Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: The Lit Cross Challenge
By Julie Arduini
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Pastor Tuttle’s words echoed through my mind hours after the service ended. Each week he took a tally of how many folks gave the Good News and how many said yes. I was a Christian less than four months and the brilliance of the cross felt blinding. If the cross could’ve lit on sharing, I could’ve set the hills on fire. My problem? No one wanted to accept my offer.
“Is it your tone? Do you come on too strong?”
My Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Davis questioned one afternoon after I confessed my zero lighting average.
“I told my mom if she didn’t raise her hand in church and go to the altar as a public proclamation of her new life in Christ she was a heathen destined to hell.”
“Oh dear. Has anyone sat you down for discipling?”
“Do you have a mentor?”
Mrs. Davis continued. I shook my head no. All I had was a certificate from my baptism and the weekly echo of the lit cross challenge.
“Well I’d say you need some tutoring before you take that cross challenge head on.”
The only thing about my new life in Christ I felt half way confident about was talking to God. I thanked God for Mrs. Davis all the way to work the next day. There was an eighty-two year old widow named Blanche who used to volunteer with the meal program I coordinated. My job required quarterly visits with the retired volunteers so they knew they were still important to the organization. Blanche’s health was declining and she was in a new group home ten miles out of town. The supervisor of the meal site wanted to visit Blanche and asked if she could travel too.
I prayed as I picked Leann up that I’d be a light in her life even if I had no clue how to correctly tell her about Christ. When she climbed in my Ford Tempo, I realized Leanne would have to be completely unobservant to realize the faith in my life. A knitted cross hanging from my rear view mirror smacked her tote bag as she swung around to put her things in the backseat. Amy Grant blared out of my stereo speakers as the ignition turned. In order to sit in the passenger seat, she had to move my Bible to the back seat. I meekly smiled and put the car in reverse before she could speak. As we drove out to Shady Groves I prayed I wouldn’t say anything stupid.
Leann and I made small talk until we drove past a construction ahead sign about three miles from our destination. She asked me what was new in my life, that she noticed a change in me the last few months she wanted to know more about. I turned three shades of red and broke in a sweat as I clearly could see the church’s lit cross teasing me in my imagination.
“Well Leann, I…uh…I started going to church. The pastor preached his messages out of the Bible and they made sense. I started reading the…um…the book of John and well, it changed my life. He changed my life.”
I noticed a flagman holding up his stop sign about three hundred feet ahead. I tried to focus on Leann, the construction, and gray skies opening up pellets of rain. Leann faced me.
“Who changed your life? John?”
I slowed the car to a stop. Thunder shook the car, temporarily drowning out Amy Grant.
“No, Jesus. Do you know Him as a friend?”
A flash of light sizzled in front of us. Leann screamed, I jumped. The flagman ran over to the car.
“Ladies, are you okay?”
“Abbie, what just happened?”
Leann’s eyes were wide. I could feel my heart beating.
“M’am, I just saw lightning strike your car. Didn’t you lose your radio?” I shrugged. All I noticed was time stopped on the clock. Leann was shaking.
“Tell me more about your Jesus.”
The construction guy nodded, wanting to know my story too.
I smiled, glad to oblige. In the middle of a thunderstorm on Route 15, God gave an opportunity for lighting to strike once, and the cross to light twice.
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