"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day."
Last Sunday I was praying about how to spend my day before service in the city at 7:30pm. It was one of those prayer times that feels like you're just talking to yourself. Feeling as though, 'I got nothin,' I decided to take my basketball and hit the courts in Kalmaria, one of the sea-side municipalities downtown.
To my surprise, there were quite a few people playing on the two, caged-in, full-courts. I walked in through the chain link gate and sat down on a bench as I watched a 2-on-2 game between a group of twenty to thirty-something guys.
I just sat there. I honestly wasn't sure what to do or say, so I just waited. After a minute or two they finished their game and one of them sat down beside me. I ask him if he spoke English. He did, so I introduced myself. He was a Serb. He asked me what I was doing here. I told him I was working with a church in the city. He said that he went to a Pentecostal church (which is pretty unusual) when he lived in Novi Sad. I asked him if he was attending a church in Thessaloniki. He wasn't and he asked me to text him the address of the Network Community, so that he could come check it out. We exchanged numbers. His buddies then beckoned him from the bench for another game, so we shook hands and parted ways.
That was easy. I didn't have to do... anything, really.
I was shooting around by myself on the far goal when a group of three college-aged guys and girls walked on to the adjacent court. I told them that if they needed a fourth man... hmm, fourth man (Dan. 3:25), to let me know. After they warmed up, another guy showed up, so they called me over for a game of 3-on-2. We played a pretty friendly, uneventful, fun game. I figured that was all it was purposed to be. After the game, we shook hands and three of the four departed. However, I noticed the fourth had a tennis racquet in his backpack. I asked him if he played (as if you would carry around a tennis racquet just for kicks...). Of course he did and asked me if I had someone to play with. I definitely don't and I love playing tennis. We exchanged numbers. He also inquired about my business in Thessaloniki, so I told him. He didn't quite understand my description of the church, so he thought he might check it out sometime. We exchanged numbers with a pending tennis engagement for next Sunday.
That was easy. Again, I didn't really have to do... anything; except perhaps, make myself available, be myself, and let the Holy Spirit do what He wants to do.
The Lord really reminded me that He is absolutely in love with the people of this city. He is really jealous for them and He is doing so much more work than I am likely aware of, drawing many of them unto Himself. I don't need to save them. I can't save them. They don't need Ben Bradford. They need Jesus, the only One who can Author and Perfect their faith.
"What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." - 1 Cor. 3:5-7
Please pray specifically:
- That Jesus would continue to have first place in everything (Col. 1:18).
- That I would be diligent to fulfill what I believe the Lord is calling me to do personally.
- That Amy, Jen, Kim, and I would be united in fulfilling our corporate call to reach young people.
- That our relationships within the body would be ordered and develop according to the will of God.
- That I would be effective in my communication to those interested in my life and work here.
With this in view:
I intend to update this blog on a weekly basis, at a minimum, for those interested in more frequent, detailed updates.
I intend to disseminate a newsletter via email on a monthly basis, for those that prefer a more concise, less-frequent update, in that medium.
Please send me your email if you would like to subscribe to the monthly newsletter. My email address is located in the About Me page.