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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2014
Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest theres a next-best-thing, if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredomthe 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. Theres nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. Whats needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; its a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.
Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haulnot a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; its an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.
Michael Horton (PhD, DD) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. Author of many books, including The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, he also hosts the White Horse Inn radio program. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and four children in Escondido, California.
ChrisSingaporeAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Sustainable Christian Living, According to the BibleDecember 23, 2015ChrisSingaporeAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Living as a young christian, Ive always been taught that christian life is full of passion and zeal for the Lord. However, my life experience has taught me that zeal and passion comes and goes very quickly. I really will not be able to keep myself in the christian faith is that is all to Christianity.
Michael Horton has observed the same problem in the christian circles and wants to bring believers back to the what the bible has to say about being a disciple of Jesus. His message to christian is quite simple, let us seek the ordinary means of grace in our pursuit of Christ in our christian life.
Horton first sets up the problem with the current teachings of the church at large. He highlights some of their problematic and wrong teaching. For example, he shows how the word ambition, which was previously referred to as a vice but has now change to be something virtuous. More crucially, Horton shows how the church has moved towards a very short-term view of christian discipleship. We have trained up a group of christians who live on passion and instant results. In the long run, they will eventually leave the church. Simply because the church will never be able to outperform the world in such areas.
Having listed out the problems, Horton then moves the readers on to the historic teaching of the church. He helps readers see the importance of the ordinary means that God has already promised and provided the church, the preaching of the word of God, the Lord supper, and baptism. The christian discipleship process is like the life of a tree, it is not the high-and-lows the trees has in its life everyday that makes it big and strong, rather it is the routine daily nurturing of the suns ray and rain that slowly makes the tree sturdy.
After reading this book, Ive had a deeper appreciation of the ordinary means of grace that the Lord has given to us. I have a greater anticipation of what the Lord will do as I gather each week in the church listening to the word and partaking of the Lord Supper. Im not disheartened or discouraged when I can see no observable change in my zeal or passion because Im assured that the Lord has promised to use those means to help me grow. The growth may be subtle and minute, but as I grow slowly week by week, I know that God is surely helping me grow slowly, but surely to be more and more like Jesus.
This book is certainty one I will recommend for any christian, especially if you think the christian life is only about being zealous to God. I hope you will see that the bibles teaching is certainly not about zeal but about growing sustainably in the word of God. We need no other source nor do we need anything to zest it up.
Rating: 4.75 / 5
jjandreenorth GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Just ordinaryDecember 31, 2014jjandreenorth GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Michael Horton reminds us that not all of us can be extra-ordinary, radical, crazy, etc. The ordinary Christian is to be content in the place that God in His providence has placed him. This should relieve us of our guilt for just being ourselves. Love God, love our neighbor, and like Paul, be content in our state.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Being Christlike day by dayNovember 12, 2014bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4It is not fashionable for a Christian to be ordinary right now. We've been encouraged to be radical and revolutionary. We are supposed to transform our culture, change the world.
With all that hype, Horton wonders whether we have forgotten how to be a godly neighbor, parent, or co-worker. He writes, ...I am convinced that we have drifted from the true focus of God's activity in this world. It is not to be found in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary, the everyday. (18)
He explores the long term Christian walk as opposed to the short spurts. He answers objections, reminds us excellence takes a long time, that ordinary isn't being passive and it is not falling prey to the latest reinventing of the church or Christianity. He covers a number of topics like revivals, ambition, extraordinary ministers and ministries, contentment, Christian heroes, and children in church services.
This is a book for the rest of us. He writes about being faithful to Jesus in an ordinary life. His book is dedicated to the Christians who cherish ordinary moments, and to all those believers who consider their ordinary vocations in the world as part of God's normal way of loving and serving neighbors right under their nose each day. (27)
He includes exercises at the end of each chapter that would be good for a small group to discuss and act upon.
This is a good look at how God, in general, grows His kingdom in the world. It is in the day by day interaction with your family, neighbors, and co-workers, not in the one time glitzy activity. Horton gets a little too theological at times for the lay person, I think. I found myself asking several times why a passage or topic was included in the book. Nonetheless, for those of us who have faithfully plodded to work each day, been Jesus to our family and neighbors, this is a very encouraging book.