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You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado and Jenna Lucado Bishop

November 10, 2010

Book review of You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado and Jenna Lucado Bishop

It’s not the worst children’s book I’ve ever read. How’s that for a sales pitch? Meant for tweens and teens, this book is a companion to Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado, and attempts to send the same message of living out the good deeds Christians are called to do.

While I certainly have no quibbles with the basic exhortation to meet the physical needs of the people around us and honor the Biblical command to minister to widows and orphans, as a Christian mom, I’m not excited about the approach of this book.

My first impression is that the first half of the book is a decidedly full of me-centered language. I understand the low self-esteem epidemic among our teens, but is the remedy to keep pumping them up with the idea that their value comes from their gifts, abilities, and the good deeds they do?  To base a person’s value on their abilities begs the question, ‘What if something happens that drastically changes the landscape of their abilities? Does their intrinsic value then decrease?’

As a parent I want to recognize my children’s gifts and strengths and encourage them to invest them where and how God leads, but I hope their sense of value is rooted in the Lord Himself, and what He has done for them in reconciling us to God.

Don’t expect your children to come away from this book with any deep understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The tone of You Were Made to Make a Difference seems to be asking God to come along with us on our endeavors, rather than instruction on loyalty and obedience to the will of God and His word.  There is no mention of repentance, and only a sideways glance at personal responsibility for sin (“I realize my heart is so messed up. I’ve made so many mistakes…” Pg 47). Salvation is described as ‘building a connection’;  a bit sketchy for me.

“When you remember to take God with you wherever you go, you will change in a good way.” Pg 42

“Jesus is the ticket to adventure. He brings fulfillment and joy and the supernatural power to change hearts when we remember to include Him in our quest to make a difference.” Pg 42

“Top Ten Reasons Jesus is Awesome to Hang Out With” includes “He always says nice things about you, He can’t wait to go places and do stuff with you, He listens to you when you admit every wrong thing you’ve done and you never have to feel guilty or ashamed.”

Personally,  I think my kids can handle a much deeper depiction of the gospel and how good works accompany our faith. If my kids want to read this book, I’ll be ok with that, but you can bet we will place it properly in the context of what Jesus has done for us, and that our charity, kindness and good deeds come out of a changed heart fully devoted to Him.

The second half of the book is better (to tell you the truth I was scanning by this time) as it discusses how the gospel is for all the people groups of the world (but still no mention of sin or repentance), and encourages kids to see through the superficial aspects of society. If you are looking for a list of ideas on how you and your kids can become involved in your community, the real life examples and last chapter are good resources for that.

**I was given a free copy of this book as part of Thomas Nelson’s blogger program.

Flags: ‘Building a connection’ or salvation? is by ‘praying a prayer.’

 

Personally I think my kids can handle a much deeper depiction of the gospel and how good works accompany our faith. If my kids want to read this book, I’ll be ok with that, but you can bet we will place it properly in the context of what Jesus has done for us and that our charity, kindness and good deeds come out of a changed heart fully devoted to Him.

The second half of the book is better (to tell you the truth I was scanning by this time) as it discusses how the gospel is for all the people groups of the world (but still no mention of sin or repentance), and encourages kids to see through the superficial aspects of society. If you are looking for a list of ideas on how you and your kids can become involved in your community, the real life examples and last chapter are good resources for that.

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