Monday, October 02, 2006

Book Review: In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day

What do you do when opportunity roars? According to Mark Batterson, we must rediscover our chasing gene, lock eyes with our lion, and sprint directly towards it.

In the first chapter of In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Batterson weaves a thrilling tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and the adrenaline pumping. Then, you discover it's actually a re-telling of a Biblical story. It's the story of Benaiah and his rise from lion chaser to David's chief military advisor. It's a story we may have read a hundred times before and breezed over without fully experiencing its drama and passion. (We do that with a lot of the Biblical texts, don't we? When did we make the Bible boring?) But in the opening pages of this entertaining and at times unsettling book, Batterson breathes new life into this ancient tale in a creative, thought-provoking, and challenging way.

We've all seen lion tamers. But lion chasers? That's just plain crazy. And yet that is what God is calling us to be. People who realize that Jesus did not die on the cross just to ensure that we could live safe lives. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day dares us to go back to Biblical faith, which is risky, uncertain, and dangerous. But it always leads to God.

Batterson uses Benaiah's encounter with the lion as a backdrop to explore seven lion chasing skills:
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Unlearning fears
  • Embracing uncertainty
  • Calculating risks
  • Seizing opportunities
  • Defying odds
  • Looking foolish
This book challenged the way I think about faith, and I hope it will find expression in the way I live out my faith. As Yoda challenged Luke Skywalker, I must unlearn what I have learned. I need to realize that my action regrets will pale in comparison to my inaction regrets.

Sprinkled with references to pop culture and ancient culture, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day digs out Biblical principles and helps us understand their relevance in our everyday-walking-around lives in the 21st century. But ultimately it's not Mark Batterson's story. And it's not even Benaiah's story. It is God's story and it is one that he wants to write in and through each of our lives.

This book made me want to jump out of my chair and start running after God with more intensity and focus than ever before. It's a fast and funny read, and it will leave you with lots of good stuff to chew on.

Get it and begin your lion chasing training today.


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