>My New Running Partner

>Though I’m older than dirt; I want to get older. So I exercise fairly regularly. I ride a stationary (or stationery?) bike, ride bike, and jog…doing more of the latter these days…

We have had a new neighbor dog for a while…last week he began running with me, sort of….at a distance. The first day I stopped and tried to get him to come closer, he’d dash in and out quickly, obviously afraid I was going to clobber him.

The next day he got a bit closer, but when I’d reach out to pet him…zoom…he’d evaporate in a cloud of legs and tail.

Then I went to the Kairos weekend and was gone four days.

This morning I set out on my job and, sure enough, he joined me. Went about a mile, crossed our main road into the graveyard (only because I can’t spell cemetary) and, at the top of the hill, I stopped, he dashed in, dashed out, paused, then slowly came in and let me pet him.

Now he is almost too close; as I continued the run sometimes he’d zoom in so quickly I had to hop (that visual is probably tough for you!) over him to avoid hitting the ground.

Got home and petted him and now can hardly get rid of the pooch.

Hmmm.

Maybe some spiritual application here? Trying to influence people with the gospel sometimes repels; they’ve been burned before by slash/burn/count/exit “evangelists,” conned by certain televangelists and their wanna bes; carved up by someone’s alleged list of dos-and-don’ts, and, boy, if you don’t agree with me and do EXACTLY what I say you are history…etc etc etc.

When we try to reach out to these folks they dash away….but if we keep the faith, keep trying to show love and acceptance and non-condemnation (sorta kinda like Jesus, who we say we wanna be like), eventually walls crumble down (yeah, I’m reflecting back on the Kairos weekend) and let us “pet” them by introducing them to the One who would rather die than live without them.

Yeah, the doggie reminded me of the gospel, as opposed to most (but not all) packaged ‘evangelism’ tactics.

And for that I thank the Spirit of God.

Author: Jack Hager

Jesus invaded my life shortly after my arrest at age 26. I spent the first few years of my new life incarcerated. Went to Bible school after parole; have served with Kansas City Youth For Christ, Headwaters Christian Youth (Rhinelander, Wi), Family Life Ministries (Bath, NY), and now with Midland Ministries (Saint Joseph, Mo). Married with four children, work with youth, adults, inmates. Heavily involved in Bible quizzing for four decades. Narrow minded about Jesus and the gospel; fairly open minded about most other things. Speak in churches, camps (both teen and family), civic groups, public schools, Christian schools and colleges...amazed I get to do what I get to do....favorite verse Romans 15.13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may overflow with hope."

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