There is some opposition to the work in Hobart's CBD that has begun to make itself felt. This has primarily come in the form of increased aggression and abuse from our "regular heckler" Mr S.. Please continue to pray for him, he needs salvation and the peace of God.
This week we where initially unable to enter the mall due to the Lady Mayoress making an inspection of the new street cleaning machine. This was turned into a blessed opportunity as Mitchell and I were able to hand out 80 or so tracts in the space of 30 minutes. Praise God for those 80 little soldiers of The Lord, they will never sleep, never get tired of preaching the gospel and be patiently waiting for whoever looks at them. I love giving people tracts, they will turn up in some of the most interesting and astonishing places.
The Bible table has continued to be a source of good conversations, this week we had three good conversations that occurred around the table.
Ms A. - has recently lost her son due to suicide and struggles with a neighbour who is abusive. Yet in-spite of this she is an active member of the Salvation Army church here in Hobart. We were able to talk at length and encourage each other.
Mr A. - a long term contact of Carl's, he is a Shia Muslim and they have had many conversations and discussed the person of Jesus many times. Please pray for him that he would follow the true prophet and only saviour Jesus Christ.
Preaching this week focused initially on the two prisoners in Bali and what a scandal it would be if their lawyer was to offer to take their place. Yet this is exactly what we see in the work of Jesus our Lord, He takes the place of sinners who hate Him so that they can come into a loving relationship with God.
Romans 5: 6-11
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Mr S. as always had some very forceful opinions to air and some very aggressive opposition he directed at the team. Ironically Mr S. thinks that the forgiveness of sin is one of the most shameful aspects of the gospel. He preaches for me in a backhanded manner, parading around the scandal of forgiveness of even the most evil through Jesus. He equally thinks that hell is abhorrent and will preach on how horrible God's punishment of sinners in hell is. Through all of this I try to provide the theological correctives needed and let him preach the gospel!
Interspersed through the various rants (he was not in a good mood this week for some reason) that Mr S. had this week a few other people asked questions:
Three high school girls - asked about homosexuality and divorce. I spoke with them about God's model for sexuality and marriage (a loving Christlike husband serving and his wife submitting to his love). I also emphasised as I have to frequently that Christians are called to love and respect people even when they must identify a lifestyle as sinful and leading to hell. One of the girls was very affected by by the preaching and took a bible afterwards. Please pray that she would love the giver of these good gifts not the just gifts.
Homosexual man - protested that the bible is written by man and we cannot know any of it is true (Chinese whispers scenario). There are so many good responses to this that we are spoilt as Christians. I provided a couple of reasons to believe but he left scoffing. Please pray that God would open both his ears and his heart to hear the truth.
One high school guy - as a secularist this guy essentially wanted to stop the preaching because it is forcing Christianity on others. He stayed afterwards for a period and listened to the discussions/debates that happened. He did not engage a lot but would comment from time to time. Please pray that he will consider carefully what he has heard and will come again and be changed by the gospel as he hears it.
It was a full week and afterwards there were good discussions that continued for an hour after we finished. Please pray for the people of Hobart, many that I do not interact with hear the gospel and need salvation through Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them life and bring them to Jesus. Pray to The Lord of the harvest to save souls and send workers into the fields of Hobart.
Most of all please pray that God would be glorified in all that we do and say and that he would keep us from the many stumbling blocks that litter the path of this ministry.