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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: We Have a Virus!
By Martha Black


“Rita, hold all calls and if anyone comes in, tell them I’m unavailable.”

It hurt Rita’s heart to see her young pastor, Tom Davenport, so down. He had been at her church for about two years. When he came, he was brimming with new ideas about how to grow the church and how to involve it in the work of the Lord. Every day he grew more discouraged, and it was painful to watch.

As soon as Tom closed the door, he sank to his knees by the chair in front of his desk. He wasn’t so much in a kneeling position as in a crumpled one. “Lord, I’m all used up! I’m so far beyond frustration that I don’t even know how to cope anymore. I was so excited when I came here, excited and scared to be the pastor of a church this size at my age, but that excitement has been drained out of me one drop at a time.

“I need you, Lord! I know you haven’t left me! So why do I feel like I’ve been left hanging. I need you to speak to me! I need a conscious sense of your presence! Tell me what’s wrong! I preach to the best of my ability, messages that I truly believe come from You. Why then am I preaching to stone faces? Talk to me, Lord! Communicate to me about the problems we face! Is it all me? Do I need to leave this church?”

Tears scalded his cheeks and his chin trembled. He raised his hands to heaven in a “need to know” gesture. Slowly, very slowly he began to feel that sweet filling of the Holy Spirit. He felt the presence of the Lord upon him.

“You have a virus!”

“I have a virus, Lord?”

“No, your church has a virus.”

“Lord, how does a church have a virus?”

“Get up, sit in your chair, and let me show you!”

Tom sat in his desk chair with his hands on the arms, palms upward in an expectant manner. Scenes began to run through his mind. Everything was crystal clear except the faces.

“Gads, I can’t stand the music our pastor allows in our church! How can anyone worship with all that “praise” junk assaulting our ears?”

“Did you hear what the missions committee wants to involve our church in? Don’t they know that we’ve got to get out of debt before we can involve ourselves in any costly mission works?”

“Our deacons have always been very involved in helping run our church! You know what they want us to do now? They want us to be servants, ministering to people! We’ve never done that before, and we don’t intend to start doing it now!”

Scenes like these ran through Tom’s mind for several minutes. When the scenes ceased, his mind flashed back to what God had said to him. “You have a virus!” With his brow creased in concentration, Tom searched his memory for the symptoms of a virus: A virus is contagious; it makes you feel so horrible that you won’t attempt anything that is not absolutely necessary; it weakens your body; and it becomes hard to concentrate on anything but the virus.

Tom sprang to his feet and paced the floor. God had showed him the problem, now He began showing him the solutions. Viruses may not be overcome immediately, but they can be overcome!

A totally different Tom walked out his office door. “Rita, we’re going to put a new sermon title in the bulletin. It will be ‘We Have a Virus!’ okay?” Rita was thrilled to see the change in her pastor!

Sunday morning a newly energized Tom stood before his church. The fact that God in His loving care had revealed the church’s problem to him restored his confidence, his enthusiasm, and his passion. With God’s help, this church would become a powerhouse for the Lord. He was not stupid though; this virus would not dissipate overnight.

“I stand before you today, to tell you our church has a virus! This virus has been sucking the life out of our beloved church. I stand before you to tell you the Great Physician is here, and He has the perfect medicine to heal our virus—if we’ll take it.”

Tom held his Bible over his head. “This is our medicine! Today our Great Physician will administer His first dose!”

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This article has been read 372 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 12/29/11
This was a really good story with a powerful message. I really liked it - great job!
God Bless you.
annie keys12/29/11
Good message--. Having spent two decades as a Pastor's secretary, this story spoke to me in an usually big way. Well done.
Allison Egley 12/30/11
This is very creative!

The topic was specifically geared towards a computer virus, though. I kept looking for some connection to a computer virus or hacker.

Good job,and some good reminders not to get complacent and comfortable in where we are.
Nancy Sullivan 12/31/11
Sadly, I think many, if not most, of our churches have a "virus." We need to turn to the Great Physician for the diagnosis and the cure.
Good job!
Martha Black01/02/12
I'm commenting on my own article, because I know that I am not on target with the topic. I was told that I could write the topic as I see it, and since I know very little about computers except for the actual typing of the stories, I shy away from the true meaning of these topics. (Please God, let them steer away away from computer topics in this New Year!)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/03/12
I really enjoyed the message in this story. I think it is one that can be seen in many aspects of life, but really hurts when it happens in church.

I noticed in the beginning you started telling the story from Rita's pov then switched to the Pastor then again in the middle a brief glimpse of Rita's POV again. I do this often too and have received comments on it. At first, I thought it shouldn't matter if it is told in the 3rd person. But especially in short stories it can be jarring if the reader thinks the story is going to be from one person's perspective and it is switched to another.

Overall, I thought it was a good story. The beginning drew me in. I could easily picture the pastor on his knees and see his heart hurting. It's also a great reminder that as Christians we really need to be aware of what we are saying. Nice job.
Lawrence Hebb01/03/12
Martha, Sorry but I disagree with your comment. I think you were right on target! You used the challenge to show us another way of looking at what goes on in many of our Churches and just what Jesus wants to do about it!

I loved the story and can see where you were coming from. OK the virus part wasn't about the computer but the analogy was great, I just can't wait to see what happens with the Church.
Hiram Claudio01/05/12
Congratulations of your piece receiving "highly conmmended" honors!
C D Swanson 01/05/12
Congrats - God Bless~
Marijo Phelps02/23/12
Good story. Pertinent message and with wonderful "medicine" for the answer.