Heading into Sheffield this afternoon I was praying that God would work in Sheffield today. Increasingly of late, I have been convinced that there is nothing even the most powerful preacher can do, if God will not move. So with this in mind, this very little preacher humbly calls on God to stand and vindicate His great name and in mercy save people from my town.
In town I ran into Cedric speaking with people in the mall, as always carrying his banner of scripture. He was encouraging a Christian man as I arrive and he proceeded to encourage me also. I praise God for this man often and again had my heart warmed by his Christian fellowship. I walked from there up Fargate, handing out tracts as I went heading to the Peace Gardens, which are full of people on these warmer summer days. I still think it's cold and so I am constantly amazed to find people running through the fountains.
In the gardens I ran into a couple of youth that I have spoken to before and while chatting with them Muhammad came up and introduced himself to me. Muhammad and I discussed the evidences that back up the bible and the Christian beliefs and the need that all people have to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. As it became clear, Muhammad was a Christian but the conversation was not a waste by any means. Firstly all the non-Christians around us where listening as we talked and secondly Christians like him and I need to talk of the glorious saviour often and savour the things of Christ.
Turning to some of the other youth around me I asked if any of them had any questions about the gospel or the things of God, they had none so I went back to Fargate to preach. Preaching the gospel is always a fearful thing and when doing it alone I often tremble when starting, this is a good reality check on the seriousness of what we preach and also good in that it drives us to prayer. Praise God that He is with all Christians as they share the gospel, may He speak through me, and His words be heard and mine forgotten.
Michael and some of his friends stopped to listen to the preaching and I called him out to do the good person test with me. He happily complied and though he was certain by the end that He like me was guilty before God he was convinced that God would not condemn him. One of his friends piped up that "God is all forgiving isn't He?". I strove to show Michael and his friends that God is both just and merciful. Just in that we will have no excuse before Him based on good works and that He will justly condemn to eternal punishment those who are lawbreakers. Merciful in that He offers us pardon for our rebellion against Him and eternal life through the once crucified risen saviour. Many of the small crowd took tracts and after urging them all to turn to Jesus in repentance and faith, I stepped down.
Shaun was watching the preaching and I spoke with him afterwards, he was a Christian and so I encouraged him to be faithful to His Lord. Shaun like so many Christians is currently struggling (all Christians will in this world, Jesus promised). I pray that God will use these hard times to make Shaun like his saviour and walking with him in his trouble bring him safe to his heavenly home.
I went back to the Peace Gardens to speak some more to the people gathered there. I ran into Juanosh (sorry the spelling is wrong, mate) and some friends of his. Juanosh was considering the Old Testament the last time I met him and struggling to understand how it fits with the New Testament. This time when I asked how his considerations were going I was saddened to hear that he had cast the whole bible aside, because there were too many contradictions in it! I asked him to tell me one of them; he could not say anything other than a vague difference between the old and new testaments. We talked for a while and during this conversation I challenged him to search out and find me the contradictions in the bible, he will be getting back to me. The rest of the conversation focused around the law of God and the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ dying for sinners and rising to life, which is offered to all who will repent and believe in Him.
I went home rejoicing that the Lord had given me so many opportunities to speak for Him and praying that He would save these people.
With all the regular Gold Coast team members unavailable to make it on Sunday, I thought it may just be myself there. However, thankfully, four others joined the team for the day - Kyosti, Ralph, Peter and Snowy.
So after some Bible reading and prayer as a team, we moved over to the regular preaching spot. However, there was man sitting on the preaching box who we had seen in the past. He obviously hated Christianity and so he was sitting on the preaching spot to prevent us from preaching. We tried giving him a tract but he immediately said, "All Christians are hypocrites. Please leave." So we just handed out tracts and had various one-2-one conversations for about 20 minutes until the man got bored and moved along.
After this I stood up to preach first, warning people of the judgment to come, but also explaining to them how they can be saved because of Christ's death. After about 30 minutes I tagged Ralph in to preach and not long after he had some hecklers who said that what he was saying is false because God doesn't exist. So Ralph tagged me back in and I explained to these gentlemen that there is logical proof for God's existence. The hecklers understood there must be a God, but they did not like being under conviction of sin, so they left. However, they came back later on and Kyosti managed to have a good one2one conversation with them.
