Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear by Max Lucado ` book and study review

This world can be a pretty darn fearful place.  The news programs are full of things to fear.  A constant bombardment of financial fallouts, oil patch downturns, terrorists, global warming, natural and unnatural disasters, war, teens and people gone bad.  Fear is a ruthless taskmaster in our lives and can cause us to be imprisoned.  In this book and study Max Lucado ventures to teach us to make faith and not fear our default reaction.  By developing a better understanding of God in our lives he challenges us  to ask if we can live more without taking on those fears and live life the way God intended.

I ordered this book and small group discussion guide for our ladies study.  All of us had some kind of overwhelming fear in our lives, some very much under the controlling power of fear, and I thought this would be a great way to learn to address those fears.

I loved this study and the way it was set up.   Max Lucado writes in his typical story-telling style.  If you've read Max Lucado you'll know what I mean.  Each chapter in the book addresses a different fear.  I did find that some of the chapters were more involved than others and I did find a couple of them a bit rushed. Now doing this as a group, I encouraged ladies not to skip the chapters they didn't feel pertained to them because you never know if that fear would one day come a'knocking or that they might end up encouraging someone else who was facing that fear.  Anyway,  at the end of each chapter there is a discussion guide at the back that takes you into a deeper, more personal searching of the heart.  The format can be used both for personal study or group study.  It is set up under the following headers which I though were a really great way to approach this topic.

1. " Examining the Fear" in which questions were asked to make you search your heart and/or to pinpoint that particular fear in your own life.  Or your lack of that particular fear.  And how it might have taken root.

2.  "Exposing the Fear" in which specific scriptures were studied and exposed that fear against the truth of the Word of God.

3.  "Battling Fear" where you were given specific tasks to do to help you make this study very pertinent and real and applicable to your personal life and fears.

I loved the set up.  Sometimes these kinds of studies can get bogged down in just discussing a whole lot about the subject but never takes the steps to aggressively help you deal with the subject.  This did.  The questions in the Examing Fear part brought out some really good discussion on the part of the group as some of them were quite indepth.  But the part I liked best was then it hit you with scriptures and questions to make you think what the Word says about that fear. It's one thing to talk about fears and dissect them but a whole other thing to bring the Word of God which gives truth to those fears.   It didn't just mention the scriptures, it asked deep questions to help you get that Word into you and give you a perspective on what God thinks.  Knowing what the Bible says about that particular fear is the first step in dealing with it.  The scriptures given also taught on how to deal with the fear using the Word of God.  And the Battling Fear part helped you to take those steps to not just learn about it but to do it.  It was easy to lead this study with the format this discussion guide had.

I also ordered the Small Group Discussion Guide to help me as the leader with this study.  This I found not quite as helpful as just the guide in the back of the actual book.  I thought it would be a chapter by chapter helps book but in actuality it only had 6 lessons as compared to the 15 chapters of the book.  It made huge jumps between chapters, giving lessons on some but not others.  The way we chose to do the study was to study one chapter at a time because of the time involvement of answering the questions so this guide really didn't help but to maybe give an extra thought provoking question or two.  Others doing the study in a different way might find this more helpful.

There is also a dvd that can be purchased but I can't comment on that because we didn't use it.  I'm thinking the small group guide fits in more so if using this dvd in your study.

All in all, this was a great study.  We all face fear at some point in our lives.  And this proactively taught you how to realize that God is so much bigger than the fears we have.  But like any other study it takes effort from the person.  Those ladies that were serious and didn't just read or skim the chapters but actually took the time to reflect and answer the questions and search their hearts and study the scriptures before the study each week got the most out of the study.  I think I, persoanlly, will be rereading this book or portions of it.  I highly recommend this study for individual or group use.


aspiritofsimplicity said...

sounds like an interesting book. I enjoy him.

Barbara H. said...

This sounds very interesting and helpful.

Faith said...

thanks for the review. My husband and I used to collect Max lucado's books but this is the first one I know of that is a study for a small group. I was going to order it for my own group for the next school year (we break in the summer) BUT...God has me doing other things next year!! I'm taking a break from being a small group leader. I still might get the book though and if I return to being a leader, I might have the group do this.