Great book on Grace
Grace, what is it? How much of it are we given? What does it mean to show grace in return? Grace is a topic we have all heard about, the definition is simple to understand but the truth of what grace really means is difficult to comprehend. Each and every one of us has been granted grace, we may never truly understand what that grace entails and what it means for each of us individually but our God is a gracious God and He has wrapped us with unmerited favor.
Max Lucado is a name that many Christians know, his books come highly recommended and the list of titles and subjects he writes about is extensive. His latest book Grace stands strong with the rest of his titles, tackling a subject that many of us act like we understand what it means. Lucado has compiled from his own past as well as personal stories from others the stories of grace that enrich our lives and allow us to share a glimpse of what the grace of God truly is.
Lucado’s latest book about Grace is a must add to your bookshelf!
I received Grace complimentary through the christianaudio Reviewers Program http://christianaudio.com in exchange for an honest reviews. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Narrator thoughts - I like Wayne Shepherd. I've heard several books read by him before and I have enjoyed each one. His deep clear voice helps set the mood for the message of the book. It was a perfect match.
Book Thoughts - I have always loved Max Lucado. His unique writing style and ability to touch the heart of the listener combine to make this a truly beautiful work. Through story and scripture Lucado gives you a picture of the grace of God draw on the canvas of His love.
Grace is lavished on us by a loving God. Will we take it? It's there, it's waiting. Waiting to cover us. Will we accept this wonderful and lavish gift called Grace?
I received this audiobook courtesy of christianaudio for the purpose of doing a review.
A brief but deep look at grace
In Grace, Max Lucado explains what grace is and the many ways it makes a difference in the lives of Christians.
I think the biggest strength of the book is that it packs a lot of really big theological ideas into compelling, easy to listen to and rather short narrative. It certainly doesn’t feel like reading a theology textbook. Much like in his other books, there are many clever turns of phrase and interesting illustrations. I sometimes wished I was reading rather than listening to the audiobook so I could highlight portions.
Another thing I really appreciated about this book was the emphasis of grace not just being something that gets us started as a Christian but as something that sustains the Christian life. This is such an important facet of God’s grace but one that sometimes gets overlooked.
The only thing I disagreed with here is in one of the later chapters he gives the impression that God loved us because there was something particularly lovable about us. Given the fallen and rebellious nature of humanity I think the idea treads in a somewhat theologically questionable direction.
Overall, I think this is a really good book. I think it has the potential to help Christians who normally might be someone scared off reading theological books to understand some really important things about grace. The book might also prove to be a helpful perspective on Christianity for non-Christians who have been hurt by legalistic or harsh Christians.
Review copy courtesy of christianaudio.com
Have you been changed by grace?
Grace. It’s, as Lucado suggests, more than we deserve, and greater than we imagine. The change that G-d’s grace makes in our lives doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. It takes time. It may come through grief or joy, frustration or success. Grace isn’t how we define it, however. Our limited understanding of the word “grace” does not fully explain His Grace to us. That is where Lucado steps in – to educate us and guide us. G-d’s Grace answers the “why” of life and cleans up the mess of life.
Shepherd narrations at a quicker than medium pace, creating a rushed feeling in the text. Confident in tone, authoritative in diction, and defined in stance, Shepherd’s narration is a solid reading of the text. There is an echo-like feeling to the audio, as if this were recorded in a lecture hall. Not emotional, the narration does carry a proper inflection, but only average quality. Again, the audio experience felt rushed, giving an unusually stressed feel to a discussion about grace.
As Lucado asks, have you been changed by Grace? If not, listen on…
christian audio commissioned this review. Read other reviews like this one at scriptedgenius.com today.
Although Max Lucado has been a very familiar name to me for years, this was my first introduction into one of his 'chapter books for grown-ups', if you will. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Max is obviously a very gifted, personable, attention-grabbing writer. Some have complained about the book's simplistic nature. I think in this case it's a great thing. Christians can be great at making everything so complex. Grace is really important, so why not write about it in a way that's accessible to the ordinary laymen? If you want something complex I'm sure you can find it, but I'm quite sure that's not the audience Lucado is targeting here.
The narration for the audio version is excellent, couldn't have done better myself!
If like me, you associated the name Lucado with mini devotionals, Thomas Kincade paintings, and short stories, this book would be a great way to broaden your horizons! Even if you're already familiar with him, have a listen, and grow in your understanding of God's amazing grace through Christ.
