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Book Review: Primal

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

(Note: This book was given to me as a Christmas gift from a pastor friend. It was NOT provided free for review by the publisher as some are. This did not affect my review in any way.)

I am a fan of Mark Batterson’s writing, especially as a subscriber to his blog. Although I haven’t read his first two books yet, they are on my list.

In Primal, Mark takes us on a journey through the Greatest Commandment to explore what it looks like to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

When I read books like this, I frequently have in hand a highlighter and a pen (for jotting notes in the margins) in order to keep track of the things that grab my attention right then. Mark’s writing style tends to give my highlighter a workout.

Here are ten of my favorite highlights that I found particularly appropriate at the time. I hope they might be beneficial to you as well. (The number in parentheses behind the quote is the page number in the book.)

  • “Most of us let what we cannot do keep us from doing what we can.” (27)
  • “Making money is the way you make a living and giving it away is the way you make a life.” (33)
  • “If you are willing to subtract what you are spending on yourself and add it to what you are investing in the kingdom, God will do the multiplication.” (44)
  • “The mind is educated with facts, but the soul is educated with beauty and mystery. And the curriculum is creation.” (53)
  • “If the goal of reading is to get through the Bible, the goal of meditation is to get the Bible through us.” (78)
  • “Meditation is the mechanism whereby one-dimensional knowledge because two-dimensional understanding. … Obedience is the mechanism whereby two-dimensional understanding because three-dimensional faith.” (80)
  • “God has created us with the capacity to keep learning until the day we die. … Learning isn’t a luxury; it’s a stewardship issue.” (90)
  • “He doesn’t just want you to worship Him with your memory; He wants you to worship Him with your imagination.” (110)
  • “Mathematically speaking, the imagination is a million times more powerful than the five senses put together. But both of them fall so far short of who God is and what God is capable of.” (129)
  • “Religion is all about doing things for God. Christianity is all about receiving what Christ has done for us on the cross. And what we do for God is a reflection of and response to what God has done for us.” (155)

It’s a great book – one that I recommend you read. You can get your copy at Amazon.com or all over the web.

I’m also teaching through The Greatest Commandment in May 2010 (taking a different perspective than Mark does in Primal). You can listen to that series on OTCC’s website.

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