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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

By Kevin Rodgers


Reclining in his chair, Rick sat behind his desk looking over the plans for a new church sanctuary. The business meeting was four hours away and he hadn’t yet found the time to review them. The numerous responsibilities of an Associate Pastor became somewhat overwhelming for Rick at times, but for the last seven years that he held the position, he had always managed to complete every task required of him.

Today though, like so many Sunday afternoons for Rick, he found himself having trouble concentrating. His mind kept going back to the morning’s worship service.

“Another wonderful service,” Rick thought. “Two more soldiers added to God’s army.”

God had truly blessed him with the ability to teach and speak publicly. Since accepting his position, the church had nearly doubled in size, both in number of members and in number of infrastructures added to the campus.

A knock at the door pulled Rick from his deep thoughts.

“Come in,” he said.

As the door opened, Rick saw it was his secretary, Melissa.

“Brother Rick?”

“Melissa,” Rick nodded.

“Mr. Stevens just called. He said he will have to re-schedule for a later date, if possible. He apologized for such short notice,” Melissa replied. “I went ahead and told him to plan for next Sunday night. Will that be okay?”

“That will be fine,” Rick responded. “Thanks, Melissa.”

“That’s great,” Rick thought. “Now I have all week to review the plans, and I can even go home and catch some rest before tonight’s service.”


Rick was singing along to the vocal sounds of Aaron Shust that was echoing from the speakers of his BMW, when the faint ringing of his cell phone caught his ear. After a few seconds of scanning the car’s interior, Rick realized he had left his phone in his briefcase that now lie in the back seat.

Reaching back, Rick’s hand finally found the elusive briefcase and pulled it forward into his lap. Glancing down to unfasten the latch, he was startled by a loud noise. Looking up, Rick was petrified by what he saw.

The sight of a large semi-truck barreling towards him was more than enough to draw a gut wrenching scream from the depths of his lungs. The chaotic mixture of Rick’s scream, the screeching of tires, and the steady blaring of the truck’s horn filled the air, as Rick instinctively braced himself. The collusion was eminent; there was no avoiding this speeding metal giant.

Numerous visions flashed rapidly through his mind, however his eyes saw only one; a steel grill embossed with the word ‘Peterbuilt’. It became the last scene etched into his dilated eyes before sudden darkness consumed his every being.


The next sound Rick heard wasn’t Aaron Shust, or the crushing of metal, it was the solemn sound of peaceful flutes intertwined with harps and trumpets. The sounds nearly brought tears to his eyes, which were still tightly shut.

Confusion set in as Rick attempted to analyze the many thoughts now whirling through his head. “Where am I? What happened? Did I die?”

Opening his eyes, he found himself kneeling on a floor of gold. Before him stood an enormous chair fit for the highest of all royalty, and atop this majestic throne sat a man robed in the purest white Rick had ever seen. The brightness that radiated from this man made Rick squint as he turned his head slightly.

Rick was caught off guard by what he saw next.

A hoard of ghastly looking creatures lurked nearby. Drool hung from their mouths as their evil eyes penetrated his.

“Rick,” a thunderous voice spoke, shaking the heavens. “You kneel before me, awaiting your judgment. Is there anyone to speak on your behalf for the sins you have committed?”

With his head still bowed, Rick, though scared and shaking, muttered, “Your Son Jesus. He is my Savior. He will speak on my behalf, Lord.”

At that instant, another voice rang out with as much authority as the first, “Father, I do not know him. By his own choice, his sins have not been forgiven.”

Upon hearing Jesus’ words, the demons looked on anxiously with smirks across their grotesque faces.

“You have been sentenced to an eternity in hell! Take him away,” the Lord commanded.

Instantly Rick was bound in shackles and led away kicking and screaming, begging for mercy, as the demons laughed and ridiculed him. They drug him to the burning sea of fire to fulfill his eternal punishment.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 08/24/07
Up to the point of impact with the truck, you did well pulling me along with the story. The final segment, however, left me with unanswered questions, so it felt incomplete. Perhaps too big a story for the word limit?
dub W08/24/07
Allegory for a sermon. Fairly well written. Thanks for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 08/24/07
This one confuses me a lot--if Rick claims Jesus as Savior, why was he taken to hell? Maybe if in the first scenario, you had shown him with a secret sin...but he seems to be a sincere Christian, rejoicing in the salvation of two people in worship. Maybe I'm missing something...

FYI--"eminent" means "prominent"; I think you were looking for "imminent" which means "sure to happen soon."

Feel free to PM me and point out what I've missed--the writing here is very good.
Joy Faire Stewart08/24/07
A very interesting story and I wasn't expecting the twist at the end.
Virginia Gorg08/25/07
I guess I am also confused. If he's really accepting Christ, why is he going to hell? Perhaps there is an underlying story - the big sanctuary, the numbers, the bmw .. hmm, thoughful. Well done even though it left me confused.
Janice Cartwright08/25/07
I thought this was really chilling. Even if Rick was imperfect, which all of us are, it seemed to me that because he called upon the name of Jesus rather than pointing to his own good works that his heart was right. I can only guess that your intent is to draw an analogy to the "Lazarus and Dives" parable. The writing is superb but left the reader confused and perhaps that was your purpose. Surely those who miss out on eternal life are going to be greatly confused.
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
Wow! --an eternal "regret". How sad for someone to think they're right with God because of the good they do, then find out they've missed the mark. Good writing -- disturbing story.
Peter Stone08/28/07
I think if you wanted this story to be about one of those the Lord says use His Name but never knew Him, your opening paragraph needed to make this much more obvious. Perhaps have the MC totally obsessed with being successful and in building his own little empire, not carrying at all about the actual people in the church, and using Jesus' Name simply as a catchword to achieve his own ends. Also, I believe it is Jesus who sits on the judgment seat and separates the goats from the sheep. See Matthew.
Joanne Sher 08/29/07
Wow - like the others, I wasn't expecting that ending! Maybe a few hints - albeit subtle - of his state earlier would be helpful (or maybe I missed them!). This was very, very engaging.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/29/07
It was hard for me to connect someone who rejoiced over soldiers added to God's army as the same person going to hell. Your descriptions were good. Was it your intention for the reader to be confused?
Brenda Welc08/29/07
This is screaming for a higher word count. I was really confused as those who have stated above me. I think a little more insight into the main guy would have made this less confusing in the end. Good beginning story here though, you left me confused and wanting to know more.
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
Wow, what a time to talk about regrets. You certainly summed it up in this piece. Truly frightening, because it is so realistic and can really happen. Good job.