A young artist starting out in the demanding advertising world; challenged through trials.
| “Hey, Jen, let’s take a lunch break.” Mica stated as she stepped into Jen’s office.
“Okay, just let me color in this last section.”
“That ad is incredible! I can’t get over how talented you are at designing new ads. What’s your secret? How do you come up with new ideas so easily?”
“I don’t know, Mica, I guess God just blessed me with the ability to think outside the box.”
“Jen, you always talk about God, as if he were your best friend. How can you do that?” Mica stated as she reflected, “You remember, I promised I would ask you after you succeeded with the MacIntyre account.”
“Yes, I do remember. I was just waiting for you to come to me.” Jen stated, trying not to place any pressure on Mica.
“Jen, isn’t God just some spirit somewhere up there in the sky?” Mica asked remembering all she had been taught by her family.
“Mica, God is here. He is more than what you call a spirit. He is real and is with me every minute of everyday, Jen said as she straightened up her desk area, “Let’s go to lunch where we can talk about this more freely. I don’t want to be accused of proselytizing here at the office.”
Jen and Mica entered their favorite quiet Chinese restaurant and found a booth where they could talk. After ordering and receiving their first course, Mica began telling Jen about her upbringing.
“Jen, I never was one for going to church. My parents lead me to believe that God was just some far off spirit. We attended church on Christmas and Easter only. My parents didn’t believe we needed anymore than that…I want to hear about the God that you know. You are so different from all the other girls and I have often wandered why. Please tell me about your God.” Mica pleaded.
“Mica, God is real. He created the beautiful world and made each of us. He knew that sin had entered the world when Adam and Eve took a bite of the fruit from the tree of life and that all of us have a sinful nature, no matter how good or kind we are. He sent his son, Jesus, into the world to walk with us and then die for our sins. Mica, God loves us that much. He gave his only son so that we can live and he forgives us. Mica, Jesus died for you just like he died for me. He loves you that much. Mica, he can be with you everyday any where you are and the best part is when you die, you can be with him in heaven forever.”
“But, Jen, I’m really good. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink or swear and I’m’ still a virgin. Isn’t that enough?” Mica asked sincerely.
“No, Mica, you have to accept him as your personal Savior. You have to admit that you believe in Him and ask Him to come into your heart.”
“Jen, how will I know that he is there and won’t leave me?”
“Mica, trust me, you will have a peace that passes all understanding. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have stress and trials, but you will have the knowledge and feeling that you are not alone. He will always be with you.”
Mica sat eating and thinking about what Jen had said. She thought about all the things that had happened in her life. She thought about all the times she had feared dying because she didn’t want to be gone and not exist anymore. She didn’t want to be gone and forgotten. As Jen continued to talk to her about God, she began to understand that she needed God in her life. She wanted to spend eternity with God, not eternity in hell burning and being tortured forever. That is when she stopped Jen in mid sentence.
“Jen, I really believe that God exist and that Jesus died for my sins. What do I need to do now?”
“Mica, you need to pray to accept Jesus as your Savior. Why don’t you pray after me?”
Jen began as Mica repeated, “God, I do believe in you and I believe you sent your son, Jesus, to die for me. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior and I want him to come into my heart to live and save me. I thank you for this beautiful gift you gave me. Forgive me for all my sins. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Mica sat there for a couple of minutes as she felt all the stress life had offered her, disappear.
“Jen, I do feel peaceful…Oh, thank you so much! Is that all I need to do?”
“No, you need to find a church where you can learn more about God and to grow closer in your walk with Jesus. You also need to be baptized.”
“Yes, Jesus set the example of being baptized by having John the Baptist baptize him. John took him out into the Jordan River and basically buried him in the water. It was a symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection that was to come. Jesus asked us to be baptized after we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. This is a representation of us dying to sin and then rising up in forgiveness and eternal life with Jesus.”
“Jen, I have no idea what church to go to.”
“Why don’t you come to church with me on Sunday? I belong to a small church that is Bible based and the other church members are like family. They are so loving and caring. I know you would love them as much as I do.”
“I would love to go with you.”
“Great! I am so excited! Mica, you are not only my best friend, but now you are my sister in Christ…By the way, Mica, Happy Birthday!”
“It’s not my birthday.”
“Oh, yes it is! You have been born again today and you have a whole new life to live.”
“Wow! I had no idea. That is wonderful! It’s my birthday.” Mica whispered in awe.
“Now, let’s hurry up and finish our lunch because our hour is almost over.”
Jen and Mica ate their lunch and hurried back to the office.
“Tell me Jen, are you still riding back and forth on the cable car with Mr. Stevenson? I mean he is so handsome and what a great catch! You know you could be a partner’s wife if you give him the slightest chance. He really seems to like you.”
“Yes, we still ride together, but I’m not interested.”
“What’s not to be interested in?”
“He is not a Christian, Mica. I can’t get involved with anyone who is not a Christian.”
“Because the Bible tells us we should not to be unequally yoked.”
“You mean because he isn’t a Christian, you can’t date him or marry him?”
“I guess I do have a lot to learn.”
They entered the building and went back to their offices to work.
