Book Review: “In a Pit with a Lion…”

in a pit_mark battersonIn a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive when Opportunity Roars.

What did I think about it? Initially, my mindset was…yada, yada, yada. Tell me something I don’t know.

But after I found myself marking one page, then another page, then another, I decided it could only mean one thing: this book is very good indeed.

The author Mark Batterson is certainly inspirational. He has taken on quite a few lions in his personal life, and is still alive to preach about it. His current adventure is pastoring to all kinds of humanity in D.C.

I follow Mark’s blog regularly, and enjoy both reading his writings and hearing about his practices. His most recent book is Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God, and it looks good, too.

This book contains chapter after chapter of encouragement to take chances with your faith, and to trust in God. Batterson does well in sticking with the lion theme to keep the focus. Some chapter titles include:

1. Locking eyes with your lion
2. The odd thing about odds
5. Guaranteed uncertainty
6. Playing it safe is risky
8. The importance of looking foolish

Some quotes from In a Pit...:
On the will of God
* Whenever I counsel someone who is wrestling with discerning the will of God, I remind them of this simple truth: God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.

* If you keep in step with the Spirit, God is going to make sure you get where He wants you to go. He is always working behind the scenes, engineering our circumstances and setting us up for success (Eph 2:10).

* He cares about the little things like wedding receptions and borrowed ax heads. God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him. God is great because nothing is too small for Him either.

On praying
* Many of our prayers are misguided. We pray for comfort instead of character. We pray for an easy way out instead of the strength to make it through. We pray for no pain, when the result would be no gain. We pray that God will keep us out of pits and away from lions.

But if God answered our prayer, it would rob us of our greatest opportunities. Many of our prayers would short-circuit God’s plans and purposes for our lives if He answered them. Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.

On worshiping
* There are basically two types of people in the world: complainers and worshipers. And there isn’t much circumstantial difference between the two. 

Complainers will always find something to complain about. Worshipers will always find something to praise God about. They simply have different default settings.

* The circumstances you complain about become chains that imprison you. And worship is the way out. Worship reframes our problems and refocuses our lives. It helps us get through the bad days by reminding us of how good God is.

[This book came to us via Gary, a super nice co-worker of Jeff’s, who was encouraged by it himself. Gary’s church in Sarasota, Florida is a lion-chaser church—check out the 360 Church to get an idea of what people of God can do when they release their fears.]

3 comments:

Lynn Severance said...

Lisa, I had heard the title of this book but pursued it no further.

Oh, how I love the quotes you have extracted here. I have a feeling my "Lisa" inspired book pile may be growing by one more.

Thanks, as ever!

Lynn

Kay said...

I think I'd love to visit 'Gary's church' someday if I'm evern in Sarasota... :-)

And this quote about how the 'circumstances you complain about become chains that imprison you' is very convicting... and true. I pray that I can become more and more of a 'worshiper.'

Lisa notes... said...

Next time I'm in Sarasota :-) I want to visit Gary's church, too. He's told Jeff some really cool stories of things they have done to be a "practicing church" for showing God's love.

Here's a blog I like to visit for inspiring stories along that line:
The Practicing Church.

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