On Friday evening we were blessed with a great turn out. Andrew brought his friend Steve and we also had Adam join us for a second time. That meant that with Philip, Carl, my brother and I, there were seven of us in total. Praise God.
We all arrived a little earlier and this was because I felt it would be good to have some fellowship before we start the ministry. Often we arrive and get talking amongst ourselves and before you know it a considerable amount of time has passed. Our window of opportunity is short and so we must redeem the time! We met at the Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse and munched on some hot chips as we had a time of devotions together. It was great.
Carl’s voice was not a hundred percent so I stood up to preach first. We had in mind to tag when half and hour had passed, but only if the open-air preacher did not have a significant crowd. It would not be helpful to tag should that affect the continuity of the message being preached. After standing up to preach a crowd began to form fairly quickly. We were once again standing on the other side of the railing as there was again no space for us to set up on that side. Although I am not keen on this I am grateful to the Lord that we are still able to preach at Leicester Square. Long may it continue!
During my preach I did have a number of people heckle me, although no one became as aggressive as in recent weeks. Quite a few people tried to distract me and cause me to stop, but praise God, no one forcibly attempted to do so. As time progressed I had fewer and fewer people heckle me from the crowd, although a good number of people were transfixed by the message. My heart really went out to them and I implored with them and pleaded with them to flee from the wrath that is to come.
After I finished preaching I was approached by a gentleman who was visibly moved. He thanked me for my message and we ended up having a great chat together. He has asked that I do not provide any details for private reasons. I cannot provide his name, however God knows his name and so I would ask that you hold him up in prayer. He mentioned that he would try to make the time to visit Leicester Square to hear me preach again. We exchanged contact details and so I hope we can stay in touch.
Moving on I noticed that the rest of the team were engaged in some great one-to-one conversations. Seeing that I was free Steve motioned for me to come and help him; he was talking with a friend of his from university, who happens to be a Muslim. I talked with him of the justice of God and the love of God. The Bible shows us that God fully satisfies both His justice and His love (Romans 3:21-26). Islam fails on both. This is the key difference between the two faiths. I also spoke to him of the contradictions of the Qu’ran, most notably the references it makes of the Bible. It mentions that God sent the gospel through the preaching of Jesus Christ (Sura 3:3; 5:46). The onus is therefore on every good Muslim to study to find out what this “gospel” is. I told Steve’s friend that he will discover that the gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ is the answer to the world’s greatest dilemma: sin. This is where the Qu’ran and the Bible clash, and since the Bible came before the Qu’ran, it is clear that it is the Bible that is true and the Qu’ran that is false. He tried to argue against this, however his arguments did not address the issue and it was clear that he was well and truly stumped. It is never about winning an argument just for the sake of winning an argument. In our case we are blessed in that we can win the argument, simply because the Bible is the truth and the Qu’ran is not. Muslims have been heavily indoctrinated to the degree that they very often do not listen to reason. I have found it best to labour to show them how their own faith contradicts itself, so that they can then begin to question what is true and what is not.
It was a fruitful evening and much seed was sown.
Saturday morning came around and we were back at Tooting Broadway. Philip and I were joined by Carl and my brother also joined us a little later. I asked Carl if he would preach first as my voice was a little strained from the night before. He preached well and a number of people stopped to listen. We were able to have some good conversations with a fair amount of people. At one point a group of young teenagers were standing by themselves and so I approached them and gave them each a million pound note. As I was talking with them a man standing nearby interjected quite aggressively and made the claim that I would be harming young minds by brainwashing them with religion. He touted that evolution was the answer and that there is no God at all. It was all I could do to restrain myself. The nerve of the argument! I made a clear defence for God’s existence and also spoke of the utter failings of evolution to provide answers that have any hope of satisfying the issues facing our world. Evolution removes hope, it removes meaning, it removes morality and ethics, and it does not and cannot explain why we are here or where we are going. It is fatalistic and morally inept.
After a short while he moved on. My young teenage friends, however, chose to stay. I opened up the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and urged them to turn to the only Saviour this world can know. They were struck by the message and I praise the Lord that He kept them from being robbed of hearing the gospel. I told them that my church was not far away and that we have a number of people their age who attend. I gave them my contact details, as well as the details of my church and encouraged them to come and visit. Do pray that the Lord would bring them to a saving knowledge of the truth.