Later that day, Jen, left the office floating on air. She had led her best friend to the Lord and completed her ad a full day early. She had given it to Larry to present and the client had accepted it and was ecstatic and ready to begin using it.
“You know, at this point, you, too will be senior partner at an early age,” a familiar voice said behind her as Jen spun around with a huge grin on her face. “You look to be in quite a festive mood. I mean above and beyond your success at selling your great ad. Care to share?”
It had been several weeks since she had really had any time to talk to Jonah. He had been out of town in the New York office.
“You wouldn’t understand.” Jen said as she thought about how she could witness to Jonah without isolating him as her boss.
“Try me! Stop and have dinner with me and tell me about what has you walking on air.”
Jen let out a frustrated sigh.
“I can’t Jonah.”
“But…why? Is it something I said or did?”
“No, I just can’t.”
“Oh, you’re afraid to go out with the boss. Is that it?”
“Yes and no,”
“Then stop and tell me why…right now!” Jonah stated with frustration.
“You’re my boss, which makes it wrong.” Jen said more forcefully than she had intended.
“That’s it!” Jonah exclaimed in utter disbelief.
“Yes, I don’t get involved with my boss.”
“But, I’m a great guy. Even though I am your boss I promise I won’t take advantage you and I will always be a gentleman.” Jonah was almost pleading.
“It’s more than that.”
“If I wasn’t your boss, would you go out with me?”
“To be absolutely honest with you, I wouldn’t. Not being my boss would not change anything. Jonah, I don’t date men who are not Christians and I assume that your lack of mentioning God in any of your past or current lifestyle, means that you are not a Christian. I will not change that standard. I don’t expect you to understand, but God tells us in the Bible that we are not to be unequally yoked. That means not dating anyone that is not a Christian. I look at every man I date as a possible mate in the future; someone that God might have in his plan for my life. I don’t throw myself at men and I don’t try to rush into a relationship. To be honest, I am in no hurry to get married right now and I am just enjoying being single. I know that God will let me know when I meet the man that he has prepared for me. I hope this hasn’t hurt your feelings or offended you in any way, but that is how I feel and I can’t change who I am or what God wants me to be.”
“Oh! I’m sorry,” Jonah looked crestfallen, knowing he had no interest in God.
“Me…too,” Jen stated in a sad tone as she walked away from Jonah.
Jen quickly hopped on the cable car, as Jonah stood there stunned. He had never had a woman totally refuse to go out with him. He had always been able to get a date and he had even had a couple of serious girlfriends.
Jonah decided to walk for a while. “What was so different about this woman?” he asked himself in confusion and some indignation. He thought about what she had said. “It can’t be that simple,” he thought, “Maybe she is just not worth it.” But, what she said continued to haunt him.
Jen got home. She was so excited about her best friend, but that was not what was on her mind right now. She had been bothered by her interaction with Jonah. She decided that she needed to pray about him. She liked him a lot, but she knew what God required from her. She had gotten to know Jonah quite well as they commuted together everyday, by cable car. She was interested in him for more than just a relationship. Her interest at this point and time was in his spiritual life. Jen got on her knees in her living room and prayed.
“Dear Father, I praise your name for this incredible day. I praise you for bringing Mica to a point of realizing that she needed you as her personal Savior. Thank you for saving her. She is now my sister in Christ. Father, I also thank you for once again providing me with good wholesome ideas that not only satisfied my clients, but also impressed them. Lord, that is my first reason for working in the advertising world. I want to make a difference with good morals and clean advertising. It is such an unheard of thing in this world today. I give you all the glory, Lord. I thank you and praise you.
Father, I come to you, right now, to ask for your guidance in how to reach Jonah for you. Yes, Lord, I am attracted to him, but I know what your word says. I know it says that we are not to be unequally yoked. Father, I come to you as someone who is concerned about Jonah’s soul more than a relationship. I pray, Lord, that you would use me to reach him for you. I pray that he, like Mica, will see a great difference in my life compared to others. I pray that you would use me to be your witness to him. If not, Lord, I pray you will provide a male friend that is a Christian, to make a difference in his life. Father, I thank you for this wonderful day and all your blessings. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Jen knew it was Wednesday night and she needed to get ready for the Bible Study at church. She decided to call Mica and see if she wanted to go with her.
“Mica, this is Jen. Are you busy tonight?”
“No, did you have something you wanted to do?”
“Mica, I go to Bible Study on Wednesday nights and I thought you might enjoy going. It is a singles Bible study at my church. It would give you a chance to start learning about the Bible as well as meet others that are our age that are Christians.”
“Wow, Jen that sounds great! Yes, I would love to go. Have you had dinner yet?”
“No, I can come by and pick you up in about 15 minutes. Would that be alright?”
“That would be great! But, Jen, I don’t have a Bible.”
“Don’t worry, Mica, I have an extra Bible you can use. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
“Okay, I’ll be ready.”
Mica was waiting on the front steps of her apartment building when Jen drove up. Mica climbed into Jen’s SUV and they drove a couple of miles.
“Jen, where are we going to eat dinner?”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, there is a supper at church on Wednesday nights. It is always a home cooked meal, so I love to eat there on Wednesdays. Besides, I get to spend time with other singles and my church friends.”
