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Saturday, 14 May, 2011
On Saturday night (14th May 2011), we were having our usual outreach in Brisbane city. While I was preaching, a few young blokes who had been listening to my message for a bit decided that one of them should plank beside me.
Planking is a recent fad in Australia which involves simply laying down very flat in a random location and then getting a mate to take a photo of it. It has recently gained lots of popularity, and even has been featured on news programs on television where some of the hosts 'planked' as well.
Well on Saturday night, a group of young guys planked beside me while I was preaching. I was at the time speaking about how life is so short and the reality that tonight could be any one of our last nights. For no one is guaranteed 100 years to live on this Earth.
I didn't think much about the planking incident from that point on until I received a phone call from a friend the next day. He was watching the news and he told me that very early Sunday morning a 20-year old man had been planking on the railing of his 7-storey building very near the Brisbane CBD and had fallen off and died. The news report mentioned that this man had been planking in Brisbane city with mates that night.
It struck me, that the young man who planked beside me was very likely the same man who fell off the 7-storey building to his death just hours later. My words about this possibly being our last night alive rang true for him. It is sad to hear of his death, but at the same time it should make us think about our own human mortality too.
The young man who died didn't expect to die that evening, but he did. And you may not expect to die until a very long time away, but the reality is that you could die at any moment. I hope that makes you recognise you should start thinking about what comes after death.
The Bible speaks about everyone having to give an account of how they have lived after they die. How would you do? The Bible says that God's standards to get to Heaven is perfection. But you'd have to agree that none of us have lived perfectly in our lives. For as soon as we tell a lie, steal something, use God's name in vain, or get drunk we tarnish our record. And the Bible says that what we deserve for our sins is eternity in Hell.
But the good news is this, that even though we don't deserve to go to Heaven (we haven't lived perfectly), God sent Jesus to this Earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross. His death on the cross provides forgiveness of sins; for Jesus on the cross takes all the punishment that we deserve in Hell. Jesus then rose from the dead three days after he died.
Jesus will only take the punishment for you if you do two things:
- Trust that all your sins are forgiven only because Jesus has paid the punishment for all your sins when He died on the cross.
- Repent - instead of loving to sin, you hate to sin and therefore start turning from it.
I hope you do that today if you haven't already, for today could be your last day.
Sunday, 24 April, 2011
The Redlands Easter Festival is an event put on by a large group of Churches in Redland City. The organisers were expecting about 10,000 people to turn up, so we thought it was a great idea to share the gospel there to all those attending. So there were about twelve of us who turned up and after arriving at the festival, we went to sign in at the volunteer’s booth.
Operation 513 had set aside 2,500 Good Aussie gospel tracts for free use at this event. The organisers wanted us to hand out this tract because the theme of the festival this year was the Christian heritage of Australia. So the Good Aussie card suited very well.
The event did seem a little bit smaller than previous years, but there were still stacks of people there. So after signing in, we dispersed ourselves around the showgrounds handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations with people. During Easter time, it is really easy to hand out gospel tracts, for you simply need to say “Happy Easter” and then hold out the gospel tract to them and almost always the person will take it.
After a few hours, the proportion of people who had received a gospel tract was definitely increasing and so it was becoming a more common thing to hear from people that they already had one. But I found that this was a perfect opportunity to ask them whether they had read it. If they said yes, I could then ask them what they thought of it. If they said no, I would say, “Well it asks you on the back, ‘If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven?’ What do you think?” And that would lead into a gospel conversation.
The usual response to the question of whether the person I was speaking to thought they were going to Heaven was ‘Yes’, for they thought they were good people. People by nature love speaking about how good they are, but the Bible clearly says that no one is good in God’s sight (Rom. 3:10-12). So in order to show people that they are actually sinners in need of forgiveness, I used the method that the Apostle Paul used, I showed them God’s law and how they fared compared to it. “...through the law comes knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20.
