Using the example of the early church, Max Lucado invites us to ‘make a difference’ by harnessing our gifts to our compassion to reach a needy world. Heard it all before? Hmm…yes, me too. And that, I fear, is the central dissatisfaction I have with this book. I expected much, but was left with a sense of the same old message wrapped up in a new package, the shiny neatness of which somehow failed to engage with the real issues.

Lucado’s insistence that Christians need to be radical a community biased towards the marginalised echoes that of Jesus, so nothing at all wrong there. But he seems to miss the fact that the Church itself is increasingly marginalised, offering us both new challenges and new opportunities as Jesus-followers in an increasingly heartless, soulless, God-needing world. Style-wise, Lucado depends heavily on stories and embeds his message in slightly disorientated, clunky prose with which he never really grasps the nettle. I hope I am wrong and this new book will help us change the world. But my considered view is that we’ve read it all before, we know what we must do and we probably just need to get on with it. HIGH: A wealth of stories written to inspire and engage.

LOW: Tries, but fails, to really engage with real needs of hurting people.