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A Piece of the Moon - Chris Fabry

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
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July 10, 2021 1:45 am

A Piece of the Moon - Chris Fabry

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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July 10, 2021 1:45 am

It’s a love story. It’s a treasure hunt. And it all happens in a fictional town called Emmaus. On today's Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Gary’s co-host and author, Chris Fabry, relates the power of fiction. What is the importance of our stories and what can those stories do to help transform our lives? Don’t miss the fun conversation on this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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A treasure hunt, an old country song, and an unforgettable love story. Straight ahead on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I will see things in stories about myself or about human nature, how to persevere when trials come in a different way than if I would sit in a classroom or hear a sermon and those are all good things to do.

I need both. I need teaching. I need expository truth, but fiction helps me see truth that sinks into my soul. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Today Gary invites his co-host to talk about the power of stories and the way fiction can change hearts. Our featured resource today at is the novel A Piece of the Moon.

Just go to Well Gary, next week we begin our summer best of series through the rest of July and then into August, but today I have twisted your arm. I mean you have graciously agreed to talk about a story that has been rolling around my soul for 40 years and we're doing this here in the summer.

I think this could be a lot of fun. I know that fiction is not seen as didactic as nonfiction. You know the stories that I write are not the same things as "The 5 Love Languages" , and yet I think as you're going to hear today, it's a powerful force for good if it's harnessed well.

You know Chris, I really believe that's true. I think stories, you know, in nonfiction books, stories, they almost always have a basis in reality. And so whatever the storyline is, it deals with real people, real issues, and we can learn a lot from reading fiction books. So this is one that I read.

I really enjoyed it. I'm excited about sharing it with our listeners. Well let me introduce our guest today. He's a recent inductee of two halls of fame, the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism Hall of Fame at Marshall University and the Christie Award Hall of Fame. He's the author of more than 80 books, including novels for adults and children.

He's also the host of Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio and Love Worth Finding with Dr. Adrian Rogers. His latest novel is A Piece of the Moon, and you can find it linked at Okay, we're gonna have some fun today with this story, but let me push you on the statement you made a minute ago that we can learn from fiction. It can teach us things in a different way than nonfiction can.

Explain that from your perspective. Well, I think a good story is like a good song. Have you ever heard a song that kind of touches you somewhere deep inside, and you hear the words, and you hear the melody, and you can't explain it, but it did something inside of you, and then every time you hear it after that, something inside, a nerve is touched inside and comes alive. That's what I think a good story will do, and fiction is simply a way to cast truth in a way that helps us understand our own lives a little bit better or see ourselves in a new way, and the best biblical example of this that I can give and I always go back to is the prophet Nathan. Nathan is sent by God to confront David with his sin, and he didn't stub his toe and say a bad word. I mean, this was this was heavy-duty sin, and God cared enough about David to confront him. So Nathan goes to the king, and he preaches a four-point sermon with a poem at the end.

No, he didn't do that. Nathan tells him a story, and the story is about a man who had a pet lamb that he loved, and the lamb was used by a wealthy neighbor for dinner one day, and that just sent David over the edge. He is incensed. It touched this nerve inside of him of injustice and a disregard for the humanity of that man and for that poor lamb. Now, of course, David was a shepherd himself when he was young, so it wrapped him up, and David wanted justice, and he wanted the perpetrator of this evil thing punished, and Nathan looks at the king and he said, you're the man. So he put this story before the king, and it snuck around the back door of his heart, and it undid him in a way that if Nathan had just simply pointed the finger and said, you're the man, it wouldn't have done the same thing. God, I think, was kind to David to give him a story that showed him his own heart, and that's why I love fiction. That's why I love stories. I will see things in stories about myself or about human nature or about how to live or not how to live, how to persevere when trials come in a different way than if I would sit in a classroom or hear a sermon, and those are all good things to do. I need both.

I need teaching. I need expository truth, but fiction helps me see truth that sinks into my soul, and one of my favorite novels, To Kill a Mockingbird, it puts you in somebody else's shoes. It lets you walk around in them. It provokes empathy in you, and it lets you feel what it's like to stand on Boo Radley's porch. So that's a long answer to your question. Well, you know, Chris, I think you do a good job with fiction writing, no doubt about that, and you've written numerous novels, and so I'm excited about this new one. But now let me just reflect also, you talked about Nathan. Jesus also told stories to illustrate the truths that he was trying to teach, right? Yes.

