Flash Fiction – Episode 1

Stephen did not believe in monsters, at least not real ones. He saw the news stories and read the articles. He was convinced there was no way a lost species of dinosaur ended up in the subway. The reporters must have been really bored. Now he had to deal with Mark, his brother. He could always tell when he was joking but he seemed serious as he told this story:

“I just got off at the 5th Street Station to stop by the store and someone bumped into me and I dropped my phone. It fell down by the tracks. I had to wait forever for the train to leave. As soon as I hopped down to pick it up, I heard a loud chirping noise, like a chipmunk or something. I used my phone light to look around and there it was. Bigger than a dog, one of the subway dinosaurs!” said Mark.

The rain was coming down in grey sheet. Stephen grabbed his camera, flashlight, and rain coat. “I think you’re crazy, let’s go have some fun and see if it’s still there,” said Stephen. “I’m not crazy! You’re the crazy one! There’s a dinosaur in there. It growled and charged at me before I ran out of the station.” said Mark “I’ve read way to many ridiculous stories to just ignore it. I’ll write one of my own, ‘Local resident finds new species of sewer rat.’ If you’re right we should help the local science department study a living relic.” said Stephen. “This is no time to joke, that thing could tear you to shreds!” said Mark. “Are you coming or not?” said Stephen. “I can’t let you walk to your death.” said Mark.

It took ten minutes to walk to the station. No one was there, Mark had been on the last train of the night. The only sound they could hear was the dripping of water further down the track. They heard a rumble of thunder and all of the lights flickered and failed. Stephen barely had time to turn on his torch when the chirping started. “Ohh, this is spooky fun now, I hope your not too scared Marky.” said Stephen. “Oh shut up.” said Mark. They hopped down to the rail and started walking toward the noises.

It was worse than he could have imagined. He didn’t expect the lights to go out or for his brother to complain so much. The chirping, growling, and shuffling in the distance was eerie. The dark, dripping tunnel made matters worse. Stephen was really starting to get scared. He kept those thoughts to himself and kept trudging on. “It sounds like they just keep getting further away.” said Mark. “You can go home whenever you want.” said Stephen.

They walked for a few minutes before the found the footprints in the mud. There was no doubt now, they were tracking a large reptile. The tracks looked like webbed feet and were spaced over a foot apart. “Bigger than a dog indeed.” thought Stephen and he said, “I have to admit, this is not what I expected. These aren’t rat tracks.”

“I told you what I saw. I’m going to call the police.” said Mark. He took out his phone and realized there was no reception in the tunnel.  “Stephen, I have a really bad feeling about this. Look at those prints, they are huge. My phone doesn’t have any reception.” said Mark.

“Mark, you’re always so scared. I took some pictures, now let’s keep going.” said Stephen.

“No, I’m not going a step further, I am going back to call the police. This is stupid, you’re stupid, and I don’t want to be a dinosaur’s dinner.” said Mark.

“What, are you scared that we’ll end up as another missing person horror story in the papers?” said Stephen.

“Yes, I’m out of here.” said Mark.

“You twit, the writers and news anchors just sensationalize everything, I bet these are peacef…” but Stephen was stopped when a rumbling roar erupted right beside them. The ground shook and before Stephen knew it, he didn’t feel the ground anymore. His head got light and his side started to hurt. He didn’t know what was happening when his body lurched back to reality as he smashed into the tunnel wall. He fell on his stomach. He came to in pitch black. The chirping swelled to a tumultuous roar that filled his every thought and made his aching head pound. Sharp teeth tore into his leg and ripped him away from the tunnel wall. A hard object kept hitting his back.

“Stephen, Stephen, wake up! You’re never going to believe this. I just got off at the 5th Street Station to stop by the store…”

Discerning Peace

After talking with my dad on the phone yesterday, he reminded me that the Devil is out to cause us to get distracted and upset. He reminded me that we need to stick to the truth of the Cross and redemption through Jesus Christ. He reminded me that if something upsets me, I need to discern if that anger is righteous anger or an anger from the flesh.

The Bible tells us to discern good from evil and that we’ll get better at discerning the more we discern. Paul also told Timothy to avoid getting entangled in civilian affairs.

There are somethings going on this world  that are wrong (many things even) but some of these are things I don’t need to be involved in.

