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Book Review: Outlive Your Life

September 18, 2010

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This book is one of those difficult cases where I can’t imagine parting with my copy – ‘cause I’ll probably read it again tomorrow – but I want everyone I know to read it too.

I admit I was skeptical about a Max Lucado book, and probably never would have read it if there had been more of a selection available. I’ve only read one other thing by Max, and it was one of those little pocket-sized books that is based on a specific situation or circumstance. The only other thing I know of Max is that I hear his name a lot on KLOV, which just isn’t huge points in his favor to me. (I’m such a snob, I know.)

BUT, Outlive Your Life is fantastic, and I’m really not kidding when I say I may read it again tomorrow.

At just under 200 pages, it’s no pocket-sized, feel-good manual, but Pastor Lucado does such a masterful job of blending challenging ideas, encouragement, and real-life examples, that the pages turn themselves. Each chapter was going to be the “last chapter for now,” but I couldn’t put it down and – yesterday being my day off – I read it in a couple sittings in one day. (I must also mention that the chapters are of manageable length – developed, but not lengthy. I hate having to stick a bookmark in the middle of a chapter, but not an issue here.)

Lucado not only challenges you to really “outlive your life,” he leaves you feeling confident you can do it – and satisfied that there’s really no other way to live. The introductory “fable” and the first chapter feel very much in the vein of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years or Notes From a Tilt-A-Whirl, but the rest of the book becomes more practical and scripture-based.

Outlive Your Life loosely uses the beginning of the book of Acts as a model for inspiration and instruction. Chapter by chapter, the book takes its reader from inspiration to conviction to vision and strategy, and finally leaves him with a word of warning and a final encouragement. Lucado discusses each idea with scripture, hope, and personality, and ends each chapter before any of it becomes overwhelming or repetitive – no small feat.

I really, really recommend this book.

AND, as if all that weren’t enough, a very nice man by the name of David Drury prepared a chapter-by-chapter Discussion and Action Guide that’s included at the end. Can you say, “Home Group”? There are a couple pages for each chapter that include discussion questions and “Ideas for Action.” Love it.

If you are a sideline Christian and you know it, let this be your catalyst. If you are an in-the-game Christian and you’re getting tired, or losing focus, let this inspire you to keep going. If you know a student who left for college this fall, send a copy with some Ramen and toilet paper. If you’re a parent, teacher, or pastor and you’re always looking for some good, inspirational, non-fiction stories to drive a point home – resource.

Quotes after the break:

“But his body has been known to misbehave. The brain discounts the heart. (Academics discount worshippers.) The hands criticize the knees. (People of action criticize people of prayer.) The eyes refuse to partner with the feet. (Visionary thinkers won’t work with steady laborers.)”

“When we provide food stamps, we stave off hunger. But when we invite the hungry to our tables, we address the deeper issues of value and self-worth.”

“So how can we prepare ourselves [for persecution]? Simple. Imitate the disciples. Linger long and often in the presence of Christ. Meditate on his grace. Ponder his love. Memorize his words. Gaze into his face. Talk to him. Courage comes as we live with Jesus.”

(Regarding Acts 6) “The problem of inequity warranted a churchwide [sic] conversation. The leaders wanted every member to know that this church took poverty seriously. The ultimate solution to poverty is found in the compassion of God’s people. Scripture endorses not forced communism but Spirit-led volunteerism among God’s people.”

“We can rise too high but can never stoop too low. What gift are you giving that he did not first give? What truth are you teaching that he didn’t first teach? You love. But who loved you first? You serve. But who served the most? What are you doing for God that he could not do alone? How kind of him to use us. How wise of us to remember.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 10:38 am

    We have the same tastes. And (similar responses). I read this one too, for Book sneeze. I was/am also torn, I want to read it again and again, and yet I want everyone I know to read it.

    Glad you liked it…

    Side note: STILL not done with Seeds of Turmoil, but have turned a corner in it! :)

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