A Word about the Word-
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The names of our Lord give us a glimpse of the vast array of his glorious character. No one name or title could do him justice or capture the infinite perfections of his Being. On Sunday mornings, we are exploring the “I Am”s of Jesus, wherein Christ not only equates himself with the LORD who revealed himself to Moses by that name but also describes many facets of his character (e.g., Bread of Life, Light of the World, Good Shepherd, etc.).
But what about the names that God calls you? These are the ones that ought to shape your self-image and that you should be answering to. Names like Forgiven, Adopted, Loved, Child, Accepted, Chosen, Free, Redeemed (add to this list as you will). Talk about security-producing names! That is you and me in Christ!
Now, God’s “names” for us really tell us more about him than they do about us. What he calls us stems from his character and grace and love. They are not elicited from our essence or inherent worthiness. That alone is both humbling and assuring. As God’s character never changes, so what he calls us never wavers. In a similar way, what we call others says more about us than it does about them.
Close to Home
Speaking of Sunday mornings, we are beginning to get the hang of meeting on campus with many new protocols in place. We are now deliberately looking forward to leading and worshiping with our dual community—the one on campus and the one watching at home on livestream. We have improved our livestreaming capabilities in order to decrease the possibility of technical difficulties and to offer it on other platforms. This video (“BoxCast on Your TV”) explains how easy it is to get our livestream now.
During these unique days of pandemic/non-meeting, our regular Sunday morning routine of giving our tithes and offerings has been somewhat interrupted. And yet, because of your faithful generosity and strong loyalty to Trinity, our “income” has been quite healthy (roughly 90% of what we expected). This has enabled us to continue to fund our ministries (locally and globally) and meet all of our administrative requirements. And though we qualified and were in the queue for the government payroll assistance, we opted out. After some discussion, we concluded that this was the wise thing to do because of our healthy financial position and because we believe that it is our responsibility to take care of the church family and trust the Lord for our needs. Thank you for your tangible display of spiritual maturity and faithfulness.
The World as It Is
“Up in the air.” That’s the phrase of the day, isn’t it? Whether it’s the plans for school in the fall or the major sports leagues or your summer vacation, so many things are up in the air. It can be rather unnerving, can’t it, when your plans can be so unsure?
Since I’m rather tired of so much noise and opinions and general hostility on social media these days, I have stopped following and even unfriended my share of “friends.” I guess that makes me part of what is now referred to as the “cancel culture.” And while I can justify my reasoning for not wanting to expose my eyes to particular people’s rants and tones, the cancel culture of dismissing and ignoring others who have been offensive can expose another problem. It can freeze them forever in our minds and judgments—that “one” forever will be categorized as ________ (you name the scandal or offense). Banned for life. That’s not good either. We have to work through that. Jesus did. Christ loved, moved toward, and redeemed the “cancelled” people. He forgave the scandalous and hypocritical and wayward, called them his friends, and empowered them to do better. [Christ] having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross [Col. 2:14].
Now, having said that, I have also purposely backed away from most of my social media accounts lately. It was getting too taxing on my time and psyche. And I feel most people have become too caught up in the stench of social media, and much too given to polarization, and much too addicted to hostile political rhetoric and arguments. No thanks.
File this under “Do What You Can”: With the COVID numbers spiking in Florida, Sue and I cancelled a trip there this week. Instead we enjoyed several days on an island in Lake Erie, and on Friday we finally get to see our granddaughter (and daughter and son-in-law) at the Columbus Zoo! Keep those numbers down, Ohio!
For all of you kids and parents and, well…Beatles lovers.
And Then There’s This…
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ’s sake.
[Ambrose of Milan, fourth-century Bishop]