September 10, 2010

Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life

Though it's not my usual academic fare, I offer below a review I just finished for Max Lucado's newest book. In brief, great book. Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Outlive Your Life
is a compelling call to shake our complacency and rediscover our world through God's eyes. In these fifteen lessons shaped by the book of Acts, Max Lucado challenges his readers to look at their lives, their surroundings, and especially the people who surround them with a fresh and God-shaped perspective. Taking a cue from the way the gospel revolutionized the disciples and their ministry, even in uncomfortable and counter-cultural or even counter-intuitive ways, we too are to take up the kingdom life.

With his characteristic talent for pastoral insight, but in a way that surpasses other books of his that I have read, Lucado makes a clear and impassioned plea for so much more than cultural Christianity. He thinks of our complacent life like living in a clamshell: "Most of us have learned to insulate ourselves against the hurt of the hurting. Haven't we?" (23) Instead, God calls us "to unshell [ourselves] and partner with [Him] in [His] mission of love" (29). And that is what this book is all about, a new perspective, that looks beyond ourselves and our own interests to the interests of others, to the very interests of God. One great but uncomfortable point that typifies his challenge to readers is his assertion that "Poverty is not the lack of charity but the lack of justice" (106). We can't truly be Christ-followers and live life blind to those around us, blind to suffering, indifferent to injustice. Instead, we need to "outlive our lives," with a broader view and a renewed call to action.

I am happy to pass along that I enjoyed this book. It makes a great point (similar to Richard Stearns' The Hole in Our Gospel), is easily readable, and contains some great stories and illustrations for his points. And it serves as a clarion call to a broader vision, renewed commitment to prayer, and imperative for action. I hope this is his most-read book ever.