Today during our outreach in Brisbane city, we had the privilege of sharing the great news of Easter with a variety of people.
Firstly with a man named Mick who said he used to believe in Jesus, but now believes in the sun, moon and stars as 'god'. He maintained that he still loves Jesus, saying, "Jesus never said we can't worship the sun."
But when he heard that Jesus said that we should have no other gods before Him, he said, "Oh I didn't realise that." And as we talked about sin and how we need a substitute (who is sinless) to pay the penalty for our sin he said, "I think you are on to something. I've never heard that before." Please pray for him.
Later we chatted with a young lady named Miss Blue. She said she was a Christian, but didn't know if she was going to heaven because recently both the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses have been talking to her family and what they have been saying has confused her greatly. But this confusion hasn't driven her to read the Bible to find out, it's had the opposite effect.
She wanted to know what the Bible says, and so we spent some time sharing a number of different Scriptures refuting what the cults have been telling her. She was so appreciative to hear that the Bible has answers to her questions and she said she wants to start reading it daily. We explained the gospel to her a couple of times before she came to grasp it. Please pray that she comes to salvation.
Hundreds of Easter gospel tracts went out and more conversations were had. So to God be the glory!
Our triune God gave us 3 co-workers in the gospel who set out as those who have asked for and been granted "...refuge under the shelter of Your wings!", Ps. 61:4.
Most people took a 'Happy Easter' tract but not many were going to stop to chat, except those whom the Lord had appointed to stop this day.
- Three young couples passed by with a "We don't bother about things like heaven and hell." Have they been blinded by the empty idea of reincarnation. We noticed them later wading in the shallows. May the Lord awaken such careless sinners to their present state of condemnation - Jn. 3:36!
- Terry, a war veteran, had a conversation with 1 of us which was continued by another one of us. He was quite willing to speak out his concerns about a possible start soon to World War 3 and problems in the world. However he 'had to leave' when the talk was turned towards the greatest crime (from a human perspective) man has ever committed; the murder of the Righteous One, Jesus Christ. He would not listen past the declaration that God brought good out of this event.
How can someone be so hard that they will not even listen to God's good news? (Gen. 8:21 Our Lord's pronouncement. "..for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth." - Noah's flood of judgment did not change man's fallen nature & neither will the final judgment.)
- Mae received a tract and asked if it was about Jesus of whom they had heard a little. Husband Ming and children Sam and Eric were present throughout this conversation. This was the first time they had heard the good news. So we went on our rejoicing and as we walked and prayed we were giving God all the glory and thanking Him for the privilege of serving Him and being used of Him.
By His grace, another day of witnessing of our God who is great without/beyond/above measure, Ps. 145:3. How did He answer our prayers this day?
- a young lady, Maddy, whose grandparents are Christians has now reached the point where she needs to count the cost and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as her Redeemer. May God deal with her in mercy if it so pleases Him.
- a Chinese teen boy was given a tract and taken through the bus/builder analogy, then through to the consequences of Adam's sin before his bus arrived. May God stir his spirit to become a seeker after Truth.
- an older man who was so inconsistent that he did not even realize his view of reincarnation was internally flawed. May he be challenged by the truth of God's good news and forsake in true repentance his self-love.
- 2 teen boys that I gave tracts to and began to converse with until Jamie, a professed atheist, took out his phone and rang someone. I left them with a challenge. Soon thereafter, Ryan met them and took Jamie through the builer/building analogy that he admitted made sense but then wanted to still call himself an atheist. Ryan used the analogy that if one did not believe in gravity but one day went to a science class where he saw an experiment showing gravity had a repeatable effect and he became convinced that gravity was real, he would have stop to saying he was an unbeliever in gravity. Likewise he should not call himself an atheist any more. Going through the law and the gospel, Sam who had thought that he was good now understands he is not good enough to get into heaven. May they both hear more of the truth that they desperately need to trust themselves to for the remission of their sins and the gift of eternal life - with the God of all grace! Hallelujah.
- a young lass, Ruby who initially believed in some impersonal higher power who cares for us. We started from the agreed position that if there is a God, then we cannot treat Him like a scientific experiment Then while we are flesh and blood and have no knowledge of what a spirit can or cannot do, from His Self revelation we learn that He is a Spirit, tri-Personal, and Jesus is God in the flesh so that he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father. I concentrated on the pure selflessness of Jesus coming and dying in the place of His people while we were still God's enemies and how as a Christian one can begin to learn how to live for God's glory, in part, by becoming more selfless in loving our wife or husband, as the case may be. We parted amicably with my expressed wish to her that she would come to know God and how delightful it is to know and love Him - 1 Jn. 4:7!
