1. What is your spiritual gift? If you don’t know, who are a few close friends or family members you can ask for some insight to help you figure out what skills and abilities God has blessed you with?
2. What is one way you are using your gift to bless others right now? If you’re not using your gifts, why not?
3. Do you have a tendency to think you are better than others in any areas of your life? Do you expect others to treat you a certain way? Do you expect payment or reward for what you do or give? How can you start to shift your attitude to consider those around you in the ways you speak and act and serve?
Welcome everyone! We are in week 2 of our series The Art of Being UnOrdinary. Last week we started this series based off of Romans chapter 12, and we are in the process of discovering what it means to live a life that matters, and grow in meaning and value. You know the kind of life where you wake up and you feel full of purpose!
I know that everyone thinks that they want to be ordinary… Especially all the middle schoolers and high schoolers in the room. No one wants to stand out in this age. Right? You simply want to blend in and be ordinary. Everyone may want to be ordinary, but last week we said that Ordinary leads to Average Outcomes. Talk to any graduating senior and their going to tell you about their dreams and goals. They’re going to tell you about the school they want to go to, or the career they want to get involved in. And very often, you’ll find that in order to make those dreams and goals happen, you’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to be a bit UnOrdinary. Unless of course your mom is AUNT BECKY.
Than apparently you just buy your way into whatever school you were hoping to get into. This story is fascinating though… Aunt Becky and her husband Mossimo allegedly paid $500,000 to get their daughter into a school, why? Because their was fear that they weren’t going to be able to get in on their own. So they fabricated a lie saying that their girls were on the Crew Team and that they were recruits for this elite sport. You could say that they were paying to be UnOrdinary.
Here’s the thing… Ordinary is broken. Ordinary says, You can do whatever you want, so long as you don’t get caught. Ordinary says, the only person you need to worry about is yourself. Just go with the flow, everyone else is doing that. Why shouldn’t you? Last week we said that Ordinary starves us for INTIMACY and IMPORTANCE. Our society has this notion that unless you look like me, act like me, and believe like me, we can’t possibly be friends, or have something in common. And because of that too many of us are starving for intimacy, not physical intimacy, but the kind of intimacy found between two people who truly know one another, and support one another.
Isn’t it interesting how Ordinary wants to make everything about itself? Ordinary creates what I call Relational Black Holes.
This is that guy at work… You know the guy that is always the victim. The one that never fixes the copier, or puts paper in it. All he can do is think about himself. I used to work with this guy… He’d cause all the problems, and than he would complain about how bad he had it. EVERYTHING WAS ABOUT HIM. It was a relational black hole, sucking everything in on itself.
Or this is your neighbor who can ONLY THINK ABOUT THEIR NEEDS. Yes you share the same property line, but all they can think about is what they need. One day I asked my neighbor why there was a lock on his outdoor spigot. He told me that the guy who used to live in my house would use his spigot to wash his truck. Guess what, that hose is only 15 feet closer than the one on my house. It’s all about our own needs. And then you get into this… when you start fighting with your neighbors, OVER WIFI… Check this out…
But can we just talk about this little Relational Black Hole? How about your Toddler? I mean, have you ever met a person that makes it more about themselves than this little guy? I mean, they give sick husbands home with the man flue a run for their money. It is all about them! Mommy, I need this. Mommy, I need more goldfish. BUT I WANT THEM!
These are the things that we’ve come to expect, because that is the mold of the ordinary. And yet, in this series, we’re discovering that the Gospel, the good news of Jesus death, burial and resurrection call us to break the mold of Ordinary, and practice the art of the UnOrdinary.
In order to discover what an UnOrdinary life looks like we are going to be listening to scripture not society. This is why we have been talking so much about our STEP reading plan. We are encouraging you to listen to what God has to say in His word and apply it to your life.
During The Art Of Being UnOrdinary we are camping out in a really powerful passage of scripture that God inspired the Apostle Paul to write down to the Church in Rome. Turn with me today to Romans 12:3-8. That’s on page 775 in the Bible’s around you. This is a section of scripture where Paul gets really practical. There aren’t many things today that you have to wonder, what did he mean by that? We have said that this is Paul’s Practical Theology. Or what He believes about God, is now fleshed out in the way that he will behave towards God and one another. Let’s pick up in verse 3 this week.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Paul is quick to point out something. He says, everything I’m about to say to you is not because of how great I am. I’m not telling you all of this because I’ve lived a perfect life. Paul says, I’ve share all of this with you because of the Grace that has been given to me! Remember, Paul was a pretty bad dude. He ran around Israel taking out Christians for fun. This was his mission. He was a Pharisee of Pharisee’s, IOW, Paul was hyper religious and zealous for his religion. And then God got a hold of his life, and everything changed. Paul went from being the one in pursuit of Christians, to the one who was leading them closer to Christ. Paul knows a thing or two about Forgiveness and Grace.
