With his latest book, the Rev. Charles Langford is practicing what he preaches.
“Knowledge is what I have learned. Wisdom is the good sense to use it beneficially,” the retired Methodist pastor writes in “Rejoicing the Heart,” published by Brentwood Christian Press.
“I think this book benefits people because it helps them to understand Scripture and that is so important,” he said. “I want to help people grow.”
And the Bible is a book of which the 86-year-old Phenix City resident has plenty of knowledge.
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He spent 41 years as a pastor. He had 13 appointments and worked at 21 different churches.
“I was pastor at four at one time,” Langford said, smiling.
Among his pastoral stops was Trinity United Methodist in Phenix City, a church he still attends.
Langford says he has read the Bible in seven different translations.
His book is divided into 52 segments, one for each week with different topics.
In it, Langford presents Bible verses with discussion and provides bits of good sense such as “When we allow negatives to take control of us, we develop the symptoms of harshness, depression, pettiness, and self-pity to name a few. Nothing can be more harmful to the human spirit than negativism.”
Another is “Feeding my soul daily is more important than feeding my body. It has eternal consequences.”
The pastor knows what it is like to have to work hard to feed one’s body.
He grew up poor in Ariton, a small town in Dale County, Ala. His father was a tenant farmer. Numerous crops were grown on the farm. There were plenty of animals, too.
“Everything we ate we produced ourselves,” he said. “I would get off the school bus, change clothes and head straight to the field and worked there for hours. I learned that you are supposed to work hard for what you want in life.”
And he and his siblings learned education is important.
“No matter how much my parents needed us to work, we could never miss a day of school,” he said.
Church was also something that was not missed.
“We lived next door to the church,” he said. “My father sang there.”
His father taught him how to read and write music and got him a second hand organ, which Langford taught himself to play. He has composed seven hymns.
“I officially joined the church when I was 12, was called to preach at 16 and licensed to do so at 18,” he said.
He became inspired to be a pastor at a summer revival when the words of a visiting preacher inspired him.
“I just felt different. I knew God was calling me,” he said.
Still, he wanted to have a backup plan so he attended Troy State Teacher’s College, now Troy University, and got a degree in English. He had to drive 50 miles round trip each day for classes.
“What I learned there helped me with the teaching aspect of my ministry and also writing,” he said.
It was at Troy that he met Carolyn, his wife of 64 years. Both are cancer survivors. They have a son, Joel Langford, daughter, Marcia Moss, and two grandchildren.
His wife is proud of the work her husband has done through the years.
“He was a good pastor. Some like to preach but don’t really care about the people. That is not my husband,” she said. “He has true compassion for others.”
Langford served as secretary for the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He has a great love of poetry, saying he will wake up in the middle of the night and just has to write. His first book “Raindrops on a Tin Roof” was all poetry. The title refers to the tin roof on the home in which he was raised.
He also uses poetry in his latest work.
Langford is proud of his book, a copy of which can be received by calling 334-297-4218.
He has gotten a lot of satisfaction from the time he spent in the pulpit and writing his books.
“I have had the opportunity and privilege to serve people,” he said. “And also to serve God.”