It was a wonderful weekend of ministry. Please pray for all those who heard the gospel. The harvest truly is plentiful!
Soli Deo Gloria!
My body was sore, and I was tired from getting in late the night before. While it was an awesome time of witnessing on the Gold Coast the fact that I got home in the early hours AM was not.
I spent the afternoon preparing to go out witnessing that night, I still can't understand why God would entrust the eternal message of the gospel to lowly humans, but I am thankful that God has given us the privilege to make him known.
As usual we made our way to the Queen Street Mall after spending some time in prayer and reading our Bible as a group. I was expecting it to be rather quiet tonight due to the Indy on the Gold Coast, but was surprised to fine that the mall was rather busy.
It was decided that I should preach first tonight, my sermon for the night was going to be on "Freedom and Slavery". I started by talking on the fact that people were upset that in a free country they were banned from flashing their breasts at people during Indy, I pointed out that people believed this to be apart of them being free people, since they were free then they could do whatever they wanted. But, then I asked the question "Are we truly free?" Then I spoke how people in society are enslaved to many different things, from lust, drunkenness, drug addiction, love of self, and sin in general. Then I read out these words from John 8:34:
"Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin."
This launched into a discussion about how if we were truly free then we should be able to stop sinning, but the problem is a slave cannot just throw off his master. We are enslaved to our sin, we are bound to sin. We cannot in and of ourselves stop sinning. Our nature is bent towards sin, and we love to sin.
At this one man from the crowd began to yell out that he was a slave to sin, and that he loved it! The crowd erupted in cheers, so I agreed with him, and said that he does indeed love his sin, and he will enjoy his sin for a season. But, the very sin he loves will the be the very sin that damns him. The man stated that he didn't care, as he loved his homosexual sex too much. The man then proceeded to try and hit on me, by making sexual comments to me, and telling me what he would like to do to me. I kept on preaching, and spoke about how sin will damn us all, and that unless we have a Saviour from our sin, we have no hope.
The regular hecklers were there also, Alex the Agnostic, Riley the Agnostic, and Josh the Atheist. I actually enjoy talking to these guys, and it has now got to the point where I actually look forward to seeing them. Some have said I waste my time talking to these men, I but I don't think I am. I think that God may be gracious to them one day, and on that day He will grant them repentance and lead them to the knowledge of the truth, this is something I pray for, and I ask you to pray also.
We went back and forth with a few hecklers, and I kept focusing on going back to the gospel of Christ, and showing that he alone is the hope of our forgiveness. One man stopped and started to yell that I shouldn't be preaching, but rather I should love everyone. I said I do love people that is why I will preach to them, then I asked him if he loved me, the man replied he did love me, and then walked off. I noticed that one of the team had him in a one to one conversation, so I continued to preach.
One young woman next to me began to act all proud about the fact that she was going to hell, so I took the time to describe the reality of hell, she soon went from being arrogant to not wanting to talk about the issue any more. At the description of hell, "Mr. Love" returned, this time threatening to punch my head in (very loving), he was furious that I would talk about hell, and then he ordered me to stop preaching, I refused so he began to threaten me. I stood my ground and continued to preach.
After awhile he moved on (probably due to the police which were watching), and once again I noticed that he was in a one to one conversation. After preaching for about an hour I stood down, and had a few one to one conversations. Shortly after finishing preaching I was called into the conversation with "Mr. Love" he wanted to apologize to me for his actions." I accepted his apology and left him with on of the team. I later found out that he had asked how he could be forgiven of sins.
The rest of the night was spent with the team preaching, and many tracts and one to ones going out.
It was a great night, all glory to the one who died in the place of sinners!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sun, sand, surf and sin... that is what makes up the Gold Coast each year when the Indy carnival roles into town. For the past few years I have gone down to witness on the Gold Coast during this time, and have found it to be a good place to tell of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
While the atmosphere is talk and the hearts of men evil, I have found that the light of the gospel shines all the brighter when surrounded by the love of sin. This year people were upset on the Gold Coast, for a tradition has been that women would flash their breasts at people, however, the government has cracked down on this and made it illegal. Many people at Indy were upset that they wouldn't get their yearly dose of lust.
