The Lord be praised for enabling us to witness for His glory this warmish day. He provided a rich variety of people, including these people who claimed to be Christians:
- Shaun from PNG background recently moved here and not attending a local church. He had difficulty explaining his faith but as we went through the law and gospel, he had a sound knowledge of sin and the need for him to repent and trust Christ alone. After going through the law and gospel, he seemed to grasp how justice was satisfied by Jesus and a sinner now trusting in the Son could ask for mercy and receive forgiveness of all his sins from a righteous and merciful Father. We prayed as his bus arrived to take him home rejoicing. He also was recommended a local church.
- Tanya from a local church. Now seems to understand the doctrine of justification by faith and taking her need to trust Christ alone as a matter for serious thought today.
- James was struggling to express his reason that God would let him into heaven. He seemed to agree with the gospel but further questioning showed his confused ideas of sin and his own worthiness. This was repeated a few times before his bus arrived.
Pray that churches would shepherd their sheep with life-giving fodder and nurture. Pray also that Christians would be more concerned to do all things to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10:21; including outreach activities. Lord! Grant us grace to be better servants giving you all thanks and praise.
After praying together as a team, we set up our free Bibles table in English and Arabic, and then started getting into conversations with people and handing out gospel tracts.
There was a man named Alan who I noticed was listening to the preacher for the entire duration of the time he was speaking. Then later on, he sat down on a bench which happened to be right next to where a team member was sitting and so they got chatting.
Alan expressed how he is from the UK on a working visa but is leaving Australia in only a matter of days. He said that a few months ago in Perth a person shared the gospel with him. He has been thinking about what he heard, but hasn't done anything about it.
So last night, the team member was able to further explain the gospel to him and answer his questions. Alan said that he can't keep putting it off; he realised that he needs to actually heed the message. The conversation continued for over an hour and a half.
In fact, later in the night he returned and said that after the conversation he had just had, he called up the person who had witnessed to him in Perth and said that he wants to trust in Christ.
To God be the glory!
We had a great outreach yesterday in King George Square (Brisbane). It always amazes me that quite often the typical Aussie hasn't really considered much about what comes after or about God, they've just heard the odd negative thing here or there about God and they've been taught evolution in school and therefore assume that God doesn't exist.
That was evident in a conversation we had yesterday with a man in his mid-thirties named Michael. After being asked whether he thought he would go to Heaven, he replied, "I don't believe in things that don't exist."
I pointed him to the building in front of him and said, "You know that had a builder, don't you?" He agreed. I continued, "Even though you've never set eyes on the builder or shaken his hand, you still know that there must have been a builder. So in the same way, you look at the universe and you know that it had a beginning and therefore it must have had a creator for it. You've never seen Him or shaken His hand, but you still know that He exists."
He then asked, "But what about evolution?" I replied, "That is irrelevant, for evolution still requires that matter exists, where did that matter come from?" He said, "That's a good point, I haven't thought of that." He agreed it made sense that there must be a God and so then I explained how therefore it matters what we do on this earth in that God will judge us one day based on how we've lived.
After talking about how we have all sinned against God and therefore deserve Hell, he asked if there is anything that he can do to fix it. So he then listened intently as the news of Jesus death and resurrection were explained to him and how forgiveness is a free gift through repentance and faith in Jesus.
I encouraged him to count the cost of following Jesus, and he said, "I am going to have to think about this today. Who knows, today might be the beginning of a new chapter in my life."
What a wonderful day God blessed us with here in Hobart today! Blessed with beautiful warmth and a gentle cool breeze, peace, good food and drink and the wonder of being called (though unworthy) to share the gospel with others. As is always the case at this time of year, there were many people in the mall and quite a few of them stopped to listen and some to talk. The only troubling cloud in view is the scowl that passes over certain people's faces as they read the pro-marriage flyer on the front of the bible table. The latest face to do that was homosexual activist Rodney Croome just before he took pictures and video of the preaching and bible table.
After I set up I was able to briefly chat with Tim, who has been coming to support my work for many months now. He and four other Christians all commented on the fact that I had been drawn by two atheists (Sam and Mitch) into a extended debate the previous week. They were quite concerned that I had not preached and a couple of them (rightly) rebuked me for neglecting my duty to bring the gospel to mall and to them. There is a lesson in this I am glad to hear; never, Never, NEVER neglect the gospel for any other topic or discussion. God willing it will not happen again, please pray for me in this.
For the first time in the afternoon I preached on the joy and heart-break of pregnancy and children. I firstly pointed to the great tragedy of miscarriage and grief and pain that so many couples face at the loss of a child in the womb. From here I pointed to the horrible evil of abortion, which denies the value of every human life, no matter how small. By normalising the "right to chose" an abortion society has refused the right of men and women to grieve at the loss of a child in miscarriage. After all at the early stages the child is "only a fetus", "only an embryo", or most horrid of all "its just tissue...". God says on the other hand that we should grieve whenever someone dies because death is an enemy and not a normal thing; it has come through sin and will one day be done away with. From this I called people to consider how much God loves each and every one of us, He makes us, provides for us, and gives us a mind and conscience. And more than that, He saw how evil and helpless in sin and death we were, are, and continue to be and He had compassion on us! He came and did something about it, He took our broken-ness and sinfulness on the cross and took our place. Then He conquered death and hell in one fell swoop, triumphing over them on the cross and rising from the grave! Praise our awesome God!
