Obituary: James Walker Shipman, Jr.
September 20, 1935 – July 24, 2022
James Walker Shipman, Jr., of Austin, Texas passed away peacefully on July 24, 2022. Jim was born on September 20, 1935, in Evanston, Illinois to James Walker Shipman and Anne Covert Shipman. His sister was Diane Shipman Smith, who passed away in 2012.
Jim was married to the love of his life, Charlene Wolford Shipman, for 48 years before her passing in 2010. Jim carried on Charlene’s passion project to serve in ministry to children without parents in Juarez, Mexico until his passing. He found significant purpose in giving to those who had needs, great or small.
Jim is survived by his nephews Lawrence Pahl of Chillicothe, Ohio, David Pahl of Austin, Texas, and James Pahl of Roswell, Georgia, as well as four great-nieces and one great-nephew, and his beloved community at Hyde Park Baptist Church.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, August 22nd, at 10:30AM, in the Chapel at Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin, Texas 78751, followed by a luncheon.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, Jim’s memory will be best honored by donations made to Casa de Esperanza (House of Hope) at Hands of Luke Medical Ministries in El Paso, Texas.
Jim wrote the obituary message below to share his experiences of God’s faithfulness in his life.
I HAVE DIED THREE TIMES
The first time was after spending my childhood and early adult life searching for God. I remember looking into a church service and wondering what it was all about. Since I was too small, I made up my own service in the back of a Bible and was sure I pleased God in every way. I continued with this throughout childhood. As I reached my teens, I learned what the world was like outside my home and promptly rushed into all kinds of bad living. During all of this time I still was "faithful" to always attend Church on Sunday thinking this was my duty to God and was somehow pleasing to Him. This continued into my twenties and up until the time I was married. I don't think that up until that point I had ever read any of the Bible. I was dead in "trespass and sin."
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
"The wages of sin is death."
The second time I died was a long time after I was married. My wife showed me how to read
and study the Bible and I progressed in my knowledge and understanding of what God wanted me to be and do.
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, You will be saved."
I did believe and prayed to receive Christ in my heart. But living the Christian life was a frustrating time. The preacher would say that we should do "A". Then a guest preacher would say we should do "B". Our Sunday School teacher would say "C". And so it went. I could not do everything. I finally hit upon a solution - I would do one of these for a year, then another the second year, etc. Eventually I did all of them and could do them well. I thought that God must be really pleased with me now. And so it went during this time of my life. However, there was one part that I really struggled with - giving money to God - but not what you might think. My wife and I were far from rich. We lived a simple life and were able to come up with our "tithe" each month, but: based upon my early life, I wanted to do more. One year I gave 11% but I fell short the next trying to do 12%. On and on it went striving to do more but not being able to do what I felt would please God. This became a pattern in my life of trying to make God happy (somehow earning my way into Heaven or earning a higher ranking). And yet, my motives were clear. For 50 years I tried to have a relationship with God - on my terms. Finally I died to self. I told God I was tired of trying to do things my way. From now on I would let Him direct my path and do just what He wanted.
The third time I died was today. That's why my Obituary is in the paper. But that's not the end of the story. During my "second" life I had learned an important lesson. It concerned Prayer. Almost everyone I talked to from leadership in the Church to friends in Sunday School, had told me that God answered prayer with Yes, No, or Maybe or some other non-yes answer. The more I studied the Bible, it became truth that God always says yes. There are 20 or so verses that indicate that God never hears your prayer under certain circumstances. But if He hears your prayer, the answer is yes. The problem with most people is they expect an answer now - tomorrow at the latest. God helped me to understand how He works. He said to visualize a calendar. Let's say today is Jan 1st. I make my petition to God and He says yes - but he writes the answer on May 15th. It's my responsibility to know the answer is yes and that it will come at the time and date God had entered on the Calendar. It could be a week, month or year. And so I go on about my business. An illustration here that is just one of many. My house needed new siding - the old was really bad. I received a quote of $13,000 and since I had no money I called upon God for His help. I checked the mail each day but there was no answer. About three months later the transmission went out on my car. They said I should drive very slow and it might go out any day. The quote was $3,000 to fix it. "Hello God - you remember the $13,000? Well you need to add $3,000 to it". Again I went on about my business trusting God with the when and where. About a week later a letter came in the mail. Inside was a check for $18,000. I walked around the yard laughing and chiding God that He had made a mistake. He sent too much. A very clear understanding ran through my conscience - "You were going to tithe on that check weren't you?" Not only had he sent the two amounts that I had requested but he sent enough extra to cover the tithe. Once again God had sent what I had requested with just the right timing. And now He has done this for me over and over for more than thirty years.
The next time will never happen. I will live again, but I will never die. This is my last obituary.
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who [die as Christians], or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have [died] in Him."