Primal by Mark Batterson

In Primal, Mark Batterson attempts to get back to the foundations of true Christianity.  To do this Mark goes to what Jesus says is the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  So what does that look like?

Mark is the rare combination of  theologian/scientist. As a voracious reader and learner Batterson has gaine a great deal of knowledge about the human body, math, science, and in all of them he sees the handiwork of God, the Creator.  So in the section on the mind of Christianity, Batterson takes the time to actually explain imaginations, the Reticular Activation System, and prayer and how all of these are connected in the life of faith.

Even the title of this book, Primal, is a reference to prime numbers, the numbers that cannot be divided by anything other than themselves and the number 1 (ex. 1, 2, 5, 7)  The four prime elements of the Christian faith are Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength, or as Batterson calls them, compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy.  If we can devote our whole selves to finding God in these four things, then we will be truly Primal christians.

Batterson has great skill for taking complex topics and making them very accessible.  I would recommend this book for all christians, especially if you have found your faith to be stagnant.  Primal is a text that can shoot some caffeine into your faith and challenge you to dream bigger, love deeper and work harder for God’s Kingdom.

You can buy the book at local bookstores or directly from Random House.

disclosure:  I did receive a review copy of this book from random house publishers, but if it wasn’t good I would have told you that anyway.

Matt Chandler – Faith and Boldness

I know everyone in the young pastor blog-o-twitter-sphere has already posted this video.  But I had some things to say too so I’m joining the party.

Matt Chandler is the teaching pastor at Village Church in Dallas Texas.  As the video explains he had a brain tumor, we don’t know if it’s caner or not, and his surgery successfully removed the tumor and he’s alive and doing well.  Watch this video and I want you to hear two things.  1) His faith that Christ is good even in the face of a surgery that could take his life, even in the possibility of cancer.  Matt’s faith is not shaken. 2) Listen for Matt’s boldness.  He’s not trying to be a jerk or to take this whole situation lightly.  Matt’s faith in the goodness of Christ is what leads to this boldness and confidence.

So what’s your problem?  What are you struggling with?  I’m willing to bet that most of us are not facing down a brain tumor, and yet we have the audacity to not believe that the goodness of Christ is bigger than the problems we are facing.

Matt is one of the pastors that I have learned a lot from.  I’ve never been to his church, I’ve never even met him, but he’s been a great example to me.

Here are some more video’s that I thought I would share with you.

Here’s some audio from a sermon that was put to graphics.

Here’s a sermon from the Desiring God Conference where he is encouraging all preaching to be Christ focused.

advice for young preachers

I hope Matt recovers quickly and if you are reading this please pray for his family and for a speedy recovery.

Learning = Life

I go through seasons where I feel more alive than others.  When I feel most alive is when I am learning.  I believe that humans are designed to be learners.  If we are learning that is a key indicator that we are living.   When we stop learning I think we begin the dying process.  If I were to claim that I don’t need to learn anymore, that I have arrived, I am already dead.

What I’m learning though is that there are many different kinds and styles of learning.  I need very intense and intentional learning.  Being in school is one of my favorite things.  Mainly because I know how lazy I am and I need the accountability to learn on purpose.  Some people take the time to learn one thing everyday.  Some people devote their learning to sports, news, entertainment, etc.

The important thing is that you are learning.  I believe the desire to know and to learn is a part of the way we are made.  My wife learns very differently than I do, but the things she learns about are important to her, and make her life richer.  Her primary subject is people.  When she learns about some tragedy or hardship, she wants to learn about it, because she cares about people very deeply.  Her learning is empathetic.  I’ve been greatly moved by her empathy for families that have experienced loss or who are facing big fears and uncertainties.

I believe that we have the desire to learn and to know, because we want to know and be known.  And I believe that God put that desire in us, because as we seek truth and knowledge, we are seeking the ultimate truth and knowledge, which I believe can only be found in God.  God is not afraid of our learning.  I think what makes God sad is when we stop learning.

Learning shows life.  God loves life.  God gives life.

And I don’t just mean some cosmic sky hippie idea of God.  I mean the God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, The Trinity God.  Which if you try to learn about you will have no end to your learning.