Ryan, Kyosti and I arrived at Surfers Paradise at 5pm, after meeting up with Josh Mitchell, David and Warren we headed out to hand out tracts and talk to people. It was very easy to hand out tracts here, many people took them and many stopped to talk some more about what was written on the back.
At 7:30pm the Indy Street parade started, this parade is billed as a family event however, it is nothing more than a flesh-fest. But, there was one interesting float in the parade, one of the lead floats was done up in an Indian theme and on the back of the float there were people pretending to be different Hindu deities, I wounder how Gold City Council explains that since they have made a push to stop Christian open air preachers.
As I saw what was going on with the parade and on the Gold Coast in general, I really began to understand how Paul must have felt when he entered Athens all those years ago (see Acts 17:16). This city was dedicated to the worship of flesh and materialism. Everywhere we looked people were talking about sex, or pretending to do sexual actions on people. I even saw a bunch of young men grab some random woman and start to feel her up, instead of this woman screaming for help she laughed and encouraged them.
This is a city that has thrown off any Christian values and have turned instead to following the course of this world, and as a city it enjoys the pleasure of sin for a season, but I cannot help but wonder, how long will God put up wit this? How long will God's wrath build upon this nation before He unleashes His judgment? We deserve the wrath of God now, but in His mercy He is holding back.
Throughout the night we were able to witness to many people, and thousands of gospel tracts were handed out. One witnessing encounter really stands out to me. As we were restocking ourselves with more tracts, I noticed a group of young islander men standing under the Surfers Paradise sign. So I walked over to them, and gave them all a tract, then I asked them this question, "If you were to die tonight, what would your last words be?"
The men stopped and thought about the question, one of them said "I love you" but the other said, "It would be God forgive me". I asked him why he would ask God to forgive him, and the man said because he had done much wrong in his life.
This then led into a witnessing conversation, I spoke to the man named John while his friends listened. We walked through the Law of God, and I showed him that God demands perfection, but we aren't perfect. I then showed how we have fallen very short of the standard that God has placed upon us. Once John realised his sin, and his need to be saved, I pointed him to the cross of Christ, and showed John that God became a man to suffered and die for sinners just like him. John and his friends couldn't move, they stood and listened to every word that was said. After this I described how Jesus is no longer dead, but rather God raised Him from the dead, and now we can be forgiven if we would repent and trust in Christ.
Upon hearing this John said, "I have been to church but never heard this, wow, God is coming after me tonight!" I then went into explaining how we must receive Christ by faith, and if we reject the free gift of salvation then we will damned to hell for all eternity.
I then left John with this verse: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36). After reading that verse to him, I asked "Are you prepared to go home tonight, lay your head on your pillow knowing that God's wrath is upon you?" John went pale and said, "No, I am not prepared to do that, I need forgiveness, I need Jesus to save me!" He then grabbed my hands and as he shook in fear he said, "Please pray for me, I don't want to go to hell, I need Jesus to save me." So there on the street corner I prayed that God would grant John salvation, as I said "amen" one of Johns friends grabbed me and begged me to pray for him as well. So once again I was praying that God would grant salvation to this young man.
All the group took tracts, and before I left I had the privilege of being able to pray for four of the group and also at their request pray for their unsaved relatives. Before I left, I must have been hugged upwards of ten times, these young men were really thankful to hear the good news, so once again I reminded them to repent and trust in Christ alone. As they walked off they all waved and called out "Thank you!"
It is such a joy to see a Sovereign God awaken sinners, I can only pray that God will grant those young men repentance, and I ask that you as you read this will stop and pray for them.
The rest of the evening was spent handing out tracts and talking to people. As a group we were able to have some great conversations. About two hours later after witnessing to John and his friends, I ran into them in Cavil Ave. John came running across the street grabbed me in a hug and said, "All I have to do is repent and trust in Christ, right?" I explained that all he has to do, is turn from his sin, and trust that Jesus died and rose again for his sin. John once again thanked me and left.
Praise God for His loving kindness and salvation!
Soon after the sermon at my church came to a close at around midday, Mickey, Yu and I got into Josh Mitchell's car and were on our way. Mickey and Yu are from South Korea and Japan and I invited them along to join us. We met up with Ryan at Beenleigh and got into his slightly more spacious car and traveled down to Surfer's Paradise together.
