Monday, October 30, 2017

An Interview with Champ Thornton about "Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation"

Champ Thornton's newest book releases today from New Growth Press.

It's called: Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, and I got to read a pre-publication copy and provide my endorsement.

I'm really excited about this new resource. Tomorrow, I'll tell you some of my biggest takeaways from reading it, but today, I'm pleased to have Champ tell us about it himself.

Matt: Why did you write Pass It On? What was your burden for creating it? What is your hope for those who use it?

Champ: Pass It On is a devotional guide to the book of Proverbs in which parents and others can record and pass along to the next generation their observations about wise living which they have gained from God’s Word and from their own life experiences. I researched and wrote this book because I knew I needed to learn the book of Proverbs better for myself, as my wife and I rear our three children. Proverbs-filled children come from Proverbs-filled parents. Beyond that, I wanted other parents (and grandparents and others) to be able to study Proverbs and pass along that wisdom and other advice, memories, and life skills to those they love in the next generation.

Matt: This is your second book that is a little "different." Tell us a little about the process of creating this creative book. How did you come up with the format? What was the hardest thing to write and the happiest thing?  What surprised you the most as you wrote it?

Champ: This book is different than what I have written previously. I had written a Bible storybook for preschoolers (God's Love) and an intro to the Christian faith for middle-schoolers (The Radical Book for Kids), but this book is different in that it’s not aimed at children, but rather at their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. This book doesn’t survey the whole Bible (like God's Love), and it isn’t a topical guidebook (like The Radical Book). Instead, it’s an interactive and user-friendly guide to the book of Proverbs, designed to help parents and others pass along the wisdom they learn from Proverbs (and from life) to those they love in the next generation.

It’s also different in that it brings together the benefits of several kinds of books all within one cover. Pass It On is part study guide to the book of Proverbs, it's part journal for capturing your thoughts on wise living; and it's part gift book to be given to one of your children, grandchildren, nephew or niece, or a younger friend. In short, it’s doing your devotions, not just for your own benefit, but also as a keepsake for the next generation to treasure.

Pass It On started as a spiral-bound copy of Proverbs which I had made, and then began using for months in my time in the Word. I wanted to know how to instill Proverbs in my three children. And since I find it difficult to keep 915 verses on ready-reference to apply at any given moment in life, I wanted to first grow in my own understanding of Proverbs. Eventually, I also taught a couple workshops on Proverbs at our church, and at some point the idea came to mind that parents could write down my observations of life and of Proverbs, and then pass it on to their kids—in writing. That became the genesis of the concept.

And since that time, the happiest part of the project was learning how various parts of Proverbs fit together (it’s not as random as it first appears—kind of like life, actually). The hardest was without doubt the Topical Index, mainly because it was so time-intensive and tedious to produce, but I trust that it’ll also serve others well when they’re looking for particular themes in Proverbs.

Another “different” aspect of Pass It On is that it does ask the reader to reflect and share not just about Proverbs but also about life. And I was not anticipating this realization. Here’s what I found. God made the world to work a certain way, usually according to general and predictable patterns. Wisdom, then, is learning God’s ways in this fallen world and living in harmony with them. So, Proverbs provides a God-inspired starter kit to understanding how to wisely navigate the twists and turns of life. So we should all learn about wise living from Proverbs. But as we examine wisdom in Proverbs, we should also learn to examine wisdom through Proverbs. (And Proverbs expect this—telling us to “go to the ant and consider her ways,” or to give attention to a broken-down house or weed-filled garden, etc.) In other words, we should learn to observe how God designed life to work—by looking at Proverbs (which is inspired) and then by looking at life (which is not inspired).

Matt: Give us a guide to the best reading experience. Who do you hope reads this book and how do you hope they read it?

Champ: I hope that many parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, will leave their families a rich legacy of wisdom. That they would come to understand Proverbs better and  take time to record and pass along their observations about the wisdom of Proverbs, along with their wise observations about life. Their children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces will treasure these observations. So, I hope that first, parents (along with grandparents, and aunts and uncles) will read, enjoy, and benefit from this book. Then I hope that in years to come their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces will read what’s been written in the book—the study notes and their personal observations—and benefit from them for generations to come.

Matt: Thanks, Champ, for taking time to answer these questions, but even more for taking the time to create this unique resource!

Pass It On is on sale today at a whopping 40% at New Growth Press (much lower than Amazon!). This is a high-quality imitation leather book that would make a really nice gift.

Tomorrow, I'll be opening a contest to give out a free copy, but you might want to order one or 10 while the price is so low.