Thank-you to those who prayed for the outreach this afternoon in Sunnybank. The weather played a little bit of havoc with rain coming and going. However, despite that, we were able to share the gospel.
I was able to have a good conversation with a young man who subscribes to the Baha'i religion. This is a belief that I have very little knowledge of so it was great to have him explain it to me. As we chatted we examined the issue of all religions being true (a Baha'i belief). We talked about the Scripture and how Jesus doesn't leave the 'all roads to God' option open to us, but rather He makes an exclusive truth claim that He alone is the way to the Father (John 14:6).
Our conversation also centred around the nature of God; the way of salvation and how we can know God. At the end of our talk the young man took a Gospel of John and also an Ultimate Questions booklet. Please pray the Lord would save him.
We had a great night of evangelism last night at the Gold Coast.
While one of team was preaching, it was wonderful seeing a young girl who had taken a gospel of John from the free Bibles table, go over to her dad, take his hand and then pull him towards where we were, saying, "You've got to listen to this dad!"
Also last night we had a large size team, which is a great answer to prayer, as the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. The team had some good conversations with atheists, agnostics, Jews and Muslims. In fact, our free Bibles in Arabic table (we have one in English too) had large groups of people from the Middle East around it for most of the night, with many people asking questions about the Bible and being happy to take one home.
Glory to God!
It was a lovely warm day today in Hobart and there were many good conversations we had in the centre of town. As we move into the darker and colder months it has been nice to sit with folks and speak of eternity in relative comfort.
I began the day with a conversation with Mr P. who is a representative for the Jehovah's Witnesses. One Elizabeth street the JW's set up a literature stand and speak with people who stop. I have meant for some time to engage them in conversation and today took the opportunity.
The Watch Tower and Tract Society or Jehovah's Witnesses claim to be a Christian organisation. Indeed they claim they are the only true Christians in the world today and all other Churches are perverting the truth presented in scripture. The organisation teaches a number of heretical things and many books have been written on this topic one of the best of them being Walter Martin's "Kingdom of the Cults". Some of the central issues revolve around the denial of the Triune God, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the existence of hell, and authority of scripture.
My conversation with Mr P. revolved around these issues and was very pleasant. This is one thing that I believe is very important when dealing with members of destructive cults : be polite and respect them as people. These people often deal with a lot of abuse from the general public and as Christians we should always be a positive contrast to the world.
We discussed the divinity of Jesus and different passages that speak of Him. After a short period Mr P. suggested that we organise another time to discuss things further and so we said fair well. I will try to use this opportunity to reach out to the different people in the team on Elizabeth Street.
There were a number of other people we spoke to over the course of the day and a number of people asked for bibles at the bible table. There are a number of Christians who now make it a weekly ritual to come when we are in the mall and encourage us. May God bless these wonderful people and urge them on in their prayers! If you know of people witnessing on the streets of your town please go and let them know you pray for them (and if you don't already, start praying!). Your encouragement will be a wonderful boost and much needed I know for sure.
Karl read from the word and I preached once on ANZAC day and John 3:16-17 and the great sacrifice of Jesus to save us from our sins. I used the bravery of our diggers over the centuries to draw people's attention to the great bravery of our risen saviour. I also spoke about Victoria Cross recipient Cameron Baird and pointed to the great love he showed for his mates and for us as a nation as he fought.
A few people gathered to listen and we spoke to them afterwards. I had a good conversation with a Christian man and we encouraged each other in the Lord.
Towards the end of the day Karl started a conversation with a gentleman who stopped at the table. It was a wonderful discussion and ended with the man asking for directions to our church for the coming Sunday.
On Saturday night the team made their way into the Queen St Mall in the heart of Brisbane city, with a low temperature it seemed as though there may be a lacking number of team members or people to talk with but God graciously provided both, a team of about twenty came out and there were many conversations that were had!
One major highlight was a young Muslim man, Josh, who engaged the preacher from very early on, discussing the deity of Jesus and discussing the way of salvation. The conversation drew a decent crowd and was extremely productive. A topic would be started, some new ground would be covered and Josh would slowly talk until a point where he would acknowledge he understood or say he still disagreed. The conversation lasted over an hour with the preacher and Josh stayed till after the night had officially finished discussing Christianity with a team member!
