Book Review: If



Over the years I’ve become a big fan of Mark Batterson and his writing.  I love the way that he challenges Christians to dream bigger and to really believe what the gospel has to say about our lives.  I’ve read several of his books.  In fact, when I checked, I have actually reviewed several of them on my blog: The Graver RobberAll InCircle MakerPraying Circles Around Your ChildrenPrimalWild Goose ChaseIn A Pit With a Lion On A Snowy Day.  If was a great read…particularly in this season of my life as I truly desire to recognize that God puts opportunities in front of me on purpose for His glory and the good of others.  I don’t want to miss a thing!  Batterson’s If uses Romans 8 as the background to point the reader to Jesus and His very best for our lives.

I highlighted several things while reading and posted my notes below…

  • Every moment is created by millions of ifs that combine in a million different ways to make that moment possible.
  • The focus was my future, but we looked at it through the prism of my past.  It was like a connect-the-dots puzzle, with the letters spelling out God’s faithfulness.
  • It’s not about parsing thirty-nine verses with left-brain logic.  It’s about painting a landscape of faith, hope, and love with right-brain brushstrokes.
  • What if you are one decision away from a totally different life?
  • The crucifixion spells the end of if only regrets.  The resurrection spells the beginning of what if possibilities.  And when this life ends, infinite what ifs await us.
  • What if you rejected everything about God that wasn’t God and accepted Him for who He is—God is FOR you?
  • Whenever I hear about a high-profile failure, I try to never respond in a holier-than-thou  fashion.  The first ting that fires across my synapses is John Bradford’s famous adage: “But for the grace of God, there go I.”
  • When you’re confessing, God is editing. And it’s not just our sin that is edited out.  It’s His righteousness that is edited in.
  • The voice of condemnation is enemy subterfuge meant to discourage and disorient.
  • The next time the enemy reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.  His failure is as certain as your forgiveness.
  • The mercy bank is never closed.  And there are never insufficient funds.  The supply of grace is always greater than the demand of sin.
  • If you want God to do something new, you can’t keep doing the same old thing.  You’ve got to do something different.  Then yo’ve got to turn it into a righteous routine that you do over and over and over again.  One word of caution: Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Practice makes permanent.  The key is practicing the presence of God every day in every way.  And when you get into God’s presence, it’s game on.
  • If you really want God’s best, you won’t just say not to what’s wrong.  You’ll also say no to second best.  Good isn’t good enough any more!
  • We’re called to advance the kingdom, not hold the fort.
  • You need a vision that is bigger than the temptations you face.  You need a yes that is bigger and better than your no.  The most effective way to overcome if only regrets is going rafter what if dreams that simply overwhelm them.
  • When was the last time you searched your soul, ransacked your memory, or probed your motives?
  • Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.  Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
  • One surefire way to be filled with God’s Spirit is to be filled with God’s Word.  It was the Spirit of God who inspired the original writers of Scripture, so when we read Scripture, we are inhaling what the Holy Spirit exhaled thousands of years ago.
  • The quickening of God’s Word makes your heart break for the things that break the heart of God.  It forms the mind of Christ in you.  And when the Word comes to full term, it gives birth to what if.
  • There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.
  • What if you stopped letting fear dictate your decisions?
  • Nothing slows us down like trying to get ahead of God.
  • God is setting up divine appointments.  All we need to do is follow His lead, exercise a little patience, and take it one step at a time.
  • You can be saved without suffering, but you cannot fully identify with Christ. Suffering doesn’t devalue our lives.  It adds value in the form of invaluable lessons.  It is also a multiplier of God’s glory.  When compared to the eternal glory it yields, time-stamped suffering ranks as one of God’s greatest gifts.
  • Sometimes suffering is the catalyst that causes us to ask what if.
  • Make each day count.  Live like there is no tomorrow.  Do things that will live on after you die.
  • This I know for sure: God has taught me some things through my suffering that could not have been learned any other way.  God doesn’t give honorary doctorates.  He awards earned degrees from the school of suffering, the school of failure, and the school of pain.  And while I wouldn’t want to go through some of those experiences again, I wouldn’t trade my transcript.
  • What if you simplified your life by downsizing your lifestyle?
  • When Jesus broke the seal on the tomb, it sealed our victory.
  • You were once an idea in the mind of almighty God.  And God only has good ideas!  You are the physical manifestation of God’s eternal plans and purposes.  Simply put, you are God’s what if.  And just as God created you, you are called to create.
  • You may not influence millions of people, but you may influence one person who influences millions.  You might be parenting or coaching or teaching or mentoring the next Henrietta Mears, the next Billy Graham, the next Bill Bright.  Whatever they accomplish for the kingdom of God is part of your spiritual downline!
  • Who’s on your Romans 16 list?  Who’s your what if?
  • You may need to do what I did.  I felt like I needed to rediscover the Holy Spirit, so I read, studied, and meditated on every snapshot of the Holy Spirit in Scripture—from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.
  • Ephesians 5:18 exhorts us: “Be filled with the Spirit.”
  • Colossians 1:17 says: “In him all things hold together.”
  • Trust me, you don’t want your gifts to take you farther than your character can sustain them.  That’s a precarious place to be, and your success will be short-lived.
  • Every ology is a branch of theology.
  • In my experience, breakthrough ideas come from cross-pollination.
  • Control is an illusion.
  • He has a solution to every problem.  He has an answer to every question.  He has a breakthrough for every bondage.
  • God doesn’t just want to be worshipped out of left-brain memory.  He wants to be worshiped out of right-brain imagination too.  Few what ifs are more powerful than worship!
  • Lord, I want what you want more than I want what I want.
  • Where have you been wounded?  That is often where God uses us to help others.  In fact, that is part of the healing process.  Our pain is leveraged for someone else’s gain.  And somehow, someway, God turns if only into what if.
  • What if you let God leverage your greatest failures and deepest disappointments?
  • God does not over promise or under deliver.  If we meet the conditions.  He always exceeds the expectations.
  • What if the circumstances you’re asking God to change are the very circumstances God is using to change you?
  • What if money weren’t an object and you knew you couldn’t fail—what passion would you pursue?
  • What if you were more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes?
  • Play is an innate expression of what if.
  • What if you committed yourself to long obedience in the right direction?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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