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Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 26, 2008
When last we heard from Mark Batterson, he was chasing a lion down a pit on a snowy day. Now he's chasing a wild goose. Evidently, there's a lot of chasing going on in Mark's neck of the hood.

Most of us think a wild goose chase is, as Mark puts it, "a purposeless endeavor without a defined destination." Mark thinks otherwise. He notes that one of the Celtic Christian images of the Holy Spirit was An Geadh Glas, "the Wild Goose." Chasing that Wild Goose is anything but a purposeless endeavor, even though we don't know the defined destination at the outset of the chase.

Chasing the Wild Goose pulls you out of "inverted Christianity." "Instead of following the Spirit," Mark writes, "we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God's purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes." Such a form of Christianity is sinful--displacing God from the center and putting our selves there instead--but it is also deadly boring. Mark deploys the image of a caged animal at the zoo to describe the life of inverted Christianity. The natural beauty, freedom, and power of biblical Christianity gets locked away behind safe, comfortable, and predictable bars. If we want to chase the Goose, we have to get out of our cages.

In Wild Goose Chase, Mark identifies six cages inverted Christians get locked inside: responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure, and fear. He devotes one chapter to each of the cages and uses one character from the Bible to illustrate spiritual uncaged living. Nehemiah shows us how to live a "responsibly irresponsible life," one that is infused with God's passion. Moses shows us how to break out of our spiritual routines. Abraham shows us how to overcome the antisupernatural assumptions that place limits on what God can do in our lives. Peter shows us how to let God's grace overcome our guilt and lead to a life of gratitude. Paul shows us how apparent failures are actually providential opportunities to spread the gospel. And Jonathan shows us to live on offense, rather than defense. Mark also peppers each chapter with stories from lives of contemporary people who are chasing the Goose.

One of Mark's greatest virtues as a writer is a Rick Warren-like ability to take a simple concept and give it practical legs. I have to confess that the genre of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase is not a genre I read a lot in anymore because it has tendencies toward the formulaic and simplistic. Mark's books are neither of those things. Don't be fooled by his short paragraphs, self-deprecatory humor, or obsession with medial front cortex illustrations. This book, and its predecessor, challenged me a deep, personal level. And they will do the same thing for you.

I highly recommend this book. I gave it to my associate. My family members will be reading it. And I'll be promoting it at my church. If you're tired of dull, passionless, routinized Christianity, read this book! And chase the Goose!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson is like one of those really good sermons that make you squirm in your pew with conviction. Batterson wants to see the end of complacent Christians who want only to live comfortably. He encourages readers to listen for the Holy Spirit and start living on the edge in accordance with God's purpose. He uses several anecdotes to make his case and Scripture to back it up. It's' hard to put into words just how powerful this book was for me. I squirmed through most of the chapters, and it has earned the rare permanent spot on my bookshelf. It's the kind of book that I will read year after year to remind myself of what I should be doing and to measure my progress. Are you ready for your faith to be stirred and shaken out of its boring routine? Read Batterson and chase the Wild Goose. You can't help but be changed.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2008
Batterson has done it again! I read "Wild Goose Chase" from cover to cover without putting it down. Every chapter made me smile, made me think, and made me pause to reflect on God's heart.

I especially enjoyed Mark's perspective and insight on well known bible stories. Although I've read about Moses, Abraham, Jonathan, Peter, and Paul countless times, Batterson retold the old stories in a new light.

Even though Mark flawlessly kept my attention, I found myself pausing many times to pray.

Mark's language and images have a way of awakening my dormant faith and dreams. I will unquestionably revisit this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I chose this for a small group study. What Mark writes is not just for 20-somethings, but has spoken to your Senior group. We never get too old for God to use us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2008
Recently I was given the opportunity to review the new book by Mark Batterson, "Wild Goose Chase." The book releases today, and I can't urge you enough to get get your copy!

Mark is not only an author, but he serves as the pastor of National Community Church, in Washington, DC. In observing his approach to ministry both in person (at events I have heard him speak at), and on his weekly podcast, he relates so naturally to the listener because you get the feeling that he's "on the journey" just like you are. That said, his writing style takes on a similar feel. To date, I have read both of his books, and his passionate approach to living the adventure and fulfilling the dreams God has given us is birthed out of a heart that pursues God.

In his latest release, "Wild Goose Chase," Mark likens the modern pursuit of God to that of a chase of a "wild goose."

The back cover boasts, "Most of us have no idea of where we're going most of the time. Perfect. Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit - An Geadh -Glas, or "the Wild Goose." The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacreligious, I cannot think of a better description of what it's like to follow the Spirit through life. Most of us have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty goes by another name: ADVENTURE."

It's that adventure that drew me through the pages of this book. Recently my wife and I made the announcement that we will be planting a church in the Millvale section of Pittsburgh (more on that later), and the process leading up to that announcement, as well as the uncertainty of the days that lie ahead were such fertile ground for the words of this book to get buried in my own spirit.

