Week 1 - "God Uses The Ordinary"

 
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
 
An Amazing Fact: The first step in constructing a bridge over the Niagra Falls Gorge was made by a 15-year-old American named Homan Walsh. On January 30, 1948, Homan flew a kite he named Union from one side of the gorge to the other. Someone on the opposite side caught the kite and tied a stronger string to the end of the kite string, and Holman pulled the new, thicker string back across the gorge. The process was repeated with an even stronger string, then a cord, then a thin rope, then a thicker rope, and eventually a steel cable, which crossed the expanse and was strong enough to support workers, tools, and materials. 
Finally, a sturdy bridge, over which trains and trucks could easily pass was completed...And it all began with a string.
 
Jesus became tremendously popular among the people of the large Galilee region. As word of His miracles began to circulate throughout the district, massive hordes of people came out to see & hear Him speak. Luke 5:1 records how "the multitude pressed about Him to hear the Word of God." One day, the crowds were so thick and so aggressive that He got into a boat, pushed it offshore far enough to get away from the press of the people, and taught the multitudes from there. Not by mere happenstance, the boat Jesus chose belonged to Simon. Jesus would rename him Peter, and he would become the dominant person in Jesus' closest inner circle of disciples.
 
Some might imagine that if Christ had wanted His message to have maximum impact, He could have played off His popularity more effectively. Modern conventional wisdom would suggest that Jesus ought to have done everything possible to exploit His fame, tone down the controversies that arose out of His teaching, and employ whatever strategies He could use to maximize the crowds around Him. But He did not do that. In fact, He did precisely the opposite. Instead of taking the populist route and exploiting His fame, He began to emphasize the very things that made His message so controversial. At about the time the crowds reached their peak, He preached a message so boldly confrontive and so offensive in its content that the multitude melted away, leaving only the most devoted few. (John 6:66-67)
 
Among those who stayed with Christ were the Twelve, whom He had personally selected and appointed to represent Him. They were twelve perfectly ordinary, unexceptional men. But Christ's strategy for advancing His kingdom hinged on those twelve men rather than on the clamoring multitudes. He chose to work through the instrumentality of those few fallible individuals rather than advance His agenda through mob force, military might, personal popularity, or a public-relations campaign. From a human perspective, the future of the church and the long-term success of the gospel depended entirely on the faithfulness of that handful of disciples.
There was no "plan B."
~John MacArthur
 
Jesus was not limited in the way He chose to share His message. His choice then remains His choice now - people. Ordinary men & women, infused with His Spirit, carrying out the message of the gospel.
He could have chosen the strong, the rich, the "big personalities," the professionals, the wise - instead He chose 12 ordinary men who worked ordinary, common jobs. God used those 12 to change the world once they gave themselves over to His plan for their lives. They partnered with His Holy Spirit to go where He wanted them to go and do what He wanted them to do.
 
As we move through these next few weeks of our Missions Conference and the idea of "Dreaming Small," think about this song by Brooklyn Tabernacle:
 
If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me.
If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me;
Take my hands, Lord, and my feet,
Touch my heart, Lord, speak through me.
If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me.
 
"Dream Small" - it's all about letting God use us...right where we are...in our ordinary jobs, in our ordinary day-to-day lives.
We can change the world if we are partnered with His Spirit!
 
"The kingdom advances 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6)