Today the Indy (car racing) was on again so there were quite a few more people around than normal. Josh, Ryan and I had been to the Indy for evangelism outreach on Friday night as well. Ryan found a park a fair hike away, but it saved us looking for a park. As we walked to our preaching spot, we handed out gospel tracts. We handed out a lot of them walking down Caville ave (the main mall at Surfers). When we arrived at our spot (at the Caville ave beachfront), the racing cars were fairly loud so we had to delay preaching for a while. This gave us time to hand out more gospel tracts and talk with those around us.
When the car racing had stopped, I set up my Camera and tripod and Ryan began to preach.
He preached about death, how we all will die, and that the bible says after death comes judgment. God will judge everyone for all the good and bad things they have done in their life. God has standards which he has given us in the ten commandments. We have failed to keep them. God is just and must punish our sin. Even though God is just, God desires to show mercy. Jesus died on the cross for our sin. We must do two things: (1) trust in Jesus (we're not going to get to heaven because we go to church or do good things or because we are a good person) (2) Repent of our sin (turn from our lifestyle of sinning).
This was the basic pattern which Ryan preached on for about the next half an hour of his preaching. This half hour or so was full of interesting events...
First some funny guys with beer came over and took on their (newly self-appointed) roles as commentators, making commentary out loud as Ryan preached. As Ryan did the good person test with them, they were doing their best to turn it all into a comedy. As Ryan warned them of the wrath to come, they were shouting out ‘ossie ossie ossie!'.
Some guys began throwing money at Ryan. Despite Ryan repeatedly saying ‘I do not want you're money', coins kept flying through the air.
These guys reached a crescendo of shouts, including: ‘Where is God?', ‘We're all going to die!' and ‘Go Kevin Rudd !'
Ryan kept warning them of judgment saying ‘There's nothing more important than eternal salvation'.
One guy ‘stole' Ryan's bag from behind him but Josh Mitchell soon went over and got it back off him.
As Ryan preached on hard about the things of God, they mocked. Ryan warned them that there will be a day when God will not be mocked anymore.
Some other guys started asking a whole heap of questions. One guy was asking if there was fornication in hell.
A little later, two guys armed with beer cans, stood in front of Ryan and began to mimic his preaching.
At one staged a whole bunch of guys and gals rushed over to Ryan and it looked like he was about to be ambushed. But they were simply posing for a Group photograph. Ryan kept preaching.
Some guys attempted to cross-tie Ryan's shoe laces together. Ryan did well to move about swiftly and avoid their attempts which soon ended as Josh M sat in front of Ryan while he kept preaching.
Shortly after, a man came and asked Ryan why he was up preaching. Ryan responded by saying ‘I am here to warn you of the judgment to come'.
Ryan finally stepped down and we handed out a heap of gospel tracts and shared the gospel with people around us.
As we returned to the car, we handed out more gospel tracts.
When we returned to the car Josh Mitchell treated us to some chicken sandwiches and bun loaf.
We pray that God's word will take root in good soil as it was sown today. May those who heard the gospel receive it and bear fruit. (Mark 4).
This Friday Patrisha, Florence, Jim, and Sucraj joined me in the center of town to reach out to the lost of Sheffield. Our new found spot is in front of the town hall next to the war memorial, which forms our preaching post.
We began the night with appeals to the Lord to save people and work through us. From this we walked up to the square (Barker's Pool as it is called) and began to hand out tracts to the passing people. Shortly after arriving we noticed a group of youthes standing nearby and went to engage them.
As it turned out they were more than happy to talk and though they were definitely not receptive to the gospel they were willing to talk and a lively debate followed. Jim and Sucraj both spoke with some of the other youth there while I spoke with Dan, Emily, Flan and a couple of others. We discussed various things including why I believe in God and why they do not and some of the evidence for God. Though they were not convinced they took tracts and went their way after we had a good chat.
