All In – A Review by Steph Nickel
Are you “all in?” Do you have a committed walk with Jesus? Steph reviews “All In” by Mark Batterson and finds that it challenges her faith.
How Do You Choose a Book?
How do you choose the books you read?
Do you wander through your local bookstore and look for something that catches your eye?
Do you strive to get your hands on everything your favourite authors have written?
Do you heed the advice of a friend when she tells you, “You simply have to read this book I just finished”?
I would answer these questions, “Yes, yes, and yes.”
All In by Mark Batterson
I signed up for Faithbox, a shipment of various items that is delivered to the subscriber’s home once a month. Turns out this subscription would be great if I lived in the States. However, with the exchange rate and cost of shipping, I found the cost prohibitive. Still, I received the first box and the book All In was included.
When I mentioned the title to my hubby and my two pastors, a knowing look crossed their faces. In fact, if we truly consider the title, it’s pretty much all we need to know what the book is about—and to be challenged to be “all in” for Jesus.
All In – This Book is Convicting
I’ve read very few books in my life that have been this convicting. And I’ve certainly never read a book that was so perfectly summed up in the title alone.
There are those who question Mark Batterson’s theology. And I have never read his book The Circle Maker. However, because All In came in the box—and because of the title—I decided to read the book and discover what the Lord would teach me in its pages.
I was a member of Compel, the teaching division of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Lysa Terkeurst refers to quotable quotes as sticky statements, and she encourages writers to include a number of these easy-to-remember statements in our writing.
Sometimes, there are one or two of these sticky statements in each chapter of a book, usually a nonfiction book. Sometimes there are fewer than that. Authors include these statements to make the content memorable, increasing the chances that we will remember what we’ve read—and share it with others in the course of our day-to-day conversation.
I’m only on chapter 5 of All In and couldn’t possible highlight all the sticky statement. There are several on most pages.
A Decision to be Made
And these truths aren’t simply included to increase book sales. In chapter 3, the author includes this paragraph:
This isn’t a book to read. It is a decision to be made. If you read this book without making a defining decision, I wasted my time writing it and you wasted your time reading it. On some point, on some page, you will feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to act decisively. Don’t ignore it. Obey it.
I read David Platt’s book Radical and was challenged. (It’s actually time to add it to my To Be Re-Read List.) However, it’s too easy to slip back into old patterns of behaviour. And that’s what I did. My prayer is that I won’t do the same after reading All In.
We hear lots of talk about why the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel isn’t biblical—and I agree. However, as I learned in David Platt’s book, we who have a roof over our head, clothes on our back, food in our stomach, and access to transportation are in the top 1 percent—yes, 1 percent—of the world’s population.
Do I Have More Than I Need
As I was reading Mark Batterson’s book, this fact came back to me. I don’t strive to be a millionaire, live in a mansion, and drive a sports car. But do I have more than I need? Absolutely! Am I living a self-centred life? In many ways, yes. Is God challenging me to be all in for Jesus, to be willing to use all my resources to further His kingdom and to bless others? The answer is—deep breath—yes.
Does this mean He’s calling me to sell all I own and live on the street? I don’t think so. But does it mean that I must increasingly learn to recognize the Good Shepherd’s voice and follow wherever He leads? Absolutely!
Word of the Year
For several years, I have been seeking the Lord for a Word of the Year. Some years, it has been very clear. But this year, it’s different. I haven’t been able to narrow it down to a single word. Perhaps, the theme for 2019 could be summed up by the term “going deeper.”
I want to go deeper in my understanding of who God is and what He has for me.
I want to go deeper in my understanding of His Word and of prayer.
I want to go deeper in my commitment to Him.
I want to go “all in.”
These are easy statements to make—if we don’t think the Lord is going to drastically change the status quo. However, we must come to the place where we can unreservedly say, “Lord, be glorified in me—whatever the cost.”
Are you ready to go all in for the Lord? If so—or if you’re willing to consider doing so—you may want to pick up a copy of Mark Batterson’s All In.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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