James’ values were shaped by growing up on a farm during the Great Depression and a career in the rough-and-tumble world of the oil patch. James—everyone knew him as “Shotgun”—was often heard to say he never attended church because he didn’t need to. “I’m as good as any of them,” Shotgun would say, “and, besides, I don’t want to go through life trying to live according to someone else’s rules.”

Everyone, including Shotgun himself, was surprised when he started going to church in his eighties at the urging of his beloved wife, Evelyn. Shotgun stated, “One Sunday morning Evelyn said, ‘Why don’t we go to church this morning?’ I told her, ‘If that’s what you want to do, honey, we’ll go.’ And so we started going to church.” 

Not long after James and Evelyn became part of the Covenant Life family, Evelyn died suddenly. Shotgun was devastated and we all wondered if he would blame God. On the contrary, Shotgun knocked on the door of the pastor’s study one Tuesday afternoon and declared, “I’m ready to give my life to Jesus.” Shotgun was baptized at eighty-seven years of age. 

Shotgun passed away in 2015 at the age of ninety-three. During the last several years of his life, Shotgun demonstrated an insatiable curiosity about God and His word, and grew spiritually by leaps and bounds. He was eager to serve and never missed a church workday. Shotgun would come to church early and greet people, pouring them a hot cup of coffee. 

How thrilling to realize that the Lord pursues His children, no matter their age. Shotgun’s story of rescue illustrates the pervasive nature of grace

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