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What if the key to changing your life--and yourself--is already in your hand?
What if breakthrough and extraordinary growth are waiting for you within the ordinary days you're living right now?
In Sacred Mundane, Kari Patterson pulls open the dusty blinds to let the light of truth shine in. Even the most unremarkable life is an opportunity to see, know, love, and be utterly transformed by a God who knows no bounds and who upsets every expectation. He eagerly awaits your invitation to fill your world with mundane miracles and holy habits.
Through her entertaining narrative, candid real-life stories, Bible study, and practical instruction, Kari will take you by the hand to discover the beautiful sacredness in the life you already lead.
If you long to grow in God and make a real difference in your world--no matter how small--Sacred Mundane contains everything you need to glean the truth hidden within your everyday existence. Dive in, and learn how to find freedom, purpose, and joy.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
LET Him In
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
— Revelation 3:20
It all began when I let her in. I remember those few moments quite clearly, like slow motion, not unlike the way an automobile accident victim recalls those split seconds before contact. Running into Penielle was like a car crash for my comfort, and when I let her in that day, in that moment we made contact, my tidy little life careened out of control. I had no idea then how everything would change, how she would permeate every part of our home, our life. How we would never be the same again.
See, she had this slippery way of getting into everything. She filled every space. Years of addictive, abusive behaviors aren't immediately or easily unlearned. Boundaries, to her, were like low field fences to country children — made for climbing right over and running free, laughing all the way. But that wasn't the most unsettling part.
The part that messed with me was how I saw Jesus in her face. Her face that flashed with anger and twisted in pain and danced with laughter, all in one conversation. I knew what Mother Teresa had said about seeing Jesus in the face of the poor. But this? This infuriating and intoxicating presence that paraded into my home, into the everyday fabric of my life — could this be Jesus in disguise?
Could he be everywhere?
Unsettling. Letting her in was unsettling.
Letting Jesus in is unsettling too. I want to be clear, before we go further, that what we are about to embark on is unsettling. The world tells us we can add a dash of God here and there, a little religion or a splash of spirituality, like flavor for our lives. There are many, many varieties to choose from; we can pick what pleases our spiritual palette. But letting Jesus into your life, your real life, is absolutely nothing like salting your chicken. It's more like inviting a wrecking ball to dinner. In the most glorious way, Jesus messes with everything. He is an earthquake-ish sort of unsettling.
But — Jesus is so good and glorious and altogether lovely, life-giving, and life-changing that I guarantee you'll never regret letting him in. Everything he touches, he transforms. He brings hope, life, healing. He can turn every evil on its head and use it for our good. There is nothing else like what he does. He can redeem any relationship, heal any wound, calm any storm, part any sea, save any lost, and make masterpieces out of our worst messes. I guarantee you will never regret letting him into your life.
* * *
In my home, we have a wide variety of personalities. Most notably, we have my husband, Jeff, who is kind and capable and godly and wise, and who also happens to be the victim of an unfortunate genetic disorder that makes him incapable of being tidy. Really, it's a thing. It is probably just an unfortunate by-product of being a genius, but he cannot organize a physical space to save his life. He piles. He piles and piles and piles and piles. And I cry.
We've come a long way. I am an ordered, tidy person. I'm not as brilliant as Jeff, but I can find my car keys. We've worked things out over the past fourteen years, and our home is a happy mix of the order I crave and the relaxed imperfection he needs.
But there is one space Jeff won't let me in. His office. This room is a picture of what our life would be like if it were under his command alone, without the influence of his wife. It's terrifying. It is not good that man should be alone, people. However, we're currently in the process of moving, so my brilliant, godly, humble, wise husband has agreed it's time.
He'll let me in. Now, because I genuinely love him, I am going to honor his space. I'm not entering his space to shame him, poke fun, wag my finger, or shake my head in disgust. I fiercely love my man. He is the most godly, humble, gentle, kind, hardworking, faithful man I have ever met. I have committed my life to being the best helper I can possibly be to him. This means that when he lets me help, I will always act in a way that is for his good.
But it's going to be a mess. It's going to be unsettling. It's going to be dumping out drawers and sorting through piles and hauling mountains of garbage to the dump. It's going to mean things get worse before they get better. But if he'll trust me, I promise I can make things better for him. I'll do the hard work; I'm really good at this. I'll even teach him habits and tricks to help him become more organized going forward. I'll help him be all he was meant to be. I'm his helper — that's what I was made to do.
