Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference

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by Max Lucado

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These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven,… See more details below


These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Megaseller Lucado (3:16--The Numbers of Hope) celebrates his 25th year in publishing with a call to Christians to use "our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity" to "alter the course of human suffering." With his typical folksiness, Lucado uses the first 12 chapters of the biblical book of Acts as a springboard, describing how God uses Galilean fishermen--and each of us--to change the world. Familiar biblical stories--Ananias and Sapphira, the Greek-speaking widows, Peter's dream--take on new meaning as Lucado urges Christians to look beyond their usual lives. "None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus," he writes simply. Lucado provides discussion questions for group or personal use, as well as ideas for action. The book is the lead item of a wide array of related products, including an audiobook, greeting cards, Bible, children and youth material, curriculum, and gift books. Lucado shows fans both longtime and new that he remains, after all these years, a powerful voice in the call to authentic Christianity. (Sept.)

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Outlive Your Life
Chapter 1
Our Once-in-History
By the time you knew what to call it, you were neck deep in it. You’d toddler-walked and talked, smelled crayons and swung bats, gurgled and giggled your way out of diapers and into childhood.
You’d noticed how guys aren’t gals and dogs aren’t cats and pizza sure beats spinach. And then, somewhere in the midst of it all, it hit you. At your grandpa’s funeral perhaps. Maybe when you waved good-bye as your big brother left for the marines. You realized that these days are more than ice cream trips, homework, and pimples. This is called life. And this one is yours.
Complete with summers and songs and gray skies and tears, you have a life. Didn’t request one, but you have one. A first day. A final day. And a few thousand in between. You’ve been given an honest-to-goodness human life.
You’ve been given your life. No one else has your version. You’ll never bump into yourself on the sidewalk. You’ll never meet anyone who has your exact blend of lineage, loves, and longings. Your life will never be lived by anyone else. You’re not a jacket in an attic that can be recycled after you are gone. And who pressed the accelerator? As soon as one day is lived, voilà, here comes another. The past has passed, and the good old days are exactly that: old days, the stuff of rearview mirrors and scrapbooks. Life is racing by, and if we aren’t careful, you and I will look up, and our shot at it will have passed us by.
Some people don’t bother with such thoughts. They grind through their days without lifting their eyes to look. They live and die and never ask why.
But you aren’t numbered among them, or you wouldn’t be holding a book entitled Outlive Your Life. It’s not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.
But how can you? How can I? Can God use us?
I have one hundred and twenty answers to that question. One hundred and twenty residents of ancient Israel. They were the charter members of the Jerusalem church (Acts 1:15). Fishermen, some. Revenue reps, others. A former streetwalker and a converted revolutionary or two. They had no clout with Caesar, no friends at the temple headquarters. Truth be told, they had nothing more than this: a fire in the belly to change the world.
Thanks to Luke we know how they fared. He recorded their stories in the book of Acts. Let’s listen to it. That’s right—listen to the book of Acts. It cracks with the sounds of God’s ever-expanding work. Press your ear against the pages, and hear God press into the corners and crevices of the world.
Hear sermons echo off the temple walls. Baptismal waters splashing, just-saved souls laughing. Hear the spoon scrape the bowl as yet another hungry mouth is fed.
Listen to the doors opening and walls collapsing. Doors to Antioch, Ethiopia, Corinth, and Rome. Doors into palaces, prisons, and Roman courts.
And walls. The ancient prejudice between Jew and Samaritan— down! The thick and spiked division between Jew and Gentile—crash!
The partitions that quarantine male from female, landowner from pauper, master from slave, black African from Mediterranean Jew—God demolishes them all.
Acts announces, “God is afoot!”
Is he still? we wonder. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?
Heaven knows we hope so. These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, 2 million are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases. More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.
Yet in the midst of the wreckage, here we stand, the modern-day version of the Jerusalem church. You, me, and our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity.
Ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever. We are bright, educated, and experienced. We can travel around the world in twenty-four hours or send a message in a millisecond. We have the most sophisticated research and medicines at the tips of our fingers. We have ample resources. A mere 2 percent of the world’s grain harvest would be enough, if shared, to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world. There is enough food on the planet to offer every person twenty-five hundred calories of sustenance a day. We have enough food to feed the hungry.
And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans. Here’s the math. There are 145 million orphans worldwide. Nearly 236 million people in the United States call themselves Christians. From a purely statistical standpoint, American Christians by themselves have the wherewithal to house every orphan in the world.
Of course, many people are not in a position to do so. They are elderly, infirm, unemployed, or simply feel no call to adopt. Yet what if a small percentage of them did? Hmmm, let’s say 6 percent. If so, we could provide loving homes for the more than 14.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. Among the noble causes of the church, how does that one sound? “American Christians Stand Up for AIDS Orphans.” Wouldn’t that headline be a welcome one?
I don’t mean to oversimplify these terribly complicated questions. We can’t just snap our fingers and expect the grain to flow across borders or governments to permit foreign adoptions. Policies stalemate the best of efforts. International relations are strained. Corrupt officials snag the systems. I get that.
But this much is clear: the storehouse is stocked. The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution. God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering. A few years back, three questions rocked my world. They came from different people in the span of a month. Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response? I didn’t mind the first two questions. They were hypothetical. I’d like to think I would have taken a stand against Hitler and fought against racism. But those days are gone, and those choices were not mine. But the third question has kept me awake at night. I do live today; so do you. We are given a choice . . . an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life? What if we followed the example of the Jerusalem church? This tiny sect expanded into a world-changing force. We still drink from their wells and eat from their trees of faith. How did they do it? What can we learn from their priorities and passion?
Let’s ponder their stories, found in the first twelve chapters of Acts. Let’s examine each event through the lens of this prayer: Do it again, Jesus. Do it again. After all, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10 NLT). We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven but here on earth.
Here’s a salute to a long life: goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath. May you live in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life.
After David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried. (Acts 13:36 NLT)
O Lord, what an amazing opportunity you have spread out before me—a chance to make a difference for you in a desperately hurting world. Help me to see the needs you want me to see, to react in a way that honors you, and to bless others by serving them gladly with practical expressions of your love. Help me be Jesus’ hands and feet, and through your Spirit give me the strength and wisdom I need to fulfill your plan for me in my own generation. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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What People are saying about this