As your Pastor, I’ve got to tell you that I resonate with Paul’s opening phrase more than you know. Every weekend, I have the privilege of opening God’s word and sharing with you, but it is only by God’s grace that has been given to me, that I can do this. So don’t ever think that I am telling you something simply because I’ve lived the perfect life. Only one person did that and His name is Jesus.
Paul is saying, if you want to break the mold, and live an UnOrdinary life, you need to 1. Think Accurately. Isn’t it funny how we can get such an over inflated sense of self worth? Have you ever talked with someone and you realized that they really don’t know what they’re talking about? But they don’t even know that they don’t know. That’s the best. It’s amazing watching people pretend that they are the expert in something.
But here’s where it really hurts. How often is that guy me, or you? It wasn’t long ago that I was getting coffee with someone and we started talking about the red tide situation from last Summer, and I started to make statements of fact, like I knew exclusively why the red tide had occurred. I was talking about Lake Okeechobee, and all this other stuff. I even had myself convinced I was a marine biologist. And then I caught myself. I actually had to stop and say, hey, you know, I’m not really sure if half of what I just said is right. I’m sorry, I think I may have portrayed that I know more about the situation than I really do. My bad. And do you know what happened? The guy looked at me like I was crazy, why would you admit that, and then he said, no big deal, apparently no one really knows what’s going on anyway.
This was a moment when I had to Think Accurately about myself. The ordinary mold says, Make it all about you. Meaning, Make yourself look really intelligent, and with it. But when you think accurately about yourself, look at what paul says, again…
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Paul isn’t suggesting that we run around consistently putting ourselves down. He is simply saying, use sober judgement, or sound thinking. He is saying think accurately. But then he throws in this one little phrase, in accordance with the measure of Faith God has given you. Paul is reminding us of a very important truth.
You need to Think Accurately of yourself today by who you are in Christ, not who you were before Christ, or who you would be without Christ. Too many Christians forget that in Christ they are a new creation. Satan would love nothing more than to keep you thinking that you are forgiven by God but that He still holds a record of all your wrongs. That when he looks at you, yes, you’re forgiven, but you are still labeled.
You aren’t defined by your past, you aren’t even defined by your present. You are defined by Jesus. And so Paul says, if you’re going to break the mold, you need to Think Accurately about yourself.
But step 2 in living an UnOrdinary Life is found in verse 4-5, look at what Paul says…
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
Paul is throwing shade at our society with this illustration. He says, tell me about yourself. You think you’re so special, huh? You think the world revolves around you? You think that you are the only one that matters? Well tell me about yourself. No really, tell me about what makes up your body… Tell me about the muscles and organs, and bones that make up your body.
The Body is a complex unit! It’s even more complex than Paul could have known. Did you know that there are 100 trillion cells, 206 bones, 600 muscles, and 78 organs that make up your body? How do you think your body operates? Do you think it stands on it’s own? No… Paul says that each one of these parts plays an integral role in the overall function of the body. Yes, they are individuals, and yes they look different, they act different, and they have different strengths and weakness’ but they are all a part of what makes up the body.
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
When our bodies are missing parts, we know it. It’s hard. Life gets hard when there are parts of the body that aren’t working anymore. Whether this is due to illness, or aging, it is harder. Things just don’t work as well. The same is true in the church. When there are certain skills or giftings missing in a church, it is harder, or it isn’t as effective. Paul says, that in order to break the mold, in order for us to live and UnOrdinary life, and see results that are beyond the Ordinary, we need to Participate Corporately. Our first step is to Think Accurately, and now we need to Participate Corporately.
We do this here on our Dream Team. We aren’t a church that sits back and just watches from the sidelines. In fact, I want to invite you specifically today to get out of your seats and get behind the scenes. I want to help you live a life that is UnOrdinary. I want to help you live a life that is filled with meaning, and value. It’s not what I want from you, but what I want for you. Paul says we need one another. When we recognize that the church is not a spectator sport, that this isn’t a conference where we attend and go home, but it is a body where when one part of our body hurts, we all hurt. When one part needs help, the rest jumps in to help. I’m going to ask you today to consider joining the dream team here at Hope City. On the bottom of your notes is a tear off card, and I want to invite you to join the dream team in one of these areas. Maybe it’s hospitality, Family ministry, serving on the roadies team… Whatever it may be, would you join the team? Would you take a step towards practicing the art of the UnOrdinary?
Today I want to introduce you to some people who are absolutely incredible. Would you help me welcome Chrissi Prieur and Ty and Mia Alexander to the stage?
Chrissi Prieur… serves every weekend, serves on 2 teams, kids and hospitality… Very often one of the last people to leave on a Sunday… She has the greatest laugh and lights up a room…. She loves people, and loves students…
Mia Alexander… Little miss Mia is a force to be reckoned with. Let me tell you what. You all probably don’t know this, but there are so many jobs that need to be done week in and week out here at HCC. And a lot of them seem unimportant, or just plain old ordinary. And what makes Mia so UnOrdinary is that she sees these jobs and willing does them.
