Girls! Girls! Girls! Popular Christian writer and speaker Jeff Lucas is with a bunch of blokes at a strip club and they’re checking out the bar, dancefloor and even the dressing rooms.

Don’t fret, though. Like many stories in this book, all is not as it first appears. Lucas is at the club out of hours at the invitation of the co-owner, who has recently become a Christian and wants to turn the venue into a church. Lucas and friends are there to pray, encourage and reflect on a place they might have regularly visited had it not been for God’s grace in their lives.

This is one of a collection of bite-sized, real-life stories (many of which were first published in this magazine), in which we meet some of the wild and wonderful people who cross Lucas’ path on his travels, all of whom have a lesson to teach us. People like Isla, whose faith shines brightly in the face of death. And the American pastor who takes time to listen to a controversial artist instead of judging him. And the self-centred control freak church leader, known simply as ‘The Baron’. Then there are the ‘cactus stabbers’, who give the book its title: two Australian men whose ‘white hot zeal’ for killing the noxious wheel cactus challenges Jeff to rekindle a passion for evangelism.

Lucas stirs plenty of emotion with his writing. In one chapter I was chuckling at camping tales, in another I held back the tears as I read the story of a husband who had ‘a hint from heaven’ to phone home just as his wife was being raped.

This book is comforting and challenging in equal measure. Lucas is a fantastic storyteller. He is humorous, honest and humble. For inspiration on how to journey with God whatever life throws at you, read The Cactus Stabbers

ANDREW DUBOCK is communications manager at Viva