Didn't he? Yeah, you know, and The Prodigal Son is one of those. We don't know that this was fiction. We don't know that there wasn't a man who, you know, stood and looked, watched for his son out there in the distance, but it just feels like as Jesus is going along, he tells them this story, and he tells him about the sower, and he tells him this, and I think if you look at it this way, the whole Bible, in a sense, is the story of God at work in the lives of human beings. The gospel is a story that came to you and that came to me. The law and the prophets, the wisdom literature, the story of Job, all of that, then the New Testament, the Gospels, Acts, the letters of Paul and others. This is telling the story of how much God loves us and intervened in our world and did for us what we could not do for ourselves, and in that, it is a, there is a sense of transformation when I hear this story, because the gospel is not just to make me a little bit better, you know, to clean me up a little bit, soul makeover, Chris edition. The gospel is to transform me from the inside out, and I think a good story can help us envision what our lives might be like if, if that happens, if God grabs hold of us.

Yeah. Well, Chris, let me ask you a question. As you look back on your life, when did you first catch a vision for stories and, and writing fiction books? Well, I, I think it happened when I was a kid. My mom read to me, that was the first thing. She read, one of the first stories I can remember is Freddy the Cat, who thought he was people. I would hear, you know, watch TV or hear stories or hear pastors tell sermon, give sermons, and when they tell the story, I'd sit a little closer. But the, the best thing was when my mom would take me down to my grandmother's house and her, two of her sons, Pooch and Bill, Howard, who's, my middle name is Howard, Pooch and Bill would sit at that kitchen table and lean forward with their elbows on their knees, and I would say, tell the one about when you went hunting.

They grew up in the Depression. Tell the one about, and then they'd started, and I'd hear this story 20, 30, 40 times, and it was like I was hearing it again for the very first time. So there, there was this thing about storytelling and, and you know here, Gary, when people come on and tell their stories, when they give us little snippets of their lives, the truth of their lives in story form, I sit closer, you know, I want to hear a little bit more about that.

I want to ask another question. So I think this all came about, you know, it kind of came alive with me as a kid sitting on my mom's knee and then my, my family members who were great storytellers. Yeah. Let me encourage all the parents out there, read books to your children, okay?

Yes. They won't all become authors, but the stories will be meaningful and remembered, some of them, for a lifetime. What, was there a teacher along the way that maybe spurred you along and gave you confidence or encouraged you to write?

The one I credit the most was a college professor that I had, but there were others in high school and even in elementary school. I was thinking about this today, I realized that I love writing when, I think it was in the fourth grade, we get these spelling words, you'd have like 10 or 15 words and you'd need to write 10 or 15 sentences with all, with the words in them. And what I would do is I would use all 10 of the words in the first sentence and then I'd use the other nine to write the story. The teacher would say, you know, you can't do that, you got one per sentence.

And in the, in typing class when I was in college, in high school, probably the best class I ever had was typing. And I got tired of typing, the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy whatever it jumped over. And I started writing, writing some other things and, and I was told, no, you can't do that. And so that creativity I found in a, in a great way was often squelched more than it was encouraged.

But when you have something like that, it's going to bubble up somehow. So I was in a high school forensics competition and you had to prepare two minutes of news and read it on camera and then a one-minute commercial that you had prepared and then you have two minutes of unprepared news. You had a rip and read that had all kind of mistakes in it. And in that competition, I didn't win, but I did, I did win in a way because in the evaluation sheet that was given afterwards in the top right corner of that, never forget it, four words, hey, comma, you can write, exclamation point. And that was, that man was the news director of the, it was a local NBC affiliate news director for a lot of years. And then he taught journalism at the school, the doubly page bit school of journalism that I went to. And so he was my advisor after that.

And I've always remembered those four words, hey, comma, you can write. That was the first time I ever had anybody who had written for a living, who'd done journalism, say something about me and validate me. And, uh, you know, I, I credit his name's Boz Johnson.

I credit Boz with that validation that I really needed. The power of affirming words. Wow. Yeah. Boy, if you know, if, if, if, if as parents and all, we could look for those things in our children, you know, where they have a special interest and give them affirming words, or as a teacher to do that, it can have a tremendous impact just like those words did on you, Chris. And you never know what it will call forth in them that you don't have even have a vision for them. Just that encouraging word can mean an awful lot.

