After a two week family holiday I've come back refreshed and eager to speak to people in Hobart again. The weather has been very unkind but the Lord is always kind. There has been opposition but the Lord has gone with us in all things.
On Tuesday it was very windy, wet and cold and so I was able to preach once and did not set up the bible table. Despite the cold miserable weather there was a small crowd that gathered to hear the word of God proclaimed. I spoke on the Orlando massacre and the difference between how Islam and Christianity respond to homosexuals. I spoke of the disgust and horror that this massacre engenders in Christians.
God like allah of the Q'uran condemns homosexual acts as a sin which leads people to death and hell. But unlike allah of the Q'uran, God has entered history to save all those who deserve death and hell because of sin. He lived a perfect life, died on a cross and rose from the grave for all those who will love Him. He calls us as Christians to live as He did and love as He loves. And so Christians should be praying for and seeking the good of all people, muslim and homosexual alike. During this message several people stopped and then left again looking thoughtful, please pray for all those who hear only a partial message. Pray that God will complete the message in full to them in time and that they will come to repentance and faith.
The latter part of the day was spent handing out tracts in Elizabeth lane and speaking to people there. During this time a shop keeper again sought to get me to stop by threats and verbal abuse. Please pray for this situation, not only that I would be wise and respond well but also that I would be protected from this opposition and able to continue boldly proclaiming the word of God.
I was able at this time to also share with two Mormon elders and discuss both their faith and the gospel. It was a very congenial discussion and they left hoping to talk further with me later in the week. Please pray that they will come back and talk again, and that they will be drawn to Jesus not as an elder brother but rather as their Lord, Saviour and God.
Friday was a clear day and I was able to set up the bible table in the mall. A couple of people stopped and spoke to me at the table and some bibles went out. I spent a large part of the day talking with Tim, a regular visitor to speakers corner with a very rough background. There is much in his life that is broken and much that continues to dog him from his life previous to now. Please pray that Tim will draw near to Jesus and lean on Him in the difficult things of life and learn from Him how to live a life of Godly wisdom.
I preached on the great story of our world and the mission of God to save sinners. During the preaching Karl began a conversation with a couple that were sitting nearby whilst I preached. The guy is searching after leaving the roman catholic church because of the abuses he saw there. The lady is curious and interested to hear what we were saying/preaching. A conversation of almost an hour followed and Karl was able to urge them to seek the Lord. Please pray for these two precious folk and the many others like them in the city. Pray that they will seek Jesus in humble faith and be saved.
Many tracts went out in the evening as I reached out to the commuters in the bus mall.
Praise God for another week of sharing the gospel in Hobart.
May His name be praised!
Today we met for our weekly outreach in Capalaba. After praying together as a team, we started handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations.
Occasionally we come across some of the same people week after week and get to share a bit with them each time. Yesterday, something similar happened when I got talking to a young guy named Ryan. I remembered I had spoken to him once before, but I couldn't remember exactly what his response was then.
So I asked him what he thought would get him to heaven. He said that asking for forgiveness would save him and doing good things. So I gave a courtroom analogy, "Imagine if you've broken the law in society and you stand before a judge and say, 'Judge, I have broken that law but you should let me go because I am very sorry, and that same day I also did a few good things.'"
I asked Ryan, "Would that work?" He agreed it wouldn't. So I explained, "Same thing in the sight of God. If we sin against Him, merely saying sorry or doing good things won't erase the history of our sins. That is why we need someone perfect who take our Hell punishment for us - that is Jesus."
I reiterated with him that it is faith alone in what Jesus has done that saves us, and nothing of our good deeds. But he wasn't so sure about that, he had some more questions about that, however his bus came!
He wanted to talk further, but said he won't coming by this bus stop on Mondays anymore. So I just mentioned to him that he can contact me through the website on the back of the card (which is www.operation513.com).
Later that night, I got an email from Ryan asking some more good questions about how he can be forgiven. So I have been continuing my witnessing encounter with him via email.
Glory to God!
It was a bit different today for our outreach in Woodridge. The council had removed almost all the fixed seating in the area, in order to stop certain people from spending their whole day sitting on the seats drunk, causing a nuisance to the community. This is really just a band-aid solution though, as we know that the true solution to the problem is the gospel of Christ.
