There were five of us today as we met together to evangelise at the Redcliffe Jetty. Firstly we prayed and then started our voyage down the jetty. We gave tracts to everyone we met which lead into longer one2one conversations.
There was one older couple who actually asked Ralph to come over to have a chat with them about religious topics. They were self-proclaimed 'atheists', so Ralph showed them why there must be a God from causality and design. After the conversation was over, the couple was keen to continue the conversation at a later stage, so Ralph mentioned that we have a Skypecast every Sunday evening (9pm-12am) where he can dialogue with them about this subject further.
Meanwhile, I was having a chat with a another lady with some new-age spiritual beliefs. She said that there is no Hell, only different levels of Heaven. I asked her where she was getting her information from, and she said, "her feelings". So I pointed out that feelings are just subjective experiences and someone can have the same type of feelings but result in a totally different belief. So I presented a positive case for the doctrine of Hell, however she did not like hearing that she would be going there. But instead of turning to Christ after hearing the gospel, she just said, "No, I just don't believe there is a Hell" and she didn't want to chat any further.
To God be the glory that His Word went out in the City of Redcliffe today. Please pray to the Lord of the harvest to draw the people we witnessed to today to Himself.
This past weekend we were once more back on the street to proclaim the gospel. We arrived at Tooting Broadway a little before 7:30 pm and set about handing out tracts. I did not intend on preaching as I knew I would be preaching later at Leicester Square and also the following morning at Tooting Broadway. We spent about forty minutes or so handing out tracts and talking to people. I managed to talk with three young teenage girls who stopped to talk when I handed them each a million pound note gospel tract.
As we got talking I shared the gospel with them as I would any other. However, it became apparent that they were Christians and that they were on the way to a prayer meeting! I don't make it a habit of not trusting in people but I have seen all too often how quickly someone can say they are a Christian when in reality that is not the case. I asked them if they spoke to their friends about Jesus and they said that they did. I emphasised to them the importance of speaking about sin, righteousness and judgement and that the gospel makes it clear we are to repent of our sin and turn in faith towards the Lord. They seemed a little surprised by this and as I continued to share with them the essentials of true biblical evangelism I could see that they had not received solid teaching concerning the gospel. This is so typical of churches today.
Before they left they each received an in-depth gospel tract. I handed to the girl who had been the most responsive a Ten Commandment coin gospel tract, which has the Ten Commandments on one side and the gospel on the other, and told her to use it to start a conversation with one of her friends. She seemed quite excited by this. Just then their bus arrived and so we said our goodbyes. I received a hug for my efforts but the greatest reward will be to see them all in heaven one day. Please pray that will be the case.
We arrived at Leicester Square at about 8:40 pm. Carl was there to meet us; he's been a real blessing. We had a new face join us as well. My friend Dale from Workington had contacted me earlier in the week to put me in contact with Virgil, a friend of his now living in London. After some brief introductions we made our way over to where we had preached the previous Friday. The artists that line the railing had again said they preferred we did not preach in their "spot." Carl was first up to preach and he preached for about 15 minutes. He is still developing as an open-air preacher and I am sure that the Lord will use him as he continues to step out and preach. He does not use a loud voice when he preaches but he still attracts listeners and a few hecklers too! I have learnt that you learn the most through doing. After he finished I stepped up to preach. It was not long before a sizeable crowd formed. My first heckler was a man named Richard. When he heard me speak of intelligent design and how it proves there is an intelligent Creator, he scoffed. He worked up the crowd to say that the amazing complexity of the human body is not evidence of an awesome Creator. The people cheered in his favour, however it was not long before he had moved on and the people were still standing there listening. A question was asked concerning the crusades, during which time many "Christians" did terrible things in the name of Christianity. I told the crowd that a true Christian is known by his/her fruit and that if someone claims to be a Christian then his/her life must be in accord with what the Bible says. I was really encouraged as I could see this impacted the people's understanding of what a true Christian is.
It wasn't long after this that I was heckled by some young girls who insisted that there was no evidence for God. They were quite forceful in their arguments and appeared even angry. I found out later when talking with the others that they'd had a Christian background and that they had been let down by God in some way. This is tragic. It is quite likely that they came to Christ expecting a bed of roses only to find that this is not the case. This is the terrible result of modern evangelism that seeks to water down the message in such a way that you no longer hear words like sin, righteousness and judgment. The call to repent is rarely heard these days, instead we are told to simply "ask Jesus into our heart." Christ came preaching repentance. So did John the Baptist. So did the apostle Paul. Study church history and you will see it there too. Much of the church today seems to have discovered some new way to preach the gospel. Yet in the book of Galatians we read, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-9).
