Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Outlive Your Life

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference

by Max Lucado
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010

In the Discussion and Action Guide that comes at the end of "Outlive Your Life," David Drury states that "Max [Lucado] wants you to do more than read the book of Acts. He wants you to live out the twenty-ninth chapter, writing the story of the church for your generation." After reading that, I dutifully got out my Bible to read the twenty-ninth chapter of Acts of the Apostles only to find that there is no such chapter. That is the point - we need to write it with how we live our lives.

In "Outlive Your Life," Max Lucado encourages each one of us to follow the example of the early Church, to examine our gifts and take action to make a difference in our world. Lucado invites each one of us to do something that will have an impact on our larger world. To that end, the Discussion and Action Guide is extremely helpful because it asks pointed questions that will encourage you to take concrete actions. It is so easy to read a book like this and nod while reading saying "Yes, I should do that," but then set the book aside and go back to your usual way of living.

One relatively easy way to be more loving toward our neighbor is to be more hospitable. In the chapter "Open Your Door; Open Your Heart," Lucado points out that "the Greek word for hospitality compounds two terms: 'love' and 'stranger.' The word literally means to love a stranger. Inviting someone to eat with us, especially someone who is poor, feeds both the body and soul of that person. We not only give them food; we give them love.

In his chapter "Don't Write Off Anyone," Lucado examines the story of Saul and of Ananias who trusted God enough to reach out to this man best-known for killing Christians. Ananias believed Saul could change. By the same token, we should never feel that someone can't be helped with God's grace. We should never give up on people. We can always pray, put them in God's hands, and use our own to reach out to them.

Lucado has many other suggestions such as these. Like all of Lucado's writings, "Outlive Your Life" is inspiring and practical. It is well-worth reading.

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