Max Lucado uses the Bible verse of John 3:16 to speak about various real-life situations to help explain the true meaning behind the promise of the verse.

The Lowdown

Max Lucado is considered one of the best preachers in America. A graduate of Abilene Christian University in Texas, he graduated with an undergraduate degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Bible and biblical related studies. He parlayed the two degrees into a very successful career in the ministries where he served as the Senior Minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio for almost 20 years until he recently had to step down due to medical problems. During those years, he used his journalism degree to also become a very successful writer, writing more than 50 books with 28 million copies in print.

I will preface this interview with a disclaimer. I am a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church religiously for the first nineteen years of my life. I attended a Christian university for one year after graduating high school but was expelled for bad grades and never returned. That was about the time I stopped attending church altogether due to my distaste for the hypocrisy that prevailed in the organized religion scene. However, over the years I have maintained my beliefs and my only real beef is with the church itself, not with the idea of God in general.

Max Lucado is apparently a very well renowned preacher and writer. In 2005, he was named by Reader’s Digest as “The Best Preacher in America.”  He was quoted at the time saying he took the accolades with “a grain of salt” and continued on by saying he was “being honored at the same time the Best Pizza in America [was] being honored.” That kind of warmed me to the idea of sitting down with this DVD.

The DVD is a companion to his book 3:16 The Numbers of Hope. The DVD was split into twelve sections, each one dealing with a different part of the Bible verse. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” I pretty much told you right there the words that are pounded home through the entire DVD. Using examples such as his aging dog and his troubles with an airline when his wife was sick, Lucado explains in detail each word of the scripture and how it deals with you individually.

I don’t have a problem with the presentation but I do have a problem with the fact that he seems to be talking down to people. That is a problem with organized religion anyway, as they seem to be talking to people as if they are simple and this man is no different. I can see throughout the presentation why he is considered such a great preacher, as he seems like a very good man who is probably great at speaking to people, but on the DVD it really comes across as simplistic views of society in general. I won’t go into my problems with his descriptions of Heaven. He seems to be talking about something that is a great mystery as if he has firsthand knowledge into the realm of the unknown. If you are already a follower, you will not have problems with his lessons, but if you want something a little more challenging you won’t find it here.

The Package

The guys who put this DVD together sure do know how to use their editing software. It is all very professionally done but it just comes across as a PowerPoint presentation. That is maybe the look they were going for since this is [just] one long presentation anyway. You can either watch the presentation from beginning to end or watch each section separately. It is presented in 1.85:1 DVD Screen Format and looks crisp and clean. The music is annoying to the point of making me want to slice my ears off.

The best part of the DVD is a short film based on a Max Lucado short story entitled Wherever You Are. Many will find this short film to be melodramatic and tediously moralizing, but with this DVD you should not expect anything less. I don’t have a problem with the short at all and actually find it slightly uplifting. Yes, it is nauseating in its simplistic morality but it is well done and makes its point. The short tells the story of a stripper who explains to her co-worker how she ended up in this line of work, where she came from, and what she left behind. The actress is really kind of annoying, but the story is well told, well shot, and, if you are a believer, a nice little parable of a father’s unending love. The short film raises the score of this offering.