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Saturday, 17 October, 2009
I thought it might just be me at the coast today, but as I was walking towards Cavil Avenue after parking my car, Blake beeped at me. I was very glad Blake was able to join me today, as it definitely is better witnessing and preaching having another person with you. As I was waiting for Blake to arrive on the esplanade, I handed some tracts to a large group of young people. They wanted to know what it was about and so I asked them whether they thought they were going to go to Heaven. Most said yes, some jokingly said no. The reason why most of them thought they were going to Heaven was because they considered themselves to be good people. So I let them know of the standard that God will judge them after they die and they admitted that they actually deserve Hell. Some of the group were very concerned about this fact, while others remarked that they love sin too much to even consider stopping it. So I shared the news of the cross with the group and talking about how someone can be forgiven if they repent and trust in the death of Jesus alone for their forgiveness.
At this point, another whole group of young people joined in listening to the conversation taking place as they were obviously friends of the people I was talking to. So I explained the message again to everyone to solidify it in their minds.
Just before I got up to preach, a young guy came up and chatted to me and we starting talking about things of eternity. At first he seemed open to the message, however he at random points would just have outbursts of anger and throw the things he was holding around. Possibly something demonic as when I was preaching he so vehemently opposed the Word of God that he got very angry, but when the Word of God was not being spoken about, he would be fine.
Still before I got up to preach, a young girl came and chatted to me, saying that she got 'saved' at age 7 but left Church at age 13. She was now about 15 and realised that she should return, but admitted she just loves sin so much. So I explained how it is so important to receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers as soon as possible for death could happen at any moment and Hell is a very bad place. Then I explained, "But Jesus died to save you from that only if you repent (hate sin instead of loving it, and thus you'll start turning from it) and trust in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross."
An analogy that I like to use to show that it is foolish to choose sin over salvation is this: "Imagine that you are in a house, and you are doing a very fun activity inside. Then you notice the house is getting warmer and there is smoke around, and so you conclude that the house is on fire. Now what would you do: Just sit there because you are doing something so fun, and then you'll get burnt up and die? Or would you run out the house? Obviously run out of the house. In the same way, that is like your life. For it is as if the flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, for the amount of time you have got left to live is getting shorter and shorter. So would you say: 'I would rather keep on sinning' and then you will receive an eternity in Hell? Or would you flee from the flames of Hell by trusting in the death of Jesus, and you will also receive an eternity in Heaven? Which is the better the option?"
I then got up to preach and there was a bunch of hecklers who I was able to engage in a discussion with to draw a larger crowd. These guys were mostly atheistic and some were possibly drunk, but it drew in a rather large crowd to hear the gospel message being preached for 45 minutes.
After having a bite to eat, Blake got up to preach and he preached a brilliant sermon. He started off by getting everyone's attention by telling them there is something they need to hear that is urgent. He preached for 45 minutes and the group of young people that I chatted to at the start of the day had returned and sat and listened to most of what Blake had to say.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 10 October, 2009
At 7:30pm we met in King George Square for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Once the clock struck 9, we walked to Queen St Mall, and started setting up the 'Free Bibles' table. I got up to preach first, and a number of people heckled as I preached the message of reconciliation with God by the death of Jesus, which every person must believe in and repent to be saved. None of the hecklers stayed for a long period of time, however. But other people did stop to listen to the message being preached.
After I got down from the preaching spot, I offered a tract to a man that was walking past eating a burger. Upon hearing that there was a Christian message inside, the man got outraged. He started spitting on me and so I pulled back, hoping that the guy would just move along. Then he started yelling at a whole group of us. A newer team member then went forward and started preaching about the atonement of Jesus. The angry man did not like hearing about Jesus and started spitting on him as well. At this point, Andrew stood on the soap box and tried to engage the man in some sort of discussion. The man wasn't at all keen, and instead was just hurling abuse at Andrew. A few moments later, the angry drunk man decided to throw the burger he was eating in the face of the first person who started preaching at close range. At this point, we called the police and arrived pretty quickly and arrested the man.
But while this was all happening, a massive crowd had gathered and Andrew was able to preach the message of the gospel to them all. Week after week, whatever the devil tries to do to stop the preaching simply results in more people hearing the gospel.
To close the night off, Blake stood on the soap box and faithfully preached the gospel. Just after this, Andrew and I had a conversation with some guys who had been studying philosophy and their studies unfortunately had lead to some of them denying that we can know anything of history. We tried reasoning with them, and made sure we shared the gospel wit them. Please pray that God will convert them.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 17 October, 2009
Tuesday, 25th August 2009 - Riverside, California
We have been in the USA for two days now, and during that time we have been recovering from jetlag and also playing tourist. Yesterday, we were able to see the sights around Santa Monica and also Hollywood. But, from today the outreach began.
The alarm sounded way to early, it was about 5am as I rolled out of bed and wondered what I was doing up. I quickly downed some breakfast, then Heath and I ran out the door to meet with Warren. The plan for the morning was to go to the courthouse and do some open air ministry.
We arrived at the courthouse at around 6:30am, and after some time of prayer and Bible reading we prepared to minister. Somehow I ended up being nominated to open air preach first. This was the first time I have ever open air preached at a courthouse, since in Australia most people go into the court building and don’t hand around outside.
The open air sermon went well, while I was preaching a Jehovah Witness began to hand out Watchtower magazines, so I made mention to this. The man was not amused, but I could not tolerate the fact that he was willingly deceiving many with a false gospel.
After the open air, I handed out a few tracts, but noticed that the Jehovah Witness was still spreading his cultic lies. So I followed him around and when he handed out literature I would speak to the person who received it. I would inform the person that the JW’s deny that Jesus is God and that He arose bodily from the dead. Many of the people who had taken Watchtowers either returned them or placed them in the bin.
