Thrive: Digging Deep, Reaching Out. Mark Hall with Tim Luke. Zondervan. 230 pages.
I’m always a little leery of the book they give out each year at our faculty colloquium at Southwestern Adventist University. In years past, I have tended to either bury them in my library or give them to my wife or friends that I know will read them. Why? Because many Christian books that are filled with good intentions are written by pastors who just don’t know how to communicate on a level where most people can understand and enjoy their books.
And I will admit, when I first picked up this book, I thought, I’ll read a chapter or two and see if it keeps my interest. That idea turned to, well, I’ll quickly read through it so I can get to one of the books I enjoy. Halfway through the book I realized that I was enjoying the book, more so than the other book that I had intended on reading in the first place.
So what’s the book about? First off, Mark Hall is the lead singer of Casting Crowns, and also writes a great deal of well-known Christian music. You’ll also notice the name Tim Luke listed: like many of these books, he’s the real author. He’s the ghostwriter, and he’s very good. What impressed me was that he was a nuts-and-bolts type of writer that not only kept your attention but made sense all the way along.
One of my pet peeves in inspirational books is what I call “stained glass” language, which means writer/pastors using language that many Christians have heard, but don’t really understand, and most non-Christians don’t understand and know at all. This book doesn’t have this. Mark Hall is a youth pastor, and that approach is noticeable with the illustrations and the language that is used here.
Not to repeat myself, but what’s the book about? It’s about discipleship, really. It’s about learning how to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ and using that as a foundation to reach out to others. It’s the foundation of Christianity, and even though we talk about it, many still don’t understand it or get it right. This book makes it very plain and simple.
It’s a good book. I read it in two days, and am recommending it to my wife, my kids and my students. And I recommend it to you.
Five of five stars.