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It's Not Too Late To Come Home

New York Times best-selling author, Charles Martin shares the story of the prodigal son for those wondering if it's too late to return home. Read Transcript


Charles Martin was selling insurance

and writing a book on the side.

And then one day, his insurance company

offered him a six-figure income and a six-figure bonus.

Sure, he needed the money.

But Charles turned it down, and it's a good thing he did.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR: Charles Martin has been writing since he was 15.

He published his first book in 2004.

But that came only after Charles graduated

from Regent University.

The Lord gave me the pen to express whatever

was bubbling up inside me.

I was able to get on the page what

I couldn't get out my mouth.

NARRATOR: Now, he's the New York Times' best-selling author

of 12 novels.

His latest, "Long Way Gone," is the story of a wayward son.

Well, Charles Martin is joining us now.

And we welcome you back to The 700 Club, Charles.

Thank you.

I just mentioned you were offered a six-figure income,

a six-figure bonus.

You turned it down.

We just want to know what was going through your mind

at that moment.

I think the Lord gave me faith in that moment.

But more importantly than that, I

think he gave Cristy faith for us.

Because she really, my wife gave me permission to try this gig.

There was a moment in our house where she said--

and we're trying to figure all this out.

She said, OK, we're going to do this one time all out.

Because I don't want to get with you to your age 40

and you tell me you could have been somebody else.

Boy, that's the truth.

I want to say also that along the way, because I think

this would be helpful to people to know,

it wasn't like you stopped the insurance company and voila,

you had a writing career.

86 rejection letters?

I read somewhere that F. Scott Fitzgerald's

"This Side of Paradise" was rejected 126 times.

So I took a little yellow sticky note, put it right there

on my computer terminal that said 126.

And I said when I get there, I'll

quit and go do something else.

And I probably had no intention of doing that,

but it was a marker.

And when we got to 85, that was not a good day.

86 was not.

But shortly thereafter, I got an agent.

And that's the way it happens, isn't it?

Rejection, rejection, rejection and then the moment.

What was the turning point?

My grandparents had lunch at the National Prayer Breakfast

and sat next to an author.

And he invited me to lunch.

Strategically positioned by God.

I didn't do this.

The Lord did it.

Wow, amazing.

Well, you've published 12 novels, we mentioned.

He was sitting here with me saying,

I still can't believe I've done this.

No, I can't.

I mean, Harper Lee wrote two, and she's really something.

And I think 12?

Cristy and I, the morning at breakfast

when the book came out, we're sitting at the table praying.

And I'm like, Lord, thank you for 12.

And it was the first time I had voiced 12.

And I just, I couldn't believe it.

How did that happen?

Well, the latest, "Long Way Gone," is just releasing.

What was your inspiration for this one?

A couple of years ago, I was speaking somewhere

in north Georgia.

And after I finished, a lady came up to me,

and she told me this story.

Her son's in prison.

He'll be there for a long time.

He did a lot of bad things.

She's heartbroken.

There's a lot of pain looking at me.

And she looked at me with this kind of desperation.

And she said, when is gone too far gone?

And that, it pierced me.

A couple weeks later, I'm in Luke in the 15th chapter.

And you read about the prodigal, and what he does

and how far he goes.

But then, you get to the 20th verse,

and it's one of my favorite.

And it is says, "But while he was still a long way off,"

and it means no matter where you go,

no matter how far, no matter what you do,

no matter what shame, sin, whatever,

that the love of the father finds you.

Isaiah says, "My arm is not so short that it cannot save."

So with that picture in mind, and with some letters

I got from some guys in prison asking the same thing, I said,

I wonder if I could tell the story my way?

So that novel maybe is my answer to that question.

Well, the main character in your book

is an aspiring musician.

Boy, you could relate to that as an aspiring writer.

Our middle son John T. Is our musician.

And I had I went to Nashville and did some great research.

I met one of Zac Brown's backup singers.

I met Taylor Swift's acoustic guy.

I met some phenomenal folks.

But when I brought it home, John T, who's now 16,

helped me unpack it.

And he helped translate it from music to English.

So Cristy and I looked at it.

It was like 13 years of piano lessons finally paid off.

[LAUGHTER]

Here it is, novel number 12, right?

It's a wonderful read.

And I want to mention also that one of your other books--

was what it, "The Call of the Mountain Before Us?"

"The Mountain Between Us."

"The Mountain Between Us" is now being made into a movie.

Talk about that.

20th Century Fox has had it for several years.

But they're in the final stretch, so we're told.

The executive producer is the lady that did the "Life of Pi."

Wow.

They've signed up Idris Elba and a little unknown actor

by the name of Kate Winslet-- or actress.

I'm excited.

I hope they make a great movie.

I do.

I hope they pull it off, and we can take our kids

and go see it.

Yes, wouldn't that be fun?

They start filming December 1 in Vancouver.

One of the things that I've noticed about you

Charles is no matter how many books you write,

no matter how successful you are, the core of who you are

is your faith.

You're a graduate of Regent University.

And what role did that play in strengthening--

We were on Facebook Live a minute ago.

I've never done that.

It was my first time.

And she asked me to pray at the end of it.

And I said, I'm good at that.

I prayed a lot on this campus.

This is what got me out of here.

[LAUGHTER]

When I got here, seriously in that chapel,

my buddy and I, Kurt, would go in there

and just kneel down before class.

But it was my heart then and now was like, Lord,

this is my gift.

This is what I do.

This is what makes me-- it's like breathing.

I love it.

So let me go do it.

And I love that one of my books has hit the New York Times

list.

But more importantly than that, when I get letters

from guys in prison, and it's these muscled,

tattooed men that are going to be there in life,

and they tell me that my books reached them

in places that nothing has reached them in a long time,

I'd rather have that.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Amen.

So I'm still offering my gift to the King and saying,

here it is, and use me.

And I pray that He does.

Well He has.

He is.

And I'm sure He will continue to,

because your heart's in the right place.

It's a wonderful book.

Charles, thank you for being with us and sharing your story.

It's so inspiring.

Listen, if you are looking for a great read,

check out his latest novel.

It's called "Long Way Gone."

And it's available nationwide.

And then watch for that movie, because it

sounds like it's going to be wonderful and something fun.

If you're looking for a great place

to continue your education, you might want

to check out Regent University.

You could be one of those people on your knees in the chapel.

Call the number you see on your screen,

or you can log on to regent.edu for more information.

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