Friday, January 8, 2010

Final Thoughts on Primal

The Strength of Christianity
So what does it mean to love God with all your strength? It means expending tremendous amounts of energy for kingdom causes. It means blood, sweat and tears. It means servanthood and sacrifice. It means good old-fashioned hard work.
We’ve got to act on God ideas.
Love turns work into worship. At some point you need to stop praying and start sweating. The greatest predictor of success in any endeavor is persistence. We underestimate how much we can accomplish over the long haul. Don’t give up on your God ideas. You need to try. Then you need to try harder. And then you need to try longer.
[Although I am intrigued by a book by Seth Godin that discusses the idea of knowing when to endure but also knowing when to quit and start something new. I guess it depends on if it is actually a God idea, as Batterson defines it.]

Batterson notes that we falsely view righteousness as doing nothing wrong. So we practice holiness by subtraction. “Don’t do this. Don’t do that. And you’re okay.” Righteousness means more than doing nothing. It means doing something right.
Batterson has a section that, if you read his entire book, you really wonder what he is saying. He states that “none of us can imagine what God is capable of. Which means none of us can imagine what we’re capable of if we give God control of our lives. His power sets off a chain reaction. And with His energy at work within us, there is nothing we cannot do. Unfortunately, our lives don’t always reflect that reality.” In the course of this book, you get the sense that if we only tapped into God’s power like Mark has, you will lead a megachurch and write books and be like Mark.

Then he states, “The quest for the lost soul of Christianity is about rediscovering the primal energy that sustained the first-century church during persecution.” This is one of the more disappointing things about the book. I thought that this was going to be the focus of the entire book. He sets up the introduction by discussing descending into the catacombs and discovering the things that fueled the first-generation of believers. He hardly mentioned them at all, until this point. I was looking forward to more of this, instead it was how Mark sought out God, God gave him “God sized ideas” and God energized him to accomplish them. There’s nothing wrong with that if he was attempting to write biography. Mark is energetic and inspiring, but that was not what he set out the book to be in the introduction.

Back to a positive note: The most positive form of love is not doing things for God. It is receiving with gratitude what He has already done for us. And then reflecting it in our lives.

Good question: Which do you love more: your dream or God? Do you love God for what He can do for you? Or do you love Him for who He is? In its purest, most primal form, loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is loving God for God.

I have no doubt about this quote and I think he is very good at this: “My mission in life, as a writer and pastor and parent, is to help people maximize their God-given potential.” If he would have marketed the book on this premise, it would have been truer to its mission. Knowing that in advance, it is a book worthy to read and be inspired to meditate on what God may be calling you to accomplish and energized to accomplish it.

If anyone would like it, I'd be glad to give it to them the next time I see them.

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