when the pittsburgh steelers clash with the baltimore birdies, recently history has proven that the results are brutal. while the personnel has changed over the years, the style of play has remained largely the same: violent. this isn't a game that showcases offensive genius and skills. instead, this game is always marked by defense - crushing, blood-inducing defense. quite literally, these games can be bloody, as evidenced by big ben's jersey the last time these two teams met, when his nose was bent like a elbow noodle by the club-fist of a raven defensive lineman (the raven's coach has since "joked" that he was glad they broke ben's nose).
in our church, we are continuing with a series called "letters from Jesus," in which we are looking at the seven letters in the beginning of revelation addressed to seven churches in asia. we are imagining what it would be like if we were to receive a hand-written letter from Jesus to our church. what would it say? how would we be encouraged? how would we be challenged? we've looked at three of the letters now. this week we looked at the letter to the church in pergamum. the letter to them includes some harsh criticism of some of their behavior, but it also says that Christ understands how difficult their situation is. and in case they feel like they are stuck in their sinfulness, Jesus says something amazing to them: i will give you a new name. the world gives us so many names, doesn't it? our parents, of course, give us our birth names. but the naming doesn't stop there. it continues right on through elementary school, high school, and into t