But that infrastructure change didn't affect the witnessing at all today, as there were just as many people about. When the high school kids came by after school finished for the day, I noticed Alan got into an in-depth chat with a large group of them. So I came beside a couple of the guys who were on the fringe of the discussion and asked them about their thoughts on whether they would go to heaven.
One young man I chatted to was Arthur, he thought that God would let him into Heaven because he is a good man. It's amazing that no matter where people come from, we naturally think that we are good. So I talked with Arthur about the fact that we aren't good and took him through some of God's laws and how we have broken them. I explained the problem about God being good and therefore how we deserve His judgement, and also the good news about Jesus dying for our sins.
After explaining the message, I find it is very important to ask a checking question. Something like, "So to recap, what do you need to do to get to Heaven?" or "Do good deeds have anything to do with you going to Heaven?" The reason for this is people can often hear the gospel and nod in agreement but still not understand it. That is why getting them to explain it to you afterwards gives you an idea of whether they have got it or not.
For Arthur, he had come to understand it - that it was not of works but through faith in what Jesus has done that can save him. But when I asked him whether he thinks he is prepared to turn from his sin, he shook his head. He said, "My friends will bring me back to sin." I said, "Then it may mean getting new friends." For having peace with God is far more important than being liked by your friends. He saw that, and said he was going to have to count the cost. He didn't have a Bible and was happy to take a gospel of John. Please pray for Arthur.
We are simply unworthy servants doing our duty, God deserves all the praise!
On Saturday Night the team headed into the Queen St Mall and spread out to share the message of salvation. The sketch board, flip chart, resource table and tracts were all used as helpful tools to share the Good News that Jesus came to save sinners.
As you might know at this time of year many Muslims celebrate ramadan, which is the idea of stopping eating between sunrise and sunset. Meaning many Muslims were out in the Mall, living the night life and eating food.
This means many conversations were with Muslims, though there are a range of other people around as well. A conversation was had with a man named Mohammad and his wife Tarnie. Mohammad is a Muslim and was very quick to acknowledge that God is Good, Perfect, Holy and Just and infinitely so in all cases. Mohammad said he knew that God would judge people and because God is good He MUST judge.
But Mohammad was adamantly defending that idea that, disobeying God's standard is wrong and wicked but God won't punish you for it. He then corrected himself and said God would but not very harshly as long as you are sincerely sorry for doing it.
When pressed on this Mohammad found himself in a loop, God is Perfect, Holy and Just and must judge and punish evil but would then back away from such a claim by saying or implying that God didn't really care about being Blasphemed. That the creator of the universe wasn't really worried by our incredible offence to a Holy God by deny His standard and replacing it with our own.
Mohammad, though he claimed to have a very high view of God, so high that he would never be able to become a man, in the same breath would support the idea that God isn't really offended by sin and that fallen, rebellious and wicked sinners can impress and honour a Perfect God.
The question posed to Mohammad was phrased as this, "How can God remain God and humanity be anything other than eternally damned?"
Sadly the Gospel was never reached as Mohammad had no understanding of the weight of his own sin. Please be praying for Mohammad (and his wife who stood beside him the whole time). Pray that he will be overwhelmed with an understanding for his own guilt and understand his complete inability to save himself therefore surrendering to Christ, the God Man who came to save!
Please pray for the team, as even with outreaching it is easy to fall into the trap that we are out to evangelise and forget that it is only by God anyone can be saved, that it is only by God that we have been changed and greatest of all, it is only by God that anyone will talk with us. Please pray that we will be reminded of our complete need for dependence on Christ and from the great encouragement that Jesus did die for wretches like us, that we will be strengthened to share Christ more!
Thank you for continued prayers, please consider joining with us in person, to proclaim Jesus' saving power!
Soli Deo Gloria!
In Queen St Mall (Brisbane) this afternoon, there was a threat of rain but just before it was time to head in, after all morning it raining, the sky cleared and we were able to proclaim the Gospel unhindered!
We had a larger team than a usual Wednesday, allowing for a greater coverage of conversations and the afternoon was filled with many exciting moments. One comment from a team member was, "This afternoon was filled with divine appointments, people who needed the word of God and were willing to listen and learn were here at the right time."
