In just over a month The Ordinary Way: A Unique Way to Live will be released.  For your reading pleasure I share a bit with you here. 
That word is much underrated. Words such as great, awesome, first class, and excellent receive more attention. Few will exit the highway to grab a bite if the billboard sign reads “Ordinary BBQ” or “Home of The Ordinary Burger”—even if the sign itself is extraordinary. Why? Because ordinary carries synonym baggage. The word is grouped together, quite unfairly, with boring, bland, common, and unimpressive.

I officially call for a revolution. “The Ordinary Revolution,” perhaps? On second thought, that doesn’t sound very impressive. If you can find a better tagline, please let me know. In the meantime, that will have to suffice.

Eugene Peterson, in The Message, artfully articulates one of the apostle Paul’s central encouragements to those who set out to follow Jesus.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Romans 12:1 MSG
In the NIV, that verse reads that we are to offer (our) bodies as a living sacrifice. As one who understands the powerful imagery of “living sacrifices,” I, even still, struggle to apply those words. How does one actually do that? Through the ordinary. Certainly, extraordinary events hold value and excellent experiences prove worthy; the stuff of life is mostly ordinary—it is the meat that sustains rather than the gourmet feast and chocolate mousse that add flavor.

Follow this link to pre-order your copy of The Ordinary Way: A Unique Way To Live.


What is Ash Wednesday?

You may wonder about the meaning of Ash Wednesday. 

Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter.  Subtracting Sundays, 40 is the number of days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  Forty, a commonly found number in Scripture, here represents the forty days of fasting that Jesus practiced in the wilderness.  He prepared Himself for His purpose. 

On Easter, followers of Christ celebrate a great victory, the great victory of Christ - His victory over sin.  Jesus gave His life for the sins of the world.  He rose from the grave.  We celebrate.

Ash Wednesday serves as a reminder.

Mark, in his gospel, records Jesus' great invitation - "Repent, and believe the good news!"

Ash Wednesday reminds us to repent.  God calls us to confess our sins which He is faithful to forgive.  We confess and acknowledge the grace of God in forgiving us.


Follow this link to pre-order your copy of The Ordinary Way: A Unique Way To Live scheduled for release April 7.

February - The Month of Clean

While Spring, at least for Alaskans, will not soon arrive, perhaps February is a good month during which you can finally do that deep cleaning of your kitchen, reduce the amount of clutter in your cabinets, or part with those clothes about which you have said, "I'll wear that someday" for at least the past five years.

The name for this month comes from the Latin Februaris.  During Februaris, the ancient Romans would engage in a time of purification.  On that day (the 15th), Roman priests would sacrifice animals and use their blood in ceremonial rituals that were believed to purify people and fields thus increasing fertility and crop production.

Christians do not practice those ancient traditions.  We do, however, recognize the value of purification.  "Cleanliness is next to godliness" while not a quotation from Scripture, points toward truth. 

King David prayed for it . . .

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
Jesus upheld its importance . . .
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
The Apostle Paul called Christians to it . . .
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)

Devote some time this month to cleansing.  Focus on your life.  What needs to go?  A read through some of Paul's words will help.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 4:29-5:14 (NIV)

If you get to the clutter and clothes, that's great.  But those stacks and clothes can wait until you've done some self-cleaning.

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)


Follow this link to pre-order your copy of The Ordinary Way: A Unique Way To Live scheduled for release April 7.