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His Savior Names
Guests: Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Laura Rainey Dries
From the series: Celebrating Advent (Day 4 of 5)
Air date: December 1, 2016
Bob: The Christmas season gives all of us the opportunity to be talking more easily and more comfortably with friends or family members about who Jesus is. Here’s Barbara Rainey.
Barbara: This good friend of ours had the great privilege of leading his son to Christ as a result of focusing on the names of Christ at Christmas. I think that’s what God is calling all of us to do. He’s calling all of us to settle things and make things right with Him. Christmas is a wonderful time to do that, because we’re naturally thinking about Jesus being born in Bethlehem. It’s a perfect opportunity for moms and dads to help your kids understand what a decision for Christ looks like and why that’s the most important decision they’ll ever make.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, December 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
Are you thinking, and planning, and strategizing about ways you could take advantage of spiritual opportunities in your family or among your friends during the holiday season? We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. It’s actually the first day of December. This is the first day of the last month of the year, and the last month we’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary as a ministry.
Dennis: You’re exactly right. It’s been a great year to celebrate 40 years. FamilyLife has been, for 40 years, the Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries™—not ours—yours. I read a great letter recently, Bob, from a couple, whom you mentioned, congratulating them on their 70th.
Bob: That was great—back in August; yes.
Dennis: Seventy years of marriage—just a great letter of how their friends at church heard it and they thought: “You guys are famous! You’re on FamilyLife Today!” [Laughter]
Well, 70 years deserves a celebration; and you know what? There’s another season that demands celebration as well—that’s Christmas. We want to help you do a better job of doing that.
Before we talk about how we’re going to help you celebrate Christmas—Bob, in our family, when I was growing up, we had a time when the family would come together around the dinner table and we’d say, “There’s something important we need to talk about.” It didn’t happen many times but enough times that I knew, as a young lad, this was important.
You know what? We’re at a table here—kind of a dinner table of sorts. I’m asking the listener to scoot up a chair and just listen as I invite you to become a part of FamilyLife’s mission. We need you. We need you to stand with us as we stand alongside you—as a single person, married, parent, grandparent—with God’s blueprints for marriage and family.
This ministry’s made possible—our mission of supporting families—is made possible by folks like you. As you slide the chair up to the table, maybe you can slide your checkbook out on the table and write a check; because that’s what makes this broadcast possible. I just want folks to know we believe this is the mission of the hour for our country, and we need you to stand with us if you believe that as well.
Bob: And there is a significant incentive right now. If you’re able to help with a donation, there’s a matching gift that has been made available to us, here at FamilyLife. We’ve asked our friend, Michelle Hill, to be our matching-gift monitor throughout the month of December. Can you give us the details on how the matching gift is working?
Michelle: Sure, Bob. Here’s how it works—first of all, the matching fund is $1.25 million. When listeners make a donation in December, their donation is actually going to be tripled by money drawn from this matching-gift fund.
Let’s say somebody gives $50. Well, we’re able to draw $100 from the matching fund so that the total gift becomes $150. I’ll keep tabs on how things are going throughout the month; and of course, keep you up to date!
Bob: Well, we will check in with you regularly throughout the month. We’d love to have you join us in the work of FamilyLife. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com—make a donation online; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a yearend donation. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223. We hope to hear from you, here, between now and the end of the year.
Dennis: We sure do. I just want to remind you: “Christmas is about family. It’s about love; and it’s about giving, because ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’”
Early in our marriage—I’ll never forget—Barbara came to me and she said: “You know, I am just kind of sick and tired of the messages of the culture. How can we train our children to be more about gift giving than gift receiving?” We put our heads together—we started asking people. I don’t know who shared it with us, but somebody—it wasn’t us—originated the idea that, instead of lining up all your presents that you’re going to open for yourself / instead, line up all your presents that you want to give to others.
