BatInap 08-02-19  

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

How to Survive and Thrive when Opportunity Roars


Mark Batterson

Multnomah Books, 2006, 182 pp.,

ISBN  978-1-59052-715-3



Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC.  Second Samuel (23:20-21) mentions that Benaiah chased a lion down into a snowy pit and caught and killed it. Batterson leverages this one brief fascinating biblical incident into a guide for a life of faith. 


"God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. A sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ.  God is awfully good at getting us where He wants us to go.  But here's the catch:  The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time." (12)


"God is in the resume-building business.  He is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities.  But those God-given opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions.  And how we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny." (14)


"As I look back on my own life, I recognize this simple truth: The greatest opportunities were the scariest lions."  But "taking no risks is the greatest risk of all." (14)


"We're inspired by people who face their fears and chase their dreams.  What we fail to realize is that they are no different from us." (16)


"Impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles.  That is how God reveals his glory--and how He blesses you in ways you never could have imagined." (22)


"There is a pattern that I see repeated throughout Scripture: Sometimes God won't intervene until something is humanly impossible."  "God loves impossible odds." "God allows the odds to be stacked against us so He can reveal more of His glory."  (23)


"When it comes to God, there are no degrees of difficulty.  There are no odds when it comes to God.  All bets are off." (33)


"The greatest breakthroughs in your life will happen when you push through the fear.  The defining moments will double as the scariest decisions.  But you've got to face those fears and begin the process of unlearning them." (43)


"Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive." (45)


"Satan has two primary tactics when it comes to neutralizing you spiritually: discouragement and fear." (51) 


"Courage is doing what is right regardless of circumstances or consequences." (53)


"When you put yourself into defenseless positions, it sets the stage for God to show up.  And that is exactly what happens." (54)


"So here is my question:  Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?" (56)


"Opportunities often look like insurmountable obstacles.  So, if we want to take advantage of these opportunities, we have to learn to see problems in a new way--God's way.  Then our biggest problems may just start looking like our greatest opportunities." (61)


"If we did an honest assessment of our prayer lives, I think we'd be amazed at the percentage of prayers aimed at problem reduction." (62)  "It's our past problems that prepare us for future opportunities." (63) "Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances." (64) 


"So why do we assume that what we pray for is always what's best for us?  If we could see what God sees, we would pray very different prayers." (65)


"Reframing problems is about shifting focus.  You stop focusing on what's wrong with your circumstances.  And you start focusing on what's right with God."  Choosing to worship God in spite of our circumstances is often the most difficult and important choice we can make.  (67)


"God is in the business of recycling our pain and using it for some else's gain." (74)


Benaiah's lion encounter was as unplanned as a toothache. (79)


"Lion chasers are more afraid of lifelong regrets than temporary uncertainty."  "Embracing uncertainty is one dimension of faith." (81)


"I'm not saying we shouldn't make plans.  But you might want to use a pencil with an eraser…." (86)  "…the greatest moments in life are unscripted." (88)


"The more you're willing to risk, the more God can use you.  And if you're willing to risk everything, then there is nothing God can't do in you and through you." (102)


Most of us are "part coward and part daredevil.  The coward is constantly whispering, Better safe than sorry.  The daredevil is whispering, Nothing ventured, nothing gained." (102)


"Every choice has a domino effect that can alter our destiny." (103)


"Faith is risky business." (109)


"No one ever bet too much on a winning horse." (111)


"There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ."  "…we ought to be in a 'two-minute offense.'"  "Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort.  It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of Hell.  With a squirt gun, if necessary!" (119)


"Our ultimate destiny is determined by whether or not we seize the God-ordained opportunities presented to us.  "That doesn't mean we should live in fear that we'll somehow miss the will of God.  He'll keep giving us second and third and fourth chances." (128)


"There is certainly a time to be prudent.  But there is also a time to be valiant." (129)


"If you want to see and seize God-ordained opportunities, you've got to live in prayer mode." (135)  "Your spiritual antenna is up and your radar is on."  (136)  "When I'm in prayer mode I have God ideas." (138)


"Seizing an opportunity usually feels like swallowing a whale or chasing a lion." (139)


"You've got to prove yourself when the little opportunities present themselves.  And when you do, God will bring bigger and better opportunities your way." (145)


It is often the fear of foolishness that holds us back.  "Faith is the willingness to look foolish."  "Noah looked foolish building an ark in the desert." (149)  "The greatest breakthroughs, miracles, and turning points in Scripture can be traced back to someone who was willing to look foolish." (150) 


"Conforming to Christ results in nonconformity." (151)


Neoteny means "new, fresh, or youthful."  "Neoteny is 'the retention of youthful qualities by adults.'"  "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children…." (Jesus) (154-55)


"Part of spiritual maturity is caring less and less about what people think about you and more and more about what God thinks about you." (160)


"Lion chasers have a life wish.  They live life to the fullest because they are willing to look foolish."  [and perhaps shredded. dlm] (164)


Seven skills to be a lion chaser:  "You have to start by trying to comprehend the infiniteness of God so that you can believe He can help you to defy the odds.  You have to face your fears, or they'll hold you back forever.  You have to learn to reframe your problems through Scripture reading, prayer, and worship.  Then you'll shift your perspective so that your problem becomes less significant and God's greatness becomes more evident.  And remember, you must take risks.  That is the essence of faith.  Then you're ready to seize the opportunity.  But you have to be able to see it to seize it.  That means getting yourself in tune with the Holy Spirit.  You have to listen to His still, small voice prompting you and believe that He is setting you up for success.  And finally, you have to accept that you're going to look foolish sometimes."  "These skills are a package deal."  "What lion is God calling you to chase?"  (168-69)



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