Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

I have been reading Max Lucado since I was a little girl, so the decision to review one of his newest books was a no-brainer. And just like his children's book, "Just In Case You Ever Wonder" used to hold my attention as a 7-year-old, "Outlive Your Life" held my attention now. A quick and breezy read-- even while being stacked out with convicting and powerful truths-- Max delighted me with how he breathed new life into familiar bible stories and bible characters, expounding on their principles to apply to our modern-day lives as followers of Christ. 

I was especially moved by a chapter he wrote on prayer-- as one of the most powerful ways we are called to outlive our lives. I happened to read it on an evening in which I was fasting and praying over the ministry situation I'm very quickly entering into (www.rachamministries.org) and the Lord convicted me afresh of a truth He's made clear to me again and again and again-- ALL of the work done for His Kingdom, in His way, begins in prayer. Jesus was the master example, of course. As Lucado points out:
And Jesus. Our prayerful Jesus.
Awakening early to pray (Mark 1:35)
Dismissing people to pray (Matt 14:23)
Ascending a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28)

Crafting a model prayer to teach us to pray (Matt 6:9-13)
Cleansing the temple so others could pray (Matt 21:12-13)
Stepping into a garden to pray (Luke 22:39-46)
Jesus immersed His words and work in prayer. Powerful things happen when we do the same.
(pg 160)
He goes on to tell stories of amazing things God accomplished through ordinary people like you and me who made an earnest effort to take the set aside time to call on an extraordinary God about the things going on around us.

The final chapter in the book was the best-- Lucado's grand finale. It was expounding on Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats, how He would recount for us all the loving things we did in our lives to improve the lot of another, and tell us that it was Him we were touching then. And so all the times we didn't do what we could to reach out to the people around us, we didn't reach out to Him... This challenge envelopes my entire life. We are called, most importantly, to love. But for a very specific reason-- because of love of Him. The two go hand-in-hand. Jesus says we cannot love Him without loving 'the least of these' (which, less face it, we all are at one time or another, in one way or another), and when we love others, we're loving Him.

So, I finished this book one evening fasting and praying for the next ministry stint He has me in, helping to start up a children's home in Uganda with Racham Ministries (arriving January 5th). It's all completely beyond me and I still don't know how He's going to get it all together, but I know I can trust Him. And I know that whatever way He shows me to serve any of His little ones (and that's all of us, not just the children) is an opportunity to pour out my love on Him through pouring it out on them. So, may the little bit of Himself in me outlive the me in me as He teaches me to love on, love on, love on.

And may you outlive your life through Him too.
There's just no other thing that matters when all is said and done...

*I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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