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Summary: Importance of a name - it identifies and says something about us.

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You can be one too…

Acts 9:26-28

With all the advertising that we have seen with the election I am reminded about the continuous flow of messages that we are exposed to every day. The candidates for offices and the big companies want people to see or hear the name and think of something. One candidate wanted us to think change, the other maverick. Coke-a-cola used to use the word refreshing. Nike – just do it.

Advisers of all kinds spend a lot of money building up a name so that it means something. They want to represent quality and connect that with a product so you and I will reach for what we know...What we understand. What we need. When I am in the drug store I look at the boxes, years ago if I saw a box marked Ibuprofen I would not have connected it to a pain reliever. I would have had no idea that it was Advil. Millions of dollars worth of advertising taught me to think of Advil or other names when I have a hade ache.

The names we hear over and over come to mean things to us… both good and bad. Tylenol, Enron, Watergate ( I know I am dating myself) Names can remind us of bad things too.

Have you noticed how the drug companies lately are advertising the names of products but they never really tell you what they are for…they just say to ask your doctor? What is the point of generating name without a clear purpose or meaning?

Times have changed a bit but, I like to still think that my name means something. I try to let my yes be yes and my hand shake or my spoken agreement mean that the deal is made. I guess that I want my name to say something about me which other people can recognize as quality.

So I pay my bills, I do my jobs the best I can. I treat people with respect.

As a result, My bank and creditors like me fine. My co workers and friends seem to like me as well.

-- Thomas (Tom) A. Bowen Jr. is generally the name of a decent guy around town.

But that is not the only name I have. I have a bunch of nicknames… Dad, Tom, preacher, pastor, “Hunk” – ok not really, I have just a small dream that might fit me.

I have a couple of names that Renee uses..not really shareable here, primarily because, they are not representative of my best qualities.

-- The thing about a nickname is that you really can’t give yourself one….

The ones that stick are normally issued by someone else. Parents call their children nicknames sometimes. In my case, my parents call me TAB. It is based on my initials.

Parent’s nicknames are often terms of endearment. Couples usually have pet names for each other – honey, darling, sweetypie…..

The Bible tells us about God giving people new names. Abram was called Abraham – father of many or multitude. Simon became Peter – Rock or pebble. It seems that God renames people as a part of the new relationship and covenant.

So it is biblical that the people we have relationships will develop nicknames for us some good and some funny and some even bad. However nicknames typically reflect the way other people see us.

I have heard it said that, “A nickname is the heaviest stone you can throw at someone.”

Kids often give other kids nicknames some are good but, often that are negative like clumsy, of goofy or other names that speak to a negative trait either real or just out of meanness.

Adults give other adults nicknames too, years ago I was called T-bone – I like to believe that it was because I was considered a choice “hunk” of a man.

In reality, the receptionist where I was working took a phone message for me and someone else saw my name and asked who is t-bone…Because of her hand writing , the rest of the time I worked at that company all my phone messages were addressed to t-bone and half the department called me that.

Even as adults, people will often give you a nickname based of characteristics that we don’t always understand.

More recently, I had a friend to start calling me a nickname; He calls me tom terrific…. I have never asked him to explain his reasoning…But he is the only one that uses it…If he were to see me at Wall-mart or call me on the phone I would immediately know who was speaking to me. I know our relationship is good and I know he is encouraging me.

Today we are talking about a person that is called by a nick name. His real name was Joseph but, it seems that after he became a Christian that no one ever called him that. Acts 4: 36 gives us a brief description of him, “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),”

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