by Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson is the founding pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. Carolyn and I missed the opportunity to attend when we were there two years ago. It’s a unique church that has one of D.C.’s best coffee houses as its primary outreach ministry ““ called Ebenezers. NCC has chosen strategically to use movie theaters along the metro line as their worship locations.

In a Pit is a fantastic, easy-to-read book that is harder-to-digest. It’s difficult dining simply because Batterson packs so much challenge and encouragement into such a small book. You won’t put it down scratching your head, but you may put it down holding your heart.

He uses the little-known Old Testament passage about one of King David’s mighty men, Benaiah, in 2 Samuel 23. Batterson builds a bridge from Christian inactivity to faithful adventure. As you read, you’ll be inspired and encouraged to quit sitting on the bench and get into the game of hope, faith, life, and joy. He calls you into adventure that is promised and compelled by Christ’s love.

An early chapter challenges our view of God. So many of us think God is just about the “big stuff,” and the “small stuff” is ours to deal with. However, as he deals with another passage about the loss of an axhead, Batterson says,

He cares about the little things like wedding receptions and borrowed ax heads. God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him. God is great because nothing is too small for Him either.

How does one quit cowering in a corner and embrace risk? Batterson’s short book may not tell you exactly how, but it will lead you to the edge of your seat wondering whether perhaps the life you’re living is only a non-life and the greatest experiences are out there – on the end of the high dive.

He makes an excellent point talking about sin avoidance in our lives. Too many “Christians” try to avoid sinful things – yet they excuse themselves for all the things they never do which they should be embracing as followers of Christ.

The servant who buries his talent and breaks even is called “wicked.” Why? Because he wasn’t willing to take a calculated risk. Maybe risk taking is at the heart of righteousness. Maybe righteousness has less to do with not doing anything wrong and more to do with doing things right.

And I would add that perhaps righteousness is not just doing things right but doing the right things. Batterson urges us to become lion chasers just like Benaiah. To do so requires a radical trust in a God that will have you in His hands ““ whether you die or live.

The real issue is not in chasing the lion or even in killing it. The real issue is in facing the lion. Facing the lions of life is much like facing our fears. They will retain terrible control over what we attempt and what we avoid until we destroy their power over us through faith in His Greater Power.

I can’t think of a book that I would recommend more to someone who has a limited reading attention span. Tell me what you think of it after you climb out of the pit. And leave the lion behind.

FTC Disclaimer: “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”


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