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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: Baby Steps
By Marlene Bonney


I didnít know anything about living a Christian life. I didnít know anything about church or about church clothing etiquette. I hadnít a clue what tithing meant. The only thing I knew for sure was that Jesus had forgiven me and I was a believer.

Little Baby Step

It happened this way. Sam, a friend at work, invited me to a guyís weekend fishing retreat Up North. Picturing lofty mountains, white water rafting, campfires and plenty of beer, I jumped at the chance. It only took a couple hours for me to realize that I was in the midst of a bizarre set of hombres. These tri-muscled young men were more physically fit that I was, but give me a break! They didnít cuss, they didnít crack dirty jokes, and they sure as _____ didnít smoke or drink! I just knew I was in for one long, boring weekend.

The funny thing was, Sam and Gordy and Jim were okay. Well, mostly, anyway. Iíll have to admit, they were a little short in the street-smarts department! Anyway, I didnít miss any of the things I thought I would. Between practical jokes, horsing around, hiking, boating, and fly-fishing, I had a blast!

Every night before crawling into our tents, weíd make símores and roast wieners and marshmallows around a campfire. The leader, Coach Kyle, read passages from the Bible while some of the others told how Jesus had changed them. It sounded plenty corny, but hey, I couldnít complain. They treated me with respect.

I guess I was the most surprised of the group when I prayed with Coach Kyle to accept God into my life. Iíll tell you whatóI came home from that trip different!

Little Baby Step

This whole religious scene was new to me, and I made plenty of mistakes along the way; still do, as a matter of fact. Did you know there are a mess of different Bibles to choose from?! Versions, they call Ďem. The saleslady must have been a Christian, too, Ďcause she was mighty patient, explaining the differences.

Little Baby Step

I got involved in a Bible Study (Small Group, they call it) where I have been learning more about God. We hang out in different homes, talking about anything and everything and even goofing off some before we get into the Word. And then we have homemade snacks and goodies!

Little Baby Step

Picking out a church wasnít hard, because the small group guys had my back now, and they took me right along with them every Sunday. They never said a thing about my choice of dress, although I could see right off that my cut-off jeans, Miller-Lite tee shirt, and biker vest were a little much for some of the other people to stomach. (I guess my nose ring didnít help, either.) There was this old man in a three-piece suit and tie (I thought he was stopping by on his way to a funeral or wedding or something) who gave me a surprisingly firm handshake and clap on my shoulder, along with a huge smile and a wink! I remember thinking, ďIf this guy likes me, maybe my clothes donít matter so much.Ē (It wasnít long before I gave up the nose ringóit just didnít seem important to me anymore.)

Little Baby Step

My old drinking buddies are always ribbing me about my newfound ďreligion.Ē It wasnít long, though, before I got the old urge to join them for a Saturday night out on the town, and pulled a real all-nighter with them. I didnít feel so good Sunday morning and was ashamed to show up at church. But Gordy came by with a take-out lunch for me, and told me the whole church was praying for me! I thought maybe theyíd have given up on me, but they just wonít let go!

Little Baby Step

That was just the beginning. Now, Iíve been baptized and am a bona fide member of Faith Harvest Church. Iím still a work in progress, but the men here are ready to catch me if I fall and help me back up again. I sure thank God for them and all the others who have sent me cards and prayed for me. They even took an offering to cover some doctor bills I had a while back.

Iím actually bringing Hal with me to the next Small Group meeting! And, if that donít beat all, I donít know what does!

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This article has been read 581 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/07/07
I love, love, love the repetition of baby steps between each section. What great imagery. And your voice is so authentic throughout--a pleasure to read.

I'd only suggest that you cut back on your use of exclamation marks. In general, it's best to rely on strong word choices to convey feeling, rather than punctuation.

This is one of my favorites on this level.
Joanne Sher 12/08/07
I definitely liked the repetition - and the authentic voice so wonderfully captured this man's journey. Love the last paragraph too.
Holly Westefeld12/12/07
Very nicely done. I love how his brothers in Christ did not let him slip through the cracks, and the well-dressed man clearly demonstrated acceptance. This not only covers home groups beautifully, but encouragement, gifts and the church as well.