Hey there!Cover of Ordinary, by Michael Horton

I want to tell you about Dr. Michael Horton’s new book, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless WorldI just downloaded the book and am excited to read it.

I have heard Dr. Horton discuss this theme several times on his excellent podcast, The White Horse Inn, and I couldn’t agree more with his perspective.

Here it is, in my own words:

The Christian life is lived in the ordinary, the mundane, the typical, the average, the seemingly trivial. Spiritual growth occurs via the daily habits of life and speech and prayer and study and perseverance, not the short-lived experiences of a conference, special church services, “radical” living, or “Xtreme” worship.

As a young pentecostal Christian, I was taught to expect and pursue immediate, miraculous, life-transforming experiences. But, over time I observed that Christians always grow slowly. Our spiritual formation is certain, yes, but also very slow. That slow growth is realized not by extraordinary means, but by observing the ordinary work of God’s providence, and attending to the ordinary means of God’s grace: prayer, hearing God’s gospel word, and receiving God’s gospel meal (communion, eucharist).

These ordinary things are the pulse and heartbeat of every Christian life. What we need is not a new program, or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; we need a renewed appreciation for the ordinary ways God grows us up to be like Jesus.

I encourage you to read Ordinary, and to pursue spiritual growth by deepening your life of prayer, study, and fellowship at God’s table.

Happy Friday to you, friend.

Here’s two more shots I took along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina near the Linn Cove Viaduct. Here’s what we might say to one another if we stood on this ridge together. From Psalm 145:

4One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
5On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.

Photo of a lone pine amid a stand of hardwoods

[A lone pine stands proud among the hardwoods. Blue Ridge Parkway. Nikon D40. October, 2014.]

photo of a smoky valley seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway

[A smoky valley framed by pine. Blue Ridge Parkway. Nikon D40. October, 2014.]

You’ve heard of the Blue Ridge Parkway? Ever driven it? Wonder if it’s worth your precious time off from work?

I hope these two shots answer the last question for you. I have taken my family up into the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina every autumn since 1995. And I always ignored those brown “Blue Ridge Parkway” signs around Cherokee and Asheville. Until 2009. Now, views like these beckon our frequent autumnal return.

When I stand in places like this, smelling the wind, my soul seems to look up as my eyes look out. May God give us all grace to cherish the majesty and mystery he reveals dimly in nature, and more radiantly in Christ. Amen.

View from the Linn Cove Viaduct

[Majesty along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nikon D40. October, 2014.]

View from the Linn Cove Viaduct

[Mystery along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nikon D40. October, 2014.]