Eventually the JW turned and threatened to sue me for slander. I informed him that it was only slander if what I was saying was false. I was kind of surprised, I had only been in the land of lawsuits for two days, and already someone wanted to take me to court. This should be an exciting couple of months.
To view the video of my open air check out:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z60ovB-IxZ4
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY3-tlgUC6w
Wednesday, 26th August 2009 - Riverside, California
Once again the alarm sounded early, and just like the day previous we headed out to the Riverside Courthouse. Jeff picked us up at 6:30am and by 7am we were at the courthouse meeting with the evangelism team.
It was good to meet some new brothers and it was an honour to labour along side of them. Once again, I was nominated to preach. As I preached the gospel the crowd listened, one lady liked the preaching so much she started to dance and say “Praise Jesus”. After the open air the majority of people took gospel tracts. And, much like the day before our friendly JW was there, although today he didn’t engage us.
Once we finished the ministry at the courthouse, we went and had breakfast together as a team, then we headed off to preach elsewhere. This time, we went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to open air. There was about 150 people lined up, so I began by preaching a message of Hope from John 3:16. The crowd fell silent as they listened to the gospel being preached. Much like the courthouse the majority took tracts afterwards.
Please pray for all those who heard the gospel today, may God save them.
To view a video of the open air at the DMV click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjTUJP9VfW0
Friday, 28th August 2009 - Hollywood & Glendale, California
Warnings were issued to us today as we prepared to head out witnessing. After two days of evangelism training at the Ambassadors Academy the team was ready to hit the streets and do some ministry. The only problem was that we had a severe weather warning in place. The temperature in the LA region has soared over the past few days, and as a result many bush fires were burning on the mountains around the city.
With the sun being high and hot we boarded our bus for the ride to Hollywood, only to be greeted with something no one wants to encounter on a hot day. It turns out that on the way to the Academy to pick us up the air conditioner on the bus had died, thus leaving the bus a big hot tin can.
But, this was just the beginning of what would be a hard day of hot battles. When we arrived at Hollywood the heat was oppressive. Within minutes people were downing bottles of water and grabbing more bottles for reserve. While we were setting up the four different preaching locations I noticed a young man wearing a sandwich board. This was no surprise to me as I had been warned this “preacher” would be present. While, I admire this man’s zeal I find myself abhorring his theology, the reason is because he denies original sin and believes in open theism (which teachers God does not know the future). These heresies have placed him outside the bounds of Christianity, yet, he is still out on the streets in the heat preaching that you must stop sinning and that Christians are perfect and never sin.
Myself and Paul Kaiser wandered up and down the famed Hollywood Boulevard handing out tracts and talking to people. However, we thought it would be good to grab some lunch before any preaching. The cool air of MacDonald’s was nice and while we sat eating our “healthy” lunch, I was able to start a conversation with two young men opposite. One of them had just gotten out of rehab, the other was a professing Christian. He seemed to have a few theological questions, so I let Paul deal with him, while I spoke to the non-Christian. For about ten minutes we shared the gospel in MacDonald’s. After I finished witnessing I noticed that the guy I was speaking to had no food on his table, so I went and bought him some lunch. He seemed genuinely touched and he took a few different tracts after this. We saw both men again throughout the day and they waved every time they saw us. Please pray that God would grant them repentance and faith.
After lunch I was able to preach outside of the Hollywood Metro station. While I was preaching I was able to get one man to engage me in conversation. This young man was interested in bragging about his sin openly, when I confronted him about his sin, his pride swelled, he loved his sin and bragged about it. He left before I was able to give him grace, but there were a couple of people sitting around listening. Please pray for all those who heard.
The rest of the day at Hollywood was spent with me handing out tracts and talking to people one to one. I have found it very hard to hand out tracts on Hollywood Boulevard, I think this is due to the fact that there are many people out there handing out literature and selling goods.
As the temperature dropped and the sun lowered in the sky, we were herded onto a bus for the ride to Glendale for an evening of witnessing. After a nice dinner with EZ, we did some outreach near the cinema. I was walking around taking photos when I heard security challenging one of our preachers. The preacher was on public property preaching to a crowd also on public property. The security guard came out of private property and demanded the preacher stop. This young security guard dripped with arrogance and was mocking towards Christianity. He would laugh and scoff at what the preacher said, this earned him a stiff rebuke from my brother. The security guards grin soon faded when faced with the reality of judgment day.
This was just the first round of the fight for the night. Within a minute another security guard was taking on another preacher. This time I spoke to the security guard so the preacher could continue. Te security guard informed me that it was illegal to preach the gospel where we were. I asked him if it was public property, he said that it was. So I asked what part of preaching was illegal and didn’t we have first amendment right to preach? He refused to speak and just said, “I’m calling the police!”
The police soon arrived and they informed security that we had legal right to preach and that security had no authority to stop us. This seemed to anger the guard, so they started a new tactic to disrupt the preaching. By now there were about four guards standing around and they began by encouraging young men to start dancing in front of the crowd to disrupt the preaching. I began to take photos of what the security guard was doing, at the same time I was very careful not to cross onto private property to get the shots. While I was taking a photo the head security guard walked up behind me and said, “Thanks for that, now I can have you arrested!” He then called the police. The police arrived and they stated that once again we were doing nothing wrong and therefore couldn’t be arrested. Once again the security had lost the battle to stop the preaching of the gospel.
I spent the rest of the evening walking around and handing out gospel tracts. It was a good night of witnessing and many people got to hear the good news of salvation.
