Best-selling author, over 60 books
Has over 65
million books in print in over 30 languages
Dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Christianity Today and
"America's Best Preacher" by Reader's Digest
Currently serving as Senior Minister, Oak Hills
Church, San Antonio, TX since 1988
Former Church Planning Missionary, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
BA & MA, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX
Married to Denalyn, 3 grown daughters
Max Lucado: A Life Without Fear
FEAR OR FAITH
Max Lucado says he wrote his latest book about fear because fear is everywhere. “Fear may fill our world, but it doesn’t have to fill our hearts…We can fear less tomorrow than we do today,” Max says.
Jesus’ most common commands are rooted in “fear not.” This indicates that Jesus takes our fears seriously and is always calling us to be courageous. Max feels that fear is an option and that faith is a better choice.
As a pastor, one of the biggest fears he says he sees in people is the fear that they don’t matter – the fear of living their lives and not making a contribution or being known. Another big fear today is parents not being able to protect their kids. Max says, “Fear is a default emotion, and it overtakes other emotions. Faith is one of the only emotions that demands a decision. By nature, we are fearful people, we have to decide to have faith, and we have to choose to have hope.”
EFFECTS OF FEAR
Max says fear can hamper our relationship with God. Fear corrodes our confidence in the goodness of God and makes us question His existence.
Fear affects our other relationships, because it turns us into “control freaks.” We become mean people, and we think that if we can control fear in one part of our lives, we can control it in others. That isn’t always the case. Parents fear that their children are going to get hurt, so parents will over protect their children from bad influences, etc. Parents forget that their children are God’s first. The best way to deal with fear as a parent is prayer that trusts that God will help them.
Most people allow Jesus to come in the form of hymns, Easter Sundays or peaceful retreats. They don’t allow Him to come in the storms of life. He is the best antidote to fear. The fear of God is the best thing. The Bible says it’s the beginning of wisdom. When the Bible talks about fear in this context, it means awe, reverence or respect. Max says that the fear of God can be the healthiest emotion and can bring us to a place of understanding of how great God is and how we depend on Him. Depending on God brings wisdom. It is our job to expose our fears and call them out in prayer.
Max says even Jesus made His fears public. He “offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death” (Heb. 5:7 NIV). Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is an example of the Church in action – a place where fears can be expressed, examined, and denounced. A healthy church is where our fears go to die.
The next time you find yourself in a fearful moment do this: verbalize it to a trusted circle of God-seekers (your own versions of Peter, James, and John – if you can) and you won’t have to live alone with your fears.
A FINAL ACT OF COURAGE
Max had a dear older brother, Dee, for whom he dedicated his book Fearless to. Everyone liked Dee. Unfortunately, in Dee’s mid-teens, he was introduced to alcohol. For the next four decades, Dee drank. He was also a three-pack-a-day smoker.
In the last two years of Dee’s life, he found sobriety. Unfortunately, his previous years of hard living had taken a toll on his body. On the night Max began writing Fearless, Dee told his wife Donna he couldn’t breathe well. Dee unsuccessfully tried to get some sleep. Then at 4 a.m. he awoke with chest pains that were severe enough to call an emergency team to come to their house. As the rescue team loaded Dee into the ambulance, Dee told Donna to meet them at the hospital. He bravely smiled and weakly waved goodbye to her.
By the time Donna and one of their sons reached the hospital, Dee had died. The attending physician told them and brought them to Dee’s body. They saw that Dee’s hand was resting on his thigh with his hand formed into the universal sign-language symbol for “I love you” – his last message to them and a final act of courage.
Max is from West Texas and was dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Christianity Today in 2004. When he was 16, Lucado spent hot summer nights digging ditches and drinking beer, but soon he began to wonder if there was more to life than what he was doing.
A required Bible course during his sophomore year at Abilene Christian University changed the course of his life. He was fascinated with the professor’s portrayal of Jesus and became convinced he wanted to be a follower.
He moved to Miami and met Denalyn at a singles event at church. They married in 1981, have three daughters, and he has pastored Oak Hills Church since 1988. In 1985, Max mailed his first manuscript, On the Anvil, to 14 publishers who all rejected the book before it was finally published by Tyndale.
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