As I was answering their questions and objections a man dressed in civilian clothing approached me and showed me his badge. It was clear he was a police officer. He wanted a word with me and so I stepped down from my ladder to talk with him. His objection to what we were doing centred on the fact that we had accumulated quite a large crowd (to my knowledge probably the biggest I have had so far) and since Leicester Square is a "hotspot" for pick-pocketing crime it makes their job harder to have to deal with a crowd of this size. He also mentioned that we were blocking the thoroughfare with the crowd that we had gathered. I asked him if there was not some other place that we could go and he said no. He was making it appear that he was trying to be helpful but in reality he wanted us gone. I found out later that Leicester Square is his spot and so clearly it was more a case that we were an inconvenience than anything else. He did not say that we were breaking the law and actually said he was not telling us to move but was rather asking us to do so. I had with me an article written by The Christian Institute, which details the law related to street evangelism. I regret that I did not use this to my advantage. I must admit that my experience with the police is not that great and so I was rather accommodating to their wishes. I did protest, but thinking back on it now I could have defended our position much more strongly. The issue that concerned me the most was that it seemed to be coming across that we would not be allowed back to Leicester Square ever again. This is something I am in the process of looking into. I have contacted The Christian Institute, who are helping me in this regard. This Friday we will be trying a different venue, but only because we want to clarify the legalities and the rights that we have. I had been preaching for about 27 minutes before I was stopped so I praise God for the time that He gave us. It was just passed 10:30pm when we were stopped and as we leave around 11:00 pm anyway we decided to spend the next half hour or so handing out tracts and talking with people. The events with the police had shaken us up a little and we were not quite ourselves afterwards. This was somewhat new territory for us and one which we knew would come eventually. We need to learn from this so that we will handle it better in the future. Please pray that the Lord would help us and that He would give us much wisdom.
Saturday came around and it was back to Tooting Broadway. Antonio met myself and Phil at 11:30 am and not long after Barney (another member from my church) joined us as well. We began by handing out gospel tracts and speaking with people first. I approached a young girl who had dyed pink hair as well as a great amount of makeup on. As we got talking she mentioned that she was homosexual. Her name is Kitty and she is just 16. She was quite willing to talk and said that she enjoyed conversations regarding God and life after death. She mentioned that she did not see her homosexuality as a sin and that she was simply born that way. This can be a challenging objection to have to deal with. We need to emphasise that God has created both male and female and that the Bible does not allow for homosexuality. This can be a sensitive topic and we need to be careful when talking with people who are engaged in this kind of sin. This does not mean that we agree with them that their homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible clearly says it is very much a sin in God's eyes. However, so is lying, theft, blasphemy and idolatry. I spoke to her of how we can know that there is a God, that the Bible is a true and trustworthy book (click on this link to see why) and that if the Bible is indeed true then we all have to give an account of ourselves before Him one day. I was able to share the gospel with her and leave her with a couple of tracts. Please pray for her. Another chap I got to speak with was Zeff. It was not a long chat but I was able to share the whole counsel of God with him. He thanked me but I sensed that he was simply being polite. I stressed to him the importance of thinking through what I had said. He left with a gospel tract and so do pray for him.
After we had all handed out a good number of tracts and spoken with quite a few people I stood up to preach open-air. Some people did stop to listen; this prompted Barney to whizz about handing out tracts to them. Towards the end of my message I was approached by a man named Keith. He began by heckling me and speaking against the veracity of Scripture as well as the Christian faith itself. After a little while I came down off my ladder and spoke with him in a more personal way. It turned out that he does believe in God and it was clear that he is searching. He told me that he was an alcoholic and that he struggled to give it up in his own strength. He asked God to help but the help never seemed to come. I had a real heart for this guy. I told him that in our own strength we will fail but if we put our trust in Christ we can overcome.