The way I showed them God’s law was by, asking them how good they were, whether they had ever told a lie, ever stolen something, or ever used God’s name in vain. Everyone has committed basically all these laws, and so people usually won’t have a problem admitting that. I would then ask, “Well if those things are some of the standards in which God will judge you after you die, do you think you would innocent or guilty?” They’ll usually say ‘Guilty’. So I ask, “Therefore, do you deserve to go to Heaven or Hell?” This makes most people realise that they are in a very bad situation deserving of Hell, and so then I can talk about the good news of forgiveness.
Since it was an Easter festival, I could then ask them about what Easter is about. A great deal of people I spoke to actually had no idea what Easter is about. Some said, “Yeah I’ve always wondered what Good Friday is, other than being a public holiday.” I then shared about Jesus dying on the cross, taking the punishment that we deserve in Hell for our sins. But a person needs trust in Jesus’ death alone for their forgiveness (meaning, not a person’s good works or own goodness) and repent (hate sin and start turning from it), in order to be forgiven. I then shared the meaning of Easter Sunday – that Jesus rose from the dead three after he died.
In the evening, there was an AOG preacher on the main stage that was supposed to give the gospel talk. He started off on John 3:16 and talking about how popular it is to wear shirts that say John 3:16, but he suggested that many people don’t know what the verse says or means. So he read it out. But then he decided to focus on the ‘so loved’ part of the verse. He interpreted ‘so loved’ to mean ‘God loves you soooo much’ in the modern sense of using the word ‘so’. However, that is not what ‘so loved’ means. Instead it actually means ‘loved thusly’ or ‘loved in this way’. The ‘so loved’ in John 3:16 does not mean that God has such a great amount of love for the world, it is rather that God loved the world in this way that He sent His one and only Son... (you can even check it in the Greek - οὕτως)
So the whole main point of his message was completely faulty. He then spoke about how everyone has a desire to come to God. Where does the Bible say that? The Bible says otherwise, in that “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10). He then proceeded to have an altar call, calling people to come to the front and come back to God.
But at no time in his message had he spoken about sin or the fact that we deserve punishment for our sin. Neither did he even speak about Heaven or repentance or that salvation is by grace through faith. He had simply talked about the sheer amount of love God has for everyone and that’s why a person should come back to God. So I knew that basically anyone coming forward could simply not be genuine, since the gospel had not been preached.
There were about 15 people who came forward, and there were a few counsellors going up to them giving them things. So Lindsay and I went to the front and got into a few conversations with a number of those came to the front and shared the gospel with them.
One conversation I had was with I think one of the counsellors, he said he had been saved 8 months. I asked him why he is going to Heaven. He said it is because he has changed his life and is not doing as much sin anymore. But I pointed out to him that changing your life doesn’t forgive your sin, because even if you never sinned again, you still would have the past history of all your sin that God cannot simply overlook. He understood this and said, “Yeah that’s true, I don’t know how I’m going to get forgiveness then.” So I shared the message of Christ’s death on the cross taking the wrath of God that we deserve for our sins if we repent and believe, and it was like something clicked in his mind. He said, “That makes sense, it’s because of Jesus death that I can be forgiven.” He was very appreciative of the chat; I pray that he is genuine.
During this, fireworks began going off, which marked the close of the festival. After they finished the rest of the team made sure to hand out tracts to everyone leaving, while I continued to have chats with those who came to the front.
The festival was good overall in the sense that it was good opportunity to witness to lots of people, both professing non-Christians and also those who attend Church but don’t truly believe. But the ‘gospel’ presentation given by the AOG pastor, Steve Kennedy was absolutely atrocious. The organisers need to seriously rethink who they get to give the gospel talk. The preacher they had last year was actually quite decent. I am not sure why they would scrape so low this year.
Please pray for the thousands of people who received gospel tracts that they would read them and that God would grant these people repentance and faith.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 18 March, 2011
On Friday night the team was out once more to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the people of London. We were about 10 strong and it was a joy to see a few new faces as well.