Did you know the same Hebrew word for "helper" that describes wives also describes God? He's our ezer. How fabulous is it that our job description is likened to God's!
There is a slight difference, of course, between God and me, but it's a good place to begin. He gives us an invitation to let him into our real lives, our ordinary, mundane lives. He stands at the door and knocks, patiently waiting to be invited in, knowing full well he can lovingly make something glorious out of our mess. Meanwhile we're often inside thinking we have to do it all on our own, wondering why we're stuck. We keep thinking we'll invite him over as soon as we have our lives tidied up a bit. Just a few more rounds of New Year's resolutions, then we'll be ready to have Jesus to tea. Certainly, he can't come over while we're still yelling at the kids and sipping wine from a mug.
Others of us have boarded up the windows and locked the doors because we've been given a tragically faulty view of God. We're terrified to let him in because we think he's the one behind the blow we've been dealt. We've gotten sovereignty terribly skewed and we think he hands out stuff like cancer for fun, that at any moment he might give us the gift of some horrific tragedy, so why would we want to get too close? Besides, if he hates gays and oppresses women and condones slavery, why would we want him in here? Not only that, we've probably all been wounded by his followers at some point. Won't the boss just be a bigger version of them? We have legitimate reasons for our reluctance to let God deeply into our lives.
Perhaps others of us aren't even home to invite God in because we think we must leave our ordinary, dreary mundanity behind to find something significant. Like Naaman, we substitute spectacular for spiritual, so we seek something out there. We're desperately looking for healing, wholeness, transformation, change. Some of us search in endless Christian conferences and some in shopping malls, but it's really all the same. We're all prodigals, out looking for abundant life, and the Father says, "Come home."
The good Father is back at home — at our home — waiting. Jesus is knocking. And he is the greatest good, he gives the best gifts, his path is joy, his way is peace. He has precious and great promise-gifts that most of us haven't even begun to unwrap, and he's just waiting to be let into our ordinary days so he can make something more marvelous than we can imagine. This is good news, isn't it? All we have to do is go back home and let God into our lives. Our real lives. Our daily lives. The mundane.
The secret to true transformation isn't something to go find but Someone to let in.
WHO IS THIS?
My family and I currently live in the city with a bus stop at our front porch. Since a wide variety of interesting folks frequent the front of our house, and since I'm home with my littles all during the day, we always ask, "Who is it?" before opening the front door. In fact, we have often stood, frozen, my finger to my lips, waiting for some questionable character to quit knocking and leave.
We instinctively know we had better figure out who it is we're letting into our house. And if we're allowing someone in to live with us, we had better really figure out what exactly it will entail. We need to ask the following questions: Who is this?
Where will she stay?
How long will she be here?
What will her role be in our home?
What are her expectations?
How will her presence change the environment?
Jeff and I wish we had asked these questions before letting Penielle (and others) in. And strangely enough, we wish Christians would ask these same questions when contemplating whether they will let Jesus come into their lives.
Whenever Jesus comes on the scene, the constant question is, "Who is this?" Matthew 21:10 tells us, "When [Jesus] entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, 'Who is this?'" King David's prophetic poetry asked, centuries earlier, "Who is this King of glory?" (Ps. 24:10). Even Jesus himself, after hearing all the various opinions concerning his identity, pointedly questions his disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15).
Before we can go on, we must answer this question ourselves: Who is this?
See, Jesus comes as King or nothing at all. This beautiful Savior, who stands at the door of our lives and knocks, is not our life coach, counselor, teacher, or daily dose of inspiration. He is not going to give us a new life by Friday. He loves us too much to give us a spiritual spray-tan. He will not be a quiet houseguest who keeps to his room and lets us peek our head in only to ask him for a pithy inspirational quote. Before we let him in, we must make the weighty decision to let him be everything he really is. As C. S. Lewis has famously said,
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
When the mighty leader of Israel, Joshua, saw an angel of the Lord, he asked the same question: Who is this? Joshua wisely wanted to know, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" But the angel responded, "No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come." At this, Joshua "fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, 'What does my lord say to his servant?' And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so" (Josh. 5:13–15).
