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Summary: We must follow Jesus’ call to go into our community and make disciples.

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Acts 1:1-11

August 12, 2007

ACTS 1:1-9

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

I have this glass of water, and for some people this glass is ½ full and for others it is ½ empty. I like to think of it as ½ full, but if I take a drink from this glass, it suddenly becomes ½ empty.

A tiny difference in the water level determines whether we call it ½ empty or ½ full — whether the glass is a good thing (full) or a bad thing (empty).

In fact, you could say, at times we really aren’t sure if ½ full or ½ empty is good or bad. Because now that my water is ½ empty, I can add new water, which is good. If it remains ½ empty that can be bad, but then again, it might be good, because that means I drank some of my water. In fact, sometimes, we just don’t know if it is good or bad, or what the difference really is.

But have you noticed that in our world, it is difficult to find anything that is just plain good anymore? In fact if something is considered good . . . our first thought is, why isn’t it better or superior or excellent? Isn’t that what the premise was in Jim Collin’s book Good to Great? He details how a company went from good, which isn’t bad, to great, which is great!

Have you been to a department store to purchase a mattress lately? There are so many choices.

There are firm, plush, extra plush, there are comfort zones, viscoelastic, and there are those you can place a glass of water on, then jump up and down and the glass won’t spill. That takes all the fun out of jumping in bed. My point is, we end up having to choose between good, better, best, supreme, or ultimate. In such a lineup, good isn’t good at all. It’s four steps below ultimate, so good must be significantly deficient. In order for anything to be taken seriously, to be considered worth our recognition, it must be extreme in some way or another — exceptionally wonderful, or supremely dreadful, or as FedEx puts it, extremely urgent.

Nothing mediocre, nothing in the middle will do. Singer Avril Lavigne has a song in which she exclaims she wants to be “Anything but Ordinary.”

So, what is Jesus’ call for the church? Are we supposed to be ordinary, or are we to be something more than ordinary? Is Avril Lavigne right? We should want to be anything but ordinary!

Think about the world we live in . . . we live in a world of extremes. The middle of the road seems to be the odd man out.

If you are looking for a television, you are most likely to buy a plasma or HD TV which is about 45". Or you may decide you want to watch your favorite program on your itty-bitty ipod. You see, television screens are simultaneously getting both larger and tinier. Stores are getting larger (Wal-Mart) and smaller (specialty boutique stores); people are eating healthier foods (organic) and more fast food (McDonald’s).

Find me a kid that isn’t entranced by extreme sports—extreme mountain biking, extreme skateboarding, extreme wave-boarding, extreme rock-climbing. Nobody wants to do regular anything. Go to the Internet and you will find all types of extreme web-sites, including extreme videos, extreme weather, extremecoffee.com, and TV programs like Extreme Makeover (for homes and people). Maybe you noticed that ESPN recently aired the 13th X games, X for extreme.

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