more than 28 million books in print, Max Lucado has touched millions with
his signature storytelling writing style. Awards and accolades follow Max
with each book he writes. Max is the first author to win the Gold Medallion
Christian Book of the Year three times—1999 for Just Like Jesus, 1997 for In
the Grip of Grace and 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name.
In 1994, he became the only author to have 11 of his twelve
books in print simultaneously appear on paperback, hardcover and children's
CBA bestseller lists. Lucado set a new industry record by concurrently
placing seven different Word titles on the CBA Hardcover Bestseller List in
both March and April 1997. A Max Lucado title has appeared on the CBA
hardcover bestseller list every month for the past seven years. His newest
book, A Love Worth Giving, was released in September 2002 and You Are
Special recently won a Gold Medallion award in the Inspirational category.
In addition to his nonfiction books, Lucado has authored
several award-winning children's titles including , Just In Case You Ever
Wonder, The Crippled Lamb and Alabaster's Song. Max's newest book is a
follow-up to the award-winning You Are Special entitled You Are Mine. He
served as the general editor for the best-selling Inspirational Bible and
God's Inspirational Promise Book.
Max serves as the pulpit minister of the Oak Hills Church of
Christ in San Antonio, Texas. But he says his greatest accomplishment is
finding a one-in-a-million wife in Denalyn and having three unbelievable
daughters: Jenna, Andrea, and Sara.
Birth Place: San
Graduate: Andrews High School, Andrews, TX
Advanced Degrees: BA Mass Communications, Abilene Christian University,
MA: Biblical and Related Studies, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX
Positions Held: Associate Minister, Central Church of Christ, Miami,
Church Planning Missionary, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Currently serving as the Pulpit Minister, Oak Hills Church of Christ, San
You Might’ve Been in the Bible
There are a few stories in the Bible where
everything turns out right. This is one. It has three characters.
The first is Philip—a disciple in the early
church who had a penchant for lost people. One day he was instructed by God
to go to the road that leads to Gaza from Jerusalem. It was a desert road.
He went. When he arrived he came upon a ruler from Ethiopia. Must have been
a bit intimidating for Philip. It would be similar to your hopping on a
motor scooter and following the secretary of the treasury. At a stoplight
you notice he is reading the Bible, and you volunteer your services.
That is what Philip did.
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I unless someone explains it to
And so Philip did. They have a Bible
study in the chariot. The study is so convicting that the Ethiopian is
baptized that day. And then they separate. Philip goes one way, and the
Ethiopian goes another. The story has a happy ending. Philip teaches, the
Ethiopian obeys, and the gospel is sent to Africa.
But that’s not all the story. Remember I said there were three characters.
The first was Philip; the second was the Ethiopian. Did you see the third?
There is one. Read these verses and take note.
“An angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get
ready and go south. . . .’ So Philip got ready and went” (Acts 8:26–27).
“The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go to that
chariot and stay near it.’ So . . .
Philip ran toward the chariot” (Acts 8:29–30).
The third character? God! God sent
the angel. The Holy Spirit instructed Philip; God orchestrated the entire
moment! He saw this godly man coming from Ethiopia to worship. He saw his
confusion. So he decided to resolve it.
He looked in Jerusalem for a man he could send. He found Philip.
Our typical response when we read these verses is to think Philip was a
special guy. He had access to the Oval Office. He carried a first-century
pager that God doesn’t pass out anymore.
But don’t be too quick. In a letter
to Christians just like us, Paul wrote, “Live by
following the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).
“The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them” (Rom.
To hear many of us talk, you’d think we
didn’t believe these verses. You’d think we didn’t believe in the Trinity.
We talk about the Father and study the Son—but when it comes to the Holy
Spirit, we are confused at best and frightened at worst. Confused because
we’ve never been taught. Frightened because we’ve been taught to be afraid.
May I simplify things a bit? The Holy
Spirit is the presence of God in our lives, carrying on the work of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit helps us in three directions—inwardly (by granting us the
fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22–24), upwardly (by praying for us, Rom. 8:26)
and outwardly (by pouring God’s love into our hearts, Rom. 5:5).
In evangelism the Holy Spirit is on
center stage. If the disciple teaches, it is because the Spirit teaches the
disciple (Luke 12:12). If the listener is convicted, it is because the
Spirit has penetrated (John 16:10). If the listener is converted, it is by
the transforming power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:11). If the new believer
matures, it is because the Spirit makes him or her competent (2 Cor. 3:6).
You have the same Spirit working with you
that Philip did. Some of you don’t believe me. You’re still cautious. I can
hear you mumbling under your breath as you read, “Philip had something I
don’t. I’ve never heard an angel’s voice.” To which I counter, “How do you
know Philip did?”
We assume he did. We’ve been taught he did.
The flannelboard figures say he did. An angel puts his trumpet in Philip’s
ear, blares the announcement, and Philip has no choice. Flashing lights and
fluttering wings are nothing to deny. The deacon had to go. But could our
assumption be wrong? Could it be that the angel’s voice was every bit as
miraculous as the one you and I hear?
You’ve heard the voice whispering
your name, haven’t you? You’ve felt the nudge to go and sensed the urge to
speak. Hasn’t it occurred to you?
You invite a couple over for coffee.
Nothing heroic, just a nice evening with old friends. But from the moment
they enter, you can feel the tension. Colder than glaciers, they are. You
can tell something is wrong. Typically you’re not one to inquire, but you
feel a concern that won’t be silent. So you ask.
