mark batterson

Book Review: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson

battersonNot all great preachers are great writers. Mark Batterson is one of the few who are. Like my favorites, Max Lucado and Charles Swindoll, Batterson has the cadence of a poet and the wisdom of a pastor.

This book includes profound thoughts that are beautifully crafted. Here are a few:

God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. A sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ.

We’re inspired by people who face their fears and chase their dreams. What we fail to realize is that they are no different from us.

In the beginning, the Sprit of God was hovering over the chaos. And nothing has changed. God is still hovering over chaos.

Your ability to help others heal is limited to where you’ve been wounded

The premise of this book is that you can experience success and blessings when you boldly chase after dreams that come from God—be it those revealed in the faintest of whispers in your subconscious or those packaged in calls heard loud and clear. The book then goes on to prove this premise by shuffling examples and practical lessons, beginning with Benaiah.

And because I’m a sucker for nobodies who surface as heroes, I love that Benaiah and his lion-chasing bravado on a snowy day is the foundation of this book (despite reviews—like this one—that question the heroic details of the story). For me a story doesn’t  have to be accurate in order to inspire and motivate me. The storyteller and preacher in Batterson were successful in making me assess missed opportunities, while recalibrating my life lenses with a vow to make the rest of my life on earth more accountable to my Creator God.

In spite of the much needed motivation I received from this book, I did find that everything from the illustration of Benaiah to the contemporary examples to the practical tips could have been sandwiched into a much shorter book. The repetition of some content and fillers had me speed reading through much of the book. Other than this shortcoming, I really like this book and have passed it on for someone else to benefit from its encouragement.

For more information about the book from Waterbrook Multnomah, go here. To learn more about Mark Batterson and his ministry, go here.

And for the record, I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

soul print by mark batterson (multnomah)

One of three things happens to every book I read: It gets sold on, shelved with other good books on the left side of my fireplace for later referencing or gifting, or shelved with my favorite books on the right side for infinite re-reading with marker and pen in hand. Mark Batterson, you have now joined the likes of Lucado, Swindoll, Yancey and Chambers on the esteemed right side of my fireplace.

The thesis of Soul Print is in its first paragraph: “There has never been and never will be anyone else like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. You are unlike anyone who has ever lived. But that uniqueness isn’t a virtue. It’s a responsibility. Uniqueness is God’s gift to you, and the uniqueness is your gift to God. You owe it to yourself to be yourself. But more important, you owe it to the One who designed you and destined you.”

Beginning a book with a succinct thesis sentence is no big thing, of course. But it is only the really good books that consistently stick to the  thesis, the purpose, of the book. Batterson is focused and on target from start to finish. Every word, every illustration, every progression of thought ist spot on. Plus, the book is a font of quotable lines. Mark Batterson, writing is most definitely embedded your soul print.

True to his word, the book is not a self-help. It’s more a biblically based self discovery. It’s about discovering and following God’s unique plan for you. Using David as an example, Batterson gives you good reason to identify your divinely destined soul print. I like that there are no patronizing exercises or reflective questions interspersed throughout the book. It is just straightforward lessons from God’s Word and David’s personal spiritual journey.

Only a true artist can appropriately inject humor into the treatment of a serious topic. And Batterson is such an artist. From questioning whether Saul was doing a number one or a number two when David snipped off the edge of his robe to phrases like “Kings don’t disrobe and get jiggy with it,” he is engaging while teaching. Mark Batterson, The next time I’m back home, I shall visit National Community Church and I hope to meet your soul printed self.

Here’s an excerpt of Soul Print.

(I received this book free from Multnomah Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)