Saturday, 29th August 2009 - Huntington Beach, California
The second and final day of outreach had arrived. It would be sad to leave these men and women who had become my brothers and sisters in arms over the past week. But, we all must have one last push, then continue on in the battle elsewhere. The weather today was nice, much cooler than what it was yesterday. We hit the streets at around 10am and began to evangelise the Huntington Pier. Upon arrival we were met by the sight of a “street screecher” who had a massive banner that did nothing but cause offence. Now, I believe the gospel will bring offence, however, this sign had nothing of the gospel on it. Therefore it was the word of man that caused the problems. If I must offend someone, then I would rather have the everlasting gospel do it, rather than my own stupidity.
I walked down under the pier and it was then that I saw a man carrying a dog. He was moving rapidly towards one of the Academy preachers. As he came near me I heard him mumbling about shutting him down. Since the person who was preaching was new to open air evangelism, I decided to engage dog man in conversation. He stopped and began by telling me that he was a Christian, yet he refused to go to church since they were all wrong, except for him. My initial thought was “cult”, and that proved to be true. He started his tirade on how the church got it wrong, since Jesus had returned in 70 AD, and that we didn’t believe in the Bible. He then began to espouse the teaching that hell was not a real literal place. I engaged him in apologetics for some time, the whole time thinking I must keep him busy and away from the preacher. I figured if I tie him up for a while then the preaching of the gospel can continue. After about 40 minutes of dealing with this man I handed him over to a friend of mine, who engaged him for another length of time.
During my break I went off with the other Australian’s to get some lunch. When we returned the preaching was still going, but everyone was excited since Ray Comfort was soon to preach. Ray arrived and began to preach. It was then that I noticed that Dog boy was in the crowd. So I encouraged him to heckle Ray. The man was gladly prepared to heckle and Ray was happy to have a heckler.
While Ray was preaching I headed down to the bottom of the pier with a few other Academy preachers, there we set up a new preaching point and began to preach. First up was Ephraim who proclaimed Christ to all who would listen. Then I preached. While I was preaching I had a couple of hecklers. Soon into my open air I could feel my voice going, so I tagged in Jeff Robbins. This preaching continued for some time, then finally it came time for Heath Pithouse to preach. As he preached God brought a crowd in, and that crowd was polite and full of hecklers. For twenty minutes Heath did a marvellous job of proclaiming the gospel to them.
At the end of the day, we headed back to the Academy for the final night of testimony and fellowship.
Praise God for all He has done.
Wednesday, 2nd September 2009 - Riverside & Beaumont, California
A bright and early start, we had to be over to Riverside by 7am. The plan was to meet up with Jeff Robbins and his team and the courthouse, then we needed to rush back to Beaumont, since we were invited to come and speak to the fourth grade at the local public school.
At 7am we began the outreach with the team, they were surprised to see us, but it was great to join forces once again. I was the third preacher up and was able to proclaim the gospel to all those in the line. It was great to have people respond so positively to the gospel of Christ. Sadly the Jehovah Witness was still there deceiving the people. But the truth went out.
After a quick breakfast we drove back to get ready to speak at the local school. We were asked to come and talk about Australia and also about us being missionaries. I was a bit nervous since I was not sure what the rules were in relation to speaking about God in the school system. While we were talking a child asked the question, “What is a missionary and what do they do?” This was a great opening, since now I had to explain the message of Christ. For the next few minutes I explained the Christian message from creation through to redemption. The whole class sat and listened as I explained the need of the Saviour and how we must repent and trust in Christ.
At the end of the class we were able to leave some Australian Big Money tracts for the kids, all 40 students took the gospel home with them that day. Praise God for some great opportunities to preach Christ!
Thursday, 3rd September 2009 - Venice Beach
We had an early start today as we needed to drive some three hours to visit Phil Johnson of Grace to You. We spent about an hour with him, and after that we decided to head to Venice Beach for some outreach. It was a bit of a culture shock for Joel Barnard as he had never seen the strangeness that is Venice.
We handed out a few tracts and there were quite a few people who seemed hostile to the gospel. I did manage to get in a conversation with one man who believed in many roads to God, but though Jesus was the best way for him. He was hard to witness to, but I pray the gospel will cut through the darkness and bring him to Christ.
It wasn’t that long till we had to go, the reason for leaving so early was because I was due to do a radio interview with Ambassador Alliance radio. The purpose of the interview was to talk about the Academy training and also with the state of evangelism in Australia. The interview went for about 20 minutes, then at the end the team decided to start the three hour journey home.
On the way home we stopped at In n Out burger for dinner. After I finished my meal, I decided to speak to all the people eating their burgers outside. I started by telling them about how on the bottom of their drink cups there is a bible verse. This made them all look under the cups and read “John 3:16”. That was my launch pad, I spoke about the love of God and how He is so kind to us, yet we rebel against Him. After preaching the gospel, the people applauded and all took tracts. Please pray that God would save the listeners.
Friday, 4th September 2009 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Today we thought it would be a good idea to get up early and drive for 4 hours across the desert of California and Nevada. After a few minutes of this we had re-considered the wisdom of such a move. But, we pressed on and after a long drive we arrived in sin city.
We met up with my friend Doug Koch and some members of his team for lunch, then that afternoon we went back to Doug’s place. Since it was a long weekend here in the US Doug and his family were going away. So he gave us access to his house and told us where we could attend a local outreach that night.
After dinner we headed out to begin witnessing on the Vegas strip. We were able to hand out thousands of tracts in such a short period of time. During the night I managed to get into 4 conversations. All of them with Australians who were in Vegas for holidays. It is always good to speak to my fellow country men, but it is even greater to tell them of the Christ who can save them.
We stayed in the one spot for a few hours, but then decided to go play tourist for a little bit. As we walked along the strip people kept trying to hand us pornographic cards. Since all of those handing out cards were Mexicans I grabbed my Spanish tracts and began to hand them out. Every single porn hander outer took a tract. It was so sad to see them out on the streets doing this. One of them told me it was the only job he could get, so he had to do it in order to feed his family. But the most shocking was a woman in her mid seventies standing on the street corner handing out porn flyers.
