Happy New Year!
Uphold Your Family Name
Sunday, January 7, 2024
Father, we thank and praise you for the life you have so richly given us. Thank you for the incredible blessing of being your sons and daughters. Thank you for the intricate and beautiful creations you have made us to be. Lord, we give you all that we are and ask that we might engage with your Spirit today. We lift our hearts so that you might fill them with new love. We lift our minds that you would pour fresh hope into our thinking. We lift our souls so that they may bathe in your grace. We lift our hands and our voices to sing your praises, to worship and adore you our Lord, our great Creator. Today we offer you our whole being in worship. Amen.
Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Songs of praise
What is in a name?
Is there anything tied to the family name you were given? Do you ponder that much-what does or has your name represented? For many, there is a great source of pride to carry their family name because of the legacies handed down within that family.
Maybe you were raised by parents or grandparents who reminded you whenever you went anywhere who you were and how you were to conduct yourself saying, “Remember you are a Landsverk” and you knew exactly what that meant when they said it. Act in a way that upholds your family name. Or maybe they would say it as an encouragement to you give you that push to do something you were nervous about, “Remember you are a Landsverk” and you also knew what that meant. You heard about generations in your family who did great things or overcame great battles and so that is within you rise and embrace who you are.
Jon and I laugh in our family because when Riley was in elementary school she was chosen for a young writer’s conference and it was a nice honor for her at that age. English and writing have proven to be Riley’s strong suit in academics. Jon wanted to share this news and what she wrote with his aunt who was a teacher on the Landsverk side. He figured she would enjoy seeing it. When she heard the news of this honor and read her work she said very emphatically, “Well of course she was chosen for this, she is a Landsverk.” We laughed and then I had a moment of hey…. Wait a minute. The truth is, their family is very strong in academics. They are strong in writing and in reasoning so her response was one of pride for her family and what has been passed down from generations. I love that they know who they are and they impart that to every generation to believe in themselves and go after their dreams. The other cool thing about this family is how they welcome you in as one of their own. I am not Landsverk by blood of course, but through the years this family I am blessed to be part of has rejoiced with every milestone I have made as if I were one of their own, as if to say to me, of course you can do that, you are a Landsverk. This isn’t a dis to the family I was born into by any means am proud to be part of my family and all our names hold. Yet I have taken the name Landsverk-and I am proud to bear this name and thankful to be welcomed into such a loving and supportive family who treats me as one of their own.
This is how it is as God brings us into His family; we were not children by birth but by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. As we believe in His Son and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are given the right to be called children of God. We are given His name to bear and we are given every blessing and favor that Christ Himself is given. No one is given more or less from the Father and that is amazing!
So today as we are entering a new year, we’re going to look at Scripture and ponder together just what it means to be called a child of God and consider how we are to carry ourselves into 2024. This name above all other names, holds the greatest weight in who we are and who we live. Are we truly receiving and embracing this God-given name and living according to who we are?
Ephesians 2: 4-20 NIV
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
- Given a New Name.
We were given a new name the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and invited Him to live in our hearts, we received the right to become children of God. We were given access to His household and members of His family. When you become part of a family you are given access to all that family has-it becomes rightfully yours. We were not brought into just any family; we were adopted into and made heirs to the royal family that is Jesus Christ who is the King of kings. We’re not outsiders looking in; we are welcomed in to have a seat at the family table.
Ephesians 2:19. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
And it doesn’t matter who we are or where we came from, whether we are part of the social elite or part of a group of misfits or those who seem to have been forgotten. God knows you and He’s called you by name and says You are mine. You are part of My family, so take My name and carry it with great joy.
Galatians 3: 26-29 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
1 John 3:1 NLT See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.
Do you take His namesake and make it yours? Do you see yourself as a child of God first and foremost and go into the world donning this name? Because you should; it’s who you are. Living with this identity does not mean you live with arrogance and suddenly look down upon others-quite the opposite. We live with humility and immense joy understanding what we have been given and we look to our Savior to say teach me how to live in such a way that I uphold this family name you have gifted to me. Show me how I honor Your name and this family.
