Saturday, 5 July, 2008
There was a light rain falling over Brisbane city as we prepared to share the gospel of Jesus Christ tonight. Cold and wet weather is not overl y common in Brisbane and the locals aren't used to such weather. So it was no surprise to see that the mall was nearly deserted when we arrived in the mall. But we don't preach for crowds we preach for the ones and the twos. If we get to share the gospel with one person then God be praised.
We were down a few numbers tonight, but we had enough to man all our normal ministry roles. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph. He started in preaching, but soon became sidetracked by a quiet Alex who was whispering questions to him. So we got Ralph to go to one side and deal with Alex in a one to one, while Andre preached.
Before Andre got up to preach he was engaged in a one to one conversation with a man who grasped the fullness of the Gospel. The man stated that he was going right home to repent and get right with God.
Andre preached for a bit, and there were very few people standing listening. While he was preaching a few one to ones were also occurring in the background. At about 10:15pm, I decided to preach, I had a head cold so I didn't want to preach for very long. But God had other plans.
I started by preaching from Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 20:11-15, and I focused on God's judgment upon a sinful society and how His wrath abides on those who do not know the Christ. Alex began to heckle at this time, but he wasn't his normal self tonight. He was yelling that I was lying, so I asked him to please tell those listening what exactly I said that was a lie. Alex couldn't answer, so it appears that he just made it up as he went along.
He didn't heckle to much after that, and I had the chance to explain the gospel to those who were listening. A heckler then opened up saying "you don't know the Bible, how dare you say Jesus Christ is God, the Bible says in John 1:1 that Jesus was ‘a god'." This is a common argument of the Jehovah Witnesses, so I countered it, but I was a bit surprised to find out that the heckler was not a JW but rather a Roman Catholic.
After preaching for awhile a small group formed in around me. And then a question got asked that always seems to fire up the crowd. A young woman in the crowd held the hand of a woman next her and said "What does God think about lesbians?" Instantly I knew this was an ambush, so I answered by saying, "The Bible says that lesbianism is sin, but God does not just judge homosexuals, but He will judge all sinners be it homosexuals or heterosexuals"
The women began to hurl abuse at me while I preached, and then from my right a big man came up yelling "NO NO NO! YOU'RE WRONG! THE BIBLE DOESN'T SPEAK ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS!" I replied by showing him from the Bible where it exactly condemns it. He ignored it and kept saying that it was my interpretation, so I read out Romans 1, and asked him what the correct interpretation was. He ignored and just started to make statements to distract from the topic at hand. It turned out that his daughter is a lesbian, so I understand why he was upset, as this man was professing to be a Christian, and yet based on the Bible his daughter was damned. But this man had more of an issue, he was showing much rotten fruit in his life, his language was something that would make you blush. Yet, even though he abused and cursed, he maintained that he was a Christian.
By now I had two young men heckling me who were Muslims, so I was trying to engage them in conversation. But the big man kept interrupting. He started to accuse me of attacking other religions, so I asked the Muslims if I was attacking them or if I was merely asking them questions. They both stated I was not attacking them. The big man didn't like that so once again he became abusive.
During this time a teenager climbed up next to me, and tried to hit me in the face with his skateboard. So I pushed it away, and then he accused me of hitting him. No one in the crowd believed his story so I kept on speaking.
I did my best to deal with hecklers, and answer there questions. The big man kept at me till after midnight, then as I began to wrap it up. He stepped up and started to curse and blaspheme God, then in the next breath say that he was a Christian. So I asked him not to curse God's name, and if he wants to continue in his sin, then please don't claim to be a Christian. The man said he would claim to be whatever he wants. So I replied from the Scripture and pointed out that the Bible says he is not a Christian.
Well that set him off, he stood right up in my face and started to poke his finger at my mouth, the tip of his finger was within centimetres of my mouth. His body language revealed that he was about to hit me, so I dropped my Bible behind me, and put my hands in front of me in an effort to fend off any attack. The man ranted on, and then he snapped. He swung out at me, and grabbed me by my jacket and started to pull me towards him. While he was pulling me he was screaming, so I took the appropriate action to get him off me, and to defend myself.
After a while the police came and spoke to both of us and then done nothing. Although one of the police officers said that they would be watching the man on the security cameras in case he tried something again. Just as we were leaving the man shook my hand and said "You guys do a good job, and I respect that!" A few minutes earlier he wanted to punch my face in, and now he is thanking me. Sometimes I wish people would just make up their minds.
Anyway, it was a good night, and the gospel got out!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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.