Calling All Sinners & Misfits

My Pastor Buddy, Aaron Loy, of Mosaic Lincoln nails it with his latest.  He was kind enough to allow me to repost here.  Read on.  Be challenged.  Be blessed.  Your weakness + God's strength = just enough.

The older I get, the more I am coming to realize that everyone has a reason why they can’t or shouldn’t be used by God in an extraordinary way.

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been teaching through the life of Gideon at Mosaic. Gideon is perhaps best known for his continual testing of God’s will through what is at times, unconventional means. Gideon was a man often overwhelmed by fear. For much of his life, it seemed Gideon could hardly take a step forward without questioning God, doubting his promises, and asking for reassurance. (I can sure related with that, how about you?)

And yet, in spite of his weakness, God chose to take this cowardly farmer and make him into a “mighty warrior” in order to deliver a suffering people from unjust oppression. Gideon described himself as the weakest of the weak. And in many ways, he was. He was an unlikely hero. But as it turns out, God is rather fond of using flawed, failed, ordinary people:

  • Gideon was afraid
  • Abraham was old,
  • Jacob was insecure,
  • John the Baptist was a weirdo with a beardo,
  • Job was bankrupt,
  • Leah was unattractive,
  • Noah drank too much,
  • Joseph was abused,
  • Moses had a stuttering problem,
  • Samson was a womanizer,
  • Rahab was a prostitute,
  • David was a murderer, adulterer & had kinds of family problems,
  • Elijah was suicidal,
  • Jeremiah was depressed,
  • Jonah ran from God,
  • Naomi was a widow,
  • Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered,
  • Martha was a worrier,
  • the Samaritan woman had (not one, but) several failed marriages,
  • Zacchaeus was unpopular,
  • Thomas was a skeptic and a doubter,
  • Paul had health issues and was unimpressive in person,
  • Timothy was too young and too timid.

Everyone has an excuse. Everyone has issues. Everyone is weak in their own way. But being weak doesn’t make you unique, it only makes you human. And this weakness is precisely where God loves to do his most powerful work. It is in the midst of our own weakness that God’s strength is so greatly contrasted and put on display for the world to see.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

Your weakness + God’s strength = just enough. 

In Suffering

I am young.  I don't know much.

But I have learned.

God.  In His sovereignty.  Has purpose.

In suffering.

How have you suffered?

Hurting.  Broken.  Rejected.  Weak.  Anxious.  Humiliated.  Worried.  Mistreated.  Ridiculed.  Depressed. Insulted.  Ashamed.  Despised.  Questioned.  Downcast.  Sick.  Diseased.  Wrestling.  Discouraged. Sleepless. Slandered.  Exhausted.  Overcome.  Spent.  Done.

Suffering.  Each of them.

God.  Has purpose.

In suffering.

Walking through suffering with Christ & one another will draw us closer & make us stronger.  Closer & stronger than we ever dreamed.

Walking through suffering with Christ & one another will grow greater love within us.  Greater than we ever imagined.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

Glory to God.

In suffering.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

Glory to God.

In suffering.

in a name

Why did you choose to call your blog "extra/ordinary aaron"?

Good question.
What is in a name?
Did you guess I might have an answer?
If you have forty-four minutes, then you can hear - a lot - about what is in this name. Preached back in April, Ordinary to Extraordinary is about the Twelve Disciples, but applies to Christ followers today. Just like you & me.
You see.
On my own I am.
Exceedingly plain. Tremendously weak. Ordinary in extra degrees.
Yet through Christ.
I can be.
Exceptionally graced. Completely empowered. Thoroughly gifted.




A warm spring day years ago when he was a toddler, Seth & I went to a Texas Rangers game. We sat high up from the right field foul line with few other fans around. With 20,000 empty seats there was plenty of space so we didn't sit for long. Seth wanted to roam. Up & down. Aisles to aisle. Home plate to foul pole. Right to left & back again & again & again in the picture of Ameriquest Field above. He had no concern for the game. He just toddled.
By the end of the game, going down the broad, spiralling walkway toward the exit Seth started to stumble. Weak from too many little steps around the big ballpark. Worn with blisters beginning on the sides of his sandals. I did what any Dad would do. I put him on my back to carry him. The tireless roamer laid his head on my back as I marched toward the car.
Yesterday, I was convicted by a verse:
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
Romans 8:26

I was captured by the phrase "in our weakness."


The Bible has more to say about weakness:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Jesus' power is made perfect in our power? No. We delight in power? No. When I am powerful, then I am strong? No.


Our weakness. Astheneia in Greek means our "sickness, infirmity, feebleness or frailty." Sounds like that's close to the end. Sounds bad. Sounds like surrender. Surrender of our will. Giving up our delusion of control.

Yet it is there, at the end of ourselves, that the Spirit meets us to "help" us. And from the rare category of words defined with fewer letters or syllables that than the word itself posses... that Greek word for "help", sunantilambanomai, means "to carry with."

One of its roots is lambano, to receive or take. Among its occurrences in New Testament is Matthew 8:17. It says Jesus "took up" our astheneia (weakness, infirmity). To me that means, "to carry for."


At the end?

Who is carrying with you?

Who is carrying for you?