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Friday, November 21, 2014

Formation Fridays: Max Lucado

Most Christians in North America (or the world for that matter) know the name, Max Lucado. I think it safe to assume he has almost as much recognition as the great evangelist Billy Graham among Evangelical Christians.
Pastor Lucado is a prolific writer, he has authored more books than there are books of the Bible, (74 by my count). including three recipients of the Charles Jordon Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year, and has also appeared regularly on several bestseller lists including the New York Times Best Seller List. Lucado was named "America's Pastor" by Christianity Today magazine.

He is a pastor at Oak Hills Church, where he preaches alongside Randy Frazee. In 2005 he was named by Reader's Digest as "The Best Preacher in America." He has also been featured on The Fox News Channel, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live, LLBN, and USA Today. He has been featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. His website describes him as a preacher with a storyteller’s gift—a pastor’s heart and a poet’s pen.

He and his wife were missionaries to Brazil for a time and served in multiple ministries across the country. Max is a sought after speaker and a deeply loved pastor.

Max was a huge influence on me growing up as I read a few of his books, and as my parents had listened to him on the radio. I think my favorite book by him was one of his children's books (yep it's still my favorite), a short story called, "The Song of the King".
I won't give any spoilers, but it is an easy read (less than 10 minutes), and the principle that Max lays out is timeless.

For a pastor who is knowledgeable enough to argue deeply with theologians and yet can simplify concepts so that a child can understand is not only immensely beneficial to the church, it is also an art. An art that for some time I feel has been lost. I'm very thankful for the life and ministry of Max Lucado, in my eyes, a modern day Church Father if there ever was one. He has defended the truth, evangelized the lost, and has been pivotal with his writing, speaking, and shepherding in the discipleship of many.

We would do well to heed his words of advice concerning Spiritual Formation.

These are just a handful of quotes from some of his works.

"The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: 'grace.'"

"About four days a week, I do pretty good at having a morning prayer time. But even at that, it's a rambling sort of thing. What I have learned to do better is to try to keep my mind turned toward God and ear inclined toward God throughout the day, and I think I'm doing better at that, but I've got a long way to go."

"When grace happens, we receive not a nice compliment from God but a new heart. Give your heart to Christ, and he returns the favor...
...Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart - poisoned as it is with pride and pain - and replacing it with his own...
...The idea of a spiritual heart transplant is a vivid image to me; once you have the heart of somebody else inside you, then that heart is there. Jesus' heart is inside me, and my heart is gone. So if God were to place a stethoscope against my chest, he would hear the heart of Jesus Christ beating."

"God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed."

These quotes bring up questions for my own self evaluation. 

How is my heart? Is it living the transplant life that Christ has given me.
Do I worry too much? Do I not trust in a good God who meets my daily needs daily?
How is my concept and my practice of prayer? The easy answer is to say "Of course I should pray more, we all should!" But I think the real question that Lucado makes me think about is: How am I praying and am I fostering an attitude of attentiveness to God throughout my day?
And of course, do I understand what grace really means for my past mistakes and failures?

How about you? Do you wrestle with these questions? Should you be?


Nathan Bryant

is a pastor living in Phoenix, AZ. As a student at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri he majored in Biblical Leadership, New Testament Studies, and Missiology. Nathan has a combined passion for unity and discipleship in the global church.

Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our causes.
Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our boundaries.

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