Yeah. Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, we're talking with author and cohost Chris Fabry about his novel, A Piece of the Moon. We have it linked at

That's And this song you're hearing has a special place in the novel, as I understand. That's right, Andrea. You're so right.

How'd you know that? This is the instrumental version of the song that runs through the novel deftly performed by our very own Steve Wick and the fictional singer who writes it in the novel is Mack Strum. I wanted to get Dolly to sing this, but I haven't been able to reach her.

Uh, Andrea, would you like to hear a couple of the lyrics? Of course. If I were a rich man, I'd buy some hope for you. If I were a carpenter, I'd build a dream come true. If I were an astronaut, here's what I would do. I'd bring you a piece of the moon.

Isn't that romantic? So the question is, what does that mean? What does a piece of the moon represent? It is the thing that's out there that you see that you can almost reach out and touch and you can taste it, but you never seem to be able to grab a hold of it. Uh, it's the thing that in the heart that says I need this thing. Uh, and and then when you get it, you feel like, well, I need just a little bit more. There's a line in a in a Jackson Brown song that says, No matter how fast I run, I can never seem to get away from me. No matter where I am, I can't help thinking I'm just a day away from where I want to be. So there is this longing. There is this, you know, it's almost the hole in the heart that is what the moon represents in in the book and all of the character.

All of the people are looking for it and having a problem with finding it, you know, truly the true satisfaction that they really want. Yeah, which obviously is true in many people's lives individually. Great. Exactly. Chris, there are people who think that fiction is an escape from reality. Uh, do you think that's true?

I think it can be true. Anything good can be used for something not so good, you know, and and fiction can be escapist. It can be something that doesn't really challenge you. I read a lot of Hardy Boys books when I was a kid and love those those Hardy Boys books, but it didn't really elevate my reading. You know, it just kind of kept me in the same place. Films can do the same thing.

You can use a film as a sedative for life, just be a passive observer. But good films, like good fiction, will make you think, will make you participate in what's going on. I mentioned Tekela Mockingbird. When I read that in the seventh grade, I think it was, I was there, you know, when Dill showed up in the cabbage patch, when they're up in the treehouse, I was there with Jim and Scout. I was there as they walked to the courthouse to see Atticus and what was going on down there, or when they went to church with Calpurnia, or when the rabid dog came up the road.

It's like, it wasn't an escape. I was joining the story that was being told by the author. And I think as a fiction writer, that's my goal, is to get you, to get you by the lapel or whatever you grab you by your shirt, and to pull you into this so that you feel that you are a part of it. And if you participate in this story, then something good is going to happen.

Yeah. Now what's the power of Christian fiction? We know there's a lot of non-Christian fiction out there, which some of it is good, and some of it has some good points, but what's the power of Christian fiction? The power is in what I mentioned a little bit ago, in transformation. That, you know, a lot of people look at Christianity as, you want to make me a better person, you want to make me not do this and not do that, and maybe go to church, you know, a couple times a week, or pray or read the Bible, whatever.

Christianity is about transformation on the inside. And I'll tell you a little story. You knew Dr. Tim LaHaye, who was a wildly successful author even before the Left Behind series that he wrote with Jerry Jenkins. Well, Dr. LaHaye and Jerry pulled me alongside them and said, come along and write the children's version of the Left Behind series. And Dr. LaHaye said, I want, and we wrote 40 of those, Jerry wrote the first five, I wrote the last 35. And Dr. LaHaye said, here's what I want you to do.

I want, in every book, I want there to be a believable, reproducible conversion. Meaning, in every one of those stories, somebody's got to come to Jesus somehow. So I thought, first of all, how am I going to, how are we going to do that? You're dealing with the end times, you're dealing with the tribulation and all that. How are we going to work this in, you know?

And I found it really challenging to go there because we got letters from people who would, you know, write later on. When Judd prayed, I prayed. When Vicki prayed, I prayed. When Lionel prayed, you know. And so they saw this is what it is and it's not just about behavior modification, it's about God doing something on the inside. And after that, Jerry and I wrote another fiction series for kids, The Red Rock Mysteries.

We did 15 of those and we just, we are prolific. And it was, what we were trying to do is to do a Hardy Boys Nancy Drew, you know, it's a mystery series, but in the story of the kids, the twins are believers and their mom's a believer, but their stepdad and step-sister isn't, or aren't. And so there's this tension that, the spiritual tension in the home. And I got, I want to read this to you, I got this email from a mom in South Dakota.

