At 50,000 Views— Top 5 L4G Posts

The Lights-4-God blog: short biographies of Christians God greatly used who’ve gone to their reward. That idea grew to be the stories of 77 men and women who were mostly missionaries, hymn writers, authors, and business leaders. At the recent 50,000 view mark, these are the five individuals whose stories were most often sought out and read.

piano-keyboard#1  IRA STANPHILL (1914-1993)

The hymn writer/evangelist Ira Stanphill wrote songs of hope. From “Room at the Cross” (the promise of salvation to those who accept it) to “Mansion Over the Hilltop”  (the glories of Heaven’s future residence for Christians), Ira’s lyrics draw us into Biblical truth.

In 2014, Ira Stanphill would have turned 100. That year the Ira post received almost twice as many views as the second most read L4G bio. I asked readers to choose their favorite Stanphill hymn (results here ). Someone wrote a Wikipedia article on Ira that linked to my post via the story behind “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” That year, 330 individuals followed that link to L4G (others continue to).  Ira’s story keeps inspiring year after year.

Read the Ira Stanphill post here.


head-of-christ#2 WARNER SALLMAN (1892-1968)

The painting The Head of Christ became an iconic image of Jesus in the 20th century while selling over 500 million copies. I describe Warner’s journey as an artist and how his most famous painting came to be so famous. Two of his other well-loved paintings appear in the post.

Warner Press Incorporated owns the rights to the paintings. Upon reading the L4G bio of Mr. Sallman, Warner Press posted it on their blog. That drew more interested viewers.

Read the Warner Sallman post here.


john-flew-a-curtiss-c-46-commando-us-pd#3 JOHN W. PETERSON (1921-2006)

As a teenager, John W. Peterson walked away from an accident that totaled the family car. As an adult, he survived World War II as a pilot. He later wrote the song “It Took a Miracle.” Other songs he penned, “Heaven Came Down” and “Springs of Living Water,” tell of the wonder of spiritual salvation and the Christian life.

The post relates stories about three of John’s six songs mentioned in the post. John became an even, more dynamic force in Christian music by branching out into music publishing and writing church cantatas.

Read the John W. Peterson post here.


olympic_flag5#4 ERIC LIDDELL (1902-1945)

The month Eric’s post received almost 600 views, I knew it had caught on. It highlights the moments in Eric’s athletic career that mattered and tells of his service for God after winning Olympic gold. The post includes a link to the Youtube video of Eric’s actual Olympic win and to a clip from the movie, Chariots of Fire.

Eric’s win is also celebrated in a very short post, “90 Years Ago: Eric Won Gold” which you can read here. He’s mentioned with other outstanding Christians in “Lights for God in World War II” and “5 Missionary Heroes Who Served China.”

Read the Eric Liddell post here.


colgate_clock_jersey_city_1_of_2_3157735699#5 WILLIAM COLGATE (1783-1857)

A dozen of the 77 L4G bios are Christian leaders born in the 1700s. Businessman William Colgate is the most read of those twelve posts. He’s also the oldest person whose name is associated with a business or a brand to be featured in a post.

The man who was also a driving force behind the American Bible Society has continued month after month to draw high numbers of viewers.

Read the William Colgate post here.


To discover the other 72 Christian bios I’ve written, I suggest you start here.


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william-carey-pd-usaToday is the birthday of William Carey, “The Father of Modern Missions.”

At first, his superiors wouldn’t confirm his call. Nor the need to send missionaries at all. Driven to spread the gospel overseas, William preached and wrote about it until his peers formed a missions board. They sent William and another man to India.

It wasn’t easy. There were personal losses on the road to winning souls for God. He invested his last 42 years in India, opening the door to the great missionary century of the 1800s.

Learn more of the William Carey story here.

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The 2016 summer Olympics in Rio begin this week. Here’s a repost to celebrate the Christian convictions of Eric Liddell 92 years ago at the Paris Olympics. 

Lights 4 God

Born JANUARY 16, 1902

The gun went off. The runners launched forward on the track. Someone tripped Scotland’s favorite sprinter. Eric Liddell lunged onto the grass.

Image: courtesy of The Eric Liddell

Up to that moment in 1923, the Triangular International Contests (featuring England, Ireland and Scotland) had proved a winning venue for Eric. He served as Scotland’s champion in the 110 -meter and 220-meter races. Then he landed on the ground in the 440 race. Seconds passed. He caught his breath and sprang back onto the track. In nothing short of a miraculous recovery, Eric passed the other runners, breaking the finish line tape. He’d fallen to the ground, gasping for air, but he still won the race.


Eric was born in China to missionaries from Scotland. When he was five, they took Eric and his brother (a year older) back to Scotland to begin their formal education. Both…

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Eliza Hewitt’s 165th birthday

Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920)

Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920)

Eliza graduated class valedictorian and became a school teacher. She also dedicated her life to learning about God and writing poems about her faith. Others added music to her words, turning “Sunshine in My Soul,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and others into hymns.

She also wrote Sunday School literature and poems for children. Eliza never married.

To learn more about Eliza’s songs and what she did in 1905 to honor her friend Fanny Crosby’s 85th birthday, read here.


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David Wilkerson’s 85th Birthday


David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson


Today, David Wilkerson—founder of Teen Challenge–would have turned 85.

I read his book The Cross and the Switchblade, about the dramatic origins of the Teen Challenge ministry, while in high school. It captivated me. When I later watched the movie, it made David’s story even more enthralling.

If God could use a small-church pastor like David Wilkerson to reach drug-addicted gang members, I believed He could do something with me if I remained yielded to Him.

Little did I know then that I would someday serve as a Teen Challenge counselor.

Here’s a short bio of David Wilkerson that I wrote four years ago. His family read it and endorsed it. Since then, it’s received over 1,000 views—

Image: courtesy of World Challenge-

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Johnson Oatman Jr.’s 160th Birthday

Johnson Oatman Jr. (I)

Johnson Oatman Jr. [PD-1923]

Prolific hymn writer Johnson Oatman Jr. gave us enduring songs. Among the 5,000 hymns he wrote are “Count Your Blessings” and “Higher Ground.” Today, on Johnson’s birthday, read the Christ-centered lyrical messages behind five of his most-sung songs today.

Celebrate his contributions to Christianity by learning more about his best-loved hymns, here.

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Thoro Harris

Thoro Harris. [PD-1923]


His gospel themes and children’s songs live on today. Thoro’s lyrics capture both the sense of deep-felt need and the internal peace of Jesus’ provision in songs like “Hide Thou Me” and “All that Thrills My Soul is Jesus.” Read his bio.


Thomas Dorsey  [PD-1923]

Thomas A. Dorsey [PD-1923]


When Thomas turned from a career in non-Christian music, God turned Thomas into the “Father of Gospel Music.” His two most enduring compositions, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Peace in the Valley” were inspired by unforgettable circumstances. Read his bio.


Andrae Crouch

Andrae Crouch. Image: Sparrow Records (2003)


As a child, Andrae learned to play piano without a single lesson. He grew up to write and sing songs that won Dove and Grammy awards. Read the stories behind his songs, “The Blood Will Never Lose it’s Power,” “My Tribute,” and “Through it All” in his bio.

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