Monday 22nd November 2010
Today was the first day of Schoolies Outreach – the outreach where we spend a week evangelising at the Gold Coast during the year 12 end-of-school celebrations. For it, 5 of us booked a unit nearby to stay for the week.
After arriving at our unit, we headed out to the streets of Surfers Paradise at 7:30pm. There we met up with a few other people who were joining us for that night’s outreach. Once we had prayed together, we went out to our usual spot to hand out gospel tracts and do some preaching.
It was very busy, and as the night progressed it got even busier. Just after 9pm I decided to do some preaching, but there was so much ambient noise that it was extremely hard to be heard. There were a few people who stopped to listen, and I was able to bring them through the good person test. For them to hear me though, I had to speak very loudly, which was straining my voice. So only after about 20 minutes I stood down.
I had really good conversation with a Schoolie named Mark. I asked him first up whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He thought he would. So I asked him whether he had broke some of the commandments – like lying, stealing, using God’s name in vain, and lust. He had. I pointed out that the punishment for sin (even just one sin) is eternity in Hell. This concerned him, and so he commented, “How can I get to Heaven then, as I have had sex outside of marriage?” I then told him of the death of Jesus, how He died on the cross taking the punishment for our sins. I then instructed him that the way of forgiveness is by repenting (turning from sin) and trusting that it is only the death of Jesus why he can go to Heaven.
That all made sense to him, so I asked, “When are you going to repent and trust in Jesus?” He said he would go back to his hotel tonight and really ponder what he heard.
A few hours later I saw him again and he said to me, “What you’ve said is really stuck on my mind. I am heading home now, I’m going to repent tonight.” Please pray for Mark that his profession of faith may be genuine.
We handed out about 3,000 gospel tracts tonight between us all, and ended up heading home just past 1am. Even at that hour there were plenty of people still about.
Tuesday 23rd November 2010
After sleeping in, we headed back out on the streets at about 1:30pm. As we arrived at Cavill Ave, we saw the local law officers that were on duty. We prayed together and started handing out gospel tracts. During the day time, there are many schoolies about and most of them are bored and so they are willing to talk.
Not too long after starting to hand out gospel tracts, one of the local law officers came up to me, saying, “You know you are not allowed to hand out those.” I responding by saying that gospel tracts do not constitute ‘business advertising publications’, as they like to say it does. They said that they’ll come back later and if they see us still doing it, they’ll fine us.
We knew we were not breaking the law, but for convenience sake we decided to go on to private land to hand them out. This area had been recommended to us by a number of the local law officers over the past few weeks. The local law officers came back and saw us handing them out on private land, and although they could not touch us there, they decided to be annoying. They called up the centre management (the ones that own the land) and told them that we were handing out things on their land. They then went up to the security guard on duty nearby to get him to tell us to stop doing it.
At this point, we decided that it would be worthwhile simply having conversations with people, without using tracts to get into them. This worked very well, so we kept doing this for about an hour.
After going back to the unit for dinner, we returned to the streets at 7:50pm armed with thousands of gospel tracts. The ones were using mostly were the Good Aussie cards and the Big Money notes. I find that the Big Money notes work really well at special events, and so they were going out like hotcakes at schoolies.
At one stage, the local law officers that were on duty that night (they were different from the day time) came up to us instructing us to go on to private property to hand the tracts. I informed them that the local law officers that were on duty during the daytime did all they could to get us off private property. They were surprised and said they will have to look into that. But they said that we can’t hand out gospel tracts on public land. I asked them, “What exactly is wrong with them?” They firstly said, “Because it has a website on there.” So I asked, “If I take the website off, would it be allowed?” They said, “No, because what it comes down to is that you are still promoting something.” I said, “We are promoting the gospel of Jesus and you don’t pay for it.” They said, “That’s right, and you can’t do that on public land.”
Can’t promote the gospel on public land? Where have the freedoms gone that citizens of this country have always possessed? This council is overstepping the laws of this land and even their local laws. For there is no local law forbidding promoting in general. Under their local laws only promoting business, commercial and trade activities are forbidden without a permit. Yet they think that promoting the gospel is one of those activities? That is very hard to see.
We simply kept on talking to people and handing out tracts and the council didn’t do anything.
Wednesday 24th November 2010
Like yesterday, we decided to head out on the streets in the afternoon for a few hours and then to return at night time. As we were walking from our car, we saw the local law officers in their car driving past us, and we waved to each other. Once we reached Cavill Ave, we prayed together and then started having conversations with people like we were yesterday.
That night, I had an interesting conversation with a Pentecostal guy who had just gone to a Church service at Surf City (the local Pentecostal Church). From the outset, he was like shouting at me and standing really close, and so I asked him whether he was drunk. He said that he hadn’t had any drinks tonight. He then began to tell me of all this new revelation he has received from God, and I expressed my doubts to him about that really being from God. For God has given us the Bible, and in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says that the Scriptures are everything we need to be equipped for every good work. This man at this point started getting angry and then began speaking in gibberish and moving in a very erratic way. For the whole conversation he was spitting as he spoke, and as he got angry it got worse.
Then he began swearing and blaspheming. So I said to him that he should not say those things, for the Bible says that no unwholesome language is to come out of your mouth (Ephesians 4:29). He responded by saying that he can say and do whatever he wants and God doesn’t care. I told him he needs to repent, for Jesus said “Unless you repent you will perish” (Luke 13:3). I asked him again, “Are you drunk?” He said yes this time. “So you lied before?” I asked him. He said, “So?”
