Friday, October 31, 2014


One of the things that set Jesus apart from other teachers of His day (or this day, for that matter) was that most of His teaching was in the form of stories.  We call them parables, but they were stories--memorable, vivid, with an edge that challenged and enraged some of His listeners, while they delighted and invigorated others.  I've been talking about God's grace lately, a doctrine that is so wonderful, yet so misunderstood.  I decided this Sunday to preach an entire sermon as one long story; a parable of my own.  Below is the beginning of the story, just to whet your appetite...I hope you can be there to hear the rest, and that God uses my own creation to draw you to His truth:

The instant the bullet hit the chest of his friend was the very moment the change began. That was the precise point in time when he realized with shattering certainty that the world he had constructed, that carefully crafted facade, was swiftly crumbling.  He had always been one of those people who could convince everyone that he was a little smarter, a little stronger, a little tougher than all the rest, that he was somehow unbeatable.  Even as a child, other kids feared him…and he liked it that way.  His teachers were intimidated by him. They hoped to survive him, not to influence him in any way.  Once he was old enough, he found ways to make money…a lot of money.  Those ways weren’t legal, of course, like most ways of making serious coin; and some people got hurt, but then, if they had listened to him, they would have been alright.  With the money he made, he could build the life he wanted.  He could make himself the kind of man others either followed or bowed to, but did not ignore.  He could be somebody. 
And then came that moment when the bullet, so obviously intended for him, had instead ended the life of one of his few true friends.  As he lay in his bed that night, he thought of his mother.  His father had rarely been around, and when he was around, it would have been better if he’d been away.  But his mother was a devout woman.  She had tried so hard to instill in her only son a fear of God. She had died brokenhearted.  He had always believed in that God, but never loved him. In fact, now that he thought about it, his entire life had been an ongoing war against his mother’s God.  That God had chosen not to give him the advantages, privileges, and comforts he wanted, so he was determined to show that God, at all costs, that he could acquire those things for himself.  He wanted to show God that he could build a better life on his own, without those alleged divine powers.  But now he realized the war was over.  He had lost.  Someday, and maybe soon, he would have to answer to that God for the things he had done.  In desolation, he decided it was no use running or fighting any longer.  The only thing that made sense was to throw himself before that God and accept the punishment he deserved.  If God wanted to take his life, that was just.  If he wanted to take away his ill-gotten fortune, that was deserved.  He wasn’t sure how to approach God.  The little church his mother had forced him to attend had closed its doors long ago.  But there was a tall white steeple he could see from his window. Surely that church was as good a place as any other to get what was coming to him...

To be continued...

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