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Uncensored Grace: Stories of Hope From the Streets of Vegas
by Jud Wilhite and William Taaffe

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"The personal accounts are undeniable and unforgettable reminders that Christ-followers cannot tip toe around Samaria and avoid 'those kind of people.'"

When thinking of Las Vegas, I selfishly morph into a Pharisee and am instantaneously repulsed by the decadence and glorification of sin. After all, Vegas is an American icon of glitz and glam. Pleasure, money, sex and another lucky roll of the dice dictates its reality. As Jonah did with the city of Nineveh, many of us have written the city off as evil and hopeless . . . but not Jud Wilhite. To the senior pastor of Central Christian Church, it is no longer “Sin City”. Instead it is becoming “Grace City.” God’s uncensored grace is radically changing lives in the painted desert.

You’ll be sadly mistaken if you think Uncensored Grace is just another book by a megachurch pastor who wants to share quick fix formulas and bask in the success of his church.

Pastor Jud joins experienced journalist William Taaffe to clearly communicate the gripping stories of how God saves souls thought to be beyond rescue and redemption. Raw, messy and detailed stories of a flying Elvis impersonator, exotic dancers, a casino showgirl, a former "American Idol" semifinalist, a homeless crack addict and others will soften the readers’ hearts and encourage them to live like they believe nobody is beyond God's uncensored grace. How easily that truth is forgotten by those who claim the name of Jesus. The personal accounts are undeniable and unforgettable reminders that Christ-followers cannot tip toe around Samaria and avoid “those kind of people.” We need to walk through our Samaria and reach out like Christ did.

The last few chapters tell the captivating story of Sergeant Henry Prendes, his family and their influence throughout the community, bringing the stories of redeeming grace in Uncensored Grace to a convincing conclusion.

Woven among the stories are Jud’s heartfelt and vulnerable thoughts . . . uplifting and convicting at the same time: though not always black-and-white. Uncensored Grace is not a political statement or an aggressive condemnation of how we have failed but an acknowledgement that God is still working despite the premature judgments of His children.

Don’t hesitate to pick up a copy, read, reflect and then pray, asking God to help you move beyond your comfort zone and into your Samaria. It may be a slow process, but it is necessary for each one of us.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.