I shared the complete gospel with him and urged him to turn from his own strength. He still seemed convinced that he could save himself if he just tried hard enough. I helped him to understand that salvation is a free gift. If we try and "buy" the gift then it is no longer a gift. When we try and earn our salvation we are in affect trying to buy the free gift that God offers to all who repent of their sin and trust in Him alone. This really helped Keith and he appeared most grateful as he left. I invited him to church and he said that he would come, unfortunately he did not come that Sunday and so it is my hope and prayer that I will see him again, hopefully at church! Praise God, we'd had another great weekend of ministry!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ali, Dan, Ralph, and I (Ryan) met up at the start of the Redcliffe jetty at 2pm, ready to do some evangelising. Firstly we prayed, and then Dan informed me that there was a Kite Festival on at another part of Redcliffe. So we decided that we would first tract all the people on the jetty, and then move to that area afterwards.
So we walked down the jetty giving out big money out and Dan struck a conversation with some people sitting on a bench at the end of the jetty, Ralph had a chat with some Catholic people, and I got into a conversation with some ladies who had some very new age beliefs. They would say, "Heaven and Hell is within you" and by doing some special thing within yourself, you can have the happiness of Heaven now.
When I described that the God of the Bible has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness, the ladies said, "No, my god would never judge. We are the only ones that judge." When I asked them how they came to this conclusion, they responded, "Because that's the feeling I'm getting; that's my experience." I pointed out to her that I've talked to other people who have said they too have these types of feelings, but their 'god' is totally different to their's. So then, how do we know which one is right? Well that is why we need to refer to something objective, and that is what the Bible has revealed about who God is.
After these conversations were had, we drove down to the kite festival and there were many people there. So we used this opportunity to give out tracts and chat to people about the judgment to come, leading onto the gospel.
Overall, it was a chilly, but good day where many seeds of the gospel were sown.
This Saturday Anna and I headed into Fargate together to bear witness to Christ. We shared a time of prayer first and then began by handing out tracts, while we were doing this I bumped into Ian, whom I had spoken with recently, whilst preaching. Ian had been hoping to see us again soon, and was (contrary to what some Christians believe) glad of the opportunity to speak with us further about the things of God.
Ian and I discussed some of the ins and outs of the Christian life and again I was impressed by his desire to find answers. He left with a smile, after shaking my hand and thanking me for sharing the gospel of Christ Jesus with him again.
We headed up the mall and set up in the centre to preach. I got up to preach while Anna and Paddy were doing good work, witnessing one-to-one and handing out tracts. Today appeared to be a day of hecklers and objections and the first up was Andrew. Andrew did part of the good person test with me, he began to object when I said to him that God would one day judge all he did and thought. At this point Sam chimed in also and basically just gave the assertion that God could not judge him because he didn't like it.
I tried to answer both Sam and Andrew and show that God is the judge over all of us by right because he has made us and gives us life. If someone makes a vase of clay they have the right to treasure or destroy it because they made the vase and thus it belongs to them. Likewise it is written that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and because of this God as our maker has the right to determine what rules will govern our existence. This was answered with another assertion (which is impossible to defend), "There is no God" and "You can't prove God exists". So we discussed the evidence that comes from design and the order of our world that positively screams, "God has made the universe".
The next heckler to step up to the plate was an atheist man who was determined to pin the cause of suffering in the world, on God. I tried to answer this age-old question in a reasonable fashion, but the interruptions were coming hard and fast. And he insisted that his assertion was right. After struggling backwards and forwards for some time on this topic, it finally became clear what he wanted to say. In essence his claim was that because God made us and is in absolute control of everything. He is responsible for our sin. This claim holds about as much water as a sieve, and is addressed far more ably than I, by many authors (e.g. J Blanchard in ‘Is God Past His Sell by Date?' and ‘Does God believe in Atheists?').
The bible teaches that first and foremost we are all responsible for our sin before God:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Secondly the Bible also teaches as this man rightly pointed out, God is sovereign and in absolute control of the world. Does this then mean that God is really at fault for our sin and we are off the hook? NO! While the two concepts appear to be in contradiction, to the mind of fallen and weak men and women, it is not the case. These concepts are taught as equally true, God is absolutely in control, but we are also are absolutely guilty of treason and rebellion against God. And as the letter to the Romans puts so clearly:
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
There were many other questions and different reactions to my answers varying between open hostility and accusations through to thoughtful nods and affirmations. Let them think what they will of me, I AM worthy of contempt (and eternal hell), but for my glorious saviour.
