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.