From Ordinary to Extraordinary Sermon
From Ordinary to Extraordinary Sermon 08/25/19
The world needs heroes… it always has, it always will.
As far back as we can go in recorded history, and even into oral traditions before that, people have told stories that immortalize noble character, sterling virtue, and epic deeds.
In the myths and legends of the Greeks and Romans we became acquainted with Hercules, Theseus and Perseus, and early writers like Homer penned the Iliad and The Odyssey, and gave us heroes in Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths), Ajax & Achilles, King Agamemnon, and Helen of Troy.
The people of the Pacific Rim passes on timeless folk tales of origins that explain how great people arose to make sense and order out of their world.
Heroes have always been ordinary people who became extraordinary by seizing an adventure to live, and by embracing a mission to accomplish. And by giving their all to it. Each and every one of us here today has the capacity to live an extraordinary life, to be one of God’s Heroes.
In Asia, in the country of Japan, we find the origins of the first comic books. In the 18th Century they were first created in the form of woodblock-printed booklets containing short stories drawn from folk tales, legends, and historical accounts, told in a simple visual-verbal idiom.
With the advent of the modern printing press, Biographies proliferated, and have lauded the accomplishments of heroic men and women and the extraordinary contributions they have made throughout the ages.
And then, Over 70 years ago, Marvel & DC Comics began nothing less than a cultural revolution when they introduced the modern comic book. The hero became the super-hero, and was quickly immortalized in every modern medium – movies, TV, books, graphic novels, newspapers, and kid’s action figures.
The Super-Ego. So the hero of time and history has now become the Super Hero of today. What make a Superhero different? What sets them apart? It’s true that most of them have Super Powers, Special Equipment, and a Secret Identity. They also have a Super Ego as well. But Not in the sense of pride or hubris. No, I mean that most of them are egomaniacs with an inferiority complex. Most of them are deeply flawed or damaged human beings who are struggling with their identity. - What makes them super, what makes them truly heroic is that they are able to rise above their tragic flaws and so accomplish great things for others.
Many go through a life-altering events that causes them to have special powers (like the Fantastic Four who were exposed to radiation on a space flight) and it was painful, and they don’t like it . (sounds like ordinary life to me!)
“Ben Grimm The Thing he looks like a 500 lb. orange cauliflower.. He hates his own appearance. But he embraces who he is so that he can live to benefit others. How often do we find ourselves comparing ourselves with others, and coming up short? “I’m not talented like she is” or “I could never do what he does.” We may never learn to like everything that we see in the mirror, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn to love ourselves the way that God has made us. And when we can do this, we are only a short step from realizing that we can do amazing things for God and His people.
Iron Man, Tony Stark, has a bad heart, the power core that runs his suit also keeps his heart beating; he has turned a liability, a weakness, into an asset. Sure , on the surface Stark is an arrogant billionaire, without a need in the world. But beneath this, his incessant humor covers up his deep-seated fear that every beat of his defective heart may be his last. Every pulse of life coursing through his body comes from a power not his own. And so it is with us. You and I have the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit giving us the courage to face each new moment of every new day. We are reminded that each day is a gift, we don’t know how much time we have, and this can be the motivation for making the most of each minute, for making it count, for being a blessings to others.
Spiderman, who is my personal favorite, is so insecure that he is always second-guessing himself. He struggles with his feelings. Yet he still manages to do good and put the bad guys away. One of the things that we remember about him, is that before he died, his uncle told him, that With great power, comes great responsibility. You and I have been entrusted with the responsibility of being ministers of God’s grace to others. Of doing what we can with what we have been given for the good of those around us.
Superman is a little too perfect for me, but even he has a weakness, his Achilles heel is kryptonite. The bad guys are constantly trying to poison him with it; to rob him of his strength. Yet he still strives for truth and justice. When we strive for rightness in this world, we can be guaranteed that we will meet with resistance. But will we prevail against it? Will we rise above it and do everything that we can to overcome the obstacles to oppression and unrighteousness in our world?
Humility. -Overcoming the super-ego. A right sized view of oneself. Not thinking any more, or any less of oneself. Having a reasonable understanding of ourselves, with all of our assets and liabilities. What is that if not Humility? An understanding of who we are, that our identity is discovered in our relationship with God in Jesus Christ. We are ordinary people with extraordinary gifts and abilities, entrusted to us by God.
Moses was a shepherd, Peter was a fisherman, John was an uneducated ordinary guy
Moses, Peter & John did extraordinary things for God. By extension, all disciples of Jesus Christ can do the same. Moses overcame his doubts. Peter and John spent time with Jesus. Our own personal ministry and acts of service will flow out of our relationship with God, and the time that we spend cultivating this.
Avengers Movie Endgame. Billed as “the culmination of 22 interconnected films and the climax of an epic journey. Earth’s heroes will finally understand how fragile our reality is and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it in a story of friendship, teamwork and setting aside differences to overcome an impossible obstacle.”
Many superheroes are part of a team: The X-men, The Avengers, the Justice League, and so it is with the church . Heroes in God’s kingdom realize that we are all members of a superhero team that needs to work together to accomplish great things.. You are part of a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. We can do things through cooperation and coordinated effort that are bigger than anything we could do alone. Just remember that you are an indispensable part of that team. You are on the team because you have a key role to play, and can make a unique contribution because of who you are.
The Incredibles – this can be your family, too!
Article 4 Life Lessons from the 91 year old cyclist who just keeps breaking records . He gave four secrets for his vitality and success. The last one: Get out there and do something. Figure out what it is that you are good at: It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it! He said: “I don’t care what you do, as long as you do something!”
You and Me as a hero/or a heroine?
You may be a mild-mannered member of our community, doing a regular job, or maybe retired, but that’s really just your secret identity. Your actually identity is as a superhero of Jesus Christ!
All that you need is a realistic appraisal of your own strengths and weaknesses and the Courage and strength of Character to step out in faith and do something extraordinary for God. As the church of Jesus Christ, we have all been offered an adventure to live, and a mission to accomplish. By His spirit, He is with us and has given us each the powers, gifts, talents, resources, and a relationship with Him to do all that he sets before us. He has given us all the potential and possibilities that we need to move from ordinary people doing ordinary things to extraordinary people living extraordinary lives. Believe this, live it out each day, and you can move from ordinary to extraordinary. Our world need more heroes. And What it needs most is everyday heroes like you and me, ordinary people who can do extraordinary things.