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Wednesday, 31 December, 2008
Charles Spurgeon said: "I can think of nothing better than for a Christian to celebrate the coming of the new year by preaching to the lost as they are rushing to see the fireworks at Southbank."
Nope, he didn't say that, but he really should have.
It has been a tradition of sorts for the team of Operation 513 to open air preach and celebrate the new years by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The team met up at 9:00 p.m. and were bracing for a long night ahead of us. A good number of people showed up for the special event, we have a rather sizable team of around 15. Everyone was all tracted up and ready to go. In short order the team were pass out tracts to the non-stop stream of people and there were quite a few one on one witnessing happening.
Being a night usually marked by drunkeness and lewdness, the Law was in full enforcement.The boys in blue were patrolling the street in large numbers, (and occasionally posing for photos for the tourists) and also were the council officers. A couple of officers from the city council approached us twenty minutes after our arrival, they were quite happy to see that we have obtained council permit for the night, has a few words about safety and carried on with their duties in Queen Street Mall.
David, Ryan and myself took terms open air, people were very distracted at this point, there were many passer-bys but not many stick around to listen. The people handing out tracts were a lot more fruitful as the constant streams of people meant a lot of tracts went out, and many conversations took place. All went very well without incident as the clock approaches midnight, people were increasing their pace as they make their way towards the river where the fireworks and the count-down takes place.
Ryan was the preacher who had the privilege of closing 2008 out by preaching the Gospel. The Queen street mall is almost empty as people rush to the celebration, almost all of them ignore the preaching as they rush by. However there were a few who aborted their original plans of attending festivity and stopped to listen to the Gospel. Ryan, for example, stepped down from the soap box to witness to someone as the count down was going on, to Ryan and his listener, something more important was taking place than the celebration. There were many more who received the Gospel as the Calendar flipped over to 2009, preaching or receiving the Gospel, I am sure there's no better way to start your year.
After the fireworks is over, we are now getting ready for the crowd to move back from Southbank into the city, only this time, instead of trikleing through the mall like the first half of the night, the crowd now arrive in droves. We had preachers ready again, and the Gospel went out as massive amount of people walk by.
Between Ryan and myself we managed to gather a rather large and hostile crowd. A young man who was a professing Muslim was extremely rude and loud, the crowd caught on his negative behavior and was becoming more and more hostile by the minute. While the young man carried on with much zeal for what he believed in, there were very little reasoning in his arguments. He asserted again and again that according to the Islam Jesus was only a prophet and not God as the Christian teaches, when I confronted his belief system with some very basic "Dr. James White" apologetics, he was unable to give anything that remotely resembles an answer. He just gets louder and ruder as it goes on and eventually the council officers who spoke to us earlier in the night stepped in as in their opinion the situation is our of control.
While I respectfully disagree with their assessment, I choose to take on their suggestion and have the preaching cease for the time being and just have one-on-one witnessing. Well, one-on-many on as most of the team finding themselves addressing multiple persons at a time. It was a very interesting time as I find myself speaking to a group of Muslims, and the young man who had cause much of the aggravation still yelling at the top of his voice when asserting his long defeated arguments. Dan were addressing a very self-righteous non-practicing Catholic and his friends right next to my little gathering with the Muslims men and from the corner of my eye I can see a few people gathered around Ryan, despite the absence of open air the Gospel was still being proclaimed to the crowd. By the end of the night (2:00 a.m.) there were many great witnessing encounters, Gospel tracts went out by the hundreds and it was indeed another great start of the year in Brisbane for Operation513.
I think when I finally got to bed, it was 4:00 a.m. This maybe a year without much sleep, but to God be the Glory.
S. D. G.
Saturday, 27 December, 2008
Since Josh Williamson was away in the UK, Andrew Hsu and I led the Brisbane team. After some prayer and Bible reading, we started setting up in Queen Street Mall at 9pm. It was quiet night in the city, probably because everyone was at home resting after their Christmas celebrations. Although we did have about 10 people on our team, which was pretty good.
Dave Strachan, Andrew, and I took turns preaching and God saw fit to bring in a small crowd to listen at times. But no one heckled us, even when we preached about the atrocity of abortion. Although at about 11:30PM, I got up to preach again and almost immediately I was heckled by a young women who proclaimed that God did not exist. Her argument was that since the first law of thermodynamics states: "Matter cannot be created nor destroyed", therefore, the universe must have always existed. So I pointed out that the first law of thermodynamics does not disprove the possibility that the universe came into being. For when there was no universe, there were no physical laws (such as the laws of thermodynamics). So therefore, the first law of thermodynamics did not hold when the universe did not exist. Only once the universe came into being did it start holding. So therefore, God could create the universe and not break that physical law.