I love this. Joshua asks if this person is for him or against him, and the angel responds: No. No, I am not "for you" in the sense that I fall in line with your own agenda. No, I am not "against you" in that I am seeking your demise. I am neither, because I am the authority. I am actually the One in charge.
Joshua rightly falls on his face in worship and immediately asks for his marching orders, submitting his will to the authority of God. Interestingly, what did God tell him to do? "Take off your sandals, Joshua, because where you are standing is holy."
When we invite God into our mundane, he's not for us or against us in this same sense. He is the commander. He is the authority. We bow our faces and take off our shoes and recognize this isn't our army. The holy is here. Here is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of heaven and earth, Yahweh, the Eternal God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. In him all things that were made, were made. He holds all things together. He is the Almighty God and he is good. The end. This decision must be made: Will I let him in as Lord?
I know this is all really heavy right from the start. I wish we could begin differently. Actually, I don't. All good and glory and peace and freedom is found in falling on our faces to worship the one true God. It's really a waste of time to mess with anything else. Jesus won't ride shotgun. It's best we just go ahead and get out of the driver's seat and let him drive.
Let's not bother asking him to bless our lives until we will let him have our lives.
The quickest route to the glorious good he intends for us is to fall at his feet and recognize his matchless worth. Then, wonder of wonders, we will discover something absolutely amazing: doing life with Jesus is awesome. He is the coolest, funniest, smartest, most compassionate, powerful, life-giving, helpful, comforting, amazing person you could ever fathom. Actually, he's about a bazillion times better than we can imagine, and once we let him in, we get the eternity-long pleasure of getting to know this supremely wonderful Being.
* * *
When the nation of Israel was struggling and disobedient, God got fed up and told Moses they could go on ahead into the Promised Land — they could have the territory, the milk and honey — but he himself wouldn't be in their midst (Exod. 33:3). Moses's response will be ours if we have a lick of sense: "If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here" (v. 15).
We need God's presence more than life itself. We need him more than a sentence changed, more than a problem fixed or even a disease healed. These are all glorious by-products of his power, but we need him most of all. And by his amazing grace, he offers himself to us freely. Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (John 14:23).
Jesus comes to make his home in our hearts. In our lives. He openly acknowledges his intention of healing every hurt, binding up every wound, uprooting every idol, of cleansing and transforming our lives. He loves us exactly as we are, and far too much to let us stay stuck.
So, if we take the simple questions from earlier and ask them about Jesus, what do we find?
Who is this? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, King of Kings.
Where will he stay? Everywhere. He requires access to every room, every closet, every messy corner of our lives.
How long will he be here? Forever. He will never leave us or forsake us.
What will his role be in our home? Lord and Master. Lover and Friend.
What are his expectations? That we love and obey him.
How will his presence change the environment? Total transformation. He will make all things new.
I hope this clarifies who we're letting in. And just in case this Jesus-talk is a bit unfamiliar to you, I invite you to flip over to "The Gospel of Naaman" beginning on page 182. There you'll find more about this Jesus guy and the good news that he brings.
And so, I ask you: Will you let him in?
OUR SOLE OCCUPATION
No matter our gender, title, income, marital status, age, or stage of life, we all have the same job. Whoever or wherever we are, "Our sole occupation in life is to please God." This is what we were created to do, in all things at all times. Ephesians 5:10 exhorts us to "find out what pleases the Lord" (NIV). So then, what pleases him?
Often we think of pursuing our own pleasure and passion as our own personal way of pleasing God. True, it is wonderful to experience a feeling of pleasure when we do what we love, and surely our Creator has wired us with certain inclinations and passions. However, feelings just aren't sufficient for determining something as important as how to fulfill our sole vocation in life. Thankfully, finding out for certain what pleases God is rather simple, and it just so happens to be the same thing you and I are currently seeking.
What pleases God? Transforming us. His will is our sanctification: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). Sanctification is the Bible word for transformation. It describes the process of us becoming more like Jesus.
It is the will of God to change us from the inside out, to conform us to the image of his Son, to turn our lowly lives into glorious lives, to display his goodness for all the world to see. Our chief aim is to glorify God, and Jesus tells us exactly how this happens: "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples" (John 15:8).
