It was a quieter afternoon on Thursday in Sunnybank, yet despite the slower day we were able to have some wonderful gospel conversations. For those who don't know, this area is a very multi-cultural region, and as such we have many different languages spoken.
One of the challenges we face is being able to share with people from so many backgrounds; however, with modern technology we can use an iPad when necessary to present the gospel in people's native tongue.
One lady that I offered a tract to, in broken English, told me she could only speak Italian. Upon hearing this I was able to show her a short video of the gospel in her own language. She seemed amazed that on the streets of Brisbane, she would hear the good news in her own tongue.
Later on the day I spoke to a lady from the Philippines who only spoke Tagalog. Once again the iPad came out and I was able to share the gospel with her.
It is truly amazing that the Lord has given us such technology to advance His gospel. Truly, the fulfilling of the Great Commission is easier today than it has ever been before.
It was another exciting outreach last night at the Gold Coast. Exciting in that many people were open to discussing the things of God. Just to mention a few:
Two on the team spoke to a young lady named Crystal for about an hour. She said she has just recently joined the Jehovah's Witnesses. We emphasised how salvation is by grace through faith alone, and not by good deeds or baptism. As we discussed many topics, it was wonderful to see she was really open and she said she would go home and investigate what we were saying. Please pray for her.
Please also pray for two young men from Saudi Arabia who are Muslims, both named Ahmed. We first of all witnessed to one of the men earlier in the night, and he was happy to even take a New Testament in Arabic. Later in the night, he returned with a friend and we also got to witness to him.
His friend said that if he does his prayers five times a day, and the fact that he has already made a pilgrimage to Mecca, he's hoping it's enough to get him to heaven. For he said, "God is most merciful". I said, "Let's imagine we have a murderer standing before a judge on this earth and the judge says, 'I am a really merciful guy, and so, murderer, I am just going to let you walk free." Would that be a good thing for him to do?" Ahmed agreed that would be wrong, as the judge is being unjust. I continued, "So in the same way, if God shows mercy at the expense of justice, He is no longer a just judge."
This segued into explaining how the only way God can remain just and yet show mercy to us is if a perfect person takes our hell punishment for us. And that is exactly what Jesus has done. So I encouraged Ahmed to trust only in Jesus' death on the cross for his forgiveness, not his good deeds. I also explained that Jesus is God, which came as a surprise to him. He said he was going to have to really think about what he has heard and said he wants to start reading the Arabic New Testament his friend received.
To God be the glory!
Despite the Council opposition on Wednesday, it was still a great day where the gospel went out to many. It was extraordinarily busy in the city due to the school holidays. Jesus' statement of "The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few" was particularly evident.
In fact, as I was painting up the sketchboard to prepare it for my message, every minute or so an individual or group of people would come up to me asking what I was painting and that provided an opportunity to share the gospel with them.
But as I was half way sharing with one person, some more people would come up asking the same question. So I had to juggle multiple groups of people at once, and eventually had to call others on the team over who weren't already in gospel conversations to witness to the new arrivals.
The two young people in the photo with the sketchboard in the background were very open to the things of God. They said they were in a rush, but wanted to quickly stop and find out what was being said. I interacted with them in the open air, and they thought their own goodness would get them to heaven.
But by the end, they had come to recognise the only way of forgiveness is through trusting that Jesus died for their sins, and they left counting the cost. They were so appreciative that someone would share this important message with them.
I pray that you would consider joining us out on the street. Many Christians have the misconception that no one wants to talk about the things of God on the street, but actually so many do. And we as Christians have the words of eternal life, how can we keep silent about it?
For times and locations, see: http://www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams/
Today I was able to meet up with some visiting preachers from America and a couple of UK evangelists. All these men are a real blessing and encouragement to me. We decided to meet near Hackney Central train station, which is in East London. It is quite a rough area, full of liberal and pluralistic attitudes. However we did have a small Christian contingent of locals pass by and encourage us in our ministry. I arrived to find Bobby preaching and some community officers talking to Mike and Tony. This was to be a regular occurrence this day. After much discussion and a later visit from "real" police officers, we were able to keep preaching unhindered and we had a group of community officers monitor us for our safety and to see that we didn't say anything "offensive".
