Tag Archives: Ministry

The Ordinary Christian Life

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   There are many different views of the Christian life all ranging from minimal to radical.  I think all Gospel lovers and all true students of the Word would agree that Christ calls His people to radical commitment, you would even say extraordinary.  That is a good word to describe the born again believer, we are extraordinary people who believe extraordinary claims and live extraordinary lives.  But we can also see that there is something incredibly ordinary about our lives.  When I use the term ordinary in this sense there are no negative connotations involved.  Just a humble attempt to view our work and lives as Christians as wonderfully ordinary.

Let it be known that I am a preacher of the extraordinary, of revival, and of God working in supernatural ways, I believe in a God who still interrupts the “normal” to move His way.  In fact the church desperately needs this, the very life and body of the church is charged with the supernatural power of God.  But all this is determined by the Head(Christ) of which in his sovereignty directs to all the rest of the body.  We as the members of the body have been trying to tell the Head what to do.  He takes no orders from us, we listen to Him and respond accordingly.

There is a danger to avoid here as well, we must not always seek supernatural experiences and “good” church services.  When we become people who follow after the next great thing we are no better than those of whom Jesus rebuked for needing a sign (Matthew 12:38-39 – Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas).  The point of this post is to show that outside of God sent revivals and miracles the Church is to operate day-to-day proclaiming the Word, visiting the sick, caring for orphans and widows, feeding the homeless, loving our families, and showing grace to the world.  This all happens in very ordinary ways through ordinary men and women.  Although it is God who supplies grace and strength to do so.

Throughout church history we can find sovereign acts of God upon a people group or church.  These are classified as revivals or spiritual awakenings, from the reformation to the first and second great awakenings on down to our day God has wrought wonders!  These have brought about conversion of sinners, re-establishment of morality, social justice, and the overall expanding of the kingdom of Heaven.  But outside of these we find a church that continues her work day in and day out without much fanfare.  We need both the evangelist and the pastor, both the prophet and the teacher.  We need the revival along with the ministry of longevity.  I believe there are missionaries who live in obscurity that will never be known by men but cherished by God.  There are those who intercede who prevail with God in prayer, they will see no earthly rewards but they will be numbered with the saints of old for their “ordinary” ministry.

We must not be afraid of the ordinary, of the day-to-day grind of being the church.  Let us not fall into the notion that every service needs to be a spiritual blow-out, or every sermon needs to be at 100 mph, or that every song needs to excite the crowd.  The result is that many people come to church with these personalized expectations rather than to just submit to the teaching of the Word of God.  We want sensational rather than sanctification, entertainment rather than worship, and in the pulpit a man who parades rather than a man who prays.  Let it not be said of us in this hour that we are more concerned with pleasing men rather than God.

So I call on you dear brothers and sisters to expect the extraordinary with God but learn to live in the incredible ordinary that is the church.  Let good works be seen among men so that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven.  Do not look for thunder, fire, and earthquakes when God is speaking in a still small voice.  Get on your knees with an open bible, pray and worship in secret, and learn to listen to the slightest whisper of the Holy Spirit.  He brings fire but he descends as a dove.  Embrace the ordinary ministry of the church, walk with God through the spectacular mountain tops and lowly valley but in all things be content.  This is the Christian life, it is always glorious no matter how ordinary it may seem at times.

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God trumps ministry

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Yes that’s right, God trumps ministry!  Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this.  I strongly believe in a church who is missions/ministry minded, a church who is reaching out in service and outreach.  This is God’s plan for the world…for the church to be His body to impact the world around them.  I also firmly believe that the most important thing we can do is seek after God.  Our great task and privilege as believers is to continually seek after God.  To know God, to walk with God in a daily living relationship!  Above even ministry, outreach, teaching, preaching, singing, organizing, this stands alone and is the peak of the mountain…to know God.

In His high priestly prayer Jesus prayed…(John 17:3) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”.  This was the cry of Christ to the Father, very simply that we might know Him!  Listen to the plea of Paul…(Philippians 3:10) “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”.   Earlier in the text of the same chapter Paul states all of his accomplishments and religious qualifications and then quickly dismisses them for the treasure of knowing Christ.  He counts all as loss that he may win Christ.  This is the real treasure, this is the pearl of great price!  To belong to Him and He to us!

Tread with me out to the tabernacle of the congregation where there is a meeting taking place between God and Moses…listen in as the creature talks to the Creator.

(Exodus 33:11-18)…

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

12 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory

Notice the thread weaved in the conversation?  Moses wanted one thing, to know God, to see the glory of God!  Forget about the land flowing with milk and honey, forget about the promise, forget about everything, if God is not with us it means nothing!  What we need as a people, as a church is to apply this to our lives today.  Forget about outreach, forget about missions, forget about ministry, if God is not with us it means nothing.  If there is not a real, living relationship involved…what are we really offering people?  Do we seek for this, or de we seek for our ministries to be great?  Do we desire that God be known, or our names be known?  What we need is communion over commotion, purity over popularity, Holy ghost manifestation over human manipulation, more prophets and fewer profits, more gospel and fewer games. 

We as the church can do a lot of things and never really do anything!  We can say a lot of things and never really say anything!  Jesus commends the church in Revelation for her works, then says…”I have somewhat against you, you have left your first love”  Let us return to our first love, then and only then our works will be in their proper place and will be effective in reaching a lost world.  When our God is placed above our activity, our activity then is just a natural overflow of our already thriving relationship.  When we love Christ, we will love the lost.  Let us be something in God first, then let us attempt something for God.  May we be people who are led by the Spirit and grounded in the scripture, full of the Holy ghost and faith!  If this becomes the case, we may just turn the world upside down.

In Christ,

Scott Neville

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Filed under Ministry, Prayer, Revival