It was a rather hot and sunny afternoon of outreach in Sunnybank. I haven't been out witnessing here since before Christmas, so it was great to return to our regular location.
Sunnybank is a centre for Mormon missionaries. Within minutes of arriving two "Sisters" approached us to begin a conversation. One of them was from the US and the other from China. We chatted for awhile about the way of salvation, and how to return to Heavenly Father. They gave the standard LDS replies, and they told me that they are trying as hard as they can to keep the commandments.
Under the LDS system, in order to be forgiven you have to trust in Jesus and then do works. One of the many works is keeping the commandments. I asked the Sisters if they were keeping the commandments, they replied that they were trying. I then put a question to them, I said, "If I said to you, I tried to climb a mountain. Would that imply that I succeed or that I had failed?" They both answered that it would show that I had failed. I then asked them, "If you say you are trying to keep the commandments, does that imply you are succeeding or failing?" The point was made. They realised that they were failing in their efforts to earn salvation.
Once this point was made, I took them to Galatians 3:10 where the Apostle Paul says, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
I asked them, "If you are trying to keep the law, what does the Bible say about you if you don't keep all the law?" They acknowledged that they would be cursed.
From there I took them to Galatians 3:11-14: "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
There on the side of the road in Sunnybank, I stressed to the LDS Sisters that salvation isn't through law-keeping, but rather it is only through Jesus Christ who became a curse for us. I explained justification by faith alone to them, and their response was to say, "We have an appointment we must attend." With that they walked off.
Shortly after this, two Mormon Elders came by. We had the exact same conversation, and again we got the same response. It is amazing that whenever a LDS missionary can't deal with Scripture that they have an "appointment" they have to go to. One cannot help but wonder if they are breaking the ninth commandment!
For the rest of the day the LDS avoided us, but we were able to chat to many other people about the Good News.
Please pray for those that we ministered to today. Also, please pray that the Lord would deliver the Mormons from their works righteous system.
It was a windy, yet, productive outreach in Woodridge today. We arrived at just after 2pm and began by setting up the "Free Bible and Literature Table." We then proceeded to hand out tracts and talk to people. At one point the Police came by; they were quite friendly and chatted to us. They even helped us pick up all our resources when a strong gust of wind flipped our table.
I was able to chat to one man whom we've spoken to several times before. He was looking for any excuse to justify his unbelief. We chatted for sometime, and he admitted that he was more concerned about his children and his children's children than he was about his own soul.
I quoted to him from Deuteronomy 6 about the responsibilities of parents. I stressed to him that if he was truly concerned about his children then he would be seeking to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. He admitted that this was true.
After talking to him, I was able to chat to a man who had just finished talking to Mako. This man wanted to know how he could be sure that God exists. I pointed out to him that he already knew that God exists (Romans 1) and then proceeded to use the cosmological argument to confirm this knowledge. The many very readily agreed that God does exist.
During this time, Ryan and Pastor Luther were talking to two people from Iran. Both of them have arrived in this country as refugees. It was great to have a local Pastor with us as we ministered, as he was able to get their contact details and will be meeting with them tomorrow.
It was great to get back out to share the Gospel in Woodridge. Please pray that the light would dispel the darkness in this community.
It was a rather hot day at Wellington Point on Sunday arvo so it was good to be under the shade of a tree. It’s always good to pray and fellowship with the team members as we hand out tracts and share the good news of the gospel with the people of the area out and about enjoying the day.
I had a talk with Ian, a middle aged aussie bloke and his asian partner and upon going through a few of the ten commandments I asked if they have ever told a lie. They agreed and the lady said that she lied to her mother and then pointed to Ian and said that he lied to her. Not wanting them to start an argument with each other, I quickly went on to another commandment to show them that they and all of us are guilty of breaking God’s laws.
I explained that we will have to stand before the judgement seat of God one day and give an account of the way we lived while on our journey in this short thing called life! This couple had someone waiting for them but before they went I shared the Gospel and challenged them to investigate this message for they do not know if they will have tomorrow!!