Without your prayers, how could we continue to tell out the wonders of His good news. Thank you. Grace be with you each and every one.
We praise the Lord for last night's outreach at the Gold Coast. We had about 15 people on the team. It was lightly raining at times throughout the night, but it didn't keep the people away.
Amongst the dozens of gospel conversations that were had, one stand out conversation was with a man from Colombia. He is studying English here for 3 more months. He had a Catholic upbringing and thought he was going to Heaven simply because his Catholic priest told him he would.
He had had never heard the message of grace, and thought his deeds had something to do with saving him. After talking a while, he came to grasp the gospel and was very happy to take a Bible to start reading. We also got his number to pass onto a local pastor in the area who will follow him up. Please pray for Andres.
To God be the glory that His Word is going out!
On Wednesday afternoons the team in Brisbane has been meeting in King George square. This brings a slightly different style of evangelism, with faster moving foot traffic in bursts. This means a lot more tracts are given out and less conversations are had.
This Wednesday we handed out around 700 gospel tracts, most of which were the "Easter Tracts". Which pose the question, "What is Easter really about?"
When this question was posed to one man he very hastily retorted, "Oh you Christians, trying to take all the holidays for yourselves." This man didn't really know where Easter had originated but he was sure the Christians were trying to hijack it.
It was explained that Friday is the day Christians celebrate the life purchased by Christ's death and Sunday is the day we celebrate the Victory of Christ over death, so that all who trust in Christ may rise with Him. It was also pointed out that it occurs during the time of the Jewish Passover, just like Christ's death and resurrection this man was a little less sure of his original claim but still didn't want Jesus to be the centre and sadly didn't want any offer of salvation from sin.
As this Easter seasons races upon us may we ALL not waste this God given opportunity to share with those who are perishing, that there is a God who came to save sinners. A God who came to take the justice and penalty we deserved upon Himself, so that we may be given the gift of life, the gift of mercy!
A windy day, reminding us of the Holy Spirit's work, Jn. 3:8 "The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." What will God do through our witness today to:
Both these heard the gospel. May God do His sovereign work work in their lives. We thank Him for the privilege of serving Him; for equipping us to tell His gospel without fear or favor; and for wisdom when not to engage someone in conversation whom God had not prepared for today's ministry. To Him alone be glory and praise.
Doesn't the Lord's leading amaze us? The members of the team numbered 2. Paul was busily handing out tracts until there were no more to hand out. Ryan spent a major part of the time talking to a lady named Win who turned out to be very syncretistic.
This lady had encountered 2 other usual team members during the last fortnight at a doctor's surgery and had eagerly listened to a disclosure on Jesus Christ in His office of Mediator. However, her personal standing was not disclosed except she had been very 'bad' and had been baptized in the recent past at Wellington Point.
When she could not find those two at Wellington Point today, she saw the two team members that were there to find out why. Soon Win was asked a diagnostic question which she answered like, "I leave those things to God!" Pursuing the law and gospel and showing her verses like John. 1:1 brought an angry rejection and her self-justification that was very confused. She said that God was the universe.
So the time ended and we ask the Lord to bring sanity into Win's life by granting her the twin graces to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone. Remember Jesus said that with respect to salvation nothing is impossible for God. To Him alone be the glory! Amen.
Isn't this aspect of our risen Lord's work fascinating? While I was engaging a couple with a baby, John, a regular user of this bus station and whom I could never understand, approached Ryan and stated that he reckoned no one would get to heaven because no one is perfect. (He had been given tracts before today). He initially would not accept the sinlessness of Jesus. I had concluded my meeting, and could concentrate prayer towards this situation. Ryan made the issue clear and stressed the urgency of it for none of us know when our time to expire will be.
Then Ryan called me over to add a few subsidiary Biblical facts including the prophecy of God's Messiah being born of a virgin, or sinless and so Jesus came to us precisely as God had said through His prophets. John has been invited to a local church which has wheelchair access and given the details if he needs any assistance. Pray the Lord reveal Himself to John and grants him the gifts of repentance and faith.
Now, back to the mother, Tony, and her baby and partner: Ryan had previously met them and gone through the law and gospel. I did so again as he perused the Jesus tract. Tony claimed to belong to Jesus and asked me what was the difference between us and the JWs. I started by explaining how they said that Jesus was less than divine. This means that He is incapable of saving anyone.
After this, he wandered away and Tony told me that he was atheistical. Then she asked me about the Mormons and I told her that their 'Jesus' was a sham who, they said did good to become a god. She agreed. Please pray that her commitment to Jesus would extend into every area of her life and for her partner's salvation, as well as the baby.
Grace is amazing as is our God of multi-faceted grace, 1 Peter 5:10. Thank you for your partnership in gospel work. There is room for another worker from 3:30 to 5p.m. Can you come?
