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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: A Timely Message
By Cheri Hardaway


“Each year the Chamber of Commerce takes nominations for Citizen of the Year. Those nominated must have contributed to the overall good of our community, without receiving any monetary gain. The Chamber then votes.”

The speaker went on. “This year’s honoree pioneered the very successful Project HOPE, which has brought new and marked opportunity to our inner city youth. Please watch this film clip from his interview with the local news.”

As the clip rolled, Rob’s attention waned. He pondered next Sunday’s message. 1 Timothy 3:4-5: He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) Yes, that would be his focal point.

Though directed towards leadership in the church, his thought was that every man was the priest of his own home, and every Christian was called to be a minister to others. He wanted to encourage fathers especially to be active in their children’s lives. He had seen too many young people go astray because parents missed the obvious telltale signs.

Shelly jostled his arm. “Honey, wake up,” she whispered. Her eyes twinkled. “You’re on, Pastor Robert Crenshaw.”

“Oh…” Rapidly regaining his composure, he rose to accept his award.

He was mid thank-you when he caught sight of his wife leaving the room, a finger plugging one ear, her cell phone pressed to the other. Cutting his remarks short, he paused only for a quick press photo, and went in search of her.

He found her pale and shaking. “Shel? I saw you leave. Did the sitter call? Is it Lindsey?”

“Lindsey’s fine. The sitter got a call. All she could make out clearly was that we’re needed at Mountview Hospital… something about a church family in trouble, someone’s son in a car accident… drugs? She said your dad’s already there.”

Rob drove as fast as was safe and tried to stay focused. His mind whirled. Chad was staying the night at his friend Scott’s house; he was okay. Whose son was it? Drugs? How do parents not see their kids are in trouble? How can they be so blind? I guess Sunday’s message is well-timed.

He felt a twinge of conscience. The move here had been both rewarding and challenging. Chad had to leave lifelong friends and attend a brand new high school. That was no picnic, especially at his age. Lately, he had been a bit distant. But he was a good kid. Rob knew he hadn’t spent as much time with him as he used to before the move. This new pastorate was quite demanding. He’d meant to make some special time for Chad, get the dirt bikes out and go riding. It was long overdue.

The move had been easier on seven-year-old Lindsey. She had her mom at home with her. But boys need their dads. He would set a date with Chad tomorrow to take the bikes out.

Chad and Lindsey were both beautiful, healthy kids. He felt so blessed. The doctor had said that Shelly would never conceive children. Giving thanks to God, he pulled into the ER parking lot. God, I can only imagine how this family is suffering. Help me to comfort them all, he prayed.

Several of the church elders were huddled just inside the emergency room doors. Oh, God, is it one of their boys?

They’d been watching for them. Embracing them, they cried together for a moment, each praying silently.

When they separated, Rob waited to be filled in.

“Pastor, they lost control of the car. The officers at the scene of the accident found marijuana in the vehicle.”

Rob’s face must have evidenced the confusion he felt.

“Didn’t your father call you?"

“There was a call. The sitter told us we should come right away, that a church family was in trouble, someone’s son…” Cold fear gripped him.

“Where’s Rob’s dad?” Shelly too was confused.

Just then Bob Crenshaw came around the corner and saw his son and daughter-in-law. He crushed them in a bear hug, then said, “Come with me.”

In Trauma Room 2, the gurney holding Chad was ready to be wheeled to ICU. Tubes were everywhere, and beeping machines penetrated the roar in their heads.

“He’ll be okay. They just want to watch him closely for the night,” Bob reassured them. “And Rob? Before they sedated him, he was asking for his dad.”

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This article has been read 1042 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie OConnor12/08/06
Great pace and description, I could see the whole thing. I like the tension and the ironic resolution as well. Well done!
Lynda Schultz 12/08/06
A timely message indeed — to pastoral families and to all Christian parents. Well written, too!
Joanne Sher 12/08/06
Your title, of course, is PERFECT. This story was amazingly compelling and honest. This felt so real-to-life and heartbreaking. Great ending too.
Sally Hanan12/11/06
He was a good kid... it's so heartbreaking that parents assume things about their kids without talking to them, and this story clearly gets this truth across. You also managed to get us the facts but added in plenty of emotion and detail without waffling. Well done.
Donna Powers 12/11/06
Very touching. I pray all turns out well for this family. I could see this vividly. Well done; thanks for sharing it.
Amy Nicholson12/12/06
This was skillfully written. It moved along nicely. We care about the characters. Just perfect!
Leigh MacKelvey12/12/06
Wow! I read this story as if it was coming directly to me from the pastor. Believable characters and a situation I've seen more than twice in lives of children who are PKs. Skillful work!
Betty Castleberry12/12/06
This was a good read. It caught and held my attention. It's also a sad commentary on how little time some dads, even if they're pastors, spend with their children.
Catrina Bradley 12/12/06
Even tho I saw where this was headed, I was drawn in by your great writing. Well Done!
Debbie Sickler12/13/06
I saw where it was headed too, but this was still very well written and I enjoyed reading it. I liked how he was in constant prayer for the family in need, not realizing he was praying for himself. :)
Suzanne R12/14/06
You've made the main character very well rounded - not perfect but not bad either - well done. I was so relieved at the end to hear that the son was likely to be okay ... phew! Thanks for not leaving us with a tragedy!