At around midnight we made our way back to the house, it was so sad to see the depths of sin that many people swam in. But what was sadder was that there wasn’t many Christians out there telling people the good news.
Monday, 7th September 2009 - Hermosa Beach, California
Everything in Southern California seems to be at least a two hour drive away! No matter where we are going or what we are doing it always seems to be the same time away. Today we had a two hour drive from where we were staying to join up with Steve Sanchez and his team at the Hermosa Beach festival. His church had arranged for a booth to be set up in the area. They were conducting intelligence tests and good person tests for all those who would stop and talk.
After arriving we grabbed some tracts and headed to the main entrance, there we handed out thousands of tracts to those entering the festival. During this time of tracting the heat was increasing. It turned out to be one of the hottest days we had experienced in California. This of course limited the amount of people who wanted to stand and talk, but we did manage to have a few good conversations.
Towards the end of the day, we were able to start open air preaching. Before I started I spoke to a security guard and asked him where would be best. He pointed me to a location right near a bus stop. This worked well since there was a very long line of people at the bus stop. So I stepped back and began to share the gospel with them. Most people listened and smiled as a preached, at the end the vast majority took gospel tracts and thanked us for taking the time to share the good news with them.
After we started preaching Steve brought a few guys up to preach also, now we had the area well and truly covered. We took turns preaching the gospel. At the end of the day I decided it would be good to preach once more (also add Steve’s pushing). So I stepped up and began to speak to the line. It was then that an angry lady began to heckle, she started to scream that she was a public figure and couldn’t be filmed. She was rather angry and foul. So I ignored her and continued to preach. During this time another man came and began yelling at me to stop preaching, I ignored him, so he came closer and yelled again. This resulted in a person from the crowd yelling at the heckler, he called out “This is America! He can preach here!” Well by now the crowds attention was on the preaching, this then brought a security guard down. He came and told me I couldn’t preach, I ignored him as well and stepped around him. The reason I stepped around him is because I had permission to be there plus security have no authority to stop the preaching.
Steve Sanchez caught the “Aussie Two-Step” (as he calls it) on tape, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tPShIgNhJI
Well that ended our day and our outreach in California for now. Praise God for all the opportunities we had.
Wednesday 9th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
What a change! From the deserts of California to the beautiful green environment of Georgia. Also, what a change in people. People in the south seem to be a lot more friendly than those we encountered on the West Coast.
Today’s plan was to join up with Todd Friel and gang at Wretched Radio. We met at the studio then headed out to Georgia Tech for a “Witness Wednesday”. We arrived at the Campus and began to witness to people. The only catch it was to be on the radio, this of course made things a bit more nerve racking. Todd would walk up to people and say “Have you spoken to an Australian? No, here’s one!” Then the conversation would begin.
My first conversation was with a Lutheran minister who was very biblical. It was encouraging to meet someone who actually knew and preached the gospel. After this discussion I got to speak to a Hindu man. It was a good conversation, and I stressed to him the importance of their only being one God and one way to know that God.
After this we lost Todd, he walked one way, we walked the other. About an hour later we found him again. But, during this time we kept witnessing. Once again I got to speak to a Hindu man and also a Muslim man. The Hindu didn’t get it, he agreed with me throughout the presentation but then at the end he said, “I believe in Jesus with the other gods.” So once again I had to explain it to him.
We finished up at Georgia Tech, then Todd announced that we would be going downtown to do some preaching for Wretched TV, I thought that was great until Todd said I was the preacher and I would be on TV. Instantly the nerves hit, I didn’t want to be preaching on TV, but Todd insisted.
It was annoying preaching with microphones clipped on me and also cameras pointed at me. Before I knew what was happening Todd was introducing me to the camera then it was time to preach. So I stepped up and began to preach my stalker sermon. Those in the park quieted down to listen. Many sat and listened and others stopped walking to hear the good news. I built the sermon through the stalker and then into death and eternity. Once I had explained sin I was able to share the good news. By now I had a group of people at the back of the crowd singing out praises of “AMEN!” It was like preaching in a lively church. I wrapped my message up and then caught my breath. While I was sitting after the sermon a man walked up to me and said he had been listening. His words were “As you preached my heart said ‘This is true!’” Then and there in the middle of downtown Atlanta this man bowed his head and begged God for mercy. A few minutes later another man who was listening bowed his head and prayed with Joel, also asking god to save him.
It was incredible and humbling to see. God had used a simple open air sermon to bring two of his people to Himself. To God be the Glory! This provided a great ending to the day, everyone left praising God.
To hear the Witness Wednesday radio show: http://q1rf1q.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pnQor-NAU10pQkkTlbouw8PbldN4KesVW8ZGZYiC6kfxFb_l3DSNGuk5PJBV1ZenXC0ZFtd2v88hlqlngzxw-5Q/WR2009-0916-Hr1.mp3?download
Thursday, 10th September 2009 - Stone Mountain, Georgia
We were asked to join up with a local team today at a flower festival in the Stone Mountain national park. Upon arrival we soon found the team that was outside of the main gate, they were preaching and handing out tracts. So we also joined in with the handing out of tracts and one to one witnessing. Many great conversations were to be had. The one that really stands out to me was during the lunch break. While I was getting some lunch I noticed this old man and his wife, both of them would have 70 + but their age wasn’t what caught my attention, but rather it was the fact they were in Mormon garb. Both of them were missionaries. My first thought was “Sweet, if he is still a missionary at this age he must be a really solid Mormon!” With that in mind I approached him thinking that a good apologetic discussion would follow. However I was soon disappointed, it turns out he just began his mission and he didn’t know Mormon doctrine overly well.