She then back-tracked and said that she never said that God does not exist. Although she did ask what evidence there was for God. So I briefly presented the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Right after this, it started pouring down rain. So we all ran undercover and Andrew and I continued to chat with her for another hour or so.
It was a good night, even though it was quiet, with the gospel going out in Brisbane city.
Saturday, 27 December, 2008
Ryan and I were a team of two today. It was a real privilege to proclaim the gospel to many lost soul's at Surfer's Paradise for the glory of God.
When we arrived, two young men opposite where we parked our car were doing some advertising for a night club. We went over and handed out gospel tracts to them. Ryan began sharing the gospel with them. One of the guys professed to be an Atheist and said that if someone is smart then they believe in science and in evolution. While Ryan was patiently sharing the gospel and answering the many objections that the young man had, his main argument was that he needed proof. He asked, "How can anyone believe in something they can't see?" Ryan answered that even though we did not see World War 2 occurring, we would be right in believing that it occurred, due to the evidence that supports its reality. Similarly, we have not seen Jesus, but there is good evidence backing up the things that He did.
The other young man had been raised in a Christian environment but had given it up when he had grown older. He said that the main reason was that he simply wanted to be himself and have fun and that he could never live up to all the rules of Christianity anyway. As Ryan reasoned with him and shared the gospel, he raised a number of objections which he felt quite strongly about. One was that (according to him) there is no way that God could save someone who sinned all their life and got saved on their deathbed. He said that a person who does many good things for God all their life should definitely get into heaven regardless of whether they believe the gospel. He also objected that we all really believe in the same God anyway. Ryan answered these questions succinctly and effectively, keeping the focus on the gospel. The second young man softened after a while. He even admitted that he was convinced that evolution is absurd, even though he had a degree in Zoology (much to his friend's displeasure it seemed).
We then left the two blokes and handed out lots of gospel tracts as we walked to our usual preaching spot.
When we arrived we spent some time praying. I then set the camera up and Ryan began preaching. Ryan soon had a crowd when some guys who were drinking and chilling on the beach together came over to listen. Ryan interacted with them for quite a while, answering their objections and proclaiming the gospel to them.
At the end of his preaching, Ryan encouraged people to pick up a bible and read it for themselves. He then thanked those listening and got down. Then when I was about to get up to preach, a policewoman and two Policemen came over and told us to move along. Apparently some people were offended at the message we were preaching. Seeing as though that is not a real law they can get us on, Ryan asked, "So if we can get moved along because someone was offended at us, can I not say: 'I am offended at all the scantily clothed women around here, so will you move them along as well?'" One of the officers replied, "Don't come to the Gold Coast if you don't want to see them." By the same token, could I not say: 'if someone doesn't want to hear preaching, they shouldn't come to the Gold Coast'? The officers saw their double standard and didn't want to continue chatting about it. One of the police officers asked, "Why do you do this, seeing as you're so young? If I was your age, I would be partying." We briefly explained our motivations and gave them gospel tracts.
Praise God for the Gospel which is 'the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes' (Romans 1:16).
Thursday, 25 December, 2008
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
After months of planning and a lot of prayer the time had finally arrived for me to fly out to the United Kingdom. As I packed my bags and as I prepared to leave, there was a sense of sadness as I knew that I would be away for a couple of months. Which is something I am not overly keen on, however, my comfort and desires come second to that of preaching the gospel.
As I checked in for my flight I was delighted to find out that my flight was half empty, which meant that I would get to have a whole row to myself, which would make it easier for me to get some sleep. While waiting for departure I walked around Brisbane airport handing out a few tracts and wishing my fellow travellers a Happy Christmas, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to engage in any one to one conversations, but nevertheless I was still happy that people were taking gospel tracts.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Singapore
After a seven and a half hour flight we landed at Singapore airport, upon arrival we were told that we had forty-five minutes in which to stretch out legs before departing. As I walked out into the airport I was struck by how many Christmas decorations there were those who worked at the airport were extremely friendly and walked around greeting everyone with "Merry Christmas". This friendliness provided me with great opportunities to hand out tracts to all the security, police and cleaners at the airport. It was a real blessing to see all these people reading about the true message of Christmas on Christmas Day.