After dealing with a number of other hecklers who had questions, I explained to the crowd why Christianity is the only true religion and what they must do to be saved. I then tagged Ralph back in and he preached for about 30 minutes, explaining the historicity of Jesus' death and ressurection, which lead into the gospel. Then he tagged me back in and I preached for the remaining 15 minutes we had.
Even though it was a bit quieter on the Coast today, many good one2one conversations were had, and a load of tracts went out.
Thanks to Peter Webber for taking the photos.
Lovely warm day with windy breeze.
At the end of the pier, was a group of young people, one of which was dropping ten feet into murky water below.
By the grace of God, a number of big money tract's were handed out, and a fantastic conversation was struct up with the young people. A young lady and a number of young lads, began to converse with me, and they took the manual good person test.
The six kids, talked about all sorts of subjects, evolution, the big bang, transitional forms, philosophy, infinite regression etc. it was an exciting conversation, and lots of people sat around with surprised faces soaking it all in.
I had to warn two of the lads, jumping in water was against the law, but they kept on doing it. I nicked name one, bright spark, coz he kept on making strange statements that didn't make sense. Reminds me of myself really! God saved me, he can save him easily!
One old guy listened in to my conversation with the kids, and later said to Dan Kent "I hate all man and mankind..?". It was a strange comment, but the reality is, that self-righteousness is a hideous manifestation of human sin nature. May God grant him forgiveness. He did take a gospel tract from Dan Kent.
The team tracted the pier, and then we headed out down to the local swimming hole, and handed out as many tracts as we could. Dan Kent and myself, cover the beach area and gave out plenty of tracts, even to the food girls.
Then we came round the other side, and I got to give an icebreaker tract to a nice aboriginal guy, and got to witness to him. But his mum or grandma, who was a Jehovah's Witness. Warren managed to take on the JW older woman, so I could finish giving the gospel to him. He admitted guilt, and I pray God grants him repentance. His partner kept interferring with the witness, so I finished quickly. They bid us goodbye, and the fellow accepted a tract.
Dan Kent wanted us to know that a guy was wearing, another guy was wearing a "Bring back the Biff". The man who normally wears that shirt on television, teaches the worst kind of immorality. And he uses humour to communicate it, past the weak moral senses of the public. Obviously he is successful. We couldn't get a tract into the hands of this cult follower. Please pray that God will wash our media, if it pleases him.
Chris Addison estimated with the team, that about 75% of the people accepted tracts and 25% rejected them.
If your out there and nervous about handing out tracts, this should encourage you :)
Here is video to exhort you:
Asleep in the light - Video Hymn
For Jesus name,
Sunday, 27 April, 2008
Tonight I had the honour of being asked by my church (Beenleigh Baptist) to preach an evangelistic service. It is not normal for my church to actually hold a service with a focus on the lost. For the past two months the event had be planned and re-planned. Advertisement went out, and the congregation was encouraged to invite their unsaved friends and family.
There was a general sense of excitement among the congregation at the prospect of a gospel message being preached. The bit I found most exciting was the fact that the church was becoming more involved in outreach.
My text for the night was James 4:13-17, and my sermon title was "What is Your Life? Answering the Question of Why there is Death and Suffering? As the time neared for me to preach, my nerves increased. Tonight turned out to be one of the biggest night time services the church has ever had, after the service I was told by one of the Deacons that the head count was 160 people. With many of them being unsaved.
As I preached I wanted to stress the reality of death, and how we all die as a result of sin. From there I preached the cross of Christ, and pointed out that there is forgiveness of sin for those would repent.
At the end as the call of salvation went forth I was encouraged to see five people respond, and surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.
Praise God for all He has done!
Listen to the Sermon: "What Is Your Life?"
Saturday, 26 April, 2008
Tonight was an interesting night. As I prepared for the outreach, I was reminded of last week, and how we had a young man threaten to get some ‘goodies' to pour over me while I preached. This idea did not really excite me, but as I thought about it, I concluded that the young man probably was just making up some threats.