When I had finished the chat with that couple, Ryan told us that a young man had contacted him during the week and said that he lived in Wellington Point and asked if it would it be alright if he could come and meet us and join us in sharing the gospel. Well of course we said no (only joking).
Ryan told us that he was coming that arvo. He (Tai) arrived and we got acquainted with him, gave him some tracts and showed him tips on handing the tracts out. He also got to listen to Ryan witness to a couple of teenage boys. These two boys were cousins of two other teenagers Ryan had shared the gospel with only ten minutes before. They were of the Indian Sikh religion and had never heard this message before and told their two cousins to check out what Ryan was sharing!!! Wow praise God. Please pray for the young boys that our Lord would bring them to saving faith in Him.
The ladies joined us shortly after they had witnessed to a number of people at the jetty. We introduced them to Tai and they got to encouraged Tai in his decision to come out and share the gospel with us. We prayed and thanked our Lord for His abundant mercy and grace poured out upon us daily and that His word will not return void but will accomplish what He sent it to do.
Bless His Holy name.
Sunday afternoon at Wellington point was overcast but quite warm so we were blessed to have a breeze and a shady tree to keep us cool. After committing the afternoon to the Lord in prayer we started to hand out our Gospel tracts, it’s good to have a variety of tracts to suit the different people groups and various ages of the people.
As a family walked passed, one of the teenage boys who was with them stopped to chat as he was asked the question on whether he followed Jesus. He said he was and is obeying the message of turning away from sin. It was during the chat that he told me that he remembered talking with me at the Halloween Festival in Wynnum last year, and so I encouraged him to continue to read the Bible.
Now at the same time, Gordon was talking with 3 young adults from Cleveland Baptist church. They were testing a homemade PVC spud gun and they said they were going to be coming back periodically in coming weeks to do more testing. The good thing about this was the spud gun sounded like a mini cannon every time they fired it and was attracting onlookers (more people for us to hand out tracts to). Gordon got to talk to an onlooker who was also a believer who was drawn by the noise - God uses everything.
The ladies came back with many good conversations, LeeAnne spoke with 3 teenagers even before we started, she had lots of people she engaged with while Railee and Glenda prayed and kept handing out tracts.
Glenda spoke with a Japanese lady, she said she would read the tract but was not interested in Jesus being the only way to heaven. The amazing thing was: While Glenda was working a few days later she was taking an elderly Client for a walk and she saw the Japanese lady from Sunday and got to say "Hello, remember me from the other day at Wello?" She looked and waved. We pray she will consider all that was said to her about Jesus and her salvation.
Another great afternoon of sharing the glorious Gospel. To God be the Glory.
This evening, the team headed out into Queen St Mall, in the heart of Brisbane city. For a range of years it has been a weekly occurrence, each Saturday night, yet without fail each time God brings along new people to hear His message of salvation. Tonight was no different, as the team met up for prayer at seven, there were already a few team members in conversations with passers by and as always we were hanging around for a while after the designated evangelism time finishing off conversations.
The night started quickly, there was a small threat of rain but thankfully nothing came of it. Early in the night we started with some sketch boarding alongside some preaching, a man came along early, who name was Dave and very quickly started engaging, he was very animated and quickly a crowd had formed to listen to the discussion which was taking place. Dave argued that all truth and morality was relative and simply by making the claim that all truth was relative had refuted his own argument. Dave continued discussing but after a a few questions when he had no more objections he didn't want to hear anymore about God and abruptly left.
Thankfully a decent crowd stuck around and heard the Gospel articulated and were given te challenge to consider if they are trusting in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross alone, or if they were relying on themselves to get to Heaven.
The preaching drew in a few different couples who stayed around and conversed with team members for varying lengths of time. One couple even stayed for an entire three hours!