We went back and forth a bit over the nature of salvation and how one can come to know Christ. He maintained that we had to work, and I pointed him to the Bible which said we had to trust in Christ alone. Then he managed to jump onto the fact that there are many gods, so I showed him Isaiah 44:8. At this his wife decided it was time for them to leave, so she took him away. As he left he refused to swap emails to continue the discussion, the man was so deceived by the satanic cult of Mormonism. Please pray for him.
That night we met up with some of the guys from Deeper, the plan was to head out to Georgia Tech to do some evangelism at the football game. When we arrived we began to hand out tracts and Marcus open air preached. The police soon came over and stated that we couldn’t open air preach on public property. We spent some time trying to reason with the officer but he wasn’t interested. He also refused to say what law we were breaking. The interesting thing is he stated that if we continued to preach he would see that we were all arrested. However, after awhile he allowed us to continue ministry on the other side of the road.
When the game ended Heath and I took up positions at the main exit and handed out hundreds of tracts as people left the game. I was expecting to see many on the ground, but was surprised to see only one or two left on the ground. May God use this simple little outreach to save those who would be saved. I also did a quick message to those who were waiting to see the players after the match.
To see me preaching check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J71OE65Zd3g
Friday, 11th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
Well today was the first day of Deeper Conference. It was good to catch up with some old mates and make some new ones. While the whole day was spent in conference we did get to see some evangelism over dinner. While we were eating dinner Cameron Buettel and I were able to get into a conversation with the manager of Chick-fil-a, we told him why we were here and how we are about preaching the Gospel. Then in jest Heath said, “Someone could stand up in here now and preach!” To which the manager replied, “I would have no problems with that.” That shocked us, but now the question arose, should we preach in a crowded fast food restaurant? We didn’t have to wait long for the answer for a person at another table heard the conversation, so she stood up and preached. People who were eating fell silent as they listened to the gospel, everyone seemed to enjoy the message except for one man who began to yell back at the preacher, he claimed no one wanted to hear the message, so I called back to him, “I do, so be quiet!” He quieted down the message continued. It was quite encouraging to see the gospel preached in a public place like this. To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 12th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
Today was the last day of conference, but tonight was “The 500” outreach. The outreach’s goal is to get 500 people on the streets sharing the gospel in one night. This year I was approached to co-lead a team. The team I was assigned were sent to the Four-Corners of Atlanta. This was a good place for one to one, but a bad place for open air. Also, the problem we had was the fact that we had 30+ people in a small zone. But somehow we managed to have a good night of outreach.
I spent most of the night walking around to the different people encouraging them in the outreach and helping them wherever I could. It was great to see so many people out witnessing. At the end of the night we started to walk back to the car, but then we saw a heart breaking scene. Along the road there were many churches and in the door ways of all these churches one could see piles of blankets, but under these blankets were homeless people. I couldn’t help but question why the churches weren’t open and helping these people. The church is in a prime position to minister, yet for some unholy reason the church was not doing its role. Such opportunities to minister, yet no one was prepared to get out of their comfort zone and help those who are down and out. This failure to help the poor is a sinful stain on the church and something must be done. We need to balance our evangelism with social work, they work hand in hand for the glory of God, so get out there and do both!!
Monday, 14th September 2009 - Athens, Georgia
Today was our first day of outreach into the Athens region, it was good for Heath and I to join up with Terry Berg. The plan for the day was to go to the University of Georgia and share the good news. We arrived there at about 9am and immediately we noticed many students hanging around, so we quickly began to hand out tracts.
It soon became clear that we did not have enough tracts for the outreach, anything we had was handed out, then we would scramble to search out packs to see if we had any other gospel tracts. What ever we had people would take and read. It was good to see so many tracts going out and it was even greater to see many of the students stop and read those tracts. During the time of tract work, we were all able to engage in conversations with people. I had this one young lady grill me over theology, she wanted to know what I believed and why I believed it. Always good to open up the Bible and share theology with people who are interested.
After the lunch the heat was getting too much, by now I was dehydrated and in need of a rest, so we headed back to the house to get some rest. It was a great day, many got to hear the gospel. Pray God would save them.
Friday, 18th September 2009 - Charlotte, North Carolina
For the past few days Heath and I had been students at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. It was a great school, we learnt some great skills in regards to evangelism and during the course we were able to make some connections. One of those contacts was with a lecturer at the school, Dr. Alex McFarland.
Alex’s was there lecturing on apologetics and the gospel, this is his area of ministry since he is an apologist and also heads up Southern Evangelical Seminary. After speaking to him at the school he invited both Heath and I down to his seminary to be interviewed on his nation wide radio show. We agreed to the interview on the condition we got to share the gospel. This was quickly agreed to.
The interview went for an hour and it was very enjoyable. At the end of the show I got to present Christ to all the listeners. Praise God for His faithfulness in allowing his Word to go forth.
To listen to the interview check out: http://www.truthtalklive.com/2009/09/18/apologetics-down-under/ (Under video / podcast)
Friday, 25th September 2009 - Columbia, South Carolina
For the past week, I had been confined to barracks due to the fact that I had been running a fever and have been sick. It was great to be in Augusta with the Long family as they made sure I was rested and got better.
Today, I was feeling much better, so I was able to go out on outreach. We joined up with Gary Perez and his team as they drove to Columbia, South Carolina to preach on the campus. The campus didn’t seem very open to the gospel, but we were able to minister to many people via one to ones, tracts and open air preaching. At the end of the day I preached a quick message, while I expounded on the hope that is found only in Christ a man walked past and started to yell out “OBAMA! OBAMA!” I ignored him as I wasn’t making a political speech. After I finished my message the heckler walked past again and this time called me a “---- redneck!” Next thing we know the police were there and we believe he called them on us. It didn’t bother us overly since we had finished the preaching for the day and were heading home.