As things got underway there were a few new team members who paired up with some more experienced members and went out listening and learning as conversations were had. Even having some conversations of their own by the end of the afternoon.
One highlight was a discussion had with John. He professed that he deserved Heaven but after discussing God's law, John acknowledged his sinfulness and was wondering how he could have his sin paid for. The Gospel was shared and John took a tract saying he would have to consider it, even thought he wasn't sure.
Another conversation was had with Deborah. She was asked, what is the world's biggest problem. To which she replied, "Lack of education in the world". When pushed a little about the fact education doesn't stop selfishness, Deborah conceded that it was humans and their desire to live for themselves that was the problem. When asked if she thought she was selfish, she quickly dismissed it, as she, like us all, considered herself pretty good.
Then prompted about God she said she believed there is a God. This was followed by asking if God judges people, to which she quickly denied it, saying that God was good and loving and thus doesn't judge.
To push a little further, the question was posed, "Is it our good or wicked desires that cause us to want stop and have justice for a guy beating his girlfriend?" "Definitely goodness," Deborah answered. Seeing the fault in her previous answer she said, "That means I suppose that God must judge."
To continue the implications it was asked, "How good is God's standard and what is the penalty for breaking God's law?" Deborah said, "God's standard is absolute goodness and because He is God there must be a pretty big punishment for breaking God's law." When suggested with the idea that denying the giver of life by breaking His law means we instead deserve death, Deborah agreed and then took a moment to pause as her eyes teared up.
She took a breath and said, "That means because no one is truly good, and we haven't upheld God's standard everyone here deserves death. How can it be fixed?"
Deborah offered a few suggestions and after dismantling all human efforts she stood there and said, "That's it, I have no idea." This seemed way to, 'Easy', God had bought along a person who was ready and wanting an answer to their sin problem. The Gospel was explained, that only by Jesus dying as our substitute could anyone be saved from sin and a complete surrender to him was required. Deborah took a Bible with great joy and said she would have to take a read and learn some more. Although she had to leave, God willing she will return or find another faithful Christian and be able to discover and learn more about the saving work of Jesus Christ!
Please keep the team in prayer, the evangelism efforts in prayer and ask that God will bring along many more people to hear the saving Gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Saturday night in Queen St Mall the team headed out and there was over 40 Christians out to share the Gospel! By God's grace many conversations were provided and the team was able to spread out and talk with many people!
One main prayer point is two young men who first heard the Gospel at Schoolies 2014 on the Gold Coast and were again able to hear the Gospel proclaimed. Please pray for Sam and Tyson that they will stop seeking their own way and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour!
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Friday evening the team headed into the Cavill Avenue Mall at Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast) and as 7pm rolled around, the weather was cool and there were only two team members (due to traffic and car troubles). An opening prayer was made, acknowledging that God was in control and that if it be His will, the team could press on with only 2. But thankfully over the next hour another 7 members joined and a regular sized team was able together to share the Gospel!
Starting with some preaching, a few people stopped and engaged and this brought about quite a range of conversations.
A man named AJ approached us and said each of his children had a question, the first child asked, "When was God created?" and the second asked, "How did God become man?"
We explained to AJ that God doesn't have a beginning because He isn't bound by time. In fact, God created time. Secondly, it was explained that God became a man to save the human race from sin and its penalty.
It turns out that AJ is a Hindu and has been evangelised to by some Jehovah's witnesses in India. He was keen to know more and as the conversation progressed it became clear to AJ that a works based religion seemed unable to make a sinner worthy before a Holy God.
The questions were posed in this order:
"Do you believe God is good?"
"Of course He is," AJ replied
"Does a good God punish wickedness?"
"I don't think so, because He's pretty loving," AJ reasoned.
"When you see someone beating up another person, is it your desire for good or wickedness that causes you to want to stop it and punish them?"
"Well goodness for sure! I see what you're saying because God is good He wants to punish wrong." AJ answered.
"Exactly, have you lived up to God's standard?"
"No, no one can! I have definitely failed," AJ seemed a little taken back.
"So do you deserve God's love and mercy or His justice and wrath?"