Shortly following this a couple of men stopped after coming from one of the local pubs. One of them was quite willing to talk and was interested in discussing the gospel, the second however was hell-bent on disrupting the conversation. The second man was a Muslim and very drunk, it was quite difficult to take him seriously in the state he was in given Islam condemns drunkenness (indeed all alcohol consumption). The first man was engaged by Jim while I tried to reason with the drunk "Muslim", a positive spin off of this was a good conversation with Saltah. Saltah was another Muslim who stopped to listen to the conversation and then spoke with me about Islam and Christianity for some time. I gave Saltah some apologetics on the Qur'an and Muhammad and asked him to think on it. He left with a track and said he would consider what I had said.
After this I set up to preach and noticed at that point just how cold it was getting. I preached on the certain death that we all must face and the equal certainty that one day we all will be called from our graves to give an account to Jesus Christ. During this Chris was standing listening so I called him out and we went through the good person test. Chris was very open and listened closely to every word and stayed after we finished talking to hear the rest of what I was preaching. A couple of other people were nearby and so I called out to all in ear shot to urge them to consider their consciences and see that they too needed a saviour.
Afterwards Chris and I spoke while Jim spoke with a couple who had stopped to talk. Chris as I said was very open and we spoke for quite some time, especially on the topic of good works and what roll they have in the Christian life and being right with God. Many people get the cart before the horses on this issue, thinking that to be right with God they need to meet a standard first. The truth is that works are given to Christians to glorify the God who has saved them and not to get them right with Him. It is by grace through repentant faith that we are saved and that in Jesus' work. After speaking of many other things also Chris took a bible and then shook my hand thanking me for sharing the gospel with him.
Shortly after this a whole lot of theatre goers came out of town hall as we were preparing to leave, so we tracted the crowd and headed away home for the night. We rejoice to see one heart beginning to open to the gospel and pray that God's Spirit would work mightily to save Chris and indeed all those who heard this night.
I found Isaac to be a delight to speak to and a man very mature for his age. We really had a great chat together. I told him about a debate our church is holding next month between a Christian apologist and a Muslim apologist, and he seems keen to attend. We exchanged personal details and so I hope to stay in contact with him as he gives careful thought to the issue of eternity. Do pray for him.
It was a difficult night in some respects. Still, God was in control and through His great providence we walked away from yet another fruitful time of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The night was going to be a good one, and I was really excited about the prospect of witnessing to the lost tonight, however, I did have one concern, and that was the fact that we were down on preachers tonight. But, my rest is in the Sovereignty of God, and the knowledge that He will provide.
I handed out tracts on my way to King George square, and it was real encouraging to see many people reading gospel tracts and then passing them on to their friends to read also.
Once in King George we met for a time of prayer and bible reading as per usual, and then we headed up to the Queen Street Mall. We were blessed tonight to have a brother join us from Creation Ministries International, he had heard about us for some time, and after thinking about it for a bit, he decided to come out and witness with us.
At about 9:15pm, Ryan got up to preach, and almost in no time flat he had hecklers emerging from everywhere. He had Alex the Agnostic, Muslims, Atheists, Roman Catholics all opening fire at once. One Roman Catholic even began to pray to Mary in order to be forgiven of sin.
Ryan dealt with the Roman Catholic by pointing to 1 Timothy 2:5, and showing that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Then he showed the Catholic that Mary could not mediate for him, the papist ignored Ryan and kept on crying out to Mary. This of course grew a bigger crowd, and by now the Muslims had become even more vocal, so Ryan turned his attention to addressing them, and then pointing out that in Islam there is no hope of forgiveness.
While Ryan was talking a Pentecostal man came in behind and started to say, "He isn't answering them, he should just say "Jesus" to every question." I asked him why Ryan should say that, and the man replied that "Jesus is the answer!" I agreed with him that Jesus is the answer, however, we are commanded in Scripture (1 Peter 3:15) to answer the questions that people ask, and to give people a reason for the hope that we have.
The man didn't buy it, and started to talk about what he termed the "gospel" I was only half listening until he said "Baptism is needed to be born again!" This got my attention really quickly, I asked him to explain, so he started talking about how we must be converted, baptized by water, and in the Holy Spirit in order to be born again.
I asked him to show me from Scripture, where this was taught, he couldn't. But he just kept saying "Baptized" over and over again. It was almost like a mantra for him, so I countered and showed him from the Bible that he was wrong. The man wouldn't listen, and every time I tried to speak he would just start chanting "Baptized in the Holy Spirit!"
