Behind Bars

Max Lucado is a preacher with a storyteller’s gift — a pastor’s heart and a poet’s pen.

Max’s message is simple: God loves you; let him. Max serves the people of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has been on staff since 1988. He preaches and writes to the hurting, the guilty, the lonely, the discouraged.

That message has traveled around the world in more than 54 languages via more than 120 million individual products. Most of these products are books (92 million), which have occupied spots on every major national bestseller list. Over the years Max Lucado has been featured in countless national media outlets, dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Reader’s Digest, and named one of the most influential leaders in social media by The New York Times.

Max Lucado (pronounced Luh-KAY-dough) was born in a small West Texas town, the youngest son of an oil field mechanic and a nurse. He grew up in church but took a different road as a teen, walking away from his parent’s faith. One summer night, after downing a six-pack of beer, Max began to wonder if there wasn’t more to life than parties and chasing girls. Not long afterward, a Bible class at nearby Abilene Christian University stirred his heart again, drawing the young student into the unconditional love of God.

Max left West Texas with a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and a deep desire to share God’s love and mercy with others. As associate pastor of a small church in Miami, Florida, he wrote a column in the weekly church newsletter. That writing experience ignited a powerful synergy between his passion for people, pastoral ministry, and writing. He also married Denalyn, now his wife of more than three decades.

In 1983 Max and Denalyn moved to Rio de Janeiro to help plant churches. During their five years in Brazil, Max continued to write, updating friends and family about their ministry. Eventually Max gathered those newsletters into a manuscript and sent them off to fifteen publishers. One publisher said yes.

Max Lucado’s first book, On the Anvil, was published in 1985. His 32nd book, Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now (September 2015), offers insight into living a “full throttle” life. “With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be,” writes Max.

Max serves as Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. He has ministered to this church for 25 years. Max and Denalyn have three grown daughters and two son-in-laws.

In 1965 Howard Rutledge parachuted into North Vietnam and spent the next several years in a prison in Hanoi, locked in a filthy cell breathing stale, rotten air trying to keep his sanity. Few of us will ever face the conditions of a POW camp. Yet, to one degree or another, we all spend time behind bars. After half-a-century of marriage, my friend’s wife began to lose her memory. A young mother recently called who had just been diagnosed with Lupus. Why would God permit such imprisonment? To what purpose? Jeremiah 30:24 promises, “The Lord will not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the intents of His mind.” This season in which you find yourself may puzzle you, but it doesn’t bewilder God. He will use it for His purpose. Let me remind you… you will get through this!