She said, good morning, Chris. Each night at bedtime, my nine-year-old son and I have been reading through your Red Rock Mysteries, Haunted Waters. I picked it up at the local Christian bookstore. We are thoroughly enjoying it. I appreciate that the chapters are short, so when they end with a cliffhanger, his frequent request to read one more chapter is pretty easy to agree to. I'm a nurse, I work night shifts at times, so he will often read the next chapter to himself when I'm at work, which tells me he is engrossed in the story. Last night, we couldn't put it down until we read through to the end of part two to discover, spoiler alert, Sam, Dylan, and the twins were alive, at which point he immediately said, I want to ask Jesus into my heart. My husband and I have been praying that he would desire to make a decision to commit to following Christ, so this blessed us. I knew it would bless you as well.

Thanks for what you do. And I say, you know, you ask, what is the power? There it is, right there.

It's, you know, and I didn't plan that. That's something that was, God was doing it, was at work in his heart, and this story that I came up with, you know, we came up with, touched some kind of nerve that said, I need to have a relationship with God through Christ, and then now's the time to do it. So all the glory goes to him.

Yeah, that's powerful. That's what every Christian out there wants, is whether it's fiction or nonfiction, you want people's hearts to be moved toward Christ. So part of the fun of the novel is reading about all of these classic country songs that you include, so anybody who knows country music is going to have a field day in this book. Absolutely, and the publisher actually put out a Spotify list where every song that I mentioned, you know, from Porter and Dolly to Glenn Campbell to Tanya Tucker to, you know, everybody that's in there, you can hear those songs on this Spotify list. And one of the kicks that I got when I was a kid, my mom used to listen to the Statler Brothers. Actually, the Statler Brothers, they were a gospel group before they were, you know, a regular mainstream country group.

And one of the kicks that I got out of writing this is that Don Reed, one of the original members of the Statler Brothers, read the book, blurbed the book, you know, he liked what he heard, and it just, you know, it kind of enriched the whole country feel of this, from Whalen, Willie, and the boys on down. But, you know, that brings up the struggle, too, of, okay, how do you square your Christian faith with the country music? That's a lot about drinking and sinning, and there's not, I say in the book, there's not a whole lot of forgiveness in country music, you know, there's a lot of revenge, but there's not a lot of forgiveness, and that's one of the things that some of the characters go through, you know, and are accused of. You work at that country station, and they're... How can you do that and say you follow Jesus?

So that's something that, you know, everybody struggles with in one way or another, with a profession, perhaps, or, you know, another struggle that somebody looks at you and judges you for what you do, that's part of it as well. You know, Chris, as I was reading the book and all these country songs, I'm saying to myself, man, Chris knows all these songs. I've heard of some of them, you know, but I don't know all of them. Do you know how I know those songs? And I'll be honest with you, I did not, I didn't like country music. When I was a kid, I grew up in the, you know, born in the early 60s, grew up in the 70s, I didn't, you know, my brothers listened to the Beatles and the Grand Funk Railroad and all that. I didn't like country music, but when a teacher of mine said, hey, how would you like to work at a radio station, go to school half day and work at a radio station half day, I said, well, that sounds pretty good.

That sounds like a good deal to me. And so I started working at this little country station and the, the call letters, uh, the, the, or the station was known as country 16, which is the title of the station in the, in the novel. So country 16 was populated by these, uh, a lot of different people, a lot of different personalities, just some great people, but they all had quirky personalities and they all, you know, brought different things to the table, but it was all in, you know, put into the soup of country music. So I started to have to learn how to say the, you know, the people's names and how to cue up the records at the time we were queuing records rather than having everything digital.

And so that's part of what you will see in the, in the novel as well. Cause it said in 1981, you know, what you go through to, to splice tape and to put that together and, uh, and to, to deal, not have delay, you're alive, you're anything that said goes on the air live. So that's how I learned all this about country music. And, and a few, uh, a few couple of years in, I started, there were a couple of songs that I actually liked and I started seeing as like, wow, there's the, the production value of this Hank Williams, you know, is set in time, the production value then from Dolly.

