Who Are You? – June 2019

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo & Juliet) That may be true on some level but the rose has not attachment to or expectation arrived from its name. We do attach a sense of identity to our names.

God chose to change some names in the Old Testament. Abram means “high father” but that was changed to Abraham: “father of multitudes” (Gen. 17:5). Jacob means “at the heel” or as “one who takes another’s place through treachery. God did not want that to stick with him and therefore changed it to Israel, which means either “contends with God” or “God contends” (Gen. 32:28)

Jesus also chose to change someone’s address. Simon is a popular Greek name and could be related to the Hebrew word for robust. Jesus saw something other than the belligerent personality that other saw. Jesus called him Peter which means “a rock” (Matt. 16:!6-18). That rock was founded on the revelation of God.

The Bible also has other people who didn’t go by their birth names. Barnabas was born Joseph but got a nickname that means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). Saul was a Pharisee who persecuted the church but sometime after his encounter with Christ in a vision he became known as Paul (Acts 13:9) and all of his letters are addressed as from Paul.

So, why am I writing about all these name changes? Freedom Centre is the third name for this congregations. The first two had to do with their location and affiliation: Beverly Pentecostal Tabernacle and Clareview Pentecostal Assembly. However, in the early 2000s the church felt led to change its name again but this time in relation to its calling: Freedom Centre Church. It’s not simply about having a name but about how we identify and see ourselves. It’s also about the future that God has in His heart for the church.

At our annual congregational business meeting, I told those there that the elders had a discussion about this and reaffirmed our commitment to be the Freedom Centre. Those who were in the meeting soundly agreed. Now we are left with the task of working that commitment out. Living in the freedom that Christ intends for us, along with leading others into that freedom, will take dedication and diligence. Let’s work together to see God’s destiny for this church fulfilled.

Journeying with you,

Pastor Merril


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