I must admit: I did not expect to like this book. I think part of me is a little cautious when reading books written by well-known musicians. Mark Hall, the leader singer of Casting Crowns, released the book, Thrive: Digging Deep, Reaching Out. It is an honest, hopeful, sometimes humorous message full of takeaways for everyone.
In Thrive, Hall draws on his own experience as a follower of Jesus and a youth pastor. He shows how to take the next step in faith. The overall theme of the book is, as Hall sums up: “You can do more than just survive your life, you can thrive!”
Fortunately, this book is more than a cutesy rhyming catchphrase. Hall is able to blend his life experiences with the truth of the Gospel of Christ. He is a youth pastor and musician, and he shares his experiences with dyslexia and insecurities. He is the first to point out he is not perfect, but he has willingly shared what he has learned about how important it is to be grounded in truth and available to let God use you.
“God didn’t put you and me here just so we can survive through hard times. He put us here to thrive, to dig deep and reach out,” explains Hall. He uses tree and roots imagery to show how important it is to be rooted in faith. The book is divided into two parts: digging deep and reaching out. It all comes back to the central idea that if you are grounded, you are then able to reach out.
In part one, “Digging Deep,” Hall explores some basic things we need to learn (or perhaps relearn) about being in a relationship with God. In part two, “Reaching Out,” he explores the response side. It moves behind the need to be rooted by asking: we are rooted in Christ, now what? When God changes our thinking, we see things in light of how Christ might see people and circumstances. Instead of living into fear, we can live into our certain future hope in Christ. If we are willing to trust God, God can use us.
This book includes stories and testimonies from Hall and some of the people he pastors. You can tell he is passionate about what he believes. He brings a message of truth with grace and humility. Honestly, I started this book thinking I would not learn anything. Even though the message is seemingly simple, it is something we need to hear. We need to be rooted; we need to continue to grow.
As a youth pastor, I am always on the lookout for books I would be willing to recommend to teens who want to grow in their faith. I would gladly recommend this book. It does not necessarily present new information, but it does lay a pretty solid foundation.
Casting Crowns has released a CD with the same name. Check it out here.
I received this book free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review; the opinions I have expressed are my own.