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Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
When was the last time you read a book that surprised you? Wait a minute, maybe I should ask, when was the last time you read a book? I think if we all took stock we would be appalled at the amount of time we waste in front of the banal boob tube and how little time we invest in books that strengthen and deepen us in Christ.
Max Lucado’s IT’S NOT ABOUT ME is one of those priceless pieces that are worth reading and re-reading. That surprised me because I usually don’t like Max’s stuff. It’s not that he isn’t a good writer, he’s brilliant. And it isn’t that he is doctrinally off base or spiritually out of reach, he is one of the most theologically balanced and accessible authors out there. It’s just that Lucado’s writings usually leave me feeling like I just had a glass of Bojangle’s sweet iced tea without the fried chicken, over-sugared and under-nourished.
Not this time. This brief little book, it’s only 4x6 inches and 145 pages plus an excellent study guide, is a powerful tonic for puny souls. The subtitle says it all: Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy. That life is on display everywhere we look. Stand in the checkout line and see it on the magazine covers. Look on the internet and find the “one weird trick” that will fulfill your fantasies. Listen to the advertisers and philosophizers of our day and one message rings through: IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU. The problem is that when we take that ball and run with it we find that when life is all about us we end up with empty, thirsty, jaded souls.
We were made for something more. That something more is a life given over to the glory of God. When viewed from that perspective certain particulars of life on planet earth begin to make more sense. This, by the way, has been John Piper's life message. But John is often so deep, and so profound, that he can be hard to digest. Lucado is Piper for Dummies. He writes:
"Perhaps our place is not at the center of the universe. God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about him.
What if we took that to heart? Lucado answers:
"Would we see a change in families? We’d certainly hear a change. Less “Here is what I want!” More “What do you suppose God wants?”
"What if a business man took that approach? Goals of money and name making, he’d shelve. God-reflecting would dominate."
"And your body? … God-centered thinking acknowledges, “It’s God’s; I have to respect it.”
"We’d also see our suffering differently. “My pain proves God’s absence” would be replaced with “My pain expands God’s purpose.”
"Life makes sense when we accept our place. The gift of pleasures, the purpose of problems – all for him. The God-centered life works. And it rescues us from a life that doesn’t."
So if you have some room left on your summer reading list, why don’t you add a copy of Lucado’s excellent little book, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME, and begin to see your life in a different light.