This November 7-9 a unique group of people will gather here in Denver. Jesus-followers. Jesus-Lovers. Some just intrigued by Jesus. A few who signed up to follow him many years ago but have lost their way. But all seeking to find the One who brings life, freedom, adventure and a new way of living. We will simply focus on Jesus.
I had this vision about a year ago – of a room full of people amazed at Jesus. People wanting to sit at his feet, but also go in his Name. Not in the name of Christianity or of a specific denomination or organization – but in His Name. The Name!
I’m reminded of the call that Jesus presented to Saul in Acts chapter nine. Jesus told Ananias that Saul was chosen to “carry my name.” What a thought. To simply “carry the Name” of Jesus. The name of Jesus. Not Christ. Not Lord. Not even God. For sure not “Christianity” or my local church – but the name of Jesus.
I grew up “going witnessing.” Remember that? We’d go out “witnessing to people.” But we’re never told to “go witnessing.” We are to say what we’ve seen, heard and experienced. That’s a witness. A witness is not a judge or jury. Not a defense attorney – a witness simply says what they saw, heard or experienced – without commentary. That’s different than “going witnessing.”
But how can we carry the name and be his witness unless we know him? Without an ounce of judgment, I can honestly say that many Christians don’t know Jesus. They know theology and doctrine. They know missions and evangelism and church planting and church politics – but they don’t know Jesus.
I was at Starbucks this week doing some writing and I noticed the man sitting next to me with his bible open and a stack of 3 X 5 study cards, so I asked him what he was doing. He said “studying for an ordination exam ” for a specific church denomination (a good one too). I asked him what the test was about. He said it had four parts: The Bible. Church Policy. Church History. And Theology.
All good stuff. I’ve studied and enjoyed all of those. They are all valuable. But something’s missing in that list.
And that’s why we’re doing Simply Jesus here in November. If we’re to carry The Name, we need to know who that Name belongs to.