Max on Life, Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions by Max Lucado, published by Thomas Nelson.

If you’ve ever wished you could sit down and ask New York Times best -selling author Max Lucado some of life’s toughest questions, then this book is for you.  Lucado responds to 172 questions, grouped into the categories of Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Have/Have-nots, and Hereafter.  Each response includes biblical references for further reading and reflection.

A sampling of the questions includes:

What is the purpose of confession?  Doesn’t God already know what I’ve done? Why does he need me to tell him? (#8)

My brother has been in a slump for weeks. He lost his job and, it seems, his motivation. What’s going on? (#49)

I dread going home at the end of the day. Our home is a combat zone.  I don’t know what to do about it. I offer to go to counseling, but she refuses.  Help! (# 104)

We buried our son five years ago. Yet we still grieve. My wife and I just can’t seem to move on. Why not? (#149)

Is God willing to use anyone to change the world?  Even people who have lived ungodly lives? (# 27)

Max on Life is one of those books that is good to have in the family reference library.  When someone is struggling with a personal issue, they can quickly seek guidance through Lucado’s writing.  The advice and direction is clearly based in Christian theology, but is delivered in a mild-mannered engaging tone.  I must admit, I was surprised at how lecture-free and compassionate some of the responses were, particularly when he addressed controversial subjects.

Question #100 deals with a Biblical approach to homosexuality.  Lucado does not lecture on what some view as the sinfulness of being gay.  Instead, he turns the reader toward what actions he believe Jesus would take.  With that approach, his focus is on love and compassion, not right or wrong. 

Question #52 deals with the question of abortion.  Lucado provides several reasons why a woman might choose to abort a pregnancy, but also says that as a male, he cannot pretend to understand.  He does gently point to the need to protect the fetus but, again, he steers the reader away from condemnation and toward kindness and mercy.

In addition to being a reference book for personal use, this book would also be a great gift for someone struggling with balancing the pressures of being a Christian with those of worldly relationships, responsibilities and temptations.  It could also be a gift for someone graduating from college, offering guidance to help them live life on their own, or perhaps someone going through a major life change who simply needs support.

I am sure that now and then I will be looking up personal challenges just for another point of view.  It may help, it may not.  But Lucado’s gentle conversational style and Bible-based direction certainly won’t hurt.

Note: An advance copy of this book was provided for free by the publisher through  In no other way did they influence the content of this review. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.

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