The outreach at Sunnybank today went from one extreme to another. At one end of the spectrum there was polite conversation, then at the other end we had a group of drunks decide to start smashing the Free Bible table.
The afternoon began quietly enough with us handing out tracts and trying to engage people in conversation. One elderly couple walked past a person on the team and were rather hostile. Upon being offered a tract, the elderly man took it, and then threw it back saying, “I have a living faith in the Lord Jesus, which I doubt you have!”
I asked the man where he went to church and he identified a local Anglican church. I then asked, “Sir, I’m a Baptist Minister, why do you believe I don’t have faith in the Lord Jesus?” He seemed stunned and replied, “OH! I thought you were a cult!” The man and his wife then apologised, and informed me that they also attend a Bible study at a local Baptist church.
Then he said something that was truly sad. He said in 70 years, he has only ever been approached by Christians three times in public in order to talk about the gospel, but the cults had approached him many times. We all agreed that this shouldn’t be the case, and that more Christians need to take Christ into the public arena.
Shortly after this I was able to get into a good conversation with a Muslim gentleman from Sudan. He was extremely friendly, and was dissatisfied with those who follow Islam in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East. We chatted about the Lord Jesus, and then he brought up about the Bible being corrupted. In my pack I had a booklet that dealt with that topic, so I gave it to him and encouraged him to read it. He said he would, and we parted with a handshake.
During this time we had a group of white drunken yobbos come by. They were walking in the traffic and generally making a nuisance of themselves. When they saw the Chinese Free Bible table they began to overturn it and start smashing things up. I quickly stopped this, called the Police and then began to clean everything up. As they left the scene, a fellow Christian was able to give them tracts. Please pray the Lord saves them.
It was a productive afternoon with many tracts being handed out and conversations had. It was also encouraging to see that six people took copies of the Gospel of John in Chinese. May the Lord Jesus rescue many.
Eden came to Woodridge yesterday to play Pokemon Go, but he went home considering the claims of Christ. He was one of the people we spoke with during our outreach yesterday in Woodridge. He said that he never thinks about eternal matters, and doesn't have a Bible.
But as the conversation went on, he saw his own sinfulness and how he didn't deserve Heaven, but then came to grasp the gospel as he heard of Christ's death and resurrection for his sins.
He said, "I think I should trust in Christ today". He mentioned how he doesn't live in the area and never usually comes to Woodridge, but he decided to stop by Woodridge this particular afternoon to play Pokemon Go, and I said to him, "I don't think it was an accident that you stopped by today, it was all in God's plan and in His timing so that you would happen to be walking by at this time and we'd have this conversation." We gave him a gospel of John to start reading and recommended a local church.
Please pray for him and the dozens of others who we witnessed to throughout the afternoon. To God be all the glory!
At the outreach at Capalaba Bus Station on Monday afternoon there were 4 team members out and a whole host of conversations were had!
Capalaba is a very interesting place, some people are incredibly hostile, they will often yell, "Don't you dare talk to me" and yet the person sitting right beside them will be happy and open to hear about what God has done to save sinners.
An early conversation was with a woman named Chloe, she had no hostility but was completely open. It was a scary conversation in some respects because this woman who was in her early twenties had never heard of Jesus. You read that right, she had no idea who He is, who He claimed to be, when He had lived or what He had done. The only thing she knew about Him was His name, Jesus Christ.
There was great pleasure taken in explaining what sin is, who God is, the resulting penalty for sin and yet that God, through Christ had provided a way of salvation. Chloe left with a Gospel of John and said she would have to consider it that night.
Another man the team talked to was named Jordan, who is also in his mid twenties, at the beginning of the conversation he was saying that he was pretty sure Heaven and Hell didn't exist but after only 15 minutes of discussion he was asking how a sinner could be forgiven and be right with God.