In the end, I just said, "it's a waste of time trying to talk to you, you are preaching a heresy and false gospel. But your pride and love of your heretical doctrines have blinded you from the truth of Scripture!" The man laughed, and walked away saying, "You can't answer John 3:16!" Which was odd since John 3:16 doesn't mention baptism, or the Holy Spirit.
It was at this stage that I noticed that Jacob was back, this was the second week that he was present. I was able to once again have a good discussion with him, and point him to the cross of Christ. He seems to be under conviction, and it appears that God is working on him.
By now it was getting late, and Ryan was still preaching. And, you guessed it the hecklers were still going hard. Some of our regular hecklers were opening up with the same old arguments, and Ryan countered them once again and told them of salvation in Jesus Christ.
At midnight, Ryan broke the Operation 513 preaching record, which was set at 2 hours 45 minutes. But, he wasn't finished yet. At the end of the night Ryan ended up preaching for 3 hours and 2 minutes. The great thing was that he had a consistent crowd, and that the same hecklers remained for the whole time.
In all it was a good night, with many people hearing the gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Shortly after church finished at around midday in the city, Josh Mitchell rolled up in his car, and shortly after hopping in the drivers' seat we were on our way to Surfers Paradise once again. We picked up Josh Williamson on the way. My driving was a tad rusty as I hadn't driven for a while, but God kept us safe (and everyone alert!)
It seemed to be very busy at Surfers Paradise and parking was quite a challenge. After a few unsuccessful trips around the block near where we preach, we dropped Josh W off and eventually found a park (it was a fair hike from our car to the preaching spot - the Caville Ave beach entrance). When I arrived, a Christian couple were talking to JoshW. They were keen to come and help out - I think the lady has even worked for Creation Ministries.
Josh M and Josh W took turns preaching. Josh M was the first preacher. He started, as he often does, by exploring the inconsistencies and irrationality of evolution, urging people not to believe in something that does not make sense. He then presented the way in which the Bible teaches that God created the universe. One middle/older aged man in the crowd became very emotional. He started yelling all kinds of abuse at Josh M, pointing his finger at Josh and shouting that out that Josh was lying to everyone and yelling out that the Bible is absolute nonsense. Some people in the crowd started to cheer the man on. Josh was very patient as the man continued to yell. Soon there was a very large crowd. Josh was able to preach the Gospel to the crowd.
Two Police came and they took Josh M and the man away from the crowd to talk with them - the crowd went wild. Josh W then started preaching the Gospel to the large crowd as they looked on. Many heard the Gospel and we pray that God would save some.
We then handed out some gospel tracts and engaged in one-on-one conversations with those who were around. I talked with a ‘Christian' Indian guy who claimed to be a Christian but did not believe that Jesus is the only way a person can be saved. He said that it shouldn't be a person's fault for being born as an Indian into a Hindu family. I tried to explain to him how God created the world with different races and that racial diversity indeed is a beautiful thing. But he was looking very frustrated and started telling me that younger people like me have a lot to learn. I urged him to consider the fact that he doesn't believe the Bible since it clearly teaches that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
I interacted with a few other people, but it felt like I was not communicating very well. Usually I really do enjoy sharing the gospel and asking what people think and answering any questions that they have ... but it seemed like I was failing to do this very well and I felt mainly sorry for those who I were talking with. I do believe though that God is Sovereign and that it is not up to us to save people, but that our job is simply just to be faithful and do our best to share the gospel with people and pray earnestly to God to make them born again (John 3:3).
Josh M and Josh W preached again for a while. Josh M interacted for quite a while with a young man in the crowd whose name was Darius, after sharing the Gospel with him, Darius came and shook Josh's hand and took a Gospel tract. Please pray that God would save Darius for His Glory ... and that God would be pleased to save many of those who heard the Gospel go forth today.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
We have the best news in the world to share. The Gospel is good news!
