Why we like The Hunger Games (Part 1 of 3)

So to capture the moment I want to deviate for a few posts from the “I Want a Nation” series (there’s still some good stuff to come there so hang tight) and talk about what’s going on right now.

This weekend I actually saw the new movie “The Hunger Games” twice (the second was free so I figured what the heck).  I read the trilogy a year or more ago and I would describe it as “disturbingly fantastic.”  It’s not a kids movie, but it’s somewhat juvenile for adults, and yet, we’re obsessed with it!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (you’re probably living in a cave right now…but seriously) here’s a recap for you:

The United States has suffered a terrible war at the hands of a rebellion of the people that threw the country into a state of chaos.  A dictatorial government came in to restore order renaming the country Panem and separating the country not into states but into 13 districts.  As penance for their rebellion and as a reminder to the people of their past sins, the government has imposed an annual pageant called The Hunger Games.  Two “tributes”, one boy and one girl between ages 12-18 from each district, are drawn from a lottery to participate in a gladiator-style fight to the death.  The Games serve as oppression for the masses and entertainment for the elite.  The story follows Katniss Everdeen from District 12 as she volunteers to take the place of her 12-year-old sister Prim, who was drawn against impossible odds to represent the district.

(I want to give fair warning that if you haven’t seen it, I’ll try not to spoil anything noteworthy but I will reference aspects of the plot, character and story, so read on at your own risk.)

I believe this story is popular not solely because of its advertising or well-executed eloquence or cinematography, but because it’s a story with which teens and twenty-somethings of this generation connect.  I would suggest that this movie could never have been tolerated a few generations ago and Suzanne Collins would have been crucified for presuming to entertain us with such barbaric subject matter.

I believe there are three big reasons we like The Hunger Games, however.  I believe the reasons we like them have to do with our current cultural climate, worldview and even thirst for rebellion.

Reason #1

The Hunger Games strikes a perfect dissonance with the young generation’s frustration with conservative morality and its growing disdain for complete situational ethics.

I once interviewed a group of teenagers and gave them this assignment: “make a list for me of everything you would deem always, without exception ‘wrong’.”  It was a small group of teenagers and I’m merely relaying their answers, but out of all the ills we discussed (including everything from murder to cheating) the only two issues that made the list were 1) child abuse and 2) homosexuality. Lying and cheating weren’t seen as ever “wrong” and, to a person, everyone said they would do both if there was a high likelihood they wouldn’t get caught.

The Hunger Games heralds our belief that sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  Katniss is far more conflicted than Peeta (the boy chosen to represent district 12 alongside our heroine) on this fact and strives throughout the course of the story to maintain a hold on some sense of conviction.  She refuses to kill in cold blood but yet has every motivation to: the salvation of her beloved sister Prim.  It’s the conundrum that intrigues us: kill to save someone you love or die and leave them to suffer without you.

The heart’s cry of the generation watching this movie is: “YES! You see?!  It’s not always so SIMPLE!”

I’m not saying it’s right, but listen up, there are realities in the young generation’s lives that aren’t simple and they’re trying to get us to understand that.

I’ll leave you with this.  In both of the viewings I went to, there was a moment in both where the confusion in the audience was palpable.  In the final moments of the Games, Cato has a shimmer of remorse.  When Katniss does what she must a handful of people in the crowd applauded…but most didn’t.  The story isn’t simple, Cato was set up to be the villain, we wanted to hate him, we wanted to justify his elimination, and yet he cracked and left us confused.  Glimmer and Clove were satisfying losses, but Cato was almost repentant…and maybe deserved a chance at redemption.  So did Katniss do the right thing?  We don’t know.

I have two more thoughts I’ll unpack in the next blogs.

I Want a Nation: Africa

Africa is truly a remarkable place.

It’s always interesting to me to hear people refer to Africa (unlike any other continent) as one big country.  (No one would ever say “Oh, I’m going to North America.”)  For those of you have haven’t had an African exposure, the diversity is incredible.

However, for the purposes of this blog, continents have a collective sense about them.  Africa is no different.  So in considering how Africa got its name and what that means prophetically, we’ll look at the whole before looking at the parts.

Many of these continent names have quite varied opinions on the etymology of what they are now called.

In one article I researched, the writer made a case that Africa was actually named from the Bible, that the “Queen of Sheba” that came “from the South” (widely accepted as Africa) came to King Solomon.  When she heard his wisdom she converted to following the God of Israel, which her homeland refused to acknowledge.  This particular writer claims that this rejection is why Jesus prophesied in the Gospels that the “Queen of the South” will rise and cast judgment on the unbelieving generation. (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31)  The Queen’s name and some of her declarations eventually became the word for “Africa.”

However, most etymological research led me to some more mainstream and consistent beliefs.

Africa

sunny, dusty, the land without cold

I won’t bore you with the names and breakdowns, but these meanings came from Greek and Roman translations.  Walk with me through this:

Here’s what I got when I saw this meaning.  Do you remember The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?  Do you remember what was said of Narnia?  “It was always winter and never Christmas.”