After forty-five minutes of handing out tracts I re-boarded my aircraft, I was once again disappointed that I didn't have a chance to get into any one to one conversations. As I sat down in my seat I prayed, "Lord, please let me get into a conversation about you. Amen." Then, within seconds of praying that prayer the young man who had been sitting behind me on the flight from Brisbane tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had gotten any sleep. I replied that I hadn't slept as yet, but was planning to sleep during the next leg of the flight. We chatted for a few minutes about general things, it turned out that this young man was going home to Bahrain to surprise his family for Christmas. He had been studying in Australia at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and now had finally gotten some time to go home. As we sat on the tarmac in Singapore I began to swing the conversation around to the spiritual realm. I found out the young man I was talking to was a Muslim, and that he was still very strict in his submission to the teachings of Islam.
Achmed told me about how in Islam he has to do the five pillars in order for Allah to consider him for Paradise. This was quite interesting, so I asked him about how did he know if he had done enough good in order to merit Paradise, he replied that he didn't know, but rather he had to trust that Allah was merciful. This then led me into a discussion about how a Just Judge must punish wrongdoing, and how no matter what we do we can not ever do enough good deeds to outweigh our bad. Achmed agreed with me, but then stated that he wasn't that bad, so he didn't have too much to worry about. This statement didn't surprise me, as it is very common for people to think that they aren't overly bad. In order to show Achmed that he was indeed a sinner in the sight of God I took him to the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. And as we sat in the aircraft that was preparing for take off I should him from the Law of God that he was a sinner. Achmed's mouth was stopped, he had nothing to say, he realized that his sin demanded punishment, and he realized that a Just Judge would never let him go free. Then, I spoke about how as a Christian I know that my sins are forgiven, and how I am assured of heaven. Achmed was hungry to find out how he to could also have assurance of forgiveness. So then, as the aeroplane began to lift off I spoke to Him about Christmas, and how God Himself came down in the form of a man in order to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I spoke to Achmed about the cross and about how even though we sinned against God, and how we all deserved to go to hell, God loves the world so much in that He sent Jesus to pay our fine if we would repent and trust in Him. Achmed was stunned, he had never heard that before, he was excited about the idea of assurance of salvation. As I wrapped up the conversation Achmed said, "You have given me much to think about, Thank you". Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to him.
The rest of the flight to Dubai was really quiet and I slept most of the way.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Dubai
I was awoken by the announcement that we were about to land in Dubai. Slowly waking up I looked out my window and saw below me lights everywhere, the cool thing was we were over the water, and all those lights were row upon rows of ships waiting to get into the Persian Gulf.
Upon landing in Dubai I made my way through the security where sadly my watch got dropped and was smashed. Being hungry I made my way to the food court where I found a MacDonald's. As I sat in this foreign country I noticed that a young Asian man sitting next to me was reading a book, the book he was reading is called "The Shack". (For those who don't know, "The Shack" is a heretical book that teaches that God is a woman, Jesus is a bumbling middle eastern man, and that the Holy Spirit is an Asian. It also teaches the heresy of Modalism, which basically says that the Father is the Son etc. And denies the Trinity. Even though this book is heresy it is sold at Christian bookstores.) As I watched this man at the other table I thought perhaps he was a Christian, that had just bought the book since it is a ‘bestseller'. The man got up to leave his table so I called him over to me, and asked "Are you a Christian?" The man shook his head, "No, I'm not a Christian." So I asked about the book and it turns out that he had bought it at Dubai airport. Which shocked me as they won't allow Christianity to advance in that country, but they will allow a false Christian message to spread.
I was limited to what I could do in Dubai due to the fact that it is illegal to witness to a Muslim, and their was literally security everywhere. This place is so enslaved to Islam, and it will only be the light of the gospel that will set this nation free. We must pray for the middle east, we must beg of God to open doors to allow the gospel to be advanced in these countries.
Thursday, 25 December, 2008 - London
Finally after about 30 hours in transit I landed at London Gatwick airport. The first thing that struck me was the freezing cold weather. It was bitterly cold, but I was still excited to be here and was keen to get out and start witnessing. The airport was nearly empty know one was around. This was good in one sense as it meant I would clear border security really quickly, but it was also bad as it meant that I couldn't witness to anyone. However, I did manage to hand out a few tracts.
After waiting for awhile Peter Webber arrived to pick me up from the airport. It was good to be back with Peter, it is a real honour to work alongside him and to witness with him. Once he had picked me up we made our way across to London Heathrow airport to pick up Melissa and Fredee from the USA.
Once we met up as a team we caught a taxi to where we are staying in Tooting, and then we started to make arrangements about having dinner. Since it was Christmas day many places were closed, but we still found plenty of people out walking around the streets, so as we looked for somewhere to eat we handed out many tracts. The outreach was off to a great start.
