The Man In Red

“Hitting the Streets” has become vernacular for meeting, praying then seeking the folk laid on our hearts. We are going out to share Jesus’ love with people we meet. It’s really a rich challenge to the “trust barometer.”

We had set the day for Thursday and I’d published the date and when on Saturday I got an email asking to move it to Tuesday.

I figured I could work with that as well and so moved the date and made Sunday announcements of the change. I had thought the woman who’d requested the change on behalf of debbie would communicate this with Debbie.

Tuesday morning I received an email telling me that one of the women couldn’t make it. That left Debbie and me going.

I texted Debbie at 10 am when we were to meet asking “Are you coming?”

Her response: “???”

In response. I texted “Hmmm. Are you able to hit the streets today?”

She called me.

Even though I’d changed the dates on my end, on her behalf, so she could join us, she had never been apprised of this. Oops!

So I found her at home cooking the dog food for her two big dogs.

“So, what do you say?” I asked her, as we found our way through the miscommunications, “do you want to come?”

“I’m not feeling very holy, prayerful, or connected,” she said, hesitating. “Do you have any direction yet?”

“Actually, I do,” I told her. “Before I left the house, I asked Jesus who He wanted me to look for and immediately I had seen the face of this man, an older black guy, with a red, Pendleton wool type coat. Also, Rebecca had had the picture of a woman she wanted us to look for.”

That settled it for Debbie.

“Well, how about I finish the dog food and I’ll call you when I’m on my way?”

“That sounds perfect,” I told her.

She arrived around 11 am and we prayed further to get direction on where we were to go.

Debbie had a strong impression for the Fred Meyer located at Walker Rd and 158th. I had the impression of a Starbucks and there is one there as well so that sounded like a great direction.

At Freddie’s we didn’t find my guy or the woman Rebecca had seen and after walking through the store we walked to the Starbucks, bought a coffee and green tea and sat down. We chatted about an interesting situation that built a connection between her best friend and a member of our congregation, a situation ten years old and yet to be resolved. I got up to use the bathroom and as I walked across the room, there was the man I’d seen in prayer that morning. It was him. Red Pendleton wool coat. The same expression on his face. There’s this marvelous sense of holy connection, of being in the center of God’s will. ñn

I walked over to him, greeted him and said “I was praying this morning and God brought your face to mind. I was praying for you and was supposed to look for you.”

He was surprised but not taken aback, rather he was so very blessed. “Well, thank you so much!” He said, with a sparkle.

“My name is Brian. What’s yours?”

“Ron,” he said.

“Ron it looks like you’ve lost an eye. We have a guy in our church who lost that same eye as you to cancer. May I ask to how you lost yours?”

“The same!” He said.

“How long ago for you?”

“Six years now.”

As he said this, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I said, “I sense you are a believer in Jesus. That the case?”

“Yes I am,” His good eye sparkling with the presence of the Spirit.

“Here’s what I hear the Lord saying to you my brother, you are a man of deep perseverance and faith and he’s used this to forge a strength in you. Jesus loves you immensely.”

He was touched at these words. A woman walked up next to him and I introduced myself to her. She, Marsha, said she was his caregiver and looked wary about me talking to Ron. We ended our conversation for I felt I’d said what I was to say.

Meanwhile, the guy who was seated nearest Debbie had overheard the conversation Debbie and I had had and misunderstood what we had been saying and launched into conversation with her.

He was sharing emphatically, and Debbie was listening and asking questions and responding when there was a moment to do so.

This man, Shawn McIntyre, was houseless, and traveling up and down the west coast. He’d been in Portland for several months. That was a fascinating, multi-topic conversation and returned tune and again to how much Jesus invites us to love not argue. Shawn heard this.

After that conversation we returned to the church, marveling at the accuracy of God, direction, and ability to use a person even when they weren’t doing anything “holy” whatsoever!

This especially struck Debbie — who discovered God Loves to work through her, all the time, anytime.

We are going to keep hitting the streets for Jesus, so if you’re around, why not join us?

Or if you live far away, partner up and hit the streets for Jesus there!

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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