One man the team talked with was named Steve, he was a professing Atheist. He explained that he didn't believe God existed on the basis that there wasn't enough evidence. We discussed a wide range of topics, starting with a quick jog through morality, its basis and why it matters, past the evidence for an intelligent designer in the complexity of creation and finally we spent a decent amount of time on the evidence for the reliability of the Bible.
Steve who a few minutes earlier seemed so sure, was suddenly in a place out of his depth, though he held strongly to an atheistic belief, he never spent much time considering who Jesus is and whether or not Jesus rose from the grave. Steve had strong opinions but we challenged the basis of his belief. Please be keeping Steve in prayer and pray that God will use our discussion with him to bring about salvation.
Just as he was making a move to leave he asked a final decisive question. Why not other religions? Why Christianity? To which we were able to discuss a little more, summarised finally with the simple explanation, all other religions, and proclaimed ways to Heaven teach that humans, in their fallen and evil state can somehow work hard, to improve enough to deserve the recognition of a Holy God. Where as Christianity states that we could never please God, contrarily we deserve punishment for our sin, yet God in His love, became a man, in the person of Jesus Christ (fully God and fully man), lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, suffering God's wrath for sin and rose from the grave, so that we can have our sin paid for, if we surrender to Him as Lord and Saviour through repentance and belief.
Steve had never heard this before and said it was interesting, he did have to leave but would consider such a claim.
Another brief highlight was with four young men, Damo, James, Josh and Thomas. Each proclaiming a level of skepticism or agnosticism and one boldly declaring he was an atheist. We started out discussing, what the worlds biggest problem was, with a range of answers, from racism, to littering and even selfishness getting some air time we soon were into a discussion about morality.
Damo, declared that morality was relative and determined by the majority, James (seemingly speaking for the other three), declared that we are taught morality by our parents. We started to deconstruct these misconceptions. Damo quickly stepped back, when we discussed whether or not slavery was wrong because the majority of people for the vast majority of history believed it was. James, continued on with the family structure and your surroundings but soon was denying certain things were wrong on a level higher than parental authority. We got to a point where each attempt at explaining morality seemed to have a hole in it.
Thankfully there was one answer that hadn't been considered, the fact that we were created in the image of God, inherently with knowledge of good and evil. This seemed to settle that discussion and now we were covering ground quickly, again we hit a bit of a bump, "How can we be sure there is a God?", Josh interjected.
We had very quickly jumped into a much deeper discussion, if God exists, there must be a standard by which we are judged. So we set out onto a few steps into a journey, we discussed the prophetic ability seemingly contained in the Bible, we juggled some questions about displays of the supernatural and we systematically addressed the validity of the eye witness testimony that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.
The young men had never really discussed this side of the evidence before and were in a world of unknown, Damo tried to stabilise the rocking of his worldview, with a summary line, "Isn't it all about just being pretty good anyway, I think surely if we just try to be decent people it will all work out". This presented a perfect opportunity to in depth explain the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, after hearing the way of salvation through Christ alone, the men seemed to not be quite so sure, of their beliefs. They did have to head off and so they left with one final challenge, "Did Jesus Christ rise from the grave?"
Many others engaged the preaching, conversed with team members or were exposed to the Gospel through tracts and other literature, please keep Dave, Steve, Damo, James, Josh and Thomas in prayer, alongside all others who were exposed to the truth of the Gospel, for we know God is sovereign over salvation and may we plead on behalf of the hearers of His eternal truths that they may come to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Today I had some wonderful discussions as I handed out tracts. Due to strong winds and a head cold I was not preaching or manning the bible table. God used this time to wonderful effect with opportunities a plenty ditched in my lap. Two conversations stand out from the rest
Stopped when I offered her an eternity tract and asked what it was about. "Its about life after death" I responded. This sparked a long very constructive conversation about the bible, and Christianity. Sue is an atheist and had been heavily involved in the church of England before moving on.