Friday, 26 December 2008 - London
Today we decided to spend a bit of time resting from our journey and to also take in some of the sights in London. Of course all our sightseeing was accompanied by the handing out of tracts. When we arrived at Buckingham Palace we found out that it was a changing of the guard ceremony, which meant that there would be many people there. This was good as it meant that we would be able to hand out many tracts. We had a great time playing tourist and also witnessing to people.
In the evening we met up with the Operation 513- London team, and joined them for outreach in Leicester Square. It was going to be a hard night of preaching as there was a carnival set up in the middle of the square. This mad a lot of noise and made it hard to preach. After setting up for the night Rob Hughes preached first, he stood up and began to expound on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has really improved as a preacher and I was quite impressed with his preaching. He preached for about thirty minutes and a few people stopped to listen to him proclaim Christ crucified. One young man was really interested, so Rob dialogued with him, and afterwards I was able to give him a gospel of John.
Once Rob finished preaching it was my turn to get up and preach. Due to the cold my voice wasn't fully ready to preach so I was only able to last about twenty minutes, but during that time God was kind and He brought a few people in to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One thing I noticed about the night was how awesome the London team is, they work together well, and they are all passionate about the gospel. Rob Hughes has done a good job in building this team. And, it is an honour to serve alongside him.
The rest of the night for us was spent in handing out tracts and talking to people about how Christ can forgive all their sins if they would repent and trust in Him.
Saturday, 27 December 2008 - London
Today we had the privilege of working alongside Rob again, this time we preached in Tooting, which isn't far from Rob's church - Trinity Road Chapel. Once we had set up Rob began to preach the gospel. Once again he did a brilliant job, as he preached we handed out tracts and were able to get into some great discussions. While Rob was preaching Peter took a few photos, but since we were outside of an underground station this brought the attention of the police. The UK police are very wary of photos being taken of public transport due to all the terrorism that is going on. Peter explained what he was doing to the police officer. While Peter was talking this man approached us and said, "This guy is having a laugh isn't he?" I replied that he was preaching the gospel, at that the man we ballistic. It turns out he is a British solider just returned from Afghanistan and he was furious that people could preach when he didn't have the freedom to stand up and abuse Islam. He was so mad that the police officer called for back up, and the man began to make threats of physical violence towards Rob.
The man moved on after ranting for awhile. We continued to minister in Tooting. After Rob finished preaching it was my turn to preach, so I spoke about being slaves to sin, and about how we are all bound in sin. A few people stopped to listen, and as I preached I noticed a few Muslims were listening to the Gospel. While it was a slower day it is my prayer that God will save all those who heard the gospel.
After I finished preaching I noticed two Mormon elders walking by, since I have done a lot of apologetics with the Latter Day Saints I decided to stop them and have a discussion. We spoke for some time in regards to salvation. The LDS teaches that you can earn salvation, and that we are only saved by God's grace after all that which we can do. This of course is opposite to what the Bible says, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is 100% of God's grace and not of any thing we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Mormon elders became uncomfortable and wanted to leave, so I pointed them to the gospel, and we parted ways. Although they did promise to call and arrange a time to have lunch.
Sunday, 28 December, 2008 - London
This morning we went to church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which is the church that Charles Spurgeon was the pastor of. It was a good service, the pastor preached good a message.
After the service we went over to the famed Hyde Park, not to preach but rather to witness and to talk watch the going on of speakers corner. As we entered the park I noticed a Christian preacher with a few atheists opening fire on him. He seemed to be a bit lost on how to answer them, so I asked him permission if I could engage the atheist, the preacher gave permission so I engaged in an apologetic showing that atheism is incorrect. The atheists seemed stunned, as one of them later told me they very rarely have preachers engage their arguments. During our discussion a palaeontologist from the USA decided to jump in to disprove Christianity. She used the argument that Dinosaurs disprove the Bible, this is a very bad argument and it actually shows that those who argue it haven't studied the Bible. I took her to the book of Job, to chapter 40 and showed her of Behemoth. I described the beast mentioned in Scripture, then asked her, "Could you explain to me how a man from thousands of years ago could see and describe something that apparently died out millions of years before?" She went silent, and wasn't sure how to answer. But, then he husband jumped in with an answer, "Well, he probably found a fossil. That is how he knew what it looked like!" At that the Palaeontologist jumped in again agreeing with her husband. The atheists in the crowd grew in excitement at this statement. Their answer wasn't a surprise to me, and in fact I actually had expected it. That is why I didn't fully describe the beast in Job 40. I said to them, "Sorry, I didn't fully describe Behemoth, the author says that this beast ate grass as an ox. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but you cannot determine from a fossil that something eats as an ox." The palaeontologist, her husband and the atheists fell silent. I continued, "So, the question still stands, how did the author describe this beast which he had seen if it had died out millions of years earlier?"
