Get Ordinary, the New Book from Michael Horton

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.

Selling the Gospel—The Christian Hype That Stifles Christian Hope

Jesus may have been the worst salesman ever.

Statue of "buddy Christ"

And the good news he announced is definitely the worst sales pitch ever. It could be lampooned like this:

“Repent and surrender everything you have and everything you hope to be to me. Do this, and your life might be worse—maybe a lot worse. Eventually, I’ll give you something far better. But you can’t see it or have it until you die. Just trust me.”

This portrayal of the gospel doesn’t sound very appealing, but it is the way most ears hear the gospel: foolish, offensive, insulting, a turn off. Certainly, that’s how Jesus’ audience heard it.

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What Got Jesus Out of Bed Every Morning?

What will get you out of bed tomorrow morning to face the day?–Habit? Duty? Determination? Just a vague, “Because I have to…?”

If you’re average like us there are days and times and even seasons of life when you don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to face the day. There are days when you just don’t want your life.

This moment in which I write is one such moment for me. Like you, I harbor disappointment in my heart, normally tucked and locked safely away. But, occasionally it bubbles up to disturb the contentment I know I should have, and the gratitude I know I should give to God for this life. My life.

Notre Dame Crucifix

[Bronze Crucifix. Notre Dame, Paris, France. May, 2013.]

Today, I took that sadness with me to church. I brought it in petition. I offered it in worship. I surrendered it in confession. And what I heard in return was both the good news of life in His name, and the command to live for His name: Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Christ, our Lord.

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