She initially said that she believed there is no life after death so I challenged her to show evidences to support this thought. As most atheists do, Sue claimed that there is no need to support a negative statement and the burden of proof was on me. I urged her to see that there is still a truth claim being made (no afterlife) and so there is a burden of proof to be born to be philosophically consistent. This then spun a huge number of different topics that were quickly touched on and then we'd move on. This rapid fire questioning is something that most atheists do and I often wonder if it is something that is shared on the internet as a good way to bamboozle religious people.
Slowly the real issues came out clearly and they focused on suffering and old testament law. I gave a very brief explanation of why we need God to even understand suffering and how unsatisfying the atheistic perspective is morally. We briefly discussed how the old testament law is to be used by Christians today and why we don't stone people for sin.
The last issue to come up was the fact that Sue is a lesbian and there is significant hurt and rejection that she is dealing with in how the Church responded to her. I spent a while just listening to her story and hearing what she had experienced. I let her know I was sorry for how she had been treated. I affirmed that homosexual people all deserve love, respect and kindness from Christian people.
I also pointed her to the fact that God views all sin as equally a rejection of Him and that she was not any different from me in that she had sin. I urged her to consider that the difference between us was that I was loyal to Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and she was loyal to... herself as she said.
We talked some more and she headed off thanking me for a good conversation.
Mr M. had spoken to me at Mr S.'s skeptics table previously and listened as Mr S. and I discussed evolution and creation. Though he is an atheist Mr M. is interested in what I and other religious people think and was both pleasant to speak to and open to consider new thoughts.
In reference to the existence of eternity Mr M. was curious how it is possible for the non-material soul to interact with the material body. This in turn made him wonder if there was a soul and therefore eternal life. We discussed that the how of the interaction of the soul with the body is not revealed to us, but that we don't understand how something works does not make it imaginary. It is a commonly accepted fact that we are more than our bodies and mankind's search for meaning is an indication of this. Also the evolutionary/materialist story is entirely unsatisfactory, ie that we have "just happened" to develop a morbid fascination with death and what it means. I am skeptical that such a trait could some how be a survival advantage and therefore would persist in the population to today.
I also pointed to eyewitness testimony as a support for life after death. Many people returned from the dead: Lazarus, the son of widow at Nain, the daughter of Jarius, all the people raised when Jesus died, and Jesus Himself. All of these are witnessed to in the best ancient history in the world - the bible.
We also discussed the different responses to my work and the work of the team. It is a varied affair and will always be. Mr M. left thanking me for the conversation and saying he'd be back to talk more in the future.
May God be praised for such fantastic conversations.
Standing in the Elizabeth Street Mall on a Friday lunch time is a different crowd to Tuesday. People are more laid back and there is less of the mid-week rush to get lunch and back to work. This week was my second Friday outreach for the year and it is a productive time mostly. The team is smaller, usually with me and only one or two others able to come, but God as always brings people for us to minister to.
This week I preached twice and we engaged people on issues raised with the preaching but I didn't have the bible table. This approach allowed me to preach even if there is no-one to mind the bible table but did reduce our presence in the mall when there was no preaching happening.
The first conversation of the day was with Mr S. my regular heckler. Mr S. and I have been discussing the rightness or wrongness of God's judgement of Jericho for some time now. Mr S. is horrified at the slaughter of the people of Jericho and in particular the women and children of that city. The fact that this was commanded by God if anything increases his horror. In many ways this event is something akin to the acts of ISIS or other Islamic massacres that have occurred in recent days.
I have been telling him for some time that God has the right to give and take life and to judge sinful mankind. The deaths of people at Jericho are only a small picture of what God does on any given day throughout the world. People die every day due to sin in the world. Ultimately the issue that Samuel has with Jericho is the same of most atheists and skeptics, that these deaths overtly show God's right to judge mankind. The right to judge moral matters skeptics want to keep for themselves, along with the right to judge God's actions as good or evil. This shows up in Mr S.'s and most skeptics commitment to abortion rights. These folk accuse God of evil on many points for death and suffering in the world and then assume they have the right to determine when a baby is a human and when it is only a "foetus" or "embryo". Before the time determined by them in their limited wisdom it is perfectly acceptable to end any life as long as a good justification can be found and it is a benefit to the woman involved. This hypocrisy shows clearly the moral bankruptcy of morality without God as centre, inevitably people take for themselves authority over the lives of others that is not their's to take.