We pray O God that you will continue to work through your Spirit whenever the gospel is proclaimed, convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment. Save the people of our town and rise in your might to defend your people. May all be to your glory O God both now and forever where your people will join in singing around your throne:
"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
The young man mocked the preacher, as he kicked his legs out from the concrete pillar he was sitting on. His youthful voice sang out foolish questions, and challenged the authority of God's Word openly. Behind him a young lady from South America, was trying to hold back the tears, as the gospel of Jesus Christ was shared with the crowd.
A little later on, as the preacher counselled the young lady, two police officers approached. The young girl had tears pouring down her face. The preacher was asked for his identification, and then he was ordered to leave the area for twenty-four hours.
The young lady was not seen again, but God is sovereign and will complete his purposes, at his will.
Earlier on, the preacher was greeted by an old family friend, Mr. Victor Barwick. This gentleman, assisted the gospel proclamation, and encouraged the preacher.
Shortly, the gospel was being shared with many who had never understood the gospel correctly.
If you want to know why it was that the people stayed to hear the gospel, then you must first hear this audio:
Click on the picture to load..
The young people, who stayed to hear the gospel, began to ask questions. The preacher did his best, to understand the questions and answer them from the scriptures.
One young woman asked: "Where do babies come from, if it's wrong to lust?"
A simple answer prompted a stunned silence from the crowd of young to middle-aged people.
What happens, when you go with some boy or some girl, because you want to take them to bed? Is that a good basis to build a relationship upon? What happens when he likes another girl more than you, won't he leave you for her? What happens when you get old, and he sees some young attractive girl? Where is your relationship now?
Friendship is the basis of a good relationship, no matter what happens you will love your partner. When a girl comes along, he won't leave you, because the relationship isn't built upon lust.
Then the marriage bed is a precious thing, and one enjoyed by a couple determined to stay together, not matter what the personal cost. If he loses a leg, you will stay by him. If your face gets melted off, he won't leave you, because he loves you.
Time and again, the Lord Jesus brought different people to the preacher. It is a pleasure to serve him.
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things:
to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Saturday, 17 May, 2008
Tonight I decided to field test Ryan as the team leader. Over the past few weeks we have been working on training him up as a leader, and he has shown some good growth. So tonight was the night in which we would put his training and leadership to the test.
As Ryan went about organising the team, I had a chance to stand off to the side and hand out tracts, and talk to people. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, while he was preaching I got into a conversation with a man who claimed to have a Christian background but would not reveal exactly what that background was.
We spoke for some time in regards to the teachings of Jesus and the use of parables, the whole time I was watching him, and listening very carefully to his arguments. The case that put forward was consistent with the common arguments presented by the Seventh Day Adventists. So I asked him if he was a Seventh Day Adventist, he looked stunned and refused to answer. We then entered into the discussion in regards to what happens when someone dies. We both agreed on the basics, that is we die once, and then after that we are judged. However, the man stated that we enter into ‘soul sleep', that is once we die, we stay in the ground until such a time that Jesus returns. To this I decided to take him to the Bible:
"Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Paul in this passage indicates that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. The man looked at me and said "Yes, I agree with that, however, there is a long period of time between dying and being with the Lord." This was a classic case of eisegesis. So I called him out on that and pointed out the text doesn't say that, but rather he is forcing his presupposition into the text. The man maintained that he was not, so I asked again, how he got that from the verse. He did not answer that question, but then changed gears and started to ask me about the doctrine of hell. This worked well with what we were talking with as I then turned him to Luke 16 to illustrate about two people who had died and were immediately in a place where they were conscious of their surrounding, thus, destroying the case for ‘soul sleep'. But as with most cults, and with those who twist scripture, he had an answer. His reply was to allegorize the text, and then turn into a parable.
The parable argument for Luke 16 is rather weak, since the account that Jesus is talking about doesn't follow the structure of other parables, since Jesus mentions that ‘there was a certain man' and then gives specific names. This does not follow the pattern of parables. The story is supposed to be interpreted literally. The man refused to listen, and said he would like to debate some more. Threw the week he sent me and email, in which he was rather arrogant, and wanted to fight over the issue. Something, I haven't the time to engage in.
After this I was able to hand out a few more tracts, and engage in some good one to one discussions. It was now that I noted that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was back, he has been coming back on a weekly basis for months now. I always look forward to talking to him, as he is good to draw a crowd, and his arguments are rather weak. But, I want all those reading this report to stop right now, and pray that God will convert Alex.