Their answer was to turn and walk away without saying a word. Many of the atheists wouldn't engage in discussion after that, but a few of them came up and said I had won their respect. Once the atheists fell silent the preacher once again opened up on the gospel.
The thing about Hyde Park is that you can go from one debate to another. Today I had to deal with Atheists, False Christians, and Muslims. The Islamic invasion is in full swing in the UK, these guys in Hyde Park were militant in their attacking of Christianity. The thing is they all use the same arguments, and none of them will listen to the answers you give. The arguments they used were fairly basic, but they were never willing to listen to the counter view points.
During the time in Hyde Park many of the Muslims threatened to kill me, beat me up, and even cut of certain parts of my antimony. Overall it was a good day in Hyde Park, we got to have many great discussions about the gospel.
Monday, 29 December 2008 - London
The began fairly early today, the plan was to head into Covent Gardens and there do some outreach, however, when we arrived we found it nearly impossible to hand out tracts as many people were there handing out many different leaflets for shows and clubs. With this in mind we decided to change locations, and head to Leicester Square. Upon arriving in the square we found it to be jam packed with people, so we broke up into two groups and began to hand out tracts to as many people as possible.
While Peter and I were handing out tracts thins man in a wheelchair stopped to talk, so I knelt down on the cold pavement beside him and began to share the gospel with him. This man turned out to be a Roman Catholic who believed he had never sinned. So I explained to him that we all have sinned, and the man seemed to grasp it. But he continued to trust in his good works. I begged of him to trust in Christ alone for salvation, but sadly the man was blinded by the lies of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that one can merit salvation by doing good deeds. It is always heart breaking when this happens, as it just shows how people would rather trust in self than God.
Later in the afternoon we were joined by Carl, who is a preacher with Operation 513 - London, he took us down to Piccadilly Circus to do preaching. It was quite a good place to preach, we set up under the Eros statue. First to preach was Carl, he did quite a good job of making the gospel of Christ known. He presented to all those who would listen why they needed a Saviour, then he showed them that Christ was that Saviour.
After Carl finished preaching, I began to preach also. I spoke about how the year was nearly over, and how in the course of the year we suffer many hardships. I also pointed out that over the course of the year we may have had someone close to us die. This then launched me into talking about how we all die one day, and one day we will all give an account for all our sins. A few people stopped to listen including a group of young males, I engaged the males in discussion, one of them seemed rather open so I took him through the gospel and explained to him the need of the Saviour.
The crowd was listening as I explained how each and everyone of us has sinned, and how we all need Jesus Christ to save us. Afterwards quite a few people took tracts. May God be glorified in the saving of their souls.
Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 - London
Today we once again returned to Piccadilly Circus. While Peter and Melissa stayed there to witness Fredee and I had to make our way down to Oxford Street. This turned out to be a very good opportunity to hand out tracts and witness to people. So many people in London are open to taking tracts, and even though this city is big and is renowned for being anti-Christian, I have found most people that I have spoken to, to be very open and friendly in regards to the gospel.
After spending some time around Oxford Street, Fredee and I headed back to Picadilly Circus, and there we re-joined the rest of the team. Once again we continued to hand out tracts and witness to many people.
Later this afternoon we had to head back down Oxford Street, since it was peak hour we decided to position ourselves either side of the footpath, since we were using million pound note tracts, I began to call out to the people walking past, "Free Million Pound Notes! Get one for New Years!" So many people swarmed around us trying to grab a tract. People from different cultures, religions, and social status all wanted one of these tracts. May God get the glory in bring these people unto Himself.
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 - London
The last day of 2008. Today we decided not to do anything during the day since we planned to be out in London witnessing at the New Year Eve celebrations. We arrived at Trafalgar Square at just after 6:30pm, since it was freeing cold we found a café to get something warm to eat. We then went out into the cold and began to witness and hand out tracts.
Melissa and I were down on a busy intersection and in no time at all we had been able to hand out thousands of tracts. The other guys throughout the square were also experiencing similar things. At one stage we were worried that we would not have enough tracts to survive the night.
Also, during this time of witnessing many one to one conversations occurred. Peter was able to talk to a group of Muslims, and Rob had several really good conversations with people who were really open to the gospel message.
