Recently I joined a program called Booksneeze. I get to pick out books for free and keep them forever provided that I write a review about them. I’m not required to say anything specific about the book. So decided to give it a try. This is my first (and maybe only) attempt.
As a pastor, I often receive questions from people about life, faith, politics, and just about anything else. These questions range from the simple (How do you preach a sermon without looking at your notes?) to the nearly impossible (If God really cares about the intimate details of my life, then why does he allow me to suffer?).
In just less than two years of full-time ministry I’ve encountered countless questions.
Max Lucado, a ministry veteran, has been answering questions for decades. In his new book, Max on Life, he gives his take on 172 different questions. These questions are divided into 7 topics that deal with grace, our purpose, prayer, romance, and the afterlife, to name a few.
This practical book is very handy because of its layout. Not only does Max organize the questions according to topic, but he provides a topical and Scriptural index at the end of it. So, say you have a friend who is wondering about remarriage, you can look in the index and find Max’s thoughts and advice about the subject.
Structurally, Max on Life departs from what I’ve come to expect from Max’s other work. It reads more like a reference book than one about Christian living. Each question receives an answer about 1-2 pages in length. I found that the best way to read the book was by reading one or a few questions each night before bed.
However, stylistically, Max still has his very clever way of using everyday experiences to help us understand core truths of the Gospel that I’ve come to enjoy. I found most of his answers to be very heartfelt and honest. He seems to have thoughtfully engaged very difficult issues like suffering, poverty, and sexuality. Some of the biggest criticisms of Christianity are tackled in here. Max wrestles with heavy content. I’m thankful that he did not shy away from touchy subjects.
I would have liked a little more depth to some of his answers, though. I’ve always believed Max is a very thoughtful writer, and I’d like to know more than a page or two of his thoughts about some of these difficult questions.
Overall, I think this book is a great resource to have for a pastor and any thoughtful Christian who shares their faith with others. I’m happy to have it on my shelf.
Even still, when I compare Max on Life to some of his more cohesive works, like He Chose the Nails, or Just Like Jesus, it doesn’t have the same lasting impact. Max’s full-length books convict and encourage me, calling me to lasting change. I remember quotes from his books for years and use them in sermons. I didn’t have that experience quite as much with this book, though. I suspect that is because of the structure of this book more than anything else.
Therefore, I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. It’s Max Lucado, so of course it’s great, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of some of his other works.