Category Archives: Max Lucado

Max Lucado – Press the Pause Button

 

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Jesus repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God! Which presupposes a decision on his part.  I need to get away…to think…to calibrate my course. With resolve, he pressed the pause button on his life.

Richard Foster hit the mark when he wrote,  “If our Adversary can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.” The devil implants taxi meters in our brains.  We hear the relentless tick, tick, tick telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry, time is money—resulting in this roaring blur called the human race.

Follow Jesus into the desert.  Accept your Master’s invitation to  “Come aside by yourself to a desert place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

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Max Lucado – A Purposeful Pause

 

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It took a purposeful pause to pull me out of a spiritual desert! Standing in our new church building before a beaming congregation, I was thinking, I should be thrilled.  Instead I was hollow and mechanical.  A friend noticed and convinced me to do what I’m urging you to do—that is, clarify my sweet spot. Renewal began when I paused on purpose.

Do you sense a disconnect between your design and daily duties?  God may want you to leave but you’re staying.  How can you know unless you mute the crowd and meet with Jesus in a deserted place?  He says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Why don’t you press the ‘pause button’ so you can contemplate the work of God.

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Max Lucado – Exercise Crowd Control

 

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Look over your shoulder.  The crowd is one step back. They don’t consult your strengths or know your story. Still, they seem to know more about your life than you do.  They’ll lead your life if you allow them.

Jesus didn’t. “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he told his followers to go to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:18). After a day of teaching, “Jesus left the crowd and went into the house” (Matthew 13:36). Christ repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God.  He resisted the undertow of people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose—employing his uniqueness to make a big deal out of God.  Jesus said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing—his unique call!  And He calls on you and me to do likewise.

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Max Lucado – Our Work Can Be Worship

 

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Many people dread their work.  If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink:  “Divine tasks performed here, daily.”  Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people.  You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple.  You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

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Max Lucado – Work With Enthusiasm for the Lord

 

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What if everyone worked with Ephesians 6:7 in mind? “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”  Suppose no one worked to satisfy self or please the bottom line but everyone worked to please God.  Many occupations would instantly cease– drug trafficking, thievery, prostitution, nightclub and casino management.

Certain behaviors would cease as well. If I’m repairing a car for God, I’m not going to overcharge his children. Imagine if everyone worked for the audience of One. Every nurse, thoughtful. Every officer, careful. Every teacher, hopeful. Every lawyer, skillful. Impossible? Well, not entirely. All we need is someone to start a worldwide revolution. Might as well be us!

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Max Lucado – Work for the Lord Rather Than People

 

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When Michelangelo was in his early thirties, the pope invited him to paint a dozen figures on the ceiling of a Vatican chapel. Painting wasn’t Michelangelo’s first passion and he almost refused the project, thinking it was an insignificant one. But he accepted, and as he painted his enthusiasm mounted. Four years, four-hundred figures, and nine scenes later, Michelangelo had changed more than the chapel; he’d changed the direction of art and the style of European painting.

What turned Michelangelo’s work of obligation into an act of inspiration? An observer asked why he focused such attention on the corners of the chapel. “No one will ever see them,” he suggested. Michelangelo’s reply? “God will.” The artist must have known the scripture, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Ephesians 6:7).

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Max Lucado – A Useful Vessel

 

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When you are full of yourself, God cannot fill you. But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel!

Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as “the least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9). King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath, but he did write a public poem of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba. And then there’s Joseph, the quiet father of Jesus. Rather than make a name for himself, he made a home for Christ. And he was given the privilege of naming the son, “and he called his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25). Queue up the millions who’ve spoken the name of Jesus, and look at the person selected to stand at the front of the line, Joseph. It seems right, don’t you think? Joseph gave up his name, so Jesus let Joseph say his. Do you think Joseph ever regretted his choice?

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Max Lucado – You Make the Choice

 

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Would you forfeit your reputation to see Jesus born into your world? Let’s say you’re someone who enjoys the role of a “Christmas Christian.”  You sing the carols, attend the services—but once the season passes, you jettison your faith and re-shelve your Bible.  But this past Christmas, the immensity of it hit you:  Heaven hung her highest hope and King on a cross for me.  Radical thoughts have since surfaced—like joining a Bible study, going on a mission trip.  Your family and friends think you’re crazy.  They want the Christmas Christian back.  You can protect your reputation or protect His.  You have a choice.

Christ abandoned his.  No one in Nazareth saluted him as the Son of God.  Jesus “gave up his place with God and made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7). God hunts for those who will do the same—through whom he can deliver Christ into the world!

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Max Lucado – Surrendering Our Common Life

 

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God grants us an uncommon life to the degree that we surrender our common one.  Jesus said, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25).

Imagine that you are a photographer for an ad agency and your boss assigns you your biggest photo shoot ever—an adult magazine.  Say yes and polish your reputation; yet you’ll use your God-given gifts to tarnish Christ’s reputation. What do you choose?  You have a choice!

Jesus did too.  He “made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men…he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). Christ abandoned his reputation, and God hunts for those who will do likewise.

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Max Lucado – God Heals Family Through His Family

 

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“God’s family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The term family far and away outpaces any other biblical term to describe the church. “Brothers” or “brothers and sisters” appears a whopping 148 times between the book of Acts and the book of Revelation.

