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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)

TITLE: The American Dream
By
05/23/12


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John, a rather short but handsome dark haired blue eyed man, asked a lot of questions at work. He was interested in why his coworker George was always happy. John was living the American dream; a nice Victorian style house, loving wife with three kids, and a great job as a computer programmer. But John found something missing in his life. Oh he loved his family as much as anyone could. He loved his job and got along with all his coworkers. John just felt something tugging on his heart. Sometimes he thought of taking a wild African safari or taking a cruise up the Nile River. However, thinking of these as being adventurous, he still felt that they would not be fulfilling enough for what was lacking in his soul.

One day John decided to take a risk. He caught George for a moment and pulled him aside.
John sincerely asked, “George, what is it that makes you so happy all the time?”
George smiled graciously and answered, “My friend, I am glad you finally took the risk to ask. You see, John, 5 years ago I put my faith in Jesus Christ. Before that I was close to bankruptcy and a divorce and a friend shared with me his faith in Jesus so I gave Him a shot. At the time I just figured I had nothing to lose, what the heck. But it opened a whole new world to me John. The hole in my heart was overflowing and many things in my life began falling into place. I got involved with a good church and volunteered for many ministries there and even got to go on a church building ministry in Costa Rica and there I witnessed to suffering hurting people which confirmed to me that Jesus is alive and working in the world. It was a risk worth taking and now I got my life back. My house was saved by an attorney friend in the church and I worked out things with my wife and we even have a new baby. You see John, Jesus is worth the risk. I had nothing to lose. You have nothing to lose. He paid all our debt for our sin on the cross and we just have to believe in Him to receive eternal life. We have nothing further to fear. Put Jesus first and everything else in life will fall into place. He loves you man, and if you take the risk and turn your life over to him you will never be sorry.”
John listened intently. He wanted this Jesus for himself and his family. But what did he have to do besides take the risk? He was willing to take the risk but how did he begin?
So he asked George, “Where do I start? What do I do about my family? What if they are not receptive to Jesus?”
George replied, “Faith John, simple faith.” George got out the Bible and shared John 3:16 with John, “For God so loved the world that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” George also shared many versus from the book of Romans that some people refer to as the Roman’s road. John realized he needed to turn his life over to Christ and then share this faith with his family.
George asked John one last question. “John, are you ready to pray and receive Christ in your heart?”
John said, “Yes I believe I am.”
George and John prayed and John received Christ in his heart. Afterwards, John felt overwhelmed with excitement. He wanted to scream from the mountain tops that he was free. He took the risk and now his heart was full and his soul was overflowing with love and compassion. He went home that night and asked his family if they wanted to be full of love and be freed from their sin. He witnessed to his wife and kids and they all decided to follow Jesus. They talked and agreed they should find a church to get involved with. Now John was totally living the American dream. He now had everything he could ever want or need. Jesus Christ fulfilled his yearning heart and soul. He was so glad he took the risk and spoke to George that morning. Even though physically he had all he needed, the risk turned out to be the greatest love of his life.


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Camille (C D) Swanson 05/24/12
Beautifully done, and beautifully written. I enjoyed this so much...thank you. Great message.

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/27/12
This is a wonderful telling of John and his journey to true peace. So many people look for all the wrong things to fill the void in their hearts. You packed quite a bit of information in this limited word count.

You may want to consider doing more showing and less telling. It will help you connect with the reader. You use a lot of passive words like was. If you substitute them for great action words, you'll see your story begin to take on a life of its own. For example: Instead of telling us that John was interested in how his co-worker was happy show us with something like this: John furrowed his eyebrows as he watched his co-worker finesse a customer who threw a temper tantrum. However, George kept smiling through the entire tirade. "Boy," John mused, "I'd be wringing her neck if she talked to me like that. I wonder what his secret is." Even though it's more words it shows the reader quite a bit about John's personality. In a short story with a word limit, it's more important for the reader to know the MC's emotions than his hair and eye color.

With that said, don't take my comments too hard. Showing, not telling is something every writer works on and keeps improving during every story. So you aren't alone.

You do have a natural gift of showing God's love through your words and that's super important. You did a great job of taking a fresh take of the topic. Your message is one everyone should hear, even those who have Jesus in our lives need reminding from time to time.

Keep writing because God has great plans to use your words to touch many hearts and that's the most important thing of all -- to follow where Jesus leads.