I stepped up to preach first and it wasn’t long before some conversations took place as a result. During my message I called people to recognise the God that had given them life, to see that our existence is not random and chance oriented, but that we have been created by an awesome God, a God to whom we owe our worship and obedience. We planned to have James step up to preach after me with a short gap in between.
I had the opportunity to talk with a group of tourists from France. Their English was very limited so I used the GM28 app on my iPhone. If you’ve never heard of this app it’s basically a witnessing tool that presents the Gospel in a number of different languages. You can see a video and learn more about the app by clicking on this link: http://www.thegm28.com. It was difficult to tell how much of an impact the Gospel had on them but they seemed to respond well to what they read on my phone. The seed of the Gospel had been sown and although we do not know how the Lord will use that seed it’s important to use every opportunity we have to reach this world for Christ.
We also had some boards with us that start with the question: “Ask me....” These are great for getting into conversation with people. They’re a little different from approaching someone with a tract to start a conversation, but they definitely have their advantages. A person’s defences will be down if they decide to approach you, for example. The boards were a great success during the night. “Ask me what happens when we die” is definitely my favourite.
I spent some time talking with Michael, someone we have all come to know and talk with at some point for quite some time now. Michael professes to be an atheist, but not in a casual sense, he is very much a product of the militant atheistic drive that has been pushing for some years now. There are times when he can be very disruptive and unsettling, however I have built a relationship with him over time to the point where he will at least listen to what I am saying. I’m very encouraged by that.
James preached a little later and I can’t help but marvel at how well he has come on these last few weeks. He has a firm grasp of what he wants to say and he presents the Gospel clearly and boldly. It’s such an encouragement to see. Please pray the Lord continues to use him.
It was wonderful to be used of God to make His name known.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 11 March, 2011
This week when we arrived to Cavill Mall, both of our locations were taken. So we decided to pray and move outside the mall to preach. That was interrupted by a busker who decided to start setting up his amplifier right next to us. Rather than cause a conflict, we decided to move back to the mall, but both locations were still occupied. It had been this way for an hour and a quarter already. Soon after, one of the locations cleared up and so we started preaching there.
John was the first person to preach there and he did a great job proclaiming the predicament that all of humanity is in, and that is we are deserving of Hell forever because of our sin. He then went on to explaining the cross – that if a person repents and trusts in Jesus, they will be forgiven. After John preached, Ryan got up to preach.
While he was preaching, a person from the Coffee Club came up to asking us to turn the volume of the amp down. So we decided to turn the volume down on it a third and even face the speaker completely away from the coffee shop.
But minutes later the police arrived because that shop complained and they told us we have to move to our other spot, and that we are not allowed to continue preaching here, even though we have a permit for this location. The police officers were not reasonable and were saying that a person shouldn’t have to hear our message if they don’t want to. I pointed out that we are compelling no one to stand here and listen to us.
At this point, I was just holding a camera in my hand and they really didn’t like it. They said we’re not allowed to use the footage for anything. I asked them what law says that. They said, “Look it up.” The reality is this, that if a person is in public, he can record with his camera as much as he wants and do anything with the footage. Another one of the police officers then said that they will now start seizing the cameras off us. That is theft. The only legal time a police officer could do that is if the officer reasonably suspects that the camera is evidence of the commission of an offence.
We decided to move to the other location, even though the police had no right to tell us to move, but we did so under duress. We started preaching at the other location and the police just stayed nearby for the next hour. At one point, the police signalled to myself and Ryan to go towards him. He then said to go with him with the camera. The police officer said, “Bring the camera because I will want this on camera when I seize the camera from you”. So at this point, I refused to go with him. Ryan went with him and the police said to him that we could still be heard at the local shops. Ryan pointed out that the busker that was playing was incredibly louder than we were, moreover, being able to hear a busker or preacher at a local shop does not mean we are too loud.
It was clear that for at least one of the police officers, the problem they had with the preaching was the message. They did not like hearing about sin or about Jesus. The police think that they can do things that they have no right to do. We were gathered lawfully for the preaching and they told us to move. So we have since charged one of these police officer’s with disturbing religious worship under the Criminal Code. Hopefully this will send a message to the Queensland Police Service that they should only act how they are legally allowed to act.
