4 Stars: Max On Life by Max Lucado

Disclaimer: I received this book free through Book Sneeze http://www.booksneeze.com/
I always give an honest review all books. I lean towards being extra critical of books because there are so many out there and I understand you and I have limited time and resources. If I am going to recommend a book, I want it to be one that you will put on your bookshelf and keep. I want it to be the kind of book you will come back to and will also recommend to others.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780849948121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849948121
  • ASIN: 0849948126
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches


WHO MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK? New Christians. Young Christians. Church of Christ members. Those who love devotionals. Women. Teenagers. Young adults. Families. Married couples (especially women). Those who are hurting and want answers. Those struggling through life. Those who want to live according to God and the Bible but have a lot of questions or struggles. Great book to give as a gift to new Christians.

WHO MIGHT HATE THIS BOOK? Long-term knowledgable Christians will probably find the questions and their answers to be nothing knew. Pastors and Elders and those very familiar with Christians will already know most of the answers to the questions. There are no real new insights. All the questions are normal everyday life questions that you've heard many times.

AUTHOR: Max Lucado, a Church of Christ minister, and author of many many books.

SUMMARY: Christian minister Max Lucado answers 172 questions about everyday life. Chapter Topics include: Hope, Hurts (Calamities and "Why me?"), Help (Prayer and "Why Church?"), Him/Her (Sex, Romance), Home (Diapers, Disagreements), Haves/Have-Nots (Work, Money), Hereafter (Heaven, Hell and Cemeteries).

QUICK BOOK REVIEW: The format of the book is very easy to read: each questions is listed at the top of a page and the answer is listed right below. Easy to read as a daily devotional. Most readers will read the question and if it applies to them or interests them, they will read the answer. If the question doesn't catch their interest, they will skip to the next question. The more "general life questions" that you know through life experience, bible study, church, reading and talking to other Christians, the more likely you will skip over sections of the book. This book has many basic answers to basic questions. It is very geared towards emotional issues, life issues, struggles, doubts, guilt, and feeling right with God. I think the book appeals more to women than men, because of the emotional content over intellectual content, but new Christian men will also find answers and comfort in many of the answers.

- Solid Bible-based teachings from a Church of Christ Christian perspective.
- Not a deep book. No deep answers. I believe none of the 172 answers was over 2 pages long.
- No real solid, deep-thinking answers. Lots of "I don't know why but just trust and obey God" answers

Some of the Questions & Answers in this book:
- What purpose does deformed children serve? How can God permit such deformities? A: What makes no sense in this world, will make sense in the next life. Example: In the womb, you had eyes and nose. You couldn't use them as an embryo, but once you were born, they became useful. Some parts of life seem unnecessary (suffering, loneliness, disease, martyrdom) but what if the earth is a womb for heaven? Might these challenges serve us in the next life? Paul wrote "These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make our troubles seem like nothing" (2 Cor 4:17)
- People say “All things work together for good” but this seems cruel to me. A: God uses our struggles to build character.
- How can I trust God is powerful enough to take care of me? A: He is unlimited, unchanging, ungoverned and unbelievable.
- How can we know God really exists? A: Look at the Milky Way, earth, ethics, the bible, Jesus's empty tomb and Jesus himself. God is real.
- Can God really understand my troubles? A: He's been there in Jesus, so he knows how you feel.
- How can I know I'm truly saved? A: Confess with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord", believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved.
- I became a Christian as a teenager but stopped praying, going to church and reading my Bible. Now I've come back to God. During that time, was I saved? A: Salvation is not repeatable and you can not "be saved", "lose your salvation", "be saved", then "lose your salvation". Persistent sin shows a lack of ever having salvation, not a loss of salvation. God is able to keep you saved IF you are one of his sheep.
- I'm afraid I'm not perfect enough for God to forgive me. A: God has enough love for you. We inherit abundant mercy from Jesus to cover a lifetime of mistakes. No mistake is too big for God.
- If God knew in advance that Jesus would come back to him after dying, what did God really give up? A: Jesus left heaven (a huge sacrifice) to come to earth. He went from sinless to take on the suffering of our worst sins. Would you ever sacrifice your son or daughter for EVIL people? No way! But God did.
- I’ve tried to be a friend to a new kid at school from another culture, but now kids are making fun of me. A: Remain a friend to the new kid no matter what is said. The first few jokes may sting, but over time, the prejudice fades and the jokes get old.