Ominous skies and a prediction of rain foreshadowed my return trip to Toowoomba today.
Driving back from Brisbane the little coward in me was quietly hoping that a storm would cancel tonight’s event while another part of me prayed that God would let the outreach go ahead.
I arrived in the Toowoomba CBD a little later and I saw that God had allowed the storm to skirt around the city. We were thankfully good to go.
Out of our 5 regular team members only Paul was available tonight and so the two of us meet at the Margaret Street McDonalds and prayed together. Paul is an amazing man of God and our team is blessed to have this quiet, knowledgeable and genuinely passionate bloke regularly join us.
We spent time in prayer together, which in 12 years of Street Outreach never fails to be an experience best described as that “electric yet calm” experience of being in the presence of God. We prayed that the Holy Spirit would do big things in the CBD tonight and that God’s would save and transform many, just as He graciously did for us whilst we were in the midst of our sin and indifference to Him.
We began the outreach by walking up and down one of the main streets of the CBD in Toowoomba (Margaret st) and gave tracts to people we encountered. Thursday nights tend to bring out a certain kind of person and whilst families are rare you’ll find groups of teenagers and groups of adults of various ages all milling about looking for things to do. You’ll also find a number of people sitting by themselves which can provide opportunities for conversation should the person in question wish to talk.
Our first conversation was with two younger women who were waiting on the side of the road. I offered one a “Good Person” Comic and was immediately met with the wary reply “Is it about Jesus?” When I said yes, she replied that she was not interested and upon further discussion told me that she had an “Italian Catholic” background. I asked her if she had considered her Catholic background now as an adult, to which she replied “Yes and I’m definitely not interested” with a fair degree of anger in her voice.
It is times like this when you can choose to pursue the conversation or not. There are no hard and fast rules..it’s rather how the situation “feels” and the person’s tone and body language. In this case we chose to pursue the conversation a little further and then wish these two women a good night.
I constantly second guess myself over these situations, yet the general approach we take is to risk “under-engagement” as compared to “over-engagement” which can leave the person with negative memories of pushy, Bible-bashing Christians. Instead, we want to leave hardened and overtly hostile people with a generally good memory of their brief encounter with us. It may become the only good memory of Christians they have and we pray that next time they may be more open to discussing weighty issues with Christians (either on the street or ones they know in their day to day lives).
Our next encounter on the streets played out very differently. Paul and I met a group of three middle-aged men who were standing around and talking. We came up to them and asked them “Have you gotten one of these tonight?” and handed each of them a tract. One of the asked “What is this all about?” and Paul replied it was about Jesus. This answer instantly sent all three men to reading our tracts with an intense interest. One of them mentioned “Oh wow! I go to the Church just up the street.” as he pointed to St Luke’s Anglican. He then eagerly went back to reading the tract. It was really heartening to see such a response from such an unlikely source and we pray that these men will have a genuine and undeniable encounter with God if they haven’t already.
The rest of the night passed rather quickly. It was blessing to be able to engage in this work and to met so many different people from different walks of life and share the awesome news of who God is and what He has done/is doing and will do for men and women even today.
We entrust the night’s efforts to God, knowing that not one encounter or one tract was wasted. He cares more about this city and about its people more then we ever could and we look forward to the ripple effect of tonight’s work into eternity as He sovereignly moves for His glory and our joy.
After an afternoon of rain we wondered whether it would be a wet night of outreach at the Gold Coast, but God answered our prayers by keeping the rain at bay.
We had a team of 6 of us, with some of the regulars away. But it was NOT a dull night...for a number of reasons.
Among the different people we spoke to, one was a man named Ethan. He had gone to Catholic schooling when he was young and during school he would ask his teachers about eternal things, but they kept saying to him, "Don't worry about that stuff. It's not important." So ever since then he was confused about what Christianity was about.
As we were talking with him, he said he's a good chap, but after being shown the law of God, he saw that, like the rest of us, he hasn't lived up to it. So we explained the news of Christ's death and resurrection taking the punishment we deserve in our place, and he remarked, "I have never understood any of these things. This makes sense." He was happy to take a gospel of John and said that he would start reading it everyday.
Later on in the evening, a man came up to the team and someone on the team began sharing the gospel with him. This man asked for prayer. As he was being prayed for, all of a sudden he started moving uncontrollably, his voice changed, and he began screaming out and making all kinds of noises. It drew a lot of attention from people walking by and he kept being like that (and becoming increasingly violent) until the police arrived and then he was instantly back to normal.
We don't know exactly what's happening behind the scenes in the spiritual realm but we know God is always in control. And the gospel went out to a lot of people tonight, so to God be the glory!