Despite all the events that took place, the gospel was preached and God was glorified.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 25 February, 2011
This week we had a new amplifier, which was donated to us from the Corneloup family in Adelaide. We knew this amp would be much better than the one we had last week. So after praying together, we moved to our preaching spots. The one near the end of the mall was occupied by a busker, so we decided to use the other one. Preaching using the amplifier is especially good for those who ordinarily preach quite softly. Even they could be heard quite a distance away.
At one point, a person came up to me saying that they would like to use the spot we were at to do a circus show. I said we’d move only if the other spot we have been allocated is available. He came back reporting to us that the other spot is available and so we started moving down there.
When we arrived at the other spot, there was a busker there still with his stuff set up. He was the one he had been there all night. I spoke to him saying that he can’t stay there all night, for under their permit conditions they can only be in the one spot for 45 minutes. He argued that there were no other available spots, so he decided to stay there. I made a deal with him that we could have about half an hour of preaching here, and then he can resume doing his show there. He agreed.
Jeremy got up preaching first (without the amp). Another busker (who does not like Christianity) saw us preaching and became enraged that we were preaching there, for he claimed that was a usual busking spot. He didn’t believe us that we had been given a permit from the council to preach there. So he decided to call the police.
By the time the police arrived, I was preaching and they went over to speak to the angry busker. Then the police (four of them) came over and spoke to me. They said that we had to turn our amplifier off because they claimed that someone at a nearby coffee shop left the coffee shop because they didn’t want to listen to our preaching. I mentioned to them that our permit allows us to use an amplifier. They asked to see the permit, I replied, “Ok, but what is your name first?” The police officer that was speaking to me refused to give me her name and purposely covered up her name badge so I couldn’t see it. She then said that the council local law officers are just minutes away so they’ll just wait for them.
Once the council arrived, they had a chat to the police and then came over to us. They said to turn our amplifier down a bit because of a condition on our permit is that noise cannot unnecessarily go to nearby shops. We said that we’d comply, but we’re not going to turn our amp off as the police said we had to. The police then denied they ever said that. They were clearly lying. The police are supposed to uphold justice, how can they do that if they lie about what they said?
We continued preaching, but then the busker who doesn’t like Christianity started setting up his amp right opposite us in the mall and playing his music really loud. He was basically drowning us out, so we had to move to our other location, which was available again.
The rest of the team had lots of good conversations and handed out lots of gospel tracts.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 11 March, 2011
“You can’t preach here, this is my spot.”
These were the words of a young man who frequents Leicester Square and preaches a message that sadly is not the Gospel. We had arrived at our normal time and headed to our new spot to set up to minister God’s Word. Unfortunately there was a jazz band of sorts not far from us and so it was going to be quite difficult to make ourselves heard. We decided to move further down into the square to find a spot that would be better for us.
We found an area that I believed could work and got ready to begin. Less than a minute later the young man I just mentioned showed up next to me and asked if he could join us and preach with us. I have heard him preach before and so I had to make a decision. My answer was not the answer he wanted to hear. In a matter of seconds his countenance changed and he became very unfriendly to say the least. It was at that point that he told us we were in his spot. I objected and he left, but very shortly after he returned to set up very close to where we were. I had another decision to make. To be associated with him, in my opinion, was not good and so we headed back to where we had been last week, hoping that the band had finished playing. I was sad and somewhat unnerved by what had just happened, but it’s so important that the truth of God’s Word is proclaimed and that we do not associate with a false Gospel (Galatians 1:8-9). Please pray for the young man who opposed us and please pray the Lord would arrest his heart with the truth.
