On Wednesday the team out again on the streets of the Gold Coast for Schoolies.
As the beginning of the week had shown, the schoolies are very interested in talk. Many had attended "religious" schools and had ideas about God but the vast majority have no handle on the Gospel.
Please pray for these young men and women:
Maddie had previously professed to be a Christian (four years earlier) but had since rejected it. She heard a simple presentation of the judgement of God and His Gospel and acknowledged her understanding of the truth and yet still wanted to reject God because He didn't give her what she desired.
Tom chatted with the team for a lengthy time as well. He heard many apologetics about different parts of the Bible, most of which pointed back to the Gospel. But ultimately Tom left saying, "I understand a lot more about Christianity but I am happy living life as I want."
Taylor came two nights in a row and engaged in long discussions both times but on both occasions was quite drunk and was being a little silly. He said that he'd taken 22 shots before he had come out! Taylor talked with the team on most aspects of Christianity and had actually attended a local Brisbane school and one of the team members knew his brother. But even after 13 years at the school he had more questions rather than answers about Christianity.
Jamaine was a young man that had many questions and chatted with two different team members. The last thirty minutes of conversation were spent repetitively explaining repentance and faith and him trying to explain it back to us. Ultimately he left seeming to understand and we gave him contact details if he was interested in catching up with us.
The week has been moving along well, the team is pressing on despite the tiredness and God is graciously bringing us people with which we can share His truth.
Please keep us and those we have and will talk to in prayer!
So far during Schoolies at the Gold Coast, the "Good Person test" flip charts have been really great. They have been a very valuable asset as the Schoolies run up wanting to do the good person test, with some groups of people even waiting around for their turn to go through it. There have been plenty of new people coming along each day to try out this test. It has been great to see hundreds of Gospel conversations come from such a simple and easy to use prop.
One conversation started by these flips charts was with Angela and Brooke. The pair just happened to be walking by, saw the picture and inquired as to what it was about. Angela and Brooke had attended a catholic private school and had some ideas about salvation. Sadly most of their ideas were misunderstandings.
But the flip chart soon changed that. They learnt that we weren't just good people who made mistakes but rather we were bad people, who chose to do wrong. They then learnt that this sinfulness deserves Hell, which means all of humanity deserve Hell. To finish off they heard of God's incredible love, that He chose to suffer the penalty for our sin, so that all who trust in Him may have eternal life. This all happened in under five minutes, with the aid of the chart.
Sadly, the two girls weren't really phased and even though they intellectually understood the Gospel, they were more interested in living life according to their desires rather than in submission to God.
Please be praying for Angela and Brooke, that God may use this small conversation as the turning point which leads to salvation!
On Tuesday night as the team headed into the Surfers Paradise mall there seemed to be fewer schoolies out than the previous nights. Thankfully, that didn't stop many conversations from taking place.
Two notable conversations took place together. First was a conversation with young man named Sam who joined into a conversation that was already taking place with two guys, Jacob and David.
Sam was quite adamant about things he believed and was quite strong in his opposition of God's truth. This all collapsed quite quickly as Sam began to declare that he only believed things as true on the basis of his own experience.
The brief and quick response, "So you're telling me that World War II never occured?" silenced him and stopped him in his tracks. Sam realised the basis for his belief was flawed. This opened a great opportunity to share that a human being could never reason or work out in their head anything about God, unless God Himself had revealed it. Sam acknowledged this as true and then listened for a few moments before recieving a phone call and leaving. Thankfully the last minute of the conversation consisted of a clear and consise Gospel presentation of God's actions to save humanity.
The other conversation with Jacob and David lasted for almost ninety minutes. This consisted of many interruptions but was primarily based around, "questions we tried to ask our school chaplain but he didn't really want to answer". Jacob and David laid question after question on the team and we were happy to provide God's answer to each question. This back and forth covered everything from human sin, other world religions, to the problem of evil and the justice of Hell.
When the discussion was coming to a close, Jacob asked one final question, "What is the answer to your shirt?" One team member was wearing a shirt which read, "Did you hear about the bad man who went to Heaven?"
This question provided the perfect opportunity to present the Gospel one final time as the pair headed off for the evening.
Please thank God for His absolute authority and providence of these conversations. Thank Him for providing many Gospel opportunities in conversations that to begin with seem fruitless.
Please also lift Sam, David and Jacob before God and plead that God would free them from the bondage of their sin and cause them to turn in surrender to Him!
