What’s in a name?

The decision of Campus Crusade for Christ International to change the name of its U.S. Operations to “Cru” in early 2012 has caused a lot of disagreements about the new name not having “Christ” included. According to a news article , the ministry feels that the main problem with their current name is that the word “Crusade” has a bad connotation for many people and they also don’t want to have people immediately tuning them out when they hear the name “Christ”. Their mission of reaching people with gospel of Christ has not changed, but their techniques for doing so are changing in ways that they feel will help them be more effective. Whether this is more effective remains to be seen. Many churches in America have done the same thing to try to appeal to more people and some of these churches have attracted more people, but the culture of America has continued to generally get more secular.

While ministry leadership of Campus Crusade for Christ has pointed out that many other Christian organizations do not have the name of Christ in their organization name, these same organizations have not decided to leave out the name of Christ either, because they never had it there. It’s quite different to already include it and then abandon it, which is why the decision is causing a lot of discussion about the name of this Christian organization, as well as others. The culture of America in this present day is certainly against Christ in bolder ways than it has ever been. This decision by a major Christian organization, which operates all over the world, has reminded people of how America has changed to now have an anti-Christian prejudice. It’s another indicator of how far this country has departed from God when an organization feels that they have to hide their real mission behind a more secular sounding name.

The organization is sincerely trying to enable those who witness and work with them to be able to get a foot in the door and a chance to reason with those who are not Christians rather than having the door slammed before they can even have a chance to talk with them about Christ. That’s understandable by anyone who actively witnesses to others. Instead of some Christians getting so upset about the organization changing their name, they should analyze their own witness and effectiveness. Different methods are certainly needed and that includes the need of all Christians to live what they preach and teach, not just claiming the name. Campus Crusade for Christ has a long record of being extremely effective and their effectiveness has little to do with their organization name, but everything to do with who is in the organization and what they do, not just what they call themselves. Everyone should pray that they continue to fulfill their mission, which should be every Christian’s mission, to an even greater extent.

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What Abbey Taught Me

A little over a week ago, my wife and I lost Abbey to renal failure that had been worsening over the last year. Abbey was a constant companion to us both and, even though she was a miniature schnauzer, she was like a child to us. In my work as a physician, I learned to depend upon Abbey many times to cheer up patients who had come to clinic and felt down, but left with a smile after she would make her way to their exam rooms and visit for a moment without my prompting. So many have asked about her in the last week, it has been difficult to get through the days without shedding some tears. I remember her every time I get into my chair at home where she was always at my side.

Abbey even helped me to understand God better as I thought about how much she loved me. It’s been said for many years that a dog is man’s best friend and I have to agree with that statement from whoever originally made it. Mark Twain stated, “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in”. A pet’s love for their master is full of such devotion and love that a comparison of those qualities of ours towards God puts us all to shame. First John 5:3 states, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” I’m reminded of how Abbey always sought to obey us and showed her love for us in this way.
In Matthew 6:24, we read, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Here, I’m reminded of how much a devoted pet only has one master where there is complete loyalty given even to the point of death. Turning to Second Timothy 1:7, we are reminded, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

In comparison to such a devoted pet like Abbey, I must admit that I feel that I just don’t measure up, and I never will feel that I deserve the love of God, but He loves me, and you, anyway. Matthew 5:3 reminds me, “Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I’ve thought about how I can have a love for God equal to the love I felt from Abbey. The answer is found in Ephesians 3:14-21: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” We don’t have to do this ourselves. It’s His gift for us to accept. God wants to change our hearts to be like His – the God who made Abbey to teach me a little more about Him through showing me how to love Him better.

As I was lying in bed holding my dear Abbey as she was taking her last breaths, I was reminded of how God is there with us until the end. Sometimes death is peaceful and sometimes it’s not, but He’s there just the same to help us even during that final stretch of the path we travel. First Corinthians 2:9 reads, “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”