The woman made it clear the reason why she was giving the pile of papers to Byker.
"She had written them out in her shaky little handwriting," recalled Byker, who now lives in Grandville with her husband of 45 years, Dave. "She said to me, 'Here honey, you're going to need to know who you are in Christ.' I was a new Christian then, and after I became a Christian, I started listening to God's voice and felt it (the scriptures) needed to be in book form."
Fast forward to today and the "Who I am In Christ" pocketsize book, referred to informally as "the red book" is printed not only in English, but Spanish, Russian, French and Swahili. An average of 10,000 copies are printed every four to six months. The 32-page booklet's title is printed in gold with a red background to signify the sacrificial blood of Christ.
Identity with the Father
The scriptures cited start from the book of Matthew to 1 John. They affirm who believers are in Christ, such as: "I am loved by God" (Ephesians 2:4); "I have been saved by His life" (Romans 5:10b); and "I have passed from death to life" (John 5:24) — 198 salient scriptures in all that make clear what a person's identity is with the heavenly Father.
"I get orders from all denominations."
Prayer of salvation at forefront
"Who I am in Christ," is intended for Christians who want to anchor their identity in Jesus, and for people who are not yet believers in the Lord. That's why the booklet's preface contains a prayer of salvation based on Romans 10:9-10.
"Who I am In Christ" is fulfilling its intent, said Mike Benson, an evangelist for Resurrection Life Church in Grandville and a member of The Conquerors, an international team of strength athletes who travel the world, using displays of strength to captivate their audiences and deliver the gospel message.
Love getting it in people's hands
Benson, whose nickname is "Brickhouse" and can bench press 500-plus pounds, said it was Dave and Kathi Byker who introduced him to the "Who I am In Christ" booklet because the couple knew The Conquerors give altar calls.
"We love getting it in everybody's hands, but especially young people because we want to get them started with who they are in Christ," said Benson, adding his strength group also hands out the Book of Hope to public school students.
"Strength is a universal language," said Benson. "It works in every country. When we get their attention, we deliver the Gospel. And identity is key. If don't you don't know who you are, you don't know your rights, and you don't know what you have."
It cost roughly 50 cents for each booklet, said Byker. It's available for order via their website at http://www.whoiaminchrist.net.
The website also offers additional suggested uses.
Byker smiles. The pocketbook continues to bear eternal fruit.
"And it all started with lady in Florida who had line paper and wrote on it," she said.
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