On Monday afternoon the team headed out again for Schoolies at the Gold Coast. During the afternoons people are usually sober and therefore there are less people around and those who are around have a little more schedule in their plan. Thankfully that didn't stop numerous people from stopping to chat with the team.
A notable conversation was with a young man named Emerson. He had a range of questions about Christianity specifically. He mentioned that he thought it was okay to believe in God but not really follow or obey what God has said.
When asked, Emerson didn't know where he'd spend eternity and was a little worried about it. He then changed the topic and was asking about gay marriage and what Christians think about it. It was explained that God designed, life, sexuality and relationships and therefore knows how they should be best used leading to joy and happiness and equally the contexts in which they would be detrimental and damaging. We also explained that God in His love has revealed this to us so that we may live the beautiful life God designed for us.
We told him the implications of this truth don't just relate to sexuality but to all aspects of our life as humans. This means it is hateful to encourage anyone to live against God's design for us because it is to encourage someone to miss out on the beautiful life of intimacy God designed us for and to encourage someone to act in a way that offends God.
This is where it became relevant to Emerson, the team pointed out that he was doing the same thing. Emerson was missing out on God's good design because he thought he knew better. We pressed him a little and ultimately left him with two options. He could either continue to live in arrogant defiance against God, thinking he knew better and ultimately ending up in hell. Or he could surrender to the humble God who, in love, chose to suffer in his place, that he may have life.
Please pray that Emerson reflects on this truth and ultimately turns in total surrender to God!
Please also keep the team in prayer as this week is exhausting and takes a toll physically on the team.
On Monday night at the Gold Coast during Schoolies the team had many, many gospel conversations. The schoolies this year have basically been coming up and asking the team to tell them about the Gospel. It also seems that almost everyone we've spoken to has gone to a Catholic or Anglican school. This is sad because many of the school leavers have never heard a clear and simple presentation of the Gospel, despite attending a "Christian" school for 12 years.
Oppositely, it is an absolute pleasure to have an opportunity to preach God's message of salvation to these young men and women, so that they can know of God's work in salvation.
A stand out conversation was with three young men, Sebastian, Tano and Nick (who have sinced come back and chatted with the team a second time). These young men went through the flip chart presentation with one team member and then asked some questions to a few team members.
Tano and Nick weren't the main focus of the conversation on Monday night but did recieve the priority of attention on Tuesday. The challenge was put to Sebastian numerous times to count the cost of trusting in Jesus. He understood that God knows what is best for us. He acknowledged that he was living in a way that is contrary to God's design but Sebastian didn't really want to surrender to Jesus as Lord.
Please keep the team in prayer that we can continue to be fervent in our evangelism, actively seeking a new conversation whenever we have finished the prior one.
And please continue to lift up those we speak to before God, that He may grant them repentance and faith!
There were some unusually 'hard ones' today, e.g. one lady who claimed that she had proof for reincarnation but would not listen to a white person because they are the cause of all the world's problems! Another man who made outrageous claims of what he knew then explained that his tattoo had the Hebrew name of God, Allah. ( wrong!) Providentially his bus arrived and whisked him away.
Ryan asked one lady if she thought she would go to heaven. She said that she did not believe in heaven and all that. Hearing the builder analogy, she said that made sense. Then she adapted this new position: I choose not to believe. The conversation continued until she asked how can one know what hell is like. Explaining that Jesus (who made hell - Col. 1:15,16) had died and rose victorious from the grave on the third day, the conversation ended there as her bus arrived. Pray God stirs her spirit so she seeks the answers and the gospel that she so desperately needs.
Lee-Anne met Katy, a good person type Christian. Pray she receives the gospel message as explained to her.
Pray for Jemma, a young lady who is open to learning God's good news and has her own Bible. May she read a gospel account to confirm what has been explained to her and find new life to the full in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise Him from whom all blessings flow and thank Him for using His fallible servants for His glory. Our sovereign Lord God Almighty always has the last word!!!
The Gospel has continued to go forth in Tassie and there have been many instances of light shining through the darkness over the last couple of weeks. God is at work in Hobart and I have been eagerly watching other works that have continued in the north of Hobart and in Launceston. Praise God that He works to save souls!
