I just finished reading Mark Batterson´s book, In a pit with a Lion on a snowy day. In the last chapter he confesses that God gave him two lions that were to be chased in his life, planting a church and writing a book. And while the writing venture didn´t happen with ease and was replete with over 10 years of rejections, set-backs and discouraging circumstances, he never stopped chasing. And write that book he did! This book is chalked full of wise, biblical, one-liners, that would make as good of prayer material as they would board room topics. He talks about so much good stuff and how we´re not just missing it, but we´re settling for far less in many aspects of our so-called fearless, ever-chasing-after-God faith. Which means, as one could surmise, we´re not just missing out on God, we don´t even know we are.
So, instead of trying to re-cap the good stuff he touched on throughout his book in my own paraphrasing attempts, I´m just gonna give it to you the way it came to me…in his words.
2 Samuel 23:20-21… There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two of Moab´s mightiest warriors. Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. Another time, armed only witha club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiahwrenched the spear from the Egyptian´s hand and killed him with it.
You are responsible forever for what you have tamed. – Antoine de Saint Exupery
“A sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ. God is awfully good at getting us where He wants us to go. But here´s the catch: The right place often feels like the wrong place, and the right time often feels like the wrong time.”
How much happier you´d be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash smash your cosmos. – G.K. Chesterton
“Lion chasers know and believe God is bigger than any problem they face in this world. They thrive in the toughest circumstances because they know that impossible odds make for amazing miracles. This is how God most enjoys revealing His glory (shaming the mighty with wonderful capable weak)…and how He blesses you in ways you could never have imagined.”
“Too often our prayers revolve around asking God to reduce the odds in our lives. We want everything in our favor. But maybe God wants to stack the odds against us so we can experience a miracle of divine proportions. Our impossible odds are a way to way to experience a new dimension of God´s glory.”
The most important thing about you is what comes to mind when you think about God. – A.W. Tozer
“Most of our problems are not circumstantial. Most of our problems are perceptual. our biggest problem can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is. Our problems seem really big because our God seems really small. In fact, we reduce God to the size of our biggest problem.”
“It honestly doesn´t matter how many Moabites you´re facing. It doesn´t matter how tall the Egyptian giant is. And the size of the lion isn´t really the issue. The issue is, how big is your God.”
“Don´t accumulate possessions, accumulate experiences (stories)!”
“Half of learning is learning, the other half is unlearning.”
“The invalid in John 5 is a great example of unlearning. He had been crippled for 38 years when Jesus asked Him if He wanted to get well. But the man believed there was only way to be healed: I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me…This assumption cost this man 38 years!…Jesus didn´t just set this man free physically. He set him free cognitively. Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive.”
Mark spoke about an experiment done by two neurologists, doctors Avi Karni and Leslie Ungerleider from the National Institute of Mental Health. They performed a simple motor skill test for four weeks…a finger-tapping exercise. They found in each of the hundreds of studies that every time a patient consistently dedicated himself to doing the exercise often, daily, the brain recruited new nerve cells, re-wiring neural connections in order to make the exercise easier. In other words, through consistency, the brain and body worked in concert to not just handle the exercise it was being shown every day, but it actually recruited, new strength and fashioned new cells to do devote themselves entirely to this consistent new daily, often exercise. Mark mentions this because if this recruited strength strengthens our mind and body then it serves us the all the same if we pour into scripture with finger-tapping devoutness.
“Colleagues of the scientists mentioned above ascertained that humans are only born with two innate fears: The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means that every other fear in learned. And more importantly, that means every other fear can be unlearned.”
“The cure for the fear of failure is not success. It´s failure. the cure for the fear of rejection is not acceptance. It´s rejection. You´ve got to be exposed to small quantities of whatever you´re afraid of. That´s how you build up immunity.”
“Do you not think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” A legion was the largest unit in the Roman military, consisting of six thousand soldiers. Jesus knew he had more than 72,000 angels at his disposal as he went to the cross. But he wasn´t trying to save himself, he was trying to save you.”
