The rain caused people to come undercover and they couldn't but help notice our free Bibles table. Team member Jordan remarked that he found himself in one conversation after another with people as they came up to the Bible and were happy to talk with him about the things of God.
The first conversation I had was with a young lady named Mandy. She said she doesn't believe that God exists and during the conversation, kept bringing up that religion has done many bad things in history. I explained that just like the fact there are some bad doctors out there does not mean that medicine is wrong, so in the same way, having some bad religious people out there does not mean the beliefs of every religion are wrong. She acknowledged that, and so then I addressed her denying of God's existence.
I pointed out that just like a building proves there was a builder, so in the same way we look at the universe and realise it had a beginning and so therefore it proves there was a creator. She thought about it for a moment and couldn't do anything but agree. So now that she recognised God's existence, I asked her if she was a good person. She said yes. And so I went through some commandments of God and she was beginning to see her sin and how like the rest of us, she falls short.
I explained the news of Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, and about how she needs to repent and trust in Christ. She responded, "Honestly, I am not ready. I want to live life my own way for a bit longer. Maybe later."
That is what it always is, a love for sin is what stops people from coming to Christ. I responded, "What good is enjoying a cup of pleasure in exchange for an ocean of pain and suffering?" She thanked me greatly for the conversation. Please pray for her.
There were many other people spoken to during our outreach, but here are just a few other names to pray for:
• Paul & Trent - heard whole message...going to think seriously about it.
• Richard - goes to Catholic Church, thought works saved him. Appeared to come to understand gospel, realised he needs to find a new church.
To God be the glory!
We had a good outreach at Woodridge. As soon as I arrived, I saw some of the high school students I shared the gospel with the week before at the same spot, and so I started talking with them again.
It wasn't long before they asked one of their friends to join the conversation. He said he was religious. I asked him why he is going to Heaven, and he replied by saying that he has been taught by his church that baptism wipes away all his sin and that is why 2 weeks ago he got baptised. Thus he thought that he was all good to go to Heaven.
I pointed out Matthew 5:48 to him, how Jesus says we must be perfect. Then I went through some of the commandments with him asking if he had kept them. Just like the rest of us, he hadn't. He began to realise that he deserved Hell, but then said he would try be better from now on. I pointed out that doing that wouldn't get rid of the history of his sin. Neither would getting baptised or asking for forgiveness - I gave him the courtroom analogy to make this clear.
When I said that the only way of forgiveness is through a perfect person taking our Hell punishment for us on our behalf, he was beginning to understand it, but his bus then turned up. He said he wanted to continue talking with me next week.
Soon after, I had two other young men come over to ask me a question. They asked, "Is there a certain day you need to go to church?" I responded by quoting Romans 14:5-6 how the day of the week that one goes to church isn't a big deal. But I immediately recognised the bigger issue, I needed to find out whether these guys understood the gospel.
Desra, the one who liked my answer to the question, thought he was going to Heaven because he is reforming his life and starting to read the Bible.
While Bernard, the one who didn't really like my answer to the question, thought his own goodness and praying saved him.
So I talked about sin, the coming judgement, Heaven, Hell, the cross, repentance and faith with them. And it took about half a dozen times of explaining the gospel over again in different ways before they came to grasp it.
I could tell Desra was clearly counting the cost, seeing whether he was prepared to repent and trust in Christ. He asked if someone could come over to his house regularly to explain the things of the Bible. I could tell they were both really open, and so I went through a few key passages with them, such as Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 10:32-39, and Matthew 5:27-30. Please pray for them that they will truly repent and trust in Christ. I am hoping to continue going through the Bible with them in future weeks.
Other team members began to arrive during this time, we had four of us in total.
In the attached photo, Stephen is talking with a man about the gospel, but this man said he wants to take the blame for his own sin instead of having Jesus take it for him.
Please also pray for:
• Jonathan - he said he believes in Jesus, but said he needs to do a bit of good to be saved. He was receptive to the message of salvation by grace through faith alone.
• Raw & Nimrod - heard whole message. Said they really appreciated the chat and would think seriously about the message.
All the glory goes to God!
Thank you all for your ongoing prayers for the work in Hobart's CBD. God is blessing the work and many tracts and bibles have been going out. People have been coming back for repeat conversations. I have even had non-Christians stop me when giving out tracts to thank us for what we are doing and encourage us to continue.
