Lucado is probably the most successful Christian writer on the planet. With a hundred million books and related products in the market you know that what Max says gets heard by a wide audience. Which is why I am delighted to recommend his latest book, Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine.
What’s it about?
In this book Max argues that “grace is God’s best idea.” Yet it is an idea barely appreciated by a worn-out society. In the church we hear, “Serve more, pray more, attend more” and we comply because we want to be good Christians and do our bit for the Lord. The problem is, there’s no end in sight. No matter how much we do, more remains to be done.
Don’t you find it strange that we are driven to do good and be good yet no one can answer the fundamental question, How good is good enough? Lucado finds this…
Bizarre. At stake is our eternal destination, yet we are more confident about lasagna recipes than the entrance requirements for heaven. God has a better idea: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). We contribute nothing. Zilch… Our merits merit nothing. God’s work merits everything. (p.47)
In this book Lucado takes a word that has been ruined by religion and brings it to life. What is grace?
Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. It comes at us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another. “Grace upon grace” (John 1:16)… We never exhaust his supply. “Stop asking so much! My grace reservoir is running dry.” Heaven knows no such words. God has enough grace to solve every dilemma you face, wipe every tear you cry, and answer every question you ask. (p.99)
This is a book I would recommend for all who are in need of grace, saint and sinner alike. It is a crystal clear proclamation of the good news of God’s grace. Its message will fill the sails of your soul with the fresh breezes of heaven.
However, one could argue that for those of us in the grace community, the message of this book is nothing new. It’s just one of many good books on grace. Even so, I recommend this book for another reason.
As a grace preacher, what I valued most about this book is Lucado himself. No one writes like Max. He is a master of economical writing, a virtuoso of prose. What Yo-Yo Ma is to cellos, Max is to words. He tells stories that resonate and fire the imagination.
As I was reading this book, my daughter recognized the author’s name and said “Punchinello.” She was referring to the lead character of one of the best stories of grace ever written, namely, Lucado’s children’s book You Are Special. (Parents, want to know how to reveal grace to your kids? Get this book!)
Why is this significant? Why does it matter that Max is good with words? Because we who dare to preach the gospel need to rediscover the lost art of story-telling.
The story-teller’s gospel
Jesus was a story-teller who told stories to prepare hearts for the gospel. “There was a man who had two sons…” “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king…” Do you see? People love stories. Stories prepare the soil of the soul for the seed of God’s word. The best stories reveal the true nature of God and his redemptive purposes for humanity.
Max is a gifted story-teller and his gift is evident in this book. For instance, you’ve probably heard the story of the women caught in adultery many times, but you’ve never heard it the way Max tells it. There’s Jesus, stooping and running his fingers through the dirt, the same dirt he used to make man, as if he is reminding himself from whence we came. “I made them out of dirt. Earthly people do earthly things.”
Then there’s story of the Red Sea which God opened “like a curtain” and closed “like a shark’s jaws” turning “Pharaoh’s army into fish bait.”
I love these word pictures. Here’s another: “If hurts were hairs, we’d all look like grizzlies.” Classic!
You may have the best gospel in the word but if no one’s listening to you, your gospel won’t change a thing. People listened to Jesus and they are most definitely listening to Max Lucado.
- It’s not about me
- “God’s Grammar” by Mick Mooney
- see all E2R’s book reviews here