Author: Max Lucado
Published: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2010.
This is one of the most inspiring books ever written by Lucado. With a livid narrative, a pulsating story-telling tempo and a style that is so uniquely Lucado, this book pumps you up without dumbing anyone down. Wading through the biblical book of Acts, Lucado gently guides readers to believe that they are created to make a difference. It is a call to step out of our respective shells and let our authentic selves be used by God to make a difference.
Right from the start, stories captivate the reader's attention. Except for the first and last chapter, the rest of the 15 chapters begin with a short Scripture passage from Acts. Every chapter ends with a prayer that applies the main message in the chapter.
The discussion guide and ideas for action is a welcome supplementary help for this highly readable book. In fact, the book doubles up as a small group study guide as well. For me personally, this book provides inspiration for Christians who may have felt their faith have jaded over the years. It is a refreshing jab of life. Although this book can be read quickly, it is more beneficial if readers can take their time to reflect and see how each chapter be used as a personal life application.
I like how Lucado weaves the main message with stories, his trademark. The most humorous chapter is chapter 4, "Don't Forget the Bread." The most inspiring is chapter 12, "Blast a Few Walls." The most paradigm-shifting is chapter 14, "Stable the High Horse." The final two chapters dovetail wonderfully into becoming Christlike as a firm witness. This is so important as we do not outlive our lives on the basis of self-effort. It has to be inspired by Christ alone. I am glad Lucado stresses this. The chapter that I was encouraged to read is Chapter 10, "Stand Up for the Have Nots." It is a powerful chapter that urges readers to get out of their comfort zone. I think this is a highly necessary chapter in an age of comfort.
If there is a critique, the book reads more like a paraphrase and the unsuspecting young Christian may even think that Jesus really had a Facebook account! (p130) Lucado marries Scriptures with contemporary culture so much that those who are less Bible-literate may mistakenly assume Lucado's modern analogy as fact. This is one biggest reason and advice I have for Christians reading Lucado's writings. Make sure you read your Bibles, and make sure Lucado's re-telling measure up.
In summary, this is a perk-me-up book that should encourage any reader desiring to live more for God.
My "Outlive Your Life" Story Moment
I am encouraged to write my own story of how God has used my small life to make a big difference. Looking back, as an active blogger, I remember writing a blog article about a fellow believer who is ministering in an earthquake hit country recently. At that time, most public attention happens to be on the big guys, the huge NGOs and the national aid agencies. Unfortunately, the big organizations needed time to get their responses organized. Yet the need is immediate, and the missionary is already in place to assist the quake victims with minimal red-tape! I decided to step in to see if my small blog can make a difference. However, there are two doubts. Firstly, who would bother to pay attention to small guys, and unknown missionaries in the world? Secondly, what can a small writer like me do in one tiny corner of the Internet world?
God has his other plans. After that blog post, I receive emails that people wanted to contribute to the fund of this missionary. I have never gotten such requests before and it is gratifying that my blog can be a bridge for donations. Though I do not get a cent out of it, it is gratifying enough to know that small blogs can make a big difference.