10 Primal Days — The New Movement

16 01 2010

The next reformation will be led by millions of reformers living compassionately, creatively, and courageously for the cause of Christ. It will be marked by broken hearts and sanctified imaginations. And the driving force will be the love of God. A love that is full of compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy.

Mark Batterson proclaims in the new book Primal, “Amo Dei” will be the rallying cry of the church reformation movement. The english translation, “Love God,” will be the action taken in the four dimensions of the great commandment.  It is a love lived out that creates the ripple.  Millions of people will create the tsunami, and the world will be forever changed in the name of God.  This is when the Kingdom of God will usher in to move the holy spirit like never seen before.

I believe Batterson is dead on with this reformation prediction.  If you like fresh perspectives on biblical truths, Primal is for you.  If you like stories of real people living the truths out, Primal is for you.  If you like medical and scientific perspective on biblical truths, Primal is for you.  If you like to be challenged by biblical truths, Primal is for you.  The list could go on and on. I hope these 10 Primal days gave you a snapshot of the book.  Please pass this along if it’s made an impact.

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris

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10 Primal Days — Strength of Love

15 01 2010

We are called to reflect God — His compassion, His wonder, His creativity, and His energy.  You cannot manufacture those things.  You can only reflect them.  Our love for God is nothing more and nothing less than a reflections of God’s love for us.

Mark Batterson brings a unique perspective to the great commandment in this 9th chapter of the new book Primal.  He unpacks the idea of our total & complete love in the 4 areas of the great commandment as strength not of our own…but His strength.  The idea that we can never love like that without His strength of love living in us.  It totally takes us out of the equation and puts God right in the center.  We are called to accept His love.  We are called to be guided by His love.  We are called to harness His strength of love, so we can reflect and give that back.

Loving God with all our strength is living in HIs strength.  But many of us never flip the switch.  We never receive the power He promised.  And without His power, we become nothing more than theological Christians.  Our testimony is reduced to our words.  Our impact is reduced to our abilities.  And not only is that less than exciting, it’s wrong.  Without His power at work within us, we cannot accomplish His purposes.

Have you flipped the switch?  How is His power living out in your life this week? We were never intended to live it out in our own strength.

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — Change of Heart

5 01 2010

The primal thought for today is around the heart.  In the second chapter of Primal, Mark Batterson jumps into the first element of the great commandment, love God with all your heart.  He details the perception problem that Christianity has in the world.  We are known too often for what we stand against rather that what we stand for.  Batterson nails it in this passage:

I believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, right down to the jot and tittle.  That mans that even word sequence is significant.  And when Jesus reveals the four primal elements of love, the heart comes first. I’m afraid that the Western church has tried to engage our culture mind-first instead of heart first.  But minds often remain closed to truth until hearts have been opened by compassion.  There is certainly a place for logical, left-brained explanations of faith.  But compassion is the ultimate apologetic. There is no defense against it.

He goes on to illustrate stories of in the Bible and modern day disciples who have made compassion their priority.  People who have “had a broken heart for the things that break God’s heart.” The real challenge comes when we ask ourselves what are we going to do with that heart tug! If we really love God with all of our heart what actions does that create in our lives?

One of my favorite quotes from Batterson comes from this chapter, “Anyone can put on an act.  But your reactions reveal what is really in your heart.  And if you love God with all your heart, you won’t just act like it.  You’ll react like it.” That one hits home because I can look back and see where I’ve missed the mark there so many times.  There is nothing like feeling convicted, then reacting the right way to the initial bad reaction.

It all comes with a heart connection with God. It’s renewal.  It’s restoration.  It’s a daily walk with a God who poured out His heart for us so we can pour it out for Him in our lives.  What is your change of heart that will bring you closer to the loving God with all your heart?  What steps do you need to take to pursue that God-sized heart compassion outreach?

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris






10 Primal Days — Primal Love

4 01 2010

Today I’m starting the 10 Primal days as promised from my review of Mark Batterson‘s new book Primal. To read the full review click here.  I’ll be taking a deeper look into the 10 chapters that make up the book…extracting some of the thought provoking knowledge nuggets Batterson packs in each chapter.

“When all superficialities are stripped away, what is the primal essence of Christianity?” That’s the question Batterson poses in the first chapter.  He concludes it is the great commandment…the primal commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength.” (Mark 12:30).

The challenge is not to be just “good” at the great commandment.  Batterson challenges you to be “great” at it on all four levels; heart, soul, mind and strength.  What he calls love to the fourth power.  It’s the quest for the “lost soul of Christianity” and it begins with a venture back to where we first encountered God’s love.

For me, that encounter was 13 years ago this week.  On January 7, 1997 I encountered God’s love in a way never before…and accepted that love of Jesus into my broken heart and life.  Before making that decision, I wrestled with questions of love.  I asked God 3 specific questions about love in my life.  Would I marry my girlfreind Wendy?  Would a life-long love be found in her as my wife?  Would I still love music?  Would I be condemned to the cheesey Christian music I heard of….Stryper…Petra?  And finally would I still work in the music business that I loved?

