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Goodbye Ordinary

I was listening to two songs yesterday that got me thinking about a couple things.  Here are the songs and the lyrics:
Goodbye Ordinary
MercyMe
I wonder when we first bought into this
So satisfied with status quo
Have we convinced ourselves that this is all there is
All that is within me says we were meant to break free
Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Lead a life to be followed
Goodbye ordinary, goodbye ordinary
We were never meant to compromise
Settle for mediocrity
Life was never meant to be a waste of time
Well all that is within me says no more just existing
Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Lead a life to be followed
Goodbye ordinary, goodbye ordinary
No more complacency
No more just settling this time
Goodbye to atrophy for we were meant to be alive
To Know You
Casting Crowns
To know you is to never worry for my life, and
To know you is to never give in or compromise
To know you is to want to tell the world about you
Cause I can’t live without you
To know you is to hear your voice when you are calling
To know you is to catch my brother when he’s falling
To know you is to feel the pain of the brokenhearted
Cause they can’t live without you
More than my next breath
More than life or death
All I’m reaching for, I live my life to know you more
I leave it all behind, you’re all that satisfies
To know you is to want to know you more
To know you is to want to know you more
To know you is to ache for more than ordinary
To know you is to look beyond the temporary
To know you is believing that you’ll be enough
Cause there’s no life without you
More than my next breath
More than life or death
All I’m reaching for, I live my life to know you more
I leave it all behind, you’re all that satisfies
To know you is to want to know you more
To know you is to want to know you more
All this life could offer me, could not compare to you
Compare to you
And I count it all as lost, compared to knowing you
Knowing you
Sometimes I wonder about the songs that we sing and the things that we read in Scripture.  I mean, what have we really lost for Christ?  Can you identify one thing that you have lost for Christ?
Something that has always baffled me as a Christian in the United States is how complacent our faith is.  Really, it’s no wonder, because we go to church and sing songs about what it means to follow Jesus and we might get up in the morning and read something in the Bible about what it means to follow Jesus, and then we make breakfast, go to work, pick up the kids from soccer, eat dinner, and go to bed.
Our lives are so predictable.  Our lives are manageable.  How on earth can God break through?  At some point, tragedy comes across our lives, and we turn around and wonder how God could allow something like this to happen to us.  Life doesn’t make sense anymore, and instead of seeking God’s wisdom, we blame Him for unanswered questions.
Then, someone has the audacity to suggest that maybe what is written and lived out in the Bible is literally true, and should be followed…things like, “Take up your cross and follow me” and “Go into all the world and make disciples.”  Suddenly the half of Jesus’ life when He was talking about the sacrifice that following Him requires is true.  We don’t like that.  We settle for the thought that, “Maybe my coworker will think I’m a little weird” is the persecution Jesus talks about.  I think we have watered down the gospel SO MUCH that following Jesus has become ORDINARY.
To me, the plans and dreams for my life are really not that extraordinary, but it makes a lot of people I know uncomfortable and nervous.  It should.  I want to run an orphanage someday in Central Africa.  A lot of people have done things like that.  No big deal, but it does require some sacrifice.  To most people I talk to, it’s “so cool”, but they kind of continue staring at me.  One girl said to me, “Oh you’re like one of those Mother Teresa types.  I’m honored to be in your presence.”  Statements and actions like that make me really angry inside, actually.  I hate being seen as a hero.  I’m just an ordinary person that believes in taking God at His word for caring for orphans.  I believe in an extraordinary God who loves us extravagantly.  Why wouldn’t a love like that cause me to drop everything and follow Him, wherever that may lead?  The life I led before is so dull and pointless.  Goodbye, ordinary…I’m following Jesus!
Steven Curtis Chapman has a song called, “Something Crazy.”  In that song, he makes a statement, “It’s crazy but it’s true, you really don’t know love at all until it’s making you do something crazy.”  I’ve never known a more truthful statement.  It’s easy for us to imagine a love relationship with a husband or wife.  When you think about it, that’s a pretty crazy concept.  A person has all the freedom in the world to do anything they want to do with their life, and they choose to settle down with one person and be subject to them for the rest of their time on earth.  Granted, that idea of marriage is becoming extinct, but that is the way it should be.  Someone is free and chooses chains.  Doesn’t make sense, does it?  Well, it really does, because when you are truly loved by someone for who you are, you are set free.  You can and will do anything for that person.  Why is that any different in our relationship with God?
