This evening hear Natalie share how she is encouraged that so many people are willing to talk about eternity.
Hear Ryan share about a conversation he had with two Indian men, and how he encouraged them to count the cost, to trust in Jesus Christ as more important than family.
Hear Ryan share about a conversation he had with a young lady, who wanted to remain in darkness.
Please be praying for those spoken to, over the course of the outreach that they may come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
This afternoon there were a team of ten out at Sunnybank. At this location, it is easy to split up to either side of the road and so the team were able to cover more ground and have many Gospel conversations over the course of the afternoon.
One exciting conversation was with a young man named Richard. He had some memory of the Gospel from a prior conversation and wasn't opposed to it but his family didn't go to Church and he didn't have a Bible. A short conversation was had with him and he was given a Bible. In the few minutes before his bus arrived he began reading in the Gospel of John.
Another conversation was had with a man named Mitchell. He had been spoken to on a previous week and shared that he had been going back to Church again. This is great news.
Sadly Mitchell can't read very well, so he was encouraged again to download an audio Bible on his phone. He said he will when he gets his internet connected at home.
A final conversation was with a young woman named Cecily. She had gone to Church in the past but had stopped going because it wasn't that interesting. When asked if she was going to Heaven after she died, she said she wasn't sure. This lead into a conversation about what God expects from us.
Cecily found out that God expects humanity to be sinless and that the penalty for our rebellion against Him is Hell. She said this worried her. Then she said, "Isn't God forgiving? Can't He just forgive my sin, if I ask?"
This is a very common line that people use. Many people think that God can simply ignore sin if asked. This is not to say that God isn't forgiving, but rather that God's forgiveness comes on the basis of His wrath being satisfied. The question was posed to Cecily, "How has God satisfied His justice for your sin?"
Cecily said she didn't know. It was explained that God will either satisfy His justice by eternally punishing her in Hell or that it has already been satisfied by Jesus Christ on the cross. It was also explained that all who trust in Jesus are forgiven on the basis of Jesus Christ and His work.
Finally the question was posed to Cecily, "Are you trusting in Jesus Christ? Or are you trusting in yourself?". Cecily responded, "I don't know if I was before, but I think I am now."
Cecily was encouraged to go along to a local Church and to become part of a local body in which she can grow in Christ-likeness.
Please be praying for Richard that he will fall in love with God as he reads His Word. Please be praying for Mitchell that he will start to find life in God's Word rather than just living from Sunday to Sunday. Please be praying for Cecily that she will have a transformed life in which she wants nothing more than to see God glorified through her actions!
This afternoon on the public holiday, the team headed into Brisbane city and had a wonderful afternoon!
Hear Matt, very excited, share about one glorious conversation he had about the Gospel with a man named Julian.
Hear Allan share about a conversation in which he was able to encourage a man who struggled with alcoholism, that the solution to his addiction and God's judgement for his sin could be found in Christ.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge train station the team had a wonderful afternoon. With a scattering of "simple" and straight forward Gospel conversations as well as some tougher ones.
One conversation was had with Genevieve, she is wheel-chair bound but has a very active mind. She declared that truth is relative, that you and I can believe opposite things and neither of us are wrong. It was empahsised that this most certainly is wrong. This was shown by tell her the no matter how hard one believed her name was Jeffery, she could run a 100m sprint in 9.8 seconds and she had recently given birth to octuplets, these things would always be wrong.
It was explained that the only we way can know about God is by what He has told us about Himself, rather than just guessing. She then went on to declare that no one can really know God because everything God has told humanity is "subject to interpretation". She declared that there were hundreds of different Bibles, all telling different stories.
Sadly the next few minutes before her bus arrived were spent talking about the authenticity and reliability of the Bible. On this day, a conversation about sin and the Gospel was not had. Please be praying that next week Genevieve is ready to hear of God's revelation about Himself and His plan to save sinful humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ.
A very straight-forward conversation was had with two young girls, they came up, asked to do the good person test and happily participated all the way through. The first girl was named Angel and the other Evie. They obviously had gone to Church as they had some simple understanding of the Gospel. They acknowledged they had broken God's laws and that they understood they needed the Saviour. Both girls took tracts and went on their way. It didn't seem to be a revolutionary conversation but it was another reminder of the Gospel.
A Third and lengthy conversation was had with Val. She was born Orthodox, went to "born again Christianity" and then after questioning the Trinity her whole life she ended up as a JW. In this very sad progression, Val missed the Gospel and has rejected God for who He has revealed Himself to be.
