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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: Stay in the Race
By Tim Pickl


I was part of your church. I was part of your life. We worshipped God together, ate and laughed together, went shopping together—those were some of the best years of my life.

Then life happened.

I started missing church services. I got sick, or the weather was “bad”, or some emergency came up, or I simply just didn’t feel like going. Whatever the reason, I was at home feeling sorry for myself, and you were at church.

Did you ever think about me? Did you ever remember all the good times we had together?

Did God ever convict you enough to pick up your iPhone and text me? Or call?

You could have stopped by.

Do you still care?

I hear a vacant voice whispering in my mind… Those people don’t care about you… They NEVER really cared about you…You will never fit in anyway… Just stay home today… Stay home…

Am I the hypocrite for saying I am still a Christian by staying home and watching the TV preachers? Or are you the hypocrite for claiming to be a Christian by ignoring what God is telling you about me?

Do you still care?

Do you still care enough to pray for me? Oh, I know, praying is easy… you can throw my name up to God and then move to the next request. But, are you listening to His answer? Do you care enough to take the time to find out what’s going on in my life?

Yes, I am hurting. I am in such pain….it’s so hard for me to believe that we were once so close and now it seems like you don’t—

Do you still care?

Are you afraid of me? Is that what’s holding you back? What would I say if you called me? or stopped by?

I would embrace you are tell you I love you. And, I love you so much I need to give you a warning. Yes, a warning, I believe, from God:

Remember the old television commercials? Don’t drop out of school. I have a new one:

Don’t drop out, sister. Don’t drop out, brother. Don’t drop out of church. Stay in the race. He who endures to the end shall be saved.

Don’t be like me, friend. Because if you become a church dropout and stay away from the flock (the church), you will have no shepherd (pastor), and the worldly wolves will come and devour you and your life will be a mess. You will do things you said you would never do—but you said those things while sitting in the safe confines of the church.

Outside of the protection of the church, you are vulnerable.

Believe me, I know from painful experience. Heartache, sadness and depression are the only friends I have left. Oh…no… I didn’t want to start crying. But, but here it is. The pain never goes away….never goes away…

Oh Lord, please help me, please. I don’t want to take these drugs anymore! I don’t want to live like this anymore! I am SICK and TIRED of it! Please send a sign, send someone to show me they will listen to me. Send someone who will show Your love to me—and show me that they really care.

Do you still care?

I know you are hearing me, but are you listening? Do you hear the pain in my voice, the heartache? Can you feel the sadness and the depression? Where is the compassion you’ve been taught and preached to for all these years? I listen to your pastor’s sermons online—I know what you’re hearing. But are you listening?

Do you still care?

Oh, so many times I wanted to just check out. Just end it all. I could never bring myself to do it, because I always felt like there was a spark of hope—that some way, somehow you would stop and listen to what God was telling you about me.

Be sensitive to His Spirit. When you pray and bring up my name—STOP.
And listen.

Do you still care?

Will you then pick up your phone and stop texting your church friends long enough to reach out to a church dropout? Is there any hope for you? Is there any hope for me?

I am begging you, please. I cannot stand it anymore. The anguish of my empty heart cries out for mercy and for love—be His hands, His arms, His heart.

Do you still care?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen05/19/11
Very vivid and vital message, powerfully presented!! Well done!
Joe Moreland05/21/11
I have to tell you, honestly, that I don't like this piece. Not one bit. Pick on somebody else!

Seriously, though. Great job of exposing a sin that a lot of us are guilty of.