LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails has asked Warren Smith to share a brief Thanksgiving greeting to our readers and a story from his book Watering the Greyhound Garden: Stories from the Streets of San Francisco. Many of our readers know Warren from his books that warn about spiritual deception but don’t know that he was a career social worker serving in a variety of positions over the years—including his job as a Travelers Aid social worker at the Greyhound Bus Station and on the streets of San Francisco.
A Thanksgiving Greeting
This Thanksgiving, may the Lord bless each of you as you gather together with family and friends to give thanks for His many blessings. May we remember too the countless churches, ministries, and Christian agencies that help to serve people who find themselves in need on Thanksgiving and at other times throughout the year.
My very first job as a social worker was with Travelers Aid in San Francisco. I was the night social worker operating out of the lobby of the San Francisco Greyhound Bus Station. From my ground level position I met many lost and desperate people whose lives were significantly changed—both physically and spiritually—by ministries, churches, and agencies like Travelers Aid. It was often quite amazing to watch how churches and community groups networked to help those who were experiencing hard times in the city. In my particular position, I saw people who had often reached the end of the line and had dead-ended at the Greyhound.
The Greyhound terminal was like a modern-day Jericho Road where broken-down travelers were in urgent need of help. From California dreamers and state hospital runaways to an abused housewife, a stranded grandmother, a suicidal transvestite, and a seventy-three-year-old man still riding the rails—all in San Francisco and earnestly seeking help. Their stories tell the universal story of the wayfaring stranger—the traveler in trouble. The following story from my book Watering the Greyhound Garden is about a southern man who ended up stranded, alone, and without hope at the Greyhound Bus Station. His story serves to remind us to give thanks always for the way God works in our lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.—Job 19:14
When I first spoke with Willis Potter, he had been sitting in the Greyhound lobby for nearly three days. He’d caught the attention of our volunteer as he periodically walked past the Travelers Aid booth to go up the stairs to the men’s room on the second floor. A North Carolina native, the seventy-three-year-old man wore wire-rimmed glasses, spoke with a strong southern accent, and walked with a noticeable stoop. His thin, silvery-gray hair framed his high pale forehead and angular facial features. Wearing a coat and tie and neatly shined shoes, Mr. Potter was very proper in his own country kind of way. His manner was gruff, and he would periodically punctuate his sentences with the characteristic phrase, “Don’t ya know.”
“I spent my whole life in Holly Hill, don’t ya know. I was livin’ with my sister there until she died two years ago. Her kinfolk kicked me out after she died. They tried to put me in a home for old fogeys, don’t ya know. But I ran away to New York. I met a Jewish woman there and lived in her home near Coney Island. Then one day we had a fight and I had to leave, don’t ya know. Been travelin’ ever since.” He told me how he’d crisscrossed the country several times over the past two years with his suitcase and three large trunks—but in spite of all his traveling he’d never found a place that felt like home.
“I miss them dogwoods in the spring, don’t ya know. That Carolina countryside is the prettiest dang thing you’d ever want to see.” His eyes seemed to glisten as he pictured the familiar scene in his mind. “But if I went back to Holly Hill they’d just try to stick me back in that home for old fogeys, don’t ya know.”
When I asked Mr. Potter what his plans were, he said, “To die.” I was taken aback by his straightforward pronouncement and asked him to explain.
“I aim to die, blast it! I arrived here at this bus station with $65 and some hoodlum robbed me twenty minutes later, don’t ya know. Social Security doesn’t even know I’m here, and they never get my checks straight anyway. I’m sick of the whole thing. I had a good life, but it was over the day I left Holly Hill. I’m too old and too tired to keep travelin’ around like this. I want to die, and this bus station is as good a place as any.”
“Die right here in the Greyhound?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes, sir. Right here in the Greyhound. Living is too much dang trouble, don’t ya know. I don’t care anymore.” He had made up his mind and that was that. The fact that he wasn’t asking me or anyone else for assistance seemed to underscore the seriousness of his plan. For Mr. Potter, the San Francisco Greyhound bus station was the literal end of the line. While most people in the lobby were waiting for a bus, Mr. Potter was waiting to die.