At midnight we stopped to watch the fireworks of London, then the mad dash occurred as thousands of people tried to get home via the underground and buses.
The night, while it had no preaching, and only a few one to ones was a very good night. Approximately 5,000 tracts were handed out during the course of the night, which was fairly good.
One year ends, and a new one begins.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 12 December, 2008
In true Yorkshire style this week it was dark and wet and some how managed to be below zero and yet still be raining rather than snowing. Jim, Carl and Jemma joined me for the night and many others prayed for us through the night. There were construction work going on in the square we normally witness, this was causing a lot of noise and when added to the wind it was a rough night for witnessing.
Our little band gathered together to pray to the Lord God and plead for the lost (and also for the weather). We then went to it with tracts and before long we were running short, Jemma and Carl are both excellent at getting gospel literature into the hands of others. A couple of atheists stopped to quiz them about what we were doing. Unfortunately they couldn't stay to talk as they were going to a concert but promised that they would come and see us another week.
After much looking around we found a spot in the square where there was not too much noise and enough people to preach and set up under a tree on the corner. I preached first, not many wanted to stop and heckle but encouragingly there were quite a few who stood nearby and listened to what was said. I was particularly encouraged by one gentleman who nodded and gave the thumbs up as I affirmed the need people have to trust in Jesus alone for salvation.
Jim also got up to preach after I had and likewise struggled to get a heckler, after a period a lady did stop to have a heckle. Unfortunately she was very drunk and would only keep repeating “where is your evidence?”, and then not listen to the explanations Jim tried to give. After a period she left and Jim closed his message.
Everyone was now frozen to the core and very much needing to go home, so we prayed together (in particular for the drunk lady) and headed for home. In these dark times when it is easy to be discouraged we look to our saviour who for the joy that was set before Him endured more than we ever will and scorned any shame. May we think like Him and run our course in this world with joy knowing in every battle that the Lord is the one who will conquer our every enemy!
Saturday, 20 December, 2008
Saturday, 20th December, 2008
Once again we returned to Brisbane city. There was a sense of festivity in the air as it was only a few days before Christmas. As I walked through the mall I handed out Christmas tracts. Every person took them and wished me a Merry Christmas. It is always good when people are happy about receiving tracts.
I met with Dave and Ryan, we then had a time of prayer and Bible reading. After that we headed up to the mall to begin the night of preaching. It was good to see other team members there ready to go out and make known the gospel.
With it being so close to Christmas I gave members of the team packs of Christmas tracts to hand out. These tracts came from a dear brother of mine named Tommy Bell. He is based in the US and is involved in a ministry known as Custom Tract Source, he was so kind to send me some tracts free of charge. I would encourage all our readers to order tracts from www.customtractsource.com (of course you should order tracts from Operation 513 also!)
The night went well, with people preaching and making known the gospel of Christ.
Since it was Christmas, I decided to preach from Luke 2 and the birth of Jesus Christ, in fact it wasn’t just I who preached from this passage, but the Christmas theme was something that was in all the preachers messages tonight.
I focused heavily on the fact that Christ was born as Saviour, and this of course begged the question, “A saviour from what”. From this point I expounded the law of God and showed that we all needed Jesus to be our Saviour. A few hecklers yelled things, but there wasn’t much engaging. The crowds were smallish tonight, and I think it is due to it being the festive season.
Even though things were slow many great conversations occurred. For instance Nick was witnessing to this one young man who had stopped only to mock Christianity, Nic was so patient and kind to this man as he shared the gospel, but this man kept up his attack. Once Nick finished talking to him, I began a conversation with him. And for the next 40 minutes both Rick and I pleaded with him to be reconciled to God. This man left screaming abuse at Christ. Please pray for his conversion.
Tonight was a good night, albeit a little slow. This was my last night in Brisbane preaching for about 8 weeks, as I am heading to the United Kingdom for outreach. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to minister the gospel to those in Britain. The teams in Australia will operate as per usual so please pray for them also.
May all of you have a very safe and Christ centred Christmas!
Saturday, 13 December, 2008
Saturday, 13th December, 2008
After a hard day on the Gold Coast, I made my way to Brisbane city. It looked like it was going to be a good night on the streets.
The team was few in number, but the passion to reach out the lost was evident. The regulars were their like Alex the Agnostic, and a few more people who seem to come out each week. It is always good to have the same people come back, it is our hope that God will save them.
Ryan was the first preacher up for the night, and he preached a bit different than he usual does. Normally Ryan has a lot of apologetics in his preaching, but this time he spent less time on apologetics and more time reasoning with people from the gospel. This was really encouraging to me, while I love to hear apologetics, I prefer to hear the gospel more. A couple of hecklers stopped and shouted a few things. Ryan engaged them and presented them with the claims of Jesus Christ.
