Primal by Mark Batterson: A Book Review

primal coverA while back, I signed up to review this book and place that review on my blog.? I received the book in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I have read it, but am just now getting around to writing the review.

I was really excited to begin reading the book, because Mark Batterson’s first book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day was a huge book in my pilgrimage.? I read it all in one sitting…in the middle of the night.? His style is very similar to his writing style on his blog, which I read all of the time on my RSS reader.

The Billing:

Back Cover–
Our Generation needs a reformation.? But a single person won’t lead it…A single event won’t define it.
Our reformation will be a movement of reformers living compassionately, creatively, courageously for the cause of Christ.
This reformation will not be born of a new discovery.? It will be the rediscovery of something old, something ancient.? Something Primal.

What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible? You would have more, not less.? You would have the beginning of a new reformation–in your generation, your church, your won soul.? You would have primal Christianity.

This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement.? It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again.

Front Dust Cover–
Be Astonished Again.
We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God?s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, ?Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you?d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush?and reignite a primal faith.?

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

The Review:

I think, honestly, I was looking for this book to be like “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.”? That book was very influential to me when I read it in one sitting.? I am draw to Mark Batterson because he is a church planter and he talks about his time spent at college at Central Bible College in my home town of Springfield, MO.

He sets out on a “quest” for authentic, or “primal” Christianity.? Jesus explained the primal tenet of Christianity in the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30). The problem, though, with the modern church, Batterson writes is that we aren’t doing the Great Commandment.? He writes, “My answer is simply this: we’re not great at the Great Commandment.? In too many instance, we’re not even good at it….That, I believe, is our primal problem.? That is the lost soul of Christianity.”? He continues “The quest for the lost soul of Christianity begins with rediscovering what it mean to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.? Jesus used those four kaleidoscopic words to describe four dimensions of love.”

The book is then laid out by further discussion of each of these four “primal elements” in the Great Commandment:

The heart of Christianity is primal compassion.
The soul of Christianity is primal wonder.
The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity.
And the strength of Christianity is primal energy. (Italics mine)

No, the book did not make as large an impact as Batterson’s first book, but it is definitely worth the read.? My copy has a lot of “dog-eared” pages, highlighted passages, and notes scribbled in the margins…a good sign of a good book (in my own humble opinion.) I really enjoy Batterson’s writing style as well as his illustrations along the way.? He is a very widely read person and that shows on the variety of the illustrations and thoughts he has in the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone in our church.? I think I am going to recommend this book to our Life Groups as well.? So, if you have any gift cards for books, make sure you go and get this book! It is also available on my beloved Kindle, on December 29th!

FP Carthage KidCity Movie Night

fp_kid_city_orange_mediumWow, what an awesome night at FP Carthage tonight!? We had our annual Christmas movie night!? We watched the movie “UP!” and the whole evening was themed around the movie.? We had lots of popcorn, cupcakes, balloons, laughter and fun!

Allow me to brag a big on one of our KidCity volunteer leaders.? Randa Dysinger is one of our volunteers with our elementary aged kiddos.? She and her husband Matt basically took on this event and boy did she run with it!? She had balloons tied to “sticks”(rolled up brown paper) around a short sheet that summarized all of the things we learned about this year so far.? She did an awesome job…here is what was written on the “stick.”

The movie UP is filled with wonderful expressions of many of the virtues we have learned throughout 2009.? Here are a few?


The ?Spirit of Adventure? could be the Spirit of Compassion

God showed the greatest compassion to us when He saw our need for a Savior,??? He gave us His only Son ? Jesus!

?For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.? John 3:16


?Cross your heart?

Jesus promises forgiveness and eternal life in heaven if you believe in Him and invite Him into your heart.? He gives us hope.

?I am the way, the truth, and the life.? No one comes to the Father except through me.? John 14:6


?Grand Adventure to Paradise Falls?

Life is a grand adventure when you have your faith in Jesus.? The adventure ultimately takes you to our ?Paradise Falls? ? Heaven!

?In my Father?s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.? I go to prepare a place for you.? John 14:2


?A Wilderness Explorer is a friend to all? ?

Jesus is our friend and He will be a friend to all who believe.? In turn, you can? show love and compassion to anyone by becoming their friend.

?Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.? This is the first and greatest commandment.? And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.? Matt 22: 37-39

This year, we have learned about the virtues of Love, Hope, Faith, Fairness, Wisdom,? Obedience, Forgiveness, Conviction, Individuality, Cooperation, and Compassion.? Take these virtues and instill them into your heart and mind and invite Jesus into your life.??? When you do, Jesus will lift you UP when you are down.? He will help you UP when you fall.? Jesus will cheer you UP when you need a friend.? He will hold you UP during difficult times.? Jesus will take you UP to live an eternal life with Him!

Become UP with compassion and care enough to see someone?s need and then care enough to do something about it!? When you do, you will be a reflection of God?s love and compassion.