“Mr. Potter, when was the last time you had something to eat?” I asked.
“Three days ago,” he replied.
“Mr. Potter, you can’t just sit here and die!”
“Watch me,” he said with utter conviction.
I didn’t want to call Adult Protective Services, but he wasn’t leaving me much choice. Before taking that step, however, I made one last appeal by sharing a personal note about the city he now found himself in. I described my traveling out to San Francisco from Connecticut after being discharged from the Army. I was discouraged and depressed, but the city had given me hope and a new start. The people were friendly and open, and before long the city felt like home. I told him the reason I had my job in the bus station was because the people of San Francisco—through agencies such as United Way—wanted Travelers Aid to help people like him. I acknowledged that San Francisco was not Holly Hill, but the city had its own special beauty and charm.
Continuing my plea, I urged Mr. Potter to give Travelers Aid a chance. We could provide him with food and lodging, help straighten out his Social Security, and refer him to the Tenderloin Senior Center for assistance with permanent housing. Instead of putting him in a “home for old fogeys,” they would help him find his own apartment. I could even arrange to have Greyhound keep his trunks until he was settled.
Mr. Potter listened intently to everything I said. Perhaps too tired to offer any further resistance, he reluctantly agreed to work with me. I immediately took him over to the Greyhound coffee shop where he ended his three-day fast with a hamburger and a cherry Coke. After telling Greyhound to hold on to his three trunks, I called Mr. Patel and reserved a room for Mr. Potter at the Coronado. I then accompanied the weary North Carolina native in a cab to the hotel. After walking him to his room, I handed him several food vouchers. I told him to get some rest and that I’d be back the next day.
The following afternoon I led Mr. Potter over to the Senior Center on Leavenworth Street. Travelers Aid would work jointly with the center in assisting him. While they helped him find an apartment, we would continue to meet his immediate needs for food and lodging. We would also make sure that his Social Security payments were properly reinstated.
The Senior Center found him a small furnished apartment two blocks from the bus station in a building designed for seniors who were still able to live independently. The manager was very supportive and allowed Mr. Potter to move in right away, deferring the rent and deposit until his Social Security checks caught up with him. He even advanced Mr. Potter some money for his beloved “chewin’ tobacco.”
I was happy for Mr. Potter and visited him regularly during my dinner breaks. He would tell me tales about his childhood farm and of southern days gone by. Over time, I discovered he had his own unique vocabulary—he talked of his love for “cowpop”(milk) and his penchant for eating “cackleberries”(eggs). He was feisty and rarely smiled, but sometimes I detected a twinkle in his eyes when he delivered one of his characteristic digs at life today compared to “the good ole days.” Mr. Potter liked to tease me by calling San Francisco “Frisco.” I would remind him that San Franciscans never called San Francisco “Frisco.” Referring to the city as “Frisco” was the sure sign of an outsider—and that he was no longer an outsider.
Mr. Potter lived in his apartment for about six months. The last time I saw him he said he was moving out of the Tenderloin. The Senior Center had found him a studio apartment near the ocean in the Richmond District, which he described as “real peaceful.” The Tenderloin was too dangerous, he said, and now he wouldn’t have to be so worried about getting robbed by “hoodlums.” When I left his apartment that day, I was thankful that the man from Holly Hill would be living out the rest of his days in an apartment by the Pacific Ocean rather than in the lobby of the Greyhound bus station. His life had been uniquely shaped in the South, but Mr. Potter—“don’t ya know”—was now a full-fledged San Franciscan.
On behalf of myself and the editors and authors of Lighthouse Trails, may your Thanksgiving day be joyful and filled with God’s many blessings.
The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word, click here.
