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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: Dying to Live
By Ebony Broussard


“Liquid death. Yeah, that’s what they called it.”

“We’re almost there,” Jeremy replied, “no turning back now.”

The car turned from the paved road onto a rocky road. The headlights illuminated the gray mist of the dirt hanging in the night air.

“It sure is dusty out here.”

“Follow the tire marks. I’m sure the others have already come this way. Jeremiah, are you afraid?”

“I don’t know. I am more excited than afraid, I think. Shiloh said it will take you higher than any drug or alcohol, and it is more daring than any base jumping or extreme sport.”

“Things are so different then they were last summer.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think the newspapers or our parents would ever let it go. I didn’t care back then. Even when the police kicked down the hotel door and started arresting everyone, you know I still got high that evening? I swallowed some pills just before they got to me.”

“They got me right away,” Jeremy interjected, “I was too drunk to run. I remember seeing you down on the ground next to me when the seizures started. I thought you were going to die. I had never seen anything like that before.”

“Ah, I was too stubborn to die back then. I was still looking for the greatest thrill. I wanted to see how far I could go. I wasn’t afraid of dying. It was living that scared me.”

Jeremiah slowed as parked cars came into view. This was the end of the road. He put the car in park, grabbed his duffle bag from the back seat then turned to Jeremy and said, “Let’s go.”

The young men weaved their way between the parked cars and climbed over the chain that had prevented the cars from traveling down the dirt road. Daylight was coming and the heat of the day was just beginning. It was slightly humid but not hot. The breeze felt good. The sun would be up soon.

From a distance they could see figures moving about. As white cloth blew in the wind, the sound of clapping hands and singing climbed over the hill and through the air.

Dip-ping water from the well of sal-va-tion. Dip-ping water from the well of sal-va-tion.

“Hey, there’s Shiloh,” Jeremy pointed. Jeremiah’s smile grew. This was it.

The sky had gone from dark to marvelous oranges and pinks as the sun worked its way above the horizon. Sunrise.

Dip-ping water from the well of sal-va-tion. Dip-ping water from the well of sal-va-tion.

The singing and clapping thumped in their chests as they joined the people gathered at the water’s edge. Seeing all of the people dressed in white brought tears to Jeremiah’s eyes. He hadn’t felt clean in a long time. A year ago he would not have been caught even listening to this type of music let alone hanging out with these people. But this morning, he can’t stop himself from singing.

Jeremy lifted his hands and closed his eyes. The wind brushed his face and washed his tears back across his face. He was ready to die today…in front of everyone. He believed and he didn’t care who knew. There was redemption for him no matter what anyone said. He was forgiven and he was ready to live again.

The people began to hum as Youth Pastor Shiloh and a youth minister waded into the water. They went out a short distance then turned to address the people.

“The object of baptism is to symbolize the belief in the death, burial, resurrection, and salvation of Jesus Christ. You must believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which was done for our soul’s salvation, in order for this to mean anything. There is power in the demonstration of your faith to others, but it is your confession that will keep you with Christ. With that said who’s ready?”

The altar workers formed two long lines. “See you on the other side, Bro.,” Jeremy whispered to Jeremiah.

As daylight began to warm the morning sky, Jeremiah saw the water fold in on him as he was dipped into the cool river water. He felt weightless for a moment as the current washed over him. He had never felt such peace before. Then, before he could settle into it, Pastor Shiloh was hugging him and saying, “You did just fine, Jeremiah, you did just fine.”

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This article has been read 564 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shawn Smith10/27/07
A preacher friend of mine always loses me in the first half of his sermons. I have to pay very close attention to every word and I often wonder part way through whether he can make the story come about full circle into something meaningful. He always does. Reading your article was the same way - I was confused for the first half of the story as to how you could bring it around to baptism, but you did just that. It made me think of Luke 7:47 "Therefore I say to you, her sins, [which are] many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves little." The main character in your story has been forgiven of much - you can see that he also loves much.

Suggestion: try not to duplicate words in a sentence...like the one about your face and tears on your face...good picture but would be better if you could eliminate the 2nd face.

I liked it!
Kathy Little10/27/07
"Shiloh said it will take you higher than any drug or alcohol,"
Wonderful way of saying it! I really liked how you used a youthful scenery of the baptism for your readers. Where I come from, many youth do not talk about baptism; as a matter of fact they seem to run from the words of it and communion. Your article demonstrated a reality of youth making mature choices and being able to talk about their past in spite of.
You may need to work on some different choices of words to keep your readers focus, especially since you really developed what you were talking about at the very end.
Allison Egley 10/30/07
Creative. I like it.

One suggestion is to work on your wording a bit to make them a bit clearer and crisper. Here's an example. You say "Even when the police kicked down the hotel door and started arresting everyone, you know I still got high that evening?"

Change the order a bit, and make it into a statement. "You know, I even got high the night the police raided our room. I took some pills right before they got to me."

This makes thinks a bit clearer and less cumbersome for the reader.

Over all, though, great job! Keep writing!
Marita Vandertogt10/30/07
The one thing I would add here, is to maybe give your characters some definition - a little bit of description to give the reader a better sense of who they are.
But overall, the story was well written - easy to follow, and handled the topic nicely.
Keep writing!!
Marty Wellington 10/31/07
I confess to being a little confused at the beginning as well, but the ending was nicely done. Another thing I had trouble with was having two main characters with such similar names: Jeremy & Jeremiah. Changing one of them might help readability. Overall, though you did a nice job.
Jacquelyn Horne11/03/07
Congrats on the Highly Commended. Good writing.