Since the permit we have been given from the council allows us to preach in Cavill Mall from 7pm-10pm, tonight we decided that we would aim to arrive at Surfers at 7pm. Usually the team starts at 8pm and goes till 11pm. This proved to be quite difficult for most people on the team, so it was closer to 8pm by the time basically everyone on the team had arrived.
But with those of us that did manage to arrive by about 7pm, we prayed together and got straight into it. The first spot right at the bottom of the Mall was occupied by a busker and so we went to the other spot in the middle of the Mall. Then John started off the preaching. There were lots of people around tonight and therefore the background noise meant that it was very difficult to hear John.
At about 8pm, Jeremy arrived with his small PA system. So we set that up and I stood up on the soapbox and started preaching with it. The PA did amplify my voice, but I found I still had to shout into the microphone for it to really work. One other downside of using a microphone is that people are less likely to heckle, since they know that they don’t have a microphone. But with that said, a guy did come right up to me and I was able to have a discussion with him in the open air, and I was able to put the microphone in front of him when he spoke, so that the audience could hear his responses too.
After I stood down from preaching, Jeremy got up a preached without the microphone. He thought that without it he would be louder. Only a few minutes later, he had quite a number of people asking him questions, focusing on “How can Jesus be the only way?”
At this point, one of the Gold Coast council local law compliance officer’s that was telling us last week that we still can’t hand out gospel tracts on public land said, “You know how we were having that argument last week about the handing out of those things, and well, I was wrong. I sought clarification and it is perfectly fine for anyone to hand out those materials.” Praise God! Now the local law officers shouldn’t bother us anymore!
I then asked him, “So then, doesn’t that throw out the basis for the fines we have received?” He said, “Yeah, well I don’t deal with those. That’s someone else’s responsibility.” This local law officer was one of them that fined us the very first time back in August last year. It was good on him for acknowledging that he was wrong to say that we couldn’t hand out gospel tracts.
Hopefully now the fines will be dropped, because surely they wouldn’t want to bring us to court over them, now that we have had so much correspondence from the council saying that it’s okay to hand out gospel tracts on council land (and that was the very thing we were fined for!).
After Jeremy preached, Blake got up and used the PA and preached the gospel faithfully. During this time, I checked out the other location to see if it was now unoccupied. The other spot is brighter and busier and so is the preferred location. And I found no busker there and so I communicated to Blake that we should move to the other spot and so after a little while he finished up and we all moved to the new location.
At the new location, I decided I would preach again and within minutes there were quite a number of hecklers about me. I ran through some of the 10 Commandments with them, in order to bring the knowledge of sin to their minds, and then I told them about the punishment that God will pour out on people for their sin. This then led onto the great news of the cross – how forgiveness is through Jesus if we are to repent and trust in His sacrifice on the cross as the only reason that we’ll go to Heaven. A lot of the hecklers understood the message but openly admitted that they would rather keep on sinning than come to Christ. It is really sad when I hear that, but yet at the same time, everyone by nature is exactly the same. By nature, we loved our sin more than God, and yet God did not abandon humanity, He sent Jesus to die for the sins of the elect. Praise be to Him!
A crowd of about 50 people gathered around to listen to the preaching and they stayed for quite some time. In fact, once 10pm rolled around there was still a large crowd gathered and most wanted me to continue, but we couldn’t do so at that spot because our permit runs out at 10pm.
After this, the rest of the team got into conversations with the people standing there, and a young bloke came up to me asking me some questions. His name was Liam and he was telling me about his mum and how she has had cancer for two years. He used to be very active in the Church, but since the cancer he has become angry at God and is now living a lifestyle of sin. He was asking why God hasn’t taken the pain away that his mum is experiencing. His whole Church was praying for it too, and so he was shocked that God still hadn’t done it. So I explained to him about the natural consequence of living in this world is that even Christians experience the effects of the Fall, and that is pain and death. I then spoke about how God can do what he wants and is not compelled to heal someone simply because a group of people are praying for that person, and about how God will have a good purpose in letting it continue (even though we don't know what it is). I then spoke about the hope that he can have during this time, that since his mum is a believer, if she does die, it is simply the Lord taking her home.
I then addressed this man’s problem. After asking how someone gets to Heaven, it was clear that this bloke didn’t understand the gospel. So I began sharing it with him – but he didn’t like hearing it. In fact, at one point he said that he just had God tell him that I should stop talking to him and instead I should be sharing the Word with other people. I expressed my doubts to him about that ‘revelation’ that he had just received. The Bible is our source of revelation from God, and the Bible says I am to preach the gospel to everyone – that includes this man, as he did not understand the right way to be saved.
After sharing the gospel with him, he ended the conversation saying that he won’t repent of his sins and trust in Christ. Please pray for him, that God will soften his heart towards the gospel.
There were 22 people on the team tonight. Praise God for each of these people and the zeal He has given them. Lots of gospel tracts were handed out and many wonderful witnessing conversations 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.