Saturday, 15 March, 2008
Posted 20 March 2008, 11:20 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink
Anyone who engages in Christian ministry would soon tell you that once you start doing something for the Kingdom of God, then the enemy will attack. This week has just been one attack after another, and the constant lies that are being told about me, and concern the m inistry are starting to wear me down. But, one has to stop and think about why these attacks? While on one hand it hurts to be attacked by those who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters in the faith, but on the other hand I have grown deeper into God during this time. Something I have noticed is that as you dig deeper into God, then the attacks increase. Some have suggested I turn my back on the ministry and walk away, since the pain isn’t worth it, some have contended that is better for me to lay down my sword and just surrender, since I am loosing friends.
As I think about it, I have to wonder why would I surrender? Why would I give up? My King is the one who humbled Himself and came to earth in the form of a man to save His people from their sins. Why should I leave the ministry when my Master is the one who was rejected and despised by those whom He created? If He can endure all those things, then surely I can stand firm with His help! During this time I have taken great encouragement from the Scriptures, and also from the song “I’d rather have Jesus”:
"I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name"
All those thoughts were running through my mind as I set about preparing for the our weekly Brisbane outreach. Tonight was going to be a tough night, since it was the day of the Irish - St. Patrick’s Day. For the past two years whenever we preached on St. Paddy’s Day we always ended up with large hostile crowds. So I set about trying to rally extra troops for the nights event. Sadly, we couldn’t get any back up, so we fielded a team of around ten.
This week it was good to have Bibles, our re-stock had arrived from the USA The Brisbane team has decided to change the Bible we give away from the King James to the English Standard Version, while it is a more expensive translation, we think that it is easier to understand for the common man. Furthermore, I would contend that it is the best translation on the market today.
For the past few weeks we have been joined on the streets by Ralph, he has shown some real encouraging signs as he goes about witnessing. He appears to have a real deep passion for the lost, and also to see God glorified. So it was time for him to break the sound barrier. He was to be our first preacher for the night. He stood up and began to preach from Romans 3, and the Depravity of Man.
Not long into his message a heckler whom we have encountered before started in on him. This man professed to be a Jew, my first thought was “Wow, Ralph has got a hard one”, normally one finds those of Jewish origin the hardest to reach, but then he identified himself as an atheist. Yet, the arguments he presented were more from a humanistic mindset. I felt sorry for Ralph since his first heckler turned out to be a humanistic Jewish atheist. It was good to see that Ralph held his own, and the heckler drew a larger crowd in.
After about twenty minutes, Andrew Hsu was tagged in to deal with the hecklers. Andrew did a brilliant job of dealing with them apologetically, and then swinging in to the cross of Christ. The crowd continued to build during this time, which meant more hecklers for Andrew to deal with. He covered a wide range of topics, from Judaism through to Atheism.
It was around 11pm at night when I was tagged in, my first thought was to answer the questions and then disperse the crowd, since we were short staffed and there was a growing hostility from the mostly drunk crowd. The young man I began to deal with was a hard evolutionist, and was rather hostile in his defence of the position. But, I was encouraged to see him approach the subject with an openness to learn more. So I spent some time looking evolution from a scientific position and how it is a belief purely based upon faith. From here we began to look at the Christian worldview and the Bible’s statements on Creation and fall. This produced a chance to talk about the glorious grace of God. After awhile I stood down and began to speak to the young man and his friend in a one to one situation. They were both interested in talking, and they took some of the free booklets we give away which we got from Creation Ministries International.
During this time Mr. Bible Burner from the week before came back, and became rather hostile. He once again began to threaten to burn Bibles, so again I stood my ground and told him that if he wanted to burn Bibles then he had to go through me. He stepped up and began to make threats. I pointed out to him that he has no authority
over me except that which God gives him. He then started to talk about how him and his gang could all knife me to death. At this stage he put his hand quickly into his pocket, and grabbed something. Since he had just made a threat concerning a knife I decided to step back and put myself into a defensive position. He kept on advancing towards, me so I put myself side on to him, and extended my arm so he could not get near my body. During this time the threats continued, so I gave the order that Warren was to go and get the police. The young man wanted to know why I would call the cops in, so I informed him because I believed him to have a knife. He denied having one and brought his hand out of his pocket. He then began to bang his chest and make more threats.
At this point, I just told him to stop acting so tough as he has nothing to prove to me. He seemed stunned, I then began to talk about how he acts tough, yet when he goes home by himself it is then that he realises that he has no peace, for as the Scripture says the wicked have no peace. He then went onto the back foot and started to try and prove that he was at peace. I pointed out that he had no peace with God because He was still in his sins, but then I said “God loves you so much in that He sent Christ to die for you if you would believe!” He had calmed down a lot now, and began to ask questions about Dinosaurs and the Bible. This was an opening to teach from the Scriptures, so I began to explain it all to him, he listened and understood. Now his gang approached and a few of them began to mouth off at me, but he turned and told them to be quiet as him and I were talking.
Please pray for that young man, pray that God would grant him repentance.
After this we began to pack up, and as we packed up some young men approached us a began to mock the gospel. Saying that they were good, so I reached over and grabbed my Bible and beginning at Romans 3:23 began to show them that they were sinners in the sight of God. It turned out that they had a Jehovah Witness background, and they didn’t like us referring to Jesus as God. This led me to ask “What if I can show you in the Bible where God the Father calls the Son God?” They laughed and said it wasn’t there, I flipped my Bible over to Hebrews 1:8 and got them to read it. They both looked at each other and then said “How do we get around that?” Before we could go any further there gang came in and the leader began to yell at us. One of the gang members took a tract ripped it up and then spat on it. The gang laughed, so I pointed out that he just spat on and rejected the very God that gives them breath and will one day judge them. The two JW’s paid attention but the others decided it was time to leave.
Please keep all those we encountered tonight in prayer. Pray that God will change our city, and that He will receive all the Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
View previous Brisbane report (8 March 2008)
Brisbane Team (Night) (QLD)
Meets every Saturday night at the moment in King George Square 7-10pm. To see what happens on an Operation 513 Outreach in Brisbane, watch this short video.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
Brisbane Team (Day) (QLD)
Meets Wednesday afternoons 1-5pm in King George Square (near Adelaide St crossing).
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.