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03 January 2011

Conversion Scenes--Excerpts

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Voting box located at the end of this post)

Did you have a lovely holiday season? We at COTT certainly did. But after a two-week break, we're chomping at the bit to get clashing again!

To celebrate the New Year, this Clash will focus on new life in Christ and the joy of those first few moments with Him.

But first, do you notice anything different? COTT has moved to Blogger!

Why is Blogger so exciting? Because, now, you have the option of receiving COTT posts straight into your in-box. Never again will you forget to read our excerpts, vote, or find how which author belongs to your favorite excerpt. Subscribe any time during COTT's first 2011 Clash (Jan 3-14) and you'll be entered into our drawing. That's in addition to your after-voting entry! (Subscribe button located on side-bar.)

Something else you'll find new around here are extended clashes. To give you more time to vote and to give the authors more time to get to know you, we've lengthened each clash from one week to two. Voting will now take place Monday-Thursday night, every other week. For more details about our new schedule, check out "A Typical Clash" at the top of the page.

You'll find the voting box after the excerpts and at the end of this post. When you're done voting, don't forget to enter the drawing for a chance to win one of these great books! The drawing entry form is located in the side-bar. 

Now for the whole reason we're here--the excerpts!


“Oh dear. Not more talk about God,” Joleen frowned.

“Why so scared? Do you really think it was by accident that you came into my office that first time? Or met Sam, who led Jennifer to the Lord, who then led Jade to the Lord and so on? Everything that’s happened in the past couple of months has been so well orchestrated, it can’t be mere coincidence. God’s been in control all along.”

“You’re making quite a case, Counselor,” Joleen interjected with an amused smile.

He grinned, realizing his own zealousness was showing. “Okay, fine. I am. Because it’s the biggest decision of your life. Look at the changes in your own daughters. Do you want to be on the outside looking in?”

“You make it sound so – urgent.”

“It is! Harold didn’t have a split second to consider what would happen after death. For him it was too late.”

“Don’t compare me to Harold.  I’ve done lots of things I’m not proud of, but you were the one that said I had to learn to forgive myself and move on.”

“True. I’m not trying to make you feel bad. But nobody can stand up to God’s expectations. The Bible says, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’”

“So you’ve told me before.”

“At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say it again. Jesus is the only way. He took the penalty for sin - yours and mine - on that cross. That’s how much He loves you.”

“If he loves me so much, why did he let so many bad things happen in my life?” she asked.

“I can’t answer that for sure,” William replied. “All I know is, what Satan meant for harm, God can use for good. Will you let him? Take the pieces of your life and turn it into something good?”

“I’ve always wanted to be good,” she said quietly. “But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way any more.”

She laughed self depreciatingly. “All these years I’ve been trying to fill the emptiness inside. And now you’re telling me the answer is Jesus? Just ask him into my heart and that’s it?”

“It’s just that simple.”

There was a stilted silence. William rubbed the back of his neck wearily, afraid he had said too much. He didn’t want to push her away completely. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m putting way too much pressure on you, and that’s not what I want to do. Tonight was supposed to be a celebration and now I’m afraid I’ve spoiled it.”

“No, you haven’t spoiled anything,” she countered. “I’m just a bit stubborn, that’s all.”

“The decision has to be completely yours, whenever you’re ready,” William said.

“I’m ready.”

“What was that?” he asked, frowning.

“I said I’m ready,” she repeated, a grin spreading across her face.

“That’s what I thought you said,” he nodded, letting the twinkle in his eyes match hers.


As Pastor Paul Porter extended an altar invitation, Destiny sneaked a peek at Clay’s face. His hands had been fisted into white-knuckled balls for the past twenty minutes. Now a muscle worked in the strong line of his jaw as the familiar, sweet notes of “Softly and Tenderly” played in the background.

Miss Willard was consistent in her preference for the old hymns.

Right now, Destiny had no objection.

She laid a gentle hand over one of Clay’s hard fists. He opened his eyes and slanted a misty look her way even as he unfurled his fingers to wrap them around hers. Without a word, he nodded, and they stood. Destiny walked with him toward the front of the church, joyous tears dimming her vision.

Those tears began to fall in earnest when Jenna stepped out from a pew a few rows ahead of them. With a tremulous smile, Dr. Bob Clevenger’s high-society wife took Destiny’s other arm and the three of them continued down the aisle.

Destiny wondered if her heart could actually contain so much happiness. She breathed a prayer of gratitude for this double blessing, coming as it did on the heels of the most traumatic experience of her life.

Weeping endureth for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Thank you, Father, for this happy day!

Clay wanted to take the sisters out for lunch after church, but Jenna declined, stating her need to hurry home to Dr. Bob and the twins. Cassie and Carrie had slept over with a neighboring friend, which freed their mother to attend service without the girls in tow.

“I’ll be bringing them from now on.” Jenna’s face shone with a new light as she hugged them both goodbye. “But I think God worked it out for me to be alone this morning. Otherwise, I might not have been so willing to go forward.”

“I’m sure that’s true.” Destiny’s jaw throbbed, but she could not stop smiling. “Well, we’ll miss you, Squirt.”

“Stop calling me that!” Jenna sent her a playful glare as she slid behind the wheel of her BMW. “And I’ll take you up on it next time, Clay.”

They watched her back out of her parking space and turned toward their own vehicle. But Jenna’s voice stopped them.

“Clay!” she called. “This makes us twins—doesn’t it?”

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Item Reviewed: Conversion Scenes--Excerpts Rating: 5 Reviewed By: April Gardner