As Ryan began preaching, I was approached by Kyosti who told me that he had just witnessed to a group of young men, and that I should be aware that one of them has a big jar of honey to pour over me when I preach. As I looked around I spotted the young man from the week before, and I knew it was going to be an interesting night.
The young men walked over to me and we began to chat. I have witnessed to these guys before, and Kyosti just went over them again with the gospel. So as Ryan preached in the background we just chatted about general stuff. I informed that I was aware of what they were planning to do, and that no matter what happens I would not become angry, nor would I hate them. But rather I would continue to share Jesus with them. One of the team softened and was very open to talking. The other two were under the influence of alcohol, so it was hard to talk to them.
We spoke for some time on different topics, and one of the boys turned out to be 13 years old, and the sad thing was he was drunk and could barely stand. Because of their drunkenness they would run up to people and try to scare them. This resulted in the police coming up to see what was going on. I spoke to the Police constable, and explained what was happening, then I asked him to have a word with the 13 year old on the dangers of drinking. The police officer took the boy aside and gave him a good dressing down for drinking and even call his mother. The boys attitude changed after this and they were very polite and friendly.
Ryan was still preaching at this time, he was heading towards the two hour mark when he finally stepped down. All around our section in the Queen street mall one to one's were occurring. I noticed that our regular heckler "Mr Dawkins" was present so I walked over to him, and had a conversation. We seem to have a good relationship with a lot of our regular hecklers, and one can see that they are softening towards the gospel.
"Mr Dawkins" and I chatted for some time about atheism, and Christianity. We went back and forth over the existence of God, and in the end he admitted that their ‘may' be a God. I pointed out to him then that he could no longer hold to atheism, but rather he must be an agnostic. We then chatted about how the belief in no god, is just as much a religion as a belief in God. "Mr Dawkins" didn't like that two much, and as we parted ways he said he would talk about this more. So no doubt we will see him again this coming week, even though he keeps saying he hates listening to us.
By now it was midnight, so we started to pack up. I was quite impressed, the night was quiet, yet many great one to ones occurred. Then as we were preparing to leave a man claiming to be a pastor was getting violent. He was drunk, and trying to beat up a teenager who was listening to him being witnessed to. Myself and couple of the guys jumped in the middle, and tried to keep them apart, but the ‘pastor' kept pushing past. Eventually we were able to separate them, and the drunk ‘pastor' was getting hostile towards me, his face was familiar, and I thought I had seen him somewhere before, so I asked him if he was related to a certain family that has a lot of pastors in the AOG movement. As I said the name of the family his face changed, and he couldn't get away quick enough.
It is sad to see so many false converts out there saying their Christians, when in reality they are still lost.
Praise God for His Gospel Truth!
Soli Deo Gloria!
At the scheduled time of 9pm the Skypecast started and pretty much instantaneously the room filled up with people and there were many folks who wanted to have their say.
So the first heckler we had was a Muslim lady from Egypt. I asked her why she is a Muslim, and she responded, "because my parents are." She couldn't give any objective reasons why someone would become a Muslim. So I then asked about what happens after she dies, she said there is a judgment. And good people go to Heaven, and bad people go to Hell. I then showed that if God lets someone into Heaven because of their good works, he is then not a just judge. Yet that is how the god of Islam operates, yet the Qu'ran says that Allah is just, exposing a fundamental internal contradiction proving Allah's non-existence. The lady admitted that it was a contradiction. So I posed the question to her, "Why would you believe in something that you know is false?" I then explained to her how she can have her sins forgiven while God's justice is upheld and yet He still shows his love, and that was by the death of Jesus Christ.
Andrew Hsu then discussed with another Muslim person and when asked why he thinks Islam is true, he said because his parents said so. The man then tried to say the Qu'ran has never changed but the Bible has. When Andrew asked for what evidence he has for that claim, the man was speechless.
Andrew then had a discussion with a skeptic named Peter, who we have spoken to in the past. He tried making the claim, "why do Christians believe in the trinity when it's not in the gospels?" Andrew informed the fellow that it is in-fact throughout it and he gave various scripture references.
I then had a chat with another Muslim heckler who said that she would actually answer my questions about Islam unlike the other Muslims who we spoke to earlier. So I then brought up the fundamental flaw regarding Allah's contradictory justice, which then lead straight into the true gospel. She couldn't answer that contradiction.