She had many common JW proof texts, one from Proverbs 8 about Jesus, another from Revelation 7 about the 144,000, a Psalm again trying to undermine Jesus' deity and on and on. Sadly, she was completely blinded to the testimony of God's Word.
In Revelation 7, when it talks about the 144,000 (verses 1-8), verse 9 then declares that the great multitude is there before John, at the same time. There is no separation between the 144,000 and the great multitude. The point in the passage is that the 144,000 are the great multitude. This is shown as they are the ones serving God around His throne (Check out Revelation 7:1-17 if you have a chance). It was also good to note, that in verse 10, God and the Lamb are being praise and verse 12 has glorious parallel, almost word for word of Revelation 5:12-13. A place in which the Lamb and He who sits on the throne are being worshiped together.
Sadly after a lengthy discussion of ignoring what the text clearly says, Val declared that she knew "too much Greek" and "too much truth" to believe what "born again" Christians believe.
She was left with one final point that Jesus 7 times in the Gospel of John claimed the name, "I AM", the very name that God had revealed Himself to Moses as in Exodus 3. She didn't believe this is who Jesus was claiming to be, or that this title had anything to do with the name, "Jehovah". She was challenged to go and search and find out the answer.
Please come before God, on behalf of a greatly deceived woman, Val, and plead with Him that He would show her who He is, in undeniable clarity, that she may come out of this false religion and find forgiveness and salvation in the eternally existent, second member of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.
This afternoon, as it was a public holiday, the team headed to Wellington Point to share God's glorious gospel with those having a relaxing afternoon by the water. There was a surprising cool breeze and as a result not many people around. Thankfully, that didn't stop God providing a range of wonderful conversations with people.
One early conversation was had with a young man named Jacob. He goes to youth group occasionally on a Friday night at a local church but apart from that has no real exposure to God. He thought he was a pretty good person and would be going to Heaven. Slowly as the conversation progressed Jacob came to understand that he wasn't the good person he thought he was but rather was a sinner like the rest of humanity. He saw that his sin deserves God's wrath in Hell and that on judgement day, as he currently was, he would face God's condemnation for his sin.
It was a privilege then to share God's offer of salvation, that God has made a way for sinners to be forgiven. Jacob said he understood and was interested to talk about it. Jacob has been encouraged to speak with his youth leaders at the church to ask for a Bible and to ask them more about how he can be forgiven.
A conversation almost on the back of that one was with two Germans who were travelling in Australia. A young man named Leon and his girlfriend, Xena. This couple were a mixture between agnostic and having some Christian background. Both professed that God wasn't important to them and they both had fairly poor understandings of God's revelation about Himself. Both also professed to be good people.
As the conversation progressed, the Gospel was focused on over the next half and hour. Many facets and aspects were spoken about and many questions or challenges to it were answered. At one point, almost twenty five minutes in after all that had been said the question was posed, "What is stopping you from giving up your autonomy and surrendering to the God who punished Himself, so that you could be forgiven?" Xena seemed squirmy at this, from this point onward in the conversation she seemed moved and like she was seriously considering God's call in the Gospel.
Moments later when she was saying, "Maybe if God came and showed Himself to me, now, I would believe". It was at that moment when Leon actually took charge in pointing out that God has. It was even shared that God's revelation about Himself and actions in history were clear. Xena seemed to be left wondering about her eternity. Leon on the other hand, seemed defiant. He tried to defend himself with the same, "we can't be sure" arguments even after they were answered. He acknowledged this and stated that it was because he didn't want God to exist.
These two were left with a thorough understanding of the Gospel and a challenge to find salvation in Jesus Christ.
A final conversation was had with two young Muslims. These guys laughed at their own sin and even tried to play it off as not that bad. They went on for almost thirty minutes declaring how good they were, whilst at the same time being completely apathetic toward the wickedness of their own sin and how angry God is with sinners. They declared that their god just forgives sin, as long as the sinner is "repentant". It was pointed out that the word forgiveness means, "cancelling a debt", in other words, the person whom the debt is against is willing to pay for the debt.
When this was pointed out, the question was asked, "How is your god, paying for the debt of your sin?" These young men squirmed, then declared that he isn't. It was stressed and explained a number of times, that the god they believe in is both a liar and unjust. Firstly, if he doesn't punish sin, when he has declared that it has the penalty of Hell, he has made himself a liar. Secondly, if he has no desire to see justice upheld and will let a guilty person walk free, he is not only unjust, but one who rejoices in and rewards unrighteousness.
These boys were not interested in God being anything other than that which they had been told at their local mosque and it was an extremely sad conversation. Two men, celebrating sin, rejoicing in their lust, lies and pride and completely unable to understand the Gospel as a result. These men, paid little attention to the Gospel and simply mocked at it, even without understanding it.
