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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Back to the Basics With 'Primal'

By George Paul Wood
June 6, 2010

When asked by a Jewish legal expert to name the most important commandment in the Mosaic law, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, cf. Deuteronomy 6:4,5). Nothing in life is as important as amo Dei, the love of God, which is referred to as the Great Commandment. Unfortunately, what Jesus said to the Ephesian church could be said to many Christians today: “You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4).

Mark Batterson’s new book, Primal (Multnomah Books, 2009), is an insightful guide to recovering your first love. If you are a spiritual seeker or a new Christian, this book will outline a simple but powerful vision of what following Christ is supposed to be. If you are a longtime Christian, it will refresh your faith. And if you are a pastor, it will help minister to both categories of parishioners.

Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., as well as a personal friend. If I recommend the book, it is because I can first recommend the man. Mark is a creative thinker and a gifted communicator. The church he leads meets at multiple theaters throughout the Washington, D.C., area, not because he can’t find a place for a more permanent building, but because that’s where the people are. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezer’s, an award-winning coffeehouse and performance space near Union Station. All profits from Ebenezer’s sales go to missions.

Primal is all about living out the Great Commandment and centers on four key practices: “compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy,” which correspond to “heart, mind, soul and strength” in Mark 12:30. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t think naturally of Christianity in those terms — especially not as it’s practiced by American Christians. We are not always a compassionate, wonder-filled, curious or energetic crowd. But once you’re done reading this book, you won’t be satisfied with going back to your old routines.

One of Mark’s great strengths is to explain old biblical truths in fresh ways and with new word pictures. This is a thoroughly biblical book, but it avoids tired clichés and conventional thinking. I’ve read a lot of books on Christian living. Mark wrote a lot of things in this book that exposed deficiencies in my own thinking and practice of the faith without making me feel hopeless or helpless in the process.

Read Primal! And start practicing the compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy that should characterize all followers of Christ!


GEORGE PAUL WOOD is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.