, there's the "Weeping Willow," which is the sparkly one that looks like it's raining down over the crowd. There's the "Dipsy-Doodle" that spins off like little spirals in the sky. There's also the "Silent but Deadly," "Merry Christmas," "Swirly-Twirly Gumdrop," "Smiley Face" ... Well, you get the idea. Hey, I'm a songwriter. I name things. It's what I do.
As if that's not annoying enough, the final and perhaps most obnoxious thing I like to do after every "ooh" and "ahh" is to shout, "That's my favorite!" Then, when the next firework explodes, my family will hear me say, "No, I just changed my mind. That's my favorite!" By the end of each fireworks show, I have proudly declared that every blast was better than the last and each one my favorite. Hey, that may be annoying, but it could be worse. I could dress up like Larry the Cable Guy every Fourth of July, wearing a T-shirt with a giant bald eagle spray-painted on the front and the sleeves cut off as I launch roman candles from my driveway while hollering, "'Merica!" That's the power of perspective, people.
HELLO, MY NAME IS "AMAZED"
As I began researching for this book, I found myself echoing the same refrain after discovering each of the names given to God throughout Scripture. "Ooh, that's my favorite!" Every name reveals a different dimension of the awesomeness and wonder of the God I thought I already knew. Digging deeper opened my eyes to see that for too long I had settled for a surface knowledge and understanding of who God is, all the while spending much more time focusing on figuring out who I am. I confess that before I engaged in this exercise of studying and meditating on who God is, I had handled the power of his name with about as little reverence as the catchy childhood premeal prayer, "God is great. God is good. Thank you, God, for this food. Amen." Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. We begin a prayer by saying, "Dear God" or "Heavenly Father," but have we truly explored the great depth of who he is? We may even know some of his other names, but are they mere words with no meaning to us? Or worse?
Recently I was exiting a plane after a flight from Los Angeles to Nashville. Still somewhat groggy from my four-and-a-half-hour journey, I slowly made the brief trek up the walkway into the airport. As I did, a middle-aged woman in front of me accidentally dropped her bag. As she bent down to retrieve her luggage, she shouted in frustration, "Jesus Christ!" This stopped me in my tracks as I was reminded of the reality that for some, God's name is nothing but a swear word, something shouted out of anger as a curse rather than something spoken in adoration as praise. For many, the name of God has been reduced to nothing more than slang used in everyday conversation. "Oh my God! Look at these shoes!" You get the idea. And perhaps this is something you find yourself doing as well.
I once heard Rick Warren say the very fact that people use the name of God as a curse word is proof that we all have an internal leaning in the direction of one who is greater than us. Think about it. When that woman dropped her bag in the airport, she didn't shout, "Oh Matthew West!" or "Oh my spouse!" She didn't curse another human being. Even in her cursing, she was unconsciously acknowledging that there is something different, something greater, about the name of Jesus.
The angel Gabriel didn't mince words. Perhaps that's why God gave this trusty celestial sidekick so many assignments. When he appeared to Mary to tell her the news that her world was about to be totally turned upside down because she had been chosen to carry the long-awaited Savior of the world, Gabriel left nothing to chance. "You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:31–32). Gabriel's first order of business? Telling Mary what to expect while she was expecting. His second assignment? Making sure she didn't worry about picking a name. His name had already been decided: Jesus. The name means "Savior." An angel also appeared to Joseph, Mary's troubled fiancé, who had just found out his bride-to-be was already a mother-to-be. To Joseph, the instructions to name the baby Jesus were followed by a reason: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21 NIV).
THERE'S A NAME FOR THAT
Shakespeare famously posed the question, "What's in a name?" "That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet." The giver of all names answered that very question long before he even breathed life into Shakespeare's lungs. Not all names are equal. There is one name above all others. "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name" (Philippians 2:9 NIV). His name had been chosen long before heaven's chosen was born in Bethlehem. That's how significant the name of Jesus is. New Testament Scripture even points back to Old Testament prophecies that foretold the name of our Savior long before his arrival. The Bible shows us that everything taking place was fulfilling what "the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means 'God with us')" (Matthew 1:22–23 NIV).
Isaiah gave us an even longer list of some of the many names that would add up to describe the splendor of our Savior. "And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Yes, throughout Scripture Jesus is given many names, and they all ring true in our daily lives. But why didn't the Bible just stop at the name Jesus? Wouldn't it be enough to know that in him we have a Savior? It's as if God went to great lengths not only to tell us we have a Savior but to show us all of the different ways he can and will save us from ourselves. Each name speaks to specific needs we have in our lives. The smartphone craze has created a world of applications (or "apps") that provide any number of functions — from video games to financial planning to photography tools. Apple even trademarked the slogan "There's an app for that." When it comes to the names of our Savior, the same is true. Got a need? There's a name for that ...
Your name may be "Confused" ... His name is Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
Your name may be "Lonely" ... His name is Immanuel (Matthew 1:23).
Your name may be "Lost" ... His name is Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
Your name may be "Failure" ... His name is Redeemer (Job 19:25).
Your name may be "Desperate" ... His name is Jehovah Jireh, or God Will Provide (Genesis 22:14).
Your name may be "Troubled" ... His name is Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Your name may be "Weak" ... His name is Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).
Your name may be "Broken" ... His name is Healer (Exodus 15:26).
Every negative or false identity is a sign of something we lack, something we need, a problem we can't solve on our own. It cannot be mere coincidence that each of these names given to God is a promise that he will fill every void, provide every need, and solve every problem. Not only are the names of God an indication of who he is, but they are also an invitation for us to come to him just as we are.
Excerpted from Hello My Name Is by Matthew West. Copyright © 2017 Matthew West. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What's on Your Nametag? 1
The Greatest Truth: Understanding Who You Are Starts with Knowing Whose You Are
1 My New Best Friend 11
2 Ooh, That's My Favorite! 17
3 Bird Poop and Other Things I Never Saw Coming 29
4 May I Please Have the Language of Origin? 45
5 Love, the Easter Bunny 61
The Biggest Lies: Tearing Off the False Name tags That Cover Up Your True Identity
6 Confessions of a Burned-Out Preacher's Kid 79
7 A Case of Mistaken Identity 95
8 Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones 109
9 Identity Theft 119
10 Grace Wins Every Time 133
The Future You: Living Your Life as a Child of the One True King
11 Pick a Name, Any Name 147
12 Name Changer, Game Changer 159
13 Not Enough Cooks in the Kitchen 171
14 86,400 Seconds 183
15 Life Is an Airport 195
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hello My Name Is....... What name do you go by? Do you know who you are? This book is amazing, and will grab you in from page one. We are given our names by our parents at birth, but as we grow we may become convinced we should be called by other names. The key here is, you can't discover who you are until you first acknowledge whose you are! Matthew West does a fantastic job of getting his point across in this book by using his own personal stories, as well as stories from others. The bottom line is, we are all Children of The One True King! The God of the Universe created us to be who we are, and to know that we are His beloved children. I love this book, and highly recommend it to everyone. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, this book will quickly remind you that God writes your name in permanent marker and all other names can be erased! Embrace your identity today in The One True King! I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.