This last week I had the pleasure of meeting with a young guy who has come from a place of enmity to now wanting to know the word of God and eager to explore what relationship with God looks like. His hunger and insight were a great encouragement and I will be praying that it will continue over the coming years. Please pray that there are and will be many more like him who come seeking God, and that God will settle them into communities which will foster their growth in faith hope and love through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I also have had a recent increase in the number of Christians who are coming enquiring and encouraging us in the mall. The number of thumbs up has jumped in recent days, praise God! There also are all sorts of people who will stop to say a word or two of support. Thank you to all of you.
Danny and Karl and Daniel (a young Christian man from the peninsula) and I have been up to proclaim the way of eternal life and read the bible. As always, we are backed when we preach with the prayers and support of the wonderful Christian ladies who gather in the mall to intercede for the work. Praise God for workers in the harvest.
All of this is despite SSM continuing to be a cause of opposition down here in the Apple Isle. Problems from SSM supporters have increased, despite assurances that everything would be fine if Marriage “equality” was allowed. Given the behavior of SSM supporters during the postal vote, no-one should be surprising that issues have continued afterwards. These last couple of weeks have been a good lesson in what “tolerance” and “diversity” look like when it gets power. And it looks ugly!
Over the last two weeks the resounding chorus has been “you lost, so shut up!”. This has been underlined by many people emphasizing their desire to get rid of us using whatever means they can. I have been threatened by two different people. That they would use the anti-discrimination courts and/or the police to remove myself and the Christians with me by force. I have good reason to expect that these threats will be followed up in the future as I am “held responsible for your harm against the LGBTI community” and they make sure that the local council “don’t allow hateful creatures like them to be in a public place”.
And of course, in the midst of this chorus is the ongoing slander of Mr S. as he libels myself and the Christians who gather in the mall. One of Mr S.’s libels is the claim that I and the Christians with me are litigious. If that were the case, we all would have multiple cases against him and the SSM advocates he supports! The foul and blasphemous language alone would be a good basis for an antidiscrimination case! Thankfully God calls us to turn the other cheek and to pray and bless and do good to those who oppose us.
It is because of this chorus of opposition that we are now seeing a lot of thoughtful people beginning to distance themselves from Mr S. and the SSM advocates. They have seen, I hope, the Godly behavior of Christians in public not flinching from bringing the Gospel even when it comes at a cost. We pray every week that this contrast will draw many to Jesus and He will save them in His mercy and grace.
Please pray for the supporters of SSM and Mr S. that they will see the hateful manner in which they behave and be driven to the savior in repentance. Please also pray for the team down here that they will be loving and kind in the face of opposition and will firmly preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
May God Be Glorified in Hobart!
This year as usual the team has set up camp on the Gold Coast for the week of Schoolies. Throughout Sunday night there were some showers of rain but that didn't deter the schoolies in their celebrations of finishing high school.
Due to the limited number of things to do and the small area they are confined to, many of the schoolies are walking around bored with nothing better to do than find people to talk to.
As a result, the team had numerous Gospel conversations. Here are a number of stand outs:
A group of four young men were sitting down on the chair next to the team and were approached with the question, "What do you think will happen after you die?" Two of the young men, Jacob and Blake, engaged. Both initially just rejected God's existence but this seemed to just be a smoke screen as both very quickly acknowledged God's existence and were more than happy to begin to dialogue about where they will spend eternity.
After a lengthy discussion and a number of clear Gospel explanations Jacob who mentioned he sort of wanted to trust Jesus, the conversation was bought to a close with a pointed question, "Would you be willing to up give all the money you've spent, pleasure you're seeking and time you've set aside for this schoolies week and go home for the sake of Jesus Christ?". Or more simply, would you be willing to surrender to Jesus at the expense of giving up Schoolies. Jacob after a long pause said, "I don't think so, maybe after schoolies." He wasn't overly confident in his decision but he did stick to it for the remainder of the conversation.
Please pray that God changes Jacob's mind.
Another chat was with a young man named Joe. Joe knew God existed and wasn't sure where he'd spend eternity. After a simple talk about the sinfulness of humanity and the penalty this sin deserves Hell, Joe's demeanor began to change he began to seriously consider what was being said.
When asked how this could be solved. Joe had a few ideas but none of them were a solution. After a quick discussion the team just shared with him, the greatest news, that even though we have no hope in ourselves to remove our sin, the Holy God of this universe, acting in love, took the penalty for our sin Himself so that we could be reunited with Him. He did all this so we could be freed from the power and penalty of sin. At the end of the conversation Joe said he would definitely consider surrendering to Jesus.
