It’s Concordia Publishing House‘s 150th birthday this month and I’m celebrating their ministry the story of what they’ve meant in my life—as a reader, as a Jesus-lover, as a writer, as a mom, and as a teacher.
Love in the Library
My love for CPH books started where all good stories begin—in the library. My elementary school in Galveston (St. John’s Lutheran) had a wonderful library with several of CPH’s Arch books.
Like so many other kids, I learned all about the Old Testament battles, the parables, and Jesus rising from the dead from the vivid illustrations in those first Arch books. (How many of us can picture the illustration of the weeds that choked out faith in the Parable of the Sower Arch book? Savage–yet intriguing.)
Now that I look back, I can see that what I really loved about those Arch books was that they told the truth about the stories in the Bible. Yes, they were written in quaint rhyming couplet and they often featured pictures of grinning suns (so 1970s).
But the full truth of Bible stories was also there. Even as a young reader, I felt leery of the watered-down books that sugarcoated life. Arch books were fun to read because they never hid the gory parts of the Bible. And yet, those stories—like the Bible stories they retold—also included the very good news of God’s love.
Law and Gospel—Every Age & Stage
I realize now that what I liked is the law and the gospel. As Lutherans, we can talk about the full impact of sin because we also talk about the full impact of the gospel. CPH books have always been good at delivering the truth the love of God.
All the way back in Kindergarten, I began to trust CPH. As I grew to become a more mature believer—and then as I went on to write for CPH—I keep coming back to the tremendous need they fill to spread the message of both the ugliness of sin and the beauty of our Savior’s love.
Teach the Truth
When I started teaching high school at Lutheran South Academy 20+ years ago, I began to appreciate law/gospel in a new way. I opened each of my classes with a devotion. This was before the Internet and its countless devotion sites, so I wrote my own daily messages for the kids.
I had noticed that my kids loved stories and so I wrote novels about the high school drama of Caroline and her friends. At the end of each chapter I included a devotion. My kids liked for the truth in the story and also the gospel it delivered. CPH liked them too and they published these books as the Novel Devotions series.
Real Hope for Real Mamas
When I became a mom (four kids in five years—insert tired emoji here), I realized the loneliness and bone-deep desperation that moms across the world (and generations) face. I was trying my best to keep my kids (and myself) healthy and happy and I needed help. I wrote about the truth of parenting along with the love and forgiveness of our Savior.
In God Loves Moms, I told stories about our true struggles as moms—and about how we can be cynical, desperate, and hurting. I wrote Bible studies about how this is just like Hannah, Rebecca, and Mary from the Bible.
In Love Rules, I wrote about God’s eternal love in His Ten Commandments. I told true stories about how we women still struggle with adultery and gossiping; I also wrote about the constant and staggering forgiveness we have through Jesus.
When our kids got older, and I started to see the sad truth about how families struggle to love each other well, I wrote about creating a culture of grace in Family Trees & Olive Branches.
Teens Who Know God’s Love Can SHINE His Truth
When my own daughters became teens, I saw first-hand the epidemic happening with young girls. They’re putting so much pressure on themselves to be perfect. The truth here is that anxiety and depression has grown at an alarming rate and they needed the love of Christ.
I wrote my Bible study, Shine, and it was met with an incredible response. The women of LWML donated hundreds of copies and we distributed those to girls at the National Youth Gathering. More than ever, girls need the truth that life is hard, but God’s love shines brighter.
The Eternal Need for Truth and Love
More good news—it’s our soul’s greatest needs to understand the truth of our brokenness and the love of our Savior. CPH has delivered this to 15 decades of believers—and they will continue to share the love and truth of Christ with the generations of today and those unborn.
Thank You, CPH, for the thousands of books you’ve shared with the church.
Happy Birthday to you and God’s blessings for many more.
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