In fact, I’m looking out to the audience that’s out there listening to us tape this program right now—
Bob: A small audience—we have about five or six—
Dennis: It’s not—
Bob: And we have your wife Barbara joining us again today. Barbara—welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Barbara: Thank you.
Bob: But we do have a studio audience that includes your daughter, Laura.
Dennis: Come on back in here, Laura, into the studio. Share with our audience what you used to think about as you used to have to get all your gifts that you were going to give rather than all of the gifts that you were going to get.
Laura: Well, honestly, it just changed the perspective between my siblings. It became kind of like a game of who’s going to get to give first and, “Which gift am I most excited about giving?” I just remember thinking: “Oh, I know Ashley is going to love this. I can’t wait to give her this gift!” It just changed the perspective. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I wonder what’s in that box for me,”—[it was]—“I hope they like what’s in this box for them.”
Bob: Okay; but I heard a story about an awful, terrible Christmas—
Laura: Oh! Yes!
Bob: —where everybody—you know what I’m talking about?
Laura: This is amazing. I hope this is the one you’re talking about!
Bob: Is it the hair dryer story?
Laura: Yes! It had nothing to do with me, which makes it even a lot better; right? [Laughter]
Dennis: Some of our regular listeners have heard this before; but it is worth revisiting, because this is a Rainey classic right here.
Laura: Well, Samuel, my older brother, came up with it; because one year, my older sister, Rebecca, said all she wanted for Christmas was a hair dryer.
Barbara: All she wanted—
Laura: “The one thing—
Barbara: —the one thing.
Laura: —“I need this year, guys, from all of you is a hair dryer.” So Samuel thought: “Perfect! We’ll all get her hair dryers.” [Laughter] So we all got a hair dryer. Maybe he went to WalMart®; I can’t remember.
Barbara: No; he and I went—Samuel and I went to K-Mart®. We bought six hair dryers. I kept the receipt, because I knew we’d be returning five.
Barbara: But when we walked out of there, we giggled and we laughed—it was so much fun.
Laura: So, it was just a large prank. It turned Christmas morning into something that we all thought was hilarious. Lots of tears after about the third or fourth hair dryer that Rebecca opened [Laughter]: “Did you guys not talk to each other? What happened?! How did you do this all together?” We all thought it was great; and then, it was not funny to Rebecca at all.
Bob: Were there some backup presents in the—
Laura: Oh, absolutely. We all had backup presents.
Bob: So you didn’t just stick her with six hair dryers.
Laura: —and say, “Good luck!”—right. [Laughter]
Bob: And it wasn’t your favorite Christmas; huh?
Laura: No; I don’t think so.
Dennis: But the point is—we wanted our family to focus on gift giving—because, really, Christmas is about God giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to come and be our Savior.
What Barbara’s been working on for families for the past, really, five years is to help you, as a family, know how to best celebrate Christmas and what God was trying to communicate through His Son Jesus Christ. She’s done that through a series of ornaments that she’s calling Adorenaments®, all around the song, O Come Let Us Adore Him. You’ve now created 30 different, unique ornaments that are beautiful, but also meaningful, around the names of Christ.
Yes; we have. It’s been a great privilege to be able to create these and to help families make their Christmas tree about Jesus instead of your Christmas tree looking like Santa Clauses, and reindeers, and all kinds of things that have nothing to do with Christmas—not that those things are bad—but those of us, who worship Christ—our Christmas tree should say something about Jesus. Our trees should say something about the reason for the season, which is His coming to earth, as you said in John 3:16
, to save us and to redeem us.
Dennis: And one of the things that Barbara did in our family was—every Christmas Eve, she would wrap up an ornament. She would give each of the kids an ornament that she had bought a year earlier, after they went on sale the day after Christmas.
Dennis: It really is true—that’s how she did it. They were really beautiful ornaments, but none of them—I don’t think a single one of them—had much to do with the real reason for Christmas.
