Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day - ch 2

I just finished chapter two of Mark Batterson's In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

One chapter. Three fresh insights to God's nature.

Insight #1 - God is incomprehensibly smarter than I am.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:9
Looking back, I think have taken this verse at its shallowest meaning - like the air is above the earth, God's thoughts are above mine. Batterson, however, takes the verse to its ultimate meaning -- as far as the farthest galaxy is from the earth, so are God's thoughts from mine.
But light from the furthest galaxy takes 12.3 billion years to get here.... And God says that is about the distance between his thoughts and our thoughts. [page 28]
Insight #2 - God is more excited about my destiny than I am.
God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go. [page 30]
I don't know why, but I hadn't ever thought of that. I think I assumed God was too busy with other projects to worry much about mine, let alone be even more concerned than I am.

Why didn't I get this sooner? After all, he's even counted the hairs on my head, while I have hard enough time counting the ones that fall off in the shower [five just this morning].

Insight #3 - There are no "big" or "little" prayer requests.
To the infinite, all finites are equal. There is no big or small, easy or difficult, possible or impossible. When it comes to God, there are no degrees of difficulty. [page 33]
Wow! We keep thinking, "this is big" or "this is small", but to God, all prayer requests are the same. He can raise the dead just as easily as he can heal a headache.

Jesus asked if it was easier to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee" or to say "Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk." The answer? To the infinite, omnipotent, omniscient God, the difference is too small to be measured.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day - ch 1

A week or so ago, I started reading Mark Batterson's new book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Before I dive into the book, let me start off by saying that I've had my fill of happy-go-lucky theology. I'm tired of the TV preachers that act as if the normal Christian life has no hardship whatsoever and that the presence of discomfort or hardship indicates a lack of faith. I'm also tired of some whining, complaining Christians who are convinced that God must not love them; otherwise they would not have the problems they have.

That said, I am looking forward to Batterson's book. It appears that Batterson is leaning opposite of popular teaching by pointing out that hardship or discomfort is sometimes inherent to a God-ordained opportunity. In fact, he states that "the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time."

Batterson goes on to say that God's calling for us is "much higher than simply running away from what's wrong" that we are to "look for opportunities in our problems and obstacles". Batterson further states, "When we don't have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him."

It occurs to me that our scriptures may have more to say about slaying lions than it does slaying giants. David and Samson join Benaiah in the ranks of lion-killers. Daniel survived a den of lions. Satan is compared to a roaring lion. Yet, I think many Christians identify with the man in Proverbs who refused to leave the house because "there is a lion in the streets."

Has God indeed called us to a life of comfort and ease? Does God intend for Christians to be modern-day Noah's -- completely sheltered from the world's storms?

Or, has God called us to draw our weapons, confront the enemy, seize opportunities, and, as Paul told Timothy, "endure hardship as a good soldier."

Lyrics from an old Kirk Tally tune, Step Into the Water, come to mind:

It is time we the people
stand up for what is right.
It is time we squared our shoulders back,
raised our swords to fight.

In the chapters ahead, Mark Batterson promises to highlight seven skills that will assist in chasing lions:
  • Defying odds
  • Facing fears
  • Reframing problems
  • Embracing uncertainty
  • Taking risks
  • Seizing opportunities
  • Looking foolish
I plan to post more thoughts from the book as I read through it. Until then, God Speed!