I finished up reading Mark Batterson’s latest book, All In, this morning and I found it to be a fantastic read. Batterson has a very engaging and easy to follow writing style and he does a good job providing illustrations and stories that anyone can relate to and learn from. Like his previous books The Circle Maker and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, All In is a book that will inspire and challenge you to take the next step in your relationship with God.
“You are one decision away from a totally different life.” That is the tagline on the front cover of the book and a perfect teaser to the content of the book. Will you go all in and all out for the All In All? Going all in isn’t necessarily about money. Batterson uses the story of the Rich Young Ruler’s conversation with Jesus to illustrate. The young man followed the law to a tee, lived an upstanding, moral life, but Jesus wanted more. “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Jesus perceived this man’s greatest obstacle to a full life. His wealth and possessions were sitting on the throne of his heart and keeping him from going all in. What is sitting on the throne of your heart? Reputation? Family? Career? Social status? Christian service? Money? This book will take you on a journey into the depths of your heart and inspire you to give more to God, if you will allow it.
“There is nothing God cannot do in and through a person who is fully consecrated to Him. We want to do amazing things for God, but that isn’t our job. That’s God’s job. Our job is to fully surrender all that we have and all that we are to the Lord Jesus Christ. And if we do our job, God will most certainly do His.” (Mark Batterson, All In)
A few weeks ago, I listened to a talk on creativity that worship leader David Crowder gave at a conference. It was extremely ADD, but also informative and inspiring. It is always good to hear how other people approach their craft. I had many takeaways from his talk, but I think the most lasting and impactful was his reference to a book by Austin Kleon titled Steal Like An Artist. I quickly ordered Kleon’s book and waited impatiently for it to arrive so I could dig in. I was at a point of dryness in my creative life and desperately needed to be replenished. The book did not disappoint.
The book’s sub-title is 10 things nobody told you about being creative. I have a great appreciation for the way Kleon broadens his message to make it accessible and applicable to all types of people, not just artsy types. It makes his message more timeless and the reach of his influence much greater. A glance at the table of contents gives proof that Kleon’s work is for more than just traditional creatives:
Here’s a sample of what stood out to me:
· It is important to have hobbies and side projects of different types. By dabbling in a variety of activities, your creative juices are stirred, which enhances your work in other ventures. It also helps fight stagnation.
· Collaboration is incredibly important, especially with people more talented and experienced than you. At one point, Kleon mentions that if you find that you are the most talented person in the room, you should find a new room. By surrounding yourself with people better than you, you will get better.
· Enjoy and embrace boredom. Take time to breath and allow “time wasters” to happen. Instead of hopping on the smartphone during an elevator ride, take the opportunity to disconnect from the virtual world and live in the real world. Give your mind the space to just be. Engage in a conversation with someone next to you. Or just zone out for a second. As you do, you will find yourself with more inspiration and a greater capacity to create.
Steal Like An Artist is a fun, easy read that is capable of inspiring creativity in anyone regardless of their age, field of interest, or background. Kleon has done a masterful job of passing on the lessons he has learned for all to enjoy and apply. I highly recommend this book as your next read.