In the second chapter mark states, "There are moments in our life when our passions and the purposes of God converge in what I call supernatural synchronicities. These are the moments when we come alive. These are the moments when the sovereignty of God overshadows our incompetencies. And these are the moments when our success can be attributed to only one thing: the favor of God. God does something for us that we would never do for ourselves."

Not only was it hard not to see the current events of my own life right now as one of those "spiritual synchronicities, but it seems as if the introduction of this book in my life is one of them, as well! I reccomend this book for anyone wanting to awaken their personal pursuit of God, but even more, I reccomend it for those anticipating taking a leap of faith for God. This book will energize your journey!

If you're interested in checking out the book and even downloading a sample chapter, check out [...] as well as [...] to read Mark's personal blog.

Information from the publisher:

Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
Summary:
Most of us have no idea where we're going most of the time. Perfect. "Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit-An Geadh-Glas, or `the Wild Goose.' The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it's like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something....Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure." --from the introduction.

Author Bio:
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington, DC's National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America's most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. More than seventy percent of NCC'ers are single twentysomethings who live or work on Capitol Hill. Mark is the author of the best-selling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger ([...] He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Wild Goose Chase is a fun read that will inspire you to think more about what it means to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life. Written in much of the same style as Mark's first book, Wild Goose Chase is an easy to read book filled with personal stories, Biblical character case studies, provoking challenges and memorable one-liners.

The byline of the book says, "Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God." Batterson explains that Christians can do this by getting free of 6 cages that hold them captive. These cages are:

1. Responsibility
2. Routine
3. Assumptions
4. Guilt
5. Failure
6. Fear

Some of my favorite quotes in the book are:

- When we lack the guts to step out in faith, we rob God of the glory that is rightfully his.
- We start dying when we have nothing worth living for. And we don't really start living until we find something worth dying for.
- [The Holy Spirit] comforts the afflicted. Like a good counselor, He also afflicts the comfortable.
- The only way you discover a new identity is by letting go of an old one.
- We can't appreciate the full extent of God's grace until we realize the full extent of our sin.
- God often uses things that seem to be taking us off our course to keep us on His course.
- I think some of us want to know the will of God more than we want to know God.
- Start playing offense with your life.

You will enjoy this book and it will motivate you to get closer to the Holy Spirit and begin the journey of following after him!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
I read quite a few books over the summer, ones that kept interrupting my reading of Mark Batterson's Wild Goose Chase, which was pretty good, except it didn't say much that I hadn't read in Erwin McManus's Unleashed or David Platt's Radical, or the one I read more recently, A. W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. I'd picked Batterson's from the list at Blogging for Books, where I get free books in exchange for reviews, because I'd been interested in reading about the Holy Spirit, except Wild Goose Chase is more about living a life of adventure following the lead of the Spirit, whom the Celtic Christians, Batterson explains, referred to as "the Wild Goose." To learn more about the Spirit, I'll have to read the next book on my reading list: Francis Chan's Forgotten God.

Since it took me awhile to work through Wild Goose Chase, not because it was long -- it wasn't, it just wasn't a great read -- I had to go back and review my highlights and notes. Batterson does have some inspiring things to say about our breaking free from the cages we lock ourselves in that prevent us from chasing the Holy Spirit. He writes of the cages of responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure, and fear. He encourages grabbing hold of vision for our marriages, our families, our careers, our lives. God has much he wants to do through us and in us. Do our goals -- if we have any -- reflect a desire to follow after the Spirit, or are they selfish, bent toward our own needs and desires? We have to be careful, those vision-oriented, goal-driven among us, because we can easily miss God's taking us off our course to get us to move on his.

"The Wild Goose chase begins when we come to terms with our greatest responsibility: pursuing the passions God has put in our heart." --BATTERSON

I think I need a reminder every other month or so that God is calling me to a life of adventure, because I so easily fall into routines that are comfortable, one of the consequences of which is that the angels assigned to protect me as a follower of Jesus become like Tess's security detail in Guarding Tess:

"I wonder if some of us are living such safe lives that not only are we bored, but so are our guardian angels." --BATTERSON

I want to learn to become more attune to the Holy Spirit's leading, because, as Batterson points out, it's a "moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that turns life into an everyday adventure." Again, in Wild Goose Chase, Batterson doesn't offer much in the way of helping us to become more sensitive to the Spirit. Hopefully, Francis Chan's book will help.

I recommend Wild Goose Chase, though perhaps Tozer's A Pursuit of God is a better place to start for those wanting to chase after the Wild Goose, if only because Tozer is more succinct and a better writer of prose. Either way, you can't go wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2008
The title of the book comes from the Celtic Christians, who referred to the Holy Spirit as "An Geadh-Glas" or "the wild goose".

In his followup book to In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Batterson discusses six cages that keep us from chasing God's plan for our lives. I found each chapter to be incredibly insightful, encouraging, challenging and practical. Whereas his previous book inspired me to look at life and circumstances differently (a challenge to live dangerously), this book provided me with practical ways to step out and enter into the chase.