The rest of the day was also quite interesting, the first time I preached the gospel a small number of people gathered and listened as I preached and afterwards I was able to discuss things further with a couple of people. Praise God the gospel is going out in Hobart and He is preparing hearts here!
The second time I preached I had a number of hecklers. One of these was a young man who I have spoken to before about Christ. He was rejecting Jesus then and apparently little has changed. He began by coming to try and taunt me with some sexual comments and attacks. This increased when I began to speak on the issue of sex and the horribleness of perversion and promiscuity. I pointed to the fact that God calls us to chastity or marriage as the only two good options for sex. All other sexual expression is a perversion of the good and holy thing that God has given us in sex. I urged people not only to purity but also to repent of their sexual sin and put their trust in Jesus. After a short period this became too much for this young man and he decided to try and intimidate me into silence. Trying to find an excuse to use he asked me what I thought of Arabs (meaning Muslims), I responded that there are many wonderful Arabs and they make wonderful Christians. He then accused me of hating Arabs and being a racist, and after a little bit of this and intimidating me with one of his mates he wondered off again mouthing off about Christians.
Praise God this brought in a crowd of people to who I could share the wonderful love of God for all people regardless of their skin colour. I called people to follow Jesus who loves so dearly that he died to save sinners. I urged people to give up their other loyalties and trust in Jesus only.
After this there were also a number of other hecklers and a bit of a question and answer time. Many of them left at the end thanking me for the chance to talk and ask questions.
Praise God that His word goes forth!
On Saturday night, the evangelism team headed into the Queen St Mall, Brisbane City. As usual there were crowds of people around, despite the dreary weather. After the heavy rain at about 7pm people still flocked into the mall, walking up and down and seeking after fulfillment in the abuse of the pleasures of life.
The team at first was small and a prayer request was made to God for more labourers but within the next hour the rain had stopped and a team of 11 members were out sharing the Good News of salvation with the passers by, through the means of preaching, tract giving and conversations.
With the heavy rain early on people were hindered from walking in the open area and were confined to walking closer to the team members allowing for some conversations, a young man named Gustav who we talked with early in the night, wasn't a native English speaker. A decent conversation was had and thankfully he did understand what was being said, even if occasionally it had to be explained a few different ways. Sadly the problem was, Gustav is a Catholic, he adamantly defended that it wasn't Jesus alone which saved Him but was also in part His exertion and ability to honour God through His deeds.
Please keep Gustav in prayer and commit him to God, we challenged him to pick up his Bible and take a read as he said he rarely ever did. May God use this small conversation, the tract and the power of the Bible through the Holy Spirit to bring Gustav into the Kingdom.
As the rain died down a little the team was able to set up the amplifier with an umbrella over the top for protection and some preaching took place, there were fluctuating crowds as the rain came and went but generally there was a presence of unbelievers listening and engaging the speaker. The preaching drew a crowd of twenty or so at one stage and some individual conversations were started, one of those was with two young men, David and Rick.
These two men, said they were 'spiritual', they had some belief in a 'Higher Power' but believed that He was no relational being but just some sort of entity. This discussion lead towards one of morality, when there was a back and forth that took place about what is the source of morality? Why are things right and wrong? How can anyone know such things? The conversation continued. A consensus was not reached. Though the two men had been challenged to a place where they weren't quite as sure as they seemed to be when the conversation started.
After a good hour or so of discussion, including an in depth discussion on the claims of the Bible, a sprinkling of what truth is and a meaty piece about the sin of humanity and our collective fallen state, the conversation reached a point where it became less about the team member asking questions and more about David and Rick asking questions.
