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How Michael Luther King Jr. became Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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MLK

In 1934, an African American pastor from Georgia sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the Holy Land. Afterward, he traveled to Berlin, where he attended an international conference of Baptist pastors.

While in Germany, this man—who was named Michael King—became greatly inspired by what he learned about the great German reformer Martin Luther. So he did something remarkable: he changed his name to Martin Luther King.

His five-year-old son was also named Michael. Not long after the boy’s father changed his own name, he changed his son’s name as well. And Michael King Jr. became Martin Luther King Jr.

The similarities between Martin Luther and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. do not end with their names. Both saw the potential for greatness in the people they served. Both were willing to stand for truth at great personal risk. And both served their cause as a means to serving their Lord.

The message of the church

As a Christian, you bear and represent an even greater name.

Those who know you follow Jesus will measure your Lord by your life. This is only natural. We tend to judge Islam by Muslims and Buddhism by Buddhists. We measure a movement by its leaders and most committed followers.

The good news is that even in our secularized culture, those you know who will not attend a church service can see the message of the church in you. They may not listen to a sermon, but they will listen to your words.

Lest this fact discourage you, remember who and Whose you are. The same Holy Spirit who inspired Martin Luther and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). He is ready to empower and employ anyone who is fully submitted to his power (Ephesians 5:18). If you will seek to be obedient, he will use your life in ways you cannot measure on this side of eternity.

That’s why, in today’s reading from My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers urged us to “guard jealously your relationship to God.” If you will abide in Jesus, your life will bear “much fruit” (John 15:5).

And whether the world knows your name or not, your life will count for God’s eternal glory.

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