GRACE: More Than We Deserve,
Greater Than We Imagine
Max Lucado’s first book was published in 1985, his words have
become a steady source of encouragement for millions of readers.
When we hurt, Max assures us that God cares. When we’re happy,
he reminds us that God is celebrating. Max’s words help readers
rest in the assurance that God loves us completely and his grace
will be enough.
Max Lucado’s distinctive message of grace has translated into more than
100 million products in 41 languages, including more than 82
million books sold to date. The Lucado catalog is without peer
in Christian publishing and has impacted millions. Just about
one in ten Americans have read at least one Lucado book.
The latest title from Max reveals how God has chosen to address the mess
of life: GRACE. It is currently #8 on the Christian
Bookseller's Top 50 list, a place Max is very familiar with,
having dozens of titles passing through the list over the
years...titles like Grace for the Moment, Volumes I and I,
Fearless, Imagine Your Life Without Fear, Facing, Facing Your
Giants, and 3:16 among them.
for complete list
“In GRACE, I wanted to go beyond the idea of what grace is, to
focus on what grace does. And not just what it means for us in
terms of being forgiven and going to heaven, but that we are
actually passionately held, and powerfully changed in our hearts
and attitudes by grace. My hope is that this book captures the
incredible, transformational power of grace.”
Having served the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, since
1988, Lucado continues preach in that pulpit – even as he has
become the most widely read Christian author in the US. Reader’s
Digest dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher,” and this preacher’s
books have appeared on every major national bestseller list
including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times,
Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and the Christian
Booksellers Association. Sixteen of his titles have sold more
than one million copies each.
Lucado has been featured in countless media outlets and national
broadcasts. In 2011, Max was featured on major network
television programs including “Fox & Friends,” “CNN American
Morning” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
More than just the creator of best-selling books, “Max
Lucado’s Hermie & Friends” brand is one of the most popular
animated DVD series in the marketplace, and the children’s
series has sold more than 5 million units to date. Max’s words
are also featured in a branded line of greeting cards and gift
books for Hallmark/Dayspring, with more than 15 million units
sold since its 2001 debut.
Max is committed to making a difference beyond the written page.
For more than 20 years, Max has partnered with World Vision, the
largest Christian relief organization in the world, which
provides poverty-stricken communities worldwide with the
physical resources that children and families need to survive.
In addition to contributing profits from books sales, Max has
challenged his readers to put their faith into action through
World Vision sponsorship. More than 23,000 children have been
sponsored as a result of these efforts in the past two years.
And yet the average reader doesn’t care much about television
interviews, book awards, or sales accomplishments. Readers of Lucado books simply hope to experience God’s love within those
bound pages. And Max simply hopes to point them to God’s grace.
Lucado books continue to sell because both author and reader are
finding what they seek.
Q&A with Max Lucado
better way to start than with your definition of grace?
A: To put it very simply, grace
is God’s best idea—it’s His decision to ravage a people by love, to
rescue passionately, and to restore justly.
Q: This isn’t the first time
you’ve written about grace. What makes this book different from all
that’s already been printed?
A: Most books on the topic—including ones I’ve written—focus
on what grace is. While this book covers that, its focus is what
grace does. How grace changes us. And I’m not just talking about
what it means for us in terms of being forgiven and going to heaven,
but also what it means for the changes in our hearts and attitudes.
Grace is the voice that calls us to change, and then gives us the
power to pull it off. Most books on grace miss the "power to pull it
off" part. And that's the heart of this book.
Q: How does the concept of grace make Christianity
different from other world religions?
A: 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. “I will give you a new
heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezek. 36:26). For many years
I missed this truth. I believed all the other prepositions: Christ
for me, with me, ahead of me. And I knew I was working beside
Christ, under Christ, with Christ. But I never imagined that Christ
was in me. No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim. No
other movement implies the living presence of its founder in his
followers. Muhammad does not indwell Muslims. Buddha does not
inhabit Buddhists. The Christian is a person in whom Christ is
Q: You describe grace as God
aggressively moving toward us.
A: Yes. Rather than tell us to
change, he creates the change. Do we clean up so he can accept us?
No, he accepts us and begins cleaning us up. 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. His dream
isn’t just to get you into heaven but to get heaven into you.
Q: You say grace brings rest.
Why is this not the case for many believers?
A: We find it easier to trust
the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear
failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even
more disappointed in us than we are. The result? The weariest people
on earth. Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but
exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting
merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who
questions our accomplishments. Call us the church of hound-dog faces
and slumped shoulders. God’s promise has no hidden language. Let
grace happen, for heaven’s sake. No more performance for God, no
more clamoring after God. Of all the things you must earn in life,
God’s unending affection is not one of them. You have it. Stretch
yourself out in the hammock of grace. You can rest now.
What’s the difference between grace and mercy?
A: Grace goes beyond mercy.
Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a
party. Mercy prompted the Samaritan to bandage the wounds of the
victim. Grace prompted him to leave his credit card as payment for
the victim’s care. Mercy forgave the thief on the cross. Grace
escorted him into paradise. Mercy pardons us. Grace woos and weds
Q: The concept of saving grace
is familiar to many people. What do you mean when you write about
A: Saving grace saves us from our
sins. Sustaining grace meets us at our point of need and equips us
with courage, wisdom, and strength. It surprises us in the middle of
our difficulties with ample resources of faith. Sustaining grace
does not promise the absence of struggle but the presence of God.
And according to Paul, God has sufficient sustaining grace to meet
every single challenge of our lives. Sufficient. Grace is simply
another word for his tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and
protection. It comes at us not occasionally or miserly but
constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained
our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another.
God’s grace dethrones your fears. Anxiety still comes, for certain.
The globe still heats up; wars still flare up; the economy acts up.
Disease, calamity, and trouble populate your world. But they don’t
control it! Grace does.
Q: You say that grace is God’s
answer to the question everyone asks: Do I matter? Which ultimately
sounds like a question of identity.
A: Absolutely. We validate our
existence with a flurry of activity. We do more, buy more, and
achieve more. Like Jacob, we wrestle. All our wrestlings, I suppose,
are merely asking this question: “Do I matter?” All of grace, I
believe, is God’s definitive reply. “Be blessed, my child. I accept
you. I have adopted you into my family.” Adopted children are chosen
children. To accept God’s grace is to accept God’s offer to be
adopted into his family. Your identity is not in your possessions,
talents, tattoos, kudos, or accomplishments. Nor are you defined by
your divorce, deformity, debt, or dumb choices. You are God’s child.
You get to call him “Papa.” You “may approach God with freedom and
confidence” (Eph. 3:12 NIV). You receive the blessings of his
special love (1 John 4:9–11) and provision (Luke 11:11– 13). And you
will inherit the riches of Christ and reign with him forever (Rom.
Q: As a result of this powerful
grace, we can trust God’s love for us is unending.
Yes, which means
that rather than conjure up reasons to feel good about yourself,
trust God’s verdict. If God loves you, you must be worth loving. If
he wants to have you in his kingdom, then you must be worth having.
God’s grace invites you—no, requires you—to change your attitude
about yourself and take sides with God against your feelings of
rejection. To live as God’s child is to know, at this very instant,
that you are loved by your Maker not because you try to please him
and succeed, or fail to please him and apologize, but because he
wants to be your Father. Nothing more. All your efforts to win his
affection are unnecessary. All your fears of losing his affection
are needless. You can no more make him want you than you can
convince him to abandon you. The adoption is irreversible. You have
a place at his table.