Over the course of the night he talked with a few different people and heard a range of different ways of explaining Jesus Christ being God. Please keep Josh in prayer, consider him this week as you come before the Holy God of the universe and lift up Josh's salvation. Pray that the truth of God will penetrate his heart and that his life will be forever changed as he comes to trust in Jesus Christ, the God Man who came to save.
Another conversation was had with a young man named Matt. He was apathetic, a discussion was had about things more important that money about where this universe came from, where humans go after their bodies die and a range of similar topics.
But in it all Matt remained adamant that even if there is 100% proof for the Bible, even if he could know without doubt that there is a God, that He revealed Himself in the Bible and that Jesus was the only way of salvation, it wouldn't change his mind. Matt just didn't care, he said that he wasn't going to change for God or anyone else and wanted to live just for himself.
He heard the Gospel, he discussed the penalty for sin and he engaged in a discussion about the way of salvation, he was an agnostic and despite an almost thirty minute conversation, his apathy shone through. He didn't even care enough to support or argue his point of view, he just said it didn't phase him. To finish off, he was left with this question, "Would you trade the small cup of pleasures in this life, purely a gift from God at the expense of an ocean of suffering in the next?" There wasn't much of an answer but he has heard the bad news and the Good News and is accountable for his actions. Please pray for as he heads off tonight, that God may work and he will not be able to sleep until he has been made right with God.
As you read this, let the encouragement be there, evangelism is the most natural extension of our salvation. Though it may be scary, though it may bring fear, let us be encouraged that if Christ can save someone as wretched as me, surely he can save men and women anywhere!
Let us rejoice in the salvation offered in Jesus Christ and boldly proclaim it to anyone and everyone! As this week goes on, please keep Matt and Josh in prayer as well as the many others who interacted with the team and those who will be heading out to share the truth of the Gospel. May many come to salvation and may God be glorified!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Over the week of Easter we have had a combined churches outreach in Hobart. Many different outreaches have been part of this week and it has been a wonderful week with many successes. Josh Williamson has joined us for the week and in addition to the week's outreaches preached three times over the week-end at Cornerstone and Soul Presbyterian Churches.
There has been so much going on this week that it has felt more like a month than a week!
One of the major focuses of the mission was outreaches to local schools using Josh's OAC scetchboard for Easter messages. This was a wonderful opportunity and three of the local schools extended an invitation for Josh to speak. Over the course of the week Josh shared the gospel with over 1,500 students. The message was well received and obviously engaged the students but it was not without opposition being expressed by some. At one of the major schools in Hobart we were also able to give the students gospel tracts after the talk.
These events have been a wonderful opportunity and have opened doors to further work in at least one school and possibly more. We pray that God would use the contacts that we've made this week to open gospel opportunities regularly in the schools of Hobart.
One of the other major events of the week was an Easter open air service on parliament lawns. This event saw 130 Christians gather to worship God together and listen to Same Green another local evangelist share the gospel. As we gathered many people stopped to ask what the event was about and a handful then came to Cornerstone's Easter Sunday service as well. There were at least 60 other people sitting on the lawns who heard the message Sam Green delivered.
Afterwards many Christians said that they were excited to have an open air service in the centre of Hobart and would love to see it happen again. One person said every week would be good! Cornerstone and Soul have thrown their support behind another service like this at Christmas time.
I am glad to see these events happening in Hobart. There is so many secular or anti-God events going on in Hobart all year round. It is an important thing to have people to hear the gospel preached and see the Christian community praising God in a public setting. Praise God that there are other Christian public events happening in the coming months!
After the open air service a small team of bible story tellers gathered with me to tell the story of the bible in a panorama. We began with the creation and fall of our race and worked our way through highlights of redemptive history. The stories climaxed with the cross and resurrection and finished with the vision of the new heavens and new earth and the new Jerusalem. Many people stopped to listen as the team told the story and afterwards we handed out literature to those gathered.
