• Ray Hileman

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

It will soon be a year since we settled upon our new name, Celebration of Christ. Formerly, we were the First Church of the Brethren of St. Petersburg. In essence we still are, but we felt that it was time for a fresh expression with which to approach the community around us. After a year-long process, we culled a list of seven suggested names down to two which we brought before our Congregational Business Meeting. They were both good names. (I confess that I voted for the other one!) But as soon as the result was announced, I sensed God saying to my spirit, "This is the right one." And I just knew that it was.

Why is that? Let me attempt to give several reasons.

(1) As I said, we are still a congregation of the Church of the Brethren, a 300+ year-old denomination with its roots in Germany. We see ourselves as a New Testament church (not that we ignore or degrade the Old Testament or see it as less inspired, but that we see it as a foundation upon which the ultimate revelation of God rests. That ultimate revelation is God's Son, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:1-2 says:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe.

(2) As Brethren, we take the life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus very seriously, This is why we believe strongly in peacemaking, simplicity of life, the value of community, and radical obedience.

(3) But we also take His death, resurrection, ascension, and return seriously as the ultimate reason why He came - to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). We have no hope apart from His atoning death and no power for ministry apart from His glorious rising from the dead. With that in mind, we also take seriously His final command - the Great Commission, to go into the world, make disciples, baptizing and teaching them. (Matthew 28:18-20)

All this is to say that we are a Christocentric (Christ-centered) church. We believe in the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet both the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the Gospels, tell us to look at the Son - the Son in whom the Father is well pleased, the Son about whom the Spirit testifies.

So the name fits. We are here for your sake, because we are here for Jesus' sake, and He came for your sake. Therefore, our aim is to

CELEBRATE Christ

WORSHIP Christ

SERVE Christ

OBEY Christ

LOVE Christ

SHARE Christ

And as we do these things for Christ, He will enrich our ministry and witness to others. We are already seeing evidence of this.

"For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." (2 Corinthians 4:5)

Come, celebrate Christ with us. He is worthy of it all.


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3651 71st St. N. St. Pete, FL 33710

3651 71st St. N. Saint Petersburg, FL 33710

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