This review was submitted on behalf of christianaudio and their excellent reviewers' program. For more of my reviews visit www.papermovementblog.wordpress.com.
Beautifully read and filled with Grace
I have to say that I found the reading of this audio book to be beautiful and entirely perfect for the book and content. Good diction, wonderful localization and just so well read that it really helped to keep the focus on the really important subject matter being spoken/written about by Max Lucado.
Grace is a really big key subject and Max Lucado in his typical style of insight, humor and down to earth reality does it great justice by making it so accessible.
He covers all the big issues that surround Grace - things like how do I know I've got, am I really covered by it, can I lose it etc and he does so in such a way that without doubt we understand that grace is not conditional, we cannot lose it, God's Grace is bigger than us and that grace is an ultimate act of Love that we can in small part reflect back. However he makes clear that though Grace is without condition we can at times not be reflecting grace in our own actions and lives and that in this way we are sometimes outside of grace - though not outside of God's Grace! Key and foundational differences at work here - and i love the way he uses the story of the class Christmas gift giving to explain such a thing in a way that so clearly and humanly contextualizes the issue and difference. Brilliant!
If you want to better understand Grace and how it works in your life then this book is certainly a good start indeed - and this audio is certainly a great listen too!
The Emotion of Grace
Grace seems to be a theme in my life lately. It's been a topic at my church, at a Rob Bell event I went to, and has been on my mind a lot dealing with unethical behavior from a home repair company and an adoption lawyer (we've lost about $8000 on the two in the last few months). So when I had the chance to review Max Lucado's latest book, Grace, I was eager to do so, especially since I'm a Lucado fan anyway.
Lucado's book is short, which is actually nice. Rather than engaging in a deep theological treatise on grace, Lucado does what he does best: He tells stories. He makes the concept of grace come alive in a real human way that is not abstract or theoretical. Much of what I see written on grace is really more of the latter, which is ultimately grace-less. Without the dirt and grit and hard-core reality, grace is useless and worthless.
Despite my profession as a psychologist, I can have a strong tendency to be very rational and cognitive, dissociated from my emotion. This can be especially true in theological and intellectual contexts, and particularly true when I'm extra busy. But the emotion is important. As I teach my adolescents and parents in group, without emotion, it's really hard to build a relationship. Faith without emotion loses the relational element with God. And grace without emotion is just theory.
Lucado's book helped me emotionally experience the power of grace again. There were several times I got teary listening to some of the stories (despite riding my bicycle on my commute). It made me think several times, "That's right, this is what it's all about." Lucado provided what in psychology we call a corrective emotional experience, emotionally experiencing something different than we have before.
Yet in Lucado's traditional style, it is not heavy-handed or preachy or even prescriptive. It describes what a grace-filled life is like and lets you figure out how it fits in your life, which is very appropriate for grace.
I remind my clients frequently to have grace for themselves, reminding them when appropriate, that this is what God does for us. Showing grace to others is one way, I believe, that God incarnationally gives grace to his creation.
Yet it is a struggle. Is grace always appropriate? Grace and forgiveness often go together, although they are not the same. We are often told to forgive everyone. But I'm not sure that's correct. Does God really give grace to everyone, or just the people who ask for it? He wasn't terribly gracious to the Pharisees. And where does restitution fit in? Can you give grace and still demand repayment? Are they paradoxical? These are questions I would love to see someone tackle...
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café.
I was actually quite disappointed listening to this audiobook. I'm not a Max Lucado fan but I really do love hearing about God's wonderful grace, and knowing that author has written many books about this I thought I would be in for a treat.
I particularly enjoyed the personal stories from the author and other peoples stories he mentioned throughout. These were challenging but also encouraging. What I really didn't enjoy was the narrator's delivery. He came across as someone who was just doing his job and needed to get finished as soon as possible. I would have definitely preferred someone who sounded like that they were really thinking about they were reading. This in turn would have made me also think more about what I was listening to, instead of wanting to turn off.
If you like the author's books you will probably enjoy this one too.
Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for this copy.
Warm and engaging, but pretty fluffy
Full disclosure: with the possible exception of his children’s books, I am not a Max Lucado fan. He is a good writer, but his writing doesn’t really challenge me or make me think. He seems to be writing at the most basic level, and to the lowest common denominator. However, with his book Grace this approach works very well because the titular subject is one of the most basic concepts of Christianity.