Josh Williamson then dealt with a Catholic man who said he is going to Heaven because he just went to confession. Josh showed him in the Bible where it says we are saved by grace through faith alone and contrasted that to what the Catholic Catechism of 1993 states that it is by yours works that you get to Heaven.
After this, I had a chat with a Sikh fellow. During the conversation I pointed out three internal contradictions within Sikhism:
1. Sikhism believes we are all part of God. That means God could not fully exist before the creation of the universe.
2. Sikhism believes all religions are true. Except because of the vastly different claims made within the various religions and the law of non-contradiction, they all cannot be true.
3. The Sikh god judges based on a person's good works and bad works, making him unjust.
The fellow could only respond by saying, well this is what I believe. So I pointed out, the task of the individual is examine the various religions and find out which one is true. They all cannot be true, and you shouldn't just believe in a religion because your parents do.
Andrew Caswell then finished up the Skypecast with an in-depth law and gospel message calling everyone to repentance and faith.
Overall, it was a great night with a constant flow of hecklers wanting to speak, and a total of 280 people listened in.
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!
This week has been a hard week, as happens to most people in this ministry from time to time; we have been discouraged and low. We've been disheartened by the hardness of people's hearts and seemingly pointless arguments with the cult members and those of other faiths. These things, though difficult, do not change the command to go and preach the gospel. Nor do they remove our great comfort, the work and person of Jesus Christ.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
In town we prayed and then found a place to preach from in Fargate, while I preached Anna handed out tracts and spoke with people. As I was proclaiming the gospel some young men came up to heckle, I engaged Jack and we went through the good person test. Jack freely admitted being guilty of sin (as I am), but at the same time thought that there would be no consequence for his crimes. When asked why Jack responded that there is no reason to believe the bible and he doesn't believe in God. I was beginning to speak to Jack about the reliability of God's word and the importance of trusting in Jesus' work to save us, but was interrupted by Chris.
Jack's friend Chris is rather a hard hearted atheist who believes that there is no evidence for the existence of God. This disbelief is nothing to do with the lack of evidence and more to do with Chris' heart. I spoke with him at length about the evidences we have all around us, the design and purpose of the world, the historical/archaeological backing of the bible, the prophecies that confirm the bible and many other evidences. In the end his position would not bend and I told him that the reason for his unbelief was not lack of evidence but rather that he would not believe: There are none so blind as those who will not see!
Chris also seemed to think that we were preaching obedience to the law as the way to heaven (which he was right to say is contradictory). I told him that the only way to heaven is in Jesus Christ, through repentant faith in Him. As he and his mates left I challenged them to consider the gamble they are taking; if they are right and there is nothing after death - they lose nothing by rejecting Christ. On the other hand if they are wrong but continue in their rebellion - they will lose everything and face the unending wrath of God almighty in hell.
During the preaching Anna was handing out tracts and talking with those who gathered. At the very beginning she spoke with John, he was very open and could see his guilt and need, Anna gladly shared the gospel with him. After this encouraging conversation she spoke to Tom, a searcher who has been attending a catholic church in an effort to learn the truth. Anna warned him of the false righteousness taught by the catholic church which is based in works and the false doctrine of men. Tom was very interested in learning more and Anna encouraged him to look primarily to the bible and to use it to test everything. Tom took a bible and contact details for one of the sound bible teaching local churches.
We rejoiced to have seen the gospel go out and some receiving the word gladly. With a song in our hearts and thankfulness to Jesus our Lord and God we headed for home.
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Every part of me did not want to preach today. I freely admit that I was scared at the prospect of being arrested. But I also knew that we had to be faithful in preaching the gospel. Ryan and I were the only team members today, so we knew it was going to be some hard work.
Things got more interesting when we arrived to find that a big international surfing contest was underway right where we preach. At first I wanted to use that as an excuse for not preaching, since the noise would drown us out. But then God showed us His Sovereignty over all things!