This really set him off. He began getting really angry, he started swearing more and said, “How can you judge me? You can’t judge me!” I said, “Yes, I can. In fact, I am commanded by God to judge you. It says in 1 Corinthians 5 that you are to judge a man who says he is a Christian and is not living accordingly.” At this point he was really angry, and he was not far off hitting me. But right at that point, a security guard who heard the man getting angry came to him and told him to move on. He said, “Leave these guys alone, they are just trying to share their beliefs.”
Thursday 25th November 2010
The schedule for Thursday was the same as the previous days, a few hours of outreach in the afternoon and then more outreach from 7:50pm in the evening till after 1am. The time we were leaving each night was getting progressive later and later each day, because even past 1am, it is still very busy. All of the official Schoolies concerts have finished for the night by that time, but the Schoolies just seemed to linger about for quite a while after that.
With the Big Money gospel tracts we were handing out, I found that quite often people would simply see me holding them and ask for one them. Usually they would then ask what it is about, and so that was a great opening to share the gospel with them.
Please keep Rio in your prayers. I was able to share the gospel with him this night and it really impacted him. Please pray that he repents and trusts in the death of Jesus alone for his salvation.
Friday 26th November 2010
When we were out on the streets during the afternoon, we encountered some Jehovah’s Witnesses. They thought that what we were doing is good, despite our differences in theology. That wasn’t reciprocated by us, as 2 John says that someone does not abide in the doctrine of Jesus, they do not have the Father. For the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God, instead they believe He is Michael the Archangel.
As soon as they heard that we believe Jesus is God, they instantly brought up their stock standard response to John 1:1, even before we mentioned that verse. They try and argue that the verse is lacking the definite article before the word for ‘God’, therefore they say Jesus is only ‘a God’ and not the God.
However, what is wrong with that interpretation is that it ignores the rule in Greek that if everyone knows what thing you are referring to, you do not need to supply the definite article. Every Jew reading the gospel of John knew that there was only one God, therefore John did not need to supply the definite article.
What really shows the Watchtower’s hypocrisy in their New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witness Bible) is that only 5 verses later in John 1, the word for ‘God’ is there without a definite article and they do not render it ‘a God’ there, instead it is simply rendered ‘God’. These 2 guys had no idea how to respond to this.
I then pointed to John 8:58 which says: ‘Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”’ The Pharisee’s hearing Jesus’ statement would immediately know what he was referring to, and that is the burning bush back in Exodus. When Moses asked God, “Who should I say to Pharaoh has sent me?” God responds with, “Say to Pharaoh, ‘I AM has sent you’.” Therefore we know from that Old Testament background that when Jesus says that He is the I AM in John 8:58, He is proclaiming to be the very God of the Old Testament. This is further confirmed by the reaction of the Pharisee’s, verse 59a says: “So they picked up stones to throw at him.” Why? Because if you said that you were God in those days, you were stoned to death.
These 2 JW’s were stumped; they had no idea how to respond. We stressed the importance to them of getting it right as to who Jesus really is. At least one of them, we could tell, from our conversation was questioning the validity of the New World Translation. Please pray for the two gentlemen that God would open their hearts to receive the true gospel message.
After the conversation, Anne-Marie made the point that cults seem to do apologetics training so that their members are trained in how to respond to objections. Yet why is it that most Christian Churches do not offer apologetics training for their whole congregation? Especially since we have the truth! That’s just some food for thought.
At night we had a large team out that we decided to split into a few different locations in Cavill Ave. The Friday night is the last night of Schoolies, so it is the night where everyone goes out to Cavill Ave to celebrate for one last chance. It was very busy, so gospel tracts were flying out left, right and centre.
The local law officers that were on warned us that we cannot hand out gospel tracts on public land. I chatted with them a bit and they said the central reason why we can’t do is because it is still the handing out of something, even though it is the gospel on there. The council themselves have been so inconsistent this week. Some officers saying we can’t do it on private land, while the rest encouraged us to do it on private land. Some officers say it is wrong because it’s promoting something, others say it is because it is the handing out of something. Which one is it?
After chatting with them a bit, they warned us that if they found us still doing it when they returned, they would fine us. We simply kept doing it and they saw us and did nothing. The other council local law officers that were on tonight walked past us and one of them said to his partner, “They’re only handing out gospel tracts” and they walked straight past.
Later on, I had a chat with a girl who works for the Worship Centre in Carina. She had an understanding of the gospel, but was wearing a shirt that had a basically naked woman on it. I told her that she should not be wearing that sort of shirt as it can cause people to stumble. And Jesus warned that it would be better if a millstone was tied around the neck of a person and they were thrown into the sea than they cause a Christian to stumble (Luke 17:2). She said, “It wouldn’t cause anyone to stumble and I don’t really care”. To try and prove her point, she said she would come back after she had asked a sample of guys whether her shirt invoked lust.
She did return later with some of her friends from her Church. They were saying that the Bible is wrong in many areas. They tried naming a few areas, but none were any real contradictions. They then asked what I thought about homosexuality. I said that the Bible clearly states it is a sin. They all got angry that I would suggest that. Then they started saying that people don’t need to get legally married to have sex with someone. I warned them that they needed to repent and trust in Christ to be forgiven. Because no real Christian can live in an open lifestyle of sin.
It was a great week of outreach at Schoolies. By the end of it, my voice was clearly strained from talking so much. Plus this is due to the fact that on the streets because it was so noisy we’d have to speak loud just to be heard even in a one2one conversation. We handed out over 10,000 gospel tracts between us and many great conversations were had.
To God be the glory!
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.