Whether you are five years old or fifty-five years old, sitting down and reading a book can be a difficult thing to do. From messages on our cell phones to the daily tasks that we have to get done, there are so many things that edge out reading for pleasure. But there is something that happens when we sit down and read. It could be learning something new or escaping on an adventure. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family wanted to do just that.
In 1986, he created a high-quality drama series for the radio. His hope was that it would appeal to Christians looking for alternatives to Saturday morning cartoons or those just looking for wholesome entertainment. The series was set in a small town called Odyssey somewhere in the Midwest and chronicled the lives of Odyssey residents. The main character was John Whittaker and featured a special “soda shop and discovery emporium” called Whit’s End. It would later be called Adventures in Odyssey. The series continues to be popular and now a book series has been created to explore the history of the much-loved character John Avery Whittaker.
The series introduces newcomers to the larger world of Odyssey. For readers who are already Odyssey-philes, the novels provide the history of the franchise’s most important character. Whit and his family have just moved to Provenance, NC, in the middle of the Great Depression. Johnny’s father has taken a position as a professor at nearby Duke University. Now Johnny must not only deal with a new school, new friends, and a new bully, but a decades-old scandal that has tarnished the Whittaker family’s reputation, and an amazing mystery involving the contents of a musty old trunk
The central mystery in the first book of the series involves Confederate gold missing since the end of the Civil War and the question of whether Johnny’s ancestor was the coward and thief who stole it, as everyone believes.After all these years can Johnny discover the truth of what happened? And if he can, will it restore honor to the Whittakers-or bring further shame to his family’s name?
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:51-52
Read together. Whether you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, pick out a book and read it together. It can be fun to pick out a series or a book on a subject that interests the group. Take turns reading aloud. You could even make a little event out of it. Make a fire, roast marshmallows and make hot chocolate while you read the book. After each chapter, talk about what you just read. It can even be fun to do when you go on a road trip. If you are involved in a small group, you might want to pick a book to read together and discuss it at small group or over coffee.
Share your books. While many towns have libraries, they don’t always carry faith-based books. Start a book sharing club amongst your friends or small group. You might want to pick a series and each alternate buying the titles. Some churches have libraries. Even if the church that you attend does not have one, ask the other local churches in your town if they have one. When you are done with your books, consider donating them to the church library.
Write a book. Each of us has a unique story to tell. It could be how you came to Christ. It could be something that God did in your life or it could be a funny anecdote or even a fictional story. You don’t have to be a professional writer. When we write our story it can make us more aware of the details of how God was at work in the situation and in our lives. If you have a friend or colleague that is a writer, ask them for some tips on what they find helpful when the write a story. It can be fun to share with others too. Ask your small group or group of friends to write their story and exchange stories to read.
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We were given a copy of Young Whit from FrontGate Media. All of our thoughts and opinions are our own.