Why did this matter?  Some people in extreme environments live like this all the time and don’t consider it oppressive, yet in the story, it’s supposed to be see that way.

Now in Africa, the reverse is true (yes, I’ve been in South Africa when it snowed, but it’s still rare).  It’s hot.  Hot a lot of the time.  But beyond the temperature, I want to think about the prophetic meaning wrapped up in the phrase “the land without cold.”

What happens when there are no seasons?  Cold matters.  It’s been an unprecedentedly warm winter in Georgia, but seasons have a place, a purpose.  It’s supposed to get cold, it’s supposed to go dormant.  NEW LIFE DOESN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT THE CHANGE OF SEASONS.

If what we learned in studying our own names is true, then names can be descriptive, redemptive, and containing responsibility.  In looking at the continent of Africa and its fifty-something countries, how has the continent done with embracing the change of seasons?

When we prophesy, we speak and release life, so even though a continent is a “land without cold” it’s the responsibility of a generation of African people to stand up in the face of a name that could be descriptive and declare:

IT’S TIME FOR REDEMPTION!

It’s time to come out of dormancy Africa!  It’s time to spawn new life, to bud, to bloom, to release the life-giving pollination!  You are not destined for drought; you are destined for life!

Many countries in Africa are named after landmarks, but here are a few interesting meanings I found:

Algeria – moonlight               Angola – conquering chief/king

Benin – tribe, home of vexation               Botswana – equal and free

Burkina Faso – land of honest men               Cameroon – shrimp

Comoros – islands of the moon               Gabon – cloak

Democratic Republic of Congo/Republic of Congo – land by the river of the hunters

Ethiopia/Sudan/South Sudan – land of the blacks

Ghana – warrior king               Kenya – land of the White Mountain

Liberia – freedom               Malawi – flaming water, tongues of fire

Mali – hippopotamus               Morocco – sanctuary of God

Namibia – the land where there is nothing               Niger/Nigeria – flowing water

Rwanda – land occupied by a swarm or scattering               Sierra Leone – lion mountains

Tanzania – the island where the waters meet               Uganda – brothers and sisters of God

Zimbabwe  – house of stones

I invite you to join me in prophesying over this continent.  If a particular country is close to your heart, or if you agree in this declaration of hope and life, leave a comment and release it!  I’m very interested to see what you all have learned about prophetic names, so look at the list above and pray into that meaning and see what God may be speaking through these meanings.  Share it with us!

I Want A Nation

As I’ve been praying through how to follow my series on Prophetic Names, I’ve been drawn to another place where my heart finds its passion: the nations of the world.

Many of you who read this blog share this passion. The nations of the world are a mysterious, magical place. The canvas of this earth is covered with every shade of melanin and personality imaginable. The canvas is ripped in some places, taped together in others, some lines have been erased and redrawn more times than can be counted, and the piece itself is in a constant state of being colored and shaded into the masterpiece it was always intended to be.

The world isn’t a puzzle that’s being recreated from a picture on the front of the box. It’s an unveiling we’re all waiting for but are content to watch in progress.

I’ve done some research that I want to unpack with you all on how we should be prophesying over the nations and continents on this earth.

Psalms 2:8 has been an inspiring verse for me as of late. “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

If we’re to inherit the earth, the nations and people, the earth in all its beauty and splendor, my recommendation is that we examine what we have coming.

In my next several posts, I want to examine the prophetic names given to the continents on this planet. How did they get these labels? What do they mean? How do we interpret these meanings in light of our present-day reality

I believe in two fundamental truths:

1) This world is full of UNACCEPTABLE REALITIES and we as the body of Christ must accept this fact and the responsibility that comes with it.

2) This world is WORTH FIGHTING FOR and eventually INHERITING. God has always believed this and has promised it to us. He wants us to join in the stewardship of it because He intends for us to participate in the creation of that which we’ll one day inherit…just like he did with Adam in the garden.

Let’s look at the places that are close to our heart. I think you’ll like what we see.

Prophetic Names: For Your Consideration

This has been such an amazing series to walk through with you all.  Meanings are one thing, but prophetic destiny is another.  Your name is more than just a description, it’s a responsibility, it’s an identity and it’s you.

For my last post in this series, I wanted to share with you some names that I haven’t come across from any of you but that I’ve found that I really liked.  It’s funny to hear a name that sounds old or maybe even sounds funny, but woven into its meaning is something so rich!

I wanted to share with you 10 names whose meanings I like and ones whose legacies I find deeply prophetic.

Donald – Don, Donny, Donnie

“one who is the leader of nations” or “world leader”

I find this name personally inspiring because of the calling I believe I have on my own life.  I’m inspired by the idea of having a big enough anointing, a significant enough destiny, and a specific enough purpose to touch not just a person or community but the entire world.

Wyatt

“guide”

I like the destiny wrapped up in this name.  It presumes wisdom (for how else will you take people through the journey?).  It presumes successful experiences (you must have completed your own journey to effectively take others through theirs).  It’s a name of noble purpose and responsibility.