By Warren B. Smith
Several years ago I was at a church conference in Olathe, Kansas. In the middle of citing a verse from the book of Jeremiah, the speaker suddenly looked up from the text with a huge smile on his face. Looking out at us, he joyfully exclaimed—“I love the Bible!” I immediately and enthusiastically agreed. What an amazing book! It tells us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. While it lifts us up and shows us the way to salvation, it tells us who Jesus is, and it tells us who He is not. God’s true authentic Word—we would be totally lost without it. However in today’s compromised church, spiritual experience seems to be the name of the game. Consequently, there seems to be more interest in a word from God rather than in the Word of God. Lest we become compromised ourselves, we must never take God’s Word for granted. What a gift, what a treasure, what a wonder the Holy Bible is. It truly is the Word of God as it inspires, nurtures, guides, and sustains us in our walk with the Lord. God’s Word is awesome—so awesome, in fact, that God magnifies His Word above everything else (Psalm 138:2). And when one reads through the Scriptures to see what the Bible says about the Bible, it is an amazing thing to behold. The following verses are just some of what God’s Word says about God’s Word.
God’s Word is the Word of God
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1Thessalonians 2:13)
God’s Word is Magnified by God Above His Own Name
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)
God’s Word is Good
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
God’s Word is Right
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. (Psalm 33:4)
God’s Word is Awesome
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. (Psalm 119:161)
God’s Word is Inspired
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
God’s Word is Sure
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. (Psalm 93:4-5)
God’s Word is Pure
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalm 12:6)
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psalm 119:140)
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverbs 30:5)
God’s Word is Tried
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalm 18:30)
God’s Word is True
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)
God’s Word is Truth
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
God’s Word is Precious
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)
God’s Word is Sweet
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)
God’s Word is Wonderful
Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. (Psalm 119:129)
God’s Word is our Song
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. (Psalm 119:54)
God’s Word is our Joy
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)
God’s Word is our Delight
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. (Psalm 119:92)
God’s Word is Powerful
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
God’s Word is Light
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. (Psalm 119:130)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)
God’s Word will make you Wise
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
God’s Word Quickens
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. (Psalm 119:107)
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalm 119:50)
God’s Word is like Fire
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)
God’s Word Cleanses
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)
God’s Word Upholds
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm 119:116)
God’s Word gives us Understanding
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:104)
God’s Word Delivers
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. (Psalm 119:170)
God’s Word is our Counselor
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. (Psalm 119:24)
God’s Word is not Bound
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (2 Timothy 2:9)
God’s Word will not Return Void
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
God’s Word is Everlasting
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:144)
What is Our Response to God’s Word?
We are to Tremble at God’s Word
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 66:5)
We are to Rejoice in God’s Word
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (Psalm 119:162)
We are to Praise God’s Word
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (Psalm 56:4)
In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. (Psalm 56:10)
We are to be Comforted by God’s Word
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
We are to Hope in God’s Word
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:114)
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (Psalm 119:74)
My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:81)
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Palm 130:5)
We are to Trust in God’s Word
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. (Psalm 119:42)
We are to Desire God’s Word
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. (1Peter 2:2)
We are to Study God’s Word
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
We are to Meditate on God’s Word
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. (Psalm 119:48)
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. (Psalm 119:99)
We are to let the Word of God Dwell in Us
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
We are to Live by the Word of God
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
We are to Order our Steps in God’s Word
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)
We are not to Corrupt the Word of God
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17)
We are not to Handle the Word of God Deceitfully
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)
We are not to Add or Subtract from God’s Word
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:6)
We are to Glorify God’s Word
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
We are to Gain our Faith from Hearing God’s Word
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
We are Saved by God’s Word
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
We are to be Doers of God’s Word
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
We are to Hold Forth the Word of God
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16)
We are to Preach God’s Word
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2)
We are to Continue in God’s Word
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)
We are to Resist Temptation by God’s Word
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:3-4)
We are not to Forget God’s Word
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. (Psalm 119:16)
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. (Psalm 119:141)
We are to Hide God’s Word in our Heart
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)
We are to Keep God’s Word
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8)
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28)
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. (Psalm 119:1-2)
My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. (Psalm 119:167)
We are to Stand Fast in God’s Word
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
We are to Battle Using God’s Word
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16-17)
We may be Slain for the Word of God
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held… (Revelation 6:9)
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
God’s Word Stands Forever
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. (Psalm 119:152)
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:6-7)
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
A Homeless Man & God’s Word
Years ago, I directed a storefront ministry in Northern California that served the homeless mentally ill. One afternoon a young man came in and told me how he had recently been released from prison. He said he had noticed that men who had become born again Christians in prison were getting out of prison early. He said he wasn’t stupid. He got himself a Bible, went to the Bible study, and feigned being born again. Sure enough, he got an early release. He told me that when he left the prison that last day, he hung his Bible on the prison’s front gate and just walked away. He had outsmarted the system and was leaving prison and all that Bible stuff behind. But while he left his Bible hanging on the prison gate, he was surprised to find that the Word of God had been firmly planted within his heart. Recognizing that God’s Word was active and alive in his life, he soon committed his life to the Lord. Now he truly was born again and only too happy to call himself a Christian.
