Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Review: Grace - More than We Deserve; Greater than We Imagine

It doesn’t come naturally

Here’s what comes naturally: judginess. Also, fantasizing about revenge comes pretty easily. It feels really good to fantasize about revenge. Doing revenge is difficult. And isn’t nearly as satisfying as watching the villain in a Clint Eastwood or Denzel Washington movie get his comeuppance. Real vengeance is messy and deflating.

Grace leads to freedom. Grace let’s God do what God does best. God doesn’t need to partner with humans when it comes to judgement and vengeance. But God loves to partner with humans in grace efforts, grace events, and grace projects. This is where the real good stuff—God stuff—gets done.

I love to read Max Lucado. He’s a writer and a pastor. As a writer, he’s accessible and humble. As a pastor, he’s an encouraging, gentle teacher. He helps you see things from heaven’s point of view. That’s a rare gift in both writers and pastors.

"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. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change. Do you clean up so he can accept you? No, he accepts you and begins cleaning you up," Lucado writes.

Do you know someone that doesn’t need to hear this said? What about you? Are you good with what God may think of you? Are you good with what you think of others? Are you good with what you think?

Lucado’s purpose for this book is to break your natural habits of judginess, self-loathing, vengeful fantasy (although I don’t think I ever read that in this book but it is definitely the hot topic God was dealing with me about) and the bondage that comes with carrying the heavy burdens like hatred and unforgiveness, familiar though they are.

Grace. God. Exchange. Rest. Coming clean. Fear. Hearts unScrooged. Chosen. Heaven. Grace. These are the topics covered in this book’s chapters. I can feel my heart speed up a little bit as I break the topics out of the book’s chapters. There’s healing I crave for my life. Lucado’s writing directly addresses it, satisfies it, and creates a greater appetite for God’s grace.

I started off the year reading this book. And since then, I’ve had to find other books that connect God and Holiness and Holiness and Healing and Healing and Humility and Humility and Grace and Grace and God. This book of Lucado’s was the beginning of a much needed spiritual makeover. And I’m ready to cycle back through and re-read Lucado’s book about Grace.

"...if you wonder whether God can do something with the mess of your life, then grace is what you need."

There is one surprising chapter in this book where pastor and writer Max Lucado is incredibly transparent. I say incredibly because it is unbelievable that a pastor would out himself the way he did about secrecy and hypocrisy without being caught red-handed. You just don’t see that. In chapter seven, Lucado makes a confession about addiction that may seem small when compared to your own unconfessed struggles (or my unconfessed struggles), but he personally demonstrates how grace is activated at a deeper level than one may think one needs.

While I was reading this book, I jammed up my Twitter feed with excerpts from Lucado’s and his sources. I felt compelled to share what I was reading in real time. I thought I was doing the world a favor by blasting it out over social media.

Let me tell you as a friend: read this book, friend. It’s an easy read. You could probably read the whole thing in one afternoon. But spread it out over a two-weeks and read a little bit every day. Even if you’re reading something else already, your heart will thank you. If you apply what you’re reading and let it really sink in, everybody else in your life will thank you, too.

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