I stood up to preach and proclaimed the truth of the Gospel from God’s Word. A few stopped to listen and I was encouraged to see Bobbie get into a conversation almost immediately with a man who stopped to listen also. After I finished preaching I got talking with a young Muslim man from Bangladesh. He had of cause heard of Jesus, but did not understand why he needed to die on a cross. It was great to talk with him and I was so encouraged when he asked if he could talk with me some more about it sometime. He suggested I add him as a friend on Facebook so I whipped out my iPhone and did just that. I have since sent him an email and hopefully we can continue to chat. Please pray for him.
A little later James stood up to preach and I thought he did a great job. His springboard into the Gospel was excellent. Recently in the FA Premier League a match took place between Manchester United and Wigan. One of the Manchester United players, Wayne Rooney, committed a foul by elbowing a Wigan player. It was a certain red card offence, however the referee did not see it and Wayne Rooney was not dismissed. However, unlike this referee who missed this offence, God does not miss the offences that we make against Him. The Bible says, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecc. 12:14) The Bible also says that God, “...will by no means clear the guilty.” (Ex. 34:7) God is a gracious God, but also a just God, a God that will bring judgment to this world. We want people to hear so that they will flee from the wrath that is to come. We long to see them run to Jesus, for there truly is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Praise God for allowing us keep preaching His Word in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation. Yet we too were once wicked and perverse, and God in His grace saved us. Oh that He would save others also, and may we see revival in this land.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 4 March, 2011
On Friday night the team headed into Leicester Square to proclaim the Gospel. We had a really good size team, there were at least ten of us to begin with and as the evening progressed a few more joined the team.
It was very cold but there were still plenty of people passing through. Unfortunately it has been quite challenging of late as they are doing some major construction project in the centre of the square for the 2012 Olympics, and hence the entire centre portion is blocked off by a large wall. Also, in the area that we have often stood, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream has “hijacked” for their customers (see pic). The question has to be asked: who sits outside in the middle of a freezing cold winter and eats ice-cream? Something tells me they don’t want us standing there. We have a new spot though and although it’s probably not quite as good, the Lord is definitely still using us in Leicester Square.
I stood up first to preach and pleaded with those passing to get right with God. Nothing is more important in this world than our eternal destiny. I appealed to reason and I also warned them of the danger of pride. “God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Believing that we are good enough to reach Heaven one day is utter folly when we examine ourselves in light of God’s holiness and His law. There can be no hiding from the wrath of God that will come upon this world, and to deny the grace of God that can rescue us from His wrath and judgment will ultimately be the greatest folly a person can ever know. After I finished preaching the Lord encouraged us greatly through the ensuing conversations that developed.
Myself and Barney had a challenging conversation with a young group of teenagers. Barney did a great job talking through the Gospel account, beginning with God as supreme creator of the universe, to His creation of the world and all that is on it, and to the pinnacle of His creation, humanity itself. There were a few in the group that sneered and laughed away what they heard, but there were also those who were listening to what was being said. We can take comfort in the fact that God’s Word is powerful to save. It could well be that God uses the Word that was preached to these young people to draw them to Himself in repentance and faith. Please pray for them.
A little later on James stood up to preach. James has joined us just recently and is full of zeal for the Lord and the salvation of the lost. He has a real heart to proclaim God’s Word and did a great job. We were all very blessed by his boldness and faithfulness to God’s Word. I can really see the Lord using him through the preaching of the Gospel.
It was an encouraging evening and one to be very thankful for.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 5 March, 2011
Today, the Essex team went to Romford to join with a number of Christians from surrounding churches to proclaim the Gospel. Roman and I met James, Elvin, Micky and at least six others at Romford train station. We proceeded to the shopping precinct were I preached first and when finished, we all began to hand out tracts. Many conversations were had on the street, I had a number of young guys asking about the million pound notes. This led into discussing the Law and the Gospel!
I also came across a young man named Glen. At first he decided that nothing I was to say meant much to him, but after discussing the Law and repeatedly pressing His conscience it appeared that his mouth was stopped and he found himself guilty before a Holy God. (As we all are out side of Christ!!!)