In the church we use our gifts to love each other, honor one another, and carry each other’s burdens. Do you need encouragement, prayers, or a hospitable home? God entrusts the church to purvey these treasures. Consider the church God’s treatment center for the common life. Don’t miss the place to find your place and heal your hurts. Oh, the immensity, the beauty, and the surprises of family life. In God’s church, may you find them all.

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Max Lucado – Preparing God’s Holy People

 

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All the billions of Christ followers over the last two-thousand years have this in common:  “A spiritual gift is given to each of us” (1 Corinthians 12:7). God’s body has no nobodies. No exceptions…no exclusions. Our gifts make an eternal difference only in concert with the church. Apart from the body of Christ, we are like clipped fingernails or shaved whiskers and cut hair. Who needs them? He grants gifts so we can “prepare God’s holy people” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Paul reached into a medical dictionary for this term. Doctors used it to describe the setting of a broken bone. Broken people come to churches. Not with broken bones, but broken hearts, broken homes, broken dreams, and broken lives. And if the church operates as the church, they find healing.  All members help to heal brokenness, “to make the body of Christ stronger!”

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Max Lucado – We Are His Workmanship

 

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For some people it’s God, yes; but Church, no. They like the benefits but resist commitment. The music, the message, the clean conscience—they accept the church perks.  So they visit her; they use the church. But commit to the church? Can’t do that. We’ve got to keep options open. Don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

To miss the church is to miss God’s sanctioned tool for God promotion. The church is a key place to do what you do the best to the glory of God. Scripture says, “We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). The word used here means poetry. We are his poetry… his creative best. Alone we are meaningless symbols on a page. But collectively, we inspire! “All of us together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). And “each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body” (Romans 12:5).

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Max Lucado – God’s Family of Friends

 

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Paul gives us this relationship rule for the church: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10). You didn’t pick me. I didn’t pick you. You may not like me and I may not like you.  But since God picked us both, we are family.

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” If similar experiences create friendships, shouldn’t the church overflow with friendships? With whom do you have more in common than fellow believers?  Amazed by the same manger, stirred by the same Bible, saved by the same cross, destined for the same home.  The church. More than family, we are friends. More than friends, we are family. God’s family of friends.

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Max Lucado – God is Building a Family

 

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Gary and Steve had acted like brothers for twenty-five years. In 1998, when a caseworker called Gary asking some personal questions, she discovered both Gary and Steve were adopted. Later she phoned Steve with the news. “You have a brother– it’s your friend, Gary!”  Turns out they were more than buddies, they were brothers. Not just friends, but family. How do you imagine these two men felt? God wants you to find out. He offers you a family of friends—his church.

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  And this gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5). When you transfer your trust into Christ, he not only pardons you, he places you in his forever family of friends.

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Max Lucado – Worship Adjusts Us

 

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Worship adjusts us. It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened.  It bows the knees, singing to him our praise.  Opening our hearts, it offers to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh how we need it!

We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).

We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.

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Max Lucado – God Brings Gifts

 

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Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father had you covered! “Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, “I’ve already given it, dear child. I’ve already given it.”

There’s more!  When you place your trust in Christ, he places his Spirit in you.  And when the Spirit comes, he brings gifts, housewarming gifts of sorts.  A spiritual gift, the Bible says, is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. (1 Corinthians 12:7). When you become a child of God, the Holy Spirit requisitions your abilities for God’s kingdom, and they become spiritual gifts. No one is gift deprived. Are you weary of an ordinary existence?  Your spiritual adventure awaits. The cure for the common life begins and ends with God.

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Max Lucado – Religious, Yet Lost

 

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A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful: Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!

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Max Lucado – God Knows You

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Christ takes away your sin, and in doing so, he takes away your common-ness.  You no longer need to say, “No one knows me” because God knows you.  “LORD, you…know all about me,” David discovered. “You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know everything I do…You are all around me…and have put your hand on me” (Psalm 139:1-3, 5).

God knows you and he is near you.  See how these four words look taped to your bathroom mirror: “God is for me!” (Psalm 56:9). And his kingdom needs you to discover and deploy your unique skill. The poor need you; the lonely need you; the church needs you, the cause of God needs you. Get the word out. God is with us. We are not alone!

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Max Lucado – God’s Great Gospel

 

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No one knows me, we think. People know my name, but not my heart. They know my face but not my feelings. I have a social security number, but not a soul mate. No one really knows me.

The response of heaven is that God does! Prophets weren’t enough. Apostles wouldn’t do. Angels won’t suffice. God sent more than miracles and messages. He sent himself; he sent his Son. In God’s great gospel, he not only sends, he becomes…he lives with. He lives as one of us. He knows our hurt. He knows our hunger. He knows betrayal. Most of all, he knows sin. He knows them better than you do. He knows their price because he paid it. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). God knows you!

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Max Lucado – The Language of Loneliness

 

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We may relish moments of solitude—but a lifetime of it?  No way. Many of us, however, are too fluent in the language of loneliness. The kids used to need me…the business once needed me…my spouse never needs me.  Lonely people fight feelings of insignificance.

What do you do? How do you cope with such cries for significance? Well, some stay busy; others stay drunk. Some buy pets; others buy lovers. Some seek therapy. Yet only a few seek God. He invites all of us to do so. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. “…and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). There’s no withholding tax on God’s with promise. He is with us. God is with us!

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