People are going to have stereotypes; they’re going to jump to conclusions. We cannot control how people view the church. But we can control what they have to view.

There are some people who would say, “I’d rather be wrong with the pagans then right with the Christians.” But wouldn’t it be wonderful if people said, “I don’t agree with their faith, but it is hard to disagree with their example. See how they love each other. Look at their courage and compassion. Look at their character. I wish I had that.”

That’s what we hope people will see, but we can’t change their eyes. So we must keep plodding along, whether anyone likes it or not, or even notices.

This is the balance that healthy churches must embrace: faith in God to do the extraordinary and our resolve to keep doing the ordinary. If the early church had just waited around for the miracles to come, people wouldn’t have been saved, the church wouldn’t have grown, the church wouldn’t have been healthy. But because the early Christians were praying and proclaiming and working through the tough stuff of life together, when God decided to do the extraordinary, they were ready.

Are you and your church committed to the basics: to prayer, proclamation, and being a practicing Christian community? If we will make that our aim and keep doing it year after year, who knows how big the flame will be when God decides to light a match and lay it at the kindling of our faithfulness.

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16 thoughts on “God’s Extraordinary Work and Our Ordinary Faithfulness”

  1. Kim says:

    Thank you, Kevin, for all you do to continue to help believers to prioritize and highly esteem the church they way Christ does. ~ Kim

  2. L. Westerlund says:

    Thank you for wise, Biblical words. In his timeless classic, Revival, Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes the things that keep the mighty work of God at bay–our busyness, our worldliness, our self-rightousness, our errors in doctrine.

  3. Lou G. says:

    Thanks, Kevin! That was an encouraging and excellent reminder on obedience to Christ.

  4. taco says:

    But I just read a book about how I should be Radical(tm) not ordinary.

  5. Deb says:

    Nice post!

    Here’s another excellent piece that I came across this morning (for any fans of The Office0 by an ordinary guy named Alan Cross:

    “The Office” and The Beauty of Ordinary Things
    http://www.downshoredrift.com/downshoredrift/2013/05/the-office-and-the-beauty-of-ordinary-things.html

  6. God be merciful says:

    Your subsequent post/ statement is lurching into millstone territory. It’s wrong.

  7. Tom says:

    It is concerning that the post to The Gospel Coalition website by DA Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor blocked readers from posting comments. The history of the lawsuits against SGM is complicated with numerous examples of the depravity of men. The number of electrons burdened with ill reasoned, slanderous, and cowardly accusations pertaining to SGM over the past several years could fill a NASA supercomputer (before sequestration). It makes practical and Biblical sense not to open another electronic forum that may encourage the continuation of a trial that has been disallowed by the appropriate civil authorities. Disallowing comments to these authors’ letter is an altogether different consideration.

    Disabling reader’s ability to respond to the author’s letter is akin to traffic enforcement officers telling the witnesses to a horrific car wreck that their testimonies are not worth collecting. Are inappropriate comments and observations going to be posted by readers? Yes. That is why this web site has content editors and mediators. Are these authors implicating the site’s editors with incompetence and inadequate skill in determining what is appropriate and what is not?

    When anyone of us walks into a hospital, we expect to find sick, diseased, hurting people. We don’t go to our local hospital expecting to find Olympic athletes training. I cautiously suggest that electronic forums that publish articles pertaining to faith and worship of Jesus and that encourage consumer participation with the posted works have much in common with a hospital telephone nurse line. Many of this site’s readers are concerned about some issue of faith and want to gather more information so that they may make an informed response to the particular concern. No matter where someone sets down in thought about the events surrounding SGM over the past five years or more, there is much to be discussed in this tragedy for the health of individual saints and the greater body of believers.

    When a subordinate officer in GEN Stanley McChrystal’s command made offhanded comments about President Barak Obama to a Rolling Stone reporter, GEN McChrystal resigned his position as ISAF commander and Commander, US Forces Afghanistan. He immediately retired from active military duty in order to return America’s focus to the mission of protecting this country and prosecuting the war in Afghanistan. GEN McChrystal, West Point graduate, Special Forces qualified, Ranger qualified, Airborne qualified, former commander of US Special forces Command, subordinated his career, personal goals, and professional calling to the greater mission. Did GEN McChrystal do anything wrong or behave in a way that brought dishonor to the United States of America? No he did not. GEN McChrystal took personal responsibility for the failings of subordinates under his command and removed himself as a distraction to the successful accomplishment of a greater goal.

    GEN David Petreaus, West Point graduate, former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, author of American counter insurgency doctrine, head of the CIA, resigned when his personal leadership failings distracted from the mission for which he had been hired to execute. At the time of his personal moral failure was he still eminently qualified to successfully perform the task for which he was paid? Yes. Did his personal role in the prosecution of the mission for which he was hired require him to be above reproach? Yes it did?

    The head of the IRS resigns after six months on the job in order to mitigate the distraction his personal involvement in alleged misconduct may present to the return of integrity to this country’s tax collecting agency.

    And on and on it goes. In business, government, and the American military, leaders get out of the way of the mission when their involvement becomes a distraction. Why does there seem to be more integrity among the secular leader’s prosecution of the missions of business and government than among the men entrusted with Gospel proclamation? Is not Gospel proclamation a greater undertaking than any of the tasks entrusted to these military, business, and civic leaders? Does the value of vocational ministry friendships and relationships override the integrity of the Gospel? Do preachers, church leaders, and anyone of us not have to die to ourselves when we become a more compelling story than Jesus The Messiah and His Redemptive suffering and death?

    If the leader’s of this country’s wars understand that leadership integrity must never be undermined, why are we so willing to accept a lesser standard within the church? Maybe the Church is not at war.

    I encourage DA Carson to discuss with his son, a US Marine, what must be sacrificed personally in terms of ambition, self-reliance, and independence when a man goes to war. Kevin, if the thoughts you express in this post have veracity, open up the comments so that the world will see that faithful brothers and sisters can undertake the hard conversations that make up much of life this side of all Glory.
    Open up the comment section and let the uncomfortable discussion of the tragedy that surrounds SGM begin so that we never repeat these same mistakes.

  8. Chad says:

    Kevin-Thanks for this great reminder.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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