Wild Goose Chase

Book Review: Chasing Daylight

Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment was written by Erwin McManus the pastor of Mosaic church in Los Angeles.  Before reading this book, my only familiarity with McManus was that I saw him speak at the SBC pastor's conference in 2006.  And now that I think of it, I believe I saw the profile of his church done by NAMB on TV on a snowed out Sunday morning. The reason for choosing to read this book is that it is on a few of my friends' Facebook lists as favorite book.  Also it was the theme of the Annie Armstrong offering for 2008, and it is similar to the book Wild Goose Chase which I recently wrote a review of.  It has been sitting in my queue of books to read since March (during the AAEO).

The main idea of Chasing Daylight is that Christians have been called to actually do something.  Most of us sit around doing nothing waiting to hear God tell us what to do, but God would have us doing something.

I found this book to be very engaging.  I wrote in the margins (my way of interacting with the book) numerous times in agreement and occasionally in befuddlement.  I would not put it in the class with my very favorite books, but there is no question that I heard the voice of God as I read it.  And it was a great reminder that we are to be doing something for God.  One thing is for certain, we only have a limited amount of time and how we use that time determines our effectiveness.

McManus reminds us that we are the products of our choices.  He then points out some of the problems of the western variety of Christianity.  The main problem is that we hide behind piety and make that an excuse for doing nothing for God.  He says "I am convinced that the great tragedy is not the sins we commit but the life we fail to live." (p. 36)  In other words, we use our comfort at our own level of righteousness as if it were a great accomplishment for God.  He also has a word of warning about materialism.  I will just say that he is exactly right about our stuff owning us.  Also that we must lay aside everything that comes between us and God, even if we think those things are "blessings" from God.

I was particularly struck by a an application he makes from Luke 14:15-24.  I have always viewed this passage as being about salvation only.  But he relates it to opportunity.  He would say that if we do not do the ministry that God has given us while we can, God will use someone else.

One of the weaknesses of this book is common in a lot of recent Christian books.  It is the use of the word "community" to replace the word "church".  I think I'll write a post about that later on.  Maybe it's just a personal issue, but it bothers me.

Also in the weakness category is the "Perils of Ayden" sections used between chapters.  These short vignettes of some fictional story did nothing to make the book clearer or better.  They were confusing and written in a nearly unreadable font.  (Seriously, that font is a major fail.  I was hoping I could link to the Amazon.com preview of these sections, but they are not there.)  Maybe I'm just too left-brained to get it, but I was somewhat befuddled.  Fortunately these sections didn't harm the book or its message.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is searching for how to know God's will for his or her life.  I would put it ahead of Wild Goose Chase by an order of magnitude and say it is worth the short time it takes to read.

Book Review: Wild Goose Chase

A while back Adam sent me a free copy of Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  Since Adam thought the book important enough to give away, I though I would respect that and write a review it for you all.  I just finished it last night so I'll review it while it's fresh on my mind

I'll start by saying that I've never heard of Mark Batterson before I got this book in the mail.  He is the pastor of National Community Church and he also wrote In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

The thesis of Wild Goose Chase is that Christians (in the West, I assume) are not followers of the Holy Spirit, but rather we have told the Spirit to follow us. Therefore, we are bored in our Christianity. He then suggests six “cages” that limit, and keep Christians from following the Holy Spirit. The cages are responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt failure and fear. The balance of the book is discussions of each cage, why it limits, and how to escape from the cage so that we feel free to be fully devoted followers of Christ.

About the title - the best way to explain that is just to quote from the first paragraph of the book:

The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that has always intrigued me. They called him An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’… The name hints at the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, and an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound sacrilegious at first earshot, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit’s leading through life than Wild Goose chase.

That’s the explanation, and throughout the balance of the book I don’t think he ever refers to the Holy Spirit again – only the Wild Goose. For me it was quite distracting. I believe with the explanation over, he defined his title and could simply call the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit.

As far as the content of the book I would describe it as good. (How's that for vocabulary skills) For me it was nothing revolutionary but I believe he is on to a lot of truth and has probably rightly diagnosed the major woes of Western Christianity. I particularly agreed with the following quote from the chapter on the cage of routine. “If you’re in a spiritual slump, let me give you a prescription: Go on a mission trip. There is no better or sure way of coming out of the cage of routine.” (pg.50)

I was also very intrigued by his thoughts of vision as a cure for sin. He puts it this way.  "The way you stop sinning is by getting a God-sized vision that consumes all your time and energy." (pg 160-1)

I wrote approximately 10 notes throughout the margins of the book. (I do that to interact with the book.) Most of the notes were agreement or that I found a point interesting. That’s about once every 18 pages. Quite a lot less than I interacted with say Simple Church, but more than I often write.

If you find yourself bored in your Christianity or if you believe that you are particularly trapped in one of the cages I would recommend this book. It is easy to read, probably about a 3 hour book, clear and interesting.  It would be worth your time.