October 7, 2009
Mark Batterson on his new book "Primal" and on "Altar Building"
Skye Jethani, managing editor of Leadership and www.OutOfUr.com, introduced Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. Batterson described his forthcoming book, Primal (Multnomah):
"A couple of years ago, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary in Rome--historic, romantic. We visited the Colosseum, at Trevi Fountain we threw a penny over our shoulder. But the highlight for us was a little church, The Church of San Clemente, not in our travel books, nondescript, weather-beaten. We just walked in one day into this 12th century church, remarkably preserved with frescoes and marble, and it was built over a 4th-century church, which was built over ancient catacombs. For 5 Euros, you could take the underground tour. I will never forget walking down those stairs--like the wardrobe in Narnia, a portal to a different place and time. The air got damp, the lights got low, and the space got claustrophobic, and then you're standing in a place where people risked their lives to worship God. You feel a little uncomfortable with how comfortable you are. When you strip everything away, what is the core of what you believe? The church has evolved in lots of ways--with cathedrals, organs, and more. But what is primal is loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."
"We're known for what we're against, not for what we're for. Shouldn't we be known for what Jesus said was primal?"
Batterson's main talk was self-confessedly not nuts and bolts, but more devotional / challenging, from 1 Samuel 14:35ff.: "Altar building is a lost art. We don't celebrate enough what God has done right. We need to mark an experience so we have something to go back to."
What is an experience in your life in which God moved? How have you celebrated and commemorated that? If you haven't, how could you?
In contrast, one chapter later Saul builds not an altar to God but a monument to himself.
Why do you want your ministry to thrive--to celebrate God or to build your own reputation?
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