And when she was producing her records, it just, you know, went forward so much. Uh, so I started to, I started to see the craft of country music rather than just judging it from the twang that I thought it was. Now, were you in college or high school when you started working in that country station? I was in high school. And then when I went to college, I worked my way through college, working at the same station, doing weekend shifts and midnight to 6 AM and all that. I worked every shift on the, on the station, which was so great. Cause you learned so much and you learned how to write spot copy and how to do commercials and how to record this and that take out the trash.

If the plumbing is not fixed and you got to do that, you know, emergency. So it was, it was a lot of fun. Yeah. Now you mentioned some of the people that actually worked at this country station and that they were very different and so forth. You want to talk a little bit about some of them?

Well, I will obliquely cause some of them are still around. Actually, I got in touch with some of the guys that I, uh, that I worked with. And one of them in particular, um, I wrote him, I said, can you give me a, uh, just a fond memory that you have of the station of a work in the morning show?

Cause that's one of the main characters works the morning show. And he wrote me back and he said, Chris, those were some of the worst years of my life. He said, I don't think of that time.

You know, it had got very somber with him. And a couple of days later he said, I remembered something. And he said, the thing I remember is I would get up early in the morning, you know, way. And I hadn't gone to bed early enough the night before, but I would get up and I remember what it was like driving through the little town with the one stoplight and I would stop and I would get my coffee and a donut. And I remember the driving, just that drive to the station with the window open would clear my head. And so that's how, one of the ways that I opened the book is that just this memory that my friend gave to me.

Um, but the, the struggle is here's the deal. This station, because it hired me, it was at the low part, the lowest on the totem pole that you could get. So, and it was in a, you know, it was in a suburb of a bigger town. And so not a whole lot of people listen to it as a 5,000 watt daytime station. So anybody who would make a mistake at a bigger station, they would, they would bounce from one station to another.

And if you bounced as you made a big mistake, you'd bounce all the way to the bottom to country 16. And so those people who made big mistakes, they, they knew the craft of radio. They knew what they were, they knew how to communicate to people that it w you don't talk at people. You are talking to one person.

You're just having this listener come alongside you. And they, they taught me so much, even though they had made some mistakes in their lives, they came alongside me in a way that I don't think I would have gotten the same training at some other, you know, bigger station. Now it took a little bit of humility to, to learn from them. And I didn't have a whole lot at the time. I thought I knew a lot more than I really did, but I credit those for any talent that I have now in craft and radio. I have, I learned from those people who bounced down to country 16 and who showed me more than I, I deserved.

Yeah. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about your love language or our featured resource by going to five love You can listen to the stream or download the podcast right there and link to the book by author and co-host Chris Fabry. His latest novel is a piece of the moon.

You can find out more at five love Well, Chris, before the break, we were talking about the country radio station at which you worked, uh, both in high school and college. Uh, was there a moment when you connected real life with what was happening on the radio? Boy, howdy. Oh, Gary. Um, there in the, in the novel, there is this flood that comes and there's a, uh, floods in West Virginia just go together and, you know, down in the holla.

And so just about every book that I write that deals with this region has a flood. But I remember a, it was a Saturday morning. As I recall, I got a phone call from the morning show guy who said, Hey, get down here.

I need your help. The, the river's up, the flood is happening in town and I, I've got to go. So you have to come down.

And so I was, you know, not real happy about this. This was my morning off, you know? And, uh, so I drive down there and I think, you know, well, let's just, let's just have fun with this. So, uh, it's raining outside.

And so I find every song that I can find that has the word rain, or that has shower, you know, Kentucky rain, or listen to the rhythm, rhythm of the falling rain, anything that has that. And, uh, I start playing that and, uh, you know, do, do the program. He comes in and he looks like a muskrat because he's been out helping people, you know, with, with their, uh, belongings. And he sits down and I said, Hey, did you hear what I've been doing?

You know, the songs that I've been playing. And he, he kind of looks over his glasses and cleans them with his shirt. And he said, yeah, I have.

And he said, uh, Fabry, I don't know if he called me Chris or favorite favorite. Do you, do you understand what's going on out there? There are people who the, the water is up in their house and they are choosing what they are going to bring out of there. The people are losing their livelihood and here you are yucking it up on the radio with rain songs and, and the light bulb went on. It was like, Oh, wait, this is, this is the real world.