A police sergeant walked past I thought I recognised him, so I said "G'day Sarge" he turned looked at me and said "You're Josh, right?" This was a shock, since a police officer knows my name. It was then that I recognised him, he was the police officer that arrested me last year on the Gold Coast for preaching. My first thought was "That's it! We aren't going to be allowed to witness." But the Sergeant was friendly, so I decided to ask him if we could preach. To my surprise he said "Go for it!" What a shock, the police that want to stop the Gospel gave us permission to preach it! To God be the Glory!
So we did just that, we began to preach. I was the first preacher up, and I began by speaking about the soldiers that died to give us the freedom we have in this land. It didn't take long before some hecklers opened up. First it was a bunch of British men, they were vile, and hated the gospel. Yet I loved to speak to them. Even though they were hard to preach to, I love dealing with those from the United Kingdom. We went back and forth on a few topics, and crowd began to grow rather big.
After dealing with them for a time, a ‘false convert' came up and began to heckle. I have dealt with this guy many times. So I opened up on him for not being a true Christian but rather one who lives in sin. This caused a few atheists to open fire, so I began to dialogue with them. They kept claiming that the Bible was full of errors and contradictions, so I handed them my Bible and asked them to find one. For the next twenty minutes the searched my Bible, then they pulled out a book by Christopher Hitchens, and searched it in the hope that they may find something to use against the Bible.
During this time I continued to preach and engage hecklers. The vileness of the crowd was sickening. While you come to expect it you never get used to it. A bunch of children were the worse. They were all around 7 or 8 and the language they were using would make you go into shock. They were cursing out God, and saying how they hated Jesus.
The crowd seemed to love them, so I used them as a launch pad into showing the depravity of man. They served as a perfect example on how we are sinners from childhood to adulthood.
By now my atheist hecklers had given up on the contradiction argument, and began to ask about homosexuality. The crowd caught there question, and people began to ask about it. So I answered it from the Bible, and provided the Scriptures that show it was wrong. I also stressed that God would judge the heterosexual as well for sinning, so they shouldn't think they are being picked on.
One young woman came up with a mouth full of curses, and then threw water over me. This started some in the crowd to throw stuff at me. One heckler threw a full bottle of water at my head, I was able to deflect it before it hit. Others just kept throwing random stuff, but if you ignore it they eventually stop.
I preached for about an hour, then stood down. Many in the crowd took tracts after the open air. But by far the coolest thing was this young woman approached me and said "Are you Josh?" I replied that I was, it turned out that her and I went to school together over ten years ago, and I haven't seen her since. It was an honour to be able to share the gospel with her!
Ryan then began to preach, and he got a few hecklers coming in who wanted to debate theology, and atheism. Ryan went to the apologetic realm and showed the existence of God. A few in the crowd loved this sort of discussion, and they wanted more. So Ryan kept on preaching the Gospel. After 45 minutes of back and forth he wrapped up, and we were able to hand out over 300 tracts in minutes to those leaving the surf competition.
Praise God for All He has Done!
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Friday evening myself and Philip met up with Antonio at Tooting Broadway to once more proclaim the gospel. We arrived just after 7pm. I had in mind to do a short open-air preach simply because my voice has been feeling a little strained of late. We opened in prayer and set about handing out tracts and speaking to people one-to-one. The first person I approached resulted in immense joy for all of us. A young girl was walking my way so I approached her with a tract in my hand. Being as friendly as I could and smiling broadly I asked her if she'd ever seen a comic before with the words "Are you a good person?" on the front of it. She smiled back and said no, she had not.
Forty minutes later we were still talking. I shared the whole counsel of God with her. We spoke of sin, righteousness, judgment and the amazing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. As I was reasoning with her I could tell that the message was starting to have an impact. I asked if she'd ever heard anything like this before and she said no. I then asked if what I had shared with her made sense and she said, "It does now that you have explained it to me."
Finally I asked her, "Would you like to surrender your life to Christ?" She responded with a yes and so I explained to her that she needed to turn in prayer to God and surrender her life. I must stress that upon hearing from her that she wanted to surrender her life to Christ I went over the message with her one more time.
I wanted to make sure that she had weighed up the cost and that she knew what it was she was about to do. So often we hurry a person into the kingdom, not realising that they haven't considered the cost, the result of which ends in them making a superficial commitment to the Lord. We cannot know for sure but we owe to the person to trust them. The genuineness of their commitment will be tested and ultimately it is only the person and the Lord who truly know whether or not they have completely surrendered their life.