This was probably the most encouraging discussion of the afternoon, he hopped on the bus pondering the question, "Will I continue to live for myself and suffer God's justice in Hell, or will I acknowledge that I am a sinner in desperate need of salvation and surrender in trust to the God who punished Himself on my behalf?"
There were a whole host of other conversations, so please take the time to come before the Lord in prayer pleading on behalf of these people and all those talked to that God would graciously grant them repentance!
Please also ask God to bring back these same people next week for follow up conversations and discussions! And finally may you lift up the team in prayer that God may equip and empower them by His Spirit to keep boldly proclaiming the gospel.
The gospel was proclaimed on Saturday night in Brisbane city by the team of about 10 people that showed up. Through the preaching, listeners were asked whether they thought they were a good person, but unfortunately no one is since we have all sinned, and therefore that is why we all need the forgiveness available only through faith in Christ.
It was great to see the team engage in many gospel conversations, including two new people on the team who have never evangelised on the street before. They stepped out of their comfort zones to share the gospel with people.
I think this principle holds true: The amount a person will enjoy coming out evangelising will depend on how much they are prepared to step out of their comfort zone. If a person doesn't really want to do that, they'll find evangelising maybe a bit boring. But when we ask God for courage and then step out of our comfort zone to approach people and strike up a conversation about eternal matters, it won't be long before we are in a gospel conversation with someone, and it is so exciting! We will go home rejoicing at the end of the day!
And even for those of us who have evangelised for years, we still need to each time ask God for help for boldness. And when we step out in faith, God blesses our efforts for His glory.
We encourage you to come along to one of our outreach teams, details are listed here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
We had a great outreach this afternoon in Brisbane city. God allowed many to hear the truth today, through the gospel tracts that went out and the conversations had.
One person the team spoke with was named Rad. He grew up Buddhist and is now searching to find which religion is the truth, since he knows that logically they all can't be true at the same time. He listened intently as he heard the gospel and was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading.
Another person later on in the afternoon came up to one person on the team and said he had some questions about God. His name was Tyson and he said he knows there is a God, as there is no way to deny that a creator made the universe. But he said he didn't know who exactly that God is and wanted to find out.
So we took him through the law of God, he saw his sinfulness and deservedness of Hell, but he wasn't sure how to be forgiven. We explained about Jesus, being God in human flesh, died to take our punishment for us. He had a bunch of questions about the trinity, about the Bible, food laws in the Old Testament, and about certain people in the Bible - because he said that he hasn't read much of the Bible at all.
He seems to be searching and was grateful to take a gospel of John to start reading. He even wanted our contact details so he can ask any further questions that he has. Please pray for him and all the others who heard the gospel today.
To God be the glory that His word went out and accomplishes what He wants it to!
The team enjoyed another outreach at Woodridge this afternoon, with plenty of good gospel conversations had and lots of tracts handed out.
There was a theme with some people who said that they wanted to put off getting right with God now and do it later on in life. So we tried to show them the urgency of doing it as soon as possible, since death could be right around the corner for any of us. We used the following analogy:
Just like if a frog is sitting in a pot that is slowing heating up on a stove, since the temperature increase is slow, he won't realize it's getting hot until it's too late and he boils to death.
So in the same way, we can so often think that we've got plenty of time left in life, and so as day by day goes along, we think we still have more time, until suddenly it's too late and death gets us. And if we haven't trust in Christ, it's too late.
We found this made the people we talked to really think and begin to realise the urgency of trusting in Christ alone for their forgiveness while they still can.
This is also what we went on to say today: For it is not something you want to get wrong. If you fail an exam at school, you can always do another one later. If you lose your job in life, you can always find another. But if you die and get sent to hell, you're there forever and there is no escape. That is why there is nothing that matters more than where you go when you die.
There were also a couple people we talked with who said they wanted to trust in Christ today. There were a few gospels of John given out as well to interested people. To God be all the glory!
Glory to God! He makes His work of telling forth His good news so interesting. The various chats today amply illustrate this fact.
