Bloodlines::John Piper

This looks like an awesome documentary from John Piper that goes alongside his new book Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian. I really look forward to reading the book as well as watching the entire documentary when it is released. Here is the trailer. Praise Jesus for the Gospel!

[tentblogger-vimeo 28530874]


Reading Radical:Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt.? It is really good.? But as Russell Moore, Dean, Southern Baptist Seminary writes in his endorsement…I have wanted to set it down several times–ouch!!

Sometimes people will commend a book by saying, ?You won?t want to put it down.? I can?t say that about this book. You?ll want to put it down, many times. If you?re like me, as you read David Platt?s Radical, you?ll find yourself uncomfortably targeted by the Holy Spirit. You?ll see just how acclimated you are to the American dream. But you?ll find here another Way, one you know to be true, because you?ve heard it before in the words of the Lord Jesus, perhaps most forcefully in the simple call ?Follow me.? Read this book. Put it away for a time, if you need to, while your conscience is invaded by the Spirit driving you to repentance. And then pick it up again. After you?re done reading, I think you?ll know better how to pick up your cross and follow Christ for the advancement of the kingdom and the destruction of false dreams. ?Russell D. Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

David Platt sets up the book to explain the vast difference between what the modern church in America holds dear and what the Jesus of the Bible taught and held dear.? There is a huge difference.? Here is a great example of his wonderful writing style (emphasis mine):

Whenever the crowd got big, he?d say something such as, ?Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.?[John 6:53] Not exactly the sharpest church-growth tactic. I can almost picture the looks on the disciples? faces. ?No, not the drink-my-blood speech! We?ll never get on the list of the fastest-growing movements if you keep asking them to eat you.? By the end of that speech, all the crowds had left, and only twelve men remained.[John 6:66-67] Jesus apparently wasn?t interested in marketing himself to the masses. His invitations to potential followers were clearly more costly than the crowds were ready to accept, and he seemed to be okay with that. He focused instead on the few who believed him when he said radical things. And through their radical obedience to him, he turned the course of history in a new direction.

Soon I realized I was on a collision course with an American church culture where success is defined by bigger crowds, bigger budgets, and bigger buildings. I was now confronted with a startling reality: Jesus actually spurned the things that my church culture said were most important. So what was I to do? I found myself faced with two big questions.

The first was simple. Was I going to believe Jesus? Was I going to embrace Jesus even though he said radical things that drove the crowds away? The second question was more challenging. Was I going to obey Jesus? My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus? words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to him. In other words, my biggest fear is that I will do exactly what most people did when they encountered Jesus in the first century.

That’s why I’ve written this book.

Check out the book’s promotional website here.? You can go and download the first chapter there as well as view promotional videos.? Also, each chapter has several of Platt’s sermons that you can listen to along with the reading of the chapter.? There is also information on the “Radical Experiment” that his church, The Church at Brook Hills is carrying out to practically apply these teachings.

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!


Mark Batterson has a good post on a book coming out called UNChristian.? unchristian.jpgLooks like an interesting book on a subject that I am really interested in lately.? I like what Batterson says about this concept:

All I know is this: I’m not called to be a Christian. I’m called to be Christlike. And those are very different things. And the more Christian and less Christlike we are the bigger turnoff it is.?

What would it be like if we all were more Christlike and less Christian?? Because of our “Christian” culture and subculture that we have in the Church these days, I don’t know if Jesus would be even noticed because he probably would be at the Church of What’s Happnin” Now, but out in the community doing ministry.? It is really hard to de-program yourself from the Christianeese that we all have.? I have been really trying hard lately in my preaching to not assume people know too much about the Bible.? I have tried to stop and show where the books are in the Bible, for example.? People who are new to this whole thing wouldn’t even know where to start to find a book.? Plus, we put the verses on the screen, but we don’t want it to stop there.? We want them to find it in their “own” Bible–even provide one if they don’t have one.

Where in your life are there “turnoffs” to Christ because of your Christianity getting in the way of people finding Christ?