Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there's a "next-best-thing", if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom - the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be "ordinary".
Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There's nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What's needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; it's a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.
Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites listeners to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul - not a quick fix that leaves listeners empty with unfulfilled promises.
Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; it's an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.
©2014 Zondervan (P)2014 Zondervan
There's a saying (I don't know the origin) about how fish don't know they are in water even though they eat, sleep, breathe and spend every moment of their lives in the water...
This book has made me aware of the water. It's difficult to express just how much this book opened my eyes. I so completely bought into our culture's obsession with "radical" living that when I first read the title and synopsis, I thought it was a joke...some sort of satirical riff. But I'm so thankful that for whatever reason, I dove in anyway. Down the road, I imagine that I will look back and discover that this book has marked me.
Ordinary focused on the individual in all aspects of life. Horton did not advocate for the individual to live his or her life to do something extraordinary for Christ but instead live in the moment looking how to best serve those in front of our faces. Horton did not condemn those who are called to seemingly higher forms of service, but rather gave a picture of how it takes many individuals serving in different capacities to make up a church. I believe the book could have been condensed in some places and still had the same message.
If you are wondering what you are called to be or to do as a Christian this is a great place to start. And Horton gives vivid pictures of big ideas. Large concepts are well articulated by Horton.
So often Christians are discontent with ordinary life during this period of history between the resurrection and glory. Michael Horton reminds us of God's call on our lives to be faithful in our every day (seemingly mundane) roles as children, spouses, parents, employees, neighbors, and church members/leaders. It is in the context of the roles that we are already living that we are to bring the Gospel to bear making the beauty of Christ known to the people around us.
Loving our neighbor well could be (and often is) simply reflecting God's image in the way in which you work, parent, lead, or follow in a sin sick and broken world. The long obedience in the right direction is not as compelling to most believers as perhaps the latest "missional, tweetable, epic" prescriptive ecclesiology. . . but it is this consistent faithfulness in ordinary daily life that God uses to do the most extraordinary work of gathering and transforming the hearts and minds of a people that he has redeemed to himself. This is an encouraging read.
This is a thought provoking book to the point of bringing about action as a result of changes brought about by living life through the ordinary means of grace.
Horton is always helpful but there's nothing too out of the ordinary about this one.
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