The more I minister to folks, the more I realize how simple it is.
And the more I realize how hard it is to get to simple.
A Healing Hug from Jesus
This morning, I met with a man who loves the Lord but has had re-occurring bouts with drug addiction. He’s now serving time in the local jail and part of an indigenous church we’ve planted there.
He was carrying lots of guilt and shame from things in his past. He was confused, because he couldn’t shake the weight of those sins.
I simply invited him to confess and expose to the Lord the sins and the burdens that were weighing him down – openly and fully.
He did so.
I then simply invited him to ask the Lord to forgive him – in his own words and in his own way.
He did so.
Then, I simply asked him to bundle up all the guilt, all the shame, and all the confusion he had been carrying and lift it up in his spirit as he gave it to the Lord – and to tell me when the Lord took it.
He did so…
… and he was free.
I then just sat back and simply stayed quiet as the Lord came and ministered to him.
After several minutes of watching the Lord’s peace and calm engulf him, I asked what had happened. (I always love asking folks to tell me what happens when the Lord meets them!)
He said the Lord had been hugging him.
I smiled, because I knew that Jesus had just brought profound healing to him, and had lifted from his life the pain that kept driving him back to drugs. He now was on the road to recovery.
The Challenge of Simple
I didn’t need to have the answers, or the cure, or even figure out the problems in this precious man’s life.
I just needed to get to simple, which for this brother meant walking with him to the place where he could confess, seek forgiveness, and trustingly turn his burdens over to Jesus.
And like He always does, Jesus showed up.
That’s the Jesus I know. He heals the brokenhearted, delivers those captured by sin, and brings liberty to the oppressed.
Yes, it’s simple to walk with folks to the place where Jesus is waiting to meet them.
But I would be misleading you if I said it was simple to learn how to minister in simplicity.
There was so much religion that God had to burn out of me. So much performance-based crap, and feeling it was all up to me.
It took years. But once I finally made it to simple, then His grace started shining through.
If you have a heart to minister, I urge you to get to simple.
When you do, you too will be amazed at what God can do.
~ Jim Wright
WONDERFUL post, Jim!
Thanks Clif. As I was driving home from ministering to this brother, I started weeping. It is so simple, but I just can’t seem to find the right words or the right way to easily teach that simplicity to others. A few get it, but not many. That’s my ongoing burden: How to equip God’s people to be, once again, effective ministers one to another. It took me years to figure out the simplicity of ministry. I guess it takes longer to figure out how to simply reproduce the simplicity of ministry in others!
When you figure out how to teach ministering simply, I would love to chat with you…
Last week a friend of mine went through a very similar change and got baptized today. I experienced simplicity during helping her. I never experienced that before I was baptized myself, 2.5 years ago, after ~40 years knowing Jesus as my savior.
Great story Jim. For many years now it seems like every time the Lord uses me to draw someone to Him it is completely different than the time before. This is one more example. Jesus designed this encounter just for your new friend. I’m happy for you that he allowed you to be part of the process.
Ross, thanks for the comment. The amazing thing is that I see this happen several times a week with various people my wife and I minister to. This is not a unique story, by any means. How Jesus meets each person may be different, but otherwise the fact that He brings freedom, peace and healing is the same.
No words, just tears.
Just what I needed! It reminds me of a conference in Texas years ago where I was profoundly touched by a message from John 4 where Jesus invites us to come and drink, not come and think. I love to think and get absolutely worn out in the process! I was gloriously set free then but somehow complexity sneaks in when times get stressful. Thanks Jim; I’m looking forward to your class tonight.
Thanks, mom. (And yes, that really is my mom!) 🙂
BTW, I sometimes think my mom thinks I think too much. Good to know she wants me to start drinkin’ instead. 😉
Jim, I am a friend of your parents and trying to help them get the assisance they are entitled to because of your fathers service to our country. I am a born again Christian who accepted the Lord on July 5, 1957 at TriState Bible Conference in Port Jervis New York. As I’m sure your Mom has told you I have a lot of disbeliefs of prayer as my wife has been stricken with Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinsonism. She is a great woman who is also a Christian. We are in denial of why the Lord would let her become sticken with this disease. I have prayed and prayed at least 20 times a day for relief and so far, well, I don’t see much happening but I do see some things happening.
Yes, my mom has often told me of your help and also your struggles. I suffered from a rare debilitating and degenerate autoimmune disease which almost killed me – and still deal with its symptoms. Because of it, I lost everything that I loved and valued. I didn’t have any answers and couldn’t figure it all out. That was killing me quicker than the disease itself. I had a friend who cared enough to walk with me to simple – where the Lord cared enough to break through my hurt and confusion. I still have the disease, but now I also have peace (mostly!) and grace. If you want me to walk with you to those places where the Lord has answers, I will be there for you. I don’t know what the Lord wants to say about what you are going through, but I know how to walk with you to the place where He is patiently waiting for you to come and ask. I would be honored to do so.
Wow! What a wonderful story. Thanks so much!
Love that – “Come and drink” not “Come and think”!! I feel so sure that Our Saviour is moving by His Spirit to bring us into this new simplicity – and it’s not for us to work out how or why, just to Praise Him constantly in the midst of whatever it is we are holding against life.
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