The Kingdom is a Team

Jet lag is still nipping at my heals, but since I mentioned getting some “good news” out, I figure I’d better deliver.

As it turns out, God sometimes does use even cheese sandwiches. When Ahmed came to talk several weeks ago he was distressed and questioning the whole purpose of his life. And during the course of the conversation, (which involved a TV special where someone’s life was “changed by seeing Jesus in a cheese sandwich”), we spoke about how God really does change people’s lives when they encounter the living Christ.

We prayed together, but then I had to leave for Hawaii. So I introduced him to Tom, Kristie, and the Romanian outreach team who loved him, shared their stories with him, and showed him Jesus in everyday community. But they had to leave as well, and so they passed the ball off to Clay, who sat up talking and praying with him until the wee hours of the morning.

So to make a long story short, we met for coffee on Monday, and Ahmed told me he’s trusted Jesus and experienced first hand a change in his heart. (He said he even had to restrain himself from hugging a group of nuns who passed him on the street last week, which is quite a thing for a young Bosnian!)

Yesterday another friend, (a recent convert), told me his story of having to defend his faith with a group of five Wahabbis, (the radical Islamic sect). He said, “A year ago my life was so boring. But since becoming a Christian, I wouldn’t trade all those years of boredom for my one day of talking with the Wahabbis.”

The two things I want to highlight here are the “hallelujah” of seeing God at work in people’s lives, and the team aspect of the Kingdom. Paul said:

” I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow. What matters isn’t those who planted or watered, but God who made the plants grow. The one who plants is just as important as the one who waters. And each one will be paid for what they do. Apollos and I work together for God, and you are God’s garden and God’s building. .” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

All my life I’ve wanted to be a part of an adventure, and part of a winning team. And the Kingdom offers both.

6 thoughts on “The Kingdom is a Team”

  1. What is it here that you have won? What did “Kingdom of God” offered to Ahmed? Where is “something” that makes you feel good for being a part of “wining team”? I see no win here, i only see false so called “hope”. Nothing else. All those who live here know exactly how things are here.

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  2. I’m sorry you don’t understand. After all you’ve been through in Sarajevo, no one could blame you for reading a few of these entries and feeling confused or even angry.

    Obviously Bosnians have been betrayed by religion, politicians, neighbors, the United Nations and even the international community. These things promised hope, but failed in the end. But does this mean there is NO hope, or rather that the avenues explored so far have been empty failures?

    The Kingdom of God has NOTHING to do with force, politics, or military action. It’s guiding principles are simply love for God and sacrificial love for others. This “Kingdom” has not been tried and found wanting in Bosnia. It has simply never been tried. (Or if it has, I’ve never heard those stories).

    A kingdom that’s built on loving your enemies, doing good to those who hate you, and laying your life down for others, (Luke 6:27 & John 15:13) cannot fail because it begins in failure. It begins with throwing your life away, like a dead seed thrown on the ground. (Luke 9:24 & John 12:24)

    The “winning” I speak of is not about one particular person, religion, or nationality defeating another. Such empty victories always leave behind a “loser” groveling in shame and humiliation. Winning – in the Kingdom – is about someone like Ahmed, already lying in the dust, finding a reason to live again. Millions have experienced it over the centuries and taken their final breath with a song of joy in their heart. I can’t see how this could be interpreted as a “false” hope at all. It is a hope that’s rich, viable and strong.

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  3. Tell me Don, what if you let them down and what does happen after that? I presume you think that you know them that well so you can be sure you will not hurt them. But what if you do? In their way of thinking they may get a wrong picture, or they may feel betrayed.

    My question here is: Do you give them hope or God? If God gives them hope what are you in all of this? His instrument, maybe? Are you qualified? Do you really think you can change something?

    From what i see up above, you say that they fell betrayed by everyone and that God gives them hope that doesn’t include “outside” world. I wonder if you know what are you talking about? Do you really know how things are? Do you really know what they want and what their needs are?

    And just one more thing; Bosnians are not lying in dust and waiting to die, so that some “person” can come and show them salvation.WE are stronger then you think.Our people may be stupid sometimes and make mistakes (as the rest of the world) but we know who we are, we know what we believe and how we want to live.

    What you will never know is what we really think, and who we really are, i promise you do NOT know anything. You live on the informations and things that they present to you, nothing else.

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  4. Zdravo, Sarajevo Citizen! Dude… I really debated about whether or not to answer this last post. I have a gut feeling that nothing I say is going to satisfy you. But it’s hard for me to give up on people that easily, even when I’m pretty sure of what I’m seeing.

    Obviously you’re right about some of these things. My ignorance about Bosnia would easily fill Zeljo stadium. And there’s no question I sometimes DO, and sometimes DON’T know what I’m talking about. Nor is it within my power to “give” God, or even to give hope, to ANYONE. (If you re-read my blog, and our discussion you’ll see that I never made that claim in the first place. Only God can give hope, and the only contribution I might possibly make is to point to Him and say, “Look at this God!”)

    I’m only a man like you making mistakes along the way. And even though I try hard not to hurt anyone, It’ll surely happen, (in which case I’ll do my best to make it right and repair the damage). You ask if I’m qualified? Well, probably not by your standards. But I’m wondering what kind of a qualification a person must have in order to care about others? Do I really need a post-graduate degree in psychology to listen to people tell their stories and to cry with them? To engage in dinner conversations about ideas, experiences, news events, and movies? To pray for a friend, or tell him what an amazing difference Jesus has made in my life? After all, I’m not setting up shop in downtown Sarajevo and posing as a professional counselor.

    And by the way, I didn’t say Bosnians were “lying in the dust, waiting to die.” “Lying in the dust” was descriptive of Ahmed, and if you were to ask him I’m pretty sure he’d verify that picture. “Waiting to die,” would be your words, not mine. Neither did I say that Bosnians are “weak.” I’m hoping you simply misunderstood what I wrote, rather than to think you’d deliberately set up an imaginary conflict where none exists.

    If you truly ARE interested in talking about this stuff in a spirit of friendship, then why don’t you contact me at hawaiidon@aol.com, and we’ll meet for coffee. I’m always up for meeting new people with different ideas. I promise I’ll show up with an open mind to listen and learn from you. In fact, it would be an honor to hear what you, as a Bosnian, have to say about hope, false hope, making a difference, God, etc.

    HOWEVER, if you’re only interested in making the point that I’m not welcome in your country, we won’t need to have coffee for that. You’ve already made it clear. I’m grateful for the many other Bosnians who have embraced me as a friend.

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  5. The God of the cheese sandwich wripples on.

    “How great are his signs,how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:3

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  6. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

    The last thing i want to claim is that you are not wanted here. No, actually i prefer to know what people like you are doing here.You have every right to be here. I will contact you on your email address.

    And just for other readers one more question: Where are the results of your work?You are here for a long time know..

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