I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Tony Merida’s book, Ordinary: How To Turn the World Upside Down.
Tony Merida is someone I highly admire. He loves Jesus, loves his family, and loves the church, which is reflected in his life and ministry. Below is a message from Ordinary, a book that I encourage you to read. Just as Jesus chose ordinary disciples, he also calls ordinary people like us in the same way. Together in Christ we can turn the world upside down. The book is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service.
“These men . . . have turned the world upside down . . . saying that there is another king—Jesus!” (Acts 17:6–7)
How were these early Christians turning the world upside down? They had a different King, Jesus, who called them to a unique way of life. They weren’t impressive people, but they had an impressive King.
The book of Acts shows that the result of the early church’s efforts wasn’t due to their own gifting and wealth. When Peter and John were brought before the council they were called “unschooled, ordinary men ” (Acts 4:13). Not even the leaders were extraordinary!
But these ordinary people turned the world upside down.
By submitting to the lordship of Jesus, proclaiming His substitutionary death and bodily resurrection, and displaying good deeds that reflect the values of the Kingdom, God used these ordinary Christians to change lives—one conversation at a time, one meal at a time, and one act of mercy at a time.
When Paul and his missionary team went to Philippi, they started the first church on European soil. That sounds amazing, but it actually started in a very humble way. There were no light shows. The mission team went down by a river, where some ordinary women were gathered together. It looked like nothing more than a picnic with some prayers. I bet many people walked right past these ladies. But as the team approached them, and as Paul taught the gospel, God worked in the heart of a lady named Lydia to understand and believe the gospel. (That is an extraordinary thing!) Afterward, some others believed in the city, and the church became established. The church more than likely met in Lydia’s home initially—not a majestic sanctuary, but a home. God opened her heart, and she opened her home. Ordinary people, redeemed by the King, then set out to live on mission, like we are called to do.
In other words, they lived as though there was another King.
My prayer is that we would see a recovery of such movement, an “ordinary movement,” that involves ordinary Christians, not just the “super Christians,” who live on mission in the rhythms of everyday life. Ordinary Christians who proclaim an extraordinary message, and ordinary Christians who practice compelling acts of justice and mercy.
And I pray that we can see this movement happening not just with individual Christians, but with churches. We are called to live out our Christian life in community. The church is God’s primary mission strategy that seeks to live out the values of the King. The church is an outpost of the Kingdom. When people look at your local church they should say, “This way of life reminds me of the Kingdom to come.”
This will happen only when we reject the prevailing philosophies of our day, and instead live as though there really is another King, Jesus, who reigns and is coming soon to establish His glorious Kingdom.
I am giving away 10 copies of Ordinary.
To enter for a chance to win 1 of 10 copies, fill out the form below or click here and enter before 12:01 a.m. CST, Thursday May 14th.