Last year I read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, and it reinvigorated my prayer life. Now the sequel, called "All In," is raising my intensity and passion for prayer even higher!
This book has a different feel from all of Pastor Batterson's other books. In books like "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" and "Wild Goose Chase" and others, the tone felt very conversational. "All In" feels more confrontational.
But in a good way!
It seems like far too often we can talk a good game about prayer, but when it comes right down to it, all we ever do is talk about it. Using a picture that is well known to those who have seen a poker game, Mark urges us to use prayer as a means to push all our chips to the center of the tableÃ¢â¬âto go all inÃ¢â¬âby not only believing God for great things, but by doing great things for God's glory.
I normally share my opinion on who should read a certain book, but this time I'd like to share who I think shouldn't read "All In": (1) Those who already have such a dynamic prayer life that they put the members of the Faith Hall Of Fame members to shame (see Hebrews 11); (2) Those who don't pray now and have no intention of praying in the future; and (3) Those who enjoy living boring, ordinary, barely-getting-by-day-after-day lives. If you're not in one of those three groups, get ready for a supernatural boost to your prayer life through Mark Batterson's words in "All In."
In his newest work, All In, bestselling author Mark Batterson calls on the reader to stop being a nominal believer and to become radical in their passion for their faith, surrendering their life to Christ completely. Divided into five sections, Batterson calls upon Christians to be "all in" and "all out" for our "all-in-all", Jesus Christ. He correctly argues that many believers have mistakenly (or perhaps selfishly) chosen to live a "me-centric" life versus a Christ-centered life; he coins this term, "The Inverted Gospel".
I was excited to read this book, but it took a while for me to get into it once I started, and although it's a fairly quick read, there were quite a few times that it wasn't my first choice for a pleasure read off of the nightstand (though this could be circumstantial, as most of the quiet moments I have to read right now, usually come with nursing an infant, so I probably have a bit too much prolactin floating around in my system to be absorbed into a fiery sermon!). Although I think his message is one that applies to every believer, I felt that the audience is more suitable for the younger college generation; personally, I felt this to be a simplified message of Bonhoeffer's, Cost of Discipleship in terms of calling a believer out of their comfort zone. That being said, one of the chapters I appreciated most was titled 'SDG'. After retelling a story about Johann Bach's faith being displayed through his cantatas, Batterson points the reader to nature, scientifically informing the reader that all of creation sings in its own individual way; he then admonishes the reader that we each have the responsibility to worship God in our mundane tasks each day, as Paul instructed the Corinthians (I Corinthians 10:31). It was a helpful reminder for when I'm overwhelmed or weary with raising three little ones to continue to give God the glory in every little thing I do, giving my all for my All in All.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ® book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
I really enjoy Mark Batterson and I love the premise of this book. In the midst of the "feel good Christianity" so popular in the US today, there has to be someone calling us to greater things--things that God calls us to. I feel that Mr. Batterson attempts that with this book.
This short book is packed full of inspiration. There are stories of Christians who are living the life and going all-in for Christ, but Batterson shares these stories in a cohesive way. The book is equal parts inspiration and call-to-action, which we all need.
What keeps me from giving the book 5 stars is that at times it's a bit cliche, and trite--like he's trying to hard to be cool and quotable. Also, though I loved the inspirational stories, I thought the book was heavy on inspiration and lacking on scripture. In a book about following Jesus, and going all in for God, I would like to have seen a bigger focus on His word rather than anecdotes.
However, the meat of the book is a wonderful reminder of our call to follow Jesus with our whole selves.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.
What a fantastic book! Having read Draw the Circle by this author, I was excited to have the opportunity to review his new book, All In. While some of what was in it was "familiar", I really enjoyed it!
In the book, Batterson says that "this isn't a book to be read. It's a decision to be made. If you read this book without making a defining decision, I wasted my time writing it and you wasted your time reading it". I think he really meant that. This book is very easy to read, easy to relate to, and easy to understand how to implement the ideas that were shared. The book has 17 relatively short chapters, each with real-life examples from his pastoring, his own personal life, and the Bible itself. The stories included are ones that really do help to make the points he's talking about, and they make it clear that we all go through the same types of struggles and challenges while getting to a point of being "All In".
This book will be available for purchase on September 24th, and would make a great small group study for adults and teens alike. It's also good for people who like to read thought-provoking books, because this will definitely encourage you to do more and really re-evaluate how you view your relationship with God and the areas where you are "All In" or not.
I was provided with a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
Sometimes my three kids and I will chase each other through our house. We have a familiar, well-worn, well-traveled circular path that winds through the kitchen, dining room, and family room. It is easy for us, at times, to chase each other in circles and reach the point of forgetting who was chasing whom. Four kids (one at heart) running in a big circle from one another and toward one another all at the same time.
Mark Batterson contends that we likewise forget who is supposed to be following whom when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. Actually, Batterson would more correctly say that it's not that we forget; instead we choose to make Jesus follow us. He calls this The Inverted Gospel. We kindly decline Jesus' offer to follow Him and instead we politely ask if He would like to follow us.
In "All In," Batterson challenges the reader to break free of this inverted gospel and to dive all in to following Jesus. "All In" is a quick, easy read that is littered with solid analysis of the state of the contemporary North American believer. Batterson makes a compelling case for living full-out for Christ in our daily lives. In essence, "All In" is a lighter (though not less meaningful) version of David Platt's "Radical." If you are looking for an encouraging way to say we need to live all out for Christ, read "All In." If, instead you are looking for a "grab me by the shoulders and shake me" version, read "Radical."