Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ten Goals for ‘10

  1. Read at least 26 books
  2. Complete The Bible in 90 Days at least two times
  3. Establish and maintain a regular morning devotional time
  4. Establish and maintain a regular exercise schedule
  5. Finish EFCA licensing paper
  6. Take at least one personal spiritual retreat
  7. Keep a weekly Sabbath
  8. Identify my blog 'niche' and blog at least three times a week
  9. Don't buy a new book until I've read two old books
  10. Reduce my 'stuff' to only those things I actually use

Do you think these are reasonable goals?

What are your goals or resolutions for 2010?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

The name Mark Batterson is one that I have been hearing more and more come up within the evangelical universe. So, when I received word that I could receive a copy of Mark’s new book Primal through WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program I naturally jumped at the chance.
Batterson is the lead pastor at National Community Church in Washington D.C. and he blogs at
In this his third book, Mark identifies his purpose right up front in the subtitle, “A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity”. I understand that catchy titles help move books, but honestly those words troubled me at first. It sounds a lot like the kind of book that promises to reveal the ‘real secrets of Christianity,’ secrets that you won’t find anywhere else. But it is always good to read on and not judge a book by it’s cover (or by it’s subtitle for that matter).
Without giving too much away (because I would recommend that you read this book yourself), the author identifies the ‘Lost Soul of Christianity’ as what is often referred to as the ‘Great Commandment’. God’s people are to love Him will all of their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30; cf. Deuteronomy 6:5).
Mark does an excellent job demonstrating that love of God goes far beyond attitude; love of God is to be lived out in actions. He has clearly meditated deeply on these things and has taken concrete steps in his own life and ministry to enflesh the Lord’s commandment. For example, here is a statement that jumped off the page for me:
“I think it’s easy to talk about things like faith and obedience and compassion in abstract terms. The more abstract, the less convicting the truth is. So let me get concrete. Faith equals God-ordained risks in the face of fear. Obedience equals God-honoring decisions in the face of temptation. And compassion equals Spirit-prompted generosity in the face of greed.” (p. 32)
I do have one major concern with this book. I am troubled that the gospel is largely absent from this book. I am not suggesting that Batterson denies the gospel, rather that he seems to assume the gospel. That is something I believe to be too dangerous in an age when even among self-professed Christians the gospel is largely misunderstood.
What I mean is that apart from the gospel or with a distorted gospel, the ‘Christian’ will find what Batterson challenges the reader to do (love God wholly) to be virtually impossible. Much of what was said in this book could just as easily been rooted in Deuteronomy 6:5 rather than it’s New Testament counterpart. That’s not to suggest that the Old Testament command is somehow less authoritative. What I was hoping the author would have brought out more clearly was to identify what about the Great Commandment is distinctly ‘Christian’.
My concern should not prevent the reader from picking up a copy of Primal and seeking to be challenged by it. There is much within these pages that can be mined for the reader’s benefit. Primal is on bookstore shelves today and is available for order directly from WaterBrook Multnomah or from your favorite online book retailer.
This book was provided by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reach 1 Million People with the Christmas Story

ChristofChristmas Visit to download a free audio version of the Christmas story (Luke 2, NLT) and The Gospel of John (NLT).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Win 10 Books from Kingdom People

Trevin Wax is giving away 10 of his favorite books from this year at his blog Kingdom People. Details about entering the drawing can be found here. If you win, don’t forget that my birthday is Friday and that Christmas is just around the corner (hint, hint).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Europe – The Final Countdown?

It’s the end of the year and that means it’s time to get nostalgic. Over this last half of December I expect we will see more and more of the ‘look back at 2009’ lists such as Time Magazine’s The Top 10 of Everything of 2009.

Take a look at the list’s subsection reviewing the Top 10 Religion Stories. See if you agree with their selections, but I think their top choice, Secularism or Bust, is going to be a major point of discussion for years to come. Who would have thought that Europe would become one of the spiritually darkest places on Earth.

Read their post and leave your thoughts. Here’s looking at an exciting 2010.

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