- An Arabic family, Mark & Ruba (sp?) were wanting to teach their children the Truth. They were firm that only the Bible had this Truth. They are searching, e.g. Who is Dt. 18:18 referring to? (Answer in Acts 3:22 in context plus Mt. 17:5 + Jn. 8:31,32), and at present have no religion. The girls had a long chat with them, including the law (he thought that he was good enough) and the gospel.
The final words to them were encouraging them to read their Bible asking God to reveal Himself to them, and recommending that they attend a church near to them - a specific one was nominated. They had a question whether they would be welcomed since they are not Christians. They were assured them that they would be most welcome. Pray that the Lord brings them to saving faith in Christ Jesus.
- Aileen and Izzy had been discussing eternal things and have now heard God's glorious plan of salvation. Receiving a gospel of John each, pray that they make a true commitment to follow Jesus, Lord and Saviour.
- Anthony started out stating that he only believed in what he could see. Pointing to a building, Ryan stated that someone had built that building. Even though Anthony had never seen that builder, he still knew there was a builder. Anthony agreed. Going through the law and gospel, he reverted again to his 'no sight, I do not believe' position. He was challenged that his desire to live life the way he choose as being the reason he would not trust Christ alone. Pray he considers the horrors of eternity without any comfort as his outcome for living his life without Christ now.
God uses us in our imperfections and so we freely give Him all the glory for whatever He does in each encounter; whether it is passing out tracts, having a brief or long conversation or whatever transpires. What a honour and privilege to serve Him who first loved us.
When I returned home, my wife said that she had asked the Lord to give me an encouraging conversation. God had graciously answered in the affirmative:
I spoke with a young man, Darren, who has some Christian friends but was not familiar with the Bible. He listened intently. Following the pattern of Paul speaking to Gentiles in Acts, I went through God creating, particularly mankind in His image so that one might enjoy God as one obeyed Him. Proceeding through Adam's rebellion (and this against only one external law) to God's judicial curse, I showed how this explains our problems with relationships today, especially with God but also with our fellow man and with nature.
Darren was quite sure that no one could meet God's moral standard (10 external laws) and he did not know anyone who is perfect who could aid him. Going through the sinlessness of Jesus, I explained that His submission to the judicial wrath of God was as Substitute for His people. God's raising Jesus from the dead proved that God was pleased with Jesus sacrifice.
So now to the one who turns from his rebellion against God and trusts in Jesus alone to save him, can ask God for mercy and God will grant this as this is His stipulated way for anyone to become a Christian. I pointed out some of the means of grace by which God empowers Christians to begin and to continue living for His glory. I encouraged him to make a serious reflection and ask questions from us, most Monday afternoons, or via the web site. He says he is going to. May God lead him in the everlasting Way, Jer. 6:16.
Praise God triune for His gospel which is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes, first to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles and for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that glorifies our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many challenges in the Christian life, many ways we trip and fall, many ways we confront suffering and pain, many opponents, and many uncertainties. In all these things, we are comforted that Christ goes with us in it all. More than that, Christ conquers all these challenges through us and makes us more than conquerors in Him.
This last two weeks have been quite a challenge for both my church and I. My regular heckler Mr S. has leveled a complaint against my pastor Campbell Markham and I under the Anti-Discrimination act here in Hobart. The complaint whilst long and convoluted is clear on one thing, the issue at hand is primarily the content of the Christian faith. Christian convictions regarding morality, the gospel, the sanctity of life, and the reality of God’s coming judgment are all under attack. Australia’s usual “holy cows” have been used in this complaint; homosexuality (and SSM), abortion, Islam, and the big one “offence”. It appears that a public Christian response to these is not only forbidden in the eyes of progressive ideologues like Mr S. but also in the eyes of the law (ala the Anti-Discrimination Act).