They also declared that heaven for them was a place where God gave them 70 wives/slaves and that God would reward them by granting them anything they asked for. This is an incredibly perverted view of Heaven, not only is it simply a place to indulge your selfish desires but even worse, it is a place where god serves you. A place where god's best gift to you is that which he can serve you, rather than his best gift being himself.
Please take some time out of your day, to plead with the loving God, that he would justify these two young men by the work of Jesus Christ and bring them to a humble surrender. Please pray that Jacob would come to a saving knowledge of the truth and that Leon and Xena would desire to know God intimately and be willing to give up their sin, in pursuit of the Saviour.
Hear Ben share how his consistent attendance has enabled him to be bolder in his reliance on the Holy Spirit and as a result he is having many more conversations when he comes out.
Hear Anthony share about a conversation with a Muslim, where he explained the Gospel and encouraged him to trust in Jesus for salvation.
Be encouraged hearing another team member share about a conversation he had with a Mormon preacher, who seemed quite content to just agree that "Christians and Mormons beleive the same thing".
Please be praying for these conversations, knowing that it is God who works in the hearts of those whom He has called. Please also consider joining us one day and see how you can be used for the building of God's Kingdom!
In Sunnybank on Thursday afternoon the team took out three flip charts and were able to use them in having many Gospel conversations. These simple good person tests have been very effective in reaching people who would otherwise have walked on and it allows them to hear the Gospel. If you have the money to spare, you can pick up one from the online store and use it in your local area. (In the near future we aim to release a video that shows how the flip chart is done).
One conversation with the flip chart was had with a muslim woman named Mah. Throughout the lengthy conversation she declared that the god she worshiped was so big and so holy that he didn't really worry about sin. She declared that humanity was designed to sin and that the god she worships is so loving, that he can just forgive sin.
Sadly, Mah may worship a god like this, but this god is the figment of someone's imagination and not the Holy, Righteous and Just God of this universe. It was explained that God's Holiness and Infinite authority and power is the very reason that sin is so bad. It is the stature of God, that makes rebellion against Him such a problem.
It was explained that true humanity is without sin. We were designed to know God and be intimate with God, on the basis of being sinless image bearers. It was also shared that sin is what makes us unable to approach the Holy God, because sin is finally and fully against Him. Lastly it was stressed that God loves righteousness and goodness, which is why he can not ignore sin. Because he loves righteousness He must hate wickedness.
Mah, was then talked through the glorious Gospel, that God loves the guilty, vile and helpless. She heard that God doesn't come to save, "nice" or "good" people but He comes to save the most broken and wretched of humanity. This is what displays the depths of His love. He isn't just loving those who are easy to love but loves those who least deserve it.
At the end of the conversation Mah proclaimed that she didn't want or need a saviour and was happy to face God on judgement day as she was. It was repeated a final time, that any who stand before God in their own works of "righteousness" will be condemned as guilty and face God's eternal judgement in Hell. Mah said she was happy to risk it.
A second conversation was had with Tommy. This young man, shared that he was an agnostic on the basis of there being no "evidence" of God and that no-one can "prove" God. In response, it was stated that people don't have to "prove" God and neither has God tried to prove Himself. God, simply by doing things that only God can do and by acting according to His nature has revealed Himself.
It was about this point in the conversation when a "Christian" woman who had overheard the conversation interjected and "apologised" for such behaviour. Telling Tommy that most Christians weren't like this and that she wanted him to have a really good afternoon, rather than to be stuck talking about sin, God's judgement and Hell. The woman finished off by saying, she hope he knew that God loves him.
In response, it was pointed out that, Tommy was about to hear how specifically God had loved him and then be pointed to the only place where he can find forgiveness, hope and lasting satisfaction.
The conversation flowed a little after that but sadly this woman's intention to "help" out this young man displayed that she didn't really know the importance or value of the Gospel for salvation.
Lastly there was a conversation that was left almost in tears, not by the one hearing the Gospel but, by the Christian sharing it. Young Jordan stopped to engage. He wasn't and atheist, agnostic or of any other religion. He had an American heritage and was in Australia for a short while.
He thought he was a good guy but came to understand that we have all sinned. He heard of God's judgement and sentence for sin, Hell. He came to understand the depths of what Hell is and why it will be such an awful place to "live" in and why it is called "eternal death".
Jordan understood the call the Gospel made on his life, why God offered this hope to sinners and despite everything said, Jordan did not even bat an eyelid. When asked why, he said it was because he couldn't ever go to Heaven and therefore was going to live however he wanted. It was explained that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has the ability to save any and all who come in surrender to Him.