I did not lead her in "the sinners prayer," I simply guided her as to what she should pray and then allowed her to pray privately by herself. It was wonderful to see her turn to the Lord. Before she left I gave her my contact details and invited her to my church. She said that she would not be able to make it that Sunday but would be able to make it the following Sunday. Please pray for her and that she would be able to make it to church.
About 8:10pm we hopped on the tube and headed up to Leicester Square. Antonio said his goodbyes before we left. After arriving at about 8:40pm we entered the Square and headed to our usual spot. Carl was running a bit late so we decided to wait for him. My brother James joined us also and arrived within 10 minutes of our arrival. I decided to try a different part of the Square just to see what sort of response we would get.
As we moved over the area we noticed that there were some Christians who were singing songs and praying. They had obviously come out to do some evangelism of their own. An idea quickly came to me and so I went over to talk to them. I told them what it is we do and that very shortly I would be preaching open-air. I then asked if they would mind being a "rent a crowd" for me, which meant I started preaching with an already formed crowd. They agreed, which was a real blessing. At this point Carl had still not arrived but we knew he was on his way so I stood up to preach. Within minutes my "rent a crowd" had grown to about 30 people.
It was great! Many people got to hear the gospel. I was being heckled from all angles at one point but that was fine because I was able to answer their objections, which is awesome because it educated the crowd concerning the truth. Over the years I have read many books and educated myself with the help of some awesome resources (LivingWaters, Answers in Genesis, Way of the Master, etc.)
As I continued to preach two young men became more and more animated in their objections, saying that Christianity is just another religion that cannot be proven and that evolution holds all the answers. It was not difficult to counter what they were saying; the only difficulty was that they expressed themselves in a rather domineering way, coming up really close to where I was standing. You have to learn to handle these situations in a rather forthright fashion, insisting that they stand back and give you room.
Eventually I came down and continued to dialogue with my two main hecklers. Their names were Paul and Kelsey. It was quite evident that they had both been indoctrinated from the world system. They kept making assertions as if they were factual and so I had to keep pointing out to them that what they were saying is not true, and I did this but pointing them to the facts. I took them to the book of Job, for instance, to show them that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible (Job 40:15-24). Although they were both quite resilient in their views, they had a friend (I believe his name was Fabien, but don't quote me on that!) who was more open and willing to listen.
There were times when he asked both Paul and Kelsey to keep quiet so that he could hear what I had to say. When I spoke with him on a one-to-one basis I could tell that although he was open there was still a fair amount of worldly knowledge built into him that caused him to conclude by saying, "We could sit here forever and a day discussing this and never come a conclusion as to who is right and who is wrong." I had with me a little booklet written by Ken Ham (Answer in Genesis) that is entitled "Is there really a God?" and so I gave it to him as we parted company. We can use the law to bring conviction of sin but we still reason with a person's mind as well.
Before we left Leicester Square Carl stood up to preach. He did not preach for long but did a fine job in pleading with the people earnestly that they should repent and turn to Jesus in faith. It was now getting late and so we said goodbye to the Christian friends we had made and headed for the train. The gospel had been preached, many conversations had transpired and many tracts had been passed out. Praise God!
Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to once more head to Tooting Broadway tube station to preach the gospel. The weather was quite miserable and so there were not many people out and about. Phil was of course with me and we were joined by Antonio and Andrew, both of which are from my church. We arrived at 11:30 and spent our time speaking to the people who were there and of course handing out tracts.
I preached open-air but did not get many people stopping to listen. Even so the Word was preached and for that I rejoice. We'd had a wonderful week of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 19 April 2008
A cool breeze was blowing as I headed into the Queen Street Mall, while I was excited about witnessing, I was also distracted. The reason for the distraction was because at Sunday lunch time I would be leading the Gold Coast team, which a week earlier had been arrested and detained. So I was preoccupied with the notion of facing possible arrest.
