NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Few students can say they graduated from high school as a published author. Most students cringe when their teachers assign their class an extended writing project.
But Luke Harper has serious experience putting pen to paper. Harper, who recently began his first semester at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., wrote the “Josiah Road” Bible study curriculum with his father Harold.
In high school, his father made a practice of meeting with him regularly so the two could dive into God’s Word for study and discipleship, focusing particularly on the lives of men and women God used to impact their culture.
After all the time spent together studying, one remarkable individual in the Bible continued to intrigue Luke: Josiah from 2 Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 34.
The Josiah Road material, which includes both a student guide and leader’s guide published by NavPress, focuses on the young king’s journey of faith that prompted him to stand up to a society that had rejected God. Instead of going with the flow, Josiah, as the teenage ruler of Judah in the seventh century B.C., boldly instituted God-honoring reforms aimed at restoring the nation’s spiritual and moral foundation.
While Luke didn’t plan to write a book with his dad, he admitted that the more he learned about how a teenager singlehandedly transformed a culture that had worshiped idols into one that worshiped the one true God he was compelled to tell others the incredible story of Josiah.
Luke said reaction to the Josiah Road material has been affirming. He related numerous occasions where students were stepping out to go above and beyond in their service to the Lord. The book calls students to “exceed expectations,” a characteristic of King Josiah himself, Luke noted.
The Bible makes clear that age is not a restriction on people doing great things for God, he said.
Luke’s heart desire is to see students rising up and changing the nation in the same way Josiah did — by calling people back to God. He hopes the Josiah Road material plays at least a small role in encouraging students to get serious about living out their faith. The books feature several students who are doing just that.
Luke is personally committed to the call to “influence, stand and lead” — the book’s major themes. Even before NavPress released the Josiah Road books, Luke was active in ministry as a speaker at student retreats and camps, including a recent Disciple Now weekend in Georgia. Luke was captain of his high school’s football and basketball teams.
Studying Josiah and then writing and blogging about the king’s life helped Luke recognize the importance of being wholly focused on God and not turning to the left or the right.
“I recognized I needed to focus more on yielding to Christ and resist the distractions of the world,” he said.
Luke refuses to take credit for the project, deferring instead to God’s leading. And he was quick to note that his family was instrumental in both the Josiah Road work and his desire to keep Christ foremost in his life.
While Luke is serious about his ministry, on many levels he’s just like any other college freshman. In his free time, he’s likely to be found, remote in hand, watching ESPN. He’s a fan of the Dallas Mavericks, the Tennessee Titans, Louisiana State University Tigers and now the Boyce College Bulldogs. He enjoys road trips, student retreats, mission adventures, pancakes, pasta and sweet tea.
In a trip that had a tremendous impact on Luke, the Harper family traveled to China earlier this year to bring his little brother Josiah home. Luke said the adoption process gave him an even deeper appreciation for what God did in his life, adopting him as a joint heir with Jesus.
And Luke said that his family’s decision to name his brother after Josiah in the Bible positions him to do great things.
“He will have an awareness of what King Josiah accomplished at a very young age, years before I did,” Luke said.
Compiled by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission staff.