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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: The Disagreement
By sue moreland


“I’d love to go revisit the places we have been and see how the new churches are doing” Saul said. “It would be good to see everyone again and learn if there is a way we might bring encouragement to them”.

“I’m all for it”, replied his friend, Barnabas. “I’d like to take John Mark with us again. I think he would add much to our trip”.

“How can you even think of taking him? He left us on our last trip. He doesn’t have what it takes to put up with all that happens on these trips. He will do the same thing again. We can’t depend on him.”

“Saul, how can you be so harsh? Do you remember how no one wanted to trust your conversion in the beginning? I was there for you. I could see your faith. I knew what was in your heart. The same is true of John Mark.. Yes, he was young and in his youth he did not understand the importance of finishing that which he started. But, his heart is like yours. He loves the Lord. He wants others to know the Lord. He has learned much since leaving us.”

“I think our trip is much too important to take a chance on him. He proved to me on the first trip that he can’t finish what he starts.”

“Saul, look at your own life. How in the beginning you were persecuting the very people you now love. You needed someone who believed you had changed. You needed someone who saw what the Lord intended for you to do. God has great things planned for John Mark, too. I want to encourage him as I encouraged you. I want him to know that I can see God’s hand in his life. Just as I saw God in yours.”

I’‘m sure God can use John Mark, but I think he has a long way to go before he can show the proper maturity to lead others to Christ.”

“Saul, Saul, God uses all who desire to do His will and he often chooses the very ones we least expect to do the most amazing things. I see that in your own life. If God looks at our faults it is only that he sees how he can turn our faults in to our strengths. John Mark has grown. Why, can you not see that?”

“We have worked so hard to spread the gospel of Christ. I don’t want anything to tear down what we have built. I know John Mark means well, I just think he needs to grow in his faith before he tries to lead others.”

“I can see there is no talking to you about this. It is with much sadness that I say we should go on our journeys separately. I want to be there with John Mark and encourage him to become the person I think God is leading him to be. You want him to be that person already. We will never agree on this issue. I pray only God’s best for you, but think it best that you and I part company. John Mark and I will leave for Cyprus in the morning.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/15/07
Very good at bringing this Bible story to life!

I'd have liked a break from the dialogue every now and then...some descriptions of the two men's actions, their surroundings, etc. It helps the reader to more accurately visualize what's happening. And when you describe actions, you can add to the emotional content of the piece--having Saul pace, or slam a cup onto the table, for example.

You're right on topic with this "you are there" story--thanks!
Seema Bagai 11/17/07
I enjoyed reading your perspective of Biblical events in this piece.
David F. Palmieri Sr.11/17/07
Good story...makes me wonder how much of John Mark is in all of us.