Wednesday, January 19, 2022
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PASTOR: A different path

| January 14, 2022 1:00 AM

I destroyed my first draft response to Pastor Hemming.

At 33, I studied and memorized verses for 22 years. At 34, my caring yet legalistic approach to sharing the gospel was to force it on people.

With many rejections, I began studying scripture and asking myself; What does this scripture say about Who Jesus is? And, What has He done for me? My studying this way had an impact that felt spontaneous and unavoidable.

Jesus spent a majority of his time with the outcast, prostitutes, sinners, despised, sick and broken. He was radically different than religious people.

He taught humility. He was compassionate. Jesus gave up privilege and embraced the role of a servant.

If Jesus established rapport with everyone then I should too. My approach to people began to change, not only me, but it changed the way in which people responded. I began developing relationships.

A man met with me 10 times. In the middle of the 10th visit, he stopped me and said, “Knowing you were a Pastor, I was planning on meeting with you until you brought up ‘Jesus’ or ‘religion.’ I figured our meetings would stop after the first 5 minutes. Why? During that first meeting your eyes lit up when I shared with you that I was a recovering jerk. I wanted the opportunity to fully prove my claim.”

If the Holy Spirit is leading me, I don’t have to worry about what to say. I always fail when I have my own agenda.

JAMES SIMPKIN

Coeur d’Alene

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