God is pleased, God is glorified, God is happy when our lives bear fruit. And there's more good news: this can happen whether or not we travel to a foreign country, work in vocational ministry, get married, win a race, or have our name attached to some "great work" for God. Remember, the fruit to which Jesus is referring is spiritual fruit. You know, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:22–23).
Bearing fruit is what glorifies and pleases God, because the fruit of the Spirit are the things God is. Big buildings don't necessarily glorify God. Love does. Big followings don't necessarily glorify God. Faithfulness does.
God may choose to do spectacular things through your life, but first he must do spiritual things in your life.
Many people rise as great athletes, performers, pastors, and missionaries. They may have millions of fans and followers worldwide. They may please many. Yet those who please God are men and women who bear spiritual fruit, who reflect the character of God from the inside out. This can be done in the spotlight or the shadows, whether running for president or running water for a child's bath. If God's pleasure is our goal, then all of life becomes significant.
Every year, many "great" spiritual leaders fall away because of sin and selfishness, leaving an aftermath of thousands who are hurting, confused, and disillusioned with God. I have experienced it personally. We can no longer glorify "great works" more than godly character.
Excerpted from "Sacred Mundane"
Copyright © 2017 Kari Patterson.
Excerpted by permission of Kregel Publications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Sentence of Your Life 11
1 Let Him In 19
2 Look: See the World Through the Word 39
3 Listen: Discern His Voice in Daily Life 59
4 Engage: Enter In 79
5 Embrace: Love the One 97
6 Trust: Live the Blank 115
7 Thank: Find Fulfillment 135
8 Let Your Life Be Poured Out 159
Small Group Bible Study: LET the Word Come to Life 179
About the Author 213
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Do you ever feel like you do the same thing every day? Does life ever feel mundane to you? Do you feel like you just are in going in an endless circle? Do you ever doubt God's plan in your life? Maybe what your ultimate purpose in this life is? This book is such a blessing for anyone who has had those thoughts. I sometimes feel like my routine is boring, or that I am simply not doing enough. This book taught me to meet God in the humdrum, ordinary moments of every day. To be honest everyday life can become oh so very boring. Taking care of your family, working, going to school, or even housekeeping can become daunting and seem so overwhelming. Due to how time-consuming cleaning is, you can get depressed and let things slide. We all fall into these traps and loops of existence. I feel think this would be the perfect book for a mother, who doesn't have a ton of time but still needs encouragement about God's love. I also really think this would be a great book for small groups or a woman's study. The author is brutally honest and has offered such a blessing to her readers. She shares God's word, the biblical objectives and lessons she learned through the Word. This is a story of a journey she took to find God's love, and ultimately find out exactly who she is. This is a small book at just over 200 pages but feels like it has so many more words. It is jam packed with wonderful verses and life lessons. The perfect book to devour in a day, or savor for weeks at a time. Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the author and Kregel publishing. All opinions are my own.
I love the way this devotional brings Gods word and teachings into our everyday life. Kari shares her personal ups and down of daily living and helps us to see God in the mundane. This book truly stirred my soul and will definitely be re-studied. This is a very well structured study, loaded with scripture and discussion questions. So grab a group of friends and dive in!
In these pages I found transformation, abundant truth, and an understanding, knowledgable friend. This is an easy read but there is so much to absorb from this book you have to really take it slow. I also loved there is a built in bible study in the back of the book! No seperate workbook needed. I can't wait to introduce this to my church's woman's group! Thank you Kari for pouring your heart into these pages and listening to the Lord through the years. Before I was half way through this book I wanted to buy multiple copies for multiple family and friends! Enjoy it!
I was so challenged and impacted by this book. Kari's words shed light on the things I needed to change in my life in order to grow spiritually. Sacred Mundane helped me get out of the spiritual rut I found myself stuck in. I highly recommend this book!
I so appreciated this book and its fidelity to the ways of God. It guides the reader through simple biblical truths with fresh insight and encourages distracted hearts to place their eyes back on the One who makes every moment matter. Taking the time to read through this book helped increase the value of the moments that followed, because I began paying attention to what can be hidden in them. The author's builds her thesis on a piece of scripture I have not seen someone base a book off of before, and I will not forget the new truths I have gleaned from it.