Roman and I could only stay for a few hours but in that short time period, many people had the Gospel presented to them. May God grant repentance!! Amen.
Friday, 18 February, 2011
Since the permit we have been given from the council allows us to preach in Cavill Mall from 7pm-10pm, tonight we decided that we would aim to arrive at Surfers at 7pm. Usually the team starts at 8pm and goes till 11pm. This proved to be quite difficult for most people on the team, so it was closer to 8pm by the time basically everyone on the team had arrived.
But with those of us that did manage to arrive by about 7pm, we prayed together and got straight into it. The first spot right at the bottom of the Mall was occupied by a busker and so we went to the other spot in the middle of the Mall. Then John started off the preaching. There were lots of people around tonight and therefore the background noise meant that it was very difficult to hear John.
At about 8pm, Jeremy arrived with his small PA system. So we set that up and I stood up on the soapbox and started preaching with it. The PA did amplify my voice, but I found I still had to shout into the microphone for it to really work. One other downside of using a microphone is that people are less likely to heckle, since they know that they don’t have a microphone. But with that said, a guy did come right up to me and I was able to have a discussion with him in the open air, and I was able to put the microphone in front of him when he spoke, so that the audience could hear his responses too.
After I stood down from preaching, Jeremy got up a preached without the microphone. He thought that without it he would be louder. Only a few minutes later, he had quite a number of people asking him questions, focusing on “How can Jesus be the only way?”
At this point, one of the Gold Coast council local law compliance officer’s that was telling us last week that we still can’t hand out gospel tracts on public land said, “You know how we were having that argument last week about the handing out of those things, and well, I was wrong. I sought clarification and it is perfectly fine for anyone to hand out those materials.” Praise God! Now the local law officers shouldn’t bother us anymore!
I then asked him, “So then, doesn’t that throw out the basis for the fines we have received?” He said, “Yeah, well I don’t deal with those. That’s someone else’s responsibility.” This local law officer was one of them that fined us the very first time back in August last year. It was good on him for acknowledging that he was wrong to say that we couldn’t hand out gospel tracts.
Hopefully now the fines will be dropped, because surely they wouldn’t want to bring us to court over them, now that we have had so much correspondence from the council saying that it’s okay to hand out gospel tracts on council land (and that was the very thing we were fined for!).
After Jeremy preached, Blake got up and used the PA and preached the gospel faithfully. During this time, I checked out the other location to see if it was now unoccupied. The other spot is brighter and busier and so is the preferred location. And I found no busker there and so I communicated to Blake that we should move to the other spot and so after a little while he finished up and we all moved to the new location.
At the new location, I decided I would preach again and within minutes there were quite a number of hecklers about me. I ran through some of the 10 Commandments with them, in order to bring the knowledge of sin to their minds, and then I told them about the punishment that God will pour out on people for their sin. This then led onto the great news of the cross – how forgiveness is through Jesus if we are to repent and trust in His sacrifice on the cross as the only reason that we’ll go to Heaven. A lot of the hecklers understood the message but openly admitted that they would rather keep on sinning than come to Christ. It is really sad when I hear that, but yet at the same time, everyone by nature is exactly the same. By nature, we loved our sin more than God, and yet God did not abandon humanity, He sent Jesus to die for the sins of the elect. Praise be to Him!
A crowd of about 50 people gathered around to listen to the preaching and they stayed for quite some time. In fact, once 10pm rolled around there was still a large crowd gathered and most wanted me to continue, but we couldn’t do so at that spot because our permit runs out at 10pm.
After this, the rest of the team got into conversations with the people standing there, and a young bloke came up to me asking me some questions. His name was Liam and he was telling me about his mum and how she has had cancer for two years. He used to be very active in the Church, but since the cancer he has become angry at God and is now living a lifestyle of sin. He was asking why God hasn’t taken the pain away that his mum is experiencing. His whole Church was praying for it too, and so he was shocked that God still hadn’t done it. So I explained to him about the natural consequence of living in this world is that even Christians experience the effects of the Fall, and that is pain and death. I then spoke about how God can do what he wants and is not compelled to heal someone simply because a group of people are praying for that person, and about how God will have a good purpose in letting it continue (even though we don't know what it is). I then spoke about the hope that he can have during this time, that since his mum is a believer, if she does die, it is simply the Lord taking her home.