God’s Word is Awesome Because God is Awesome
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalm 33:8-12)
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. (Psalm 119:161)
To order copies of The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word, click here.
Islamic Terrorists Attack and Kill 28 Civilians in Kenya – Please Pray for Our Brothers and Sisters in Kenya
LTRP Note: Posted for informational purposes and for a reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters in Kenya.
The slaughter of 28 people on a bus in Kenya is a bid to start a religious war, a senior adviser to President Uhuru Kenyatta has told the BBC.
Abdikadir Mohammed called on Kenyans of “all faiths and creeds” to stand together against the “heinous crimes”.
At dawn on Saturday, al-Shabab gunmen attacked the bus in northern Kenya, shooting dead non-Muslim passengers.
The Somalia-based Islamist group has carried out numerous attacks across Kenya since 2011. Click here to continue reading. Please pray for our brothers and sisters and the children in Kenya whom UTT and LT work with.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
In October, I was in Bosnia and Montenegro (ex-Yugoslavie). I saw that the pastors are not good to speak with. So I wondered. I looked on the Internet, and I found out that in 2011, 2012, and 2013, there was a group there to teach about prayer: the College of Prayer with Fred Hartley. I found out that they also teach Spiritual Formation. I warned the pastors, but only one, the Baptist pastor in Bosnia, wrote me back and said he didn’t feel well about these seminars and was asking the Lord. My e-mail came at the right time.
One day in the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia, I met an American missionary and two Swiss women. They asked me to come to the Sunday service. I felt something was wrong. There was a mission group from Switzerland, and the whole service had to do with contemplation, and they prophesied for each other. I went home with the thought, the whole gospel is now only about giving prophecies. I warned the American missionary, but I think she didn’t like to hear. These people are going now as missionaries everywhere and bringing this deception.
I’m very thankful that you opened our eyes. Everywhere I go, I recommend the book A Time of Departing. I was in 58 countries, and in February, the Lord will be bringing me to Laos and Vietnam. It’s a miracle!
God bless you and your work. In Jesus,
Catherine from Switzerland
By L. Putnam
“Pay attention” is the watchword of this book. And “pay attention” is what I would like to challenge the reader to do. Pay attention and awaken to who Ford once was. Pay attention and awaken to who Ford now is. In addition, pay attention to “the hours of our lives, ” and to the “ones who pay attention.” Finally, pay attention to the poets, authors, priests, and contemplatives Ford champions.
Pay Attention to Who Ford Once Was
Many of you, as did I, recall Billy Graham’s familiar radio program “The Hour of Decision.” As a child part of our Sunday afternoon ritual consisted of listening to Billy. I can still hear the ending of the program, “That’s all the address you need, ‘Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota.'” I can further remember that, now and then, rather than Billy preaching, a young evangelist named Leighton Ford ably proclaimed the gospel in Billy’s place.
Pay Attention to Who Ford Now Is
So imagine my complete shock, when reviewing the Ruth Haley Barton book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership I read Leighton Ford’s foreword which he was writing, from a Roman Catholic oratory garden, while seated beside a pagan labyrinth.
