Friday, June 14, 2013

Extraordinary average guy.

One of my intents when I started this Ordinary Man blog, now almost 4 years ago, was to show how God had completely changed the person I used to be and leading me to do extraordinary things, me, just your ordinary average guy. [Insert Joe Walsh 1990’s lyrics here] 
Why is the “me” before important? Because if you knew me, I mean REALLY knew me!  Like, I’m in no condition to walk so make sure you drag me into the house and leave me asleep in the bathroom floor close to a toilet knew me!  Yes, you all know who you are from my past and I thank you for that care...I think.  Then you fully understand that it’s only by the grace of a loving, forgiving and powerful God that I am able to speak his truths on this blog and get to be called pastor today.  I am product of His ridiculously scandalous grace! 

Thinking back for a bit I’m not sure that I have been as transparent as I originally intended over the last four years.  I haven’t hidden anything at all but rather I feel like I’ve held back a bit.  My hope in some upcoming posts is to share with you some of my major failures and lifestyle changes.  I’m still praying through this and need to speak to some people to get some blessings but I do believe God is nudging me in this direction.  

Why would I want to do this?  It’s simple. My hope is that someone out there that hasn’t been able to relate to me before will be able to and in the process I can glorify God by showing his faithfulness, forgiveness and how he uses ordinary people as his megaphones.  He doesn’t have to use us jacked up humans to fulfill his mission, but he chooses to.

But for today I’ve been pondering this thought of ordinary and extraordinary.  How God uses the former to produce the latter.

Honestly, I came up with Ordinary Man title after I read this piece of scripture that inspires me still today.  Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

The word ordinary gets defined by a lot of people in a lot ways.  I know several amazing people that believe they are just ordinary.  So for now I’m going to leave what you think of yourself up to you.

For most of my life I saw myself subordinary. I don’t even know if that’s a word but it should be. Seriously!  To this day my awesome wife dresses me for crying out loud!  I’m colorblind and have no sense of style...those are two perfect ingredients for a subordinary recipe.  A few years ago I finally said, “Okay, I give up!  You buy it I’ll wear it, except for sweater vests.”  Eventually I even gave into the sweater vest on odd year religious holidays.  It’s only because of her that I’m not still wearing the same shirts I had when we met in college some 18ish years ago.  If there are no holes generated in the clothing from year to year I see no reason to discard.  Ordinary.

Now, extraordinary, that’s a word I want us to get excited about.  That’s a hard word for me to use to describe myself, even with everything God has done in me.  I mean that seems really arrogant to claim doesn’t it?    But to not claim it also cheats God out the glory and praise that he is due.  Lets take a sec to define that word extraordinary! 

Webster’s says it’s, “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.” I actually like that definition.

I want you to embrace the extraordinary that is right in front of you but I’m afraid some of you can’t see it.  You know like be bopping along at night in a 1974 International Scout with bad headlights and missing by inches a black angus cow standing in the middle of a country road and not realizing it until you have already blown by at a semi-high rate of speed at which time you FREAK out!  That kind of right in front of you that you can’t see! 

Heck, you may already be living an extraordinary life and don’t even realize it! If you are I don’t want you to sell yourself short. But if you aren’t I want to point out just a few simple thing that can flingo you out of the ordinary. 

Remember extraordinary is going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.

Ordinary is accepting its okay not being the one-in-ten men who can say they have a close friend. An accountability partner if you will. This stat holds true even among Christian men. Patrick Morley once said, "Most men could recruit six pallbearers for their funeral, but hardly anyone has a friend he can call at 2 a.m." (Want to know more about accountability partners? Check out my previous post Howdy Partner! )

Extraordinary is having someone you confide in, meet with regularly and allow to ask you tough questions about what you are doing in your spiritual, married and work life.  Extraordinary is you won’t even lie to them.

Ordinary is being a part of the only 47% of families eating together two or more nights a week and knowing that teens in these families are twice as likely to take drugs, be "high stress," say they are often bored, and less likely to perform well in school than teens who eat with their families 5 to 7 times a week. (This stat from the Barna Group)

Extraordinary is sitting around the table with your family even if it’s over a bag of Sonic burgers and sharing your highs and lows for the day.  And for those sneaky kids that eat fast or try to cop out with “I’m not hungry”, well, they have to sit at the table too until everyone is done.

Ordinary is living 5-6 days a week at work one way and then changing the way you talk and act for Sunday’s morning church.  Your coworkers would fall out of their cubicles or down a flight of break room stairs if they knew you were a Christian because you don’t act any different than anyone else much less talk about your faith.  You fear being tagged as “weird”.

Extraordinary is embracing weird!  Sure, peeps will make fun of you publically but privately they know who they can come to when they need guidance, advice, or prayer when times get tough.  And times will get tough.

Remember friends; the world wants you to remain ordinary. It embraces the usual, regular, or customary.  That’s what the world is and it doesn’t want to be changed.  And as long as you are ordinary you are not a threat to change it.  Sure, make some changes and family and old friends will call you a phony…”I knew who he was” or “What she did”,  but don’t be swayed!  Remember those words of Acts… When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Take note of those first and last few words…saw the courage and these men had been with Jesus.  That my friend is the key to getting from ordinary to extraordinary, courage and Jesus.  If these few things I listed seem insurmountable then maybe you aren’t seeking Jesus first.  He will give you the courage to breakout.  The actions don’t do the transforming, he does.  I believe it was Pastor Perry Noble who said you have to change the heart before you can change the habit.  Seek him first!

I hope today you will decide to make one change to step out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.  Once God can trust you with these simply extraordinary things, then HANG ON for the ride he’s about to take you on!