Clive

“he who lives near the cliffs”

Maybe it’s because I’m on a “fear” kick right now, but I’m inspired by this name.  When I was in Ireland a few years ago I got to go to the Cliffs of Donagal.  They were magnificent and dangerous and majestic.  There’s something about cliffs that I find powerfully prophetic.  It’s only when we fling ourselves off the cliff that we discover if God really is trustworthy, if He is who He says He is.  This act of courage and trust changes our lives forever.  May we never venture too far away from the cliffs.

Carlton – Carl

“from the free man’s town”

I immediately thought of Fresh Prince of Bel Aire (don’t act like you didn’t too…) but when I came across this name I was struck by the meaning.  I actually tried to find names that had to do with freedom.  Many names had to do with victory, but not actually freedom.  It’s possible my line of work makes me sensitive to those in need of freedom, but if I were to prophesy a namesake over someone, Carlton (a “free man”) would be an admirable choice.

Teresa – Theresa, Terry, Terri, Teri, Reese, Reesa, Resa

“harvester”

I’ve found and even preached some consolation for ministry which is merely “planting seeds.”  What you’re usually saying is that you didn’t see much fruit but your endeavor still had value.  Planting seeds has its purpose, but the harvest is really what we all look forward to most!  I hope a woman with this namesake would find tremendous purpose in being a “harvester.”

Penelope – Penny, Nel, Nels

“weaver of dreams”

I feel like this name gets used as that name when you’re trying to think of a ridiculous name.  It’s got a funny cadence to it, yet when I saw its meaning, I gained a new level of respect.  I haven’t found a name that reflects this idea of weaving dreams.  It’s such a powerful name and admirable charge.  Our generation has forgotten how to dream.  We’re lazy and unmotivated.  We don’t know what to do or where to go or how to do it when we get there.  This name is a charge to begin dreaming again.

Gabriel – Gabe

“able bodied man” or “hero of God”

Not only is this meaning powerful (“hero of God” … really?!) but there’s also the namesake of an angel wrapped up in this name.  Gabriel was a messenger.  He was entrusted with the word of God.  He’s the one who appeared to Mary encouraging her to have faith and believe that the miraculous, the IMPOSSIBLE was about to happen.

Josiah – Joe, Si

“the Lord burns/the fire of the Lord” or “the Lord heals”

Names that have alternate meanings have actually been fairly common in my research.  However, I’ve tried to pray prophetically into how the meanings might be connected.  Here I see “cauterization” or healing by burning.  You cauterize a wound to stem the blood flow and to seal a breach.  The “fire” here I think can also mean what it did for the Biblical eight year old King in Scripture.  Josiah is one of the only kings in Israel or Judah to make a thunderous statement about righteousness.  The failures of past kings were remedied by this young man of conviction and he was blessed because of it.

Gideon

“he that bruises or breaks” or “the destroyer”

So maybe there’s a trend here in these last couple names, but I’ll admit I like the power contained within them!  Gideon was a mighty warrior.  You remember the story, he puts the fleece out to get a word from God (I actually see this as doing an injustice to his faith, he wouldn’t trust God’s word to his heart and he put God to the test) and once he receives his confirmation he systematically whittles down his fighting force to the original 300 (take that Hollywood) and wins this unbelievable battle.  Gideon overcame fear, he learned to trust impossible assignments from the Lord and he went out victorious in the face of certain failure.

Issachar – Char, Issa

“reward, recompense”

The meaning of this name is okay, but taking a prophetic look at this name has had me inspired for over a decade.  In 1 Chronicles 12:32 there is a description of men from the tribe of Issachar.  They are described as “men who knew and understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”  Wow…I love this.  I’ve actually prayed this blessing over my own life.  Just like Solomon whose only request of the Lord was wisdom was an entire group of leaders who were wise, savvy and whose counsel was sound and respected.

Just because I don’t want to leave any out, here were a few other names I liked:

Ronald / Reginald – advisor to the king

Case -bringer of peace

Aiden – fiery

Rhys – fiery

Neal/Neil – champion

Riley – valiant

Next week we’ll start something new.  Stay tuned!

Prophetic Names: Inspired

Out of all the blogs I have written, this series has been by far the most inspiring and received the most overwhelming response to any I’ve previously written.  Names are used in the natural to identify us as unique from other human beings, yet they are bestowed upon us, in my opinion, by the wisdom and graciousness of the Lord.

I’ve written many of you about my belief in the descriptive and redemptive qualities of your names.  But I hold a deep conviction that names carry responsibility.  For example, many of you have names referencing royalty or nobility and that’s not just a beautiful reminder of your identity, there’s a charge wrapped up in your namesake.

I wanted to spotlight three of your names that I’ve found rich in meaning and personally inspiring.  Abby, Kayla and Mac are three anointed individuals who have made incredible contributions to our world.  Woven in their namesake is a unique charge that I believe has prophetically impacted each of their lives.