Report by David Strachan
The team immediately got engaged in one-to-one's after I finished and we spent the rest of the evening talking with people and handing out tracts. It had been a fruitful time.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I was woken up by the sound of an alarm somewhere in my room, as the noise began to filter into my ears, a thought ran through my mind "Do I have to get up?" As I rolled over to try and find where my alarm was, I saw the clocked and realized that I had only had about four to five hours sleep. Instantly my brain began to create excuses on why I should stay tucked up in bed on this wet morning. But, my alarm was persistent, it kept on bellowing out its call to awake, so after finding the alarm I was finally awake enough to realize that I had to hurry, as I didn't have much time before I was due to leave for the Queensland Baptist Convention. Normally, I don't go to these kind of conventions, but today was the day in which Queensland Baptists were going to have a focus on evangelism, so it was good for me to attend.
The first speaker for the morning was Will Graham (Billy Graham's grandson), he spoke on "Integrity in the Pulpit" and I must admit it was a really good sermon, he focused on how as evangelists often times we can fall into temptation and sin, thus destroying our ministry, but more importantly when this happens we bring the name of Jesus Christ to shame.
After Will Graham finished speaking, to other guys spoke about evangelism. They said some interesting things, but I found myself disagreeing with the whole of focus of "socialize" someone into the Kingdom of God. After their session finished I was introduced to Will Graham by a senior Baptist evangelist. What struck me about meeting Will Graham was the fact that even though he was famous, he was a real humble and down to earth kind of guy. Which was really good to see, and when you spoke to him, you could tell that he was genuinely interested in what you had to say.
I had to leave the convention a little bit earlier, as I had to drive out west of Brisbane in order to pick up 1,000 tickets for the Will Graham evangelism rally that was being held that night. The plan was, that I pick up the tickets, then that afternoon I would go out into the Southbank parklands, and give away free tickets to those who were in the area, and as a result invite them to hear Will speak that night at the Brisbane convention centre.
At 3pm, it was raining, so Fitzy, Andre and I thought that it would be fairly hard to give away these 1,000 tickets due to the fact that no one hangs out in the parklands while it is raining. But, we headed over there anyway, and to our surprise we found the parklands to be jammed full of people. It turned out that there was a large "Save the Planet" festival going on, so we quickly began to hand out the tickets to those we encountered. Within 45 minutes all 1,000 tickets were gone, and many of those who took the tickets promised to come that night.
We then went back to the convention centre where we spent some time in prayer asking God to save souls tonight through the preaching of Will Graham. Since I was on the "people helper" (counsellor) group, I had to stay back till about 10pm in order to help out with those who responded to the gospel. But, before that we had to go once again through the training material to make sure that we were familiar with the material we would be giving to people. During this time, I once again go to see how humble Will Graham was, as while everyone was being instructed on what to do, he came into the back of the room and just listened. There was no "big" entrance like you see with many other preachers, but rather he just quietly stood at the back and listened. After awhile, he was called to the front, and then he thanked everyone for helping and prayed for us.
Since we were short on numbers for helpers, I assisted with ushering as well, and while I was doing that we noticed a good size group of young people come into the convention centre swearing like troopers. A few people around looked a bit shocked, but I was happy, and excited to see them. As they were a group that earlier that afternoon we had given free tickets to.
The night went well, and before the preaching there was some good music. Then it came time for Will to preach, he instantly connected with the crowd and then began to expound on the gospel of Christ. He spoke about how we as humans need to be in the Masters hands, and we need to be guided by Him, yet, the problem is that our sin has separated us from God. After this, Will then pointed people to the cross of Christ, and showed that it is only by Jesus that we can be forgiven.
At the call of salvation about 60 - 80 people responded. After I finished speaking to those I was designated to "counsel", Andre and I quickly left the convention centre and rushed to the Queen Street Mall to join the Operation 513 team.
As we entered the mall the first thing we noticed was that it wasn't busy, this was due to the rain, and as we began to walk down the mall, we heard the familiar sound of Andrew Hsu open air preaching. As usual Alex the Agnostic was there, then there were some other familiar faces in the crowd, Riley the Agnostic and also Josh the Atheist. Good to see the boys had come out even though it was raining.
After Andrew Hsu finished preaching it was decided that Andrew Caswell should preach, now Caswell and I are old mates, who have been working together for about four and a bit years. Yet, he is only new to open air preaching. He got up and brought the Word of God with a passion and a zeal, that I wish I could even have a small bit of. When Caswell spoke he spoke in away that you could tell that this Gospel was the power of God unto salvation!
