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Building the Faith of a New Generation

by Cathy Gohlke

My life has been changed through stories-especially the stories of Jesus, and writers who, Divinely inspired, penned on parchment the very breath of God.

I never worry that the Bible, essential and timeless, will go out of print or vogue-it’s the bestselling, essential, Holy Book of all time.

But, I’m concerned that new generations will lose or miss some of the books-important spiritual building blocks-that have encouraged and pointed my parents and grandparents’ generations-as well as my own-to the Bible. Books that taught us, changed us, helped us on our journey to the cross-books too good to be forgotten.

Sometimes, the language, the style, even the length of those books creates an obstacle for modern readers, but sometimes it’s just that the books are not known, no longer sitting on end caps of aisles in brick and mortar stores or heading best seller lists. If no one introduces us to these amazing, life-changing stories, how will we know about them? How will our children and grandchildren know?

That’s the motivating force behind highlighting in my novels Christian classics-high quality stories of enduring value-and characters who embrace and live the truths conveyed in those books.

For example, the Christian’s life journey-its purpose, pitfalls and keys to eternal success found in The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyon, is featured in Promise Me This, a love story that pictures Christ’s sacrificial love for us and our response to that unmerited gift.

The importance and implications of asking ourselves, “what would Jesus do” in every situation in life is the premise of In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon, and the burning question for a group of women facing the perils of human trafficking and their responsibility for sister victims in Band of Sisters.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, The Cost of Discipleship, contrasts the difference between cheap grace and costly grace-the grace Jesus gave to rescue and redeem us-and is featured in Saving Amelie, my newest release, where taking a stand for those most vulnerable in Nazi Germany means laying your life on the line.

Each of these classics and each of my books portray timeless truths intended to equip us to face giants-inward and outward-and break the chains that bind in this life. Those truths are just as applicable today as when these books were first written.

There’s little I can give this world that will make a difference fifty years from now. But, if I can share the books and messages that have changed me, helped me, strengthened my faith through all the hard places of life and pointed to the One who offers life-giving answers to all our quandaries, and best of all to eternal life with Him, I will have shared the rich legacy I’ve received from earlier, better writers-and a springboard for the faith of a new generation.

What books have profoundly affected you and helped in your life’s journey?

Saving AmelieCathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (one of Library Journal’s picks for Best of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, (one of Library Journal’s picks for Best of 2008, and winner of the Carol Award). Find her at www.cathygohlke.com and on Fb at CathyGohlkeBooks.

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4 Responses to Building the Faith of a New Generation

  1. For me I have invested year after year in a rotation through Oswald Chambers, Utmost for HIs Highest; Billy Graham’s, Day by Day; and Henry and Richard Blackaby’s, Experiencing God Devotional. I am writing my Christian based mystery with my protag investing his time each morning in his devotional reading and then writing in his daily prayer journal – an exercise I have done for many years. I encourage similarly to my weekly bible study small group.

  2. Cathy, it was so refreshing to read your blog post. I myself have often thought that our present generation is suffering great loss in not reading the Christian classics. The three books you mention–The Pilgrim’s Progress, In His Steps, and The Cost of Discipleship–should be on the reading list of every believer.

    I would also suggest the following classic works: Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Madame Jeanne Guyon, and With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray.

    An excellent resource for reading the Christian classics is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library whose stated mission is “to build up the Church by making classic Christian writings available and promoting their use.” The library is located at http://www.ccel.org/. I highly recommend it. Many of the books are free.

    Thank you again for your inspiring post! :)

    Blessings,

    MaryAnn

  3. Hi Cathy, I loved reading your thoughts about these classic books, how they have impacted you, and how they are woven into your stories.

    I just heard a program about C.S. Lewis and the background behind Mere Christianity. I ordered the Radio Theater Version and plan to read the book as well. I’m glad so many young readers enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia and are introduced to C. S. Lewis’s writing that way.

    Blessings,
    Carrie

  4. Wonderful post, Cathy. I love how you are able to pull from our spiritual history and show its relevance for today. In elementary and junior high school, our parochial school supplied the Growing in Christ devotional books for us to use. We took turns each day and lit two candles, sang a hymn, and then read the devotional. It contained church doctrine, but also had Bible stories with questions and prayers that focused on that theme.
    As an adult I cherish Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. Each day has a meaty morsel that I can chew on. Repeating the cycles I still gain new insights today.

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