How did Ford get to such a place as an oratory? Ford tells us, in this book, in his own words. Ford begins, “My work has largely focused on evangelism- ‘making friends for God.’ … But a shift has taken place.” “But now,” Ford relates, “is a time to pay more attention to my own heart, to deepen my own friendship with God, and to walk with others who want to do the same.” Ford also shares, “The deepest longing I have is to come home to my own heart …” (p.10-11)
Ford goes on, “If the first part of my own journey involved longing, the second has encompassed mainly looking –coming to important parts of my soul, bring my real self before the real God, and discovering prayer, as Simone Weil put it, as ‘absolute attention.'” (p.12) To achieve these goals Ford writes, “It has meant exploring other ways: silence, stillness, art and poetry, reading Scripture not by going through great chunks but by meditating on smaller portions, listening carefully to God and my own heart, having a trusted spiritual companion as a friend on the journey.” (p.14)
Pay Attention to the Benedictine Hours
Ford introduces us to “The Benedictine Hours” and to Benedict who became, according to Ford, “a shepherd of souls.” This soul shepherd became “St. Benedict” to whom Catholics now pray and worship. Consider this “Novena to St. Benedict” which begins “Glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God’s grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God. … I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayer and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore (name it). …” (p.20) https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/novena/benedict.htm
Pay Attention to David Steindl-Rast’s Connection to The Benedictine Hours
Ford tells us that his first experience of the hours came at a retreat at the lovely monastery–Mepkin Abbey in the low country of South Carolina. But, it wasn’t just from Mepkin that Ford learned about the hours. It was from a book– The Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day by David Steindl-Rast and Sharon Lebell. Click here to read this entire book review.
By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network
Each of the following authors professes to be Christian and/or uses biblical terminology in his or her writing, yet promotes at least one of the following serious false teachings: contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), the emergent, progressive “new” spirituality, the seeker-friendly, church-growth movement (e.g., Willow Creek, Purpose Driven) and/or Yoga. This list is taken from Chris Lawson’s Booklet, A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists)
Abbott, David L.
Adams, James Rowe
Arico, Carl J.
Barton, Ruth Haley
Bass, Diana Butler
Buchanan, John M.
Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg
Carroll, L. Patrick
Coffin, William Sloane
Crossan, John Dominic
De Mello, Anthony De Waal, Esther
Dykes, David R
Dyckman, Katherine Marie
Evans, Rachel Held
Flowers, Betty Sue
Fosdick, Harry Emerson
Friend, Howard E., Jr.
Funk, Mary Margaret
Graham, Dom Alfred
Haas, Peter Traban
Hansen, Mark Victor
Hildegard of Bingen
Ignatius Loyola, St.
Jenks, Gregory C.
Jones, Laurie Beth
Kent, Keri Wyatt
Kidd, Sue Monk
King, Robert H.
Kraft, Robert A.
Meyers, Robin R.
Moore, Brian P.
Moran, Michael T.
Muyskens, John David
Norris, Gunilla Brodde
Paloma, Margaret M.
Patterson, Stephen J.
Peale, Norman Vincent
Pope Benedict XVI
Ruether, Rosemary Radford
Smith, Chuck, Jr.
Smith, James Bryan
Spong, John Shelby
St. Romain, Philip
Talbot, John Michael
Taylor, Barbara Brown
Vaswig, William (Bill)
Wilhoit, James C.
Yanni, Kathryn A.
Yarian, Br. Karekin M., BSG
Young, William Paul
Yungblut, John R.
Zeidler, Frank P.
This list is taken from Chris Lawson’s Booklet, A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists)
This past weekend, former evangelical pastor Rob Bell and former television icon Oprah wrapped up their national 8-city “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” New Age tour. Joining Bell and Oprah on the tour were other two New Age sympathizers – Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). There was a time, not too many years ago, when Bell’s best-selling book Velvet Elvis was being read by millions of young evangelicals, and the book was touted by Christian leaders and college professors. It was a disaster in discernment in the church as even back then Bell was promoting the New Age. In a 2007 article, a Lighthouse Trails stated, “Velvet Elvis and Bell’s Noomas are a trojan horse that will deliver to young unsuspecting kids from Christian homes a hearty helping of the New Age (i.e., mysticism and panentheism). And if they are introduced to the New Age under the guise of Christian literature, many of them will be seduced by ‘doctrines of devils.'”
Bell, who stepped down from the evangelical pastorate in 2011, has finally openly shown his true New Age colors by yoking himself with Oprah Winfrey, the most influential New Ager in the world today.