Tag Archives: “Name dropping”

Are You Name-Dropping Jesus?

In the late 1960s through the 1970s, Andre Crouch was the king of Gospel music. While racial tensions were high during those turbulent times, Andre traversed the boundaries with ease. Musicians who either worked with Crouch or performed with him included Elvis Presley, Billy Preston, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson.

In the mid-1980s, a woman at my church announced she was engaged to Andre. She reserved our church building, asked my senior pastor to officiate, sent out invitations, and excitedly shopped for dresses with her bridesmaids. Because Andre was such a high profile personality with a busy schedule, she told the pastor that he would show up in time for the ceremony.

On the day of the wedding, family and friends packed the church sanctuary, anticipating a glorious event. The bridesmaids doted on the cheery bride.

And they waited for Andre to arrive.

They waited and waited while the congregation grew increasingly agitated and concerned.

Finally, my senior pastor met with the bride privately.

“Do you have any idea where Andre might be?”

“I have no idea,” she responded. “That’s just not like him.”

Unfortunately, the bride didn’t have Andre’s phone number with her, so the pastor decided to do a little investigative work on his own. Finally, he was able to locate his phone number (this pastor was very well-connected!). So he dialed the number.

“Hello?”

“Yes, is this Andre Crouch?”

“Yes it is.”

“This is Charles Blair and I pastor a church in Denver, Colorado. A woman in my congregation asked me to perform her wedding ceremony this afternoon, and you’re the man she’s supposed to be marrying. Do you know [woman’s name]?”

“Pastor,” Andre replied. “I don’t know who you’re talking about. I don’t know that woman nor have I ever heard of her in my life.”

The woman, with obvious mental health issues, was all dressed up with no place to go.

That true story has haunted me for nearly thirty years. The troubled woman was name-dropping a person who didn’t know her. She talked a good game. She looked the part. But in the end, Andre Crouch never knew her.

Are You Name-Dropping Jesus?

In Matthew 7, Jesus describes the day of judgment when seemingly godly people stand before him. “Lord, in your name we prophesied, we cast out demons, and performed many miracles. Surely that’s enough.”

But Jesus replies, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (see Matthew 7:22-23)

You can hang a cross around your neck, wear a WWJD bracelet, go to church (when it fits your schedule!), be a good citizen and vote in every election, even throw some change in the offering–but if you don’t know Jesus, then you’re nothing more than a name-dropper. A poser.

In the verse immediately preceding this passage, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” This passage points to three truths:

Doing good deeds isn’t enough. Prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles required the power of God. At a minimum, these people were trying to help people. But they fell short.

Doing good deeds cannot be equated with doing the will of God. Obviously, according to Jesus, they’re different.

Knowing Jesus and doing God’s will go together. Neither survives alone, but it begins with knowing God.

A common ailment among many believers is what I call “virtual Christianity.” We talk so much about something that we convince ourselves we’re doing it. We do it with prayer, giving, community, etc.

We also do it in our relationship with Jesus.

Don’t just talk about Jesus. Know him.

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott.

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The Power Of Name Dropping

Take a look at this cartoon I ran across the other day…

In reality, sometimes name-dropping can be not only good, but powerful.

Please join us as we explore this further in our daily Bible conversation.

TODAY’S READING

Isaiah 28:14-33:9
Galatians 3:23-5:12
Psalm 62:1-63:11
Proverbs 23:19-22

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Isaiah 28:14-33:9. In chapter 29, Isaiah refers to “Ariel,” which is poetic way of saying “Zion” (see Isaiah 28:8). As God condemns Zion, he finally explains his bottom line frustration:

The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” Isaiah 29:13

The people followed empty rituals and meaningless rules while their hearts had strayed  from God. Our faith is not based rituals or rules, it’s based on a relationship. This was Paul’s concern with the Galatians, as it is God’s concern for the church today.

People mistakenly believe that God hovers over the earth, looking for opportunities to strike us with lightening. But Isaiah 30:18, Isaiah says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”

God longs to be gracious to us and pour out his love on us.

Galatians 3:23-5:12. Paul makes an interesting comment: “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” When we live by faith, we no longer need the law to guide us. Instead, the Holy Spirit to guides us (John 16:13), telling us what to do (Galatians 5:18), and convicting us of sin (John 16:7-8).

Psalm 62:1-63:11. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him,” (Psalm 62:5) David writes. Only God can bring our restlessness to a standstill. Centuries ago, St. Augustine wrote, “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

Do you find yourself restless, constantly looking for news ways of entertaining yourself? Do you feel an inner sense of dissatisfaction with your life?

Your only place of rest is in God—knowing him, worshipping him, experiencing him, allowing him to live through you.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 28:16

The New Testament writers interpreted this verse as a reference to Christ (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of our faith (Ephesians 2:20)—not social action, world evangelization, tolerance/inclusiveness/respect, not even our responsibility to love. Who he is and what he has done is far more important than what we can do for him. And without him, this spiritual house crashes to the ground.

In construction, the cornerstone was a visible section of the foundation of a house or building. On it was inscribed the name of builder or architect, as well as a dedication.

The cornerstone of our faith, the name inscribed on our faith, is Jesus Christ.

That’s not to say that Jesus is more important than God the Father or the Holy Spirit—but of the three persons of the Trinity, only Jesus has been given a name. This makes sense since he is the cornerstone. But this fact is extremely significant:

  • We are called to repent in the name of Jesus in order to be saved (Acts 2:38).
  • People are healed in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:16)
  • The Jewish authorities commanded the disciples not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18; 5:40).
  • Paul delivered a demonized girl using the name of Jesus (Acts 16:18).
  • The disciples were willing to die “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
  • Followers of Jesus gather in the name of Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:4).
  • We are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11).
  • We are called to do everything—in word and deed—in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17)
  • We are encouraged to “believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23).

Most importantly, we read that God (the Father) exalted Jesus and gave him the name that is above every name, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:9-11).

In the understanding of people in Bible culture, calling on the name of Jesus was a means of communicating with that person’s tangible presence. So when they wrote (or spoke) of the name of Jesus, they were saying that Jesus is the tangible presence of the Trinitarian God.

Talking about God is good. Seeking to live in the power of the Holy Spirit is good as well. But does the name of Jesus play a role in your everyday life?

If it is, then you’re doing some power name dropping!

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What role does the name of Jesus play in your everyday life?
  3. Read Galatians 5:1-8. What symbolizes circumcision to you?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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