Chase the Goose!

I’ve just read my advance copy of Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase, the sequel to In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.   Because In a Pit . . .  was the best book I’ve ever read, bar none, I pre-ordered my copy of Wild Goose Chase months ago and have been anxiously awaiting its release on August 19th.  When I got an opportunity to read an advance copy of the book and review it, I felt like I’d won the lottery.  However, I was a little scared.  Given my exceedingly high expections, would I be disappointed?  Well, I’m thrilled to say I wasn’t, which is good news for you because I have another copy to GIVE AWAY!!!  (Details below)

Actually, this book is a “how to” regarding my spiritual passion:  growing mature followers of Christ.  All too often, people see “getting saved” as the destination, not merely the first step of the journey.  I see believers who came to the Lord years ago, and they are as spiritually unmature as the day they accepted Him.  I also think that the church has dropped the ball.  So many pastors and leaders are so focused on getting people saved (and tickling the ears with feel-good messages to keep them there) that they forget to disciple and grow their congregants.  After reading Mark Batterson’s books and blog entries for years, I’ve come to learn that while he cares a great deal about introducing unbelievers to Jesus Christ, he also is concerned with educating, growing and challenging believers to become spiritually mature kingdom changers!  That’s why he encouraged us to Chase the Lion and why he now encourages us to Chase the Goose.

The subtitle for Wild Goose Chase is “Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God”.   Pastor Mark explains, “Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy SpiritAn Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something…

Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.”  (from the introduction, Wild Goose Chase)

Comparing the Holy Spirit to a wild goose is appropriate:  He’s wild, He’s unexpected and He’ll take you down paths you never dreamed of.  And you do need to chase Him.  Although the Holy Spirit pursues us, convicts us, comforts us, loves us, nudges us, ultimately, He can do nothing but make suggestions.  We need to respond to those suggestions.  Where He leads, we follow.  Or we should follow anyway!  

And let’s face it, so often, we don’t know where He’s leading us, what He intends.  We see the “goose trail” only a step at a time.  If you’re really listening to God and following where He leads, it IS an adventure.  He has a habit of putting us in impossible situations, completely inadequate,and incapable of doing what He’s called us to do without Him.  That’s the point.  So we have to rely on Him, and so He gets all the glory.

I’ve said it before on this blog and it bears repeating, Mark Batterson is one of the smartest, well-read, innovative people I’ve ever known, but he’s ACCESSIBLE — his books are easy to read and he has an incredible way of phrasing profound thoughts so we can wrap our brains around them.  Usually, when you read an author, you find they make one or two points that make you say, “Aha!  I get it!”  With Mark, you get at least one “eureka!” moment on every page.  He is the king of one-line mantras that sum it all up perfectly.  

Mark Batterson also makes himself accessible to his readers by BEING HONEST and HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR.  He says the things we all think, but sometimes are afraid to say   — or even admit to ourselves — for fear of sounding “unspiritual”.  But even if we can fool people and lie to ourselves, we can’t “snow” God.  He knows our hearts.  Mark Batterson is transparent with his readers.  He admits to you that he’s human; he’s just like you me.  My favorite part of the book actually made me laugh out loud  — thank goodness I was by myself and not in public!  This passage will demonstrate perfectly how accessible he is.

Mark tells the story about when he was in the eighth grade and a visitation team from his church visited his home.  “[They] asked if they could ‘agree in prayer’ with us about anything.  I’d had asthma since I was three years old and had been hospitalized half a dozen times with pulmonary complications.  So we held hands and prayed that God would heal my asthma.

Well, I still have asthma.  But as a result of the team coming to visit, something remarkable did happen that I will never forget.  When I woke up the next moring, all the warts on my feet were gone!  I kid you not.  My first thought was that there must have been some kind of prayer mix-up.  Did God answer the wrong prayer? Maybe someone else somewhere else is breathing great but still has warts on his feet.  It seemed like there was some confusion between here and heaven.  I didn’t get what I ordered.

And that is when I heard what I would describe as the inaudible yet unmistakable voice of God:  I just wanted you to know that I am able

I don’t experience miracles like this right and left.  I’m guessing my prayer batting average is no better than yours.  And I don’t hear the voice of God as often or as clearly as I would like.  But it is difficult to doubt after an experience like this.  God doesn’t always answers my prayers how or when I want him to.  But I do live my life with this fundamental conviction:  God is able.”  p. 84-85.

Now, tell me that he’s not funny and just as human as you or I am?!  He’s not afraid to admit he wondered if God goofed.  And God’s response is proof that God knew it, too! 

Wild Goose Chase will inspire and challenge you to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, that Wild Goose, wherever He chooses to lead you, no matter how adventurous the trail gets!  Wild Goose Chase is a must read book for any “Christ follower”. 

NOW, on to the giveaway part.  Please send an e-mail to seewhykinsman@yahoo.com (an e-mail I have devoted just to this blog).  Include your name and mailing address in the e-mail and I will randomly draw a winner one week from today.  Good luck!!!

Remember, Wild Goose Chase is released August 19th and can be pre-ordered from www.amazon.com and other booksellers.  Don’t worry if you order a copy AND win . . . you’ll be glad to have a copy to share!  Make sure you check out www.chasethegoose.com, too.

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