Friday, December 22, 2017

You Shall Call its name ...

As we move into Christmas one begins to think about the importance of names. Take Joseph who was grappling with the reality that he would be the earthly father of the Messiah. The angel told him, you shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21) The name Jesus, speaks of salvation and casts light on the mission of Jesus.

As our Belknap church plant comes together we have been thinking about names as well. Names that would speak to the mission of the church and the salvation of the Lord. As the launch team wrestled with this some principles became clear:

  • As a second site initially, the name “Christ Church” should be able to complement the chosen name.
  • Have a name that can stand alone once the plant is particularized and separate from CC.
  • Steer clear of a solely regional/neighborhood name if the church’s location should change in future.
  • Make it something that points to the Lord, and not to our lives. If not naming the Lord Himself, then maybe a theological/biblical concept that reflects Him.
  • Make sure it doesn’t have to be explained and isn’t too long.
  • While not adopting the seeker sensitive church “ethos,” the name should probably be somewhat sensitive to contemporary seekers or those outside the church presently.
After some prayerful consideration and discussion the launch team believes the name GRACEHILL is the direction the Lord is leading. In addition to fitting the above parameters well, it corresponds nicely with our Belknap roots. (Bel-knap translating to “Beautiful Hill”). It boasts a combination that has both a modern feel, yet grace is such a wonderfully historic and theologically rich doctrine that certainly speaks to our mission, i.e. holding forth the gracious truths of the Gospel to our city. Our prayer is that Christ Church GRACEHILL will prove to not only be a strong name, but a real extension of the ministry that Christ initiated so many years ago and has invited us to carry on!

This week is the 4th Sunday in Advent as well as Christmas Eve! In the morning we will continue looking more deeply into the person and work of the Servant through the eyes of Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This is a deep song with many truths that can only point us to the Lord himself. In the evening (6:30) we invite you to celebrate the finished work of the servant captured so beautifully in what is often called the 5th Servant Song, Isaiah 61:1-3.

PS - For those interested, you can find a recap and slightly lighthearted look at the VanderMaas year by reading Lisa’s annual Christmas Letter! We are grateful for our life together with you!

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