Week 8: Take God Seriously

What does your name mean?

It’s your identity!
What do people think of when they say your name?
Names are often trademarked, and there are laws regarding defamation, where it’s illegal to attack someone’s reputation.
How would you like to be remembered?
Will Lunn-Rockliffe
David Williams had a great interview with Will, who is a bit of an adventurer – he doesn’t sit around thinking about things, he does them!
God meets us where we’re at, but sometimes we need to be taken away from our culture/comfort zone to meet God in a new way (as Will did), and it’s great to listen to other’s stories and see where God is in their live.
EVERY DAY (i.e. a daily battle): it’s important to wake up and make sense of life!
Back to J John
Knowing someone by name is the first step to knowing a person – if you remember their name, it shows you care, and people can be hurt if you forget [and I truly know how much difference it makes to students to be known by name, and how frustrated I get when the timetable is so tight it’s difficult to know everyone… although after travelling, I have reached a point where I will ask people several times, and say I don’t mind how many times you ask me].
Names have associations with them – e.g. what do you think of when the names Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa come up?
God in Biblical Times
The Israelites believed that the name of God was so sacred that they threw away the quill each time they wrote God [wow, how many computers would I get through if I did that?]
Reputation in our Culture
We’re always very concerned about the reputation for our name.
Football clubs tend to disassociate themselves from football hooligans, saying that they can’t be genuine fans if they cause damage, but along for the ride/rumpus!
Think how schools emphasise good behaviour when on school trips, so as not to bring the name of the school into disrepute.
Are we serious about God?
If we are, then think about how we mis-use his name, we:
  1. Use it to insult
    In the dictionary, Jesus is 1) An exclamation of surprise 2) The founder of Christianity
    When swearing, we are treating something sacred with abuse
    The media uses Goddamit, Jesus Christ, etc, but says that they are merely reflecting society
    Film Classification: PG) Blasphemy 15) Sexual Swear Words
    Don’t de-sensitise the name of God – why do we say “Jesus” and not “Buddha”?
    Why are we blaming God for something he didn’t cause? If something good happens we tend to say, “aren’t I lucky?” , but if something bad happens we say “Why did God allow this?”
    Talking about coincidences (the flying kitten): are these God’s way of remaining anonymous?
  2. Use it to exult/indulge ourselves
    How often do we feel that we are doing God a favour?
    What motivates non-Christian parents to have their child baptised, when most are making promises that they have absolutely no intention of keeping?
    What about Christmas Christians, who take communication: 1 Corinthians 11:27? God hates hypocrisy, so do it because you believe in the death/resurrection of Jesus, otherwise don’t bother!
  3. Use to intimidate
    How often to Christians ‘Play the God Card’? This was used to sanction the Crusades, slavery, wars, football, etc. as well as much smalled ways.
    Believe that God speaks to us as individuals, but don’t misuse the “God told me” [Heard about a few guys doing that: “God has chosen you for my wife”… yeah right has been the general reaction!]
    Beware of “spiritual forgery”. Don’t twist the Bible to fit your own ideas, ideals and lifestyle!
So what’s can we do positively in using God’s name?
  1. I need to be selective with my words
    Watch slang – which is often a shorthand for swearing (e.g. Damn, is a shorthand for Damnation: condemning someone to an evil fate)
    By Golly, Gosh, For crying out loud, all refer back to God/Jesus
    Often we say we don’t mean anything like that, but God’s name is a holy name, and shouldn’t “not mean anything”.
    We are bombarded with profanity on all sides, and unintentionally it becomes a part of our vocabulary!
    If we become too compromising it may not bother us, but it bothers God. In the Bible, misusing God’s name was worthy of the death penalty.
    Make a decision not to use God’s name irreverantly and ask colleagues to desist.
  2. I need to be sincere in my actions
    Ensure our life matches what we say we believe: Ensure your walk is consistent with your talk.
    Many people attend church only when they are hatched, matched and despatched, and with that, the first time you’re carried in, the last carried out, so only once by choice!
Whose name do we use so glibly?
God can
  • Cleanse our souls, heal our deepest hurts (putting hands out, palms up, is a sign of vulnerability and that we are prepared to receive healing)
  • Restore humanity/dignity
  • Saviour = name of power, some people are healed in God’s name, and delivered from evil spirits.
  • Jesus spent 3 years discussing who, where, why, how, etc… and told many parables, at least one of which will connect with where we are NOW!
God Is…
So many different things, so that he appeals to all of us, e.g.
  • Teacher: Educators
  • The Way: Traffic Wardens
  • The Truth: Politicians
  • The Vine: Horticulturalists, etc
Why Christianity?
Why not? Essentially J John is presenting God’s challenge – you’ve now reached a fork in the road, where you can go on of two ways. Assuming that there’s 2 men at that crossroads, which would you ask, the one who is dead, or the one who has been brought back to life and is more able to give you answers!
You can be very sincere in your beliefs, but very sincerely wrong!
That Wedding Invitation
Last week J John talked about a wedding invitation… God/Jesus are offering a conditional promise – to rescue YOU if “you believe in my name”.
It’s not just to know about him, but to know HIM… and like pianos, we need frequent tuning!
Just 10: 2 weeks left:
Tonight: Know God
Next Week: Live by Priorities
Various local churches are also planning follow-up activities, so please contact the various churches for more information, or check the Just10 website, for information on churches near you.

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