Thinking Out Loud

September 19, 2014

Book Review: The Grave Robber

“Everyone wants a miracle. But here’s the catch: no one wants to be in a situation that necessitates one! Of course, you can’t have one without the other.” (The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson, p. 14)

Grave Robber - Mark BattersonHe just keeps getting better.

I honestly can’t wait until Mark Batterson’s next book; I think he’s now firmly in my Top Five Authors circle, but for different reasons than the other four. He doesn’t go deep deep, but he does manage to get me thinking. If someone had simply never read a Christian book, then this is would be a good introduction, and hey, December 25th is approaching.

The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible is Mark Batterson’s tenth book as well has his first for Baker Publishing Group. It’s an exposition of the seven miracles recorded in John’s gospel; plus an eighth for those who are paying attention. Each miraculous event is given three chapters wherein Mark shares some context, lots of application, and some faith-building stories from his own life emerging from the discussion of each miracle. There are also some details in Grave Robber‘s retelling of these familiar stories that I had not heard or considered in a lifetime of going to church.

There’s a DVD Curriculum available as well, but a competent small group leader would have no problem generating seven weeks (or more) of discussion just by having people read the book. You could also read the book for study on John’s gospel, or devotionally.

Again, the book is very transparent; very personal. Mark is very realistic in his approach to increasing your faith. As an asthmatic who has longed for a healing, he knows what is like to pray and be prayed for and still not see the answer, yet this does not diminish his belief in God’s supernatural power in the least. This is therefore an excellent choice for someone who finds themselves in the middle of a season where perhaps hope seems lost, or God seems distant.

Jesus is pictured in the book’s pages as the Wine-Maker, Rule-Breaker, Water-Walker and Grave-Robber. You cannot escape encountering him as you read.

Coming this Spring: Regular Batterson readers are familiar with his son Parker, who is collaborating on a student edition of the book, releasing in March, 2015.

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November 3, 2013

The Circle Maker in Reality

Filed under: Church — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:03 am

Circle Maker - Mark BattersonI love the fact that Mark Batterson’s books aren’t just academic. He lives out the principles he writes about on a day-to-day basis; or perhaps, better to say, the principles he already lives out on a day-to-day basis get written about in his books. This article appeared on Mark’s blog on October 10th, but I completely missed it until last night. These are the stories I love to celebrate here:

It was nearly five years ago that we started circling the Lincoln Theatre in prayer. And over the last few years, we’ve had several all church events where we’ve gathering our different locations at the Lincoln.  We also tried to pursue it on a weekly basis, but it didn’t pan out because of cost and availability. But like the Israelites who circled Jericho, we kept circling.  We had full faith that God would open the door at the right time.  That time is now. We had our inaugural service at the Lincoln last Sunday, and it’s one of those moments you need to mark as a milestone. In a nutshell, God is faithful.  It was one small step, one giant leap. Can’t wait to see what God is going to do.

So far. So God.