Abigail Mishael Barnett

Abigail is a beautiful name of identity.  I’ve seen variations on the actual meaning but it always comes out something like this: “the Father’s joy.”  I find the broken homes, the fatherless households, the absent parental roles and even the distorted view of our heavenly Father greatly handicapping the progression of our generation toward our destinies.  There’s no mistake, however, the Father feels joy when He considers each and every one of His children.  “Abigail” is an inspiring reminder of our Father’s perspective and of our true identities.

Mishael is both rich in meaning and rich in heritage.  In the book of Daniel, Mishael was the Hebrew name of Meshach (remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?).  It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible as these three men stand up to Nebuchadnezzar and say “the LORD will deliver us from the fiery furnace, but even if He doesn’t we still will not bow and worship your gods.”  It’s one of the most brazen statements made by any character in Scripture.  Talk about faith!  Mishael means “one who is asked for or requested.”  There isn’t space here to do justice to this concept, but deep within each of us is a longing to be accepted and wanted.  “Mishael” reminds us that we are.

Barnett refers to “land cleared by burning.”  I find this picture beautifully redemptive.  Land that is cleared by burning is basically a sacrifice made for a greater good.  You’d clear a plot of land so you could plant crops, build a house, or even to tame the overgrowth and pave the way for new growth and rebirth.  It’s a harsh, barbaric process to the environment, but the outcome can produce life a hundred fold that specifically meets the needs of those who tend it after.

Macgregor Dean Mitchell

Macgregor is a derivative of “Gregory” which means “son of the watchman.”  Many European names in particular find their best heritage in medieval times.  The watchman was a military role.  He would stand at the wall of the castle and look off into the distance.  He’s always the first to spot things because he’s looking.  The watchman is a noble role and is the one to inform us of things to come.

Dean means “from the valley.”  Valleys are places you build cities.  They’re lush and have life.  They’re a stark contrast to your first name because you’d never build a city that needed defending in a valley.  It’s home.  It’s the life you protect.

Mitchell comes from “Michael” which is the only name I’ve ever come across that means a question: “who is like God?”  I hope when you hear your name you hear a question: “who is like God, Mac?”  I hope you scream from the inside “ME!  I AM!” because that’s your namesake and your identity.

Kayla Dawnn House

Kayla is a fascinating name to me.  It means “keeper of the keys.”  In everyday terms, this was probably a job title and the name was meant to describe the person whose responsibility it was to lock up each night.  However, Scripture talks about the keys to the kingdom. When I think of this name prophetically, there’s something so special to having the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  There’s a stewardship of the portals and paths, there’s an understanding (a deep one) of each unique environment that connects people with the Spirit of God (so how people connect to the kingdom) and there’s a responsibility to get people ushered toward the doors There’s an incredible ministry calling wrapped up in this name.

Dawnn means “awakening” (which is one of my favorite concepts).  Both in a personal sense, being “awakened” is critical to each of our personal development.  But the responsibility to wake up a generation is a noble, admirable charge!  We scream from the rooftops to shake people out of apathy and into movement!  It’s time to wake up!

House is a family name meaning “owner of the manor.”  With so many surnames referring to roles within the house (Butler or Cook for example) the owner is a special role, and it’s a role of leadership.  Stewardship is woven deeply within the roots of this whole name and it inspires me!

 

I write this post because I want to charge each of you to consider names you may pass on to children you may raise.  Choose well for it might change the course of history to do so!

In my next post, which will be my last for now on this series, I have some recommendations for you.  There are some names I’ve come across that I’ve not received requests for that you all should consider.

Prophetic Families: The Hindes

Four years ago Michael Hindes and I sat across a table from one another and sized each other up.  Four years later, I’m proud to call him one of the most significant voices in my life and one of the most inspiring leaders I’ve ever had the privilege to follow.  When I thought about featuring families, I wanted to dive into the Hindes family and see what I would find.  I was originally only going to do Michael and Kathy but their three sons were too good to pass up.

Hindes

I loved this surname when I looked into it because of the contrast with the family’s first names (especially the men).  Hindes means “one who was a domestic servant.”  With the incredible leadership anointing on this family, their name is a beautiful note of humility.  I’m reminded of Matthew 23:11 that says he who is greatest among you should be the servant of all.  What an incredibly apropos reminder for those called into leadership.  The humility and sobriety wrapped up in this meaning is a challenge to the rest of us.

Michael Roy

Michael is one of my favorite names I’ve researched.  It’s the only name I’ve come across whose meaning is in the form of a question.  Micheal means “who is like God?”  I’m reminded of Isaiah 6 where the Lord asks “whom shall I send?” and Isaiah replies “here am I, send me!”  When hearing the name Michael, you should hear the heartbeat of the question “who is like God?”  and be compelled to answer “ME!  I AM!”  Michael has his own prophetic story of his name.  For years Michael went by the nickname “Mickey.”  To make a long story short, through a process of deliverance and healing, Michael received this word: “‘Mickey’ is a mouse in Orlando, ‘Michael’ is captain of the Lord’s angelic army!”