Now you can quibble with me at 16 or 17. I should have, I should have been able to figure that out, but it was like, I never forgot that lesson that I learned there that what I say here reaches out and is happening. It was going into ears of people who are living real life and your words can be as it was in my own life. Your words can be used to build people up or tear people down, or you can make fun of situations and you can be having a big time, but there are people who are going through a crisis and you've got to be sensitive. That goes back to the empathy thing. You got to be sensitive of where people are and what they're going through. And that was the biggest lesson that I learned of, you know, connecting that this is real life.

Yeah, absolutely. But in the novel, Waite Evers is the morning show host and the station manager. Is he based on a real person? He is, you know, my station manager at the, uh, at the little station. His name was in the sieb, the sieb as tweal. And sieb was this little, uh, turtle of a guy he'd, uh, believe he'd been in the military and he had some real, uh, stories about that, that I won't go that I won't go into. Um, but he, he had a love for people, uh, and he showed it in a quirky way. He wasn't the most relational person, but just the fact that if you fell from the top and bounced down to the station, he would hire you. He would give you a second chance. And so I've, I've made Waite that kind of person. My dad was, was kind of this way as well.

He was a very gentle person, a very gentle man who would give you a second chance if you made a mistake. And I'll never forget the morning that I had come in late the night before. And I had to sign on the station the next morning at, you know, five, five, 15, whatever time the sun was up that summer. And I came in and I thought, well, you know, it's like one o'clock or two, two o'clock in the morning.

It w I wasn't doing, I wasn't carousing. I was really doing something. It was like, I was singing with a group or doing something, but I thought, you know, I could set my alarm here and get a couple of hours sleep where I could just stay up. And I thought, I think I'll take a nap. And the thing that I remember is the phone ringing and opening my eyes and seeing sunlight. And that was weird when you're signing the station on.

And I groggily walked in and I picked up, you know, back then you only had one phone in the house, you know, you picked it up off the wall. Hello. And it was Seab's brother, Roger, who was the assistant manager. And he goes, Fabry, what happened? Roger, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I jumped in the car. I sped down, you know, I played commercials, nonstop commercials, and they just settled that. Just play the music. It's okay.

It's okay. But I had signed the station on, you know, a couple hours after they were losing money. And so Seab called me into the, to his office, the, the, after this, the station, you know, after I got off my shift and, uh, I sat down, I looked at him. He had this, uh, he had this cigar. They wouldn't let him smoke cigars anymore because of his health, but he chewed on them. He chewed on these cigars until they were nubs.

And then he started a new one and he's got this little cigar and it's in his mouth. And he looks at me and he said, Fabry, you're not going to do that again. Are you? No, sir. I'm not. I said, okay, see you tomorrow. That was it.

That was it. You know, and I, in the novel, that's what I try to do. There's a fellow who really has messed up and in his life and you know, his, his, his name's Wally. And, uh, he taught when he talks, he kind of has his teeth together and talks like there's, he does a swap shop program. You know, every, every small station has a swap shop where you call in and, uh, you can never understand what he, what Wally says, but weight pulls out, uh, a $20 bill. And he says, how much is this worth Wally? And, uh, while he says, well, it's $20. And he goes, okay. And he wrinkles it up, crumples it up. So how much is worth that's $20 puts it on the ground, stomps on it.

You know, you've heard this story before. And, uh, and he goes, what's it worth now? And he said, well, $20 is still the same. He says, that's right. He said, you've been, you've been through a lot, but you're worth a lot more than you think you are or that other people think you are. So, so weight gives him a vision of his life that, that he needs, that Wally needs, that he doesn't have because of this whole second chance thing. But the, the, the irony of that is that weight is the person, even though he's, you know, he's a real strong Christian and he has a Sunday morning show that he does called weight on the Lord, w a I T E, but people don't hear the comma. Um, even though he has that, there is something in weight's life that is off kilter. That's out of whack that he needs forgiveness as well.

He needs a second chance and weight really hasn't given himself that he can give it to everybody else, but he can't give it to himself. So that's what I'm talking about. Gary. It's, it's a story like this that you will see your, I hope people will see themselves in each of these different characters in different ways and want to aspire to give a second chance to somebody who may not deserve it, or at least the world doesn't think you deserve a second chance.

Be able to have the mercy and the kindness and the grace to extend that to somebody else. Oh yeah. Yeah. Well, Chris, another one of the characters I like is Pidge Bledsoe. You want to tell us about her?

