What’s Your Name?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Names are important. Our name becomes our identity. It is how we answer and respond.

People keep statistics on what new babies are named. In 2009 Isabella was the top baby name for girls and Jacob was the top name for boys. The Social Security Administration indicates that about 22,000 girls born in 2009 were named Isabella. This popular name was followed by Emma, Olivia, and Sophia. Jacob was the chosen name for nearly 21,000 boys, followed by Ethan, Michael, and Alexander.

The names that made the biggest jump on the statistical charts are names that are associated with celebrities and the current fascination with vampires.

Barrack still didn’t crack the top 1,000 for boys but a version of the President’s daughter’s name, Malia was the fastest riser for girls. Cullen was the fastest riser for boys. Edward Cullen comes from vampire fame.

We don’t get to choose our names – they are given to us by our parents. It is legal to change your name. A lot of people go through name changes.

Normally a name change indicates some change in our outlook or value system. The Bible illustrates this. You remember that one of the great men of the Old Testament was Abram. God constantly was dealing with him about a covenant for the future. Read in Genesis 17 about that covenant between God and Abram where he would become the father of a multitude of nations. Genesis 17:5 then says, “No longer shall your name be called Abram but your name shall be Abraham for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.”

Another example of this is recorded in Matthew 16:13-18. Jesus was with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi and was questioning them about who people though He was. It was there that Simon made the correct confession when he said, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” Jesus then said, “”Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

One of the principle characters in the New Testament in the early church was the man Saul. He was famous because he was persecuting Christians and did everything possible to stop the growth of the church. Going to Damascus one day his life was dramatically changed. He went from persecuting Christians to becoming the great missionary evangelist bringing people into the Christian faith. His name changed from Saul to Paul.

The names of Football Conferences are very confusing at this time in history. Several teams have left one Conference and joined another. The current name of the Conference is not accurate concerning the make-up of the Conference.

The Pac-10 now has 11 teams. The Big 12 now has 10 teams and the Big 10 has 11 teams. Some name changes will be necessary!

Social Security is a very misleading name. With the amount of money the government sends you, you can’t afford to be “social,” and it doesn’t make you feel “secure.”

I remember hearing a story about a great commander in the Army. One day a soldier was caught stealing and was brought before this commander. The young soldier actually had the same name as the military commander. When the commander asked him his name, the young man gave his name as the same as that of the commander. This enraged the military commander and he quickly said, “Soldier, either change your name or change your ways.”

The follower of Christ is given the name “Christian.” Does that name fit who we are? Would we ever hear Christ say, “Either change your ways or change your name.”

I hope in 2010 the most popular name for any person will be “Christian.” When we carry out the great commission to make disciples, we help a lot of people get renamed Christian. That is our calling.

The name Christian does not relate to some celebrity, political figure, or current craze in the movies. The name Christian has stood the test of time – and it is the name for the future.

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