Roy is interesting and has the basic meaning “red-headed.”  But an alternate definition is “king.”  I think the mantle of leadership is clear here as is the accompanying charge.  What a wonderful balance to have “king” and “servant” wrapped up in the same namesake.

Kathleen Ann Barthel

Kathleen is a variant of the name “Catherine” which means “pure.”  The innocence and holiness that comes with this name is one that Kathy has lived up well.  Those that know Kathy well would agree that there’s a regal quality to her persona and identity.  It’s a reputation all would stand and applaud.

Ann is a fairly common middle name, probably the most popular I’ve researched to date.  The name means “gracious” and “favor.”  It’s not a bad name to be so popular!  If Kathy is anything other than “pure” is that she is “gracious.”  My personal interactions with Kathy are marked by her consistently one-upping herself in her graciousness.  “Favor” isn’t too far from the truth either.

Barthel is Kathy’s maiden name.  It took me a little while but I eventually came across an etymological description.  Barthel means “son of the one who owns many furrows.”  Basically, “one who owns many plots of land.”  There’s a wealth, prosperity and abundance wrapped up in this surname.

Nicholas Barthel

Nicholas is a good name as I have a brother with this name as well.  Nicholas means “victorious” (as do its many variations: Nichole, Nick, Nicolette, etc.).  I believe “victorious” is a wonderfully redemptive meaning.  In Nick’s story, I’ve heard and seen a road traveled of questions, fears, and struggles.  The constant reminder of “victory” and victory that’s already been won is not only a testament to Nick’s character, but to the work of the spirit of God in his life.  Those who have had to fight for victory understand it with a sobriety some of us will never understand.  The charge associated with this name is this: lead others to victory and claim it alongside them.  There’s a clear picture of why Nick has been called to the ministry wrapped up in his name.

Jason Michael

Jason means “healer.”  The work of restoration is a noble endeavor but one that takes time.  Sometimes healing has to be chosen.  Have you ever noticed the relationship between morale and health?  Stress can kill you, joy can save you.  I say this not from a “be happy” standpoint, but for the battle that sometimes wholeness requires.  Jason as a mythological figure is best known for being the leader of the Argonauts.  He was a mighty warrior (and Jason’s middle name “Michael” as reflective of the captain of the angelic army supports this).

Wade Michael

Wade as a word means what you think it means: “to go knee deep through water.”  However, as a first name, Wade means “to cross water.”  Think of the parting of the Red (Reed) Sea or the parting of the Jordan in scripture.  It was a magnificent act of God and books have been written on the process.  Parting the waters, and “crossing” them denotes a journey.  Just like all the names of the Hindes’ sons, there’s a road to walk written within their names.

You can read more about Michael, his ministry and his family at: Michael Hindes’ Blog and The Gathering.

I’m going to begin to land the plane on this series of blogs.  Next week I want to focus on names I’ve found particularly inspiring that you’ve sent me and names I’ve researched that I really like.

This will be the last blog I’ll advertise to accept names into the pool.  I’ve been steadily going through the names you’ve sent me and I’m down to about 40 to go.  Don’t think that I won’t get to it because I’m making good time and it’s no bother to me to add your name to the list!

Leave a comment if you want me to pray into it: full legal name, no commentary.

Prophetic Families: The Helsers

A couple years ago, I had the incredible privilege of starting a journey with people I call friends: Jonathan David and Melissa Helser.  Jonathan and Melissa run a school of worship in North Carolina and are anointed, talented, gifted and passionate worshippers.  If you have never heard their music, you should look up Jonathan David Helser’s material, it’s literally changed my life.

The Helser family inspires me in another way, however.  They understand the idea of prophetic names incredibly well and have proven it through the names they’ve given their children.  I literally laughed out loud as I researched their names because of how appropriate and well given they are.

Helser

Let’s start with the Helser surname.  It took me a while to track this down, but I finally found a reference through some alternate spellings for the name “Helser.”  If you read my “Trees” blog, you’ll know I’m particularly intrigued by names that reference nature.  Helser means “from the hazel tree.”  So of course I did some research into the hazel tree.  For you coffee buffs who like “a shot of hazelnut” into your beverage of choice, this is where it comes from.  The hazel tree is beautiful and colorful and produces desirable fruit.  Mythology has played a big role in the hazeltree/hazelnut’s fame.  The hazelnut was believed to bestow incredible wisdom.  In Grimm’s fairy tales, the hazel tree’s branches were protection against snakes.

Jonathan David

Jonathan means “Jehovah has given.”  David means “beloved.”

How can you not see the identity of a man, a worshipper, who has taken a peek behind the curtain and knows himself to be given of “Jehovah” and beloved above all.  It’s a life changing epiphany.   As with many names we’ve researched, there is a charge that can come with names.  I dare you to listen to one of Jonathan and Melissa’s songs and not hear a rhythmic undertone of “you are a gift” and “you are loved.”  Jonathan, you are using your voice to promote important things.  Consider too the beauty of the names together.  Jonathan and David understood relationship in a way rarely seen in scripture.  It wasn’t about romance, it was about intimacy.  Maybe this is a good time to recommend the Helser song “Intimacy.”