God clearly spoke to me about those areas.  He answered yes and showed me love that was so much more.  Flash forward 13 years later and I can show you every point along the path where He was faithful to bring me along that road. At times He was picking me up.  Other times pulling me back on the right road.  All the time pouring grace, mercy and forgiveness over me.

We all have had that primal encounter with God’s love. What was yours? What passion, purpose, and calling was birthed in that encounter?  When we return to those primal elements of loving God it all comes into focus…but we have to be great at it!  Make this year one where you come back to that original fire God birthed in you as you followed the primal commandment.

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





Primal Review

22 12 2009

Any word that follows “primal” takes on a new aura of mystique and raw power. So, “Primal Review” sounds much more daring than “A Review of Primal.” The new book “Primal” definitely falls in the first category, hence the blog title for Mark Batterson’s “Primal.” (Order today at this link)

I was one of the lucky bloggers selected for the “Primal” blog tour. So, being a follower of Batterson’s blog, and loving his catalog of books (“In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day,” and “Wild Goose Chase,” must reads), this was a great opportunity. It even felt like Christmas came a little early when the pre-release copy arrived 🙂

I was turned onto Batterson earlier this year at the first Catalyst event on the west coast. I picked up the first two books and dove straight in. What I really like about Batterson’s writing style is he always looks for ways to apply the knowledge. In fact, my best friend Chad and I frequently reference the “Wild Goose” as we apply those adventure principles to our journey. Batterson’s new book “Primal” is no different. The back jacket of the book really captures the heart with the statement:

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 forn of a new discovery. It will be the REDISCOVERY of something old, something ancient, SOMETHING PRIMAL.

Batterson takes a deep dive into what he proclaims is the primal essence of Christianity. This concept is drawn from the Great Commandment captured in the conversation Jesus had with the scribe as the Saduccees were drilling him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). Batterson has a great quote, which I find all of his books are full of, that amplifies the importance of this verse. “We can’t afford to be merely good at the Great Commandment. We’ve got to be great at the Great Commandment.

The sub-title of “Primal” is, “A Quest For The Lost Soul of Christianity.” This quest is fueled by love. It takes you on a journey through these four primal elements:

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.

Like most of Batterson’s books, “Primal” is built in chapters that are easily digested. Don’t let that fool you though, they are packed with great perspective and knowledge. If you like to underline when you read and take notes, get your pen ready! The book is broken up into the four primal elements mentioned above. The way the Great Commandment is stated makes for a great climatic build in the book. It begins with a Heart, primal compassion. A Heart that we receive first, then give out in compassion. It ends with Strength, the primal energy. Strength that we receive, then live out in the name of Jesus. The flow of these primal sections in the book puts an explanation point on the soul Christianity…taking it from a mild-tempered noun, into an adventure as a fearless verb!

Primal is an amazing picture of simple truths applied to real lives. Batterson captures these truths in life portraits from his experiences with family, friends, church planting, church leading, and world leaders. He has a flair for science and history. Batterson starts each chapter with a quote from someone that applies to wisdom ahead. If you are a twitter-head who likes tweeting quotes, yes I’m guilty, this book is packed full of them.

What I really love about Primal is the perspective. It’s the new perspective on timeless truth. It’s not an abstract truth pulled from several scriptures ladened with heavy theology. No, it’s straight from our savior Jesus captured in the Gospels of His disciples Mark and Luke. These primal truths are the block and tackle, everyday stuff, basics, nuts and bolts, instructions that we breeze right over. Or we get some of right more than others.

There is a reason super bowl championship teams are champions. They apply the principles of winning football every week. They practice the rudiments. They live and breath the key principles. They apply them in game-time. And most importantly, they build dynamic plays off of the foundational rudiments. So it is with these primal commandments. They can be applied in the most rudiment way and build into the most amazing life application where God’s glory and power is displayed.

Batterson has a great quote in Primal. It’s one of those that will stick with you. It really captures what I was trying to paint with the football analogy:

The quest for the lost soul of Christianity always leads us back to the Bible. But rediscovering the wonders of Scripture requires more than reading. That’s where the quest begins, but that’s not where it ends. Not if you want to get it into your soul. You have to meditate on it. Then you have to live it out. Meditating on it turns one-dimensional knowledge into two-dimensional understanding. Living it out turns two-dimensional understanding into three-dimensional obedience.

The new reformation is coming! I’m not just saying that because I drank the primal kool-aid Batterson served up in this book. I have the honor and privilege to work for the number 1 independent Christian Music label in the world, Integrity Music. I can say from first-hand experience that the reformation has begun…and like Batterson claims in the last chapter, “Amo Dei” will be the rallying cry. English translation, “Love God.”

The next reformation will be led by millions of reformers living compassionately, creatively, and courageously for the cause of Christ. It will be marked by broken hearts and sanctified imaginations. And the driving force will be the love of God. A love that is full of compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy.

If you haven’t picked up Primal, go get it now. You won’t read the Great Commandment the same ever again. It will take you out of where you are and encourage you to go where Jesus called all of us.

Okay, so this blog well exceeds my normal length…pushing over 1k words. I could go on for a thousand more…but I may loose ya 🙂 I will continue the quest to unpack more wisdom nuggets packed in this book over my 10 Primal Days in January 2010. Until then check out more here at the official Primal movement.

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris