The Unintentional Net Effect of Youth Ministry

Unintentionally, the net effect of youth ministry has been largely to alienate younger generations from the ordinary life and ministry of the church.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 184

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The Means of Grace Often Becomes Yesterday’s News

Chasing the latest fad for spiritual growth, church growth and cultural impact, we eventually forget both how to reach the lost and how to keep the reached.  The ordinary means of grace becomes yesterday’s news.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 178

We Need to Reduce…

We need to reduce the distractions and voracious consumption.  Many things we do as “something more” aren’t bad in themselves.  Yet collectively they contribute to a whirling buzz of confusion that keeps us from fixing our eyes on Christ and his kingdom and his ordinary means of grace.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 177

The Lord’s Day is not A Prison But a Palace

The Lord’s Day is not a prison but a palace.  It is a wonderful gift to turn off the devices that interrupt our daily schedules and to push our roots down into the fertile soil that produces trees in God’s garden.  It is a delight to set aside our normal associations with friends and co-workers – even non-Christian family members – in order to commiserate with fellow heirs of the kingdom concerning the news we’ve heard about the age to come.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 176-177

The Church is the Pasture With Christ as the Good Shepherd

The church is the pasture with Christ as the good Shepherd, who provides undershepherds to guide us in our pilgrimage.  Just as the soil is important for his plants, as Jesus emphasized, so is the pasture for the sheep.  We not only feed on doctrine, as if we were only independent minds, but on nutrients that only a particular environment can produce.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 174

Four Common Threads in the Analogy of Christ’s Kingdom

What are some of the common threads we can draw together from Jesus’ organic analogy of his kingdom?  First, it is his kingdom.  Second, there is no personal relationship with Christ, the Vine, apart from his church, the branches.  Third, the growth of his kingdom (and each member of it) is slow.  Who would ever have imagined that a tiny mustard seed would become a massive tree with branches filling the earth?  Yet it isn’t something you can measure day by day.  Fourth, it takes a lot of work.  The gardener is always doing something to tend the vine in view of his harvest.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 173

Instead of an Oasis of Life, It Has Become a Part of the Desert

Instead of being an oasis of life, the church had become assimilated to the surrounding desert of idolatry.  With explicit echoes of Eden after the fall, the image we meet repeatedly in the prophets is of the gardener withdrawing, turning the oasis back to a barren land of thorns and tumbleweeds.  It is not an invading army of pagans that has done this (Jeremiah 12:10).

Yet the day is coming when the owner of the vineyard will send a faithful shepherd-gardener (Hosea 14:4-8)

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 169-170