What's In A Name
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…”
Isaiah 61:1-2 NIV
What’s in a name? A lot of people ask, "why 29:11?" In fact, just last night a gentleman approached me and asked if the numbers in our church name represented some sort of secret code. I smiled, no secret code here. Just the reference to one of the most powerful scriptures in the Bible. At least for me, that is. Do you have a life verse? A piece of scripture that runs through your heard during the toughest of times reminding you about what you believe. Why you believe. How to believe.
As a young Christian, I was like any other new believer bumping along in my faith. I believed in God but was struggling to in some areas of my life that kept trying to hold me back. There were issues I wasn’t dealing with and some sins that I felt I was sharing a prison cell with. Somebody told me about this Old Testament verse that promised of freedom. Of hope. Of a future. Reaching for my Bible, it took me awhile to find it. No Youversion. No Google. Just a prophets name...Jeremiah. When I finally got to chapter 29, I was engrossed in the story of this man's heart and soul for his people. They were being held as prisoners, far away from their home. Most likely discouraged. Maybe even depressed. What good could come out of their captivity? Had God forgotten about them? There isn't a person on the planet that doesn't identify with that honest question. "God, are you even there?" As a new follower of Jesus, I know I was asking it. Then, Jeremiah speaks this beautiful piece of literature that blows in like a cool breeze on a hot day.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
This was the GOOD NEWS that is prophesied about in Isaiah 61. God was there for the Israelites and HE is there for us. Not to hurt us. Not to harm us. But, to come alongside us. That truth stayed with me and became the key cornerstone when we were planting 29:11. What do the unchurched lack? A plan. What do the de-churched long for? Hope. What do the brokenhearted need to believe in when things are falling a part around them? A future.
PLAN. HOPE. FUTURE.
It felt like good news. And, that it is…good news that a Savior can bring a message of freedom to a community. To Tempe. To the East Valley. To the World. Through YOU. Through ME.