"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What’s in a Name? Everything! (Acts 19)

Franklin Graham spoke at the 1999 community memorial service for Columbine HS victims.  He was criticized for the evangelical theme that he chose to emphasize.  A writer in a local paper summed up the criticism this way, “Generalized ‘theism’ is good, talk of Jesus is not.”

Pastor Sonny really brought home the Acts 19 message this morning with this example of our culture’s view of Christianity.  In fact, I found his sermon to be highly effective at creating a personal awareness / conviction on the subject.  I couldn’t help but question the reasons behind our sometimes all too obvious restraint of discussing Jesus with others.  Are we really fearful of referencing Jesus’ name when we define our faith or share our beliefs?  Do we, as Christians, tend to go “God” in order to avoid lifting up the name of “Jesus?" Are we ashamed?

In Acts 19, Paul brought revival to the city of Ephesus.  Once dominated by pagan worship and occult practices, Paul built upon the “name of Jesus” to change hearts and change culture.  In verses 1-7 we find Paul teaching that the name of Jesus brings salvation, (see also Acts 4:12).  In verses 11-16 we learn that “in the name of Jesus” great miracles were performed and that there is power in His name. Finally, it is in verses 17-28 that evidence of this change is demonstrated and “word of the Lord (Jesus) spread widely.”

I think Sonny’s last question is one that should really challenge us; “Is His name held in high honor?”  Not only are we to be forthcoming in our testimony of Jesus, but for a name that can bring salvation, power and change, we need to be extremely careful not to cheapen it. Perhaps, if we / I decided to answer this question daily, and work to successfully accomplish “high honor,” then local papers might just find the reference as commonplace and not worthy of criticism.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....there’s just something about that name.....” 
- Bill & Gloria Gaither  

3 comments:

  1. I found our aversion to speak about Jesus one of the main reasons why we need to question whether everyone who says they are a 'Christian', is actually one in heart and lifestyle. Your topic had a coincidental tie-in to one I posted today call 'Ashamed (of Jesus?)' on www.christian-book-blog.com. I am not a runner (as much as I would like to be) because of long term knee issues but you write a good blog, thanks.

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  2. Marc, really appreciate your thoughts and enjoyed reading your post. Not sure if you have read, seen, or had access to, a new book entitled 'not a fan'. But points made between your post and the general theme of commitment is the subject matter; a fan or a follower. Thanks again and looks like great work in Singapore.

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