Yeah. Pidge is one of my favorites because she, her dad has started this junkyard and she's just kind of, uh, come along and she's, she's kept the family business going and there's nothing there but junk that's all around her. And there's a, um, a few years earlier than when the story starts, the, she lives in the floodplain behind the station and there's a pigeon that flies, that hits a guy wire to the antenna and comes swirling down and lands and Pidge sees it and, um, she, she nurses it back to health. And in a lot of ways she sees herself there.

She's kind of swirled that same way and she's had a lot of struggles in her life. Um, the way that I came up with the character though, you remember a few years ago, my daughter and I were in a car accident and my daughter was driving, I'm in the passenger seat and we get t-boned right, right where I am. And I wasn't hospitalized, but it was, you know, it was this traumatic event. The car was totaled, had to go through several different things. A tow truck driver came, as a matter of fact, the tow truck driver came in and sat down by my daughter and he said, you know, I see this all the time. Uh, that's a mistake that you're never going to make again.

I'll bet. So that, uh, one of the other characters is a tow truck driver TD. But, um, but so we're in this, in this accident and the, the, uh, the car gets towed and I have to figure out what to do with it. Cause it's, you know, now it's junk.

And so I get the best offer that I can. And in order to do that, the tow truck driver takes it there. I got to go over to the junkyard to pick up the check and I walk in and it's, this is in Tucson, Arizona. And in the back of the, the little room, the little shack that they have, that is the, the office, there is a, an air conditioner that has like a, about three inches above it is, is you can see outside.

So, you know, in the summertime it's blistering hot and then the winter it's cold. And the person who is, there's probably four or five guys in, in work shirts around and there's one female and she's at the desk and she's the one who writes the checks. My guess is she's the only one they trusted to write the checks for people like me, but she's, you know, she's keeping track of all this. And on the counter is a pigeon and the pigeon isn't just, you know, flying there and then flying off.

It's there, it's, it's there. And I'm the only one in the room who thinks this is strange to see, to see a pigeon walking back and forth on that counter. And so when I had that experience, I thought, I got to, I got to write about her. I have no idea who I've never seen her again. I've never seen the guys in the, in that, you know, junkyard, but I thought there's a story behind her being here and there's a story with that pigeon. And so a piece of the moon is basically my idea of here's, here's what happened to her and here's why she's got that pigeon as a pet and why she's got the name. Her name is Pamela, but why she's been called by everybody, Pidge Bledsoe.

You know, Chris, as I was reading it, I was thinking to myself, how does Chris come up with all these characters? Now I'm learning. Okay. All right.

Now, so you have a country song, you have a country station in the little town, but something happens. They call it the inciting incident and that's where Gideon Quigley comes in. Now, is there a real Gideon Quigley?

Yes. Well, Forrest Fenn was a guy who lived in New Mexico. He lived along the Rocky Mountains and he decided that he wanted people to go out into nature and instead of looking at their screens, get out and exercise. And so he came up with a treasure hunt that he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. And just before the book came out, it was actually last summer, someone actually found this or said they found it, took a picture of it.

And Forrest Fenn has actually passed away since then. But he wrote a long poem with all of these clues about where it was supposed to be. And with that story in mind, I thought, what if there's an old guy, Gideon is his name, and he believes in the power of the gospel and he believes that instead of getting out in nature, that getting people to read the Bible is what God wants him to do. And so what he does is he fashions an ark.

This is the same summer that Raiders of the Lost Ark comes out. He fashions an Ark of the Covenant, you know, a replica of it. And he puts all this gold and all this silver and one item that's worth more than anything else. And he puts it in there and then gives clues with Bible verses.

And so as you're reading the story and you come to a Bible verse that's a clue, you should be able to figure out where Gideon hid the treasure. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . If you go to, you'll see our featured resource today, the novel A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry.

Just go to Well, Chris, this book, A Piece of the Moon, is an incredible fiction book, and I hope our folks are going to read it. Just listening and talking to you makes me want to read it again, you know. Now, there is a link also to the famous Christian author Larry Burkett. I remember Larry very well.

Tell us about that. Well, Larry worked with NASA, and so I made Gideon do that as well. And Larry was a, you know, financial whiz. There was also an astronaut that gave Larry a rock that he said came from the Sea of Tranquility.

And I can't tell you any more about that or I'd have to do you harm. But because these moon rocks came back, actually, all governors of the 50 states and several heads of state around the world received moon rocks from the moon landings that happened through the years. But Larry had this moon rock. And one of the things that I thought about was, what if you had a real piece of the moon? What would that do?

