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London Team

Friday, 28 October, 2011

Posted by Posted 4 November 2011, 12:10 PM by Robert Hughes. Permalink

We had a number of people join us for outreach this past Friday, at least five new people, which was so encouraging. After a great time of fellowship in the cafe we headed out to our new spot near China Town. There was roughly twenty of us and so we were in for a great night! 

I preached for a good 30 minutes. This is quite long and the reason was largely due to the hecklers in the crowd. One gentleman in particular, which you will be able to see in the video above, had a number of questions and charges to lay against Christianity and Jesus Christ. One of his questions centred around the life of Christ before he entered his ministry. He asked, “What did Jesus do for the thirty years undocumented in the Bible?” I asked him to elaborate and he said, “The part between the two years before his death and his birth, what was he doing? The Son of God surely should have been doing good things.” I responded by saying, “He was growing up.” He then responded by saying, “Oh, the Son of God had to grow up did he?” I recognise that I could have done a better job in answering his question, however it allowed me to emphasise something very important. Jesus became a man so that we could relate to Him (He subjected Himself to human existence. He slept, ate, walked, etc, even though He was God) and also, more importantly, He became a human being so that He would be the perfect representative for mankind. Man has sinned, which means man is culpable. The only hope for humanity is a substitute willing to take our place. But what kind of substitute? The Bible tells the only acceptable substitute is one who is both fully God and fully man. Why is this? The Heidelberg Catechism of 1619 A.D. explains it so well:

Qu. Can any mere creature pay for us?

A. No. In the first place, God will not punish another creature for the sin which man has committed.[1] Furthermore, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.[2]

[1] Ezek. 18:4, 20; Heb. 2:14-18. [2] Ps. 130:3; Nah. 1:6.

Qu. What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek?

A. One who is a true[1] and righteous[2] man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God.[3]

[1] I Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:17. [2] Is. 53:9; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26. [3] Is. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1; Rom. 8:3, 4.

Qu. Why must He be a true and righteous man?

A. He must be a true man because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should pay for sin.[1] He must be a righteous man because one who himself is a sinner cannot pay for others.[2]

[1] Rom: 5:12, 15; I Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16. [2] Heb. 7:26, 27; I Pet. 3:18.

Qu. Why must He at the same time be true God?

A. He must be true God so that by the power of His divine nature[1] He might bear in His human nature the burden of God's wrath,[2] and might obtain for us and restore to us righteousness and life.[3]

[1] Is. 9:5. [2] Deut. 4:24; Nah. 1:6; