Friday, June 17, 2011
Face to Face With God by Jim Maxim
“God is more concerned about our character than our comfort.” As harsh as that may sound, Maxim echoes what those who have truly suffered realize when the dust settles. God doesn’t always perfect us physically, but he will go to the ends of the earth to bring you close to him.
After a car accident left Maxim with a severely disfigured face, you would think the 300 plus stitches, broken jaw that had to be wired closed to heal, and numerous corrective surgeries were enough to scare him straight. A rebel that loved to drink, do drugs, and close the clubs down had something going for him that many don’t-a praying Mom. As he lay in a coma following his car accident, she went one on one with God-going face to face, you could say-pleading for one more miracle for her son. Across town, God answered that prayer by revealing his son Jesus to Maxim as he lay on the operating table, fighting the demons of his addictions. How do we know he went face to face with God? Altering his lifestyle would have been enough evidence, yet Maxim lives his life getting personal with people and being the friend to others that Jesus was to him. When you have a true God experience, it changes you, and you are able to change others.
Fully recovered from his collision with the exception of cosmetic facial flaws, Maxim fulfilled his pre-accident commitment to the Marines. It was during this enlistment that he was able to receive multiple surgeries to repair those imperfections. He also took possession of his first Bible in a bus station left by the Gideon’s, and for the first time in his life, began reading and understanding God’s word. It is obvious that during his two year military service, he was in spiritual boot camp, reading, learning, and applying. That didn’t ease the questions and confusion surrounding what he should do with his life once he was discharged, though. "I just needed to put one foot in front of the other and keep trusting him to open the doors he had for me."
The rest of his story is a moving account of how, through the many obstacles life managed to bring his way, they were just one more opportunity for Maxim to trust God. Not easy to do, and not necessarily done by instinct, but that’s what God asks for in Psalm 23. God does all the work-he leads us, provides rest, and offers nourishment, ultimately restoring our soul. As Maxim illustrates, there will be times when you have to do this alone, without the help of others. It will be just you, standing in faith, dressed in your armor, placing your faith and trust in God.
Maxim is a great author, but an even better teacher. For instance, he explains the fundamentals of communion with God through Psalm 22. He gives the reader permission to lay out the problem and even get a little emotional about circumstances when praying. Then it’s time to move on and recognize that in spite of this personal battle, God is still God. It’s not in our begging, being frustrated or even arriving at the end of ourselves that moves God’s hand in compassion. When we acknowledge who he is, we create a spiritual loophole, and that situation no longer holds us captive.
Many pastors, educators, and lecturers motivate their audience to enter into a relationship with God, but Maxim formulates the “how”, and the reader understands negotiation of that next step beyond confession. He simplifies scripture, breaking it down into the love language it was intended to be. To some, he may instigate the call to servant hood. For others, he will awaken the ability to serve. For all, he clarifies how to thrive as a Christian and then gently challenges the reader to operate within their unique abilities and talents as an individual.
What is glaringly missing in Face to Face With God is the presumption that through bitter judgment and condemnation, the reader will automatically fall in line with God’s will. Personally speaking, my heart was softened when realizing how intimate God longed to be with me, and that motivated far more than reading that I will never be good enough for him. There is no doubt in my mind that Maxim found himself face to face with God. His gentle approach and willingness to be patient with those he encounters reminds me of someone. Someone I hope to one day meet, face to face.
Jim Maxim and his wife, Cathy, have been involved in inner–city ministry for over twenty–five years. He serves on the boards of People for People and World Impact, and he is the chair of The Hope Center, an inner–city crisis pregnancy center. He has been involved with teaching pastors and ministering to children in the slums of Kenya while working with various missions organizations in Africa.
Jim is founder and president of Maxim Automotive and MaximTrak Technologies. MaximTrak designs, develops, and deploys state–of–the–art technologies to help automotive retailers and OEMs manage and improve profitability and compliance within their sales and finance departments.
Jim and Cathy live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have three sons, two daughters–in law, and three grandchildren.
For more information regarding Jim Maxim's ministry, visit Acts413.net.
Jim Maxim will be at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, July 10-13, 2011.
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (July 5, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
Note-a copy of Face to Face With God was provided by Whitaker House for review.