Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The (Extra) Ordinary Story


The (Extra) Ordinary Story

I.                   Family Stories

a.       All families have stories.  If you look in photo albums, you can find people and places and stories that go with them…sometimes family and/or stories you’ve never heard of.

b.      Uncle John Gemini project (my uncle worked at NASA and I shared about how proud I was of that and how that shaped my bent toward science and learning)

c.       God’s family has some stories, too.  The family photo album is quite a compository of amazing stories. 

II.                Mary and Joseph

a.       They were ordinary people
                                                              i.      Paying taxes!
                                                            ii.      Life isn’t going the ‘planned’ way.
                                                          iii.      Between Joseph’s middle aged callouses and Mary’s stretch marks, this couple looks a lot like us…unless of course, we consider who lived inside them.

b.      God used them to bring Jesus to this world.  Jesus entered this ordinary world, on an ordinary day, by way of two ordinary people…just like you and me!!!

III.             You and Me
a.       “Congratulations:  You qualify for a modern day Christmas story.  God enters the world through folks like you and comes on days like today.”[1]

b.      These were not royalty; they were not Prince Joseph or Queen Mary.  It was not Passover or Columbus Day that saw the birth of Jesus.  No it was so very ordinary.  And maybe that’s the best part of Christmas, the best part of God’s best story:  The Word of God, Jesus, came to ordinary people like you and me.  Because if that’s true, then it gives us hope that God can and will do something extraordinary through our lives, too.

c.       Too often we dismiss ordinary.  We hardly ever hear someone say, “I want to be ordinary…or look normal…or make an average living.”  Max Lucado points out that one place we do want to hear “normal” is when the doctor holds the sonogram to our pregnant wife’s bellies… ‘two arms, two feet, ten toes, two eyes…everything looks normal.’  Sometimes, normal isn’t just good.  It’s the best.

d.      God’s story is full of ordinary people.  Abraham a simple farmer.  David a little shepherd boy.  Isaiah, simple writer.  Peter a simple fisherman, and Mary, an ordinary girl.  However, when they opened themselves up to God, their ordinary lives are turned into extraordinary miracles that changed the world forever.

e.       We’re young, old, middle aged, middle income, poor, educated, uneducated…namely, very ordinary people.  But the question is:  Are we open to letting God do something extraordinary in our lives?  Now before you jump on board, I want to warn you:  Extraordinary is NOT ordinary.  Most of us don’t get real excited about becoming an unwed pregnant teenager like Mary.  Most us pray that God would slay the giant so that we don’t have to battle him face to face.  Ordinary people pray ordinary prayers of being blessed with comfortability…not extraordinary blessings of leaving everything behind for Jesus to create God’s Kingdom on earth like Peter.

f.       The ordinary people of God’s Family stories are extraordinary because they invited God’s extraordinary power into their lives.  They made a decision that was the most important decision a human can make:  God’s Story is bigger than my story.  In fact, my story is a part of God’s story…The question is:  How does my life fit in?

g.      Brothers and Sisters, I challenge you to the ordinary life of Joseph and Mary giving birth to Jesus so that the world might be saved.  Ordinary people in God’s Story, but “in God’s story, ordinary matters.”[2]  For our God makes the ordinary, extraordinary.  Amen.

IV.             Here in this ordinary church, with ordinary people, we partake in ordinary bread and ordinary juice.  But here in the presence of God, together as followers of Jesus, Brothers and Sisters filled with the Holy Spirit of God, something extraordinary is happening.  Are you open to it?  Are you willing to be the extraordinary person who births Jesus to this world?  I invite you to this ordinary table to worship our extraordinary God, who is calling us ordinary people to an extraordinary life.

 



[1] Max Lucado, God’s Story, Your Story, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 2011, p. 33.
[2] Lucado, pg. 37.