It was a good day, may God get the glory!
Saturday, 26th September 2009 - Augusta, Georgia
Early start, way to early! It was around 5:30am when we awoke and got ready for the outreach which was due to begin at 7am. The problem was that today was cold and wet, which made it so hard for us to want to get out of bed. But, we managed to somehow get up and make our way to the local DMV for some ministry. The rain actually kept many people away, but still a small few got the hear the gospel.
After the preaching of the morning, we went to the local flea market to set up a booth for another outreach. As before the rain had kept many people away, but God was at work in the heart of at least one man. While I was handing out tracts this one man stopped to talk, it turns out he had never heard of Jesus Christ and what He had done. So I was able to explain the gospel to him and then call him to repentance and faith. He looked at me and then asked, “Can I ask God to forgive me now?” Then and there we bowed our heads and this man confessed his sins to God and begged for the forgiveness of Christ. Praise God for His faithfulness in the saving of souls!
Saturday, 3 October, 2009
The city was very busy this evening and so I expected that it might be an interesting night. After praying and reading the Bible, we made our way to Queen St Mall at 9pm to begin our evening of witnessing. After the Bible table was set up, Andrew got up to preach. Wayne (one of the friendly atheist debaters) was in again this weekend and started discussing with Andrew in the open air trying to prove his worldview.
A group of people stopped to listen to the discussion taking place. This brought with it more hecklers and a crowd of about 50 people quickly gathered. Most of the hecklers were arguing an atheistic worldview, and so Andrew presented a number of reasons about why the Christian worldview is the true one. He then went on to explain the dire predicament that mankind is in because of their sin, that we don't naturally deserve Heaven, instead we deserve God's punishment in Hell. This then lead onto the proclamation of the news of the cross; Jesus died to pay the punishment for all the sins of those who would repent and trust in Jesus' death alone for their salvation.
At one point, a group of 'Christians' came and started heckling Andrew, saying that people don't need to hear about sin or the atonement. They just said people only need to know that God loves them. Andrew tried reasoning with them from the Scriptures, but they were not interested. They were trying to talk to the non-Christians who were heckling to tell them that they are not sinners. At this point, Andrew called them out and rebuked them. Thankfully, soon after, they left.
There was also a point at which one young girl (possibly drunk) got outraged when Andrew was going through the 10 Commandments with her when she recognised she was a sinner, that she went up to him and rubbed the soft-serve ice-cream that she was eating all over his face. It seems the devil will try anything to stop the Christian gospel getting out, however all that did was simply attract a larger crowd.
After Andrew had been preaching for about an hour and a half with constant large crowds, his voice was beginning to strain, so he tagged me in to preach and I started dealing with the hecklers that were still very vocal. After addressing many of the people's questions and proclaiming the gospel many times, I finished up preaching.
Here are some photos from the night:
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 3 October, 2009
After arriving at the coast, I read a couple chapters in the Bible and then starting handing out gospel tracts. Dave, a mate whom I have been evangelising with before was up at the Gold Coast with his wife for a few days and was able to join me today.
After a short amount of time, I was in a witnessing encounter with a Jehovah's Witness. He was an older gentleman, but was not really interested in hearing what the Bible had to say. He asked for me to prove the trinity from the Bible, so I pointed to verses like John 1:1, John 8:58, etc. and he simply responded by saying that he thinks I'm taking all those verses out of context. His argument mainly consisted of: The word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible, therefore the Bible does not teach the trinity -- obviously a fallacious argument.
He also tried to redefine what 'trinity' means, by saying that it means God is three in persons and one in persons at the same time. With the straw man view of the trinity that he presented, he then tried pointing to John 14:28 where Jesus says that the Father is greater than He is. So I corrected him repeatedly about the incorrect definition he gave of the trinity. I said that it actually means: Three in persons, one in being - but he wasn't even willing to concede that point. And so with the correct definition of the trinity, that verse does not at all go against it.
He then resorted to pulling out some Watchtower material and said: "See! It says in this pamphlet that the trinity is not in the Bible". So I responded by saying that the Watchtower organisation is not on the same level as Scripture, in fact it's an organisation that has beliefs so contrary to Scripture that it makes them unable to even be called 'Christian'.
At this point in time, a kind gentleman came over and said, "I heard you preaching on Sunday, I'm a Christian on holidays from Melbourne, here is a cool drink for you." It is really cool how God provides these sorts of encouragements along the way. The Jehovah's Witness then left.
I didn't preach at all today because the council had put about 15 bins grouped together around the spot where I usually preach, for no seemingly-obvious reason. However, I did have a great conversation with a guy named Duncan. He grew up in Sydney and had recently moved to the Gold Coast to study advertising at Bond University. He had been to Church a number of times in the past, however he was very confused about the whole thing, and his mother is into witchcraft. So I was able to witness to him and share the wonderful news about Christ dying on the cross for all our sins if we trust that He has done that for us and repent. I made sure that this fellow understood the gospel properly and after sharing with him the hard costs of following Jesus, he made a profession of faith. I chatted with him for almost an hour, please keep this guy in prayer.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
Saturday, 26 September, 2009
As I was drawing near to the city, I noticed that there was again lots of dust in the air, similar to what we had just days earlier that was reported on the news. I knew that this would keep a number of people away from the city and so I expected a quiet night. But we had actually rather large team tonight with a few new team members. One of the new members was a guy called Paul Ross. He had written a book on the case against scepticism, and so I knew that he would be great value on the apologetical side of things.
After having a brief witnessing encounter with some people who were at the spot we normally meet at, we prayed, read a bit from the Bible and had great fellowship. At 9pm we made our way to Queen Street Mall and starting set-up the 'Free Bibles' table. The dust was very thick, but it was a little better in Queen Street Mall, but it did certainty make things a bit quieter in the mall.