Something I learnt during this whole situation is that often times we can not trust in God to be Sovereign over the situation. While we may profess that He is in total control, often times our actions are at odds with our theology. It was during my drive into the city that I pondered these thoughts, and the one scripture that kept coming back to my mind was Ephesians 1:11 "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will." God works ALL things out according to His will, and as I grasped that truth, I became at peace with all that was going on.
After our normal time of prayer and Bible reading we had a bit of fellowship then headed up to the mall to begin our preaching for the night. It looked like we had a small team this week, so we prayed that God would raise up labourers, and of course He is always faithful, he brought in guys that hadn't been on the street for some time to work alongside us.
Ralph was the first preacher up, this was his fourth open air, and he is showing amazing growth as a preacher. In the time that he has been preaching his confidence has grown, and also he is starting to develop skills in regards to handling hecklers.
It was a quiet night in the mall, yet Ralph managed to get a heckler who wanted to stand really close to him as he preached. This is a standard thing on the street, as often times the enemy wishes to shut down the open air, so he brings a heckler along to make the preacher talk quietly. Ralph handled this guy well, and did a decent job in getting the gospel out.
While Ralph was preaching, those on the Bible table and standing behind the preacher were constantly ducking for cover, as some bats had decided to take up residence in the tree above us. The problem was these bats would sit above us and then let some ‘gifts' fall on us.
It was around this time that Kristine spotted a man sitting behind the preacher listening. This man was the man she had sat next to on the bus trip into the city, so she grabbed some tracts and headed over to speak to him. I covered the Bible table for a bit and even had the privilege of giving to Arabs a copy of the New Testament in their own language.
By now Ryan was up preaching, and a man was sitting next to the preacher listening and heckling. As Ryan preached I was called over by Kristine to assist her in witnessing.
The man she was witnessing to was a self righteous humanist, who was only looking for an argument. He kept saying "What if a person kept all of God's Laws, yet didn't believe, would they go to Heaven". Of course in his mind he was that ‘good person', as we went through the Laws of God it soon became clear that he was not good, nor had he kept all the law. Yet in his own mind he was convinced that he had. It is always saddening to see how sin blinds many people. It blinds them to the point where they think they are sinless in the sight of a Holy God.
While I was discussing the gospel with my humanist friend, Ryan's heckler began to scream, and Ryan just calmly responded to all his questions. The man finally got so mad that he walked away yelling. This was interesting as it shows what happens when ones pride gets damaged by the Gospel of Christ.
I turned once again to the humanist, and began to expound on sin, and how it is repulsive to God. But he just hardened his heart, and decided to leave still believing that he is not a sinner.
By now our regular heckler "The Dawkins Man" was back, now he was heckling Ryan over the existence of God. Ryan dismantled his argument piece by piece, and then proved to the few listening that God does exist. But as usual "The Dawkins Man" just ignored the arguments and kept saying "Christians can't prove it!" even though anyone listening just saw the proof of God.
Ryan tagged me in and I opened up on "The Dawkins Man" showing him the reason he refuses to accept the evidence is because he is a slave to sin, and loves his sin. He didn't argue but admitted that he had sinned. This drew in other people who wanted to speak, but since I was about to beaten by the clock I only dealt with one of them. That was a young lady who had many questions about Christianity, and why we were doing what we do. I stressed to her that I love her, and I will do this because I care for her. This softened her up to the Gospel, and she willingly took a gospel tract. While I was talking to her a drunk man got up in my face. He was showing all the body signs of wanting to fight, so I prepared myself to defend. But a drunk aboriginal man decided to come to my aid and began to fight with the man. He landed a few good punches on this man, and eventually they both walked off.
After I got down a lot of the team was engaged in one to one, as I began to pack up an old aboriginal man came up and stated that the spirits wanted to kill us. It turned out that he is an aboriginal spirit man, and his job is to summon the spirits to do his bidding. Many Christians get frightened when a ‘spirit man' curses them, but my rest is in the Sovereignty of God. And I know that God will not allow something to happen, unless He wills it!
As he began to speak in a demonic tongue, I began to quote the Scripture to him, and pointed out that the spirits in him are subject to the One who defeated them at the cross. The man shot back that Jesus Christ had no power, but the Scripture was finding its mark, as the man began to look uncomfortable and left.
Praise God for His faithfulness and Sovereignty!