Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Victim of Problems Part II

When we last saw the story, our small town pastor was hosting a revival in his small church. One young man was weighing the issues of Christ, while being bombarded by the deacons. We pick up our story with that encounter, back to the conversation between Allan and those deacons….

“I can’t believe it; you are telling me that if I give my heart to Jesus, then I will be given whatever car I want?” Allan was eager to hear their response.

By this point, the deacons were so involved with Allen that they had lost all perspective. They were willingly agreeing with Allen and making a show of meeting all of his physical demands.

Allen had heard enough. He was ready to proceed. “I want to pray that magical prayer that will fix all of my problems.” The deacons were leaning forward with anticipation. “But first, would you do something for me?”

“Anything you want.” Jerry was excited. Now he would be the only true winner at the revival. What must Pastor Kurt think? His fire and brimstone messages were washed up now.

“Well, I hesitate to ask, you have all been so nice…” Allen led them on.

“Go ahead, ask and it shall be given unto you.” Sour Face, inspired by the moment, felt the need to quote scripture.

“Well, since you insist…”

“Oh we do. Ask away.” Jerry was back in charge.

“Sure. Could we make a list of all the things we talked about? I mean, all the things that you said that God could fix?”

“Why do that? It’s not necessary. All you have to do is pray this prayer...”

“Oh, I know, but I want a list to take home to my wife. Maybe she will pray this prayer also, once she sees what God can do for her.”

Suddenly, Allen’s idea was novel. Jerry could have two in one night! Not only two, but an entire family would come to Christ, and it would be to his credit. “Whatever you want, Allen, this is your night. Sam, bring me a sheet of paper.” Sam started digging through his notebook and found a sheet to hand to Jerry. “Now, what do you want it to say?”

“Okay, start at the top and write these words:
We, the undersigned deacons of First Church, Justice, Texas, do hereby affirm by our sworn testimony, as evidenced by our signatures below, that if Allen Gibson will ask Jesus into his heart on this night, that God will fix all of his problems to include, but not limited to the following:
1. Never fight with his wife again.
2. Get a promotion at work
3. Get a job
4. Get a new car
5. Get a new home
6. To always be happy
7. To have children
8. To never have a flat tire again
9. Never have money problems
“Now leave plenty of room at the bottom for you to sign. Now, I want all of your signatures on it, cause I think that will mean a lot to my wife.”

Jerry frowned for a moment and appeared to hesitate. The deacons were growing uncomfortable with the prospect of signing a contract for salvation. Allen noticed their nervousness.

“If you don’t want to sign, I can just forget the whole thing and go home, back to my old life.” He looked rejected.

“Oh, no, don’t do that!” Suddenly, the deacons were back in the game. They passed around the sheet and each of them signed their names at the bottom. Once the procedure was complete, Allen asked them if they wanted a copy, but each shook his head.

“Okay, now what?” Allen asked as he folded the paper and put it in his jacket lining.

“Now, all you have to do is pray this little prayer with me sincerely, and from the bottom of your heart. ‘Dear Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart. I have a lot of problems and I need You to fix them. I can’t do it, but You can. So, come into my heart and forgive my sins. In Jesus name, amen.’”

As soon as Allen said amen, the deal was consummated and the deacons could go to the cafĂ© and drink coffee. They each shook Allen’s hand and affirmed that he made the most important decision in his life. Jerry stood back until they departed.

“Well, Allen, how do you feel?”

“Oh, I feel fine, Jerry, just fine. In fact, there is one more thing that I wanted to ask, if it’s not too late…”

“Ask away.” Jerry smiled. He had his victory, but now his adrenaline was declining and he was experiencing a sinking spell.

“Would you write down that little prayer I prayed? See, there is room between the list and the signatures.” When Jerry seemed to consider his request, Allen added, “It would give me a prayer to show my wife. Then she could pray it also.”

That made sense to Jerry and he wrote verbatim the prayer that Allen prayed. “There you go, Allen. I sure am proud of you. Just remember, you are now a child of God. Nothing can ever change that. You are guaranteed a place in Heaven. Now don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t saved, ‘cause you are.” He held out his hand to Allen. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Allen. I hope to see you on Sunday.”


Jerry was surprised by the question. “Well, you are a Christian now, and Christians go to church on Sundays.”

“Oh, I don’t need to. I have all that I need right here.” He tapped the contract in his pocket.

“What do you mean?”

“I have my contract with the deacons and with God. Now I am going to go home and enjoy my problem free life.” He turned to walk away.

“Uh…what a minute…That’s not exactly how it works.”

“Oh?” Allen walked back to Jerry. “And just how does it work?”

“Uhm, well…”

“Yes?” Allen was taunting him.

“It’s just that…”

“Is something wrong, Jerry? You didn’t lie to me, did you?” Allen seemed deliberately confrontational.

What could Jerry say? He had promised that God would fix Allen’s problems, how did he know that God wouldn’t? “No, I didn’t lie. Everything is fine.”

Allen turned and walked out of the church and left Jerry standing dumbfounded in the middle of the isle.

And so ended the 73rd revival at First Church. Pastor Kurt saw that Jerry was stunned and approached him, but Jerry was in no mood to talk and he walked out, never having told his Pastor that a soul was saved that Friday night.

To be continued....


Amy Deardon said...

Wow! Just, wow!

Jesus never set up a judicial system, or hospitals, or a stock market. When he healed, it was in secret. His followers were persecuted, tortured, and killed.

Living life on this Earth often becomes worse once one becomes a Christian -- we are fortunate in America to live in such an open environment -- a good life on earth ISN'T THE POINT of coming to Christ. We follow Christ so that/because we are reconciled to God through him.

Great story!

Travis said...

Yes, this story is about to take off. Let's just see what happens to people who are birthed into the Kingdom under such conditions....

Thanks for your comment. I feel your passion and I appreciate it. If you want a resource that further explores the concerns you've expressed, check out the work that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameren do at

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Very interesting! I like it a lot. Can't wait to see the next installment.

Amy - amen to all those thoughts. I can't believe it when I hear people saying they think things should be easier because they're Christian and "doing everything right." In fact, I'd really like to hear a good sermon tomorrow on how life is hard. C.S. Lewis has a really good section in The Problem of Pain on that subject.

Alison said...

Yay...a Justice, Texas story!

Interesting twist in this part. I'm looking forward to the next one. And I like the wording in the first part, that the church "executed" a revival each year.