One repeat visitor at the bible table is an older man who is interested in the Christadelphianism. Primarily he came to discuss the issue of hell which he struggles with (as do many people). He is attracted to the idea of annihilationism, that God would destroy completely sinners at the final judgment and that there would be no hell in an eternal sense. Praise God he has been willing to discuss what God says in His word about these views. It has been encouraging to see the openness that he has to consider and struggle with these issues. Please pray that he will continue to come and speak with us and that we would be able to share wisely and respectfully from God's word.
The team are now regularly handing out tracts at the nearby traffic intersection, that is when they are not caught up in gospel conversations! I regularly look around to check on tracting team members only to find they are deep in gospel conversation. Praise God for these wonderful opportunities and the privilege of gossiping the gospel in Hobart!
Our regular heckler Mr S.has been staying away but over the last two weeks he and I have chatted for short periods. It was a positive discussion and he is wanting (as I am) to make sure that things remain calm in the mall on Tuesday afternoons. I am grateful for this and hope that we will be able to have more positive discussions in the future. Please continue to pray for Mr S., that God will bless him and give him peace.
We have begun preaching again in the mall and for the last two weeks the people who have gathered have been very quiet and listening to what was said. In some ways this has been a challenge as it is easier to bounce off people's questions and gather a crowd from the heckling. At the same time I am grateful for the opportunity to preach on an issue uninterrupted and develop thoughts fully. There were small groups that gathered and the usual people sitting/standing at the edges of hearing range pretending not to listen but obviously straining to hear.
This week I decided to be ambitious and have begun a series of sermons on the world's greatest preacher's one recorded sermon. I began with the telling and world inverting verse:
Mt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
From this verse I sought to show how the sinful nature of our hearts and the pride that comes naturally to us all prevents us from coming into the kingdom of God. Also on the other hand the humble attitude Jesus points to is an expression of true repentance. If we will not put down our self-centredness we cannot come to Jesus in faith to seek His Goodness, His righteousness, His atonement and His life. This is in many ways the first step in becoming a child of the kingdom.
There is great riches in this one verse alone and there is much that could be said. Please pray that I will do Jesus' words some kind of justice in my preaching and that it will draw people to him in Hobart.
Praise God for His grace and kindness!
Evangelism this past Friday was a blessing. Katherine joined us for a second time and we also had a new visitor, Soko. The rest of the team included Kofi, Kwadwo, Steven, and myself.
After enjoying a good time of Bible study and fellowship in Caffé Nero, we headed out. When we reached the square we found it to be quite noisy. A lot of buskers were out using amplification. There is a by-law in Leicester Square which says amplification is not allowed to be used after 9:00pm (we normally start around 8:00pm) and so as a team we have decided not to use it. Unfortunately, there are some buskers who ignore this by-law and continue using amplification after 9:00pm.
There’s not a lot you can do about it when they choose to do this. Sometimes the council comes down on them, but often they do nothing. However, this doesn’t happen all the time, and so it’s not too big a deal. As it so happened I was suffering with a cold last week and so in the end we didn’t do any open-air preaching. However, everyone on the team got stuck in handing out tracts and engaging people in conversation.
I had an interesting conversation with a girl called Chloe. It was interesting because it was clear that she has spent some time formulating in her mind where she chooses to stand from a worldview perspective. She identified herself as a relativist and contested strongly the existence of absolutes. Curiously, she is willing to acknowledge the need for an ultimate standard (of whom I put forward the Christian God as the only rational, consistent truth), especially when we ask the question as to why anything is wrong.
However, how can there be an ultimate standard if there are no absolutes? In other worlds, how can we be measured against an ultimate standard if the laws which flow from this standard are not absolute? This is something Chloe could not answer, and yet she remained resolute in her denial of moral absolutes. I informed her as graciously as I could that she was being philosophically inconsistent in her reasoning, and I’m grateful that she received this without taking offence. We parted company on good terms, which was pleasing.
Of course, my aim is always to bring a person to the cross, but sometimes it is not always possible to discuss the gospel in depth. However, I was encouraged that I was able to argue for the one, true God, and that Chloe was made to see that without Him, life is ultimately meaningless.