I've always been impressed with Batterson's seemingly natural ability to communicate truths in simple memorable statements (my highlighter got an extra workout on this one). Here's just a few I found after flipping back through the book:

* "Discovering something worth dying for makes life worth living."
* "One of the great mistakes we make is asking God to do for us what God wants us to do for Him."
* "And God seems to be far less concerned with where I'm going than with who I'm becoming."

As a youth pastor, I can't help but read this book with students in mind. I think it's perfect for Juniors and Seniors in high school who are in the process of discovering who they are and where they are going in life. The fact that the book is so accessible and relevant only makes it that much more easy to recommend.

On page 13, Batterson writes that he hopes this book serves "as a divine appointment waiting to happen." I think what I appreciate the most about this book is that it has been just that for me. I've been challenged to step out of my areas of routine and live a life of faith in pursuit of the "wild goose."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
This is the most down to earth description of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Most of the studies previously read are either vague or step away from the real experience of encounter with how God is working in us. Be ready for finding a fresh new insight on the subject. I have recommended this book to quite a number of people, and have given copies to other friends and neighbors. It will stay on my reading shelf so I can continue to look through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
A Chase Worth Pursuing

Pastor Mark Batterson uses the imagery of the wilderness, the unpredictable, unsafe nature of nature to depict what it is like to follow God's Holy Spirit. Batterson writes both pastorally and ambitiously. He has lived in great blessing, being filled with joy, when in his own life he has followed God's lead and done so at cost to himself and his family. When he has shown willingness to risk, he's been blessed by God tremendously. He wants that joy and richness of life for his readers.

The strength of his book is his call for people of the church to abandon their comfort zones and safety zones. Christianity in America can be quite comfortable. In some places, the church can be the location of social, political, and personal power. It can be as much social gathering as it is body of Christ. Batterson wants to see Christianity be dynamic - the unpredictable journey on which God knows the way but we do not.

The high point along this line of thinking comes when Batterson writes, "When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? God wants to send us to different places to do difficult things. And if you chase the Wild Goose, he will lead you into the shadowlands where light and darkness clash" (p. 106). Batterson continues, quoting a man who reaches out with the gospel to porn-addicts in Las Vegas, "I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell."

Such a faith is daring, uncomfortable, and scary. It only works if Batterson's "Wild Goose" points us to the true Spirit of God. Jesus laid out a future as unsettling as this for Peter when he re-commissioned the disciple after Peter had denied him. Upon their reunion on the beach, Jesus re-established the fisherman and told him he would one day be led where he did not want to go (John 21:18). In Batterson's terminology, Jesus was setting Peter on a wild goose chase.

In this very good book, an extended sermon really, I find a few points to critique. First, his imaginative depiction of Adam naming the animals (from Genesis) to me sounded kind of corny. He supposes a literal first human who has the task of setting out over the entire earth to discover (without aid of microscope or scuba gear or mountain climbing equipment) all the animals on the earth and name them. If he is going to read Genesis that literally, he has a problem because there are so many species, one man could not observe them all in 10 lifetimes. I assume Batterson was striving for the "awe" factor, but I don't think it worked.

Second, he did that bit of creative writing in the midst of his description of time spent in the Galapagos Islands. To me that seems like a trip many of his readers could never take. Who has the time or money to go spend 10 days in the Galapagos? Maybe it is cheaper than I imagine. But I can't believe that for the majority of his readers such a trip is even possible.

Third, he refers to his college preaching in a very small church. Today he pastors a church of thousands. His view of that experience is that it was to prepare him for "bigger" things (p.30). He recommends giving your all in small things, which is excellent teaching. But, those 12 people who received his preaching in that small church aren't small to God. Batterson is excited that now he gets to preach to 1000's most of whom are young (it's always sexier to preach to young people than to senior citizens), professional (it's always more impressive to preach to "power-players"), and to do it in a power city like Washington DC. But in God's eyes, as Biblical stories attest over and over and over, the big church of sexy, young political staffer is no "bigger" than the church of 12 people. His work now is not more important than it was when he was unknown and not yet an author.

Pastors of small churches made up of people with blue-collar jobs who don't take trips to the Galapagos are not less important than pastors of big-city mega churches. They aren't doing smaller work. They are chasing the "Wild Goose." Batterson talks about the Wild Goose showing up in unexpected, wild places. But most people live most of their lives in normal, everyday places. Real faith is seen when we earnestly seek and see the Holy Spirit in normal places, in the mundane comings and goings of our lives. The "Wild Goose" shows up there and those seemingly innocuous places become "thin places" and the normal becomes the transcendent.

The instances from Wild Goose Chase I have critiqued and a few I have not lessen the force of an otherwise very good book. That said, it is worth reading. Batterson preaches well through his writing and more often than not I found myself saying "Amen," as I read. I appreciate his inspiring story-telling and even more, I appreciate his ambitious attempts to rile believers out of spiritual slumber. Mark Batterson's style is inviting and his intent is grounded in scripture.

For an interesting analogy, for very optimistic, positive writing, and for an honest attempt at being true to the Spirit of the New Testament, I recommend Mark Batterson's Wild Goose Chase.
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