Gospel singer turned rocker turned Christian rocker Mylon LeFevre entered his eternal Home on September 9 after a lengthy battle with cancer. LeFevre was 78.
LeFevre was born into a musical family. His parents were keystone members of The LeFevres, a Southern Gospel group that enjoyed decades of success. Mylon LeFevre joined his parents on vocals and guitar as soon as he was old enough.
LeFevre wrote the gospel song “Without Him” in 1961. A few years later, he performed it with his family at a gospel quartet convention. Unbeknownst to him, Elvis Presley was in the audience and, after the performance, came backstage to meet Mylon. Presley eventually recorded the song, thereby opening a door for Mylon to enter the regular music business.
Mylon yearned to combine his faith and rock’n’roll, something unheard of at the time. He eventually pursued rock and left his faith behind, at one point becoming a heroin addict. He returned to Christ during an altar call at a 2nd Chapter of Acts concert in 1980.
LeFevre worked as a church janitor when the music bug hit. He eventually formed the band Broken Heart, which had a fairly constant membership turnover due to financial constraints. LeFevre recorded multiple successful Christian rock and pop albums during the 1980s, along the way, winning both a Dove and Grammy Award. A major heart attack suffered in 1989 ended his touring days. He spent the ensuing decades recording the occasional praise album and focusing on his teaching ministry.
Mylon LeFevre was much loved by everyone in Christian music during his time there. He was the epitome of a Southern gentleman, one whose faith was genuine and whose compassion for his fellow man never wavered. I had the privilege of interviewing him back in the day, and out of the dozens of interviews I conducted during my years as an active Christian music journalist, the one with him was, and always will be, a favorite.
The latest Cephas Hour episode touches on Mylon LeFevre, the reminder that time on this planet is too short to waste, and knuckling down to do the work. Artists in this episode are, of course, Mylon LeFevre, Larry Norman, Tom Howard, plus a song by the very much alive Rachel Wilhelm.
The Cephas Hour website is currently in a state of massive disrepair thanks to WordPress and the site’s host, which shall go unnamed. However, you can listen to it directly at this link. It is also available via the following podcast services:
There’s a reason why God says in His Word, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.“ Because it’s true. There’s a reason why Paul wrote, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.“
There’s a reason why we both mourn and rejoice when one of our brothers or sisters passes into glory. We lament their absence down here, yet we praise God for their having been with us as long as they were, for the life they lived, and the legacy they have left behind.
Mylon LeFevre touched thousands upon thousands of people. He will be missed by those who only knew him through his ministry, but especially by those who knew him as a person.
God will memorialize us differently than we memorialize each other, and especially ourselves. What may seem overwhelmingly crucial to us matters not to him.
An example I’ve used before is the difference in how Scripture described King David’s life in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Chronicles. In the Books of Samuel, you have it all: his affair with Bathsheba, his indirectly murdering her husband, the rebellion by his son Absalom, etc., etc. In Chronicles, what was the only sin committed by David that God felt worthy of noting? David trying to take a census of Israel. This barely warranted a mention in Samuel, but to God, that was the boo-boo.
This is something for us to remember as we look at our own lives and the lives of others. We often focus on the bad. God sees the good. We see the scandals. God sees the salvation. We see others, and especially ourselves, as unworthy because of our past transgressions. God sees us as powerful vessels in the here and now for His glory and the lifting up of His beloved creation. Perhaps we should strive to see ourselves, and especially each other, more in the manner that God sees us. We’d all be a lot better off. There is no time for hatred. There is time for solid rebuke, but that’s different. Let us learn how to love. Love without compromise should be the goal of every believer, and it doesn’t matter what aspect of our life this enters into. It should be all of them.
A few years back, I was fortunate to attend a one-off Sweet Comfort Band concert. It took place a few years after the passing of the band’s bass player, Kevin Thomson. His son, playing his father’s bass, filled in for the evening.
During the concert, in between a couple of songs, guitarist Randy Thomas commented how Kevin Thompson’s death was a shot across the bow, reminding the rest of the band and all of us that our time on this earth is indeed finite and not to be frittered away on trivial pursuits. He added that those who attended the concert more out of nostalgia than celebration should seek to, as he put it, fall in love with Jesus tonight. Good advice for any time of the day.
As part of publicizing my book devoted to the founders of Christian alternative rock, I created the slogan, “The bus is gone. The Spirit lives on.” It referenced the original cover, a photo of an abandoned school bus that someone painted blue somewhere along the line. I added a faded, peeling “God Rules” sticker to the bus’s disintegrating paint job.
Time passes. We change. God doesn’t. Neither should our faith, except to grow in it.
There was a simultaneously amusing and alarming news story a few days ago. A group of friends from Georgia decided to travel up to Nashville for a vacation. However, when they arrived at their hotel, a La Quinta Inn, there was one small problem. There wasn’t a single employee at the place to check them in. So, they did it themselves and took it upon themselves to run the site until someone showed up. In a few hours, they did, but for the poor person who walked into all this, it was their first day on the job. Eventually, the corporate office rounded up some folk from neighboring locations and took over for the tourists, plus helping out the new employee, who is now set for life with a first-day-on-the-job story to top them all.
Once the excitement had died down, the friends from Georgia nonchalantly started their vacation. After running the front desk, answering phone calls from customers upset over multiple charges on their credit cards, and even serving breakfast to their fellow guests. When asked why they did all that, one of the friends succinctly put it. “It irks your nerves if you see something not running right. You’ve got to make it right. It’s in our blood.”
We can definitely use more of that attitude in the church today. See something needing doing or an unfulfilled need? Limber up, muscle up, and do the work. God will thank you no matter what.
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