Melissa Francine Phillips

Mel, your name literally made me laugh out loud.  It’s so wonderfully appropriate! 

Melissa actually means “bee.”  I can’t tell you how many prophetic analogies I could give on that alone.  Bees propagate life.  They create honey by processing the pieces of life they collect and turn it into something useful, sweet and digestible.  They live in community and protect those important to themselves.  They have a language that requires MOVEMENT and SOUND!  

Francine means “free.”  Can you believe it?!  Out of everything you could have been named, you, the preeminent advocate for freedom (except maybe for Allison Johnston LOL) have a namesake that you’ve cherished and turned into your destiny.

Phillips is your maiden name.  It means “lover of horses.”  Philip of Macedon was the most famous bearer of the name, he was the father of Alexander the great.  Horses are majestic animals.  Some are unbreakable, some are tamable for our practical use some are for our enjoyment, and some are precious to our hearts.  I see this as the ability to see and enjoy a magnificent gift through a prism of perspectives and layers of depth.

Cadence Zion

Ok folks, here’s where we get into some good stuff.  Johnny and Mel have embraced the idea of prophetic names in an extreme sense.  Their firstborn son has some juice on his life for sure.  Cadence means “a rhythm, a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.”  In several dictionaries I researched, a cadence is the rhythm that signals the close of a passage of music.  Cadence is something drummers set in a marching band, the pace which is set that others follow.  Talk about an anointing!

Zion means “a sign” and I loved the poetic etymological breakdown in once place that said: “the world to come.” Zion is used throughout Scripture as the place we all want to be.  Zion is the place where God’s spirit rests; it’s the place of promise and the place we hope for.  Zion is a symbol of days both now and then when the presence of God moves.

Haven Jerusalem

Haven means “a safe refuge.”  I love this name.  It’s a place of retreat but not of forgetfulness.  You don’t escape into a haven, you find it when you need it.  In fact, Scripture often refers to havens as provided of the Lord.  God Himself is a “safe refuge” for us.  I find this name both descriptive and destiny-related.  What a beautiful charge to be a haven for others and to help God’s children find in their Father, a haven unfounded on earth.

Jerusalem means “a place of peace” and by other translations: “vision of peace.”  Jerusalem is the holy promise.  There’s a physical Jerusalem but there’s also a figurative Jerusalem.  Knowing the Helser family as I do, this name is not a longing of better days to come, but an invitation of the spirit and kingdom of God into the present.  It’s a beautiful name and a prophetic charge to us all.

If you want to learn more about the ministry of the Helsers, you can read more about their ministry and worship at A Place for the Heart.

My next post will feature another important family to my heart and the way they are living out their prophetic names.  I know many of you will be interested to hear more about these special people.

If you want me to pray into your name, leave a comment (full legal name, no commentary) and I’ll get back to you.  Be sure to “LIKE” the post if you did!

Prophetic Names: Legacies

I’m super excited for next week’s Prophetic Names.  I have some special families I will be spotlighting who not only understand prophetic names but who are walking in those names in beautiful, inspiring ways!

This week’s second post, however, I wanted to take a look at the names we receive that we inherited, not ones we were given.  Surnames (last names) have not actually been around that long.  They were brought in functionally (from the European side of things) only a few hundred years ago.  Many names were locational in nature (“the family who lived near the meadow”), occupational (“the family who bakes bread”), or sometimes meant nothing more than family line (“son of John”).

Prophetically, however, there are some incredible family names that I’ve prayed into.  We don’t look as often into our family names, yet these might be the most insightful of all.

Caroline Hall Crawford

Crawford has ended up being one of my favorite surnames to research.  The etymology comes from “craw” and “ford” which comes out to “crow’s pass.”  When a reference to a person, it means “one who comes through the crow’s pass.”  Okay, follow me through this.  I did some research on crows.  First, they are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet.  They can make literally thousands of unique noises even copycatting other bird’s calls (they’re voices are deceptive).  Second, birds in scripture have often been seen as representative of demonic activity.  Third, crows in a host of cultural histories have a strong mythological representation (the “Morrigan” was the goddess of death and war and used the crow as her symbol).  Now look at the name’s meaning: “through the crow’s pass.”  This is literally Psalms 23, “even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  Caroline, this name is so deep.  The prophetic truth wrapped up in this is somewhat sobering: you are the one walking through the path of the crows, which is dark and intense.  But look at the definition: “one who comes through.”  Your name is a prophetic word: you come through it.

I believe that your first and middle names are a beautiful match to this surname.  Your middle name Hall means “of the manor.”  I think that there’s a before and after meaning here.  You come “from the house” but you’ve also returned to it.  Christ said “I go to prepare a place.”

Caroline is a gift of the Lord as you walk through this journey: “song of happiness.