And what would the government do? Because the government boys, you know, come into the story here, too. They're trying to retrieve these things. But I'll give you a hint if you don't know already that there is an actual moon rock in Gideon Quidley's ark, and that's the most valued treasure in the whole thing. But people don't know where it is. This is set in West Virginia in the fictional town of Emmaus, which has a lot of biblical meaning. If you've read the gospels and the the treasure, then as they locate it, they come to believe, at least, that it is in this little town with this little radio station.

And you know what happens when, you know, the hullabaloo happens out there and the news cameras come and all this. People descend on this little town and they're all the treasure hunters that are from the outside in, you know, the others are coming in. And there's fights in the local churches say, let's band together and let's find this, especially since it's a biblical treasure. Let's find it and let's use it for the kingdom. And what happens is the Baptists are against the Methodists and the Presbyterians and the Holiness Church.

You know, it shows all of the different denominations and what we would like to use the money for in this way. So there's all this turmoil and all this fighting. And really, in a sense, it's the division that we see in our world today is kind of reflected in this little town. And what I like most about it is I think everybody has a story to tell.

You know, everybody has, feels like their story is insignificant or inconsequential. And I don't mean that much in the cosmos. But as we started here, Gary, if you connect with the story that God is telling in the world, if you connect yourself with that big capital S story that he is telling, then he's going to do something with your small S story that you can't conceive, that you can't know. And so that's what I, you know, as kind of the god in the machine of this novel, that's what I'm able to do to show you that there is worth in everybody's story and that the treasure here is not really in the gold and the silver and even that moon rock that's there.

The real treasure is in the earthen vessels that we have. And that's what I hope people walk away with. Yeah, yeah. You know, Chris, Joe Bailey wrote a book some time ago, Satire, about the gospel blimp. And in a sense, your story kind of reminds me a little bit of that. Yeah, I'm glad you picked up on that because it is, it's, you know, evangelism. If we could just get a blimp that goes along and says Bible verses, then we don't have to do anything.

You know, we could just, you could do crusade. Evangelism was going, was very big at the time. But I think Bailey's point was it's in this relational thing. It's the one-on-one. It's the sharing of the life.

It's being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, doing it with gentleness and respect. It's that relational aspect of the gospel that you can't separate from Christianity. And that's what you see coming through.

Yeah. Well, Chris, this is a fascinating book. And thanks for being with me today, okay, and sharing this. Now, what do you say to those who have a dream to write and to tell a good story, who are listening to us today? Well, first of all, thank you, Gary.

You have been such an encouragement. And folks, I send Gary everything I write, which is, you know, something every week, just about. And he reads it and he gives me feedback.

And he, you know, when he says that he read this book and he knows who Pidge is, he really does. For anybody who would dream to write, I would say that same thing. If there is, that I was told, hey, Kamma, you can write. If there is this desire in you to write, if there's a desire to tell a story or to write a little bit from your life or tell about your family, there is an opportunity now, like never before, that we have to do that with all of technology, with blogs that are out there. I think most people want to see their name on a book someday. You know, they want to publish or to have published. But really what you don't want to be published, what you really want to do is become a better writer. And a better writer means a better observer of yourself and other people. I write in order to explain my life to myself, you know, to explain what has happened to me and how I've processed all that and to put it into a framework or a story. Other people write nonfiction and they write about the things that they, you know, that God has impressed on them.

So if you have a desire, don't let anybody keep you from that, but also let go of the outcome of it. Don't put it into a mold that says, well, if it's going to make anybody make a difference in the world, it's got to be published and it's got to be, you know, this or that or the other thing. You may write something for your church bulletin that does something in somebody else's life that you can't, you won't be able to believe, you know, the same way that people have encouraged me with just a word, just a kind word. That might be something that you write. Be faithful with whatever you're given to write.

Do that and see what God will do with it. Well, great advice, Chris. Thanks for being with us today. I enjoyed our chat together. Thank you, Gary.

Appreciate all your encouragement. And if you want to find out more about the story we've talked about today, go to our website, You'll see Chris's book there, A Peace of the Moon.

Again, our website is And next week, we begin our summer series of the best of the past season. And we're starting with a great conversation we had with former atheist, York Moore. Don't miss it next week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 12:44:06 / 2023-08-21 13:04:10 / 20

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