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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: Tabloid


I sat and waited to hear Devin O’Connel’s story. I didn’t like being in the south side of Chicago; I didn’t like these people, but I needed the money.

Known as the Street Preacher, Devin stood at a makeshift pulpit and began, “We sing a song that says, ‘I once was blind, but now I see, was lost but now I’m found.’ Well, I can tell you that I once was dead, but now I stand before you...alive.”

There were no theatrics, just a humble man who looked every person in the eye, except for me. Surely, I thought, he doesn’t know who I am or why I’ve come? Suddenly, I felt conspicuous and shoved my hands into my trench coat pockets. I let go of the papers I’d been writing on, but I kept my right hand wrapped around the cold metal inside my other pocket. If something happened, I would just shoot and run.

Devin’s voice was deep and hauntingly convicting, “November 22nd, 2007. Thanksgiving Day. Just a week ago...”

I looked around for any evidence of technical equipment that would explain why his voice sounded like it surrounded me, but I found none as he continued.

“I no longer shivered from the cold of the wind-driven snow and ice. My heart had stopped, but my soul never skipped a beat. I saw hands reach down through a bright mist and take hold of my arms. I felt the warmth of the two angels, who escorted me through a star-infused universe. It was the same sensation of movement that I’d felt when I used to travel in virtual games.”

No one moved. I held my breath. I was vaguely aware of background noise, but there wasn’t a sound where we were gathered.

Devin continued, “I couldn’t tell if we were passing galaxies, stars, or planets; they all appeared as streaks of light. Each streak grew intensely brighter until we entered into a realm of such golden radiance that it permeated my very being. I absorbed it until I felt it, breathed it, smelled it.”

By now I was no longer concerned about how out of place I felt. I only knew that I didn’t want this man to stop speaking.

The preacher closed his eyes. “I stood on the banks of a river and saw the Lord on the other side. I plunged into the water, but instead of waiting for me, He met me in the middle. He saw my confusion and gently said, ‘Not yet; you are needed now.’ With His nail-scarred hands, He wiped away the tears on my cheeks, and then I fell backward into the river.”

A man jumped up and shouted, “And that’s how I found him--lying in a puddle of water, his face as ashen as a winter sky.”

Another man attested to the fact, “I was there. Strangest thing I ever seen. Water no deeper than my ankles, yet there he was, drowned if I ever saw a dead man, and then, dang if he didn’t just sit up!”

“Preacher,” a man sitting beside me stood slowly, his voice sounded far away, “did you see heaven?”

I looked at Devin and saw tears forming.

“I did...for a fleeting second. I saw a city of gold, so transparent that it was clearer than crystal.”

“Did you see God?” someone else asked in a hushed voice.

Devin brushed the back of his hands across his eyes. “No, and yes. I saw His Son, who is one with the Father. But, I couldn’t stand to look upon Him, for His being was of a fiery brilliance that was unbearable to behold.”

An old man warmed his hands over a fire in a barrel. “Tell ‘em why He sent you back,” he called out.

Devin looked around again at the street people, who were cold, hungry, homeless, and then he looked at me. “To bring you the hope of eternal life, to tell you that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and that He lives so that you might believe in Him and be free from those sins.”

The earnestness in his voice pierced my conscience. I pushed my way through the outcasts who were answering the street preacher’s altar call.

My hand shook as I took out the article I had started and threw it into the fire. I let go of the camera in the other pocket. There was no sensational story here, just the truth.
John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” NIV

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This article has been read 820 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/22/07
This is a marvelous story, of mystery, of suspense, of God's love.
Betty Castleberry11/23/07
You put me right among the homeless. Love this message. Nicely done.
Marita Vandertogt11/24/07
Wow - nicely written - and powerful ending. Loved it!
Joanne Sher 11/24/07
Great descriptions - and I loved not finding out who the narrator was until the end.
Dee Yoder 11/24/07
What a testimony this would be! Your descriptions and characters are so believable, I had to remind myself that this was a story. Love the descriptions of Heaven and the Lord.
Laury Hubrich 11/25/07
Great story. I guess we could have figured out who the stranger in the crowd was by your title. I confess, though, I didn't until just now:) You kept me captivated clear to the end.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/26/07
Your story hooked me, and the ending was perfect. The words of the speaker were powerful.
Jan Ross11/27/07
Wow, such a powerfully descriptive story that took me right there in the middle of the story. You kept me in suspense until the very end. Well done ... masterful in every way!
Gregory Kane11/27/07
Very atmospheric and a great testimony. I wasn’t entirely clear why the reporter felt that he had to be so secretive. But it’s powerful writing and deserves to do well.
Karen Wilber11/27/07
What a twist! "Need the money"; "Shoot and run" - you had me. Excellent suspense.
Beth LaBuff 11/27/07
Great story! I love how your title doesn't make sense till the end. You led us down one trail only to change our direction. Awesome writing!
william price11/27/07
Mid, I don't want to flower this up for you, but sincerely, this was/is and will always be outstanding. Characterization, storyline, props, visuals, message, anointng; all brought together maserfully. Truely top notch and very deserving of an approving smile from our Lord. I'm blessed. God bless you.
LauraLee Shaw11/28/07
Brilliant! I am blown away...
Lynda Lee Schab 11/28/07
Great description and story-telling, Mid. But then, why am I not surprised by that? :-) Wonderful entry. Masterful, indeed.
Jan Ackerson 11/28/07
Awesome title, awesome writing--very evocative. Love your narrator's voice, it's authentic and compelling.
Temple Miller11/28/07
I loved your imagery, conflict, and rising anticipation. And the twist - of course, I thought he held a gun. Beautiful story
Sara Harricharan 11/28/07
Your one word title caught my attention and once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. This was great! The characters, the descriptions, it is SO real! Excellent job!
Beckie Stewart11/28/07
I really enjoyed this. It kept me captivated from beginning to end.
Loren T. Lowery11/28/07
I am humbled reading this, the preacher's voice and message is simply inspired by what is good and true!
LaNaye Perkins11/28/07
This was really great. You captured my attention from being to end. Great writing!
Kristen Hester11/28/07
Excellent writing. Excellent story. I really enjoyed this. Because of your title I figured the man was a reporter with a camera, not a gun. If the title was different it would have been a real twist for me. I still loved it. Masterful!