(Read the first two chapters first)
It seemed liked yesterday when the three tennis buddies shared their views on the rainy Wednesday. All three were eager to meet again and learn more about each other. Max and Alex were both full of questions and could not wait to talk once they were done playing tennis.
Mad Max made it through the evening without breaking any of his rackets. Alex was especially curious and told the group that his wife would be joining us in the cyber cafe for our discussion. It was the first time she watched her husband play tennis in our group and he was on fire. The tennis ended when Alex ran around the net post to hit a backhand for a winner. His wife Becky cheered from the upstairs balcony as he high-fived his partner Max.
Alex was the first one to ask a question and it was directed at the cave man. He told the group that he and his wife were very interested in knowing more about why believers believe. The cafe was going to close in about an hour and it would take that long for the cave man to answer the question.
The cave man described his life as a child in a christian family. The pastor's thick accent made it difficult for the cave man to understand him. Church was more of a chore than anything else and he only attended because it was a requirement. As a teenager, the cave man went to church alone so he could sit in the back room known as the "crying room". One of his friends from high school also liked going to the Saturday service and it was a successful service when the two were alone in the special room so they could turn off the sound.
Once the cave man moved out, he pretty much stopped going to church. He became what many called a CEO (that means going to church on Christmas and Easter Only). His views on marriage were tainted due to the many divorces he observed. The one that hit the hardest was watching his own parents separate and divorce. He promised himself that he would never put himself in such a vulnerable position. It was better to live in a cave and be unhurt than to go through the pain of a divorce.
The cave man surrounded himself with people that shared the same values. When one of his closest friends asked him to be a best man at his wedding, a big fight started. The cave man actually tried to talk his buddy out of his marriage plans. Once his friend demonstrated absolute certainty that his plans were the best for him, the cave man accepted the job of best man. The marriage did not last and the cave man blamed himself for not doing a better job of explaining the dangers.
The cave man's journey to Jesus took an unexpected turn when he met his future wife. His group of friends went out once a week to socialize at a place called Malarkey's. This really great song came on and all of the cave man's friends headed for the dance floor. That is when the cave man saw his future wife for the first time. He pointed to the dance floor and smiled. That was the beginning of a bright future.
The two were inseparable. That included going to church once a week. The cave man found himself enjoying the time in church and spent the hour thanking God for his new girl friend. When it came time to get married, the cave man needed to find a pastor who could help him overcome some of his negative religious views. He was relieved when he found someone who could guide him.
Mr. and Mrs. Caveman were married in the Midwest in the same church where his wife was Baptized. The whole town came out for the celebration. The couple had three children and shared their faith with them. For the cave man, his faith could be best described as lukewarm, that is, thankful that God gave him a great wife and kids and willing to do some volunteer work to repay God for the good He had done in the cave man's life.
Alex, Max, and Becky leaned a little closer when the cave man described the vision he had while at a retreat. The two tennis buddies recalled the time the cave man missed tennis to be at the retreat but the cave man never talked about what happened until this evening.
The three were stunned by the experience that the cave man shared. Even though Alex and Becky were non-believers, they were touched by the cave man's story. They wanted to know more about the cave man's visions of the future where all the people were gathered in one place waiting for Jesus to return.
Alex was having trouble picturing himself with this group that was waiting for Jesus. His logic was getting in the way. Becky was thinking about her best friend that she lost to breast cancer. It was especially hard for her because she and her husband were both atheists. She could not accept the fact that she would never see her friend again and the cave man's story gave her hope.
It was mad Max that pointed out to the group that he noticed something different about the cave man after that retreat. The biggest change was that the cave man stopped swearing after missing a shot on the tennis court. The cave man added that most of the changes came from the inside. The biggest change was being able to let go of past grudges.
The cave man shared that he had been invited to speak at several retreats. He was speaking in front of people from his "team" at his church. He also got invited to another church in a town close by. It was the first time he shared his faith with strangers. One lady came up to him after his talk about meeting Jesus and told him she could not believe the boldness or lack of fear the man had. The cave man answered that he had nothing to do with it, that all the credit went to the Spirit that now lived in the cave man's heart.
The conversation in the cyber cafe was the first time that the cave man was speaking in front of non-believers. Mad Max was a believer but he was angry at God, so his presence was what the cave man considered to be another "Godincidence". The evening ended when the cave man disclosed that his life's purpose was to lead others to Jesus. He scribbled his blog address down for the group to check out and he told the group it was OK to share the site with others.
Becky thanked the cave man for sharing his past and told the cave man she wanted to bring a friend with her next week. Max and Alex enjoyed the cave man's story but they were not ready to change their views. They still had more questions. It was time to go home.
(note: you may join the cyber cafe group at any time, just email your questions for the group or invent your character and ask to join. Remember, this blog is for YOU and you are welcome to participate.)