Ryan preached for a bit, and he finished up around 11pm. It was then that I decided to step up the preach. I really didn't feel like it, since I had next to no sleep. But as I preached God was gracious to draw a small crowd in. He brought a bunch of young people, who all at once began to heckle. Yet, claimed to be Christian. They all counted their Christianity on the fact that they attend a large church called Citipointe COC, they said they went there for the games, and had been assured by the leaders that they were Christians. That church has a reputation of being a false convert factory, that waters down the gospel to the point where there is no ‘good news' left in it. We got to have a good witness to the youth, and they all took tracts at the end. Please pray for their conversion.
The night ended with a lot of one to one conversations. May God be praised for allowing His Word to go out!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Our first heckler was a fellow who we've chatted to in the past; he claimed that our representation of God is incorrect. So I asked him why he thought that. He said, "Because there are so many religions in the world that have different gods". I responded, "So? That doesn't mean that our God doesn't exist." He realised his fleeting position, so he then said, "It doesn't show that your God is right." However, I pointed out to him that he was claiming the negative position saying that our God does not exist, so logically, he must have good evidence to back up that claim. Otherwise, he can only say, "I'm not sure if your God exists or not." So then I proceeded to give a positive case for the God of the Bible, but he didn't like it and he kept trying to talk over me. We eventually had to drop him down because he was being unreasonable.
Josh Williamson had a chat with a person who made the claim that no god exists. So Josh inquired of what astounding evidence he had to prove that absolute negative. He could only say, "Because there is no evidence for God." However, that is not legitimate back-up for him to make the absolute claim that no god exists. He can only say, "I'm not sure that God exists or not", unless he has absolute knowledge about everything (which would then be self-refuting: 'I have infinite knowledge to tell you there is no being with infinite knowledge') or he has found a logical inconsistency within God. He could say neither. So then Josh provided a positive case for God's existence and talked about the judgment that is to come after we die, and then onto the wonderful news of the gospel.
Andrew Hsu had a discussing with a man named 'Diamond' about the subject of evolution. However, Diamond was confusing Natural Selection and Evolution together. They are two different concepts - Natural Selection is the process of species adapting to their surroundings by losing genetic information. Evolution is the concept that species gain beneficial information through mutations so that it gets more complex. Natural Selection has been observed, Evolution hasn't. Diamond said, "Look at how certain bugs are developing resistance to pesticides, that proves Evolution." However, that is just natural selection. You see, the bugs did not develop the resistance, but rather the bugs that were already immune to the pesticide live and reproduce, while all the other bugs die.
Right when the closing gospel message was about to be preached, God opened the flood gates of people to hear the message. The user count jumped up to over 80 people in the Skypecast at the one time. In fact all up, there were 319 people from 61 different countries who listened in. Many of these countries are closed to the gospel where missionaries are not allowed to visit, but praise be to God that they can hear the gospel through Skype.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!
It was just Warren and I (Ryan) for the Redcliffe team today. The weather was perfect with a nice breeze blowing.
So Warren and I walked up and back on the Jetty giving tracts to everyone we met. The people loved the Big Money and Millions and often asked for more of them. After I ran out of Big Money, I started handing out the "Are you a good person?" tract. One fellow who I gave it to said, "So are you saying, I need to worship God to be a good person?" I said that I am not even good, because no one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18).
The dolphin sight-seeing boat came in at about 3:30pm and so Warren and I got into position to give tracts to them all as they walked along the jetty. Most of them took the tracts, and even the boat's tour-guide took one.
It was a good day with the message of the gospel going out to the people of Redcliffe.
Leicester Square & Tooting Broadway (9th -10th May)
Last night I joined up once more with my good friend Phil for another evening of street evangelism. Unfortunately events of the day meant that we arrived too late at Tooting Broadway to spend any time there ministering. We hopped on the tube and headed for Leicester Square. Arriving just after 9pm I was excited to see the throngs of people who were out to party and have a good time. Leicester Square really is a great spot for street evangelism.