I then addressed this man’s problem. After asking how someone gets to Heaven, it was clear that this bloke didn’t understand the gospel. So I began sharing it with him – but he didn’t like hearing it. In fact, at one point he said that he just had God tell him that I should stop talking to him and instead I should be sharing the Word with other people. I expressed my doubts to him about that ‘revelation’ that he had just received. The Bible is our source of revelation from God, and the Bible says I am to preach the gospel to everyone – that includes this man, as he did not understand the right way to be saved.
After sharing the gospel with him, he ended the conversation saying that he won’t repent of his sins and trust in Christ. Please pray for him, that God will soften his heart towards the gospel.
There were 22 people on the team tonight. Praise God for each of these people and the zeal He has given them. Lots of gospel tracts were handed out and many wonderful witnessing conversations had.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 11 February, 2011
After the events of last week – with Joshua being arrested – one may find it hard to believe that tonight would be completely opposite to last week. But it was. Just earlier in the day, the Gold Coast City Council finally gave to us a permit to preach in the mall. The permit allows us to use a PA system and covers both Friday and Saturday nights. Praise God for how He works!
The funny thing is that on the permit itself it makes a distinction between material that contains Biblical messages and material classed as business advertising publications. Yet the majority of the fines that we have received from the council have been classed under ‘Business Advertising Publications’, and yet in all those instances where we were fined, it was for handing out gospel tracts – that is, material that contains messages from the Bible!
So it seems absurd that the council would still take us to court for these fines. Yet the latest we have heard from them about it is that they will be. They estimate it will go to court in late March-early April.
The council has recently notified us that they have dropped two of the fines because of incorrect fining. Both of these fines were for preaching. The rest of the fines (compromising almost entirely of fines for handing out gospel tracts) they are still pursuing. They said that after a person elects to have their fine heard in court, it usually takes only about 4-6 weeks before that happens. Our fines were all the way back in August-September last year and yet we are still waiting for them to bring us to court.
I think they won’t actually bring us to court - for the whole reason they did it in the first place, I suspect, was simply to intimidate us – hoping that we would stop our outreaches. That is why they made sure to fine us the maximum amount they could – $375 each. But I could be wrong, they may take us to court and if that happens, it should be an easy win.
This evening I was actually running late, so when I arrived everyone was already witnessing in Cavill Mall. When I arrived, we set up at one of the preaching spots allocated to us and I stood up and preached. We didn’t have an amp with us this week, but hopefully by next week we should.
Next preacher up was Blake, who after only a short while had a bunch of hecklers. This attracted a sizable crowd and so Blake made sure to preach the news about the death and resurrection of Jesus faithfully. While he was preaching, the council local law officers came up to me and they were happy that we finally have a permit. That actually surprised me that they’d react like that.
The permit only goes until 10pm and so as that time was approaching, Blake stood down and we moved to outside the mall. Ryan Francis then got up to preach – he spoke about the need everyone has for the Saviour. For God has appointed a Day of Judgement to come – and the only way to be forgiven of our sins is by trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross and repenting. After this, I then preached again till the end of the evening.
The council local law officers saw us handing out gospel tracts and said that we can't do it. I said that when I met with council this week, they said to hand out gospel tracts is to not break any of their local laws. In fact, they even said preaching anywhere outside the mall is fine too. So we kept doing it and they didn't fine us.
Praise God for His faithfulness and opening up the opportunity for us to preach in the Mall. Ideally, permits shouldn’t be required for that to happen, but regardless thanks be to God for the permit.
While all this preaching was going on, the rest of the team was faithfully witnessing one2one with people and handing out lots of gospel tracts. Please pray that God will grant repentance to all who heard or read the gospel this evening.
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