And in discerning the good and perfect will of God, I will find that there is peace in this tumultuous world in Jesus.

Two Truths

I have been reflecting on two parts of the New Testament recently.

Firstly, there is the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) (Emphasis added)

This clearly shows Christians that we must be outward focused. Going, befriending, discipling, teaching people to follow God and how to follow God. Teaching people about the commandments of God.

The second verse I have been pondering if found in Hebrews:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Hebrews 9:4 (ESV)

We live in a world where Christians are being martyred for their faith. They are being martyred at an alarming rate. Recently, we have seen the brutal, highly publicized accounts of Christians being shot and beheaded.

I am saddened that we live in a world where we have Christians becoming martyrs along side Christians who want to ban, hate, and discriminate against people who aren’t following God’s commandments.

I don’t see how we can take a verse like Hebrews 9:4 and use it to tell someone they can’t come to our stores. We are called to make disciples, to teach people how to follow God.

If someone who lives a lifestyle that is contrary to yours, pray for them. Tell them your praying for them. Ask them questions, tell them the truth in love. At least give them the chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. Don’t hate and judge and condemn someone. At least take the time to pray for them. Ask God how you can be used in your life, at your store, with your service to minister to people who need to hear the truth of God.

The Long Journey

There is a long distance between the sinful flesh and the holy, righteous God of the universe. It’s not just long, it’s an impossible distance. No one can cover it. We can only trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, the only Man, God the Son, who has come from the Father to lead us back to him.

Our long journey is simply being made more like Christ.

I hope to write a few entries on here that talk about my pursuit of Christ in this age of the world. It is a dark, broken world and the truth and light of Christ is more needed now than ever.

Christians should be quick to welcome in “sinners” and pray for them, lead them to Christ, to follow God’s will. To simply remove ourselves from the world or refuse to be amongst “sinners” is not at all what Christ has called us to.

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An Open Letter

Some of you may have heard the sad and shocking news that came out in West Michigan last week. An accomplished Christian radio DJ was arrested on 1st and 2nd degree CSC. I was horrified and appalled to read the details of the case. I was challenged and angry.

I had to spend time praying and seeking God’s heart.

After a few days, I realized what God wanted me to bring out of this terrible tragedy.

The heart of Father God is with those boys and girls enslaved in sex trafficking. This is a disgusting “practice” that should not exist in our world. I would imagine that many Christians felt betrayed by this story. However, the simple truth is that in all walks of life, there are men and women who are indulging in their sick desire for sexual gratification. These people fuel the demand for child prostitution. And this story highlights that even in West Michigan, this despicable trade of innocent children is thriving.

In light of this story, I would like to write an open letter and in the words of Beautiful Eulogy:

Dear whoever has ears to hear,

Please do not let this story become about the selfish actions of a Christian radio DJ. Please do not get stuck in a hate and reject cycle for this man. Please, please, please, fight to set the children free that are enslaved in prostitution and pornography. These are children that could be the same age as your kids. These are children who did not choose to be violated, they did not choose to end up in hotels with older men, with older women. These are not children who chose to have their innocence decimated, their will crushed, and their bodies mutilated.

Please, dear church, let this story intrude in your lives. Please let this story break your heart. Please research ways to fight human trafficking in your area. Please become informed. Please become aware.

Be ready to act, to be the hands and feet of Christ. Please know that you are challenged now to use this information to set free the captives. This issue needs to be given light, this issue needs to be addressed.

We need to send this message: this is not ok, this is not acceptable. If you are involved in this terrible tragedy against life and against God, seek help, seek healing, stop abusing children.

We easily find ourselves in cozy Christian bubbles. Maybe this story has intruded into life and caused you to see a wrong and injustice that you can’t ignore. You aren’t made to ignore this injustice. You aren’t made to ignore this abuse.

Stand with the afflicted, protect the downtrodden. And remember the words of Jesus, “It would be better for a millstone to be tied to your neck and then tossed into the sea than to cause one of the least of these to stumble.” And that Jesus came to bring life and life abundantly. He came to set free the captives, to open the eyes of the blind, to heal the sick, to proclaim liberty to captives.

We are the church. We are the body of Christ.

-Ben

PS. Here is an article describing human trafficking in Michigan

PPS. Here is a series run by Moody Radio on human trafficking