Friday, September 10, 2010

New Book from Max Lucado Designed to Mobilize

The email from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze review program piqued my interest. You know, if [X] sneezes, [Y] catches a cold - if I give this book a positive review, you want to buy it. That's the idea behind Book Sneeze. It might mean more were I less voracious. (Hey, free book! Can I have it?) They give away copies with the proviso that each recipient not only posts a review on their own site, but also on a commercial bookstore site - and in this case they asked us to all publish on the same day. That explains why you'll see more than 100 reviews on Amazon; likely more by the time you read my review. It's quite a campaign. I wish more publishers who put out mission books made a similar investment in getting the word out. We'd see them in the hands of more people if we did.

This one caught my eye for a reason. It was made to mobilize Christians to seek God and make themselves available to serve in the world.

Outlive Your Life is part of a multi-faceted campaign and line of products designed to stir ordinary Christians to believe that how they live their lives makes a difference - that, like the man in the fable that serves as a preface, they can "live on" through their good deeds and what they invest in changing the world for those who come after.

In his usual and engaging way, Max Lucado weaves his tapestry by blending the statistics and opportunities with personal anecdotes and retelling stories from the scriptures - in this case, the early chapters of the book of Acts. If that ragtag band of apostles could turn the world upside down and send our ripples still strongly felt today, maybe we can too.

Max doesn't want to oversimplify the challenges, but claims we have all the resources we need. He invites everyday people to share good news, fight global poverty, stand up against discrimination and injustice, offer hospitality and compassion, work together, refuse to show off, cross barriers and persevere through obstacles. Each of the 16 short chapters starts with a well-chosen quotation from the scriptures and closes with a prayer of response. The book concludes with questions for discussion and ideas for action; probably all you would need to lead a small group through the book if you wanted to - not that it's hard to digest. There's also, as I mentioned, a whole line of related stuff you can get if you think it will help.

The author is also donating the royalties from all this to World Vision and like-minded faith-based compassion ministries.

You might not want to pay full price for a hardback I read in 90 minutes. I could certainly recommend some meatier, weightier tomes if you want them. If you're very intellectual, it might hurt your street cred to be seen reading the populist Max Lucado. But he writes for everyone, writes very well, and he cites his sources. The world - my world - is full of media designed with that same desire to mobilize but not executed with the commitment to balance, accuracy, and beauty that comes from working with a professional publishing house.

I'd like to see mobilizers pick this one up. It's a book you can give to anyone to help them understand the world better and know that their lives can make a difference.

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