Below is an excerpt of my first Christian fiction novel! I've been working on this baby since 2008. Give it a read, leave me a comment and/or just leave your reaction, is it funny, interesting or not interesting? Your insight can only make me a better writer! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like it, share it with others! Merry Christmas!!
When the Roberts pulled up in the church parking lot, it was about thirty minutes before the service was scheduled to start. They were lucky to be alive after Carol’s ‘Ricky Bobby’ driving demonstration. Daniel thought the car was going to turn over when his mom made that last sharp turn. Daniel noticed his cousin Michelle and her son Miller going toward the children’s church enclave but the view of Wynsome’s pale green Volkswagen Jetta coming up the drive quickly sidetracked him.
When Wynsome put her car in park, Daniel opened her car door. “Good morning, how are you?” Daniel greeted her.
“Just peachy, how are you?”
“I’m good. I’m so glad to see you.”
As Carol and Paul walked toward the church, they heard Oneilia Sutton, the church secretary belt out, “Good morning, God’s favorite people!” as she gave them a huge hug. The Suttons were her favorite couple at church. They shared the same heart for the same causes.
Carol responded, “Good morning. Have you gotten a chance to rest since the seasoned seniors’ celebration Friday night?”
“We sure did, Carol; I slept all day Saturday, Ralph, explained. Ralph and Oneilia are founding members of their church.
“Paul, we should get our propers for showing the womenfolk how it’s done in the kitchen. We are the reason the seasoned senior’s celebration was a success,” Ralph declared. Paul nodded his head and waved his right hand in agreement.
Jodie, the Suttons’ only child, looked impeccable standing next to her parents. Carol couldn’t help but notice the real pearl accessories in her ears, on her neck and on her wrist. She even had on make-up for a change. Carol always thought it ideal for Daniel and Jodie to get married even though Jodie was four years older than Daniel. Who’s to say, it could still happen. I’m not too sure about this Wynsome child, Carol thought.
“Jodie, you look flawless in that pearl suit,” Carol complimented her, approving of the skirt with the perfect church hemline--a touch above the knee.
“Thank you, Mrs. Roberts,” Jodie replied with the sincerest smile she could muster. She really wasn’t in the mood to be social. She had a million thoughts running through her mind. She couldn’t stop thinking about the mess her life had become.
“Honey, those stunning red shoes look too expensive to even touch the ground! Five-inches! I used to be able to wear shoes like that!” Carol went on, noticing Jodie’s hands fidgeting around her neck.
Jodie wondered whether the bruise on the left side of her neck was noticeable. She had tried to hide it with the collar of her suit but wasn’t sure she had been successful. Even though she hated wearing make-up, she wore it today to conceal the mark under her left eye.
The Suttons headed toward the church doors and motioned for the Roberts to come along but they chose to wait on Daniel and Wynsome. When Wynsome and Daniel joined his parents at the side doors of the church, there was no time to spare. Daniel quickly introduced his crush to his parents. Paul nodded and rushed them through the doors, “Let’s all get to our seats.”
All church members knew where the Roberts sat. Their name was not on the pew but it was permanently in the mind’s eye of the congregation. Any church member would take the initiative to inform any visitor that wasn’t aware. They got to their usual place on the right side of the pulpit just as Michelle returned from dropping Miller off at the children’s church enclave. Carol was overjoyed her niece had agreed to come to church and brought her son with her.
The praise and worship team emerged from the side doors of the sanctuary singing, “We’re blessed in the city, we’re blessed in the field, we’re blessed when we come and when we go. We cast down every stronghold. Sickness and poverty must cease. The devil is defeated. We are blessed.” Michelle enjoyed the music but didn’t know exactly what to do with her limbs. She had always felt uncomfortable during praise and worship, all the raised hands and swaying back and forth. What is all the fuss about? It don’t take all that.
Wynsome, on the other hand was experiencing sensory overload. The band’s electric guitar, saxophone, trumpet and snare drum made her want to dance. She had to stop herself from taking it to the club.
In the rear of the church, Jodie tried hard to hide her boredom. Church was not enjoyable for her anymore. It had become a chore. She noticed an old acquaintance staring at her from the opposite side of the church and said a silent prayer he would stop. Grunting, she whispered to herself, another horrible mistake. When her mom nudged her, she immediately started singing and clapping her hands though half-heartedly.
The Reverend Josephine Ashley, the new associate minister, moved toward the pulpit, “Good Morning, Saints! Even though some parishioners continued to stand and worship, choir members took their seats. “In the next two Wednesdays I’ll lead our first Truthseeker’s Young Adult forum for ages 18-35. This is not ‘yo’ mama’s bible study’ so please, young people, come out.”
Rev. Ashley had been trying to make some major changes at the church and she hoped this one would get more young people involved and desiring to serve God. Her description intrigued Daniel and he made a mental note to attend. I hope I can convince Michelle and Wynsome to come too.
After Rev. Ashley took her seat, Pastor Longhorn moved toward the pulpit for his weekly message. “Good Morning, Church.” Brother Odell King responded loudly from the far recesses of the church, “Mo’ning, Mo’ning,” in his familiar southern drawl. Brother King was well known for responding to Pastor in the most unusual of ways. At any point during the service, he might yell “shut up,” “sho’ nuff,” “trying to get to heaven,” or “I swone it,” his way of saying I swear. The teenagers cast lots to predict what he would say next. His-five-foot-five inch-stature, potbelly, and baby hands added to his caricature-like persona. Brother King was normally the first person at church and the last one to leave. After all, when he was in the world, he was always the first person in the shot house and the last one out, so he brought that same mentality to the Lord’s house.
“This morning, I would like to take a few minutes to start a new series,” Pastor Longhorn began. This is especially for our college students going off to school, but don’t you grown folks stop listening. The Lord has something in this message for you today too. For you all taking notes, and all of you should be taking notes, the title of today’s lesson is ‘New Beginnings.’ It’s a new school year, with new academic challenges, new peers, new temptations and new freedoms. Some of you non-students may need to make a fresh commitment to the Lord, on your jobs, or to your spouses. Amen? “
“Amen!” the congregation responded.
“Our text today comes from 1 Peter 2:16 and 2 Peter 1:5-11. Ready? Read-1 Peter 2:16:
‘Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.’ College students, you will experience freedoms you have never had before. You must be prepared to make your own choices--the right choices--when your parents are not present. Amen?”
“Shut up!” Brother King yelled.
Startled and confused, Wynsome looked around. Who in the world would say that while someone is speaking, she asked herself. The teenagers seemed to know exactly what was going on. They let out a chorus of snickers from the teen corner on the left side of the pulpit.
“We like to dwell on the free men, free will part of this verse but this verse also says we should live as servants of God. Some of you may be thinking, what exactly are you trying to say, Pastor? Well let’s take a look at 2 Peter 1: 5-11. . .“
“I’m running out of time so I’ll make this brief,” Pastor Longhorn said. “I know a lot of you have sending-off celebrations after church today.”
“Amen,” Michelle mumbled.
“In my reading,” Pastor Longhorn continued, “the word self-control stayed in my Spirit and I continued to meditate on it. Then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me- remind your congregation that when temptations come, they must be steadfast so the world can see we are truly servants of God. This is how we produce fruit and effectiveness for the Lord our God. Amen?” The church said Amen.