Twenty-five years in publishing and dubbed "America's Pastor," author/speaker Max Lucado offers his beloved readers a new challenge to "Outlive Your Life" in this primer on making the book of Acts come to life again in modern times. Lucado, whose sales exceed 65 million, clearly and resoundingly always has a message that people want to mull over, chew on, and introspectively put into practice. He absolutely wants the thrust of this book's foundational purpose to be "acted upon." In his opening chapter, he writes, "Acts announces, 'God is afoot!' Is he still? we wonder. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers? Heaven knows we hope so. These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people who are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations."
Readers take pause. Lucado's quotes are so immensely overwhelming that he fears men and women who have the means (even a little means) will give up before they enter the fray. So, he exhorts Christians not to get overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the problem, by telling his faithful following that while no one can help everyone, everyone can help someone. Lucado continues, "...this much is clear: the storehouse is stocked. The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution. God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering."
Throughout each of his 16 chapters, Lucado offers a brief storyline of how the men and women of faith (as told in the book of Acts) lived out their faith day to day, person to person, problem by problem...by meeting need by need. He then transports fellow Christ followers into today's world of people and problems and offers suggestions on how to meet their needs. If the stories of suffering don't spark a flame of compassion in your heart, then Lucado's powerful end-of-chapter prayers surely will.
A few of his topics include: Letting God Unshell You (bringing to life the compassion we often squelch because it hurts us to feel and see others' pain); See the Need, Touch the Hurt (seeing past the superficial to the person behind the façade); Do Good, Quietly (meet the need invisibly if possible, don't promote self along the way); Stand Up for the Have-Nots (do what Jesus did and take care of the poor, brokenhearted, captives, blind and oppressed); and Pray First, Pray Most (remember that Jesus awoke early to pray, dismissed people to pray, ascended a mountain to pray, immersed his words and work in prayer).
Closing out his text, Lucado provides a meaty chapter-by-chapter section that gives readers excellent discussion questions and then ideas for action. OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE is a no-excuses-allowed resource that actually could turn our world right side up.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on September 14, 2010