Braedon Edwin Tabor

Tabor was inspiring to me as well.  It took some digging, but I found this etymology: “a military drummer.”  At first, it seems like another simple meaning, but for those of you who know Braedon (and Andi) this is such a beautifully apropos name.  I went and did a little historical research about military drummers (we really only use them ceremonially nowadays).  Drummers had a few different roles: 1) the drum cadences provided a steady marching pace, 2) the rhythms were used to elevate troop morale, 3) in some armies, drums also assisted in combat by keeping cadence for the timing of firing and loading.  Braedon, you’re a drummer.  You and your family are charged with keeping a cadence for the rest of us.  You are there to lift spirits and to keep us fighting in synchronization.

Braedon means “from the wide valley or broad hillside” which I find inspiringly artistic.  I picture people picnicking, rolling down the hill, laughing … just like a painting.  Edwin means “one who is rich in friendships.”  You are an intentional, caring friend and “rich” is the perfect way to describe the relationships you have with those close to you.

Emily Diane Tuttle

Tuttle means “a look out from a hill to spot the approaching enemy.”  I loved this name when I looked into it because of the very specific nature of the family charge.  This meaning paints the picture of a fortress built on a hill (sound familiar?  Matthew 5 “a city on a hill cannot be hidden”) and the role of the “Tuttles” was to look out.  Unlike some meanings that talk more about a linear journey, this name talks about a 360-degree observation.  The position on a hill gives you an excellent vantage point in the distance.  Prophetically, I see this meaning as the role of one who sees danger coming a long way off from the vantage point of seeing the future and the past (360 degrees).  It’s a calling as much as an anointing.

Emily means “industrious” or “hard worker.”  Diane is a derivative of Diana, which means “divine” (a beautiful name of identity).

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Leave your name if you want me to pray into the prophetic richness behind it.

Prophetic Names: Ethnic Backgrounds

Up until now, many of the names I’ve posted are strongly European in origin and ancestry. Honestly, they’re pretty easy to find and research online. Smith, Johnson, Cook, all those simple names that aren’t too obscure (although some of you have me stumped, still looking into a few).

But some names aren’t European. Some of you come from families and places that aren’t European in ancestry and European’s don’t have the edge on strong namesakes. I wanted to dive into some names from other cultures to give you a comparison. These required me to go to some different web sites to say the least, but I’ve found some beautiful, powerful meanings that were inspiring to look into.

Adora Pei Yee Soon

Soon – Pei Yee was born and raised in Malaysia, however her namesake it Chinese in origin. Chinese names begin, unlike European names, with the surname first. It actually makes much more sense organizationally. You identify the family the individual is associated with before you determine which member in the family you refer to. In China, (correct me if I’m wrong), you’d actually be addressed as “Soon Pei Yee” yes? “Soon” has a variety of pinyin (English characters put to Mandarin pronunciations) spellings. When I finally found the etymology, however, “Soon” means “those who don’t yield to power.” Wow. This was one of my absolute favorite findings. This is the name of a revolutionary. For any of you who know Pei Yee, she’s one of the fiercest intercessors I’ve ever met. It’s your legacy and destiny to stand strong and firm. It’s a beautiful, powerful name!

Adora – It’s not uncommon for Malay people to have a European or “Christian” name. Adora means “beloved” in the same way that “David” means “beloved.” Adora comes from the word “adore.” Pei Yee, you are loved and adored by your heavenly Father. When you hear your name, you should be hearing “I love you” direct from the heartbeat of God.

Pei Yee – This name means “upholding friendship” or “loyal.” It’s a strong trait and a highly prized virtue. This can be a description of who you are or can be a reminder of how to prioritize and value your relationships. Be known as a woman who is loyal and “upholds friendships.”

Cinthia Flores

Cinthia – I loved this name! Cinthia is from a family of names that mean “the moon.” As I prayed into this, the word “reflection” came to mind. The moon reflects the light of the sun from a different angle and perspective every single night. It doesn’t generate the light; it reflects it. The moon doesn’t draw attention to itself, it’s only seen because of its willingness to reflect. In a prophetic sense, when you hear your name, you should hear the reminder: “Cindy, reflect ME.” Consider that you’re a mirror. To reflect accurately, you have to know intimately.

Flores – The Spanish word “Flores” means “flowers” in English. What I love most is your full name put together: the moon and the flowers. Both are incredibly beautiful. Flowers are beautiful and draw attention to themselves because they are the conduits of life. Think about bees who come to flowers to collect pollen only to go to other flowers to give it away. Without flowers, we’d need another way to propagate life. I see an incredibly artistic prophetic word here, a colorful, beautiful, expression.

Sara Jane Choe

Sara – I love the name Sara because of its connection to royalty. Sara means “princess” which is not only a position of authority, but it’s a common term of endearment from a father to a daughter. When you hear your name, do you hear “princess”?

Jane – This name means “gracious,” “merciful,” and “gift from God.” There are a host of good solid truths wrapped up in this name. I believe that there’s a reminder here of the character of God. When names like this are given, I believe they’re given as the charge to advocate for this perspective of God. Are you the proclaimer that God is “gracious?” Do you recognize the need for God’s “mercy” and our willingness to accept it? Are you sensitive when people don’t realize that they are a “gift” from the Father?

