Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don’t Be a Loser

FamilyLife recently interviewed Mark Hamby, founder and president of Lamplighter publishing. In it he tells the story of how he went from hating books, even graduating High School and college without having ever read a book, to falling in love with good books. It happened when he was confronted by a teacher at a Christian college who said "I think you lack the character to do what it takes to be able to get a passing grade in this course." Ouch. She said that because he had slacked off the entire semester, and was now asking for extra work to bring up his grade. She didn't budge: "The only way you are passing my course is if you get a 100 on the final." He took the final, though he almost quit the school because of her challenge (you'll have to listen to the program to find out what happened).

The next day he attended a seminar and met Charlie T. Jones, who picked him out of the crowd, and stood him on stage to ask him about his reading habits. Mark tells the story as follows:

He grabs me by the elbow, lifts me up like a vice grip and brings me up onstage in front of 3,000 people and says, "Young man, what great Christian literature are you reading in your life these days?" I was petrified... I've never been in front of that many people before, and he says, "I want to know who your mentors are – what biographies are you reading? I want to know what the best book was that you read last year. What was the best book you read last week, and what book were you reading last night?" He spun me around, and he started hitting me on the back, and he says, "Tell these people right now – who's your mentors – D.L. Moody, is it George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael," and he's really just kind of shaking me, and I'm going from bright red to pale yellow… I'm trying to [think of a book], and [only remembering] the books my mother read to me when I was a kid, and he looked at me, and said, "I don't know how I pick you losers out every time." And I looked at him, and he says, "Go to your seat, I'll see you later."

Afterwards, Mr. Jones got Mark's address and sent him a box full of Christian biographies. Those books changed Mark's life and led to him start Lamplighter publishing. The company is dedicated to reintroducing great works of literature to new generations. For instance, one of the books they publish is called A Peep Behind the Scenes, which Mark says "outsold the Scarlet Letter by 2 million copies in 1850."

Listen to the radio programs and start reading some of these great classics!

Part 1: You're Only as Good as the Books You Read

Part 2: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Reading.

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