Some people say that it’s hard to trust something that you can’t see.  I understand that, to an extent.  We have become such a scientific and visual society, but not everything in life can be measured that way.  Take wind, for instance.  You can’t see it, but you feel it.  You can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, and you certainly can’t control it.  What about oxygen, radio waves, the internet?  All these things we depend on and are confident they exist, we can’t see.  Why is it so hard to believe in God?  It just takes switching our glasses.  The evidence of Him can be seen all around us.
Well, we don’t pledge our allegiance to radio waves.  We don’t give our life for the wind.  However, if God really does exist, then that probably means it will disrupt my life in some way.  True story.  Since I have come to know Him, my life has been turned upside down.  Sometimes I wonder if the people that struggle to believe in God are closer to the Kingdom of God than some who sit in pews on Sunday morning and the truth that hits their ears does not saturate their lives.  At least the ones who do not want to acknowledge God understand that there is a cost to following Him.  Those who sit in the pews have heard the truth and tuned out the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Our churches are worse than dead.  They are a negative example of the goodness of Christ.  People outside the church look at those inside the church and say, “Why bother.”  And it’s true.  I wouldn’t want to be like most Christians I know.  If that was my only reason for following Christ, then I would have given up a LONG TIME AGO.
We read Jesus’ parable about the sower and the different places that the seed fell.  I heard a preacher say once, “Don’t assume that you’re the good soil.”  That statement has stuck with me and haunted me ever since.  Sometimes we assume that because we are surrounded by blessings that we are the good soil.  However, the Bible says that the good soil produces 100 times what was sown in it.  What does the fruit of your life look like?  How many people this year have been drawn closer to God’s saving grace by watching your life?  These are the kinds of questions that matter in light of eternity. 
I had a good thing going before Christ came in and shook up my life.  Yes, I am young and accepted Him at a young age, but it was only a year ago when I finally got it.  I could no longer read the Bible like I always had.  It made me uncomfortable.  It caused me to ask a lot of questions, and it should.  Our lives should not even remotely be the same as before when we truly know God.  It should cause us to constantly ache to know Him more.  It should break our hearts that those around us do not know Him.  It should motivate us to move when we see injustice take place.  Paul says that we are Christ’s ambassadors as if He were making His appeal through us.  We represent Christ to the world.  We are witnesses to His power and love.  If we allow it, God’s grace can take the pile of dirt that was our lives and make it into a masterpiece of His beauty.  The reason?  To show the world His love and to bring glory to Himself.
Really, the message of Christ is not as complicated as we try to make it.  We read the passage, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we say, “I wonder what He meant by that?”  Maybe it means, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”  Crazy concept?  I think not.  What about, “Don’t worry when the world hates you because it hated me first.”  I think to myself, “Well, the world doesn’t hate me.  In fact, most people I know admire me.”  My immediate response should be a reevaluation of how I live my life.  The world around me is contrary to Christ, this I know is true.  If the world is contrary and I am living in the world and they agree with me, then what am I doing wrong?  What does it mean to be a part of the Kingdom of God?  Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t worry if the world hates you.”  He says, “Don’t worry when the world hates you.”  That should say something.
Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he had so much joy that he sold everything he had and bought the field.  I’m sure his friends thought he was nuts.  However, we have found this incredible treasure:  the God of the entire universe loved us so much that He sent His only Son-HIS BEST-for us, that we might know Him and be with Him from now throughout eternity.  Jesus never claimed to give us comfort when we follow Him.  He told some who wanted to follow Him, “Sure, you can come, but just so you know, you might not have a place to sleep tonight.”  Many chose not to follow Him.  I’m sure that broke His heart, but He didn’t want anyone following Him with the wrong intentions or conditions in mind.  He is so worth the sacrifice that watering down the message to reach more people was never an option.  Think about that for a minute.
We are created for God and all of us desire to live an extraordinary life for Him.  So many things hold us back.  Why?  That is the question that God asked me a couple months ago:  “What is holding you back from truly following me?”  I answered that question with “Nothing, anymore.”  How will you answer that question?  God wants you to know His will for your life.  It’s not a game of hide and seek.  Ask Him to show you His dreams and desires, and be willing to say, “Goodbye ordinary, I’m following Jesus!”
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About the author chelseamaxine

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