We encouraged Joe to read the Gideons Bible in his hotel room and to come back tonight to speak with us again! Please pray that God will renovate His heart!
Please be praying as the team heads out this next week.
A day of some good introductory chats and some regulars saying they did not want to hear the gospel again. Pray that those introduced to the good news would check it out further. Pray also that God may be merciful to those objectors and give them a desire to seek Him.
Of particular interest;
- Colin, claimed to be a Christian who was 60% of the way there. This was explained as he has given up adultery and is now fighting some physical addictions. He goes to a 'church' that cannot help him! He listened to the gospel and Lee-Anne urged him to get urgent in trusting Christ alone to save him (he had responded well to the Blondin illustration).
- - Sarah, went through creation to the gospel and chatted about her and her partner's last 12 months. Explained that the Bible portrays even 'heroes of the faith' as true to live = imperfect in this life but looking forward to Christ's return to complete what He merited on behalf of His people in His first coming. So she can expect some Christians to be less mature than others. She had already encountered a few judgmental ones. Stating she would read the gospel of John, I gave her one and explained how it emphasizes the deity of Christ and why that is essential.
--- a week-old visitor from Turkey; this man respected all religions. Briefly Lee-Anne indicated that he needed to trust Christ alone. He was given a comic tract that he said he would get someone to explain to him.
Thanks for praying and all praise to our faithful triune God for enabling His servants to get His good news out to more people.
It was a wet Friday night at the Gold Coast as we began our outreach there, and it continued raining on and off throughout the night. Despite all the rain, we had 17 labourers be part of the team.
As soon as the rain stopped, the team started handing out gospel tracts and were engrossed in various conversations. There was one man who refused to take the tract and said, "I don't mean any disrespect but this is not for me. I used to be a Catholic but now I am an agnostic/atheist and I don't believe in all these things anymore." We asked him whether he believes that there is a creator and his answer was "yes". He seemed quite confused about his own beliefs.
Even though he initially rejected the gospel tract, he looked like he was quite open to having this conversation. After talking for a bit, we found out that his unbelief in God had been a result of him being sick and tired of performing rituals and religion during his days in Catholic church. So we began to share the gospel with him and stressed on the fact that, in order to go to heaven, he needs to repent and trust in Christ alone. No amount of good works or performing any sorts of rituals will get him to heaven. He looked very thoughtful.
Towards the end of the conversation, he said that his wife often reads Bible. Not long after, his wife who was at the shops came to join us. She had lots of questions from the Old Testament as she was taking things out of context and was questioning God's authority. We tried answering all her questions. Then just before leaving, the husband asked what church do we go to. So we happily handed him a gospel tract that had a local church address on the back of the tract.
Towards the end of the night, when the team was just about to leave, one of the team members started sharing the gospel with a group of Muslim men. We thank God for this team member who could fluently speak Arabic language. The group of men were listening attentively to the gospel being preached.
God is definitely at work. Please continue to pray for all the souls that have heard the gospel. Pray for the team and for gospel to go forth until every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10,11). Amen.
"Best night of outreach in 6 months!"
Watch this video update from our Melbourne team who went into Bourke Street Mall last night to share the good news of Jesus.
For more info about this and other evangelism teams, go to: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
Thanks for praying for this outreach.
- Pray for Allan, an elderly man who used to do door-to-door witnessing for Jesus for 10 years until his wife became very violent towards him because she hates God. At one stage he was chased by his wife with a gun. So unfortunately he stopped his Christian endeavors and gave up on the faith, and as a result his wife calmed down towards him because he no longer was in the faith. He needs strength and boldness from the Lord to get back to where he was. Pray for this, and for his protection.
- Jai, had previous trouble with the judicial system and did not like the idea of being in trouble with God. He has heard the good news now. He is encouraged to read the Bible that he already has and count the cost of following Jesus.
- Marina, a young Muslim woman who had been raised in a Christian home ihn South Sudan. She had had questions that her church did not answer. She had read the Bible and asked God to reveal Himself to her. She said that we worshiped the same God.
After a long chat showing the uniqueness of the triune God, the 2 natures in Christ, and justification by faith alone vs. her own stated 'works' view, she cordially responded that she still believed He was the same God in Islam and Christianity. As we parted, I suggested that maybe God was answering her prayers of a few years ago with what she had heard today. May God stir her to question her present faith stance.
Again we thank God for the pleasure of serving Him and give Him all the glory for the results.