"He justice I suppose," at this point AJ was starting to understand what the preaching was about.
"What will fix this problem? Will you be able to fix it?"
"AJ started listing off the amount of good works he had done and how he was trusting in himself to fix it."
A little dialogue was had around the extreme weight and penalty of breaking God's law and AJ nodded in agreement. He said the more he thought about it the less a works based idea made sense. AJ said his children had been enrolled in Religious Education in schools and that he hoped they would understand this. He went on to explain that some JW's had talked with him in India and that they said Hinduism and JWism is compatible. Thankfully AJ saw that they weren't, he understood that the JW's don't teach what the Bible teaches about God and salvation.
He acknowledged he would have to give it more thought and when offered a Bible, he gladly accepted!
Please pray for AJ who heard the Gospel, the saving message of Jesus Christ! Please pray for Bo, and an atheist named Matt who was a young man quite obviously on some substances. Also please pray for Kahn, a Muslim man who asked a range of questions to the preacher.
Please bring before our Lord those who heard the words of the Living God being proclaimed and intercede for them, crying out to the Lord for their salvation! And may you be encouraged to share your faith, even to join the team!
Another noteworthy man to pray for we sadly don't know his name. But on Friday night due to a large audience there was some preaching and crowd engagement for over an hour. During this time a young bearded man sat on a bench and seemed to solemnly listen the whole time. Please pray that he will have understood the Gospel and will trust in Jesus Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria!
One really encouraging and exciting thing that happened today was that a man named Jason came by. I had witnessed to him 2 to 3 months ago, and he returned today to say that he is now trusting in Christ for his salvation!
In fact, on Sunday he started going to the church in the city that I had recommended to him. He said he loved it, and met the people there and the pastor. He said he wants to start going to one of the Bible study groups, and even attend both services on Sunday.
When we share the gospel, we keep sowing the seed, and whether we hear back from the person or not, it's always a success. Even if the person we share with rejects the message, it's always a success whenever God's word goes out.
Also this afternoon, a few of us on the team preached using the sketchboard, as people stood back and listened. It was also great seeing someone preach for their first time using the sketchboard.
There were plenty of good gospel conversations had. In fact, if you notice in one of the photos, three separate witnessing encounters are being had all at once. Glory to God for His marvelous work!
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Praise God that the gospel went out today in Woodridge. We had seven of us on the team across the afternoon, and together we handed out hundreds of gospel tracts. The wonderful thing about tracts is that they speak even when we are asleep. Plus they can be taken home to influence even a whole household, and then be passed on to others!
This afternoon at Woodridge we had several really good gospel conversations. One thing I love about evangelising at Woodridge is that it's such a multicultural place with dozens of different nationalities of people living there. That means without us having to travel to each of the countries where these people are from, they have come to us! And this afternoon we got to talk to a young man named Chekole from Ethiopia.
When we asked him about whether he will go to heaven when he dies, he wasn't sure. But he was open to listening to the message and asked a few questions. After explaining the good news of Christ to him, he asked for a Bible in English that he could take home and read. So we gave him one.
Praise be to our God who is calling a people for Himself from all the nations!
It was cold and windy as the team met this afternoon for our weekly outreach in Capalaba. The beauty of this outreach location is that it's a great place to have chats with people as they wait for their bus.
One of the people I spoke with today was a young man named Kevin. He's a high school student from China, and over the past 3 weeks I have been sharing the gospel with him.
It's amazing how over these few weeks he has really opened up, from initially not wanting to talk at all, to now calling me over when I am in sight of him.
Today I wanted to see if he remembered the gospel I had explained to him. Unfortunately, he still thought it was his good deeds that would save him. So I spent quite a bit of time explaining the gospel in different ways to him so he would understand it. And by the end of our chat today, he appeared to.
I had given him a gospel of John last week and he said he had read the first few pages so far. I encouraged him to start reading the Bible everyday, and to help him get into the habit, I said, "Say to yourself: No Bible, no breakfast. No read, no feed".
I think Kevin got the idea as at the end of our conversation today, he said "No Bible, no breakfast." Please pray for Kevin.
There were plenty of other good chats that the team had today, so to God alone be all the glory!