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.]

We are traveling this weekend to enjoy the mountain air and autumn colors in western North Carolina. I took this picture with my iPhone on the Linn Cove Viaduct.

I hope to share more next week. Until then, enjoy the weekend and look to God’s grace for every need.

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It’s almost 2 o’clock on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Centreville, Virginia. I’m sitting on my brother’s new deck (attached to his house ;) reading, thinking, praying, and now doing something I’ve never done before.

I’m simply writing this update on Average Us. It’s what blogging used to be: a note, a letter, a status, a web log of your life written for anyone who happened to care. This was before people fully understood the potential of blogging as a communication medium. I usually try to write in order to help someone hope in God in their struggle, or I keep silent. But today, I’m just writing because I enjoy writing and communicating.

(I’m a bit of a talker, no surprise).

❯ WHAT’S UP?

I was looking at a list of things I wanted to write about, all of which require a bit more thought and research.

I’m also thinking about the men’s discipleship group I will lead Monday night.

And my nephew’s wedding which is in 3 hours.

And the family and friends to chat with.

And the 12-hour drive home to Atlanta with my mother tomorrow.

So you see, I won’t be doing any research or thinking about a blog post for Monday. I will however spend the next hour preparing to lead the “D-Group” Monday night.

And I will wish you well with this one hopeful thought…

I can imagine a world where every person is glad to see, or hear from, each of his or her seven billion family members. I’m starting with you.

Let’s Hope in God. Worship Jesus. And enjoy what He gives.

Lon

What’re you up to?

Hello!

On this Photo Friday I want to do something different.

Most of you visit here because Dawn and I focus our posts on the hope in God that helps us deal with the difficulties of life. Whether its your health, disappointments, mistakes, sins, or mental health, God in Christ is our one true hope beyond the averageness of this life.

But some of you visit on Friday to see a picture and leave a like. And some of you are actual photographers who leave a like. Dawn and I so appreciate your views, comments, and likes that we wanted to show our appreciation by featuring your work here.

So, this week…

Let me say thank you to Leanne Cole from Australia. Leanne runs two blogs: one focuses on the art and practice of photography; the other showcases Leanne’s fine art photography. Leanne regularly stops by here on Photo Friday to leave an encouraging like for this non-photographer’s photos. But, Leanne is a real photographer who offers photography training on her website, and she likes coffee and has a cat named Tiddles. (What’s not to like about that?)

From Leanne Cole's Art Blog

Go check out Leanne’s website to see some of her work and learn a thing or two. I particularly loved this photo. Looks like a slow river of chocolate.

Thanks for the generous encouragement Leanne! May God’s grace sustain you in every endeavor.

Lon and Dawn

 

 

Unless you live under the current threats of ISIS or Ebola, this is what your life looks like:

You wake up. Live your life. Go to sleep.

Wake up. Live.

Sleep.

Wake…

And if you’re average like me, hardly one of the thousands of thoughts that occupy your attention during the living is of God.

And yet, God is near, like your shadow on a bright day, ever-present with you. Inescapable. Helping. Now.

Continue Reading…