I recently finished Mark Batterson’s latest book If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities. If had to be his longest work to date. He breaks up the eighth chapter of Romans into thirty different readings (perfect for a month-long devotional). While there is plenty of new content in this book, the author tends to return to the same stories of his past writings. Here is what I can learn from Batterson – Christ followers must do a better job of remembering God’s loving loyalty. The author does this well. He tells and retells of the providence and power of Jesus. I love that! What I don’t enjoy as much is purchasing a new book and feeling (at times) as if I have read it before. Again, this book’s premise was refreshing (he took a risk) but some of the supporting thoughts come across as merely copied and pasted.
That being said, one of my favorite quotes was when Batterson proposed, “I live by the maxim, love people when they least expect it and least deserve it. That’s how you change someone’s life forever. When the Pharisees were writing people off, Jesus was writing them in. When everyone was showing them the door, Jesus was showing them grace” (37).
People often ask why I continue to read Batterson’s books even though I often complain that many of his ideas and illustrations appear a bit repetitive (and them my reviews begin to sound as equally redundant). I honestly don’t know. For one, he is so encouraging. I want to cheer for the guy because he cheers for us. Also, I just sense a strange kinship with him. The 2-3 great books that he has written thus far were great enough to be incredibly timely resources in my life. Not to mention, his church (whether they know it or not) has given me such sound counsel and creativity.
All that to say, I would recommend that if you are interested in reading Batterson, begin with the best ones (and then possibly stop there). Here are my rankings (to date)…
- Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (2009)
- In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars (2006)
- The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (2012)
- Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (2008)
- The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (2014)
- If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities (2015)
- All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (2013)
- Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny (2011)
Have you read any of Batterson? Do you feel the same way? How would you rate his books?