Barbara: Well, if I could have found some, that would be what I would have purchased for our kids. One of our daughters collected angels; so I tried to find her angel ornaments every year—
—that was sort of close to the Christmas story. But there weren’t too many to be found that were actually about the reason for Christmas; so I bought other things for our kids for Christmas / for their ornaments.
Bob: Do you remember any of the ornaments you got?
Laura: Oh yes. I just opened them a couple days ago. I couldn’t wait! I was so excited to decorate the tree.
Bob: Because this is your first—this is your first married Christmas.
Laura: Right; it is.
Bob: Any of Josh’s old ornaments on the tree?
Barbara: I don’t know if he has any. [Laughter]
Laura: I don’t know if he has any.
Dennis: A single guy with ornaments, Bob?
Bob: I had a box of ornaments that my mom gave me. I mean, you gave your boys ornaments; right?
Barbara: Our sons have their ornaments that I gave them when they were growing up; yes.
Bob: And do they still show up on their tree? Do you know?
Barbara: I don’t know—yes; Samuel’s do, because I’ve seen his several years. I don’t know about Ben’s. I’m sure they’re there—I just haven’t noticed them.
Bob: You’d better ask Josh if he has any ornaments.
Laura: I think he probably left them in the attic—he was embarrassed. [Laughter] If he has any, we’ll incorporate them in.
Actually, I have—like Mom said earlier—she gave us a different ornament every year and truly continued on. I still—well, I’m probably not going to get one this year—she’s cutting me off now that I’m married.
Barbara: Now that she’s married. [Laughter]
Laura: It’s all downhill from here!
Dennis: Josh can get you an ornament.
But what you’ve done, Barbara, is—you’ve created now five different sets of ornaments. The first year, there were seven names—they’re metal names of Christ from Luke, Chapter 2, and Isaiah. The second year was His royal names—these are in the shape of a crown. The third year, His Savior names—we’ll talk about them in just a moment—they’re in the form of crosses / different crosses from different eras in history. The next year, you had the name of Jesus—that we mentioned earlier—in the various languages throughout the world. Then, this year, you’ve created globes—which are his Advent names—that are meant to be used at Christmas to help people lead up toward Christmas Day.
Barbara: Yes; and you can use any of these ornaments as sort of an advent for your family if you want to. You could hang one ornament each day of the month of December if you wanted to; or you can use just the globes, and you hang those out once each week, leading up to Christmas. There are lots of different things you can do; but by focusing on the names of Christ, no matter which set it is, it helps you remember and focus on the real meaning for Christmas, which is that Christ came to redeem us.
Bob: With five different sets that you’ve created, do you have a favorite set?
Barbara: Oh, that’s a hard question.
Dennis: That’s a tough one.
Bob: I know.
Laura: Yes; you do.
Bob: Which is your kids—
Barbara: I do?
Laura: Yes; of course!
Bob: Which one?
Laura: The crowns are her favorite.
Bob: Are they your [Barbara’s] favorite?
Laura: I think they are.
Barbara: It’s hard to say. I mean, I really don’t know that I can say. I do love the crowns, because I love the idea of Jesus being the King. You know, we don’t see Him as King like we will someday when He comes back—so I do love that. But I have to say I love the crosses, because the crosses remind us—
Dennis: Now wait a second! That was going to be mine.
Barbara: Well, it can be yours too. [Laughter]
Dennis: I like the crosses, too; because they speak of His purpose—of why He came to save His people from their sins. Each cross is a different cross from a different era in history, and I just think they’re magnificent and beautiful.
Bob, what about you? Do you have a favorite?
Bob: I’m partial to the crosses too. I hate to kind of weigh in with the majority here; but the crosses have always been my favorite, because the cross is the centerpiece of our faith that points us to the gospel and what Jesus came to earth for. We tend to think of Christmas being about a manger, and Easter being about a cross; but we need to remember the cross at Christmas as well.
Barbara: They were one in Jesus’ mind—I mean, He came for the purpose of dying for us. When you look at it from God’s perspective, they’re inseparable, even though we celebrate them at two different times of the year.
Dennis: We skipped over Laura.
Barbara: We did; I know.
Dennis: We didn’t ask her what her favorite—
Bob: Do you have a favorite set, Laura?
Laura: Well, up until this year, the Christmas names were my favorite; but I do love the globes. I think they’re different, and they’re unique—I love the colors. They really stand out on the Christmas tree. I think it just presents a really neat opportunity—for people who come into your home—aside from all the other ones / they also present the opportunity—but to speak of the reason why Jesus came in an incredibly tangible way is a unique opportunity.
Bob: We are describing these. We ought to point listeners to our website if they’d like to see the globes versus the crosses versus the crowns versus all of the different designs you’ve done over the years. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link for the Adorenaments to see each of the 30 ornaments that Barbara has designed over the years.
Dennis: I was looking forward to asking my wife this question, because I’m not sure I know the answer to it.
Dennis: Why did you pick the Savior names for the third year to help celebrate Christmas? I’m looking at these names, and I just want to mention them—
—just kind of puts it in context here: Anointed One, Chief Cornerstone, Great High Priest, Lamb of God, Mediator, Messiah, and Redeemer. Why did you pick His Savior names?
Barbara: When I was starting to create these ornaments, I was in conversations with a bunch of different people around the office. I remember one day—because there are over 300 names of Christ—so where do you start? I mean, that’s a long list of names. I was mulling all this over in my mind. One day, I was talking to Bob; and Bob said, “Okay; if you could only do three sets of Jesus’ names, which ones would you do?”
I knew right away what that would be. I would do His Christmas names, because they’re the names we know the best. I would do His royal names, because those are His names that we will know better when He comes back; and then we had to have His Savior names.
That’s why I did those three sets first, because it was sort of—it was a challenge / it was a charge from Bob: “If you could only do three, which three would you do?” So that’s why we did those three first.
Bob: I had no idea.
Barbara: You didn’t know you—
Bob: I didn’t know.
Barbara: —had that kind of influence. [Laughter]
Dennis: See, I didn’t know the answer to the question. The next question is: “Why did you pick these crosses from different eras in history?” I’m holding the Savior’s name here, Mediator, and it’s the Saint Thomas cross.
Barbara: I did not know when we started working on His Savior names that there were so many different types of crosses. The Saint Thomas cross was developed by the Armenian people. Armenia is an area in eastern Turkey. It’s said that Thomas, the disciple, went to Armenia after the resurrection of Christ—that he was the one who went east to take the gospel to people—so they created this cross.
It has a dove on the top to signify the Holy Spirit, who comes to dwell within us; and they named the cross after the disciple Thomas. I did not know that; and I thought, “Well, what a cool story!”
So each one of these crosses has a similar story—why it was created, who designed it, what the name is, and why it became important in the history of Christendom throughout the last 2,000 years.
Dennis: So what’s the story behind the cross that bears the name, Messiah? It’s called the anchor cross.
Bob: I knew he was going to ask about it—he loves the anchor cross.
Dennis: I do.
Barbara: It is his favorite. When we were talking about favorites—it’s his favorite.
Barbara: Oh, it’s yours, too, Laura?
Barbara: Why is it your favorite?
Laura: Well, when people buy His Savior names—you can read this in the book—but it’s my favorite because, in the book, it says the promise of Messiah is a message of hope. If you keep going [reading] down, it says the anchor cross has symbolized hope since the early days of the church. I think around Christmastime, it’s such a happy and a celebratory time; but it can also be a really hard time for a lot of people.
Laura: It can be a time where you’ve lost a loved one; and so you’re reminded, around that time, of someone that’s missing in your life—or something that you would like to have / if you longed to be married or if you’ve longed to have children and you can’t. It can be a hard time of year, around Christmas. I think that’s why I love the Messiah ornament.
Barbara: That’s why we put the name, Messiah, on the anchor cross; because there’s the verse in Hebrews 6—and it says, “We have this hope, this sure and steadfast hope that is the anchor of our soul.” The idea that Jesus is our anchor—that when everything around us feels like it’s giving way / when we’re caught in some kind of a tempest, or a trial, or a really difficult time—we can be confident that Jesus is with us, that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that our faith in Him has been likened to an anchor. So we put the name, Messiah, on the anchor cross.
Dennis: We don’t have time to look at all the names here; but the one we have to talk about, if we’re going to talk about Savior names, is Redeemer. This is the Celtic cross. The word, Redeemer, is used 141 times in Scripture. It’s used 13 times in the Book of Isaiah, where it foretells the coming of Jesus Christ. He came to be our Savior/our Messiah, but He also came to redeem us.
I was thinking, as I was reflecting on that name, of the illustration given of a man who was standing before a judge, guilty. The judge declared him guilty and told him what his penalty would be. At that point, he got up, pushed back from the chair, took his robe off, pulled out his checkbook, walked around in front of the judge’s bench, and wrote out the check, “Paid in full.” That’s what our Redeemer did.
He came to do what you can’t do for yourself.
If you’re listening to us today, and you don’t know—the Redeemer, the Messiah, the One who is the chief Cornerstone, the Anointed One, the One who is the Savior of the world—then you just simply need to cry out and say to Him, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!” There was another person who cried out that prayer—he was in the process of dying on a cross. He was one of the criminals that was executed next to Christ on the day that Christ was crucified. Jesus turned to him and said, “Surely, you will be with Me today in paradise.”
You know what? If you cry out to Jesus Christ / surrender your life to Him, He will hear your prayer. He will meet you where you are in the middle of your mess, and He will redeem you. He will be your Messiah. He will become your anchor in the storm.
Bob: We have on our website, at FamilyLifeToday.com, a tab that says, “Two Ways to Live.” I’d encourage listeners to go and click that tab and look at what’s presented there, because there are only two ways to live. There is the God-centered way of living, and then there is the man-centered way of living. Each of us decides which path we’re going to walk on. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the tab that says, “Two Ways to Live.” As you read it, ask yourself the question: “Who or what am I living for? What’s my life really all about?”
While you’re on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com, take a look at the resources Barbara has been working on that we’ve talked some about today—the ornaments that have been created in past years to hang on your Christmas tree to proclaim the names of Jesus during the Christmas season—and the new set of ornaments, His Advent names.
These are four globe-shaped ornaments that have four different names for Jesus—Jesus is the Son, the Messenger, the Word, and the Light—corresponding verses on each ornament. You can order any of the ornaments in the collection when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
And for those of you who have the FamilyLife mobile app—some of you, I know, listen to this program using the app—we’re starting to include some devotional material for the month of December in the app / some Advent devotions; some questions you can use to prompt spiritual discussions during the holiday season, with friends or family members—or your children, for that matter—ways to talk about Christ during Christmas. You’ll find it all on the FamilyLife app, and the app is free.
Simply go to your app store to download it. Of course, FamilyLife Today is available on the app every day. It’s easy to tune in that way.
I want to say, “Happy anniversary!” today to Pastor Jason and Lady Charita Spruill, who live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was just up in Philadelphia for our Weekend to Remember® getaway recently—had a great weekend with listeners who came out for the getaway. The Spruills are celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary today. They listen to FamilyLife Today on WFIL. We want to say: “Happy anniversary to you guys! Hope you have a great celebration.”
We’re all about anniversaries, here at FamilyLife. We’ve been helping couples celebrate more anniversaries for 40 years now. We want to thank those of you who partner with us to make this ministry possible. We mentioned earlier the matching gift that is available during the month of December. We hope you’ll consider a yearend contribution to this ministry. You can give, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to give.
Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, Barbara Rainey is going to be back with us again. We’re going to continue our conversation about how we make Jesus the issue at Christmas and how we make sure that He doesn’t get cluttered out. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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