- Given a New Purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Titus 2: 12-14 NLT 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Mark 12: 30-31 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
When we truly live with this intent, everything else falls into place. We don’t have to become frantic or stressed trying to uphold so many rules or the Law-because they all flow up into these two commandments and these are a matter of our heart-loving God and loving others. This is our purpose because this is what brings about His kingdom here on earth. This is ultimately what fills us with joy and fulfillment.
- Live Accordingly.
Let’s look back at what Paul was teaching the Christians in Ephesus:
Ephesians 2:7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
We are to remember who we were or would be without God in our lives:
Ephesians 2:12 — 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
We are to always remember it is because of Christ we can draw near to God. It is because of Christ; we have been redeemed and adopted as sons and daughters of God Almighty. It is because of Christ we can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive God’s mercy.
Ephesians 2:13 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
What an amazing God and Father we have. What an amazing Savior and friend Jesus is to us. What an amazing plan God formed so we would not live separate and far from Him in our sinful nature, but granting us intimate access to Him, inviting us into His royal family, giving us a new name, and all the riches and blessings bestowed on His Son, He shares with us, His children. Incredible!
Our God sees us anew, for who we are washed by the blood of Christ. He looks at us as righteous child of God, redeemed and made new in His Son Jesus.
Hebrews 8:12 NASB For I will be merciful toward their wrongdoings, And their sins I will no longer remember.”
Our merciful, loving, and gracious Father chooses to remember our sins no more as we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus. He chooses to embrace us as the new creation we are and sees us only in that light. In this light, as His beloved son and daughter, He guides, instructs, corrects, and speaks to us-not as the wretch we were before salvation. Not according to any of our past sins. Not according to the sins of our family. How amazing is that? So, if God lets it all go and wipes the slate clean, surely we should too. In order to live as a son and daughter to the Most High King, we have to fully believe and receive our identity as such. We must take hold of our family name, accept and embrace we are part of God’s royal kingdom, and let go of our hang up’s about how we view ourselves. Because if we hold on to those views, we will never live according to who we truly are. So what is the best way for us to live accordingly and to remain in the truth of who God says we are?
Romans 12: 1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Is there any other way worthy to live that upholds this precious name we are given?
Conclusion: As we begin a new year, let us give thanks for the incredible kindness and mercy shown to us through Christ Jesus. We have been given a new name, a new identity, and an eternal inheritance! Let us embrace our kingdom family name and live in such a way to bring honor and glory to this name we bear. Remember who you are when you go out today and every day- son and daughter to the Most High King. Child of God.
Communion: Open to all who wish to participate in this holy sacrament.
We share this sacrament together to remember who we were and would be if not for the sacrifice of our Savior and His blood shed that atoned for our sins. Jesus paid our ransom in full and for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We share in sacrament to remember a covenant Jesus ushered in through His death and one we freely enter into as we receive Him as our Lord and Savior. We take this time to say thank You for God’s incredible love and grace extended to us; that His Son should take our penalty and we in return receive His righteousness and favor. Let us quiet our hearts with thanksgiving and reverence.
Matthew 26 Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
It is with great joy that we will now move into the dedication ceremony for Levi Charles Holder. Rose and John Lee could I have you and your family or friends involved in the ceremony to please come forward?
John Lee and Rose-What a blessing to have so many join you today as you dedicate your son to the Lord. Look around and take notice of all who are here to celebrate with you, to offer support and guidance through the years, to pray with you, to stand with you, and to love you and your family. You are not in this alone. You have a large network to lean on every step of the way. Remember these faces and this support you see and feel today, in the hard days that will come with parenting and raising your family. These faces will always be there to love and encourage you. Look at those you have standing closest to you today. They are here with you because they love you and they love Levi. They all want the very best for each of you-their love, support, and friendship are truly gifts to be cherished always. Thank you all for being part of this special day for John Lee, Rose and Levi.
Children are a gift from God. Psalm 127: 3 proclaims that “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” As believers we are called to recognize that children belong first and foremost to God. God in His goodness gives children as gifts to parents. They not only have an awesome responsibility of caring for this gift, but also the wonderful privilege of enjoying this gift. Because children belong to God and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is only proper and appropriate that children be dedicated back to God.