After preaching I got to have a good chat with Tim (another Christian friend) who has been helping with the fantastic work of Pierce and Christina Beahr. This lovely Christian couple run Pilgrim Hill, a ministry aiming to reach out to backpackers through hospitality and art. Each week they host 40-80 people for a free dinner and a short gospel talk and then an opportunity to talk with Christians about matters of life and faith. Among the many other calls for prayer out there I would add this one, please pray for the Beahrs as they do this difficult and demanding work week in week out.
I also discussed with Mr S. my regular heckler regarding homosexual marriage. I had challenged him the week before to show me the ways that he would argue against paedophilia being legalised when they use almost the same arguments as the same sex marriage lobby (arguments he accepts). Thus far he has spoken only of the disparity in power between individuals as the basis of his argument, I will wait and see what else he thinks of in coming weeks. For those who may be unaware, since homosexual marriage was brought into law polygamy, paedophilia, incest, and even beastiality are being put forward as perfectly normal alternative forms of "marriage" in the USA, Europe, and Canada. The arguments put forward by these groups are the same as homosexual marriage advocates used, they merely challenge a further article of marriage (age, number, blood relation or species). This should be a clear warning to us in Australia that acquiescing to homosexual marriage will open wide the door to all manner of relational evils. As is the case of any compromise made with sin, national or personal.
I preached a further two times (quite croaky at the end) and spoke of the evidence of creation that is all around us and the deceitfulness of riches. I urged the people to humble themselves and have faith in Jesus and follow Him and no-one and nothing else.
Afterwards the conversation with Mr M. and Mr S. continued for a time but I sidestepped the debate to talk to a young guy Mr W. We had a wonderful conversation beginning with the documentary support for the bible and working out from there to topics like suffering and God, absolute morality and the gospel. It was fantastic to talk with him and hopefully he will come again in the future.
Praise God for all His goodness and faithfulness!
We arrived, two men and two ladies on the team today, to speak to those God directed across our paths. We spoke with:
- A young Chinese family who claimed to be Christian but could not answer "Why should God let you into His heaven?" They quickly grasped that it was because of what the perfect Lord Jesus Christ had done on their behalf and rejoiced at the simple beauty of God's provision of Jer. 23:6/Rom.3:22.
- A young man named Ryan 'born an atheist' but now saying he will read the Bible because if it is true, he wants to follow.
- A middle-aged man, Gary, who had a long one to one and seems to be searching
There were some other conversations too and it was generally a day where those who refused tracts did so politely.
As we prepared to go home, Ryan had to challenge two Jehovah Witnesses who were sitting in their deck chairs clocking up a few hours as part of their fallacious work righteousness system. The junior member made a note of verses like Mt. 5:48 which he said he had never read before. May John 8:31,32 be his testimony in the Great Day.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Today we had some re-contacts who had not progressed since the previous time; some disinterested; some tracts given with short encouragements to consider the claims of Christ, but also a few like:
- Jennifer, a young Mum with child who had not really considered eternal matters before. She heard and understood the gospel and is now considering what it means for herself.
- Zac had no Bible but some knowledge. Now seems to have understood the gospel and admitted it was reasonable. He was challenged to get a Bible and check out the gospel of John and/or Romans in order to verify the facts on the tract and then see us again.
- A few were issued the 'Valentine challenge', i.e. "Is Jesus Christ your first love?"
We are thankful for our faithful God enabling us to glorify Him in this manner and at the same strengthening our faith as we review His marvelous work of prevenient grace so His sheep can respond favorably to the Good Shepherd - Jn. 10:16.
May those who support the ministry of God's gospel through praying (and fasting for those able to), be strengthened in their own walk with the Lord by His grace.
God has a purpose in everything, and there were at least 3 obvious instances of that tonight during our outreach in Brisbane city.
After praying together as a team, we started handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations with people.
One young lady we spoke with was open to hearing the message of the gospel and it turns out that she just arrived in Brisbane today from Germany and is leaving tomorrow to tour around Australia. Her friends had told her that there is nothing much to see in Brisbane, but in God's sovereignty it could very well be that the only reason why she went to Brisbane was to hear the gospel. She said she was going to have to seriously think over what she heard and she was happy to take a New Testament.
Later on, while having an extensive conversation with a young guy named Lewis who says he lives for consumerism, a woman with a thick Irish accent came up to us and said, "If the question I am about to ask offends you, feel free to say no. Do you know where I can buy some weed?" Now the person I witnessed said no to her and so as this woman began walking away, I offered her an eternity tract which she took. She then said to me, "I recognise you. You spoke to me about a week ago in Capalaba and gave me this card." I responded, "True! Well maybe God is trying to get your attention". She agreed, as she walked off.