My Pastor has been targeted for writing letters to the editor and reproducing them as blog posts. The “offensiveness” of his comments is the excuse used to attack his reasoned, gentle, clear, and biblical response to homosexual campaigns in our state and nation. I must wonder what comes next if “offensive” church blogs and newspaper articles are open to legal action. Are we going to have people monitoring the content of pastors’ sermons and submitting them for assessment under the Anti-Discrimination Act?
Before you laugh at the ridiculousness of that thought you need to be aware that part of the complaint against me comes from a sermon I preached at a local church!
I will not weary you with the large list of my apparent legal misdemeanors. Suffice to say that apparently, I can and have breached the law with almost everything I’ve done in Christian evangelism for the last 4-5 years. Obviously, I reject the accusation that I and the team of Christians with me are hatefully bigoted against others who don’t share our views. Our team has worked hard (and sometimes failed) at keeping the balance needed between gracious and gentle proclamation and the clear need to present God’s unflinching opposition to all forms of sin. Over the years we have had a long string of people come to us and apologise for their opposition as they can see that we love the people of Hobart and act from that love. Many of these people are not Christian and some radically disagree with Christian doctrine, yet they can see that Christian street preaching is motivated not by bigotry and hate but rather by loving concern.
Where to then from here? The first port of call in this for all Christians should be prayer. We must praise and glorify God for His goodness in all this, even in challenging times we can trust His wisdom and exult in His Holiness. We need to ask that this will lead to an expansion of God’s kingdom and a deepening love for His ways in Christians. We need to confess our sin and ask for Christ Jesus’ mercy, no Christian is perfect and I am worse than most. We need to ask our loving heavenly Father to give us what we need for today, that we could live and glorify Him in how we live. We need to plead for forgiveness for our enemies, please don’t stop praying for Mr S.. Lastly, we should to call out to God for Him to act on our behalf and fight the spiritual war that this complaint is as small expression of.
Second thing we should be doing is to let this motivate us to Christian witness. Look at what is happening here as a warning brothers and sisters, opportunities to witness are lessening in our nation. Use the opportunities you have now to speak to others about Jesus. Needless to say, this complaint will not stop the team and I from publicly sharing the glorious gospel news here in Hobart.
Thirdly, as Christians I believe we have a responsibility to stand up to this opposition. What does that look like? Firstly, it involves preaching the gospel! Also, though it involves making this issue as public as you can, this sort of thing breeds in the dark. Bring it out into the light. Write respectful but urgent emails to your local, state and national representatives, make them aware of this and your concerns.
Lastly, we should trust God has all this in hand and it will end up glorifying His name and being for the good of His people. We can trust Him!
God gave us a day where some meaningful chats were had with those He had prepared to come under the sound of His gracious gospel this day.
- Natalie, grew up in the USSR, had been taught in school that there is no God but she was to be a good citizen. They told her how to be good. Ryan took her through the Builder/building analogy and some more necessary corrections before getting to the law and gospel. Seeming to understand intellectually, she later asked, "If someone believes in God ... that one will be saved?: this also was corrected so Jesus, the Way, was shown to be the necessary Mediator. Now she has a gospel of John. May the Father show her the truth and grant her repentance and faith to be saved.
- Bek, a contact from mid-May, who after hearing the Good News again, still does not get it. Sadly, she does not read God's Word daily; it is one of the main means of grace according to Acts 2:42! Here is another church-goer who is still far from God. May He deal with her in her great need and give her ears to hear and faith to believe.
- Phoebe, educated in a Roman Catholic school, was unsure of getting to heaven. First, I showed her 1 Jn. 5:11-13, then going through the Law and Gospel, I stressed Jesus perfection does not (and cannot change because God will not have an imperfect Saviour) so we can always trust Him completely, Heb. 13:8. Her response was most heart-warming. May God bring her to see that Jesus is all she needs, Heb. 7:25.
May our great sovereign Lord, deal with each one contacted this day as only He can, Rev. 4:11.