Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Review: Outlive Your Life

One thing for sure, Max Lucado can turn a phrase. He’s my confere. In. The sentence. Fragment. Which makes his upcoming book Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference such a fun and quick read. And in typical Lucodian fashion, he illuminates the bible text by pulling it forward into our time. In his hands the bible speaks to us today.
Outlive Your Life is about making a difference in the world with the time we have. Lucado interweaves bible stories and other contemporary stories of people making a difference in their own communities and in the world.
Personally, despite his creative literary choreography, I found his re-telling of the bible stories the weakest part of the book. Yes, his writing was fun to read, and he drew some interesting details by how he re-constructed the narrative. But dare I say there was too much bible. Yes, it’s important to interpret our lives and our world through the lens of scripture. But since most of the book a re-fashioning of the bible stories, the contemporary connection wasn’t as strong as it could have been.
And the stories were strong. Like the man in Sarajevo who weeped over a child’s death. Micro-lending in Rio De Janeiro. The football game in Gainesville between the high school and the reform school. Stories of people making a difference.
It’s these stories that make the book so-readable and adds power to Lucado’s mandate to move people to action (there’s a study and action guide in the back). People hear so much about what God has done in bible times, but we need to hear more stories about what God is doing TODAY. Those are the kinds of stories that give people hope that God is still doing something in the world. And when they see that God is active and alive, people feel more compelled to contribute to the on-going blossoming of the new creation, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and grace.

NB: Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available this Fall at your favourite bookseller.

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