Canon J. John is a member of our LFM Point Group, and a gifted evangelist in the UK. Here are some of his thoughts about arriving at his 60th birthday.
There’s no point in denying that I’m about to reach a particular milestone on 2nd June. Now there are different views about reaching sixty. Some people see it as being no more than some insignificant crossing of which brings little change, while others see sixty as marking your entrance into some unfamiliar territory of the ‘senior years’.
Inevitably I have been reflecting on reaching sixty and have decided that my attitude can be summed up in terms of what I accept, reject and expect.
First, what do I accept? Well I accept that, although welcome, the cards, candles and celebrations are indeed reminders of my mortality. When we are young we all consider our lives to be unlimited; any end lies safely out of sight beyond the horizon. However, when you reach sixty you realise there are more years behind you than there are ahead. And although we have made progress (after all, a century ago you probably were dead!), being sixty does mean that you have to start thinking about mortality. Here, of course, one of the perks of being a Christian is that not only can I look at this life’s ending without flinching, I can see beyond it.
Last week, on the same day, we received word of the death of two friends, both of whom had a close relation to Leighton Ford Ministries.
Todd died suddenly at his parents home in Charlotte. He was close to his 50th birthday.
Leighton and the Ford family knew Todd from his student years at UNC Chapel Hill, and later as part of the Arrow Leadership Program.
He was the founding pastor of two churches, and a talented writer and speaker in many venues. He helped to catalog Leighton’s Hour of Decision sermons, and helped to revise several of Leighton’s books.
He was also he valued editor of our website for several years.
Leighton and Kevin Ford, who was a close friend of Todd’s, will both speak at his service on Sunday afternoon, May 20, at the Church at Charlotte.
Tom died at his home, surrounded by loving family, after several years of failing health. He was 83.
He was a well-known business leader, community philanthropist, and YMCA leader, respected and well known. He was also a widely known NFL referee, including officiating for the Super Bowl.
He served as a board member and as treasurer for Leighton Ford Ministries for a number of years, and he was a strong supporter of our ministry, as well as a great encourager.
He and his wife Nancy were close friends of Jean and Leighton, and they often hosted our mentoring groups at their mountain home in Blowing Rock.
Leighton led in the readings for the celebration service at Christ Episcopal Church, Charlotte, this week. An overflow crowd of leaders and friends packed out the church the Dooleys attended for many years.
We loved them both, miss them both, and thank God for their friendship.
Ed Stetzer at Christianity Today recently interviewed Lon Allison, who is a senior member of my Point Group and chair of the Leighton Ford Ministries board. I encourage you to read it.
Ed: Not too long ago you were diagnosed with an aggressive liver cancer and have been receiving treatment. How has this impacted your faith and the way you view God?
Lon: I really didn’t know how my faith would be impacted by the news of a terminal cancer. My wife Marie, our children, and I had never faced something like this. I can now say five months into the journey that my faith is stronger than before my diagnosis about 90% of the time.
I have clung to two truths to sustain me. First is the sovereignty of God: “The Lord has established his throne in heaven. His Kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19). The second great truth is his love for me and my family: “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:17-19).
The sovereignty of God means he has authority over this situation. He has allowed this cancer to strike me. He can cure it in a nanosecond, or allow it to grow within me. He is in charge, and I deeply desire he be glorified through it.