Primal by Mark Batterson.... A Book Review



This month, I had the honor and privilege of receiving a book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers (a division of Random House) for my review. The book is called Primal… and is the latest writing by Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited about this opportunity, but had no idea just how much this book would change my life! Before I start my review, here is the description from the publisher:

Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson

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 creatively, compassionately, courageously for the cause of Christ.

This reformation will not be born of a new discovery.  It will be the rediscovery of something old, something ancient.

Something primal.

What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible? You would have more, not less. You would have the beginning of a new reformation—in your generation, your church, your own soul. You would have primal Christianity.

This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again.

The Basics of Primal...
Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, all your SOUL, all your MIND, and all your STRENGTH! - Matthew 22:37

The HEART of Christianity speaks of having a holy COMPASSION! Our hearts should break for the things that break the heart of God!

The SOUL of Christianity is in looking for the WONDER of God’s creation and scripture. One of my favorite sentences in this entire book is the following: “Awed silence in the presence of divine beauty is a form of worship that is often deeper and truer than sung words.” 

The MIND of Christianity reminds us that we must be passionately CURIOUS! A good summary of this section is the following from Mark: “We need fewer commentators and more innovators. We need fewer critics and more creators. We need fewer imitators and more dreamers.” He also challenges us to rethink the "taking our thoughts captive"... it means MORE than just taking captive the negative thoughts and sins…

The STRENGTH of Christianity can be summarized best in two different quotes from Mark:
  • "Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you."
  • "Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.” (I'm reminded of a song... as I usually am! Listen to "Something Big" by John Waller.)
    We are called to reflect God… His compassion (heart), His wonder (soul), His creativity (mind), and His energy (strength)!

    My final thoughts about Primal
    Primal delivered everything that I expected… and more. As I started reading, I was drawn in by the challenge of stripping everything in life down to the basics. As I continued to read… the more challenged I became in my Christian walk… the more determined I became to pull every lesson possible from this book! It also grew incredibly clear that the entire point of Primal is to call us to a life based on The Great Commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

    Nothing more.

    Nothing less.

    Mark writes in a way that speaks deeply to hearts and minds. Primal is a book that can be read quickly, but should be given more time to digest. There is so much meat inside… so much that we can learn… It is not primarily a book about “how to grow a greater church” but instead “how to become a better disciple”. However, if we all begin to live the principles in Primal, I believe we will see the church experiencing a reformation like we have never seen before!

    This is a great book to start off your reading for the new year… I truly believe this is the first “must read” of 2010!

    If you would like to purchase Primal, you can purchase directly from Random House: www.randomhouse.com.

    In case you are viewing this on Facebook, please visit my blog: www.growwhereyoureplanted.org.
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