As the outreach was nearing the end, there was a man who arrived from France 3 days ago sitting on a nearby seat. He said that he has been believing in God and also going to church for a long time, but about a month ago he decided to stop going to church and now he was questioning God's goodness. For this man said to me that he has difficulty in walking since he was young and God hasn't healed his legs.
I expressed to him that when we begin to blame God for not giving something to us, we are really forgetting that we actually deserve nothing good. We don't even deserve to have legs at all! For the only thing that we deserve is Hell because of our wickedness, and the very fact that God hasn't sent us to Hell at this point in time is amazing. Plus, God has shown so much kindness to us in giving us rain and sunshine and every other blessing we enjoy.
As I was saying this, he began crying as he was seeing how his attitude was wrong. He recounted that he came to Australia just days ago on a working visa, but the job he applied for here in Australia did not want to employ him because of his legs. I said, "Maybe God orchestrated it so that you would come to Australia and not get that job, in order that it would humble you and thus you would sitting here in Queen Street Mall tonight with a heart ready to hear the gospel."
I explained the gospel thoroughly to him. At the end, he thanked me for the chat and asked if there was a church he could attend tomorrow.
To God be the glory!
There were a variety of people that we got to speak to, including some individuals and even groups of Muslims. In fact, one of the team had an extensive conversation with a Muslim who was listening to the preacher as he presented the gospel using the sketch board and then he came up afterwards to us with some questions.
He asked, "If you get to Heaven only through what Jesus has done on the cross, why can't you just keep on sinning?" So I explained that if someone trusts in Jesus, they will want to turn from their sin, and if someone just wants to continue living life their own way, that is evidence that they are not truly believing.
After speaking for about half an hour with him, explaining about how Jesus is God and how forgiveness is not something you can earn, I noticed another person who had been listening to the preacher for a little while. So I asked him whether he would get to Heaven.
This man's name was Israel and he said he was a Mormon but has been living his own way recently. He thought that keeping the commandments would save him, but when I showed him how he (like the rest of us) haven't kept them, it led into explaining the cross. I urged him to count the cost, and repent and trust alone in Jesus' death on the cross to save him before it is too late. But I knew I had to tell him not to go back to his Mormon church.
So I said "Let's say someone comes up to us right now and says 'I have a brand new revelation from God, another testament.' Now we should check to see whether this new revelation lines up with the old revelation, that is, the Bible, right?" He agreed.
I continued, "And if it doesn't line up, it's not from God. Now Joseph Smith came a couple hundred years ago and said he has a new revelation from God, 'another testament' - the Book of Mormon. What we should do is compare this new book with the Bible to see if it lines up and if it doesn't, we know that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is not from God." He said, "That makes sense."
I continued, "Now if you look in 2 Nephi 25:23 in the Book of Mormon it says that you are saved by grace AFTER all that you can do, when Ephesians 2:8-9 in the Bible says in essence that you are saved by grace APART from anything you can do. That's a clear contradiction, isn't it?" He began nodding his head. It seems he had never considered this. He didn't have a Bible currently where he lives, so I gave him a New Testament to start reading. Please pray for him.
To God be the glory!
One team member thought that bringing along 400 gospel tracts would be more than enough for them to personally hand out, but it turned out it wasn't! They asked for more later in the afternoon, going through another hundred tracts in no time at all.
We had three of us on the team and we got to talk to atheists, to others who have never thought of eternal things, and even to professing Christians who had no idea of the way to Heaven.
One chat we had was with a man in grade 12 named Joseph. He went to a Christian school but didn't know the gospel. So after talking about sin, the coming judgement, Heaven and Hell and how the only way of forgiveness is through Jesus, I could tell he was grasping the message. He said that he wants to today trust in Jesus alone for His forgiveness. I encouraged him to make sure he counts the cost because Jesus doesn't want half-hearted followers.
And it turns out that he is in the same grade at the same school with a person who joins us on our outreaches on Saturday nights. So I encouraged Joseph to ask that person any questions he may have as he begins to start reading his Bible each day and begins his walk with the Lord. Please pray for him.
To God be the glory!
Surprise. A familiar face appeared unexpectedly at the bus station as Ryan came fresh out of court and after we prayed, we witnessed, Acts 1:8:
- A young man previously spoken with about 6-7 months ago, was still full of pride and would not listen to Biblical reasoning. Here is another one we have to commit into God's sovereign hands. We know that those who spurn His great love gift in the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ have to answer to Him on Judgment Day. May God grant him grace to repent.
- A young lass who understands the good news and her need to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone to save her. Jesus is able, Heb. 7:25. May God purify her heart by faith, Acts 15:9.
We prayed and among our thanksgivings and petitions, asked God to grant the court decision from today's proceedings soon and that it would be clearly good for the gospel work in the future, D.V. What a privilege to serve our God in such an exciting way. There is room for more grace-fuelled workers.
Thanks for praying as part of the one Body of Christ.