building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

What’s in a Name?

How many times do we say “great” or “awesome” in any given day? “Awesome” used to roll off my tongue all the time, until I heard a comment from James MacDonald about it. A few years ago, he said that he would not use the word “awesome” unless he was talking about God or something related to Him. This past weekend, Pastor James spoke of the overuse of “great” as well. Both words used to denote a standard higher than average. They were used to describe something of significance, not average. But with overuse, the terms no longer hold much significance.

From the very beginning, Great and Awesome described our God. Back in the day (ancient days to as little as fifty years ago), God was feared. There was reverence in how we addressed Him. We understood the splendor and grandeur of our Great God. No one with a moral sense would ever take the Lord’s name in vain. Today, Jesus Christ has become a curse instead of a cry of adoration. We use the Lord’s name as a term of surprise (Oh my God! – now shortened to OMG!); or a term of exasperation (Oh Lord!). One day, every knee will bow at the name of Jesus – Lord of lords and King of kings. Do we get the significance of the greatness of His name?

This past Sunday, my pastor used the illustration of three chairs to show levels of commitment in following Jesus. One chair was still in the box. It represents one who does not have knowledge of Jesus, or has a rebellious heart toward Jesus. They are ones far from God. They are lost and have no hope.

The next chair is out of the box but not fully assembled. This chair represents those who know about Jesus, but they are not fully committed. These are the ones who are comfortable and have just enough of Jesus. They have one foot in church and one in the world. My pastor called them complacent and compromised. Revelation 3:16 calls them the “lukewarm” Christians – neither hot nor cold. Jesus was pretty harsh in His assessment of them and said He would “spit them out of His mouth” (or “vomit” as some have translated). Not a pretty picture of that type of relationship (“relationship” is loosely applied here).

The last chair is a fully assembled chair. It’s ready for use. You could trust this chair to hold your weight if you chose to sit in it. This represents the one fully committed – all in, as my pastor says – to a life devoted to following Jesus, no matter the cost. Their hearts are fully surrendered in all ways to follow Him.

Anne Graham Lotz said recently that the level of our commitment depends on our convictions. In this day and time, we suffer from a lack of conviction about who Jesus is and the message we are supposed to share. We have a “watered down” version of the Gospel message. There is no power behind the message. We have lost the “greatness” and the “awesomeness” of God.

God gave us ample evidence of His glory and majesty in His fingerprint of creation. I get a sense of wonder when I contemplate nature. Think about the earth. He holds it in the orbit that sustains life. It is tilted at just the right angle; it is placed at the right distance from the sun; it holds everything that we need in order to live and breathe. And He spoke it into existence!

What about our own body? Think about how the body works, without our conscious thought. The heart beats; the lungs expand to breath in the air we need; the digestion works (most of the time) to give us the nutrients to sustain us. And our feet are placed solidly on this earth to live a life worthy of our calling. And He formed us with His hands – in our mother’s womb. He knew us before He spoke the first word!

God placed the signs and wonders in the heavens to reflect His glory – to show the world He exists without uttering a word. Yet, He did not stay silent. He created and then engaged with us; not holding back His love for us. He gave voice to His Word so that we could hear and understand the Truth of who He is. That is pretty awesome!

He is the Maker of the Heavens. We have an awesome and great God. We need to discover Him again and be in awe of His glory and majesty. We need the respected “fear of the Lord” once again. Jesus Christ is the Name above all names. He is worthy of all our adoration. The Great I AM! The One who was, who is and who is to come! AWESOME!

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)


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