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Singing On Glory’s Side

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Lon Allison always had a song.  Whatever the topic, Lon had a song!

And so it was no surprise that after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of liver cancer, Lon chose to address the Evangelical Covenant Convention with a song . . . “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice.

Untitled Hymn

Lon Allison sings “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)” by Chris Rice
#eccmw

Posted by The Evangelical Covenant Church on Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die
O, raise your head for Love is passing by
Come to Jesus, come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live

Now your burden’s lifted and carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain
So sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live

And like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk, sometimes we fall
So fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live

Sometimes the way is lonely and steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rainThen cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live

O, and when the love spills over and music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside
Then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live

And with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side

And fly to Jesus (Fly to Jesus)
Fly to Jesus (Fly to Jesus)
Fly to Jesus and live

Lon Allison was the longtime Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, the Teaching Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church, and Chair of the Leighton Ford Ministries board.

But more than his impressive titles, Lon lived for Jesus.  He lived to tell others about Jesus. And he lived to encourage his friends and associates and flock to grow deeply in their faith and love for Jesus through personal discipleship.

Kevin first met Lon in the late 1980s.  Kevin was having breakfast at a diner in San Ramon, CA and saw a guy reading his Bible.  They struck up a conversation, and soon after, Kevin introduced Lon to Leighton. A strong friendship quickly developed, and Lon became a charter member of the “Point Group,” Leighton’s personal mentoring group for young ministry leaders.

Lon’s wife Marie announced his death Sunday evening with these words:  

Lon’s struggle with cancer ended this morning at 9:30 am. (It appears he wanted to get to heaven in time for the great Sunday Worship Service!)  He is now in heaven enjoying the perfect presence of the Lord, the people who went before him and the activities that he was not able to do the last couple of years. 

Lon was a dear friend and colleague.  We miss him so much. But we also know that he has never been so alive!

To paraphrase Chris Rice, on Sunday our friend Lon kissed the world goodbye, went in peace, and now sings on Glory’s side.

Fly to Jesus . . . and live!

 

A Life of Listening Now Available

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Just a quick word today as InterVarsity Press releases my new book, A Life of Listening. As I’ve mentioned, it’s perhaps the most personal book I’ve ever written, and so I’m deeply grateful for the kind words from friends who have previewed the book and found in it encouragement to keep their ear and heart cocked to God, listening for both His whispers and shouts. If you’re planning to purchase the book, may I ask that you consider ordering it today from Amazon? A good first day of sales will help with the algorithms, which in turn will help more people discover the book.

Buy on Amazon

In Tribute to Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie

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On Wednesday of this week God’s servant Lloyd, whom I counted as a dear friend, and great admired, departed this earthly life and ministry to the place Jesus his Lord has prepared for him.

Lloyd died at 88 after a fairly long battle with cancer.

Many knew and profited from his ministry at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, and other congregations before he served there, as Chaplain of the United States Senate for many years, as TV preacher, and author.

I knew him as a friend, never close geographically, but always be frequent phone calls, and sometimes at conferences together.For many years our local Leadership Breakfast Group were blessed by using his books to provoke and inspire our monthly gatherings.
I love him, thank God for him, and recommend his ongoing ministry through his on line sermons and his writings.
Many years ago I copied the following prayer from one of his books.  I have prayed it hundreds of times before I preacher or ministered myself.  I commend it to you.With a grateful heart for God’s servant, Lloyd,Leighton Ford

A Prayer Before Entering into the Ministry of the Day

 

Lord, here’s my mind, think your thoughts in me.
Be my wisdom, knowledge, and insight.
Here is my voice.
You told me not to worry what to say and how to say it.
Free me to speak with silence or words, whichever is needed.
Give me your timing and tenderness.
Now Lord, here is my body.
Release creative affection in my face, my touch, my embrace.
And Christ, if there is something I am to do
by your indwelling presence,
however menial or tough, control my will to do it.
Lord, I am ready now to be your manifest intervention in situations,
to infuse joy, or absorb pain and aching anguish.
I plan to live this day and the rest of my life in the reality of you in me.
Thank you for making it so!

This prayer above of Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie’s I have used for many years as I prepare to preach or begin some other ministry.

LFM Leader Elizabeth Archer Featured

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One of LFM’s Mentorship Leaders, Elizabeth Archer, was recently featured for her work with her father at the Masters.

