Of the three books I’ve read by Washington, DC pastor Mark Batterson, All In is the best one so far. The call to wholehearted surrender to God is reminiscent of another Zondervan bestseller, Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan. The book re-introduces a term that was often the theme of sermons in a past era: Consecration, as in “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee.”
Though Batterson isn’t one to quote song lyrics, another fitting one here might be “I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back, no turning back.” It’s a book about buying a one-way ticket to wherever God would have you; of giving yourself to Christian service without an escape clause or a backup plan.
Mark Batterson’s writing style is more sermon-like than conversation-like inasmuch as his books show the evidence of carefully considered strategy as to which chapters ought to contain which elements of his research. To be more precise, All In is equal parts:
- Stories and examples from history or quotations from historical figures; not all of which were necessarily believers.
- Illustrative examples forming allegories from nature, or sports.
- Contemporary stories of people who’ve made the news, or obscure people who have connected with Mark through National Capital Church.
- Old Testament stories.
- New Testament stories and teaching.
While not wanting to go off too far on a tangent here, this is a How To example of how to write a Christian book, keep it interesting, and give it applicable substance.
So how is my life different after reading this book? I think that some teaching we are exposed to through Christian books and podcasts can have an instantaneous effect, but that more often, certain truths ‘stick’ through the applying of layer upon layer of repetition. This is stuff I need to be reminded of; including examples I need to hear for the first time. The ideal of the Christian life is a life lived in abandon to God.
I think the highest recommendation I can give this book is one that will sound strange out of context: All In is a very disturbing book! And that’s just what Mark Batterson intended.
>>>Watch the book trailer at YouTube
A copy of All In was provided to Thinking Out Loud by HarperCollins Canada, the distributor for Zondervan in the frozen north. Thanks, Mark H. The book is also the basis for a small group DVD curriculum. For the trailer for that product, click here.
For a previous review here of The Circle Maker click here.