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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)

TITLE: The Long Walk (ii)
By Stephen Paynter


Now I want you to consider seriously what I have been telling you, because it is the most important and urgent of subjects.

Mike rubbed his temples. He had a headache coming on, and quite honestly, he could have done without the evangelist working himself into a frenzy. Why had he let James and Anna talk him into coming to this stadium? Of course, hed made them sweat for it only agreeing to come if they did a month of Karate lessons with him first, so he could laugh at their out-of-condition efforts. Just at this moment, however, it didnt seem like hed got the best of the deal after all.

In a minute Im going to invite those of you who want to know more of this Jesus to get up out of your seats and to make your way down to the front. When you get here, Ill lead you in a prayer of surrender a prayer of turning away from your life of rebellion, and turning to a life of trust in the Lord Jesus.

Mike groaned inwardly. This was such blatant manipulation. Or rather it should have been. But if he was honest and he prided himself on how he faced unpleasant truths there wasnt any emotionalism, just a dull middle-aged man commending Christianity to them.

Im not commending Christianity to you, you know. Its not about organized religion nor even, given Im a Baptist disorganized religion. No, Im not interested in that. Im commending a person the Son of the Living God. Come to this Jesus, for he invites you to come. Start on a path that will transform your life. Its a path that each of you must begin yourself, but you travel it in community with the rest of Gods people. Its one thats guaranteed to end in ultimate acceptance.

Mike shook himself. He kind of got what the preacher was saying. After that spooky way the evangelist had picked up on his thoughts it was difficult not to pay attention to him. Maybe ... just maybe there was something in what he was going on about.

So, now is the time. I want you to start that long walk down here. Come down and find life.

Hundreds of people across the stadium clattered to their feet.

Mike could feel himself blushing. He was very conscious that James and Anna were sitting beside him. What would they think if he suddenly stood up? They were too nice to mock, but that sort of made it worse.

So are you going to miss out because you arent prepared to face a little ridicule? Well you know what dont bother coming down here then. The Jesus I preach is looking for those who will be all out for him, who wont baulk at a little embarrassment. He demands your all, not exempting your pride and dignity. Its all or nothing.

Mike stood up. He knew his face was burning, but so what? He joined the people moving forward.

You know I thank my God so many of you are responding this evening. You may think it was your decision to come forward and in many ways it was. But in other ways, the story goes way back. Back before you were invited here tonight. Back even before those who invited you had started praying for you and telling you about Jesus.

James and Anna flashed into Mikes head. Had they really prayed for him? What a humbling thought.

It goes back before various saints youve encountered commended Jesus to you through their godly and compassionate lives.

An image of his old Sunday school teacher sprang to mind this time. Hed always messed about in her class, but he still remembered her fondly. That was one of the reasons that hed given James a hearing when hed started going on about Jesus.

Indeed, it goes back before you were born. Back even before the Son of God hung on a cross for you. Back before time itself began. I tell you in eternity past your God set his love on you, and wanted you for his own. It has been a long path to this moment but God has traveled it, managing heaven and earth to bring you here tonight, ready to do business with him. Hallelujah!

Mike pushed his way to the front, and was the first to bow his head. God had brought him home.

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This article has been read 935 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/27/06
You did well at showing the emotional struggles of your character. Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 07/28/06
What a great story! First, that long walk through the ages to prepare eternity for us, then that long walk down the aisle to accept. Really liked your concept, your thoughts, and a delightful story on the topic of "walk". Great job.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/01/06
Very well written piece. I found myself walking right along with Mike down that aisle and experiencing his thoughts and emoitons. A very real depiction of what it's like for many on that first walk to the alter to accept the gift of salvation. Nice work!
Joanne Sher 08/01/06
An excellent description of his inward and outward walk to Jesus. I love the way he pieces it all together. A great read!
Debbie Sickler08/01/06
"It has been a long path to this moment but God has traveled it, managing heaven and earth to bring you here tonight,..." This line really stood out to me. I also liked how your preacher 'read' his mind. :)
Trina Courtenay08/02/06
A very true account ot the emotions one goes through before making their first alter call. Well done.
Sue Dent08/03/06
YAY! The Paynter's are on a roll! Good for you Stephen! Having been to several Billy Graham statidum revivals, I loved this. YAY again!!!
Rita Garcia08/03/06
Congratulations! Wonderful story!
Trina Courtenay08/03/06
Way to write! 8th place EC! Does this mean you'll move up? Congrats!
Stephen Paynter08/03/06
Thank you everyone for your kind comments. You might like to learn about some of the influences which went into this story.

I made my two university friends, Alan and Janet, come to Kung Fu lessons before I'd go to church with them, in the weeks before I became a Christian.

The intense embarrassment at responding was drawn from my feelings when I became a Christian ... although, fortunately, I wasn't made to go down the front of the lecture threatre.

I had a Billy Graham crusade in mind for part of this - he came to Bristol in his 1982 Mission England campaign, and as a young Christian I was fascinated by how unmanipulative he was.
I was therefore extra staggered by the numbers that responded.

The "disorganised religion" joke I heard from the Baptist Union coordinator (can't remember his proper title) of Southwest England,
a year or two ago, but I suspect it is an old one.

Sherry Wendling08/04/06
Congratulations, Stephen! I loved the compelling 'dialogue' between Mike and Holy Spirit. Beautifully done, with a very satisfying ending.

Wow, two Paynters on the EC honor roll this week! I'll bet those girls cook up all kinds of mischief while you two are tapping away. No, on second thought, with such genes in the pool, they're probably writers, too. Right?

Thanks for the comment including the background to your piece--great stuff!