Under the threat of rain, with lightning around the team headed on their way to the Queen St Mall in Brisbane. With a strong body of labourers we set up the stuff, prayed and together in Christ we spread out a little to share the Gospel. As the night wore on and the rain came, the team set up an umbrella over the amplifier allowing the preaching to continue whilst it was raining.
With some early introductory preaching and small but consistent crowds a range of conversations were started and sustained by listening to the preacher. Though preaching doesn't always bring massive crowds, let us pray for the many who heard snippets as they walked past, for the numbers who stopped and let us praise God for the ones who were able to talk about Christ because of the preaching!
During the night there were many encouraging conversations, here is a small snippet;
There was a man who had headed out for the night to indulge in all the world has to offer. This man, walked through the area and was engaged, starting a conversation over the question, "Is there anything more important than money?" Whilst being offered a million dollar tract. He started talking about what was important to him, deciding that it was his life which was most valuable, for apart from it, nothing else matters. This lead into a discussion about what happens after we die because surely God will judge us.
This man talk for a little while but was keen to head off, he didn't want his indulgence in sin to be effected by having to consider what God had to say. He mentioned that God didn't exist and when asked why he said, he didn't want God to exist. Discussing God's existence led into a closing statement on his behalf, "If God does exist, I am going to hell." Whilst trying to explain that we all deserve hell yet, there was a way of salvation he headed off. Please pray for this man, he heard little pieces about God and he took a tract. May God use this encounter as the beginning of salvation!
Only moments later upon asking the same question to a young married couple, the answer was given, "Love". So we discussed the importance of love, getting to a place again where we were discussing what happens when our lives are over, when love is gone and when we are dying. To which the question was posed, will anything matter after you die?
This young couple, Peter and Adina (non-English name), were great to converse with, Adina knew English quite well and her husband not quite so much. During the conversation she was translating the words spoken to make sure he knew what was going on. The conversation was slow moving but very important. It turned out that this couple were Catholics, they professed that through a trust in Jesus, constant asking forgiveness and continually trying ones best they could make it into Heaven.
This was an interesting conversation, through a back and forth asking about what different elements had led them to their conclusion and overall it ended up, with them hearing many verses from the Bible and having the opportunity to hear how Christ, Paul and James had separately, in different aspects discussed salvation, yet had all reached the same conclusion, it is Jesus alone who is the Saviour and only His work on the cross has the power to make someone righteous in the sight of God.
Sadly the conversation came toward a close and neither Peter nor Adina showed signs of acknowledging this amazing truth of God's word. Yet we know that God's word, God's truth does not return void, we know that it is a humbling thing to admit you are wrong in front of another, so let us join together in prayer, committing this young couple to God, that they may take the time to read the word of God in depth and through God's saving Grace may they come to see the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and His sacrifice on the cross is all we need to be right before God!
To cap off the night a young man Raphael answered the question, "Is there anything more important than money?" With the answer, health. An interesting answer, a new answer but still none the less, had direct relevance to eternity. Upon asking him, what would happen after health was finally and irreplaceably lost, after one died, what he thought would happen, Raphael answered a few ways. Firstly he discussed how he was an agnostic and truly he seemed to be. Often you find that people claim to be agnostic, yet will adamantly argue against the existence of God, yet Raphael was very different.
He summarised his belief as, "I'm not sure there is evidence for God's existence or against it", then proceeded to discuss and ask mostly questions for the next fifty minutes. Starting in the Godhood of Jesus Christ, juggling an understanding of what Christ claimed, what Christ did and how we know such things. We entered into a discussion on why the bible is believable and quickly transitioned to a great question, "Can you write about specific life events of another person between four-hundred and fifteen hundred years before they will even exist?" As of yet there has never been a person who has responded with, "Yes".
Raphael was the same, "Of course not," he replied. Opening him up to the opportunity to ask, "How would one explain such a phenomenon then?" This was an interesting discussion, he said he'd never thought about it before. He said this was a new question and quite surprisingly he said, it seemed that the only answer was the supernatural.
Our topic turned towards truth, Raphael acknowledged absolute truth exists and then faced the question, "Where does it come from?" He very honestly stated that he had no idea and no source under his current beliefs and then asked, "But what about yourself? Where do you think truth comes from?" Raphael listened intently as the Christian God was explained to him. He then asked, "What about all the different religions? Where did they come from?" After some discussion, acknowledging that as humans our in built desire was to disobey and dishonour God, it was only natural to assume that we would stretch that to the world of religion, making up and claiming false ways to get to Heaven.
The conversation was getting exciting, it seemed that with every question, with every new discussion Raphael was thinking more about Christianity. With each moment as the conversation progressed he wanted nothing more than to understand who God was, what our problem was and what the fix had to be. His next question was, "Why Christianity?" Answered in the simplest of ways, (apart from all the prior discussion), with a discussion about God's character, if God is Perfect, if God is Just and if God is Loving, a Perfect God can't stand sin, a Just God must punish sin and a Loving God wants to save sinners.
How could one reconcile this, the only way is if God was able to punish sin, pour out justice and yet allow sinners to live. Meaning someone had to take the Hell punishment, the death penalty sinners deserved and be a substitute for the sinner. This was answered in true biblical fashion by explaining who Jesus was. After the first explanation Raphael said he didn't understand so it was explained again, this time he nodded in agreement, acknowledging that it made sense.
The end of the night drew near but the conversation wasn't quite finished, we continued through later than planned as one by one Raphael asked a question and it was answered. From the problem of pain, through the question of whether Christians could just do whatever they wanted as long as they said a prayer at the end of a day, past the question of why each sin in the sight of God deserves hell and why hell should be eternal.
As it was time to leave, Raphael said, "I have just one more question," it was a final question about salvation, a final clarifying question about the way of having sins forgiven. This conversation which seemed as if it would be purely apologetics from the start ended up mostly being about Jesus Christ, sin and the saving power of the Gospel!
Please pray for Raphael, please pray that this Easter is the first Easter he is able to truly celebrate. Pray that he read his Bible, pray that he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and pray that through the power of God his life will ever be changed! God is King and Jesus is the Risen Lord!
As a team we also ask that you consider us in prayer, the work of evangelism is exciting and tiring but please pray that we keep vigilant in the word of the Lord, that we continue day by day to seek God's truth and that we are continually in repentance. Pray that our love for God, our love for the lost will continue to grow that we might not sin against God!
May you also commit the many who were exposed to the preaching of the word to the Lord, that this exposure to the Gospel will be the start of a life long journey as a child of God! Thank you for the prayer support, it would be a wonderful opportunity to have you join us on the team!
Soli Deo Gloria!