Q: Max, your newest book is called
Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God. Where did the title Cast of Characters
come from?
Well, the title Cast of Characters is very intentional because the Bible is a collection of characters and all their stories and happenings and things they do and things they should have done. Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit, but she wasn’t the last. I think you can argue that every page of the Bible has stains of forbidden fruit upon it. Whether it be Abraham lying about Sarah or Peter lying about Christ or Jonah running away from God or Saul running down people who loved God, the Bible is a story of characters; but overall the Bible is a story of how God uses Characters to accomplish His purpose.

Q: How did you come up the idea of Cast of Characters? And tell us about the unique family aspect.
We developed the idea of Cast of Characters by looking over many of the books that I’ve written and realizing there are so many stories of people, it made sense for us to collect all these stories in one volume. We enlisted the support of my daughter Andrea in this procedure. She had just graduated from college with a degree in English, and she really is handy with words. In fact, she’s off to pursue a Master’s degree in Literature very soon; and she was extremely helpful, she had some good insights, some creative connections, she saw some things that we had missed, and gave us some great feedback. It was a brief time that we had to work together, but I really hope that it’s just a taste of opportunities to come.

Q: The title of your latest book, Cast of Characters, sounds like you may include some rascals and rogues in this book. Is that true?
Well, the title Cast of Characters betrays the fact that we include a variety of people in this book. A lot of rascals, a lot of rogues, some troublemakers, a few that we’d call saintly--but even those people have halos that are a bit rusty and tilted. The great beauty of Scripture is that it is a story of God connecting with people. The big story of the Bible is God and his plan to redeem and use people forever in his eternal kingdom. Were gonna enjoy his presence forever, what’s fascinating is that he doesn’t do this over in one place and people live over in the other. The whole story of the Bible is God interacting, involving himself in the drama, the plot, the happenings of human beings. And consequently the Bible is a story of people, it’s a scrapbook of unusual folk, just like we are..

Q: Which of these biblical characters do you most often identify with and why?
To think which of these characters I most often identify with, I always gravitate toward King David--you know his life was so full of ups and downs, he was a mountain range of peaks and valleys. He had this endearing inconsistency about him where his heart truly seems to long for God but his behavior just doesn’t always quite catch up. He was that enigmatic character of one God but many wives. A man of peace but with blood on his hands. He was faithful to his friends, and yet he had one of his soldiers murdered. He’s just this intertwining of so many different emotions that I think we can all relate to David; and I think we love him most because we find that even in the midst of all of his inconsistencies he still had a good heart, and God loved that good heart. And if God can love David’s heart, I think He can love our hearts too.

Q: What is the importance of story in the Christian life?
This book contains stories because really the Bible is a story; the whole Bible is a story of God’s determination to redeem and rescue His children. Before the Bible is a list of doctrines, before the Bible is a suggestive behavior modifications, the Bible is a story. And it’s a collection of small stories, subplots, Gods interaction with people throughout history. I believe that’s why everywhere Jesus went He told stories, and He didn’t always make application of those stories. Often, He would tell the story and just leave the story for people to chew on and to live with; and that’s what stories do. Stories move in, they take up residents in our hearts; and what they do for you and what they do for me might be two different things, but they always do something because stories in and of themselves have a certain power. So, these stories of people in the Bible have power, they bring life and hope; and we can engage and connect with them, so these stories stick with us, these stories change us and I believe that these stories reflect the very heart of God.