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





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 — Sweat Equity

12 01 2010

“Christianity was never intended to be a noun,” Mark Batterson from the new book Primal. In this 8th chapter Batterson challenges readers to take their God ideas and put some blood, sweat and tears behind them.  This is where the power of loving God with all your strength comes in.

Those who follow in the footsteps of Christ ought to be the most passionate people on the planet.  The word enthusiasm comes from a combination of two Greek words: en and Theos.  It means “in God.” And the more you get into God, the more passionate you become.  As we learn to love God with all our strength, He doesn’t crucify our desires.  He sanctifies them and intensifies them .  God doesn’t find our desires too strong.  He finds them too weak.

What desires is God sanctifying in your life?  How are you pursuing them? Loving God with all your strength isn’t comfortable.  Loving God with all your strength will make you sweat…what sweat equity are you putting into your ministry?

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — God Idea

10 01 2010

Mark Batterson looks at God Ideas in chapter 7 of the new book Primal.  He looks at idea stewardship as the responsibility of believers.  It’s part of loving God with all your mind, and being in touch with a Creator who births creativity in us.  Batterson claims he would rather have one “God idea than a thousand good ideas.”  Just one God idea can create a revolution, but it starts with a love for God.

God ideas aren’t the by-product of genius, they are the by-product of love.  The more you love God, the more God reveals.  If you love Him enough, not for what He can do but for who He is, then God will give up His secrets.  Why? Because that is the essence of love.  The more you love the more you  reveal.  And there are so many secrets waiting to be revealed.

The great commandment is all about love.  Loving Him with all your mind means taking every thought captive for Him.  It means loving Him daily in real ways.

What God ideas has He birthed in you?  What are you doing with them?

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — All Your Mind

9 01 2010

Mark Batterson takes a look at loving God with all you mind in chapter 6 of Primal. That means asking the hard questions. Exploring curiosity and starting a dialogue with God. Some great quotes from Batterson here:

When you try to cram truth into the mind, it rarely gets past the short-term memory.  And it definitely doesn’t get into the soul…I’m afraid we’ve lost our holy curiosity.  We’ve settled for thoughtless theologies and mindless methodologies.

The quest for the lost soul of Christianity is  a quest driven by questions…Holy curiosity asks the tough questions, the honest questions, the questions everyone else is afraid to ask. God isn’t threatened by those questions.  He loves them.

What questions do you have? What are you wrestling with this week?

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — Live It Out

8 01 2010

The quest for the lost soul of Christianity always leads us back to the Bible.  Bud 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 runs one-dimensional knowledge into two-dimensional understanding.  Living it out turns two-dimensional understanding into three-dimensional obedience.

Mark Batterson has a great perspective on living out faith in this 5th chapter of Primal.  You can’t just take in the word and not live it out.  We aren’t called to be the Dead Sea where the water only comes in and never leaves….leaving a stagnant body of water where nothing can live.

What are you meditating on this week?  How are you living it out?

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — Sense of Wonder

7 01 2010

For this primal day I’m taking a look at Mark Batterson’s dive into loving God with all your mind. Chapter 4 in the book Primal walks through inspiration throughout creation.  Here is some great perspective from a passage:

Is anything more natural than unadulterated awe in response to the Creator and His creation?  Is any emotion more primal than wonder?  It is the Creator’s righteous reaction to His own creation, and maybe that is why we feel so spiritual when we watch an ocean sunrise or summit a mountain or stand in the shadow of a giant sequoia.  Our reaction is a godly reaction.  We are doing exactly what God was doing in the beginning.

What wonder is God showing you this week?  Have you slowed down long enough to take it in?  We are surrounded by His beauty, and it’s for our pleasure.

Breathe In & Smile Out,

Chris





10 Primal Days — Wants and Focus

6 01 2010

The bottom line is this: your focus determines your reality. If you focus on your wants, enough will never be enough. And your heart will get smaller and smaller.  If you focus on the needs of others, you’ll discover that you have more than enough.  If you focus on the hear and now, you’ll try to hang on to everything you have.  But if you focus on eternity you’ll give away everything you’ve got.

Mark Batterson puts this all in focus as he travels through the third chapter of Primal.  This is where compassion turns into generous action.  It’s the message most preachers dread talking about.  It’s the sermon that make the congregation squirm a little.  Where we invest, how we steward these resources will have Kingdom impacts….it will ultimately have eternal impacts. What it is really about Batterson paints vividly with these words:

Faith equals God-ordained risks in the face of fear. Obedience equals God-honoring decisions in the face of temptation. And compassion equals Spirit-prompted generosity in the face of greed.

What obstacles are in the way of your generosity? Where is the Spirit pulling you to be compassionate? I believe these opportunities come everyday at some level.  I pray God will open my eyes and heart to them.

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