We are told in 1 Samuel 1 that Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord. 1: 11 “ And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut. In Luke 2:22 we read that Mary and Joseph brought their baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem in order to present him before the Lord. In the same way, John Lee and Rose today bring Levi, presenting first themselves, and then their son before the Lord our God.
Accompanying them in making this commitment are godparents: Amanda Doherty, Dave Reierson as well as Sam and Jake Boness.
John Lee and Rose, I call your attention to the commands of God recorded in His Word. Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 tells us: 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Ephesians 6:4 (NLT) says, “4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
You two are to love God with all your heart and teach Levi to do the same. As you love God, and one another, you will model before Levi a wonderful love for God that they will want for themselves.
John Lee and Rose, by coming forward before God and His people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and son, Levi, to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying “we do.”
Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and his people so Levi may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers. Do you John Lee and Danielle Rose, vow by God’s help and in partnership with the church-the body of Christ, to provide Levi Charles a Christian home of love and peace, to raise him in the truth of the Lord’s instruction and discipline, and to encourage him to one day trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord? (Say We do.)
Modeling this kind of love cannot be done alone. It requires the help of others. For this reason, John Lee and Rose call upon the help of their chosen godparents. I now direct my questions to you. By coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to help John Lee and Rose fulfill the vow they just made by becoming Levi’s godparents? If so, please respond by saying “We do.”
Having come freely, I ask that you enter into the following commitment: so that Levi may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God’s help, to encourage-through praise and correction, John Lee and Rose in their effort to raise Levi in the fear of the Lord, to uphold them in prayer, and if anything should happen to John Lee and Rose, to assume responsibility in helping Levi receive our Lord’s guidance and instruction? If so, say “we do.”
Grandparents with us today, you play such a key role in loving and supporting John Lee and Rose in this journey to follow the Lord as they raise their family. I ask you to enter into a commitment as well to help Levi walk in the abundant life that Christ offers. Do you vow by God’s help to encourage, support, and lovingly guide John Lee and Rose in their effort to raise Levi in the fear of the Lord, to uphold them, their marriage, and their family in prayer? If so say “we do.”
Finally, I ask that the church make a vow today as well. There’s an old proverb that says, “it takes a village to raise a child.” We know as Christians it takes the body of Christ to raise up a child who knows the Lord and walks in His ways. Parents have first and primary responsibility. But parents need the help and support of the community, the body of Christ, their church family. So I direct my questions now to the church. By being present in God’s house today, do you hereby declare yourselves to be children of God because you trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life? If this is true, please respond by saying “we do.”
Would you please stand? (Church) Having come freely, I ask now that you make the following commitment to those who stand before you: So that young Levi may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God’s help, to be faithful in your calling as members of the body of Christ, to help John Lee and Rose be faithful to God, and to help teach and train Levi in the ways of the Lord so that he might one day trust him as Savior and Lord? If you accept this responsibility, please respond by saying, “we do.”
I pray a blessing over Levi and anoint his head with oil.
Pray: Lord, we thank you for the precious gift and life you have given in Levi. We pray that Levi’s heart, like seed sown on good soil, will hear the word-Your Word, accept it, and produce a crop—a hundred times what was sown. We pray that You will be his shepherd, that he will not be left in need. Lord, make him to lie down in green pastures. May You lead him beside still waters. Restore his soul. May You lead him into paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake. Even though he will walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, may he fear no evil knowing You are with him. May your rod and your
staff comfort him. May You prepare a table before him in the presence of his enemies. May You anoint his head with oil. May his cup run over. May goodness and mercy follow him all the days of his life; and we pray that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Use us who are present here today Lord, as examples to Levi of what living a life of obedience to you looks like. We pray he finds his joy in You alone! In the name of Jesus we pray and dedicate Levi Charles Holder back to you. Amen
Anoint head with oil and lay hands on him
“May the Lord bless you and protect you, May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you favor and give you His peace.”
Let us rejoice with John Lee and Rose in the dedication of their children! Praise be to God for the wonderful gift He has given them!