Other questions:
- When I doubt God, does he leave me?
- How is human love different from God's love?
- What's the purpose of confession? Doesn't God know what I've done?
- My Uncle was evil but saved on his deathbed. Can such an awful person be saved?
- I don't feel like I have anything I can offer God. He couldn't ever use me.
- I feel like life is too overwhelming!
- How can be become more patient?
- How can I stop looking down upon growing old?
- Can my life count for Christ, even if I'm not a minister?
- My prayers go unanswered. What can I do?
- Is God willing to use ungodly people to change the world?
- We don't begin to compare to early Christian believers. How can we make a difference?
- How should I react to poverty?
- When does repentance occur? When a person becomes a Christian or grows as a Christian?
- What can I tell children sufferring from cancer?
- My boss makes mean comments. What can I do?
- What can I do about my short temper?
- I’m afraid of trying new things, go new places, so I never go far.
- My boss promised me a promotion, then passed me up. I’m very resentful. What can I do?
- My ex says mean things about me to the kids. I have a hard time forgiving her.
- I can’t forgive my ex-son-in-law for breaking my daughter’s heart
- Is it okay for me as a Christian to fire an unproductive worker?
- A friend has been making mean comments about me
- How do I overcome my bad habits?

1 Star: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (SKIP)

1 Star


WHO MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK? Christians who want to feel good about life and their own religion. Christians who want hope. Believers in Weslyan theology. Catholics. Artists. Christians who don't highly value biblical accuracy.

WHO MIGHT HATE THIS BOOK? Non-Christians. Spiritual people. Bible is 100% infallible believers. Calvinists. Strong believing protestants. Impatient readers who want the facts and not a lot of fluff.

AUTHOR: Sarah Palin's ghost writer Lynn Vincent (not written by the father Todd Burpo or son). Book is written from the father's persepctive and with his direction.

SUMMARY: 3 year old boy (despite all the claims in the media that he was 4) is said to have gone to heaven during surgery for a burst appendix. About 20 weeks after the surgery, the father learns the boy had met his grandpa in heaven while undergoing surgery. So the pastor/minister dad asks the boy questions. 7 years (YES, SEVEN YEARS) later, a book is written by Sarah Palin's ghost sensationalist author Lynn Vincent and instantly becomes a best seller. Now it's all over TV.

QUICK BOOK REVIEW: 80% boring fluff about family life, bills and the father. Nothing new taught here. Every idea about heaven in this book is already popular and widely known in today's Christian culture. From Jesus' eyes being blue to halos, humans and angels with wings, white robes and animals in heaven. The book's description of heaven seems fake because no new concepts are introduced and no details are given. How come heaven is EXACTLY like modern society portrays it with not one new detail?

- Book reaffirms many common knowledge beliefs about heaven
- Book paints an appealing picture of heaven that can agree with the majority of wanna-feel-good Christians desires about heaven

- 80% of book is about the family, the father's dealing with his son's medical issues, and the father paying bills
- Book is 154 pages and the first mention of the heaven experience is on page 61
- Book never does explain the boy's entire experience of heaven - only a small snippet here and there
- Boy's father directs the entire book, providing scriptural proof to support everything the boy tells him about
- Boy says: God has the "biggest chair of all" in heaven and that Jesus has a chair on the right side (the correct side per scripture) and angel Gabriel has a chair on the left side - pg 101.
- Humans have halos
- Humans and Angels have wings and they fly around (This is not in the bible, but certainly popular in Christian artwork)
- Everybody in heaven has wings, except Jesus. The boy's grandpa has "huge wings". (This is not in the bible, but in Christian artwork)
- 1 minute in earth time is 30 minutes in heaven
- Animals are in heaven (This is not in the bible, but a nice idea/hope)
- Jesus wears a purple sash (because he is a king) (This is not in the bible, but in Christian artwork)
- All adults are age 25 in heaven (This is not in the bible)
- All fetus are now age 7 in heaven (This is not in the bible)
- All children are the same age as when they die (This is not in the bible)
- The dads will take swords and fight with Jesus and the angels against Satan and his dragons and monsters (This is not in the bible)
- there's going to be a "war" and that "women and children stand back and watch" while "good men, Jesus, and angels" battle satan and Jesus wins - pg 136 (This is not in the bible's portrayal of the "End Times" "Judgment" or "Armaggedon")
- Soon there will be a big war between "bad people", demons and monsters against believers, God and Jesus. Jesus wins and throws Satan into hell. "I saw it dad" (This is not in the bible)
- Satan will be thrown into hell (Am I wrong or does the Bible in Revelation say that Satan will be cast into "the lake of fire" ALONG WITH HELL but not into hell)
- one "has to have Jesus in his heart and has to know Jesus or he can't get into heaven" - pg 57
- little boy saw satan and he says the angels use "swords" to keep satan out of heaven (How does a sword keep a spirit being out of heaven? Does Satan have a physical body that can be pierced?)
- If you don't have Jesus in your heart, you'll go to hell.
- Jesus had his angels sing to the child about the walls of Jericho falling
- God zaps pastors with power when they preach
- we enter heaven through wide golden pearly gates
- everyone wears White robe, bare feet and a sash
- lots of colors and rainbows in heaven
- If you pray hard enough, he will "shoot power" down from heaven to help you. Kind of like a bolt of lightning except you don't feel anything.
- boy said Jesus had "markers" on his hands and feet
- the boy saw his parents from heaven
- met his grandpa who he never met, talked with John the Baptist, and met his baby sister who died by miscarriage (but she has no name in heaven)
- boy saw Jesus' horse, lots of other children and animals and even the Virgin Mary
- Jesus has blue eyes (I thought he was like other Jewish mean and had brown eyes?)
- The Holy Spirit is in heaven (I thought he was with us on earth?)

