A New Name

Thursday 13 July

Dave Dickinson has recently planted Central church into the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast with a team from Carnmoney Church.  Here’s a summary of what he had to say on Thursday evening at #Sligo17.

We live in a world that is really taken with “new-ness.”  The Bible talks a lot about new things… new wine, new life, new song… I believe we have been sent to the city to call it a new name.  Tonight, I believe God wants to speak some new names over us.

Isaiah 62: 1 -7 

Names are a big deal.  Solomon said, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."  Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to our own name.  For some people the names that they have been given are a real blessing but for others they are a huge curse.

In July 2008, the parents of a child in NZ lost custody of their daughter because of the name they had given her - “Talulah Does The Hula From Hawaii”

Isaiah was directing this prophecy to Jerusalem but it stands as a prophecy to all of the people of God. We are the church.  We are the family that God loves and the temple in which He dwells.  

A New Name means a New Title

Last time you filled in your Amazon order, you added in a “title” e.g. Mr or Mrs etc.  By and large, these are titles that have been given to us.  If you are ever fortunate enough to become the President of the USA, you will be known as Mr (or Madam) President for the rest of your life.

On my first week at school, I met a guy called Craig.  I don’t know how it happened but he came to be known by a nickname.  Recently he tragically died of sudden adult death syndrome.  Even on the day of his funeral, person after person used that nickname for him.  Sometimes names stick.

I’m fairly sure that the people didn’t call Jerusalem "ruined or rejected" but those titles had stuck.  Sooner or later the people took the title onto themselves as a given. 

Sometimes it can be easy to believe our own boast.  If so, the Lord wants to give you a new title of humility. 

But if I am honest, I don’t think it is words of boasting that most of us have believed.  Most of us have found it easy to have negative words stick to us.  People carry around with them the titles the enemy has given them.  The enemy tends to say things like "you are no good” or "not good enough". These titles hinder us from being all that God wants us to be.  I believe that God wants to change titles in the church.  We’ve believed for too long titles like rejected, ruined, ugly, useless… Jesus comes to change your title - the things that have stuck. The Lord says, “You are my delight.”

A New Name means a New Purpose

I got up this evening and I introduced myself as Dave.  But my mum didn’t call me Dave and though she might be the only person in the known world who refers to me as David, she does it because that’s the name she gave to me.  The thing is, chosen names are really important.  They were important in the Bible.

When you use the Bible in one-year app everyone’s least favourite time is when you get into 1 Chronicles. You get those lists of names! But it does illustrate just how important chosen names were to the culture of the time.  Often a chosen name spoke to a person’s purpose.  The Bible is full of examples of how names were changed according to their purpose.  Abram’s name was changed to Abraham - father of many nations.

Jacob was known as “cheater” and he lived up to that name. Then he wrestles with God asking for blessing and God gives him a new name "Israel", which means, “he struggles with God.” Names were like an autobiography in one word.

I grew up in a manse and the one thing I didn’t want to be was a minister and I told everybody.  I studied law instead.  As a son of the manse, I knew the cost of leading a church but God has changed my purpose. He began to work in my heart and things changed.  Now I love the church and I love ministering in the church.

Jesus does things personally (with Zacchaeus, with the woman who touched the hem of his garment, with so many He encountered.)  He says both, "Go into all the nations" (the big stuff)… and "surely I am with you always" (personal stuff)."

We are God’s delight.  If only we would believe that, then maybe we could stop living as those who are rejected.  That purpose is personal.  There is something so incredible about the God we worship that He works out His purposes right through us… through our failures, our doubts, our pain.  He chooses us and He chooses us to do His mission in the world.  Zeph 3:17  

We need to deal with our stuff because  He still has work for us to do.  If only we could believe that, maybe we can live as the family He loves and the temple in which He dwells. 

A New Name means a New Identity

When we wrap up our identity in a name, all it ever leads to is confusion.  Our identity isn’t found in a name, it is found in Jesus.  You will get a brand new name straight from the mouth of God.

When we give our lives to Him, we get new title.  We get a new purpose. And we get a new identity because we belong to Him, all the way to the engraving on His hands.

A lot of people struggle to hold on to their new identity.  There is no other name but the name of Jesus that we belong to. Our identity is not rooted in the past, in a denomination or tradition, it is rooted in Him.  It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.  We are a holy people, redeemed of the Lord, His delight and belonging to Him.

I’m so aware that we need to stop being embarrassed that we are going in Jesus’ name. The authorities will get the “good works” but they don’t understand when we talk about the Jesus who sent us.   We go under no other banner - only His.

He wants to re-write our titles, our purpose and our identity.  It is not just a new label.  It is about something way more important.  We are His. 

What is written over your life?

Leonard Sweet wrote:  “I only want to write one thing over the doorpost to my heart and to my life.  Jesus Christ lives here.”