The rest of the team had some good conversations too. Katherine is doing very well and enjoying being out with us, and Soko really got stuck in on her first night. I have to say that I always find it such an encouragement to see brothers and sisters from different churches coming together for the cause of the gospel. It’s such a blessing! Our God is such an awesome God, there truly is none like Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The team met this past Friday night in Caffé Nero after a somewhat short hiatus. I have only recently got back from a mission trip to South Africa with my church and so it was a real joy to be back out again. It was also a blessing to have two new people join us! Before I left for SA Katherine contacted me expressing her desire to come out and join the team. I informed her that we would be back out again as soon as I was back and so it was great to see her on Friday. Another girl, Yvette (pictured below, left), also joined us. She and her husband have recently started attending my home church and as soon as they heard of our ministry Yvette decided to join us. So it was great to have them both with us, and I think especially as it is always good when there is more than one girl attending :-) Kwadwo was also with us, and his brother Kofi joined us a little later.
After a great time of fellowship and Bible study in Caffé Nero, we headed out to the square. Standing up to preach it wasn’t long before a medium size crowd had formed. I framed my message by first affirming the existence of God using the moral argument, and then transitioned the conversation to the law of God — answering the question, “Why is sin wrong in the eyes of God?” I have found this to be a helpful thing to do. People need to know what sin is, but they also need to know why sin is wrong. It is wrong to sin because God is not a liar, or a thief, or a murderer. God created us in His image so that we would image Him. This is why sin is wrong, for when we sin we misrepresent God. Lying is wrong because God does not lie. Stealing is wrong because God does not steal. Moreover, if it were true that God does not exist, we couldn’t even answer the question! Indeed, this is whole point of the matter! Without God, we have no basis for saying that anything is wrong. God exists for the simple reason of the impossibility of the contrary.
A few people from the crowd engaged my argument and this was great not only for their benefit, but also for the rest of the crowd who were listening in. One chap in particular, a young man named Oliver, stayed until the end of the preaching, and continued talking afterwards with Kwadwo for at least an hour! He told Kwadwo that although he has grown up in a Christian home, he was only prepared to say, “Most likely there is a higher power but I’m not sure who that is.” Kwadwo showed him that in truth all people know in their heart of hearts that God exists, because if He did not exist we could not make sense of this world. The truth is, we all know that God exists, and this is why we are without excuse for denying Him (see Romans 1:18-21). Please pray for Oliver!
Myself and Yvette also had a good conversation with two young ladies who listened well as we shared the gospel with them. It was very clear that there was conviction of sin in their hearts, and there was certainly a recognition from them that they stood before God without an excuse. It was great to share the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ with them, as the foundation had been laid for them to appreciate and appropriate the good news, since they now had an understanding of the bad news. Do pray for them!!
All in all it was a great night. Katherine and Yvette enjoyed it especially, which is such a blessing. I’m sure they’ll be back out with us soon :-)
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was a busy night at the Gold Coast on 20th March 2015. We used the sketchboard to present the gospel a couple of times, open air preached and handed out gospel tracts.
Here is a short video from the night:
Comic book gospel tracts are available here: http://www.operation513.com/comics
Glory to God!
Since it is coming up to Easter, more people are happy to take gospel tracts because we're able to say to them "Happy Easter!" and offer them a tract.
I preached a message using the sketchboard about the only way we can be reconciled to God is through Jesus. There was a small crowd that gathered to listen.
There were some good conversations that were had too. One such chat was with a guy named Ravi.
His family is Hindu and he thought his own goodness would get him to Heaven. So as I talked about sin and the fact that we have fallen short of God's standard and thus deserve punishment. He began to see that he needed forgiveness.
So I explained the cross, repentance and faith, and then asked him whether he is prepared to leave Hinduism to trust in Christ alone. "My family won't let me" was his response.
I then expressed how having peace with God is far more important than good family relationships on this Earth. Jesus said our love for him should be far greater than even the love we have for our parents, so that if Jesus says one thing and our parents say the other, Jesus is the one we should obey at that point.
Ravi said he understood that and said he had to seriously think about it. Please pray for him.
Please also pray for:
• Liam - said he would think about it.
• Santiago - family is Christian, but he says he is not ready to turn from sin and come to Christ.
• Michael - works at Swatch, really open.
The Easter gospel tract we were using today is available here: http://www.operation513.com/easter
We are nothing, to God alone be all the praise!
It was raining continually during the outreach in Brisbane city last night. But since there is cover near where we witness it didn't really hinder the outreach. Instead it channels people right past us as they are ducking for cover.
We were lower on team numbers but lots of great conversations were able to be had. One person I talked to was a young guy named Steve. He initially didn't want to talk, but we ended up having a long in-depth conversation.
