Names are important, they form part of identity. When we got married Liz went down the traditional route of changing her surname to mine. It said something about her identity. She was starting a new season in her life. It represented a change of direction in her life.

In the Bible, names were very important, and not always complimentary. Esau means hairy. He was born covered in hair and so his name stuck. I am not sure I would have liked that name as a teenager. Still, it could be worse, one poor guy got called Ichabod, which means that the glory has left.

While a person’s name was significant, sometimes God would intervene and change a person’s name and it would become even more significant. Jacob, which can mean deceiver, became Israel after an encounter with God. His new name represented not only the fact that he had encountered God, but went on to become the name of the nation to which his descendants belonged and out of which Jesus came.

Simon, Jesus’ disciple, became Peter. While there was nothing wrong with Simon, it means hearer, Jesus wanted his name to reflect the promise on His life. Peter, in faith, had proclaimed Jesus to be the messiah and the Son of God. Peter’s name change reflected that statement of faith upon which the church would be built.

Saul was an opponent of the early church. His name is Hebrew. After he became a follower of Christ he started to use the name Paul, a Roman name, which probably reflected his desire to reach the people throughout the Roman empire.

Name changes like these mentioned above are used to represent our identity, our values or our calling. This is why, this month, we as a church have changed our name also. Formerly known as Biddulph Pentecostal Church, let me now introduce you to Life Stream Church.

There was nothing wrong with Biddulph Pentecostal Church, but we feel that as we are entering a new season we are called to change our name to something that represents our identity, our values and our calling. We are a group of people who, as both individuals and a church, want to constantly seek a better understanding and relationship with the source of life. We desire for that life to flow through us as Christians, uniting us and making us one. We are determined for that life to flow out from us into our community and see lives restored, healed and delivered. We also recognise that a stream, in itself, isn’t very impressive. However, when a stream joins with others it can become a mighty river bring refreshment across the country. Our desire is to connect with others to bring that life to all.

From now on, we want to welcome you to Life Stream Church.