Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down  -     By: Tony Merida
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Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down

B&H Books / 2015 / Hardcover

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We've all been inspired by calls to "radical" Christianity. But what if the secret to living an extraordinary life is actually to become more . . . ordinary? In this thought-provoking book, Merida explains how Christ's followers can make a powerful impact for God's kingdom through humble acts of service, neighborly love, and hospitality. 140 pages, hardcover from B&H.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 140
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 7.30 X 5.15 X 0.57 (inches)
ISBN: 1433684160
ISBN-13: 9781433684166

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Publisher's Description

What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary?
 
Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. Tony Merida wants to push back against sensationalism and "rock star Christianity," and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.
 
Through things such as humble acts of service, neighbor love, and hospitality, Christians can shake the foundations of the culture. In order to see things happen that have never happened before, Christians must to do what Christians have always done­. Christians need to become more ordinary.
 
Let’s think together about how we, ordinary people, doing ordinary things, might turn the world upside down.

Author Bio

Tony Merida is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC. Tony is the author of Faithful Preaching, co-author of Orphanology, and serves as a general editor and as contributor to the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series (B&H Publishing Group) along with David Platt and Danny Akin. He is married to Kimberly, with whom he has five adopted children.

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  1. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Because Grace is enduring, patient, and persistent.
    January 9, 2015
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Do you remember that radio message about foster care that aired a couple years ago?

    It began with a man or a woman who sounded totally clueless and bumbling, yet their heart was in just the right place. It ended with something like "You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be there."

    This book "Ordinary" reminded me of that.

    Our world is sad, tired, suffering, enslaved, imprisoned, violent, addicted, and dying.

    And all of that can be heard echoing through our neighborhoods.

    If you're brave enough to watch the news, or to drive down a city street, or talk to a neighbor, you're going to realize that there is So Much Pain crying out for healing. So much weariness crying out for rest. So much hurt crying out for justice. So much that needs to be done!

    And you'll feel insufficient to do anything about it.

    Tony Merida had never seen a Bible study on justice before he taught one. He was supposed to teach on the poor, and he never expected it to break his heart right in half. And open his eyes. And fill his hands with work to do.

    It's overwhelming when you think about how much injustice there really is.

    The clothes I'm wearing were made overseas, likely by somebody who is overworked and under compensated- but American made items are so expensive.

    Somewhere today, a girl chose abortion because she was told not to come home pregnant and my house has empty rooms in it- but taking in a stranger would disrupt my life.

    In many places today, multiple people panhandled for their next meal- I'm planning next week's grocery list.

    The lady who checked out my purchases at the store is a single Mom who sees her kids for half-an-hour at night before they all fall asleep.

    There's a 90 something year-old man down the street from me who needs somebody to shovel his walk, but it's so awkward to ask him.



    With big issues or smaller ones, it's so easy to ignore them as long as possible, feel a pang of sympathy, and then continue on with my life.

    And once I see what's wrong, what do I do about it?

    What do we need to get moving, to get us acting in whatever capacity and whatever sphere we have available to us?

    Tony Merida says simply "The Gospel melts our hearts."

    Guilt may force us into a brief reaction, but it won't sustain a whole-life change.

    He argues that Grace alone will get down deep into our blood, become a fire in our bones, and lead to a life of mercy.

    He then describes a life of mercy in terms of Neighbor Love, Kingdom Hospitality, Care for the Vulnerable, Courageous Advocacy and God Centered Humility.

    Theologically, this is all rooted in Creation:Redemption:Restoration.

    Practically, it shows itself out when people do the hard, unsung work of caring for orphans. Caring for sex-trafficking victims. Caring for the elderly. Caring for those with special needs.

    Ministry in prisons. Ministry to local police departments. Ministry to cancer patients. Ministry to caregivers.

    In whatever shape the opportunity comes, when you take it, you're participating in the Restoration.

    "The Samaritan cared for the person on his path. I don't think one church can do everything, nor can one person. The question is, who is the dying man in your road? Who has God made you aware of that needs mercy?Such individuals are all around us." ~ Tony Merida

    I thank B&H Publishing and Cross Focused Review for my copy of Ordinary.
  2. Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Do you care about the things God cares about?
    January 6, 2015
    Gazpacho
    Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    What do you do when God reaches out and touches you in such a way that your whole world shifts on its axis? If you were Tony Merida, you would follow that nudge, change directions, and move full steam ahead. In his case, Tony planted a church where the mission and practices reflected this shift in paradigms. He and his wife also embraced a new emphasis in their family and adopted five orphaned and needy children, an action that reflected their new world view. Then he was urged to write a book about this experience. And it all began with a Bible study about the poor. Pastor Merida can't remember if the study bore much fruit among the student campers he taught. But it blew him out of the water. It literally wrecked him! [Thank you, Jeff Goins, for that colorful and aptly descriptive phrase.]

    What does that have to do with this book? It is best summarized in this short paragraph. "Ordinary is a call to, like Job, wear justice. It's a call to live with a social conscience at all times. It's a call to care for the vulnerable, not merely on mission trips, but in the ordinariness of our days. It's a call to conduct our everyday affairs with honesty and integrity. It's a call to work the character of God deeply into our hearts so that we will care about what God cares about. But it's not a call to be radical; it's a call to be ordinary. It's a call to a new normal." One sentence in particular grabbed me. How many of us care about what God cares about? Apparently Job did. The author takes a few minutes in the Introduction of the book to allow us a peek into a conversation Job had with some of his friends. Job was a man of integrity whom people of all ages respected. His conversation in chapter 29 reveals activities he considered normal. His passion for the fatherless, the blind, the lame, the needy, the sojourner, the widow, and the victims of injustice reflected God's passion for the same. "I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth" (29:12-17). Job chapter 31 bears the essential contents of this book: neighbor love, hospitality, fatherless ministry, and advocacy.

    In the introduction of the book, the author explains what changed within him. He was already a Christian, a pastor, and a professor. "I was never opposed to orphan care or being generous to the poor, I was just very indifferent." He explains why and how this changed suddenly for him. He points out what hinders others from grasping these concepts that, if we would only look, we would discover fill up both the Old and New Testaments. The five chapters he wrote subsequently are meant to aid us in overcoming our resistance to taking action. So with the groundwork laid down in the first fifteen pages, the rest of the book is imminently practical. Using Micah 6:8 as his template, the five remaining chapters provide us guidelines how "to do justice, to love kindness (mercy) and to walk humbly with God."

    I love reading books where I can glimpse the spark of the enthusiasm with which the concept was caught, developed, and born into earthly fruit. This is such a book. There are enough practical ideas that no matter who reads it, there will be a seed idea you can germinate and cultivate that will fit you comfortably, because the emphasis of this book is that we are called to do the ordinary, something we can all grasp and attain.

    In Chapter 5, the author uses the life of William Wilberforce as an example of God-centered humility (see Micah 6:8 again). The sub-title says it all: "How an ordinary Christian walked with his extraordinary God." Guinness called him the most successful social reformer in the history of the world. Wilberforce fought against the slave trade and slavery itself for 46 years. Why did he take on this thankless task? At the age of 25, God grabbed him and shook up his life, changing him from the inside out. He saw the world from God's point of view and he was in the right place at the right time to do something about it. That's all that God asks of us.

    Along with many seed ideas to implement, this short book is filled with pithy paragraphs. My copy of the book is all marked up so that my favorite ones jump out at me the moment I turn the pages. I think this book will be a blessing for many. I highly recommend it to anyone who is ordinary.

    A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) on behalf of B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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