Blake, Jeremy and I all took turns preaching, however because of the dust, there were no real hecklers and only a small number of people stopped to listen to the message that was being preached.
However, Alex (our regular agnostic heckler friend - although he claims to be an atheist) was in again. He had a rather long conversation with Paul Ross and had to concede a number of points. Alex admitted that he doesn't know for sure that God does not exist, even though he is the leader of the Brisbane Atheist group, and 'atheist' by definition is one who says there is no God. Paul said the conversation was beneficial and he hopes to continue to discuss with him further at a later stage. Please keep Alex in prayer. It's been over two years since we first met him and he has been coming into the city just to heckle us for nearly every week for that entire duration, so he knows the gospel but clearly hates it. Please pray that God will soften his heart and he might come to the knowledge of the truth.
Throughout the night, our larger-than-normal team was faithfully handing out gospel tracts to all those that were passing by and through the tracts, many one2one encounters started. Please pray that God may grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts tonight (1 Cor 3:7).
The only photos we have of tonight were taken right at the end of the night, as Peter Webber, our normal photographer, has been away for the past few weeks. Here they are:
To God be the glory!
PS: If you live nearby or are in the Brisbane area for a week, you are more than welcome to be part of this outreach. We meet in King George Square at 7:30pm for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Then we head to Queen Street Mall at 9pm and evangelise there till midnight.
Saturday, 26 September, 2009
I was joined by Rick, Glenda and Chris today at the Gold Coast. It was Chris' first time out on the streets with us, and she was very excited to be part of the team. After praying together, we started handing out tracts to everyone going past us.
I then got up to preach and after not long, there were a number of hecklers. Many were asking how can I believe in God. So I responded by pointing out that creation is absolute proof of the God, for we know that things don't come into being without a cause, and since the universe had a beginning, the universe must have had a cause as well. And that is what we define as God; God is the creator of the universe. A number of them understood this point and eventually agreed. By this time, a crowd of at least 50 people had gathered to listen to the discussion taking place.
I then had one young guy ask a number of questions that he had been pondering for a while, the first one being about how can an all-powerful God let suffering occur. After I responded to that question, he then asked about homosexuality. So I responded by saying that the Bible says any sort of sex outside of marriage is sin, heterosexual or homosexual. He then mentioned that he was a homosexual. So I explained that homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. Anybody can be forgiven of whatever they have done in life if they acknowledge firstly that they don't deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's punishment in Hell. Then they trust that Jesus came 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for all their sins. If they do truly have that faith, they will also repent - that is, hate sin and start turning from it.
At this point in time, a police officer came up and stood in the crowd and listened. I was hoping that he wouldn't stop us preaching. Rick later told me that someone had gone up to the officer while he was standing in the crowd and asked whether we had a permit to preach. But after a few minutes, the officer just walked away without touching us. Praise God! That was an answer to prayer, for as soon as he started walking away, I knew that the other members on the team would have been praying that the police officer wouldn't make us stop. And I found out later they were. God is so good! :)
After about an hour of preaching, I got down from the preaching spot and started chatting with those who had been listening and then had come up to me afterwards. At this point in time, the young guy who had asked a lot of the questions wanted to speak with me but I was in a conversation with some other people. So Glenda had conversation with him for about half an hour and was able to answer a lot of his questions.
After having a bite to eat, we returned to the esplanade and Rick got up to preach. The same young guy returned and asked Rick some more questions that he wanted to know the answers to. Rick was able to answer them and share the gospel with him again. Please pray that God will convert this young man.
To God be the glory for another great day of outreach!
Saturday, 19 September, 2009
When I arrived at the city at 7:30pm, Warren was already at the meeting place. He then handed me two pamphlets that he had been given by some people standing outside of City Hall. I then had a brief read of the tracts and noticed on them that it said, "One must be baptised by full-immersion in order to be saved." So I went up to them and had a conversation with them about this erroneous doctrine of salvation by works. I asked them what Biblical support they have for requiring a person to be baptised to be saved. They tried pointing to Mark 16:16, where it says "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." So I pointed out to them that verses 9-16 are most likely not in the original manuscript of Mark as they are not in the earliest manuscript copies we have today. And secondly, the second part of that verse would indicate baptism is not a requirement: "but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
They then tried pointing to Peter's exhortation on the Day of Pentecost where he said, "Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38). I reminded them that any doctrine that we believe in shouldn't just be based off a single verse. They agreed with this, and so I asked them what other support do you have to support your idea that one must be baptised to be saved? They didn't have any. So I laid a case from the Bible where it talks time and time again about salvation being only by God's grace through faith and not of works. So even from the outset, since the rest of Scripture disagrees with Acts 2:38, the surface level interpretation of that verse must be incorrect. But if you look at the Greek, you'll find that that verse does not actually indicate salvation by water baptism (this is due to the shift from second person plural when mentioning repentance, to third person singular when mentioning baptism, back to second person plural again when mentioning the forgiveness of sins. Thus indicating that this verse is not saying that baptism is what makes a person have their sins forgiven).
At this point, one of the gentlemen that I was talking to conceded, "Well I don't believe someone needs to be baptised to be saved." But the other person rebutted what he was saying, by saying that it is still required.
They then went on to mention that speaking in tongues is also a requirement for salvation. For they said, that is the fool-proof way we can know someone has the Holy Spirit. So I asked, "Is it not easy to fake tongues? In fact, I know many atheists who have spoke in tongues, but clearly they do not have the Holy Spirit." I then turned to 1 Corinthians 12:30 where it says: "Do all speak with tongues?" - implying the answer no, the Greek makes this abundantly clear (question starts with: μὴ "no").
After talking with them for about an hour and a half, they finally resorted to saying, "I agree our beliefs are not Scriptural, but they are based on our experience and you can have this experience too..." The 'church' holding the rallies was 'The Revival Centre International', it's clearly a cult. So if you ever run into any one from that 'church', witness to them, they need the gospel.
At 9pm we started setting up the Bible table at our usual location in Queen Street Mall. Then Andrew and myself took turns having a preach, and a number of people listened and asked questions.
Reece Freeman also had a turn preaching. He had never done preaching in the open air before and was hesitant to do it at first, but he managed to muster up the courage to do it. He did very well, speaking of the reality of death, the coming judgment, our sin and the news of the cross. He pleaded with people to repent and trust in Christ's death alone for their salvation.
Many one2one conversations were also had this evening by all the members of the team. Often those that don't preach in the open-air don't get a mention in the report, but we have a number of faithful men and women who attend each week to witness to people one-on-one and hand out tracts. In fact, this evening, a father came with his son, Steven, to witness. His son is only twelve years old, and yet was very enthusiastic to hand out tracts throughout the night. He would make sure everyone walking up and down the mall got their hands on the tracts he was handing out. In fact, even by the end of the night when everyone was leaving, he wished he could stay to keep on doing it. Praise God for keenness of this young boy and the faithfulness of all the team members. Thank you each one of you for being part of the team.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
Saturday, 19 September, 2009
As I made my way down to the Gold Coast, I knew it would be busy at Surfers Paradise. For today was the start of school holidays, so this is when lots of people take the liberty to get away from home and go to the beach. Unfortunately, everyone else who usually takes part on the team was busy today and couldn't make it. Nevertheless, the gospel still needed to go out, and so I went.
So I stocked myself up with gospel tracts and when I arrived, I started handing out the gospel tracts I had. It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but after having a conversation with two young adults who were very proud of their sinful lifestyle and so did not want to trust in Christ, that really showed me the true depravity of man and that they really need the gospel, and so spurred me on to be more bold in sharing the gospel.
I had a chat with a fellow, aged around his thirties, I noticed he was holding a book about crop circles and other mystical things. So I struck up a conversation with him, asking him where he thinks he'll spend eternity. He then proceeded to talk about how he accepts Jesus, but not the Bible. When I asked him how then we know about Jesus, he said that it's simply through mystical means. He thought that we all came from aliens and that the Bible came from them as well. I managed to share the gospel with him, however he was very hard-hearted and said that he didn't need the salvation of Jesus. Please pray for this man as he is cleverly deceived by some sort of paganism.
After talking with some more people and handing out lots of tracts, I got up to preach. I preached about how people love holidays, a time to get away and relax. However, holidays are also a time when many people ignore God and ignore the most important question in life, that is, "Where will they spend eternity?" But you see, more people die on the roads during holiday periods than when people are not on holidays. That is why it is crucial to think where you are going to go after you die, even though you may be holidays. I then proceeded to share about the sinfulness of man, the coming judgment and the great news of the cross.
By this stage, a crowd of about 75 had gathered and there were a number of hecklers. One of the most vocal hecklers was objecting to the exclusivity of Christ; he did not seem to understand how Jesus could say that He is the only way. So I explained the difference between the two different religions in the world (for there are only two), the religion of 'do' and the religion of 'done'. In the category of 'do' is every other religion besides Christianity, for they say you get to Heaven by doing a certain amount of good things. However we know that no just judge could let a criminal go simply because he may have done a certain amount of good things in his life. Thus every other religion's gods must be unjust, yet all say their god is just. However, that is contradiction, therefore meaning that their religions are not true all the time.
I then explained that in the category of 'done' is Christianity alone. For we cannot do anything to get to Heaven. Instead, God provides the way of salvation by the death of Jesus paying for all our sins. So we simply need to trust that He has done that for us to be forgiven. And if someone has that trust in Jesus, they will also repent of their sins.
There were many other questions presented by all those that heckled, but most importantly, the gospel was preached. And so for that, I say: To God be the glory!!
Saturday, 12 September, 2009
Tonight was Riverfire, the busiest night of the year in Brisbane city. Riverfire is basically half an hour of fireworks and a few planes flying over. We knew that people would be arriving in the city very early in the afternoon to get the best viewing spots, so we decided to start the outreach at 3pm. Warren and I got there at that time and started handing out tracts. There was already such a large amount of flow-through of traffic of people crossing the Brisbane River via the Victoria Bridge, that within an hour we had handed out at least a thousand tracts.
As the afternoon went on, they closed off the Victoria Bridge for cars, so that more pedestrians could cross the river. By this time, 5 or so other people had arrived to hand out tracts as well with me. And thankfully, they brought a box load of tracts to hand out, for there were by this time stacks of people about.
By the time 7:00pm rolled around, the fireworks started and Victoria Bridge was lined with people. We used this opportunity to have a bite to eat, and then we returned to our where we were once the fireworks ended. Once 7:30pm came, thousands of people were pouring across the Victoria Bridge to the city. So we all spread out, making sure we got a tract in the hands of most people going past us. We continued doing this till about 8:30pm, at which point we actually ran out of tracts. We had handed out over 10,000 tracts in just a few hours. But the outreach was not over yet, we still had over 3 hours to go.
After restocking with more tracts, we set-up the free Bibles table in our usual location in Queen St Mall at 9pm. I then got up to preach and almost immediately there were hecklers. I went through the 'Good person test' with a number of the hecklers in order to show them that they too don't actually deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's wrath in Hell. This lead onto the good news of Christ and His wonderful plan of salvation by dying on the cross to satisfy God's wrath in our place.
Andrew also had a preach and large crowds gathered as he preached of the great news of the gospel. Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, also returned and dialogued with Andrew for quite a while. Photos below:
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
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