Lucado’s book is certainly warm and engaging, but also stays fairly light and kind of whimsical. He does a good job describing the greatness, endlessness, etc. of grace. However, I never felt the weight of the ideas because Lucado seems to carry the load for the reader in an almost patronizing way. C’mon, Max, let us wrestle with the concepts and struggle with the paradoxes. The mystery and wonder seem to be missing.
As per usual, he lays on the metaphors and similes thickly and furiously. As an audiobook, it’s a little difficult to listen to because of this. You don’t get to go back and re-read a phrase, wringing out the meaning that Lucado has saturated it with, because we’re already onto the next word picture. The narrator does a decent job, but I found his gregarious reading voice to be a bit grating at times.
All this makes it sound as if I didn’t like the book. But actually I did enjoy it. If you read it for what it is, a series of simple thoughts on grace in our daily lives, then it’s great. If you’re expecting a deeply theological or probingly person book on the doctrine of grace, you should know you’re reading the wrong author. The best part of the book is probably the section that Lucado had the toughest time writing. He relates a recent period in his life where he dealt with a secret drinking problem, and how he confessed his sin to the elders of his church and fell on the grace of God. Now this is real-life stuff. All metaphors aside, Max Lucado has struggled with real sin and wondered himself if God’s grace is big enough. He claims it is, and I agree. Thanks for being honest, Max.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
Great Book, Highly Recommended.
Grace, what appears to be a simple 5 letter word is not that simple after all. We all think we know what it means, after all we certainly have heard about it in church, sung about it from the hymnal, even named some of our children after it. But do we really know what grace is. Do we really appreciate what grace does? Do we understand that grace is an unending, all encompassing gift from God? That is the challenge that Max Lucado takes on in his latest book, “Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine.”
Lucado starts his explanation of grace by stating:
"Grace is everything Jesus. Grace lives because he does, works because he works, and matters because he matters. He placed a term limit on sin and danced a victory jig in a graveyard. To be saved by grace is to be saved by him – not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives him the nod.
Not in response to a finger snap, religious chant, or a secret handshake. Grace won’t be stage-managed. I have no tips on how to get grace. Truth is, we don’t get grace. But it sure can get us. Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us."
Throughout his book, Lucado mixes his descriptions and explanations of grace with stories of grace from the Bible and stories of grace in our lives today. We learn about grace through Boaz, the Turkey Lady, merit badges, a flight of doctors, a bridal shop owner, some dirty feet, and even a fifth grade Christmas party.
With these real life stories and events from the Bible that we all know so well, Lucado manages to stir emotion in his readers and allows us to understand how God has blessed and changed our lives with His grace. Earlier tonight I was discussing this book with my wife (who has also read the book) and I remarked that the neighbors would have thought me crazy as I rode the lawn mower, cutting the grass, with tears flowing down my cheeks. I was listening to the audio version of Grace as I worked in the yard. She commented to me that there were several times that she put the book down while sitting at the hospice house with her mother in order to not to get too teary eyed in front of her.
I have written many book reviews, both print and audio, over the past year. I have read many more books than I have actually reviewed, but I have not read a book that has impacted my life like Lucado’s book has in a very long time. This book has stirred up such great emotion and challenged my thinking to the point that I have re-started this review tonight for the fifth time. It is not a hard book to read, nor is it a hard book to review. But it was such a significant book to me that I am having a hard time writing down the emotions that this book has stirred.
This book will touch your heart! That is the highest recommendation that I can give. It is a must read for everyone. You will notice that I usually say “this book is a good read for those who …” Not this time. This book should be read by all. There is something in this book that will reach out and slap you across the face to get your attention. There is a story here just waiting to touch your heart and speak to you.
If you have always been curious about God’s grace and what it means, read this book. If you have received God’s grace and wondered how you managed to get so lucky, read this book. If you have ever wondered when God would realize who you really are and then the gig would be up, read this book. If you have ever wished you could check your grace account to see what your balance was before you were overdrawn, read this book.
I would give this book 5 of 5 stars and would recommend it to my friends and family to read. ”Grace, More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado is published by Thomas Nelson Inc. and is available in your favorite bookstore or online. The book is also available in audio form from most audio booksellers.
I would also like to note that in addition to the hardcopy of the book, I was also given the opportunity to review the unabridged audio book as well. The audio book is well produced and is narrated by Wayne Shepherd. The narrator has a great soothing quality about his voice that lends itself well to this book. It was easy to understand and I really enjoyed listening to the audio book as I worked about the house this weekend.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided with a copy of this audio book as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work. For more information about this and other Christian audio books visit christianaudio.com.