Monthly Archives

January 2018

Technology and Relationships – Tools For Our Ministry

By | Mentoring | No Comments

Last week I got a request on our website from a young pastor in Sri Lanka.

He had been reading about our ministry of mentoring and wanted to know how we might help.

Well, we don’t have a presence in Sri Lanka. But Ravi David does!  He and his wife both are leading mentoring groups in India that we support.

So I sent this young pastor’s email to Ravi, and by the next day he had put this young pastor in touch with another older pastor in Sri Lanka who can help!

So both technology and relationships are important to make mentoring connections!

Thought you’d appreciate this,

Leighton Ford

The Pressure of Christ’s Life On Ours

By | Reflections and Readings | No Comments

An excerpt from Lloyd Ogilvie’s ‘The Bush Is Still Burning’:

In Trinity Church, Boston, there is a remarkable statue of Phillips Brooks by Saint-Gaudens. The spiritual giant stands at a pulpit with an open Bible. Behind him stands Jesus with his hand on the preacher’s shoulder. The reason for Brooks’ greatness is preserved for posterity.

In a letter to a friend he wrote “All experience comes to be more and more the pressure of Christ’s life upon ours. I cannot tell how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is no figure of speech; it is the realest thing in the world”.

A Prayer for Growing Old

By | Life with God, Uncategorized | No Comments

The Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen.

From Aging Matters, R. Paul Stevens pg. 113-114

If God Is There…(Leighton Ford)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday morning I listened to On Being – an interview with Mary Karr, poet and author of The Art of Memoir.

She went to church one day years ago when her small son said he wanted to go to see “if God is there.”

That was the beginning for her.

Do listen on line . her language is salty .. the way she expresses her faith is catching

She recommends to her atheist friends to try praying for 30 days to see if life is better, and because it is a practice of hope.

It makes for interesting and provocative listening!

Leighton Ford

Dealing With Stress

By | Life with God | No Comments

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’
She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.
So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.

 

Article from Perspective Health and Wellness

The Bridge (A Poem By Mark Slaughter)

By | Poetry | No Comments

Reflections from Leighton’s painting Ashness Bridge:

The Bridge…
A place of transition from one side to the other
Connecting the past to the future
Its solid stones arched, providing safe passage to the other side

For centuries, it has stood…
How many have crossed that bridge?
What were their stories?
Where had they been?
Where were they going?

Behind it – so many steps on the journey
Underneath it – a stream of sparking blue water rustling over rocks
Ahead of it – more steps on an unknown path,
A lake of still water to quiet my soul
And new faith adventures
and hills to climb for God’s Kingdom with the same Presence of God accompanying me as in the past.

The Bridge…
Thank you, God, for your faithfulness in years past.
Thank you, God, that I can trust Your faithfulness in the journey ahead!
It’s time to cross the bridge into another season –

Proclaiming the hope of Jesus Christ more broadly to this generation
And even more intentionally taking others with me…
Younger leaders, emerging evangelists
Mentoring, listening, preaching and serving together, growing together

A Bridge…
You have made me a bridge, an ambassador for Christ
Connecting broken people and a broken world with Jesus Christ
Bridging between generations, between ministries
for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is….

THE Bridge
The One bridging heaven and earth
God’s judgment and His love
God’s holiness and His mercy
God’s redemption and a sin-filled world

Walk with me, O God, across The Bridge!

 

Mark Slaughter

What Kind of Evangelist Do I Want To Be? (Leighton Ford)

By | Evangelism | No Comments

Here are some end of the day thoughts I wrote down when I was asked what kind of evangelist/communicator I want to be.

I want to be, not necessarily in order:

A thoughtful evangelist
A generous evangelist
A lifelong learner
A child of the Father always growing more and more like Jesus
A creative expressor
A trusting and open friend
An old time and new time believer
A lover of beauty
A listening soul
An every moment attender and thanker

Oh yes, also as I grow older not be too serious and always able to laugh at myself.

 

Leighton Ford

One Pure White Candle (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections/Essays | No Comments

The year I turned 50 I met my mother for the first time – that is, my birth mother, Dorothy.

I had known from the age of 12 that I was adopted, and had felt chosen and loved and cared for. So it was not until mid-life, while watching the TV series Roots about the descendants of slaves searching for their origins, that I began to wonder about my birth parents. With the help of a friend in Canada I was able to locate Dorothy, and arrange for us to meet.

On a fall afternoon I drove up to her small house north of Toronto. She was standing outside by a pine tree waiting for me. I went to her, gave her a hug, and we went inside to share our histories.

In her bedroom I saw one white candle, standing in a pool of wax on the floor, and asked what the candle was for. She hesitated a moment, then said, “I burn it for purity.”

As she related her story I understood the candle. The summer she was 16 she fell in love with a handsome engineering student in the city where her father was a pastor. That winter she got pregnant and I was the result, and she gave me up for adoption. Her father had never said a word to her about what had happened. She later married another man, had three sons, but that earlier birth had left its mark – thus the lone candle by her bed.

I thought of that candle as we come to Epiphany on Saturday. For millions of Christians around the world this is the end of the “twelve days of Christmas.” It celebrates the wise men who followed the star across the eastern sky until they found the newborn Jesus, and worshiped him.

The Scripture verse that will be read is from the prophet Isaiah: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Even when darkness covers the earth, wrote the prophet, “the Lord will arise, his glory will appear, nations shall come to your light.”

The Christmas lights have been taken down from our streets and stores and windows and stored away until next December. The busy shopping and feasting is over. The kids are back to school. Business as usual has resumed.

But the real reason for Christmas remains. The miracle is not just that a baby was born to the virgin Mary, but that Christ the Savior has come to light up our hearts, and our world.

Dorothy my birth mother married and had three other sons. She was later divorced and lived much of her life alone. I doubt that any of her neighbors knew of that one small candle that she burned, longing for purity, and perhaps forgiveness. When I spoke of faith she said, “I know God loves me. But on a cold winter day if there’s no one in your life to talk to, have a cup of tea with, it’s very lonely.”

All I could do then was to reach over, and give her a hug, and offer what love I could then and for a few years to come.

A young colleague this week told me of reading how at the very beginning of creation God made two lights – a lesser one (the moon at night) and a grander one (the sun by day.) “I may only be a lesser light,” he said, “But I do want to shine for others.”

As for me, this Epiphany, this year, in a world of darkness and dirtiness and conflict, I want to reflect light of Christ to those who, like the wise men are searching.

To light just one candle, today and every day, for purity, for peace, for simplicity.

Leighton Ford