Ty Alexander…. This is her twin brother Mr. Ty, and this guy is going to be Hope City’s greatest asset. He is Mr. detail. Almost every Sunday he’s here putting Bible’s out on every chair, and then he heads out to the coffee bar and arranges the coffee bar and makes sure that everything is in its place.
Both Mia and Ty show up and serve at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning on the Roadies team and they set up and get ready for YOU! Aren’t you grateful for these three people?
These are 3 people who think accurately, participate corporately, and they are making a difference in this church! We are grateful for you guys! Can you help me honor them?
Paul gets really practical here at the end of this passage. Look with me.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. 
Do you see the deep theological mystery that Paul is unpacking here? It’s the original Nike Slogan. JUST DO IT! God has given each one of you a gift… You have your natural gifting, the things that you are just good at. There are talents and skills that you were born with. And then God through His Holy Spirit has given followers of Jesus a spiritual gifting, not that we deserve it, not that we’ve earned it… but it’s given by God’s grace. Paul quickly points that out. We aren’t saved by serving, we serve because of how God has saved us. It’s out of our love for Him.
Essentially Paul is saying, in order to break the mold, you need to Think Accurately, you need to Participate Corporately, and you need to 3. Give Generously. Think about Mia and Ty, and Chrissi… one of the most remarkable things about them is how generously they give of themselves. They serve our church in ways that many people don’t see or know. What prevents you from giving generously? I don’t only mean financially. I’m talking about your time, your resources, and your gifts.
I can tell you that this didn’t always come easy for me. When Tiffany and I were first married, it was crazy. We were both 21, and life was so different for us. Tiffany still had a year left of college and I was working as a part time youth pastor, a handyman and also worked on a charter fishing boat. Well, our first year of marriage was good… we had our ups and downs. They say that married people typically fight over two things, sex or money. And it seemed that I figured out a third one to fight over. Let me tell you something though, my wife Tiffany is amazing. She must really love me to have put up with our first year of marriage.
Remember I said that she was still in college when we got married? Well for her graduation that year, I decided I really wanted to bless my wife. I wanted to take care of her and get her a gift that said just how proud of her I was. Most of you women are thinking like pearls, or diamonds, or something really sentimental right? Well, not this guy. I went down and bought my incredibly intelligent recent college graduate of a wife a double kayak. Like the kind that two people sit on top of and paddle together. OH MAN… let me tell you what, I had the purest of intentions, and yet, I missed the mark. That double Kayak should be labeled a little divorce missile.
But, honestly, there was so much I needed to learn in our marriage in our relationship. I can remember saying things to Tiffany like well if I’m always serving you, when are you going to serve me? When will you take care of me? I was afraid that if I gave too generously, that there wouldn’t be anything left for me. And I would be missing out.
Sometimes I think we miss out because we’re afraid that if we give too much there will be nothing left for us. If you and I Think Accurately, if we Participate Corporately, and Give Generously, you will set yourself up to live an UnOrdinary Life. Andy Stanley has said, “We don’t end up where we hope to end up. Our lives ultimately end up wherever our path is headed right now.” It’s not about what you wish your life would be like, it’s not about what you want to talk about one day. We need to be men and women who are taking steps to get where we want to go and accomplish what we hope to accomplish.
Society says that life is about Me and Mine. Scripture tells us that the point of life is to think about you and yours. In fact, if you do this, The most memorable moments of life are made in your most selfless moments.
Ask anyone of the team members that we sent to drill a clean water well in Guatemala last year. They will tell you. They gave of themselves that entire week and they have memories and stories that they will tell for years to come.
Talk to anyone on the dream team and ask them why they serve. Ask them what it feels like to get here early on a Sunday morning and put this all together. How satisfying it is to watch as people show up to church and encounter God in a distraction free environment.
TITLE SLIDE What would it look like for you to move beyond yourself in order to actually give yourself a life of meaning, to stand out as more than just ordinary?
Imagine if you were the coworker that wasn’t the relational black hole, but the one who showed care and concern for others?
Imagine if you were the neighbor who loved those around you the way that you love yourself. Imagine what your street and neighborhood would look like if you did that.
Imagine what your family could look like if you took a moment and served them without the need for them to pay you back. Imagine.
I want to invite you this spring to take a step forward. To move beyond the ordinary and live a life that is UnOrdinary, that is in fact, EXTRAORDINARY. One of the easiest ways for you to do that is by serving our community on Easter this year!
We are going to be dropping 15,000 Easter Eggs out of a helicopter and you get to be a part of that! You get to take a step towards serving others this Easter. I’ve put the number in your notes to sign up to serve on Easter. Go ahead and text FORSARASOTA to 970-00 and we will send you back a link to get you squared away.
Don’t forget, the most memorable moments of life are when you are the most selfless.