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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Expose (08/22/13)

TITLE: The Soul Winner
By EUGENE FINLEY
08/24/13


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“What sins?” James asked as he stared down the wannabe evangelist who happens to be someone he has seen in school.

“We’re all sinners.” The “soul winner” started before he was sharply interrupted.

“I ain’t got any sins! I don’t lie, I haven’t cheated and I haven’t stolen anything in my life and I never, ever thought about killing anyone. So when you start quoting all of my wrongs, it sort of gets on my nerve; for I have done; NO wrong.” James crossed his arms and look for a response from the “soul winner” but none was given. James had won the confrontation. That’s what he considered it anyway. He was just trying to protect himself from the likes of those who claim that he’s going to hell even though he knows he is saved.

James felt good for the moment as the soul winner left the door of his house saying “God Bless” nervously. But, the “soul winner” had not even put up much of a fight. He must be new, James thought as he closed the door feeling that maybe he should apologize.
James is a good child, but he is having a rough childhood. At 15 he’s still learning how to adjust to the changes and stress of the teen years. James does go to church when he can and was saved on 21 July 2009. His parents do not attend church, so the older he gets the less and less he attends.

It used to be that all of his friends were attending the church. He loved the youth functions; they would have retreats to places like Dallas where they would have a church camp; then there were the swimming pools and ice cream and BBQ’s; there were so many new faces that were into the same things that he was into. They didn’t mind sticking their hands in the air to worship the Lord either. He loved that; the feeling of belonging. But then there was high school football, wrestling, and baseball which he also loved but none of his church friends attended that kind of stuff for some reason. The feeling of belonging hinged on the way you talked, walked and dressed. Most all of the players on the football team didn’t give a hoot about Jesus or the Bible. So James made himself fit in. He gave up his Bible knowledge and God for football. Time had consumed him and church started being something that he would do when he had the time. God, who was first in his life just 4 years ago had become somewhat of an afterthought.

James walked around the house wondering why he felt so guilty. He thought about the boy who had come to his house to witness about Jesus. “Why is this upsetting me so much?”

James went to his bedroom and turned on the television and searched for something that would get his mind off of this feeling of guilt; a guilt he felt he didn’t need to have. “I have been good, though!” He said as if he was trying to convince himself.

He was trying to convince himself. Deep inside his heart he knew that he wasn’t being a good Christian. “I’m not being a good Christian at all.” James fell on his bed and looked at the shelf of his headboard where his Bible sat. He opened it up and marveled at all of the writing that was in it; the highlighted texts that he pondered on; it’s something he hasn’t done in a while. “I used to meditate on the words in this book day and night; but now I pretty much stand around with sinners and do exactly what they do; for the price of fitting in?” He asked himself in disbelief.

James popped up out of his bed as he noticed that the clock was nearing 6:49pm. There was still time to make it to Bible Study if he hurried. As James walked out of the door he thought about the soul winner and said to himself “He exposed me to my sins and he doesn’t even know it; or does he?” He looked up to the sky and said “Thank you Lord for sending help.”


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This article has been read 78 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 08/29/13
This was a very good story. It drew me in quickly, and it held my attention all the way to the fine conclusion.

I enjoyed it. Thank you.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/30/13
I enjoyed this. You started out with a conflict right away, and then threw in the inner turmoil as well. It propelled me forward.

I noticed some tiny punctuation errors--a semi-colon when a comma would be more appropriate and some sentences that might have had more impact if broken down to two or three sentences. You may want to double check some of these rules. I often use Strunk and White's Element of Style. There is also a website I like because it has quizzes at the end of each section. Here's the link: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

I also noticed the dialog changed a bit. I liked that you showed insight into the MC with words like ain't. I'd encourage you to go deeper with something like this: I ain't stolen nothing in my life. Dialog is a great way to build your characters and bring them to life for the reader.

I think the ending was good. You left me feeling satisfied and content. It also reminded me how important it is to have those regular Bible readings and prayer time. Keep writing and I'd also encourage you to read an comment on other entries. I've learned much from reading other challenge entries. It's fascinating to see the different interpretations on the same word. I look forward to reading more of your work. Good job.
Larry Whittington08/30/13
"What sins?" is a question every Christian needs to have before them. We each need a close friend who would share what he sees in us.

Good devotional for us all.

Short sentences can be powerful.

Short sentences can be a whole paragraph set apart for impact. The next paragraph can be longer with any explanations necessary.

Keep thinking and keep writing.
Jan Ackerson 08/30/13
I liked that you realistically portrayed the conflict in James' spirit.

You had some issues with staying in the same tense--sometimes you wrote in past tense, and sometimes in present tense. And although you mentioned 'expose' at the end, this isn't as strong on topic as it could be.

It's a fine Level 1 story, with sincerity and an important lesson, which are far more important than the previously mentioned issues.
Jodi Gardner08/30/13
I agree with the previous comments, great story line.

I noticed punctuation and sentence structure periodically, which drew me away from your moving story of a teen in spiritual crisis. I might have found a way to highlight the "soul winner" by designating him as "Soul Winner" the first time and then Soul Winner without quotes the remainder of the story. For some reason that caught my attention.

Great topic and so realistic, even as adults we can be drawn away from our walk with God by popularity, time constraints, and such. I can see how we need our false perceptions of ourselves and priorities exposed like young James.