While Caswell was preaching, I noticed this young bald man in the crowd going around to different people saying "Ask the preacher this question, he won't be able to answer". As I watched him do this, I noticed that those who would encourage to say something simply ignored him, and kept on listening. So, when the young man got close to me, I said "Why don't you ask the preacher that question?" He just looked at me, and seemed to be a bit embarrassed, so I said "Mate, I am a preacher, why don't you ask me the question, and I'll see if I can answer." The young man agreed, and his question related to ‘Who wrote the Bible & What about the Da Vinci Code?' I quickly answered his questions, and the whole time I was focused on getting to the gospel. So I asked him, "you have heard of Jesus, right?" He replied that he had, so then I asked, "do you understand why Jesus had to die on the cross?" The man said that he didn't. It turns out that this young man's name was Jacob, so I began to talk to Jacob about personal sin.
As I walked through the Scripture, and showed Jacob that he was a sinner in the sight of God, you could see his face change from one of arrogance to one of concern. He had realized that he was indeed in trouble with a Holy God. By now his friends were trying to interrupt, but by God's grace I was able to present the full gospel to him. Jacob took a tract, and thanked me for telling him about salvation in Christ. Knowing that he still had questions I asked, "Now, what questions do you have in regards to Christianity?" Again, he brought up about the Bible, and this time also about the historical Jesus. So I answered his questions (something his friends didn't like), and as he left Jacob said, "that makes sense, thanks for that."
It is encounters like that with Jacob that make witnessing on the streets so worth while. It was such an encouraging encounter to see a young man come to an understand of forgiveness in Christ. Later on in the evening, Andre came up to me and told me that he had just seen Jacob and his friends talking about the encounter, his friends were trying to make him forget our conversation, but Jacob just kept saying "What if the preacher is right?" Please pray for Jacob.
After this, it was my turn to preach, so I began by reading out a passage of Scripture, then expounding on what it meant. I spoke about how God is loving towards sinful humanity, in that even though we don't deserve His mercy, God still shows grace towards us in that He sent Christ to pay the price for our sins if we would believe.
During the preaching I noticed that Jacob was back listening, pray that God's word will take root in his heart.
Alex as usual fired up his arguments, and as usual they were flawed to the highest degree. Each week he comes back, and tries to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but God's truth will not be stopped!
While preaching on sin, Riley called out "People only believe in sin, because of that book!" So I asked him about those other religions that don't believe in the Bible, and why is it that they have a knowledge of sin. His reply was to state that because they had religious writings, and only religious writings produced that knowledge. Since Riley studies anthropology, I asked him, "Is there any culture or any tribe of people, that do NOT have a knowledge of sin or God?" He replied that every single culture, and every tribe had that knowledge. So now I asked, "Do all those cultures have a book or writings to tell them about sin and God?" He replied that they did not. To which I said, "So the knowledge of God, and of sin is built in to every single person? We all know there is a God, and we all know about sin!" Riley agreed, and at this Alex started to argue with Riley.
God has given light to everyone, we all know that we do that which is wrong, we all know that we sin against God. Perhaps, you are reading this and you don't think you are a sinner in the sight of God, perhaps, you think that if there is a Heaven, then you are good enough to get there, well lets see:
Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Let's see if you are a good person by the Ten Commandments...Ever told a lie? The ninth commandment says, "You shall not lie." Ever stolen anything? Have you ever used God's name in vain? That's called Blasphemy. Have you looked with lust (sexual desire) at another person? Jesus said, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." How many times have you been guilty of any of these serious violations? You, like the rest of us are a slave to sin. God's word tells us that all liars, blasphemers, the sexually immoral, thieves, etc. will spend eternity in hell.
The Bible says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The reason we die physically is because of sin, and this is also the reason we deserve to go to hell for all eternity, because we have sinned against God.
But, God loves His people so much, He sent His son Jesus to suffer and die in the place of sinners just like you. Then He rose from the grave defeating death! You can't earn God's forgiveness; it is God's free gift. To be forgiven of you sin, you must repent (turn from your sin) and trust that Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners. Then three days later He was raised from the dead, defeating sin and death. The Bible says: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Soli Deo Gloria!
Also check out the latest Operation 513 - "The Appointed Time" broadcast: http://www.operation513.com/theappointedtime.php
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