We made our way over to the spot that we have been using for the last three weeks or so - opposite the Empire Theatre against the railings. Artists line these railings doing portraits of people and caricatures. Up until now we have simply slotted in between them when a space has opened up. Last night we attempted to do the same, except this time a very disgruntled artist came up to us pleading with us not to do so, since that would cause a crowd to form, which would affect his business. This seemed ridiculous to me. I explained to him that we did not wish in any way to affect his business and that it was our right to stand there. I also explained that we have had no problems with the authorities in this regard. Just then a police officer headed our way so our artist friend approached the officer to complain. "Oh brother!" was my first thought. I went over to the officer and introduced myself. I presented our case and explained that we had not had problems before. The officer actually stood up for us and said there was nothing stopping us from preaching. However there was nothing that was going to deter this artist and he persisted to such an extent that the officer asked whether there was not some other area that we could use. We agreed and moved to another part of the square. I was feeling frustrated and annoyed and I confess that it did have me a little rattled. Still, I realised that we needed to learn how to handle these sorts of things, as we know that resistance will come.
My brother James arrived soon after and so we got ready to begin ministering the Word. Carl, who had also come through to join us, was still in a one-to-one conversation that he had started before we had arrived. I let him know where we would be so that he could join us when he had finished. Heading back to our "new spot" I stood up to preach. At first only a handful of people stopped to listen but as time went on more and more people began to take interest. After about ten minutes or so a group of young Muslim men entered into the fray. I knew things would now get interesting. As is the common practise the Muslims fired at me the typical questions. They were aggressive and forceful and very domineering. This is to be expected. It can be frustrating as they don't allow you to even get a word in when they are like this. However one young man, who called himself Adam (I discovered later that this was not his name) was far more reasonable than his friends and repeatedly told them to show me some respect and allow me to speak. I was grateful for this and I knew that God was working. It does seem that the majority of the Muslims I meet are simply out to attack Christianity in an aggressive way. Yet there are those who are more reasonable and willing to listen. Adam was one of those. (Let me point that we too want to attack Islam. The point I am making is the aggressiveness of their approach and the fact that they refuse to be reasonable. They ask questions but really their minds are already made up. Please pray that there will be those like Adam that will listen).
The majority of their questions and objections were aimed at attacking Christianity; again, this is common practise. I will say this. For all their efforts to shout me down they succeeded in bringing in a greater crowd. I was greatly encouraged by this and turned to preaching the gospel more earnestly to the crowd.
After preaching and answering questions and objections for close on an hour I came down off my step ladder. It was funny because Adam wanted me to carry on preaching! I told him that my voice would never be able to handle it. At this particular point I noticed that a young man was motioning for my attention. As soon as he started talking I noticed straight away he was from Australia. He seemed quite keen on talking with me. I discovered that he was most displeased with what I had been talking about. He said that he did not discount that there is a God but did not see how I could say that the Christian God of the Bible was the one true God. He felt that me saying Jesus is the way, the truth and the life is discriminatory. I tried desperately to reason with this young man but he seemed to have only one agenda. He was quite strong in his approach and I felt that his mind was already made up before he even asked a question. It was clear that he had some sort of Christian background, since he spoke of a verse in Leviticus that says a man who commits a homosexual act should be killed. I pointed out to him that the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant. This led to him saying, along with the Muslims who were standing near by, that the Bible had been changed and altered. I struggle to understand how they come to that conclusion. Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant with the house of Israel, a new covenant that surpasses and is far greater than the old covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31-33) God chose to do this, not man. It is recorded in the Word for us. Nothing has been changed by man, man has simply written down what God has directed him to write down.
As time moved on I got to speak with another Muslim from the group. He was quite a young man and one who had been quite vocal when I had been preaching. Now that it was just the two of us things were a little different. I told him that God's standards are infinitely higher than man's standards. This he agreed with. I told him that God is just. This he agreed with. I then said that if a human judge could not let a criminal (who was clearly guilty of a serious crime) go free, but rather must execute justice, how much more must God, who is the Just Judge of the entire universe?? For a brief moment I could see on his face acknowledgment that what I was saying is true. I could see that he clearly understood what I was saying. I think he realised that I had exposed the holes in his argument because he came back at me again with an explanation of how Allah is just yet at the same time is willing let the guilty go free. You see, if God is just He must punish sin. The Bible tells us that, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD." (Proverbs 17:15). Without a sinless, perfect substitute to die in our place, we would all end up in hell. Since we are guilty God cannot justify us, unless our guilt is passed to another. And this is why the Christian rejoices. "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the genius of God. In Christ both His wrath and His grace are satisfied. God's wrath is poured out, but on Jesus, not us. God's mercy is extended to those He wishes to save. He has demonstrated both His justice and His mercy. Both are satisfied.
