Last I heard, Max Lucado can be seen commandeering a bright red Mini Cooper on the streets of San Antonio, Texas. Astonishing. I’ll tell you why in a minute…
First time I ever met Max, he was seated in the Green Room of a convention center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My dear friend Becky Pippert, also a speaker with him at this conference, arranged our meeting. As he stood up, he matched my husband’s height, as in six feet four inches, at least. He might as well have been the Jolly Green Giant. (How, I wonder, can The Jolly Green Giant fit in and function in a bright red Mini Cooper?)
Fast on his feet, my husband recognized my case of star-struckness, and translated for me, “Max, this is my wife, Elizabeth. She’s read all of your books. We just wanted to say ‘hello’ and sure appreciate your writing.” Mute, and smiling, there went my big moment.
Ah well, thankfully, there came some second chances. I was privileged to help with a couple of book signings when Max came to speak at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
The blessing for me came not just in helping with the signings, but by hearing the words of others. Funny, if you just get out of the way, you can hear blessings much clearer.
One man approached Max and said, “My wife has read all of your books!” To which I wanted to chime in, “So have I!!!” But, I refrained as the man continued, “Yep, she’d have been here, but she’s very sick in the hospital.” Whoa.
An elderly man came up with a young girl. Turns out she was his granddaughter and was soon to be married. They had a Bible and asked Max to sign it. Quick as ever Max quipped, “Well, you know I didn’t happen to write the Bible!” To which the grandfather said, “Oh, we realize that, it’s just we love your book 3:16 so much, we were wondering if you’d sign by that verse in the Book of John so my granddaughter and her new husband will have a benchmark to remember you by.” You can surmise Max did as he was asked.
Another couple walked up and asked Max to sign a book for their daughter. Seems she was battling cancer. Max stopped the conversation right there and asked, “How ‘bout we pray for her?” My tears weren’t the only ones falling. Wow.
So to have finished Max’ newest book, Grace—More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, may I say it’s a must-read! Max is the real deal and he “gets” God’s grace–a tough concept to grasp. Wait ‘til you see some of his explanations…
My friend Liz Curtis Higgs recently spoke with Max in Minneapolis at a Women of Faith conference. She sent me some of his quotes and all are heart stoppers. (Don’t forget she, too, has an excellent book on grace: Embrace Grace—Welcome to the Forgiven Life.)
Here are a few favorites from Max’s book: Early on, Max offers this from John Stott: “Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously in and through Jesus Christ.” Non-stop, wouldn’t you say?
Just when you think you’re cruisin’ quite smoothly, Max suggests we be prepared for some not-so-nice condemnations from Satan: “Stupid, unproductive, slow learner, fast talker, quitter, cheapskate..” Max tells us to bid those farewell.
He says, “Behold the fruit of grace: saved by God, raised by God, seated with God. Gifted, equipped, and commissioned. You are who he says you are: Spiritually alive. Heavenly positioned. Connected to God. A billboard of mercy. An honored child. This is the ‘aggressive forgiveness we call grace.’ (Romans 5:20 from The Message) Satan is left speechless and without ammunition.” Yes!
The above reassuring quote is one of many which will boost your faith. He encourages us to “stretch ourselves out in the hammock of grace.” All enveloping, huh? Lord, please help us to remember this! Forgive us for forgetting!
Here’s another breathtaking way to look at grace. Max says, “Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. It comes at us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave.” Being a beach lover, this is my favorite analogy in the book. Can’t you just picture the waves?
His chapter on Chosen Children may require you to get up and fetch a Kleenex or two. He talks about how we never outgrow our need for a father’s love. He reminds us we have an earthly Father and a Heavenly Father. He gives us some of God’s words and tells us to let them “cement in our hearts a deep, satisfying, fear-quenching confidence that God will never let you go. You belong to him…The adoption is irreversible. YOU have a place at his table.”
Max boldly encourages: “The hand on your shoulder is mine. The words I give you are God’s. Receive them slowly. Don’t filter, resist, downplay, or deflect them. Just receive them. MY CHILD. I WANT YOU IN MY NEW KINGDOM. I HAVE SWEPT AWAY YOUR OFFENSES LIKE THE MORNING CLOUDS, YOUR SINS LIKE THE MORNING MIST. I HAVE REDEEMED YOU. THE TRANSACATION IS SEALED. THE MATTER IS SETTLED. I, GOD, HAVE MADE MY CHOICE. I CHOOSE YOU TO BE PART OF MY FOREVER FAMILY.” Amen and Amen.
Especially during this Christmas season I pray that you and I may truly allow these words to soak into our very souls. Slip them on daily as you would your clothes. Wearing grace will most assuredly enable us to give grace.
‘Til next time!
(This blog post is dedicated, oh, I’m so predictable…..to one of my favorite all-time authors: Mr. Max Lucado. Some of my friends who know him say he’s just like he seems in his books, in the pulpit, on the stage, etc. Friendly, humble, and grace-filled. Max, thanks for all of your great, inspirational books. May God continue to inspire you to inspire us, your readers. God Bless you, your family, your church, and your ministry.)
P.S. Don’t miss a great gift book, also by Max on grace. Beautiful words from several of his books and gorgeous photos are plentiful. It’s called Grace Happens Here—You are Standing Where Grace is Happening. You can also find out more on Max’ website: www.maxlucado.com.