Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thrive by Mark Hall

Taking the Next Step in Your Faith Life to GROW DEEP AND STRONG The only way to be the hands and feet of Jesus is to love him and serve others out of our love for him. But to do that we must first be deeply rooted in our life with God. In Thrive, Mark Hall, lead singer for the popular band Casting Crowns, shows us what it really looks like to walk with Jesus. In part 1, Digging Deep, Hall demonstrates how to truly engage with the Word and a community of faith, worshiping and pursuing God wholeheartedly as our hearts and minds are transformed. In part 2, Reaching Out, we see the fruits of our engagement with the Word and the community, the grateful giving back of service and love. Using relatable stories, grounded teaching, and great application, Hall helps everyone who wants to take the next step of faith and see their life grow deep and strong.

Mark Hall is one of those people who is on a list of people I admire. Not only have I enjoyed his music for many years, but have seen his faith in action. The first instance was the response of Casting Crown when a radio personality's son drowned, and the second was after a tornado hit my town. Just days after the tornado hit Cullman, Casting Crowns was here to provide a message of hope and to help with fund-raising efforts. Mark (and the rest of the group) are people you can look up too, but, more importantly, they point you straight to Jesus.

In his book, Thrive, Mark Hall encourages believers to do more than simply survive and believe that better things are ahead 'when (fill in the blank) happens', but to thrive in your life. Using an illustration of an old oak
'The Tree' located in Geneva, Alabama
tree, along with one of my favorite verses from Psalm 1, Mark explains how it is essential to have deep roots to sustain life and growth in a tree and that we can apply those same principles to ourselves. A believer may spend all of their time getting strongly rooted in the Word of God, but never applies that knowledge to reaching out to others for Christ. On the other hand, there are those that reach higher and further to share the love of Jesus, but neglect building a firm foundation of their beliefs.

Since Mark is a youth minister, I was reading this primarily with that audience in mind, and I do believe he gives excellent examples that teens and young adults will understand and take to heart. He has an anecdotal style that I appreciate and gave examples that stuck in my mind. I admit that I got a lot out of Thrive myself. We each need to take time periodically to re-evaluate our own lives, and see if there are areas we are neglecting. The last few chapters made me put a lot of though into my own actions---and lack of actions. The book ends with The Thrive Challenge: "Digging In", "Reaching Out", and "Digging In and Reaching Out". Yes, it is essential to work on one and two, and then learn to put them into the third challenge. I highly recommend this book for youth and up. There is also a student adaptation available though.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook 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.”

"They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper."

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