After Ryan finished preaching, Michael got up and preached. It was his first time preaching with us. The first thing that struck me was his projection, he had great voice control and great voice projection, truly gifted in public speaking. As he preached a man approached, this man was scruffy looking and had most of his top teeth missing. He walked right up to the preacher and stopped about one foot away. With that the man began to rage in an unknown language. The man then began to rant on about people being preachers and him being a trained preacher. His heckling was vile, and his threats of physical violence were hard to ignore.
The heckler began to yell that he could defeat any preacher that we had as we couldn’t answer his questions. Michael was struggling a little so he tagged me in and I began to deal with the mans questions. His questions were very basic however this man I am convinced was full of demons, so his cursing and blasphemy came after every answer I gave.
His hatred for the gospel and for Jesus Christ was coming through loud and clear. He kept threatening physical violence, so I sent a team member off to get the police. The police officer told them it wasn’t illegal for the man to threaten us. Of course the police officer was wrong. So here we were in the middle of the Queen street mall with one of the most hostile hecklers I have ever seen. To make things more interesting another man claiming to be god began to work with demoniac one.
I pushed through their heckles and still presented the gospel, but these two hecklers were manifesting big time. So after preaching I stood down and they quickly surrounded me. The first heckler once again began to abuse me, and this time he put a lit cigarette onto my hand. I challenged him on that to which he just laughed. Again the police were sent for and again the members of the Police Beat near the Queen Street Mall failed to respond.
After awhile another preacher began, but once again the demoniac went after him, finally I had enough so I got on the phone and called the emergency number. I explained to the operator what was happening, and held the phone so she could hear the heckler. She agreed that it was a dangerous situation and the police needed to be there. While I was talking to her another heckler come running in and tried to kick Ryan. But, then help arrived finally two members of the Queensland Police showed up on scene and took away the demonic heckler.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts and talking to people. Even though things were hard, God still allowed His word to go forth.
Saturday, 13 December, 2008
Saturday, 13th December, 2008
The sun was high in the sky and the temperature was soaring. Another beautiful sunny, hot and humid Australian day. What more could we expect, it is summer and the people were out and about.
We arrived at our usual place of witnessing on the Gold Coast, and to no ones surprise Ryan was already off running around handing out tracts to people and having conversations about the gospel. Seriously, this bloke is an evangelist with way too much energy, he puts everyone else to shame! ;)
Dave Strachan was the first preacher up for the day, he stood to preach in the blazing sun, and began to expound on who God is. Dave has written out some notes for him to preach from, so he went through those a few times. The crowd seemed a bit slow today, I would put this down to the heat. But it was good to see a few people stop to listen to the gospel.
After Dave finished preaching, it was my turn to stand up and preach. I started off by talking about Christmas, and how many people love the idea of having a day off, but they don’t stop to think about why we celebrate. This then launched into a sermon about why Jesus had to come to earth 2000 or so years ago. While I was preaching this man walked by, he had no shirt on and he was really well built. He had so many muscles that his muscles had muscles. He was a tank. This man was furious at what I was saying, so he turned to me and pointed at me. As he pointed he began to yell, “It is because of **** people like you that other **** people don’t believe in **** God!” He then turned and began to walk off, so I challenged him, I called out after him, “Sir, do you believe in God?” The man once again began to curse, and then affirmed his belief in deity. So I asked another question, “Are you a Christian?” The man began to seethe in anger, he turned to me and his face was red. “**** you! **** you! **** because of you people don’t believe!” Again, I repeated my question, “Are you a Christian?” To this the man began to swear and say that he was a Christian. I then turned to him, and declared, “It is not because of preachers that people aren’t Christians, it is because of hypocrites like yourself that people hate Jesus Christ. You say one thing, but your actions show you are not a Christian!” At this all the mans veins began to stand out on his neck, and his friend had to restrain him, the man yelled, “**** YOU! I AM GOING TO PUNCH YOUR **** FACE IN!” A few people stopped to watch, so I said, “Go ahead, punch my face in, show everyone how much of a Christian you are, show people the love of Christ as you beat down a preacher.” The man turned and stormed off. From there I began to preach on how one becomes a Christian, and how we cannot just give God lip service.
After I finished preaching I was able to have some great one to one conversations. One encounter was really good, but the problem was the man I was speaking to only spoke Farsi, so I witnessed to him via his translator. At the end of the conversation the translator declared herself to be a Muslim, and stated that Australia will belong to Islam one day.
