Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Review: Chase the Lion - Highly Recommend

One of my favorite reads from last year was Levi Lusko's Through the Eyes of a Lion. In his book, Lusko talks about how the male lion's roar is intended to send the prey running right into the lair of the lioness. It is only natural to run from the roar. Just as Lusko urged readers to fight that urge to run, Mark Batterson encourages his readers to not only fight the urge, but instead turn around and Chase the Lion. The subtitle to his book says it all: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It's Too Small. Batterson's favorite verse of Scripture tells of one small act by a seemingly inconsequential player, a moment when Benaiah chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day (hence the title of Batterson's prequel to this book, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, reviewed previously here).

As much as I loved Batterson's previous book, a book I highly recommend, Chase the Lion fell into my lap at just the right moment. My personal dreams and goals feel very much like a gigantic lion and fear has me running into the jaws of the lioness. Reading this book felt a bit like being in a football locker room when the coach comes in and gives an inspirational pep talk to build the players up in preparation for the game. Batterson makes an excellent coach. He gets the reader fired up and ready to face whatever dream God has given. Instead of running from a terrifying, overwhelming task, the reader is encouraged to reflect on the depth of meaning behind our hopes, dreams, and goals.

Within the first ten pages, Batterson begins to work his magic. When talking of the Wright brothers and the importance of their minor interaction with a book by Louis Pierre Mouillard that nurtured their curiosity about flight, he called that author "a prophet crying in the wilderness, exhorting the world to repent of its unbelief in the possibility of human flight." Within sentences, he fires back at the reader with this powerful question: "What impossibility do you need to repent of?" Batterson is determined to encourage his readers to have God-sized dreams and to rely on God's provision to make those dreams come true.

I wished I owned a copy of this book because I found so many pages with quotes I wanted to highlight. Here are a few:

"At the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the God-ordained opportunities we left on the table, the God-given passions we didn't pursue, and the God-sized dreams we didn't go after because we let fear dictate our decisions." (p. 4)

"We tend to avoid situations where the odds are against us, but when we do, we rob God of the opportunity to do something supernatural." (p. 35)

"Sometimes you need to stop praying for something and start praising God as if it has already happened." (p. 85)

"The hardest part of any dream journey is the holding pattern." (p. 92)

"God doesn't always call us to win. Sometimes He just calls us to try. Either way, it's obedience that glorifies God." (p. 101)

In speaking of the ripple effect of our dreams, he writes, "Whether you're aware of it or not, your dream is contingent upon someone else having the courage to pursue his or her dream. And someone else's dream is contingent upon you pursuing yours!" (p. 140)

Urging the importance of others alongside you, he observes, "Whether it's a Holy Club, a literary club like the Inklings, or a band of brothers like David's mighty men, you will ultimately reflect those with whom you surround yourself. And they will reflect you. Bad company corrupts good character, but good company helps you go from good to great." - a worthy lesson to share with my boys! (p. 171)

This book was so inspiring that I often found myself tearing up with conviction and renewed motivation. His message is simple, really. You are important. Your dreams are important. What you do to pursue those dreams has a ripple effect that will carry down through future generations. So, don't shrink back in fear. Like Benaiah, pursue the lion in front of you. Chase whatever dream God has laid on your heart. Win or lose, He wants you to give your all and never give up.

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