“Truth be told, the alternative to fear is boredom. And boredom isn´t just boring, it´s inexcusable!”
Boredom is the root of all evil. – Soren Kierkegaard
“Are you living your life in ways worth telling stories about?”
“Worship is forgetting what´s wrong with you and remembering what´s right with God.”
“We should stop asking God to get us out of our difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.”
“The more problems you have or have faced, the more potential you have to help people.”
“Don´t let what´s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what´s right with God.”
“Lion chasers are often considered crazy, but they aren´t afraid of uncertainty. They don´t need to know what is coming next because they know God knows. They don´t need explanations for every disappointment because they know God has a plan.”
“I think many people have the mistaken notion that faith reduces uncertainty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Faith doesn´t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty.”
“The longer I live the more I think that spiritual maturity is less about figuring out the future and more about a moment-to-moment sensitivity to the Spirit of God. I´m not saying we shouldn´t make plans, but you might want to use a pencil with an eraser and have a shredder handy.”
“Embrace relational uncertainty. It´s called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It´s called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It´s called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It´s called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It´s called revelation.”
“Genesis 50:20 is the lense through which each of us must view our past, present and future.”
“Someday God will answer all of our malignant questions. Someday God will explain all our painful experiences. Someday God will resolve all our spiritual paradoxes. In the meantime, I have a Deuteronomy 29:29 file filled with things I don´t understand.”
“Lion chasers have the courage to overcome. Their fear of missing out is greater than their fear of messing up.”
“If you were to act in your greatest self-interest, you would always obey God.”
“Peter is the disciple who denied Christ three times, but he was the only one who got close enough to Jesus to get caught.”
On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or as I suspect, does no one believea word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill on Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies´straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return. – Annie Dillard
“I´m tired of reactive Christianity. Imagine if we as Christians were more concerned with what we were for instead of what we were against.”
“Stop cursing the darkness and start lighting some candles.”
“Seeing and seizing God-ordained opportunities is an overlooked and under-appreciated dimension of spiritual maturity.”
“When my prayer life is hitting on all 8 cylinders I can believe God for everything. But when I am in a prayer slump, I have a hard time believing God for anything. Low expectations are the byproduct of prayerlessness, but prayer has a way of God-sizing our expectations.”
“In fact, the Aramaic word for prayer, slotha, means “to set a trap.” Prayer helps us catch and capture the opportunities God throws our way.”
Gordon MacKenzie worked for Hallmark. Among challenging the corporate normalcy at Hallmark, even getting them to create a special department all for him called “creative paradox” he conducted a very interesting study among school children. He would ask the question, “How many of you are artists?” He said the answers never varied, no matter what school he was at, no matter how much or little money they had, or how isolated or rough an area they lived in. In first grade the entire class waved their arms like maniacs. Every child was an artist. Second grade, half the kids raised their hands. Third grade he´d about a third and by the time he got to 6th grade only one or two kids would tentatively raise their hands . Society´s goal is to make us less foolish. From cradle to the grave, the pressure is to be normal concluded MacKenzie.” He adds that perhaps when you were very young you had a great sense of your own genius and were just waiting for some authority figure to come along and validate it for you. But none ever came. Christ came to free the fool. It´s not just about freedom from sin, but redemption of our God-given potential. But we´ve got to let the fool out, exclaims Batterson.
“The Kingdom of God is child-centric. He specifically placed a child in its center. Conversion kick-starts two sanctification processes: Christlikeness and childlikeness. Spiritual maturity is becoming more like Christ and more like a little child.”
* These are a good smattering from all throughout his book, but I kid you not, this is probably near only a 1/3 of the wisdom this guy drops in this yarn. So, pick up a copy. It´s an easy read, only 171 pages, and if you´re anything like me, you´ll appreciate to the n´th degree that he summarizes the main points of each chapter at the end of each chapter.