Mark Batterson's debut, IN A PIT WITH A LION ON A SNOWY DAY, has become a bestseller because of the author's amazing ability to inspire people to take a leap in their personal lives and faith journeys. His latest book, WILD GOOSE CHASE: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God, is even better.
Throughout seven great chapters, Batterson calls believers from the ho-hum of daily life to chase the wild goose and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He explains that Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit: "An Geadh-Glas," or "the Wild Goose." Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God can't be tracked or tamed, but following Him will lead you on paths and adventures that you never knew existed.
Like any good teacher, Batterson instructs readers not just in what he knows but in what he owns. He shares his own stories, including moments of personal failure and loss, to illustrate that pursing God, while not always easy, is always rewarding. Throughout the book, he challenges readers to escape six different cages that keep us back from the holy pursuit of all that God has for us. He points to the cage of irresponsible responsibility, suggesting that sometimes we become so anchored to the things that make us feel secure and comfortable that we miss out on the adventure God is inviting us to embrace. Sometimes the very thing to which God is calling us will feel irresponsible. We may feel a leading to go serve overseas, give up a steady paycheck or sell what we own, but such moments of irresponsibility, when led and infused by God, can lead to great things. Other cages that limit us include those of routine, assumptions and failure.
One of the most refreshing things about Batterson's writing is his honesty. He draws on many stories from his own church and community where he pastors. He describes the slow growth in the early days of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. and the faithfulness of God in the midst of it all. He tells of men and women who have faithfully chosen to serve and follow God in their community. One compelling story is that of Heather Zempel, who decided to give up a successful political career to serve others and build up God's kingdom. She currently serves on staff at National Community Church and has become an inspiration and source of encouragement to countless others.
Batterson is continuing to grow as a leader, a writer and a voice for this generation. His innovative approaches to church, ministry and following Jesus are challenging and inspiring. And the best part is that his writing is accessible to a wide audience. If you're familiar with Batterson, you'll want to get a copy of WILD GOOSE CHASE right away --- then go back and read IN A PIT WITH A LION ON A SNOWY DAY. This is an author you can't afford to miss.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on November 13, 2011