Ron Hall
A powerful collection of stories and Biblical truths that will keep you awake long after you read it, wondering and hopefully scheming how to outlive your life. --(Ron Hall, bestselling author of Same Kind Of Different As Me)
Richard Stearns
This may well be Max Lucado's most important book. On your 99th birthday what will you cherish when you look back at your life? Will it be the size of your bank accounts, the extent of your real estate holdings, or the impressive titles you've held -- or -- will it be the people you've loved, the relationships in which you've invested, and the things you've done for God's Kingdom? Outlive Your Life is a roadmap for your life journey that will leave you few regrets and will inspire you to be all that God intended. This is one of those rare books that can change your life. --(Richard Stearns, President of World Vision US, author of The Hole in Our Gospel)
Michael W. Smith
There has never been a better time for Believers to show God’s love, to sing His love to the nations. Thanks, Max, for reminding us that we each are designed to make a difference. Your words bring hope to all who read them and help to those in need.--(Michael W. Smith, bestselling Christian music artist)
Denver Moore
Pastor Max tells all folks how to move from Bible studies to Bible doins. Denver Moore, bestselling author of Same Kind Of Different As Me
Kathy Lee Gifford
Max is a writer who disguises his genius well—he makes the most profound truth understandable to people like me. And then something miraculous happens. This truth changes your heart and ultimately, somebody else’s world.--(Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of NBC’s The Today Show)
Wess Stafford
Unlike any other time in history, believers are acutely aware of the plight of the world's poor--though most feel overwhelmed by poverty and feel powerless to do anything about it. Yet God made it clear in His Word that we are to care for "the least of these,” leaving us without excuse. Max Lucado has passionately discipled a generation in how to live out our faith. Now, in Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, he teaches us to live compassionately in our hurting world, and reveals why God deliberately chooses to use ordinary people like you and me to carry out His mandate. What might happen if Christ-followers worldwide decided to put aside differences and work together to end global poverty? Rarely have I read a book that so echoes the cry of my own heart. Outlive Your Life will compel you to live in such a way that your legacy will impact the world beyond your lifetime.--(Wess Stafford, President and CEO, Compassion International)
Toby Mac
With Outlive Your Life Max Lucado continues to add to his already amazing legacy. Once again Max helps reveal the heart of God in such an impactful way. You will be challenged and motivated.--(Toby Mac, Grammy Award winning Recording Artist)

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