Max Lucado, pastor and one of America's best-selling authors, said he wrote his latest book to convince readers that God is not distant or uncaring.
"I think most people don't say, 'I don't believe in God.' Most people say, 'I don't believe God believes in me,' " Mr. Lucado told The Blade in an interview. "They believe in a creator, but they don't believe in a Father God and that's the big story of the New Testament."
His 75th and newest book, God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours, published this month, offers folksy tales of human experience intertwined with Scripture. (Zondervan, the book's publisher, announced on Thursday that the book is available until tomorrow as a free ebook download from zndr.vn/godsstory.)
Mr. Lucado, 56, who has sold 80 million books in his nearly 25-year writing career, also takes familiar Scriptures and rewords them in ways that connect humanity with divinity.
His account of Mary and Joseph's quest to find a room at the inn, for example, is written as if it's your neighbors' trip to Shipshewana, Ind. He concludes the chapter with a brief account of a Canton man who anonymously gave to the needy at Christmastime, 1933. "Ordinary man. Ordinary place. But a conduit of extraordinary grace. And in God's story, ordinary matters," Mr. Lucado wrote.
"If I don't think I have a part in God's story, the result of that is a life that has no meaning," he said. "But once I discover that there is a story and that I have a part of that story, that changes everything."
Mr. Lucado shares the teaching pastor's role at the 8,500-member Oak Hills Church in San Antonio with the Rev. Randy Frazee, with each pastor preaching six months of the year. Mr. Lucado, who has donated his pastor's salary to the church every year since 1988, spends his six months away from the pulpit writing books. "All my books do come out of sermon series, and since I split the year with another person … it gives me the luxury of preparing in advance," he said.
He is now writing sermons for January, February, March, and April, and as soon as he finishes preaching next year, he will begin editing the sermons to transform them into books.
Mr. Lucado said he's amazed at his success as an author.
"I'm very, very grateful. I try not to think about it too much," he said. "Not all of my books have been home runs. But all of them have been successful in reaching people that God intended them to reach."
Asked to pick a favorite, Mr. Lucado didn't hesitate: "A children's book called You Are Special."
That book is a parable without religious jargon that has been published in China, Russia, and other places that traditionally don't have religious teaching, he said.