Living an extraordinary life
By: Connecting Faith
How can we live an extraordinary life on a daily basis?
Pastor Jeff Manion points out that extraordinary moments come about through a persistent daily journey of faithfully moving in the right direction. He reflects on his experience serving at a small church in Michigan in his early 20’s.
“Today, Ada Bible Church is a sizable ministry; its multi-campus. I was here for seven years serving through my 20’s before we got up to 100 people consistently. In the Grand Rapids area with a significant population base, where you’ve got a lot of people looking for a church experience, 100 people after seven years is not particularly overwhelming in its results.”
“The most important disciplines of those years were just continuing to show up, continuing to give ourselves, continuing to love people and serve people well. Continuing to become the healthiest small church we could be, with the idea that those disciplines were needed if growth ever came. When growth finally did come, we had put a great foundation in place.”
There are spiritual benefits to living a life of perseverance, discipline and faithfulness. Jeff shares a small, yet powerful discipline that he practices on a daily basis.
“Every day I go through a gratitude exercise where I write down specifically three new things that I am grateful for. I think that our lives are bombarded by blessings, and this is just my opportunity to reach out, and to identify three of them as they go zipping by.”
“I try to be very specific,
‘I’m grateful for wrestling with my three-year-old grandson, Preston, last night…for the Macaroni and Cheese we made for dinner…for temperatures in February in the 50’s.’“
He explains what prompted his decision to practice this gratitude exercise one day at a time.
“When I started doing this discipline years ago, I didn’t start it because I’m a grateful person. I started that discipline because I was sensing in my spirit that I was becoming ungrateful with so much of the blessings of life, and I just didn’t want to grow old as a self-centered, ungrateful person.”
“Three items a day, over a period of a year; 1,000 items over a period of 10 years just thanking God for 10,000 different things, that’s one of my ways that I think small. It’s simple, it’s easy, but it’s just redundant, repetitive and I believe it trains the channels of the heart to become a thankful person.”
Our faithfulness matters to God. It changes the posture of our heart and helps us to live an extraordinary life.
Jeff Manion is the senior teaching pastor of multi-campus Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for over thirty years. He is the author of several books including Dream Big, Think Small: Living an Extraordinary Life One Day at a Time. His great joy is digging deeply into Scripture and passionately teaching the story of the Bible in a clear and relevant way.
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