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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Vote/Voted off the Island (05/29/14)

TITLE: The Power of One (Extra)
By Noel Mitaxa


Light from a cloudless sky was splashing through small gaps in the ornamental vine which stretched out above the heads of the group. Pastor James had invited his six elders to meet with him in the relaxed ambience of the timber deck at the rear of his home.

James’ rudimentary carpentry skills had attained new levels as the deck and pergola took shape. But pragmatism prompted him to crown it with an overhead vine—ostensibly to provide summer shade and to allow winter light into the house—but equally to conceal any inevitable mistakes...

This dappled outdoor room had allowed him many opportunities to relax with a healthy mix of accomplishment and anticipation, for here he had often visualized and prayed over fresh possibilities for his church to reach out more effectively.

It was an ideal scenario for his elders to enjoy a relaxed barbecue meal together, for he wanted to introduce them to his latest vision; for he had heard that the property beside the church was coming on to the market. If the church purchased this property, it could be easily be remodeled as a base for serving the community in practical ways. Ways that would demonstrate the gospel Monday to Saturday among those whose first approach to the church may never be to venture into the sanctuary to hear his messages Sunday by Sunday.

His planning had traveled his usual PEPSI route:

Pray – to affirm God’s ownership and resources;

Establish the goal – of the people who would be blessed by this venture;

Program – of how to unfold the steps towards the goal;

Schedule – to timetable the launching and assessing the progress;

Inventory - how much money and how many people the vision would need in order to achieve its purpose.

He was feeling confident as he handed around information sheets which cataloged the community needs that this vision would address; along with appropriate biblical references; and room for them to note their questions or comments.

After almost two hours of questions and comments, council chairman Brother Marshall held up his hand for silence.

“Thank you Pastor James. This has been a very enlightening time for us all, so I propose we vote on it.”

The vote went six against to one—Pastor James—affirmative.

“It looks like you have a little more work to do, Pastor James," declared Brother Marshall. "Would you please close in prayer?”

“Oh God,” begged Pastor James, “please help these men to see that this is not my vision—but your vision, Amen.”

A deep, distant rumbling caused some faces to look skywards for an approaching storm, before they all stepped out onto the lawn to peer into a clear blue sky—in puzzlement about how thunder could announce itself from there.

But the rumbling grew more boisterous—from beneath their feet—to climax with an ear-shattering crack as the lawn split wide open. On the other side of the crack it tilted away, tossing the elders into a spreadeagled tangle of cowering humanity.

Only Pastor James remained standing.

The ensuing, eerie silence was broken by Brother Marshall’s husky voice.

“Pastor James, I do believe that this has changed the count dramatically. In fact I’d say that it’s now six votes to two!”

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This article has been read 153 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/05/14
I liked this. It's creative and fresh with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Normally I prefer Coke, but I have to admit your Pepsi is quite intriguing. Your ending was great. It left me with a big smile. Nicely done.
CD Swanson 06/06/14
This was wonderful! It left me feeling good inside.

God bless~
Joe Moreland06/07/14
Ha! This was great. I loved how Brother Marshall acknowledged that God had weighed in, but still announced that the elders were still against it: 6 to 2! that should have been your title. :)

I sounds ridiculous that these elders set themselves against God, but then, when I think about it, there have been many times in my life where I knew God was telling me to do one thing, and I sit around debating whether or not I should do it. Thankfully, He's never split the earth open to swallow me whole. :)

Great job! I loved it!
lynn gipson 06/07/14
As usual, you have taken a fresh and unique approach to the topic. I love the Pepsi challenge. I also prefer Coke, but this may get me to try Pepsi one more time!

Your subtle humor and excellent writing have my vote for a winner!

Blessings, Lynn
Beth LaBuff 06/07/14
I'll cast my vote for the Pepsi. :) I thought the pastor may have wisely taken a lesson from Jonah with the vine and the shade it provided. :) I completely enjoyed this elder/pastor meeting. I don't get invited to many of those, so thanks for the realistic view into what goes on. I'm so glad that "One" is "Power"ful!
Allison Egley 06/07/14
Hehe this is great. At first I was going to comment that you gained an elder... Until I realized number two was God and the elders still hadn't quite gotten the message. I realize you said he had a husky voice, but in my head, I heard a very timid, squeaky, mouse-like voice. :D
Milly Born 06/08/14
Ouch--being voted off the island by God Himself. I bet many pastors dream about a similar situation. "God, I know I'm in the right, You just show them!"

Funny ending that, at the same time, left me pondering about some people's stubbornness-- knowing God's will and still voting against it.

I only hope that the crack in the lawn didn't ruin the pergola construction :-)
Graham Insley 06/08/14
That One vote should make all the difference; but, sadly, it often doesn't. But then again, it isn't always cast in such dramatic fashion. lol

I enjoyed this but, to be honest, I found the take off a little slow. Once airborne, however, I enjoyed the ride.

Joe Moreland06/12/14
Congratulations on an EC placement, Noel! I knew this one would do well, it was the perfect blend of humor and a Godly lesson.

Great job!
Beth LaBuff 06/12/14
It was great to see this creative story on the EC list! Many congrats!
CD Swanson 06/13/14
Congratulations on your EC Noel.
God bless~
Gregory Kane06/13/14
At least they didn't go the way of Korah. An amusing tale and a reminder of the need to carry people with you when expressing vision.
Ellen Carr 06/15/14
A most enjoyable read, worthy of its EC place. What a dramatic vote at the end of the tale! And, did the 2 or the 6 win out - democracy or God's vote? I was expecting the rumbling to be the deck and pergola collapsing as the building work sounded a little dodgy. A great take on this topic!
Tracy Nunes 06/16/14
Your writing never fails to impress and make one think. Congratulations Noel!