A Life of Listening
The Christian life is a life of listening.
In this memoir, lifelong minister of the gospel Leighton Ford tells his story as a personal history of listening for God’s voice. Beginning with his earliest memories, he recounts the different ways God has spoken to him, and the different ways he has learned to listen. Through the joys of ministry, first as an international evangelist, often in partnership with Billy Graham, and later as a leader of the Lausanne Movement and a mentor of emerging leaders, he remembers God's voice proclaiming, instructing, reassuring. Through the pain of deep loss, he remembers God's voice calling out to him, even in the deafening silence.
What emerges is not just an account of a long and faithful life of Christian service, but a picture of the Christian life—the life of listening. What will it sound like, Ford asks, when God speaks to you?
"Leighton Ford's A Life of Listening is a candid and self-revealing sketch from years of ministry, encouraging us to listen so as to make rich our vocations. It was Leighton's listening to the needs of young people that gave birth to the Lausanne Younger Leaders Conference. In this open reflection on his life's journey, his voice presses us to ask, 'How well am I listening?' As we read of his experiences and insights gathered from an amazing history of ministry, watch for his mentoring guideposts to listening, as he calls us to be attentive to voices of the Spirit, making us wise in our callings."
"My best friend in high school met Jesus while listening to Leighton Ford forty-five years ago. It is Leighton's profound capacity to listen to Jesus that makes listening to Leighton a gift to us. In a voice that is lean and spare and angular and humble, there is great wisdom."
"Leighton Ford has been a giant in the evangelical world for two-thirds of a century. In this memoir we hear of the many voices that have produced his gentle, wise, and kind voice. Reading it is like spending time in his luminous presence, emerging with a voice both affected by Leighton's, and strangely, more profoundly our own."
"What strikes me, as I read right through these riveting recollections of Leighton Ford's life, is a story of divine gift and calling, of searching and finding. The result was a long and fruitful ministry both in North America and abroad, where Ford's abundant gifts were in service to the God whose direction he not only listened for but heard and obeyed to the glory of God."
"Reading Leighton Ford's remarkable story stirred my own longing to listen more attentively to God's voice in my story."
"A Life of Listening is a jewel. Leighton Ford is a spiritual giant and a living saint who has learned to listen to the living God all his life. It is a privilege to sit at his feet reading this book, as he shares his lifelong pearls of wisdom with vulnerability and with the authority of someone who knows the Shepherd's voice."
"I've learned in life to listen well to those who listen well to God. Leighton Ford is one of those people. You may never have the opportunity to sit down in person and listen to Leighton share stories of hope, heartache, calling, and ever-renewing vision, but I invite you to listen through this book to the voice of that same man who has been refined beautifully through the fire to the blessing of leaders throughout the Lausanne Movement that I lead and throughout the world. I trust it will help you, like me, to listen better to our Lord and have something worth listening to by others."
"How do we hear the voice of God speaking through and apart from those who journey with us through life? And how do we find our own voices in these conversations and callings? Leighton Ford's life embodies the good news of Jesus because he is such an extraordinary listener. And through vulnerable and articulate remembrance, his story leads us more deeply into our own."
"Ford draws readers deep into his own life, a long journey of listening to the one true Voice that quietly yet relentlessly called him to his vocations of poet, artist, writer, evangelist, and mentor. A master stylist, he nudges readers into a rushing stream of arresting verbs, memorable phrases, and gripping stories of loss and redemption. With this book, Ford gives the genre memoir new and unforgettable meaning."
"A stunningly beautiful and deeply moving memoir! Take a deep breath. Read slowly. Through Leighton's story, hear the Voice that awakens you to a life of eternal beauty and incomparable blessing."
"I have been grateful for the voice of Leighton Ford in my life for the past twenty years. The person who has 'ears to hear' and a willingness to listen will hear the voice of the Lord in these deep and insightful pages from his life and ministry."
"This book is a rich commentary on the providence of God, how one person's story is woven into each of our stories in ways that will surprise and delight you. Don't miss reading this—as you are likely to listen to a voice you need to hear."
"So many people talk about hearing God, but Leighton Ford embodies this reality. By pouring his wisdom and life experiences into these pages, Ford becomes our spiritual director, walking with us as we walk with God. A must-read for anyone who strives to cling more closely to the Savior!"
"All of us need giants in our lives, individuals who seem larger than life because of their character, their wisdom, and the remarkable lives they've lived. If we're lucky, two or three such giants cross our path during our journey. Leighton Ford is one of my giants. If you'd like to walk with such a man for a few hours, read A Life of Listening and just soak it in. This is one of those rare books that can change your life if you listen carefully. I plan to read it more than once."
"Over some twenty years I have listened to the life of Leighton Ford through his storytelling, art, preaching, and mentoring and walking with me. I have discovered my own call through his listening to me. I have discerned God's voice through his quiet and patient counsel. Finally, it is a great gift to have the book of his listening stories from boyhood to maturity in my hands. Like his life, this book speaks deep wisdom to people who are thirsty to hear and know God in an age when listening is rare. Read and listen."
Introduction: A Testament of Listening
1. The Earliest Voices
2. Discerning One Voice from Another
3. Choosing to Become a Listener
4. Called to Lead, Led to Preach
5. Crossing New Thresholds
6. The Mentor and the Mockingbird
7. Discerning a Shift
8. Voices in a Dark Night
9. Pieces in the Identity Puzzle
10. Losing a Son, Restoring a Soul
11. A Mantle Falling, A Seed Growing
12. The Start of a Second Journey
13. A Voice After the Hurricane
14. When We Lose Our Way
15. The Voice of Beauty
16. A Voice Among the Voices
17. Summoned to Attentiveness
18. The Sound of that Voice