“I’m nervous about this, Jen. I haven’t been in a church in a long time. I hope I don’t mess up somehow.”
“Mica, we are all just people. The only difference is that we are forgiven, just like you. You will find that we are a loving, caring people. I promise no one will bite you.”
Jen watched as Mica physically relaxed after their conversation.
Jen and Mica arrived at a small white clapboard church. The parking lot was about two-thirds full of cars and Mica noted that several people were exiting cars and entering a long narrow building.
“Wow, a lot of people go to church on Wednesday nights! I thought they only went to church on Sundays.”
“Mica, the church doors are open almost everyday, but there are formal meetings on Sundays and Wednesdays.”
Jen and Mica jumped out and walked into the Fellowship Hall where Jen began introducing Mica to young and old alike. They both went through the buffet style line and got their food. Then, Jen led Mica to a table where there were two single girls and three single men. Jen introduced Mica to Laurie and Mike; Susie and David, who were both couples. She then introduced Mica to Martin.
“Martin, this is Mica Barton. She is my best friend and as of today, my sister in Christ.”
Martin smiled warmly at Mica, “Happy Birthday!”
“Thanks,” Mica replied.
“Mica, this is Martin Travis, our pastor.”
Mica tried to hide her shock, so she smiled and shook his hand.
“You’re so young to be a preacher,” Mica stated.
“I know. I get that all the time.”
They sat down and visited while they ate. Martin filled Mica in on what she could expect and find at this church. Soon, it was time for Bible Study. Martin excused himself and hurried off to get ready to teach.
“C’mon, let’s find seats up front,” Jen stated.
Jen and Mica threw away their trash and turned their dishes in to be washed. They walked from the Fellowship Hall over to the Sanctuary where they sat in the second pew from the front.
Jen showed Mica how to use her Bible while they waited for the study to begin. Mica listened to the message that Pastor Martin presented to the congregation. Mica did her best to keep up with what he was saying and looking up the verses he was reading. Mica had so many questions she wanted to ask, but knew she couldn’t ask them in front of everyone.
After the study was over, Jen and Mica walked out the front doors of the church. Mica saw Pastor Martin standing just outside on the steps greeting people and expressing words of encouragement as they left, so she decided to thank him for his message.
“Mica, Jen, I am so glad you came tonight! Mica, I hope you were able to understand some of what I talked about tonight?”
“I did, Pastor Martin, but I have so many questions.”
“That’s good. Mica, since you are a new Christian, why don’t you read the book of John. It might help you with some of those questions. I’m sure Jen would love to talk to you about some of them and I am usually available if you want to give me a call here at church.”
“Thank you, Pastor Martin, I’ll do that.”
“You both have a good rest of the week and I hope to see you both again on Sunday.” Pastor Martin wished them, as they walked down the front steps.
As Jen drove Mica back to her apartment, they chatted about the day’s events. Mica knew that she was so full; she felt she was going to burst.
“Jen, tell me about why Jesus spent so much time with tax collectors, harlots, and bad people. I loved hearing about the stories Pastor Martin told tonight, but why did Jesus spend so much time with those people. I thought they were all sinners and that Jesus wouldn’t have time for them. Why didn’t Jesus just spend time with nice people like you and me instead of people like that? They seemed so unworthy and beyond being saved.”
“Mica, Jesus came to save all people, not just nice decent people. We all have sinned in one way or another and in Jesus’ eyes all sin is the same. I guess if others saw him reaching the tax collectors and harlots, then they would know there was hope for them.”
“Why didn’t the Pharisees and Sadducees believe him, then? Weren’t they the religious leaders of their time? I would think that they would have been excited that Jesus was there in the flesh to teach and heal everyone. I just don’t understand why they would turn their backs on him. That was the part of Pastor Martin’s teaching that I didn’t understand.”
“Only God knows the real answer, but I guess it was because they were the ones who took all the laws that God gave them and twisted them to their own needs and desires and then enforced them. Then, they thought they could do no wrong. Besides they thought the Messiah, Jesus, would come to earth like a great king, who would fight their battles for them and not like a baby, who grew up to be a man and lived a humble life.” Jen tried to explain in a manner that she thought Mica would understand.
“Jesus was an incredible man. I can’t wait to learn more about my Savior.” Mica stated with a smile on her face.
“Don’t forget to read the book of John. It will give you the story of why Jesus came to earth and what he did while he was here. Oh, and be careful when you look in your Bible for John. It is the fourth book in the New Testament, which begins in the middle of the book. There is also 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. Those books are not the same.” Jen instructed.
“I won’t forget.” Mica responded.
Jen dropped Mica off at her apartment and then drove the twenty or so blocks to her own apartment. Once she got ready for bed, she opened her worn Bible to the book of John. She decided to reread it so that she could help answer any questions Mica might have the next day. After reading a couple of chapters she got on her knees and prayed.
“Father, I thank you for Mica. I pray that you will be with her as she reads your word. I pray that you will make your word not only clear to her, but also real. Please help me to know how to answer her questions. I pray that you will bless Mica by unlocking her mind so she will understand your words. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”