Adrian preached next and had a quite a few local Christians stop to give thanks and praise to God!
I preached next from Mark 7... what comes of a man is what defiles him!
Tony preached after and was very engaging with people, a number of hecklers passed by but not many had the courage to stay and chat about where they will spend eternity.
During the preaching many tracts were being distributed to pedestrians. Robert preached and also had a number of people asking questions.
Here is Mike talking to a very animated fellow who is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
Today we had a successful day as the Gospel went out unhindered and with as much clarity as possible. SDG
On Saturday night it was a cool ten degrees, meaning there wasn't many in the mall and so a quiet night was had. That being said, the team was still diligently denying themselves and their desire to be at home in the warmth but they went and took the opportunities to share the Gospel with anyone who would engage.
There was one highlight conversation with a man, he was a very decided atheist, proclaiming his certainty about what he believed. This is always interesting to see someone being so sure of what they believe but it had undertones. The conversation went many directions, starting with the authenticity of the Bible and the apparent 'contradictions'.
These were discussed at length but even when an answer was given or the problem was explained he would just bring up another one. He had contention with God's sovereignty and yet humanities accountability. After over an hour of discussion it came to a place where it was apparent.
Though he proclaimed that he was open minded and would change his mind if God was proven, the tenacity and strength with which he held to his arguments even when the logic had holes. It was evident not that he was doubting and not sure what to believe but rather he didn't want to believe because the implications of surrendering to a perfect and sovereign God were something he desired.
Please pray for him, that he will acknowledge the truth of God's Word and surrender to Christ, trusting in the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation!
Please consider the team, those we shall talk with these coming days in your prayers before our creator and even ask God to challenge you to come out and join us! It would be great to have you on the team, declaring that Jesus Christ is the way of salvation!
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was cold and windy at Capalaba during our weekly outreach there. One of the usual team members wasn't able to make it, but God graciously brought along two new labourers. So we had four of us in total.
It was great to see the team get into some extensive gospel conversations with the people waiting for their bus, some that went for half an hour!
After someone came off a bus that had arrived, I offered him a gospel tract and asked if he thinks he'll go to heaven. This guy recognised me, saying, "Did you know you spoke to me 2 years ago right here." I didn't really remember him but I asked if he remembers what we talked about.
He said, "I remember realising that I deserved to be sent to hell, and that I need to trust in Jesus, and then start reading the Bible everyday. In fact, after that conversation I started reading the Bible - I actually read half the Bible, but then uni got too busy and then I stopped reading it."
This provided then a great opportunity for me to recap the message with him, emphasizing that it's the finished work of Jesus' on the cross that saves us, and that we need to trust in Him alone, which will result in us then wanting to live the rest of our lives for Jesus. I also encouraged him to count the cost of following Jesus.
He was listening intently and my prayer is that he will come to saving faith in Christ. His name is Zac.
God's word never returns empty, to God be the glory!
We praise God for another good outreach in Woodridge. We talked to people from all different cultures and religions and shared with them the good news of Christ.
One conversation we had was with three Aussies who said they were Baha'i. They said that all the religions are true and that they believe in a progressive revelation, that is, God reveals more information over time. I said, we too believe in a progressive revelation (the Bible), in that the Old Testament came first and then the New Testament came later. But I asked them, "Does the new information that God reveals have to line up with the old?" They said it did.
And since they also agreed that Jesus was 100% accurate in everything he said, I pointed them to a number of passages in the Bible showing the exclusivity of Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). If Jesus says He is the way to Heaven and He is true, logically there can't be another way.
I said, "Let's say someone comes up to us and asks for the directions to Woodridge train station and one of us says, 'It's just there' (pointing to the station). But then another of us says, 'No it's 50 metres in the opposite direction. One of us is wrong, right?" They agreed. I continued, "So in the same way if Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven and other religions deny that or say something opposite, logically they all cannot be right at the same time."
I said, "Even though you like the idea that all religions are true, and you've been believing Bahaism for a long time, couldn't it be a possibility that your religion is wrong?" A couple of them were beginning to see that could be the case and one said, "I am going to have start reading the Bible for myself and learn more about Jesus." Since I had also spent a bit time explaining how forgiveness is only available through Jesus' death on the cross for us. Please pray for them.
To Glory alone be the glory!
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!