Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Out Live Your Life

I’ve read a few Max Lucado books and I haven’t decided if I like his style or not. I can easily see how some people do. Maybe it’s just an acquired taste. I like that he’s a story teller. He loves to add the flourish and embellish every story with word pictures and specially crafted words that add flare. But I’m a “get to the point” kind of guy so some of those flourishes strike me as self indulgent and not always helpful. But it’s a personal thing. I guess I just get lost in the details of his description some times when I rather be learning.

In his latest book, Out Live Your Life, Lucado offers a lite version compared to other books I’ve read of his. Sixteen chapters of five to six pages each touch on the highlights of the book of Acts in the Bible. Six pages isn’t enough to tell much of a story. It’s not enough to do much teaching either. It’s just enough to whet your appetite and then bring home the point.

But given that format, I think Lucado does a good job of giving the reader a sense of what the church was meant to be; real, passionate, accepting, humble, and prayerful. Lucado gives special attention to the importance of the church confronting issues of injustice in the world. Lucado says… “None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them we serve Jesus” (page 172). When we live out our calling in this way we will outlive our life by leaving a legacy.

This book is a quick read but not superficial. I think it would make for a “lite” version of some of the themes in a deeper book like Rich Stearns “Hole in the Gospel” which takes a very thorough look at how the church can address issues of injustice in the world. Out Live Your Life would be a nice gift book or daily devotional for someone who wants to be inspired but not weighed down with heavy teaching.

Disclaimer: I review books for Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for the book itself. I’m in no way obligated to give the books I read a favorable nod.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Review...The Butterfly Effect

Andy Andrews has just written a small gift book but don’t confuse size with impact. The Butterfly Effect will change your perspective on how you live your life. You’ve probably heard about the butterfly effect theory…that when a butterfly flaps its wings on the other side of the world it can actually impact your life in some significant way. This theory was laughed at when first suggested but thirty years later scientists have verified its legitimacy and turned it into The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions.

Andy Andrews takes the principle and shows how it’s true with people as well as butterflies. His main story references the battle of Gettysburg where Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a colonel in the Union army faces continuous charges from the Confederate Army. Down to his last 80 men Chamberlain had to decide whether he would retreat or take one more charge. To the dismay of his troops and the surprise of the Confederates he led a charge capturing 400 of his enemy and securing the win for the North.

One decision. One battle won. But more than that. Gettysburg determined the fate of the entire war. And had the south won the nation it would have surely split the nation into two countries, or worse yet, thirteen. And if that had happened, would Nazi Germany have been defeated?

One decision can change the world forever. Andy Andrews makes us think twice about the “little” decisions we make every day and how they can impact people for decades to come.

I highly recommend this as a gift of encouragement to your friends or even yourself.

Note: I review books for Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for books but I am not under any obligation to give them a positive review.