There was another chap who had been listening quite intently whilst I had been preaching. His name was Paal. As we got talking I discovered that he had issues with the fact that if all we need to do is believe in Jesus and in so doing earn eternal life, then that means we can sit back and sin knowing that we're saved anyway. I explained to him that when the Christian repents and puts their trust in Jesus, they are made a new creation. God changes the disposition of their heart. The sin they once loved they now hate. Christians still sin, but there is now a wrestle that takes place inside them because of the Holy Spirit that has filled them. He seemed to understand this. I gave him a gospel tract and my contact details and he left shaking my hand. Please pray for Paal!
It was now gone 11:00pm and so it was time to head on home. My brother James was just finishing up a conversation with a couple of people and Phil was handing out tracts. Carl had already left a little earlier. As the three of us headed for the tube station we praised God for using us once more.
It was just myself and Antonio today at Tooting Broadway. Antonio is still a young Christian and so to see him on the street each week is a real blessing. He is not quite at the place where he is approaching people to talk with them but he is faithfully handing out tracts to the passerby's. When we arrived this morning a pastor from an Evangelical Anglican church, along with people from his church, were at the tube station ministering the gospel. I had met them once before and it was good to see them again. When we arrived the pastor was preaching and the members of his church were handing out tracts so we went about handing out tracts as well. I got talking with a young man named Nester. He listened as I shared the whole counsel of God with him. He understood what I was saying yet did not seem moved at all by the gospel. As he left he handed back the tract that I had given him. It is heart breaking to see this but God's Word does not return void and I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will work to convict him of his sin so that he will turn in repentance and faith to the Lord. I spoke briefly with the pastor from the Anglican Church before he left. He couldn't really stop to chat but we exchanged contact details and I hope to speak with Him some more. I stood up to preach and a few people did stop to pay attention to what I had to say. It is a completely different setting to Leicester Square but even if only a few people stop to hear the Word I will still rejoice in the Lord.
Once more a great weekend of ministry. As long as we have breath we must go on preaching God's Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Credit: Images from www.Wikapedia.org
Saturday, 10 May, 2008
When will I ever learn? Every time I head out on the street and say "Tonight, I won't preach" I end up preaching. Tonight I resolved that I would not preach due to the fact that I would be preaching at Rosalie Baptist Church the next morning, and I wanted to be fresh for the pulpit sermon.
As we set up for the night I noticed that we had a demonic painter set up in our preaching area. This really frustrated me since this guy paints really dark paintings, and often times he gets large crowds. Knowing that there would be clash of light and darkness I prepared for a long night.
Initially I tried to get the Queensland Police to move the painter from our area, but I was informed by police that it is a Brisbane city council matter, and they have no say. Which was interesting since in the past they have moved us for council matters.
The first preacher up was Ryan, and he battled to get a crowd, since people would stand and look at the painter painting instead. He did mange to get a few hecklers, and he did well dealing with them.
Next up was Kevin, I really like to hear Kevin preach, he has come such a long way since I first heard him preach. He keeps calm under pressure, and constantly points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While Kevin was preaching a man came and stood really close to him, so I moved in just in case it got violent. As the man stood close to Kevin, I could hear the language he was using. Some of the words were the most vile I have ever heard, then the man had the hide to claim to be a Christian. Kevin slammed him for his hypocrisy, and then the man yelled "I am on the Council of the Queensland Uniting Church, and we want to see you guys stopped!" This stirred Kevin up to preach all the more.
After Kev preached, Ralph had a go. He did a wonderful job, and he managed to preach to a few people that were gathering. Towards the end of his open air he was heckled by a couple of Jehovah Witness girls who were drunk. Ralph tagged me in, and I began to deal with them. The girls quickly turned and ran. But by now many hecklers had moved in.
It was interesting to see that the crowd watching the painter quickly became a crowd listening to the preaching and the debate. We went back and forth over the existence of God, and then a man who studied philosophy started to heckle. This debate led to a discussion on "Is there absolute truth and is there absolute right and wrong?" Of course all the hecklers said "No!" The leading vocal heckler was "Mr. Dawkins Man" he was yelling that there is no absolutes. After a few illustrations which show that there must be right and wrong. He started to yell that I was wrong. It was then that I pointed out that under his viewpoint I couldn't be wrong, since there is no right and wrong. This caused the crowd the chuckle.
Throughout the fifty minutes I preached, the gospel was presented many a time. At the end we got to have some really good one to one conversations!
Soli Deo Gloria!