How about that?? I am so thankful for a great group of people that I have the opportunity to serve with at Forest Park Carthage!? Great job Randa!

Sunday Night “Sum Up”–12.13.2009

Each Sunday night I will be summing up the previous week’s events in a “numbered” list, along with the “sum total” of our attendance for the week…even though “I’m not very good with numbers.”

  1. Busy week…goes without saying, I guess.
  2. We got our new Heat Pump installed in our house. Terry did an awesome job and we are so thankful for our people at FPCarthage!!
  3. I am expanding our closet because the air handler is in our closet–on Jenny’s side. ?I am getting there…see pics.
  4. I made these “14 Minute Sawhorses” in about an hour and fifteen minutes…with some expert help from Tucker! They are actually pretty cool…and I used all scraps that were in the shed. ?Most of which were left here by the previous owners–thanks guys!!
  5. I used part of the scrap wood that used to be a really high class shelving unit that we had in our home for the first years of our marriage. ?It was a set of 1 x 12 boards placed on cinder blocks! We carried those boards and blocks around all over the country. ?Classy, I know…but very fiscally responsible!
  6. My mom and dad came down for dinner and Christmas light looking on Monday night. ?Good to have them here!
  7. Had a really good couple of services this morning @FPCarthage!
  8. Man, the band did an awesome job! I had a TON of compliments today on our worship team! Great job, folks!
  9. I am so proud of our Leadership Team!! They did an awesome job today!
  10. Christmas concert was awesome tonight at FP Joplin.
  11. Jenny sang in the choir. ?They did an amazing job!
  12. As Jenny said, “Debbie (Clements) was ‘smooth like butter’ on her solo tonight! ?”I Believe” was amazing! Lots and lots of talented people in the FP family!
  13. Had a great time hanging out with our @FPCarthage folks at Braum’s after the concert.
  14. I think I am coming down with something…my throat is killing me…better get some sleep.
  15. By the way…Our student ministry had 31 students at Fusion tonight! ?Way to GO!!

Missouri angler reels in state-record brown trout at Lake Taneycomo | | Springfield News-Leader

Wow, that is a big fish! I think I might just run and hide from one that big…especially in the dark.

Do you leave a light on after bedtime? Because I get a little scared in the dark sometimes.”

Name that movie…go!

Missouri angler reels in state-record brown trout at Lake Taneycomo | | Springfield News-Leader.

Google Chrome – My new default browser, for now

chromeI just found Google chrome yesterday and I absolutely love it! ?I have been a Firefox user for a long time. ?I like Safari, but it is sometimes a bit slow…maybe just me. ?I installed Google chrome last night and I am really impressed at how fast it loads my pages.

Check it out…and for heaven’s sake, if you are using MS Internet Explorer, please…I am begging you, please, look into a new browser!

Check it out here:

Google Chrome – Download a new browser.

Friday is for Friends…Go Habs!! Right Bradleyboy?

head_bradOne of my really good friends is Brad Daily.? The boys and I are watching the Montreal Canadians 100 year anniversary celebration game and I am thinking of he and his bride, Nora.

I first met him while I was serving at Hopedale Baptist Church in Ozark, MO.? He was a huge help to me in the student ministry as well as traveling companion on several trips, basketball watching, golf playing, early morning music store line crashing, and baby photographer when Taylor boy was born!(I know that really wasn’t even a sentence!)

He took an interest in video production and web development while he was living in Nixa, MO.? He then served several summers on staff with World Changers, a ministry of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (wow, we have some long names in SBC life, don’t we?).? While he was doing World Changers, he met some folks that had ties to the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.? They offered him a position as a media guru (probably not his actual title) in their office in Topeka.? During that same year, Jenny and I felt called to plant a church in Nixa.? Brad created a promotional video for our church plant.? We are eternally grateful for his hard work on it.

Then, to go a step or two more, he built us several different websites for the church.? He is an amazing developer and brilliant with web developing (as you can tell from SlideShowPro Director.)

How did he get to Montreal?? Well, it is a pretty long story, but basically, he had several friends from Kansas-Nebraska, World Changers, and NAMB that got him up there.? Then he stayed, fell in love, and the rest….you know the drill.

This past fall, he and his beautiful bride, Nora moved to Nixa, MO.? (Nora and Brad met and married while Brad was serving as the communications director of the Canadian National Baptist Convention.) Make sure you check out Nora’s blog to record all of the fun details of a “Greek-Armenian-Canadian, french speaking Montreal native” living in the “sticks” in the Ozarks!

He has continued to be a very good friend all the way to Montreal, Canada by way of Kansas and back to the Ozarks. (Check out some of his handywork on and his recent venture at and SlideShowPro Director.)

Anyway, Let’s GO HABS!!? And let’s hear it for friends!!

habs100The Original Habs.