This is yet another witness I would love to see happening in the city regularly. Storytelling is an engaging way to tell people the gospel and show them Jesus and God. The Wycliffe method is also easy to learn and will be memorable for those who hear. A team of bible story tellers would be wonderful working up and down the market at Salamanca or in the mall!
Over the course of the week over 1,000 tracts went out on the streets of Hobart. After the Easter services over 50 people took "The Essential Jesus Books" to find out more about Jesus and the Easter message.
I could also give you many examples of the personal interactions that I have had and seen over the week where people were open to hear the gospel. Wonderful conversations were had by all of us in the team.
Praise God that He has given us such a wonderful opportunities to share the life giving gospel with our city! Praise God for His kindness in giving us such openness from so many people! Over the coming weeks I will be praying that we will have many more opportunities in the future and the seed that we have sown will take root in good soil and grow. Will you join me in praying for the ongoing work of the gospel in the hearts of our city?
May God bless you and make you a blessing.
This evening, after a day of sketch boarding training, the team headed into the city, with a decent sized team and a range of visiting members (from other outreaches), there were many interested in testing out new skills for sharing the good news in good ways. The night went absolutely fantastically, with many people taking the time to stop and engage. At one stage there were 10 team members in conversations from those who had stopped to listen to the preacher and were approached as the preaching finished.
Those who were out in Queen St mall received a wide range of sketches, as there were new and colourful designs on display.
There were many who had the opportunity to speak with the team tonight and many opportunities were seized. Please be praying for the many people who heard, listened to and engaged with the preaching tonight, that they will consider the Gospel message, consider their sinfulness and have their hearts changed by God.
One stand out conversation from the evening was with a couple, Marcus and Gwen, they were simply posed with the question, "What is the world's biggest problem?", Gwen said it was a lack of compassion in the world, as people love money and power, then decided to rephrase it as "People loving the wrong things" and Marcus said it was America, as Donald Trump had so much support but after a small discussion Marcus to admitted surely the biggest problem was love for the wrong things. The one he had in mind was just Donald Trump.
"Love for the wrong things", there isn't really a much easier segway into the Gospel, so that is where the conversation headed, except Marcus decided more of a discussion was required as he boldly professed that there was no God. And Gwen mentioned she wasn't sure but believe we should take better care of our Earth.
A simple discussion about origins came up and a discussion was had about this universe and its complexity, if no one denies the requirement for a designer, purpose and builder for a building, why would they do such with a infinitely more complex universe? It is always an interesting question, with rarely an answer given. Tonight Marcus acknowledged the thought but decided to try another route, he quickly jumped to another argument about fossils, we discussed what conditions are required to cause fossils, a great weight over a short period of time. The question was posed, what event in history seems to fit that information? He couldn't think of any, so it was suggested maybe a world wide flood, as recorded in the pages of scripture.
After a little more discussion Marcus made a few attempts at leaving as he was much less sure of his answers as he had once been but Gwen who was interested wanted him to stay. Finally Marcus asked, "Have you heard what Stephen Fry said?", phrased simply as, "I can't believe in God because there so much evil in this world, that is not our fault." As an answer was given, starting in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve both willingly disobeyed God, bringing the penalty of their actions upon themselves, Marcus made a final effort to leave and this time Gwen followed. Sadly Marcus didn't want to contend with the truth of God's Word and was doing all he could to prevent having to consider God and His truth. They couple took tracts and heard a small portion of the message.
Please pray for Marcus and Gwen as they venture off into the world, pray that they will be unable to think about anything else until that have surrendered to Christ as Lord, pray that God uses this simple conversation as a big piece of the puzzle in bringing them unto Himself.
Please take the time to Thank God for the great opportunities that were provided this evening and commit the team, the further outreaches in the coming days and all who will be exposed to the Gospel to the Lord and pray that many may hear the Good News and trust in Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was extraordinarily busy at the Gold Coast for our weekly Friday night outreach. And God brought along a good size team to share the good news about Good Friday with the people.
It was great to see quite a number of Muslims approach our free Bibles in Arabic table, and the team was able to share the gospel with them.
A common question that they asked was, "Where did Jesus say the exact phrase 'I am God, worship me'?" They erroneously think that unless that exact phrase is mentioned in the Bible, then Jesus mustn't be God. However, we see Jesus made claims to being God in John 8:58 and accepted worshipped from people numerous times (Matt. 28:9,17).
