I finished reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson and I wanted to share my thoughts.  First as I have mentioned before on this blog, his first book, In a Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, had a profound influence on me.   It should probably win some type of award for the book with the longest and most interesting title, but it is a book based on the Biblical story of Benaiah.  It is really a story about seizing opportunity and about facing the fears in your life so that you can live dangerously for Christ.   I read it when I was faced with the decision of leaving my job and profession after 12 years of working as an engineer in order to follow my calling and passion to serve God in full-time ministry.  If I wanted to wrap up this review in one word, it would simply be “INSPIRING”

Mark’s new book continues the animal/book title connection, but it really is a continuation of the thoughts of his first book.  While In a Pit focused on why we should seize the opportunity, Wild Goose Chase focuses on what is holding us back from doing just that.  The title is described best by the following quote from the introduction

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An 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…. 

I have heard Mark speak on several occasions, so as I read I found myself hearing Mark’s voice sharing the story with me.   The book is very conversational, moving from topic to topic with fluidity.  Mark’s writing style is fast moving and full of powerful statements.  He has a gift of taking the complex and organizing it in a way that sticks with you.   I read the book with a highlighter in hand, just mining the many great quotes and ideas.   As a pastor, I saw many ideas and stories that could be used as the basis for sermons.  I read the book straight through, but in hindsight I wouldn’t recommend it.  This is a book you want to read slowly, taking the time to answer the many questions that are posed throughout the book.  It is a book that requires you to think and analyze your own life to find out what is holding you back from truly following the Holy Spirit. 

I appreciated how Mark utilized real life stories, Bible stories, and personal anecdotes to make the book really come to life.  I also appreciated his love for the natural sciences.  Coming from my engineering background, I enjoyed reading how God uses nature, psychology, and anatomy all to shape who we are.  I do think the illustrations and writing style would lend themselves to those in college or who have graduated from college, although the principles in the book would challenge believers on any educational level. 

The book is really a story of the cages that we let contain us in life.  The cages that keep us from following God on this Wild Goose Chase we call life.   Cages of responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure, and fear.  Just like animals caged at the zoo, we tend to live our Christian life sheltered and protected from life in the wild as God intended.   It challenged me to really think about the way I am living my life.  Am I letting these things cage the desire and passion in my heart to follow Christ? 

I wanted to share just a few of the statements I highlighted in the book.

  • You cannot simultaneously live by faith and be bored. p.7
  • I’m not convinced that your date fo death is the date carved on your tombstone. Most people die long before that.  p.16
  • Here is the mistake so many of us make: we start out pursuing a passion and end up settling for a paycheck. p.17
  • When God puts a passion in your heart, … that God-ordained passion becomes your responsibility.  And you have a choice to make. p.20
  • Our problem is not so much that we don’t know what we should do. We know perfectly well, but we don’t want to do it. p. 28
  • Don’t wait to worship God till you get to the Promised Land; you’ve got to worship along the way. p. 47
  • I know from experience that you can do the work of God at a pace that destroys the work of God in you. p. 53
  • One of the greatest dangers we face spiritually is leanrning how and forgetting why. p. 58
  • We need to quit praying out of memory and start praying out of imagination.  p. 60
  • It is so easy to get focused on what God wants to do through me that I totally neglect what God wants to do in me. p. 64
  • It’s never too late to become who you might have been. p.79
  • I’ve come to think of closed doors as divine detours. p.122
  • One trip, one meeting, one article, one class, one conversation can radically change the trajectory of your life. p.132
  • But I’ve come to realize that getting where God wants me to go isn’t nearly as important as becoming who God wants me to be in the process. p.137
  • Most of us are educated way past our level of obedience.  p.145
  • The difference between where you are and where God wants you to be may be the painful decision you refuse to make. p.157 quoted from Craig Groeschel
  • The way to stopping sinning is by getting a God-sized vision that consumes all your time and energy. p.161
  • and finally,  We fail to take the first step, so the Wild Goose chase never even begins.  p.164

In summary, I do highly recommend this book.  I want to challenge you to read this book and actually take the time to answer the questions that Mark poses at the end of each chapter.  I plan on going back and re-reading the book slowly and intentionally, so that I can really think about the things that are holding me book from following Christ with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I would also love to see this developed into a small group study, similar to Chase the Lion by Threads.

Here is some information about Mark. He is definitely on my list of pastors who I listen to on a regular basis.  Also check out the official site at Chase the Goose!

Author Bio:
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington, DC’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. More than seventy percent of NCC’ers are single twentysomethings who live or work on Capitol Hill. Mark is the author of the best-selling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger (www.markbatterson.com). He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.
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