Jordan said he understood this and then changed his reason, "I just want to continue to live my own way". With tears in their eyes, the evangelist pleaded with him to not choose Hell, especially when God so freely has offered forgiveness but Jordan was not moved, he remained resolute in his defiance against God.
Please be praying that Mah reads the Gospel of John she was given and comes to understand who Jesus is and why He is the only Saviour. Please pray that Tommy will be able to remember the Gospel from the conversation. Please pray that the "Christian" woman is convicted by the Holy Spirit about her apathy toward the salvation of sinners and the importance of the Gospel. Please come before our gracious and merciful God and plead with him to give Jordan a hatred of sin and a desperation for Jesus.
If you would like to purchase a flip chart to help you share the Gospel in your local area, you can find it here.
This afternoon throughout the afternoon the team had a whole host of conversations. One team member was rejoicing at such a glorious afternoon. Another stated it was filled with 4 really good conversations.
It is a real privilege to be a part of the team. Most afternoons someone comes away rejoicing at the beauty of a divine appointment or at the change in someone's heart.
When one thinks of the average Australian's understanding of Christianity or relation to God, they probably don't assume that such a person has no knowledge of the Bible or Christianity but this afternoon was an eye opener. It was filled with a range of conversations with just those sort of people, ones who had no idea about God and rarely if ever thought about Him.
One conversation was had with Nick, a mid to late fifties business man who said, "To be honest, I have never really thought about God. I have lived my life doing my own thing. I have been married 35 years, don't commit crimes, pay my taxes and care for my family. I don't know if a God exists but I just don't care. When I die, I suppose God will let me into Heaven because I have lived a good life."
In response to this, it was explained that living our own way, in rejection of God and His standards is exactly what got humanity into this mess. We were designed to find our greatest joy and value in knowing, loving and serving God and when we live in defiance against Him we miss out on the beautiful life we were designed for and act in a way that deserves God's judgment.
Nick, said this made sense but didn't really seem moved. He left to head back to work after hearing that God alone can solve this predicament we've gotten ourselves into.
Another conversation was had with Loki. He outright started by saying that he doesn't think God exists. When asked why he had come to this position he said, "Because there is too much evil and suffering in this world for there to be a God". This was responded to with a very simple question, "How would we know the world wasn't meant to be this way, unless God had designed it differently?"
This question, is clear and easy to understand. It is only because the world was created to be without sin, that we know it is broken. Loki went on to acknowledge that everyone makes decisions based on what they think is best. He even stated, "I live according to my own ideas. I try not to hurt people or do anything bad".
This was pointed out as a problem, everyone living according to their own ideas and rules, is humanities problem. We are a selfish, greedy and proud people. The question was posed to Loki, "What is the solution to this problem of selfishness? How can a human being have their desires changed?"
He responded offering the solution that maybe rules would help but then quickly acknowledged that this wouldn't work as we already have an abundance of rules.
It was proposed that only one who has power over humanity could solve this problem. We need someone with the ability to change a human heart. It was explained that only God can change people. He doesn't do it by rules but by offering a heart renovation, a complete replacement of a sinful heart, with one filled with a desire to love God and others. And it was pointed out that this heart renovation can only come on the basis of us being purchased from the sentence of Hell.
Loki, acknowledged this as understandable but said he would have to consider it more.
Back on the theme of Australian's with extremely limited knowledge of God, an elderly woman Gail spoke to the team. She didn't know who God was, or what He expected. She hadn't heard of God's Law and wasn't really wanting to. She was more interested in saying, "It all depends on who you think God is, what you think Heaven is or what you think right and wrong is".
This was a sad conversation because an elderly woman, soon to face God in judgement was not interested in hearing how she, a sinner, could be forgiven. She preferred to pretend that sin wasn't sin.
A final conversation was had with Eric. He interrupted a conversation with two other young people, to ask for a cigarette, then proceeded to espouse his own ideas until they ended up leaving. Eric declared that he was a christian-agnostic. He, in one sentence, would talk about being a Christian and loving God then declare that Jesus wasn't perfect, nor was sin that wicked.
He spent a lot of time talking about his "god" who is only loving. His "god" who doesn't punish sin, nor does he judge but he simply loves. It was pointed out that this god doesn't really love, rather he just doesn't care and nor does he exist.
Eric, had a hard time understanding but seemed to at the end. It was explained that God loves righteousness, Holiness and goodness, which means He hates wickedness, sin and any impurity. This means, our sin isn't small or insignificant but rather something that God cannot ignore.