He said he was the owner of nightclubs and he says his life is about the accumulation of money and gold. He pointed to his gold watch and necklace. He said he doesn't think about eternal matters.
As I talked about sin, the coming judgement and the cross with him, you could tell he was intently listening. After hearing of the gospel he said, "So what is the next step?" Later on he also asked the question, "Would I have to give up my nightclubs?"
For him, you could tell that his love of money was stopping him from coming to Christ, but he said he would seriously consider the message. Please pray for him.
Not long later, Michael mentioned to me that he had just been talking to an older guy who is the owner of the strip clubs in the area. This man kept bringing up the fact that he had died before and therefore isn't worried about what comes after. However Michael was able to share the truth with him for a long while.
Please also pray for:
• Anzil - Muslim parents, said he is sinning a lot, gave him gospel of John, said he would think about the message he heard.
• Kieran - too many things going on in life to worry about what comes after. Softened up, took gospel of John.
Many seeds were sown, God gives the increase. To Him alone be the glory!
Sunnybank is a place with many Chinese people. They are taught in school in China that there is no God, and so many of the people we speak to on our Thursday afternoon outreach in Sunnybank are atheists.
But the beauty of it is that they are like that simply because they haven't given much thought to the issue. So as soon as you give a simple apologetic showing how the universe must have a creator, they quickly change their minds.
That was the case again today with a guy named Winnie. He at first said he didn't believe in God but then came to realise his existence. I talked about sin, the coming judgement and the cross, but for him it appeared he was preoccupied with the here and now. Please pray for him.
I spoke to a young man named Nathan. He said he basically only focuses on his study and doesn't think much about God. His parents said that if he does more good things than bad he would go to Heaven. So I explain how that would not work because God's standard is perfection and thus even if we did a million good things and only one bad thing, we have not lived up to perfection.
He heard the full message but then had to go. But a few minutes later he returned saying that he wanted to ask a few more questions. He wanted to know why Christianity was true as opposed to the religion of his parents. Please pray for him.
Soon after, team member Trevor spoke to a young guy named Ian (the person in the photo). He didn't know much about Christianity and was very open. He talked with Trevor for a long while, and at the end of the conversation Trevor remarked, "I think you might have missed your bus". He replied, "I have missed my bus three times, but I wanted to stay and learn."
He said he would go home and start reading his Bible and trust in Christ.
During this time I was talking to a young man named Rex (the person walking by on the right side in the photo. He used to go to church, but didn't know the gospel message. He came to understand the gospel and said he is going to count the cost.
To God alone be the glory!
We have changed our approach in the Hobart mall for the next two weeks due to an incident last week. There was a group of people that began to be destructive at the incitement of our regular heckler combined with some foolish words on my part. I was pushed around a little and the bible table was scattered but mercifully no-one was hurt. I light of this I am refraining from preaching and we will run only the bible table and hand out tracts for the next two weeks. As much as I am unhappy to be doing this I think that in order to keep the peace there is a need to let things cool off for the next couple of weeks.
This week we have seen God honour this desire to live in peace with others and share the gospel sensitively. Many bibles went out from the bible table and we handed out many tracts and great conversations were had. I have decided to limit the team's interaction with Mr S. as he is essentially using this as an opportunity to stir up strife and abuse team members. Mr S. was not happy that we have done this and spent the afternoon harassing me. Thankfully though this limited his ability to interfere with other good conversations going on around him.
Please pray for:
• Mr S. : even in the need to limit his damaging behaviour we long to see this young skeptic saved and come to love Jesus. Please pray that God would humble him and bring him life.
• Miss P : a school girl I have spoken to previously who loves Jesus but her atheistic parents prevent her from attending church and recently "confiscated" her bible. I have replaced the bible and we hopefully will soon have her connected to a Godly lady for regular fellowship and discipleship. Pray that God will make a way for her to be able to attend Church and live out her faith despite her parent's opposition.
• Mr S.C. : a regular in the mall who frequently comes to speak to us, he has heard the gospel a couple of times but is still vague on what he thinks of Jesus. Please pray that God will drive the gospel deep into his heart and save him.
• Mr A. : another atheist who has some questions and protests but is cagy on why he is truly opposed to the gospel. He took a bible today and has said he would read it. Pray that God would use His Word to convict and redeem him.
As always please pray for the team that we would be enabled to share the word of God in full with boldness and love.
Praise Him for his generosity to use us sinners in His work!