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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: God's 3-Step Plan
By Tim Pickl
03/16/09


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It was a long day, the culmination of a very long week. I was so exhausted and I don’t know how I drove home. Thankfully, my wife took our young daughter Eden shopping, so I could rest.

Being a frontline forest firefighter has its own reward, but to-be-honest, there are days—or weeks—when I just want to quit.

That was one of those days.

I powered on the television and then sat on the sofa, rubbing my feet. BREAKING NEWS flashed across the digital screen. Plastic-faced reporters continued to hype about the huge forest fire that spread into the city. Some speculated it was careless campers. Others claimed it was terrorists.

I didn’t care, either way.

After a few moments, I sighed, laid down on the sofa and was about to fall asleep—when there was a loud knock at the door.

“Who is it?” I grunted and stood up, then half-stumbled toward the door.

When I opened it, there were two Kingdom Witnesses smiling at me.

“Whaddya want?” I rudely asked.

One of them quickly answered that they were teaching about the ‘Witnessing the Kingdom’ to neighbors in the area, and handed me a Watchpower tract to explain it.

“Okay, thanks, but NO THANKS. Don’t come back!” I slammed the door in their faces, and then made my way back to the sofa. Soon, I passed out with the tract still in my hand.


I usually don’t remember my dreams, but I had to write this one down:

I was standing on a golden street, similar to the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Lining both sides of the street was lush, sparkling emerald-colored grass. The sun beamed from the direction of a shining, golden city protruding from a hill in the distance.

Wow! I thought, this must be heaven.

I took three steps—but was immediately stopped by a burly man with flaming sword.

Halt! You cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Immediately, the scene changed to me as a little boy—the last time I went to church--sitting in my Uncle JoeDon’s church. Uncle JoeDon was preaching.

I watched and listened, fascinated.

“Jesus is telling Nicodemus--and He’s telling us--you MUST BE born again, or you cannot see the kingdom of God. See, in order to get to John 3:16, you have to read and heed John 3, verses 1 through 15!”

Uncle JoeDon paused as the church applauded.

“The story causes the reader to ask two questions. The first was asked by Nicodemus himself, ‘How can I be born again?’ Jesus answered; you must be born again of the water and of the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. It is the same question the people asked Peter after he preached on the day of Pentecost, in the book of Acts, Chapter 2. Men and brethren, what shall we do? The 3 steps—the answer—is in verse 38:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“Do you see it? Being ‘born again’ of the water and the Spirit is right there in Acts 2:38!
“The second question is this: ‘What IS the kingdom of God?’ Paul tackled this one. Look in Romans, Chapter 14, verse 17:

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

There is an order here—I call it God’s 3-Step Plan:
Righteousness—I repent of my sins and MY righteousness, which is as filthy rags, and turn to His righteousness. It’s a painful change of heart, and there will be tears.
Peace—when I am baptized by immersion in the Name of Jesus Christ, I take on the Name of the Prince of Peace—Jesus!
Joy—when I receive the gift the Holy Ghost, which is evidenced by speaking in tongues, I have the God’s power living inside of me. Jesus said:

…behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

+++

“Wake up, Daddy, please wake up! Look what we bought you!”

“A Bible?”

“Don’t you like it?”

“Oh… this is so nice… thank you Eden.”

“What’s this?” Eden asked, grabbing the Watchpower tract.

“Oh, that’s nothing. Here, let me teach you God’s 3-Step Plan.”

“Really? Thanks Daddy… Daddy?”

“What, honey?”

“Can you come to church with us tomorrow, puhleeeeeez?”

“I wouldn’t miss it.”



+++

All Scriptures from the King James Version (KJV):
Galatians 1:8-10
Revelation 22:4-6
Genesis 3:24
John 3
Acts 2
Romans 14
Isaiah 64:6
Acts 2:4
Luke 17:21

1 Corinthians 6:11--
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


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This article has been read 738 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Rudd03/21/09
I liked your introduction to the story. It would be neat to have seen more connection wit his job and then with his decision to follow into the kingdom. It was more like a devotional in the middle. I like what you said about following the first 15 verses of John 3. God Bless!
Norma-Anne Hough 03/24/09
I liked your three step plan and the way you brought it into your story. Well done.
Christina Banks 03/24/09
I like the way that you introduced God's 3-step plan into your story. I found it a little hard to follow your story line. It felt a little disjointed to me. Maybe tying his job into the story more would help. I love the little girl's enthusiasm at the end.
Jan Ackerson 03/24/09
I liked the first half of this very much. The second half almost seemed as if it belonged in a different piece of writing.

I'm reading a book right now about things to avoid in writing. The book suggests that one dream per novel is plenty...and then when you're done, go back and take that one out. I tend to agree that dream sequences are somewhat overused--is there another way this man could have had his eyes opened?

The devotional was very good, too...just didn't seem to go with the story.
Mona Purvis03/24/09
Your story is right on topic. It was a bit confusing to me. Maybe, because I became interested in the fireman and his reaction to the fire emergency. He did seem to be filled with anger.
The last part is where the story falters. It might be that there was just too much info, subject matter to draw it all together in only 750 words. I would like to see it expanded on.
Mona
Teresa Lee Rainey03/24/09
OK, I'm gonna tell you what I enjoyed about this story . . .

I thoroughly enjoyed your three-step plan. I'd never heard it put that way before.
and
I also enjoyed how your story reminded me of a song - one of those that get really fast - "Last night I dreamed of heaven fare, walked up the bright and golden stairs. I asked the angel at the gate if there were Pentecostals there. . . " Fun song.

I would have liked to get to know your character better, but was glad he came around to wanting to go to church.
Gerald Shuler 03/24/09
Good, solid teaching mixed with a little bit of story telling. Sounds like Eden has a brand new daddy.
Karlene Jacobsen 03/24/09
Hmmm... you make one think. I honestly did not make a connection between the job and the rest of the story.
I did enjoy your line of thinking with the 3-step plan. Almost did something like it myself.
Yvonne Blake 03/24/09
Interesting and creative way of including the Gospel.
Catrina Bradley 03/24/09
I'm one of those strange people who actually like to read and hear about dreams. ;) I enjoyed it all - I thought you did a super job on the preaching scene and "dialog", and also the characterization in the first part, mirrored with the his changed character in the 3rd part.