I’ve been a long time Max Lucado fan. I can remember the first time I read his book On The Anvil and being absolutely challenged and changed by Max’s written words. (Wow! I think I was in middle school…has it been that long?) It was helpful that Max puts out a dozen books a year, because we always had something to give my dad for Christmas or his birthday. So much so that my dad would often say “I’m all ‘Max-ed’ out.”
The thing I have appreciated most about Max’s writings is how he puts muscle and flesh on what was previous just a skeleton of an idea, or thought, or belief, or story. He has helped make my faith real. He has a gift at drawing out the images I fail to see. He would expose what I failed to picture. If Jesus was drawing in the dirt, Max would point out the dirt in his fingernails, and I would go, “Oh yeah. That’s right. Fingernails get dirty.” That’s what great communicators do. That’s what great storytellers do. And I think at the heart of Max is that: a storyteller.
The past couple years Max Lucado has been my pastor, and having been subject to the leadership and teaching of Max I would say that Max believes in what he’s selling. And that is the key to Max’s storytelling, that’s the key to Max’s writing. How does Max catch what we can miss? Max has been spending a lot of time in that world. Why does Max catch the dirt in Jesus’ fingernails? Because Max is hanging out with Jesus and watching him play in the dirt, getting in the dirt with him, and then having to wash his hands and clean those fingernails. (Have I taken that illustration too far yet?)
I guess what I’m saying is this: Max writes what he knows, and Max knows Jesus.
However. I haven’t read any of Max’s book in some time. Because the truth is one could get “Max-ed” out. With all the books, and booklets, and student edition books, and Bibles, and greeting cards, and etc…well…there may be something to the adage “everything in moderation”. Also Max has a style of writing that can…um…that can…this is hard to write about your pastor, but…well his writing can get old. I remember reading In the Grip of Grace and coming to a point in the book and thinking, “This is all really good, but I’m bored.” Now it didn’t help that at the time I was attending Bible college; a place where yuppity, arrogant scholarly students referred to Max as “light”.
So does that give you an idea as to how I approached reading and reviewing Max Lucado’s new book entitled Fearless? I’m a huge fan of Max Lucado, as a pastor, as a writer, as a person and would recommend anything of his to anyone, but I had grown bored.
So what did I find when I opened up Fearless?
I found Max Lucado all over again. Seriously have you read this guy’s stuff. He’s a good writer.
In Fearless, Max traces over the passages where Jesus speaks into the fear of his disciples and encourages them to fear less. In these encounters the disciples had much to fear; two thousand years later many of us find much to fear as well. We live in a world where there is enough evil and uncertainty that can shake our bones and rattle our nerves, but Max gently and pastorally guides his readers through encounters with a Christ who conquers fears.
This stuff will preach. And while I’m not sure which came first the rough drafts of the book or the sermons, it is true that Max has preached some of this material. Which reminds me of a chaplain at an Air Force base in Germany who was reading a chapter from one of Max’s books each week. People were coming out of church really impressed with this chaplain’s wordsmithing and oratory skills. My dad and I came out of church saying, “Those stories were really familiar, he’s got a Lucado-ish way about his preaching.” The following week I brought the book in with me and read along as he preached.
Like I said Max has been my pastor for the past couple of years. This fall Max is teaching thru the book of Acts and as a church we are asking how do we, like the early church, passionately live out the truths, passion, teaching and mission of Jesus. As we attempt to radically engage the city of San Antonio, I’m thankful for a pastor who is willing to fear less.
Get the book.