Overall the day went quite well, many heard the gospel.
Thursday, 4 December, 2008
Wet and cold were the themes for the night on Thursday this week and that is exactly how it stayed, thankfully God was kind to us by giving us a short reprieve from the rain while we witnessed. I was joined again by Jim and Sucraj; and we began the night in prayer for the work ahead of us.
There were very few people around as the weather was cold but praise God there was a concert of some form at city hall just across from the war memorial. We were able to give many people tracts as they went to there evening's entertainment. During the interval I preached on the emptiness of Christmas and life at that without peace with God. Many people go through this Christmas season without peace with God and so there festivities become frivolities and the sacred joy of this time degenerates into drunkeness, greed and gluttony.
It being such a cold night not many stopped and few people listened for long. No-one seemed keen to heckle, not supprising with a new location though. After proclaiming the word of eternal life in Christ Jesus our saviour for a period I stepped down and we continued to handout tracts.
After a sort period Jim got up to preach, unfortunately I didn't get to hear what he said as I spotted some young girl's I'd spoken to the previous week. We were able to chat further about their objections and questions (they were interupted last time). During this conversation a group of guys decided to hit on them and so I gave them all tracts and engaged one of them in conversation. This young guy was raised in a Christian home but had so many questions about the faith that he had no answer for. We spoke for some time, often fending of some of his mates who didn't want him seen talking to the wacked out street preacher. It was a great conversation and I hope that we will be able to meet again to talk further. He left with some tracts and I pray some answers.
When I came back to the memorial Jim was engaging some young bible college students regarding the third chapter of Romans and what it says regarding our natural state before God. Sucraj was deep in conversation with an asian man (muslim?). I spotted some people gathered outside one of the local pubs nearby so went to discuss with them. The conversations were short and largely useless, most people were too drunk to speak coherently and so I left tracts with as many as I could.
We ended the night with prayer and went our sepparate ways warmed by the thought of God's word now at work in the hearts of those who had heard. May He use it to save many!
Friday, 5 December, 2008
Friday evening saw a record turn-out in terms of people joining the team for our time of ministry. The team was as follows: Carl, Wesley, my bother James, Philip, James (a friend of Wesley’s), Oliver (a friend of Carl’s), Jannah, Steve, and I. James has only been once before and Oliver was joining us for the first time. It’s wonderful to see the team growing like this, and had Andrew and Adam been able to join us there would have been eleven of us in total, which is really awesome.
After enjoying a time of devotions and prayer together in our new-found café, we headed up to the square. It was quite a sight. The square had been turned into a carnival and there were various rides and stores all over the place. Needless to say, the area was amassed with many people. It was also very noisy. But hey, that’s what happens when a carnival comes to town. We set up in our now usual spot and got ready to minister. I stood up to preach first and asked the people if they knew what an amusement park is. A few people said entertainment and things like that. Well, the word “muse” means to think and “amuse” literally means to not think. The letter “a” placed in front produces the antithesis to the word “muse.” So, simply put, an amusement park is simply a “not thinking park.” It is a centre of entertainment devoid of thinking. Man is always running away from responsibility. As a moral agent and rational being he is obligated to examine his life in view of God’s standard. Ah, but this he would rather not do. Entertainment is far too fun. That’s what sin is to man: fun. Yet oh how temporary that “fun” is.
My intro helped to springboard me into talking about the need for us to think of the big questions we all face in this world: why are we here, what we ought to be doing while we are here, and what will happen to us when we die? Because of the atmosphere and entertainment going on I did not draw a big crowd. However, a number of people did stop and one man in particular was a great encouragement. He was quite willing to engage with me as I took him through the good person test and reasoned with him of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8) He listened as I told him of the good news of Jesus Christ; that we can be saved from the wrath of God because of what Christ has done by dying on a cross. (John 3:36) The time came when he had to leave and it was a great joy to see him take both an in-depth gospel tract and Bible as he left. Please pray for him. Unfortunately I did not get his name, but the Lord knows who he is and so do pray that God would grant him both repentance and faith unto salvation.
After I finished preaching open-air we all turned to talking with people and handing out tracts. After a little while Carl stood up to preach and he delivered a faithful and solid message. Many of the Bibles were taken as were many of the tracts. People were hearing the gospel and there is nothing more important in this world than that. Praise the Lord for yet another fruitful time of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!
To Listen to an audio of Rob Hughes preaching in London visit: http://chroniclesofanevangelist.blogspot.com/2008/12/operation-513-london-leicester-square_13.html
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