Read More: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/golf/2019/04/10/george-archers-trailblazing-daughter-masters-winning-father/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_fb&fbclid=IwAR0tYwbA5TiUbUIFC_j7tEmMEZBoN8ta_E9GD3jZS4zEIlhDX_5I7-RdZxA

My Next Book Coming Out!

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I have just received the good word that InterVarsity Press, publishers of several of my books, will publish my new book sometime in the middle of next year.  Following is a reflection on the writing!

Leighton

AT WINDY RIDGE, AN AFTERWORD

Early on a July morning I was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of an old mountain house in the hills of Virginia, coffee in hand.

It is a perfectly clear July morning, and a place of calm and quiet.

Across the old road a few cattle are grazing. Otherwise there was no sign of life, not even a car passing.

It is a contented moment. And I have a sense of completeness.

And with good reason. I am at the very end of my book The Voice of Our Calling, and my publisher InterVarsity Press is set to publish next year! So this is a moment of completion.

And Windy Ridge is a fitting place to be.

It was at another Virginia spot, Bell’s Ridge, a couple of hours north, that I literally “got off the fence” and started to write this book.

I was at a writers retreat at the Bellfry, a retreat house built by friends. After lunch one day, I strolled into the woods and sat on an old wooden fence. Suddenly the fence began to shake – and so did the ground around. It felt like an earthquake – and it was!  An earthquake centered eighty miles away was shaking the state. I quickly dismounted!

For several years I had been pondering about writing this book, and always got stuck or diverted. So it seemed that God was shaking me a bit, saying “Time to get off the fence and start writing.” I did!

Now, several years later, I sit in the quiet of Windy Ridge with this sense of completeness.

The words of one of my favorite poems – May Sarton’s Now I Become Myself – come to me as I muse.

Sarton wrote of the years in which she had run madly, wearing other people’s faces, with a sense of the shortness of life. At last she came to a time when everything seemed to fuse together – her work and loves, her times, her face – all becoming part of a poem, made and rooted in love.

Remembering her words, I also recalled Paul’s writing that we are God’s “workmanship” – literally, his poiema, his poetry – prepared beforehand to be “our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10).

As Charles William wrote, God is a poet, and the “lines of our lives” are the lines of his poetry.

It has been years since Sarton’s words first spoke to my own condition. I repeat them to myself with a sense of gratefulness.

For me they signal more than a sense of personal fulfillment. I add to them the other words of Paul, that we are “complete in Christ “ – receiving the gift of God’s fullness in him.

I think back to the years past – the times of being a storyteller (of His story), a friend (to His people), an artist (of His beauty) – and sense how they have fused together.

In these autumn years I discovered an affinity with the ancient Celts who had such a distinctive way of loving God and following Christ, through beauty and ballads, birds and other creatures, song and dance, water and hills.  All of God’s gracious gifts were fused, pictured in the distinctive Celtic cords, where many strands were woven into one.

As I have written this I have also realized how the many voices I have heard have been gathered into One. The Voice of the Shepherd, who calls me by name.

 

 

 

We’re Back! And Welcome New Readers

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For some weeks now we have not been active on the website, due to the unexpected and sudden passing of Todd Hahn, who managed our website.

Now we are ready to start posting again – with a new manager for our website: Chad Wallace. Chad manages digital communications and is an adjunct professor at Belhaven University, in Jackson, Mississippi, and was highly recommended to me by Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven, a member of our LFM board, and a long time friend.

Chad has long experience and talent in this area. Most importantly, he is committed to the Lord, and wants to be part of our LFM vision – to help leaders to lead to, like, and for Jesus!

As we start posting again be watching for My Journal Jottings – as from time to time I will share thoughts, insights, quotes, readings that speak to me day by day. And make suggestions for your own readings.

We will also restart a video series of Odd Places and Peculiar People (peculiar because memorable not weird!). These will feature unusual places of settings where I’ve spoken and ministered, and people who have left a lasting impression. And often lessons I have learned which may be helpful.

And we will also feature other articles, musings, writings from various sources, including those involved in leading our Mentoring Community.

So again: welcome back. And please stay in touch,

Your friend on the journey, Leighton

“Reaching One of Life’s Landmarks”

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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.

Read the whole article here.

In Memoriam – Todd Hahn and Tom Dooley

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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 HAHN

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 DOOLEY

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.