You are in a business meeting where one of your coworkers gets raked over
the coals. Everyone else is thinking, I’m glad that wasn’t me. But the Holy
Spirit is leading you to think, How hard this must be. So, after the meeting
you approach the employee and express your concern.
You notice the fellow on the other
side of the church auditorium. He looks a bit out of place, what with his
strange clothing and all. You learn that he is from Africa, in town on
business. The next Sunday he is back. And the third Sunday he is present.
You introduce yourself. He tells you how he is fascinated by the faith and
how he wants to learn more. Rather than offer to teach him, you simply urge
him to read the Bible.
Later in the week, you regret not
being more direct. You call the office where he is consulting and learn that
he is leaving today for home. You know in your heart you can’t let him
leave. So you rush to the airport and find him awaiting his flight, with a
Bible open on his lap.
“Do you understand what you are
reading?” you inquire.
“How can I, unless someone explains
it to me?”
And so you, like Philip, explain. And he, like the Ethiopian, believes.
Baptism is requested and baptism is offered. He catches a later flight and
you catch a glimpse of what it means to be led by the Spirit.
Were there lights? You just lit
one. Were there voices? You just were one. Was there a miracle? You just
witnessed one. Who knows? If the Bible were being written today, that might
be your name in the eighth chapter of Acts.
Lucado, M. (1994). When God whispers your name (Page 35). Dallas: Word
A Heart Like His
What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you?
What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your
shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes his
boss, your mother becomes his mother, your pains become his pains? With one
exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn’t change. Your
circumstances don’t change. Your schedule isn’t altered. Your problems
aren’t solved. Only one change occurs.
What if, for one day and one night, Jesus lives your life with his heart?
Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ.
His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His
love directs your behavior.
What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family—would they
see something new? Your coworkers—would they sense a difference? What about
the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would
they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy
from Christ’s heart than from yours?
And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on
your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better?
Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any
chance you’d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to
traffic delays? (Ouch, that touched a nerve.) Would you still dread what you
are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing?
Would you still do what you had planned to do for the next twenty-four
Pause and think about
your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus
taking over your heart, would anything change?
Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until
you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter
and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. He wants you to “think
and act like Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).
God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart. If you were a car, God
would want control of your engine. If you were a computer, God would claim
the software and the hard drive. If you were an airplane, he’d take his seat
in the cockpit. But you are a person, so God wants to change your heart.
“But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person.
That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy” (Eph.
God wants you to be just like Jesus. He wants you to have a heart like his.
I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in
one statement, but I’m going to try. If a sentence or two could capture
God’s desire for each of us, it might read like this:
God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He
wants you to be just like Jesus.
God loves you just the way you are. If you think his love for you would be
stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. If you think his love would be
deeper if your thoughts were, wrong again. Don’t confuse God’s love with the
love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and
decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love. He loves you right where
you are. To quote my wife’s favorite author:
God’s love never ceases. Never. Though we spurn him. Ignore him. Reject him.
Despise him. Disobey him. He will not change. Our evil cannot diminish his
love. Our goodness cannot increase it. Our faith does not earn it anymore
than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn’t love us less if we fail or
more if we succeed. God’s love never ceases.
God loves you just the
way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.
Just like Jesus Nashville: Word
Tough Love, Tough Grace
I have good news and bad news.
Let’s get the bad news
out of the way. We are separated from God by sin. We aren’t strong enough to
remove it. We aren’t good enough to erase it. We can’t do enough good deeds
to cover it up.
Now here’s the good
news: God has done what we can’t. Before we even recognized our sinful
state, he paid the price for what we’ve done and what we’ll do. Jesus was
“not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God” (
1 Peter 3:18 ).
Ponder the achievement
of God. He doesn’t condone our sin; nor does he compromise his standard.
Rather than dismiss our sin, he assumes our sin and, incredibly, sentences
himself. God’s holiness is honored. Our sin is punished. And we are
redeemed. God is still God. The wages of sin is still death. And we are made
That’s his grace. And
that is the best news of all.—Max Lucado
A Moment With Max
understand God’s anger because they confuse the wrath of God with the wrath
of man. The two have little in common. Human anger is typically self-driven
and prone to explosions of temper and violent deeds. We get ticked off
because we’ve been overlooked, neglected, or cheated. This is the anger of
man. It is not, however, the anger of God.
God doesn’t get angry because he doesn’t get his way. He
gets angry because disobedience always results in self-destruction. What
kind of father sits by and watches his child hurt himself?
What kind of God would do the same? Do we think he
giggles at adultery or snickers at murder? Do you think he looks the other
way when we produce television talk shows based on perverse pleasures? Does
he shake his head and say, “Humans will be humans”?
I don’t think so. Mark it down and underline it in red.
God is right fully angry. God is a holy God. Our sins are an affront to his
holiness. His eyes “are too good to look at evil; [he] cannot stand to see
those who do wrong” ( Habakkuk 1:13
God is angry at the evil that ruins his children.
A Message from the Word
God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and
wrong things people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth.
19 God shows his
anger because some knowledge of him has been made clear to them. Yes, God
has shown himself to them. 20
There are things about him that people cannot see—his
eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning
of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made.
So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.
“Come, let’s go back to the Lord.
He has hurt us, but he
will heal us.
He has wounded us, but
he will bandage our wounds.
In two days he will put new life in us;
on the third day he
will raise us up
so that we may live in
his presence 3
and know him.
Let’s try to learn
about the Lord;
He will come to us as
surely as the dawn comes.
He will come to us
like the spring rain
that waters the ground.”
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