National Community Church - Lincoln Theatre Campus

April 13, 2011

Wednesday Link List


  • Was going to link the above video, but decided it really needed to be here on its own.
  • Kathy Escobar gets invited to speak at a graduation by someone who wants to inspire the students by pushing the envelope; but then, when word is out that a woman pastor has been asked to speak, she gets un-invited.
  • It turns out Bethany Hamilton’s family had a tough fight with the film directors to keep the faith element visible in the movie Soul Surfer.  But the CNN article notes that removing the faith element would have killed the film entirely.
  • Rick Kirkpatrick launched a new site Worship Mythbusters which introduces an audio podcast — there are six so far — for worship leaders (and others) which runs about a half hour.  (We listened to episode three.)
  • “He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”  Most of us know this passage in Philippians well, and have assumed it to be an early church hymn, but Gordon Fee suggests it doesn’t fit an established pattern.
  • Mark Batterson figured the next phase for D.C.’s National Community Church would involve 3 to 4 years.  Then God said, “How about 3 to 4 weeks?”  The church is purchasing an existing church building on a Capitol Hill main street.
  • XXXChurch founder Craig Gross reminds us again what we’ve been hearing for a few years now: Addiction to adult content online is increasingly a problem for women.
  • Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like reviews last Friday night’s 20/20 program at ABC Television dealing with the IFB Church, or Independent Fundamentalist Baptists.  Speaking of which…
  • A young girl was allegedly removed from a Mennonite home where parents were following the book Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, but because this child didn’t die, it didn’t get media attention.
  • David Fitch argues for a different type of church leader, with a half dozen descriptions of what that leader is, and what he or she isn’t.
  • My goodness!  There really is a typo in the climactic final line of Rob Bell’s Love Wins. Guess it happens to the best of them, right?
  • Bob Glenn acknowledges the WWJD type of thinking is harmful as it reduces Christian living to a slogan.
  • It’s time again for Kent Shaffer’s list of the top 200 Christian blogs.  And once again, I am quite sure, this blog was # 201!!
  • Rachel Held Evans quotes her own book with a disturbing suggestion that in advancing apologetics, we created a monster.
  • If you remember the humor and satire blog, Tom in the Box, you might want to know that it has somewhat resurfaced as The Heretic Mug Collection.
  • And Jason Boyett has mellowed out a little at his new home at Beliefnet. Check out his series of interviews on different types of “conversion” experiences.
  • On February 25th, Jim Lehmer decided that social media is about to collapse, and he hasn’t blogged since.  Obviously getting ready for what he calls, “the great un-friending.’
  • Is it just me or does pastor Steven Furtick’s blog render completely differently in Firefox than it does in Chrome?
  • To wrap up this week… If you’re the parent of a tween, you already know who Rebecca Black is, and the song that what follows below is a well-done parody of… (I think they actually improved the song!)

October 20, 2010

Wednesday Link List

  • Making the Same Mistake Twice? Department:  Nobody felt the original reached its true potential so there’s going to be a remake of the Left Behind movie.   Guess who’s doing it?  Cloud Ten Pictures, the exact same company that made the first one.   Huh?
  • Truth is Stranger than Fiction Department:  The American who pastor who threatened to burn the Qu’ran and then didn’t is getting a free car just for being a good boy.  “Okay, Terry; you’ve been a good boy and remembered not to play with matches; so here’s the present we promised you…”
  • Personal Inventory Department:  Trey Morgan on the various things people use to gauge their self-worth.  What’s your’s based on?
  • Indie Christian Artist Department:   If you like dance music with bass that thumps while at the same time enjoying strongly Bible-based lyrics, check out the song “Life” by artist Beckah Shae.   Or go here for the YouTube now closing in on 200,000 views.   (Is that someone blowing a shofar in the background?)  Here’s another one:  Here in this Moment is closing in on 300,000 views.
  • Iniquities, Transgressions and Sins, Oh My! Department:  Washington, DC pastor Mark Batterson introduces the Jewish understanding of the three dimensions of sin.
  • Ecclesiology For Fun and Profit Department:  David Paul Door says when you plant a church, you have to think less like a pastor and more like a missionary.
  • You Really Should Read This Department:  A Christianity Today interview with Joni Earekson Tada on suffering, chronic pain, and breast cancer.
  • “I’m a Full Gospel Preacher” Department:   Challies posted this link this week to Erik Raymond, the Irish Calvinist, answering the musical question: Why are some pastors so fat? Except he didn’t bother with the word “some.”
  • Gettin’ Ready to Party Department:  If tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1611 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the KJV, the author of Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible figures we’d better know a little about James Stuart.  Here’s the video trailer for the book which officially released yesterday.
  • Why Can’t We All Just Sing Along? Department:  CNN gets church choirs across North America to join together on a verse and chorus of Andrae Crouch’s classic, “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power;” and then attempts to blend them all as one.
  • Amish Fiction Overload Department:  If you can’t get enough of the Amish through the fiction section of your Christian bookstore, you can learn more about them in the popular blog Amish America.
  • For our cartoon today, we return to the most prolific of the Baptist Press artists, Joe McKeever:

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