It is wonderful to see that even though it is hard for Christian missionaries to go to the Middle Eastern countries where these Muslims are from and share the gospel with them there, they come to us! God is good!
We had a variety of people on the team who preached, and at times God drew in a crowd to listen, with some who asked questions.
God's word has gone out and it never returns empty. Praise be to God for another wonderful night!
....And so we return to our Sunday arvo fishing hole “Wellington point” to join together for a time of fellowship and sharing the glorious gospel. It’s such a wonderful blessing to share in the lives of fellow believers knowing that this message given to us by our Lord is His means to bring the lost to salvation.
We give thanks also for blessing us with answered prayer for more labourers for the harvest as Tai met with us for prayer. The team has grown from 5 to 7 who meet regularly in this vital work!!
The afternoon began slowly with only a few people coming past every few minutes so we took advantage of the time to encourage one another with stories of people we shared the gospel with at other outreaches during the week when two guys and some of their family approached, one elderly and one middle aged who received a tract said “What’s this?” I told them that it talks about what happens when you die. The younger one said that he was going into the ground. “Worm food?” I asked, and they agreed.
The older guy said he used to be an Anglican, but now he was an Atheist. He said that God has done nothing for him, and "Why can’t God stop all the wicked things happening around the world?" They said this while walking away, so I quickly added, "First of all God is doing something. He is giving you the air that you are breathing and that no one was getting away with anything, as God will bring everyone to give an account of their lives when they stand before Him in judgement, even you sir." I tried to explain but they just walked off. Hopefully a planted seed!
Ryan chatted to a young guy Nathan as he stopped to get a drink at the water fountain. While Ryan was talking, Nathan’s sister or girlfriend walked past, heard what they were talking about and laughed as she went passed Gordon and he said to her that he (Nathan) would tell her all about it, she agreed and continued on her way still chuckling with her hand over her mouth. About 5 minutes later his mum walked passed and said "Come on Nathan, we’re going." That ended the chat but Ryan said that Nathan seemed to grasp the whole massage, a fruitful conversation indeed.
Please keep all the people who received tracts and who we shared with that our Lord would convict them of sin and draw them unto salvation.
All Glory to our God!
As we shared the gospel today in Capalaba, the team remarked to me that there were a lot of people that they spoke to who were open to the gospel.
That was great to hear and I loved seeing the whole team in gospel conversations for most of the afternoon.
One man we spoke to was named Jake. He initially was quite resistant to the idea of God and brought up evolution and how he thinks people who are religious have smaller brains and so on.
Regarding evolution, I briefly described how the second law of thermodynamics states everything left to itself tends towards more disorder (that is, more entropy) - which goes against the idea of evolution.
But Jake disagreed about the definition of the word entropy and wanted to look it up on his phone. After doing so and realizing that he was wrong about his definition, it's like something changed in him.
He was really humbled and from that point in time he was very happy to hear from me what the Bible says. He explained that he became a Mormon about a year ago, and he was told he only had to stop drinking alcohol, stop drinking coffee, go to Church and pray.
But then they started requiring him to do home bible studies and help the missionaries and he didn't like that. Then they wanted 10% of his salary. Then his mum died and they wanted to baptise him on her behalf, even though she hated God.
That didn't make sense to him, and he realised Mormonism was a cult and left it. I explained to him how Mormonism is nothing like Christianity and about how salvation is through faith in Christ not of works, and so on.
He was clearly thinking about what I was saying. His bus came shortly after and he was happy to take a gospel of John. Please pray for him.
To God be the glory!
Praise God that His gospel went out in Sunnybank today.
Being school holidays there were less students about, but there were still plenty of gospel conversations had.
A few names to pray for:
Sarah - thought good enough, very open, gave gospel of John, in 20s, with her Muslim mother.
Jesse - Chinese, didn't believe in God initially, quite open, going to think about it, received gospel of John in Chinese, has a Christian roommate.
Matthew - receptive, happy to take gospel of John, grasped gospel.
To God be the glory!