Eric held strongly to the idea that he had trusted Jesus long ago but sadly had no understanding of why Jesus had to die, or who was punishing Jesus on the cross. He hadn't grasped Jesus' sacrifice in the place of sinners, nor that God hates sinners.
When he came to understand Jesus' atonement he then asked, "Does that mean a mass murderer could be evil his whole life, then turn and trust in Jesus and go to Heaven? I wouldn't want someone like that in Heaven with me".
It was explained, that a consequence of Jesus' resurrection is that all who trust in Him are given a new heart and new desires. They are not only forgiven but are sanctified (and being sanctified). Which means, that all those who trust in Christ, will desire to live for Him and on the final day their sanctification will be complete.
There will be no murderers in Heaven, no liars or thieves. The only people in Heaven will be those who are redeemed from the power of sin and are adopted children of the living God.
It was stressed to Eric, that he should consider what he had heard and ask himself whether or not he really trusted in God's Saviour, or just an idealised version of himself.
Please pray for Nick, that he would seek to know his God. Please pray for Loki, that he would find regeneration and forgiveness in Christ. Please pray for Gail, that she would know the Saviour before she passed on. Please pray for Eric, that he would give up his idol "god" and come in surrender before the true God.
Please also, pray for yourselves, that you would be equipped with boldness and obedience by the Spirit, seeking to share with your unbelieving neighbours, friends and family, that the God who gave them life will hold them accountable for their actions and either they will face the consequences or they can trust in Jesus who has taken the punishment on behalf of sinners.
Today we had the 2 flipcharts near the pier and a couple of roving evangelist types operating in the same area. There was opportunity to interchange roles occasionally and the team worked well together in this format.
There was a lengthy chat with a Sikh family which concluded with them receiving a gospel of John. They were going to check out the claims of Christ for themselves. Pray that they do. Jesus came to save His people from their sins and not just to make salvation possible, Mt. 1:21.
A novice using a flipchart reached the point where Conan exclaimed the equivalent of WOW. He has a Bible and was going to read John and ask the Lord to show him the truth.
There were others visibly affected by the gospel and others were still questioning. There is no doubt that conversations were relatively easy to start compared to trying to get people walking past to stop and chat.
Thank God for Himself; He alone is worthy of praise and thanksgiving now and forever. Amen.
This afternoon, the team was reminded that it was winter with a chilling breeze throughout the afternoon. Thankfully, there were a number of work arounds, allowing the flipcharts to still remain standing. Numerous people were able to engage with the Gospel through the charts.
One conversation was with Casic. He seemed uninterested to talk at first but then a few moments later returned and asked, "I have never understood what Jesus was dying for. What does is mean that Jesus died for our sins?"
In response, he was asked, "Who was punishing Jesus on the cross?". Casic thought it may have been humans. But didn't seem interested in the answer. He was jumping around, espousing his own ideas and asking questions, then answering them himself. It was a tough conversation and a very sad one.
This man who thought himself to be wise, admitted that he didn't read the Bible and had no desire to. Rather, he had fashioned a god from his own ideas and this is a heart-breaking reality that many people live with. They worship gods that are idolised versions of themselves.
Finally after a number of attempts to bring the discussion back to who was punishing Jesus on the cross, Casic relented and asked, "Who do you say it was?". In reality it doesn't matter what any Christian says it was, it is God who has told humanity and Isaiah 53:10 was quoted,
"Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."
At this, Casic, seemed uninterested. He declared that he didn't need a saviour and went on his way.
As many Christians experience in their own lives, the temptation toward think we are more loved by God, or in a better standing before God, when we do "good" works, is one that is regular and constant. We seem to have a pre-disposition to this, "self-righteous" attitude.
Sadly, Christians aren't the only ones that get sucked into this lie. It is rare to meet someone who doesn't think that God loves them, will let them into Heaven or will forgive them on the basis of how "good" they are. This is usually a major road block to understanding the Gospel. (This is also why the law of God, wielded by the Spirit of God is an important part of a persons conversion).
On three separate occasions, this afternoon, the team spoke to men, who were religious, professing to be Christians and yet when asked why God would let them into Heaven, foolishly declared that their church going, prayer, food van service, or general "goodness" was the reason God would let them in.
May we as Christians never fall into this trap of trying to justify ourselves by our works. May we be wary against this temptation and pride. May we be motivated by love, knowing that God has saved us despite all we have done and therefore be bold in sharing with other self-righteous sinners, that their only hope of being accepted by God is if they trust in Christ's sacrifice and Christ's righteousness.