Rick was fixated on how Jesus' sacrifice can be the atoning sacrifice for sin and how it isn't about personal goodness and David went into the logistics of those who are in isolated areas around the planet and haven't heard the Gospel. By the end of the conversation they were both asking questions and by God's saving mercy, pray they may come to saving faith in Jesus Christ!
This is just a small snapshot of the wonderful night that God provided, a prayer was made that people may engage the team members and that the Gospel would be articulated clearly and we know that God's word does not return void, conversations were had and the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation was shared.
Please keep the team in prayer, acknowledging the humanity of the team and the ease to fall into sin, pray that they stay vigilant in the seeking of God and His truth and are wary to fight the temptations of sin in the power of God.
Please pray for Gustav, David, Rick and for the rest of those who heard the Gospel, engaged a team member or took a tract tonight, pray to God, pleading on behalf of those exposed to the truth that they would come to salvation.
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was an eventful afternoon of evangelism yesterday in Brisbane city.
Firstly, we had the council worker, who has been for the past 2 months unlawfully trying his hardest to stop the gospel going out in Brisbane, standing around watching us for about an hour and a half from the moment we arrived. Eventually he came over and issued one person on the team a $236 fine for handing out Christian literature, despite the fact we have permission to be there and do that there.
A little later on I noticed a lady with tattoos all across her arms talking to the council worker and his colleague. Then moments later, while the council workers were looking on, she stormed over to our free Bibles table and started throwing all the materials on the ground. She was screaming, "You can't do this here!"
Then she went up to George, who was preaching at the time, proceeded to hit him and snatch the microphone out of his hand. She then came over to me, hit me and then also punched an elderly man who was defending us. There were lots of people looking on by this time.
This lady then went over to our bag area and started picking our things up and throwing them at us. It was only then that the council workers wandered over to talk to the lady and told her to go away. Isn't it interesting to see their inaction for so long while this was going on? And note, she didn't receive any fine from the council workers for what she did, even though they saw it with their own eyes.
A large crowd had gathered by this time and so George continued preaching to all those who had gathered. Quite a number of people went over to the Bible table, asking for materials. What she intended for evil, God used for good!
Once George finished preaching, the council workers then went over to George and gave him a $589 fine for using an amplified device (despite having permission). We will be challenging the fines.
Not long after, the police arrived and they said they were going to go look for the lady. We have a very relationship with the police in Brisbane city. It is great having their support.
As the afternoon progressed, the team was busy in conversations and people kept coming up to the Bible table asking for Bibles.
One man said that he was staying in a hotel and read 100 pages of the Bible while he was there. But he knew the Bible was hotel property so he couldn't take it with him to keep reading it, even though he wanted to. So he asked is there any chance he could have a full Bible? We said, "Absolutely!" and gave him one.
Glory to God that His word is going out!
It was good to be back at Capalaba yesterday, first time for the year, and God blessed us by bringing along a new labourer ready to share the gospel with us.
One of the team handed a gospel tract to a high school student named Edward, and he, for the next few minutes, was intently reading the tract.
I spoke to him and he said he used to attend a Catholic Church, but stopped going when he thought the preacher was twisting the Bible. He then went to Buddhism, but wasn't overly satisfied with it, so he said he has no religion now.
I got to explain the message of the Bible to him, and then challenged him to repent and believe the gospel. But he said he didn't like some things in the Bible. I asked him what in particular, he said "I do not like the parable of the prodigal son".
My mouth dropped in surprise as most people love that parable. So I asked him why. He said, "The older brother in that story gets a really bad wrap. I see my dad as the older brother who always does the right thing but never gets recognised for it."
So I briefly explained how the older brother actually represented the Pharisees and how the older brother didn't actually love his father very much. Edward said, "I want find out more about that parable."
Right then a great idea popped into my mind, I encouraged him to google "A tale of two sons by John MacArthur" - a good sermon series on the parable, as I thought then he is getting some good Bible teaching and hearing the gospel again. He said he would listen to it. Please pray for him.
There were plenty of good conversations throughout the afternoon. Glory to the God of all!