- Despite what you might have heard in the media, the boy doesn't die. His heart doesn't stop, his brain didn't flat-line... there's no actual 'near death' nor actual-death involved.
- 'Heaven is for Real' is a pro-Christian, anti-abortion publication, written by a Christian pastor, and ghost-written by Lynn Vincent who acted as ghost-writer for Sarah Palin's book 'Going Rogue'. Need I say more? If the kid met God when he was 4 (and remember, meeting God is a pretty big deal, right?), why has it taken his parents 7 years to tell anybody?
- Believer's do not get wings in heaven (sorry grandpa). Angels are created beings, we do not turn into them. God the Father is never described as a giant of a man. Halos are never mentioned in the Bible in connection with people, angels or God. The Bible refers to Satan being in heaven at times, swords are hardly what angels would use against each other if they even fought! They can't die! If we are told we can't use weapons like that against evil why would angels? Heaven must be a confusing place if miscarriages resulted in nameless people in heaven: there would be a lot of "Hey you in the white robe, no, not you, you.) Since we will be perfected in heaven, your grandpa will not have to ask if your his grandkid (while your unborn sister knows). This story like many others like it, do not stand up to a biblical evaluation.
- But the deal breaker for me in this piece of fiction is that it is far too full of biblical references the dad makes to try and convince us that his kid has been to heaven. These references fit with 'his' interpretation of life after death, based on his specific religious beliefs/theology (Wesleyan (as opposed to Calvinist)), which are very concrete. Too concrete. I don't know about you but I don't want wings when I get to heaven. Why, as a human being, would I suddenly sprout wings, and why would I be running around in a robe from biblical times?
- First, I am a believer. So, I am not in the least put off by a young boy's "experience" with Heaven. What I regret is that this experience was obviously the cumulative effect of Sunday School teachings, parental conversations, and a child's observations over time.
- His father is a minister or pastor, and his mom is a youth-minister too, so he's heard and been exposed to this stuff around the clock
- I am a Christian (Lutheran), married to a pastor so I am coming to this opinion as a believer. This book is not for me. It is written in very simplistic language, and simply misses the mark. The child may or may not have been to heaven, but frankly, the parents almost badger him for information whenever he mentions something about his trip to heaven. And he gets a lot of attention when he tells them what they want to hear--of course he is going to continue to have revelations.
- One example of my (the reviewer's) disappointment was the child's meeting with his paternal grandfather in heaven. There was nothing of substance in the exchange quoted between the two. There was no warmth or intimacy to their dialogue as there would be when a grandparent speaks to a young grandson.
-There is way too much about Todd and his trials and tribulations, and not enough about Colton's actually experience. In fact, the experiences are inserted almost as afterthoughts by Todd who really wants the reader to know how hard he works and how challenging his life has been.
- One aspect of the account that renders it unbelievable is the following conversation between Colton and Todd (p.72)
"Everybody's got wings," Colton said.
Wings, huh?
"Did you have wings?" I asked.
"Yeah, but mine weren't very big." He looked a little glum when he said this.
"Okay...did you walk placed or did you fly?"
"We flew."
- Book gives the impression the boy was coached by the pastor father OR the father may have embellished the story
- I believe in God, I believe in Heaven, I just don't believe this book.
- To me it sounds like the father made the whole thing up and told his son what to say. In their mind they probably think that doing this will bring people closer to God and money in their bank account. I also seen their interview on Fox news and the boy looked force fed.
- I find it really hard to believe that this book is not a scam, intended to milk an audience
- how do I know this father pastor guy isn't embellishing? The kid was four yet He remembers all this stuff from a few months ago
- I find it a little hard to believe that this little boy was not either coached with his bible story books and strong influences from the family beliefs. Or, whether the parents only took note of what the boy said about heaven that fitted in with or supported their belief system.
- I don't know. I always pictured Jesus as an old Jewish guy. But no, he has blue eyes. Who knew?
- how could it be conceivably possible that Colton Burpo's revelation of the true nature of God and Heaven happened to conform exactly to his father's views on them?
- the boy declares that only people in heaven are people who espouse his religious faith is reason enough to declare this book a fraud
- 87% through the book. At this point, the parents asked the boy if he got to play with swords in heaven. "No" was the answer because: "There is going to be a war and the angels and good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people. I saw it." Then the author goes into the Book of Revelation where the women and children stand back and watch. But the men had to fight. And so it goes: fundamentalist preaching and pure fiction. I believe this book to be pure fiction.

Jackie's 5-1 Star Book Reviews

I'm creating this blog to provide an intelligent Calvinist Christian persepctive (not churchy) on books. I will rate all books 1-5 stars with 5 being the highest. This way, you can choose if the book is worth reading or not.