In the midst of all the rain and storms this weekend I found a group of faithful Christians gathered in King George square praying to and praising the God of the entire universe. Josh was dealing with a flood at his church and house so it was just Ryan in charge of the team. I was glad to see that there were also a good number of others who had made it in. After a refreshing time of fellowship and prayer we headed up to the normal area in the Queen Street mall.
As it was still raining, Ryan decided that we would just hand out tracts for a period before starting the preaching. It was wonderful to see the gospel getting into the hands of people and the team members getting into conversations as people passed. We all managed to hand out a good number of tracts and as soon as the rain stopped Alex (not the atheist) got up to preach.
While Alex proclaimed the gospel a group of the team gathered around to play rent-a-crowd, but I thought to myself as I listened that there is more to it than that. The gospel deserves a hearing and every preacher of the gospel should see people gladly listening to the word of God proclaimed. I am often convicted by and encouraged by the proclamation of the gospel and I am sure there are many who weaken their faith significantly by refusing to listen to the gospel because they are “already a Christian…”, as though that excuses them from listening. Alex did an excellent job preaching the word and deftly dealt with the couple of objections that were given by hecklers. He has wonderful way of deconstructing people’s arguments and showing up the presuppositions underlying their objections.
Next up was Yarran, who as normal elucidated some portion of scripture so well that I feel ashamed of my superficial treatment of God’s word. Yarran poured out his heart into the preaching of the gospel and urged the people of Brisbane to turn to the one true God from their many idols. Though there were a couple of hecklers the night appeared to be a slow one with all the rain. The exception to this was the long stream of santa claus impersonators who varied between mildly and severely inebriated. Most of this crowd heckled as they passed on their way into the night, the few who stopped were unwilling to interact and despite questions from Yarran they would not stay to speak to us.
In the middle of all this a group of young women went past and I watched as between them they scoffed and one even made a lewd gesture at the preacher in jest. None of them were considering the words Yarran proclaimed and I at first thought that they were merely another group of revelers. I stopped one to offer her a tract and she said “I’ll swap you one of mine for one of yours” and handed me a tract for their church. Disappointingly it appeared this was a group of Christian women who had just been mocking the preaching of the gospel! I have seen this so many times in so many places yet it always saddens me. Please if you read this consider how it must look to non-Christians when Christians mock at the preaching of the gospel. If even those who claim Christ as their own think that the gospel of Him crucified for sin is a joke, then what will the unbelieving think? You may even think that this form of evangelism is less than constructive, but pause for a moment and consider how your response will either turn people to or away from the gospel. Lastly if you do mock, please consider who it is you’re mocking, if it is the preacher then consider the brother or sister in Christ whose character you are murdering. Christ died for them also. Worse if it is the message itself you would mock, then consider the words of Christ that “…any who are ashamed of me in this faithless and evil generation, I will be ashamed of before my Father and His holy angels”! Would you shame the Lord who bought you?
I was next up to preach and just as I stood up a regular heckler Wayne turned up with his son Rob. I have interacted with Wayne and to a lesser extent Rob for the last couple of months when I have been able to come into the city. During this time I have raised with Wayne many of the evidences from history and science that confirm that we are made by God and that Jesus is the Son of God and our only opportunity for salvation.
One of the witnesses to this is a set of studies done to support a very young age to the earth (by current standards) of 6000-10000 years old as is witnessed to in the bible. These studies have found substantial amounts of C14 in diamonds (similar studies have found similar in many other supposedly ancient artifacts/fossils/coal etc), also the studies have used alternate methods of dating supposedly ancient rocks finding a much younger age. For those interested here is a link to the studies in summary: http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-and-old-ages-in-disarray. This linked with secular work confirming similar results (Taylor RE, Southon J (2007). "Use of natural diamonds to monitor 14C AMS instrument backgrounds". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 259: 282–28) provide a major support for a young earth. As there is no such thing as fast forward or fast anything in evolution this is a potent support for the Christian belief that we are made by a supernatural being and as such are responsible to Him.
The other witness is easily found and if you will only take and read the eyewitness accounts of history from God’s perspective as found in the bible (note I don’t mean an exhaustive history!). This account is what I tried failingly to impress upon Wayne and the couple of other people he attracted (as always thank you for that service Wayne you are most kind!). We are lost and sinful people and need a savior to take our place in the wrath and punishment we deserve for our hatred and sin towards God. Jesus is this savior and loved us so much that He died for sin though He deserved eternal praise and worship. I urged people to this until I had no more time and no more voice.
Wayne was unchanged as is so often the case and continued to cling to his blind faith in the skepticism he has in all things Christian. I pray that God will work in him to soften his heart and bring him to repentant faith in Jesus. There were some others present and praise God they took tracts afterwards also.
For those of you who read these words we covet your prayers and your support in what ever way you can. The days are now here when people will not listen to sound doctrine and only want what will scratch whatever itch they happen to have. Australian Christians please pray for us as we work the streets of your homeland, petition the Lord of Glory that he would bless our work and bring many souls to faith and home to glory. Please also pray for the team members who so frequently (much more than I it must be said), give of their time and sacrifice comfort and recreation time to preach the gospel to the lost on your doorstep. If you can please join a local team and work in this mission field, there will not always be in Australia the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy now.
The night as always was a testament to the glory of God and we pray that He would be praised for His work in and through us both to save us and to use us in the glorious work of proclaiming His works.
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.