Choe – This Korean name has a variety of English spellings. It means “governor who oversees the land and mountain.” I can’t tell you how many analogies I got from looking into this. First, the responsibility of leadership. There’s a strong stewardship charge wrapped up in this name. Second, the mountain is an interesting place. You don’t often build a metropolis on the mountain. People come to the mountain to get symbolically closer to God. I believe, especially for you Sara, that there’s a charge to usher people into the places where God is close.

I’m still researching slowly but surely into your names and hope to respond to you if you’ve left a comment. If you want to add your name, just leave a comment (full, legal name, no commentary) and your e-mail!

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Prophetic Names: Trees

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I’m loving the themes that come out of this research.  There are some pretty common names and some pretty common meanings, but prophetically two names can have different connotations depending on the individual.  That’s what makes names so beautiful.  They’re uniquely and perfectly: YOU.

I’ve noticed a trend that I wanted to dig a little deeper into.  Some names that I’ve come across have references to trees.  I might do a series on all the names that mean “person who lives near” or “dweller by” because those show up a lot too.  But some names are actually taken from not just trees, but very specific trees.  These are ones you’d notice, that people would study, and that have particularly defining traits.

So I did some research into the botanical descriptors of some of these trees and prayed into what I found and…whoa…it’s some rich stuff.  As we study names, we can’t just take “from the Ash tree” at face value.  There’s some prophetic purpose for that tree.  Let me show you what I mean.

Ashley Nicole Musick

Ashley is somewhat simple: “from the Ash Tree”.  (Thought you’d like to hear that “ash” could also be translated from its etymology as “spear”).  Many names have something to do with locations and strategic landmarks.  The “Ash Tree” was probably a place that people recognized and knew that a certain family or individual lived there. The wood of the Ash tree is both strong and elastic.  People choose to use Ash on purpose for a variety of things.  In fact, they specifically noted in some articles I read that Ash is used to make musical instruments.  It was interesting to hear this comment though: you don’t use Ash wood on outdoor furniture because being left outside will corrode away and rot the wood.  The Ash is used on the inside, for precious things, useful things, in the places where people live and under a rooftop and covering.  You are a woman who thrive under covering, who finds life by being included and valued…and you are.

Lindsey Meghan Heston

Lindsey comes from “the linden tree near the water.”  It’s a beautiful picture and may be just that, but I wanted to look into why the linden tree is important.  The linden has a strong (yet flexible) trunk, heart-shaped leaves, it grows rapidly in rich soil and can grow incredibly old.  Where do I even begin!? Strong, secure foundation, the “heart” and passion are visible and keep reproducing, the environment has a lot to do with its health, and it’s meant for longevity.  The wood of the linden was used in making Viking shields but also for sculptures.  Here’s the part I liked best though: linden is used medicinally against restlessness, headaches and hysteria.  It’s soothing, at its DNA it’s meant to bring peace (it’s the tree “near the water”…kind of like Psalms 23, “He leads me beside quiet waters”).  Quite the charge eh?  There’s a vulnerability to the linden, it’s actually incredibly susceptible to insect attacks but at the same time, makes excellent honey when near beehives.  It’s resilient and makes the best of its weaknesses.  It’s an unabashed, beautiful tree.

Lauren Anne Williamson

Lauren means “from the place of the laurel trees.”  Laurels have been used throughout history in a variety of ways, but some of the most notable include the Greeks and Romans who used them as crowns to victors of various games (like the Olympics).  There are sayings that use “laurel” as way to talk proverbially about patience or a reflection on the past.  The laurel itself however, is a beautiful tree.  Its flowers are pretty but are highly defensive.  The laurel has a protection mechanism in its beauty; the flowers are poisonous.  But get this: the flowers are poisonous so as to prevent inbreeding.  The flowers force the insects and pollen to go out instead of re-pollinating familiar areas or even itself.  It’s healthier when this happens.  The laurel thrives in humid environments, which I found intriguing.  If you’ve ever been in places of high humidity, you can’t help but notice the presence of the water in the air.  Think of this spiritually, are you one who thrives when the spirit is thick?

Robert Ellery Riggs Jr

Ellery was surprisingly easy to find (I’d never heard the name before).  It comes from the “Elder tree” where we get “elderberries” (and for your Harry Potter buffs, the “elder wand”).  I did some research into the elder tree and came out with some interesting notes.  The berries and flowers are used in a variety of ways.  Elderberries are used in jams and syrups.  They’re incredibly sweet and nutritious.  The stalks, however, are poisonous and are used in the manufacture of cyanide.  The stalks protect the plant and the fruit it produces so the plant can produce more fruit.  The fruit is freely given and taken away but the foundation is firm, strong and guarded.  The nutritious and poisonous live side by side.  It takes maturity to know the uses and best management of both.

I’m in the process of trying to reply to all of your comments.  This has been so rewarding, thank you for sharing your names with me.  If you still want to throw your name in for prophetic consideration, just leave a comment (full legal name, no commentary).

“Like” this on your Facebook (see below), I want to make this series available to anyone who’d benefit from some prophetic insight.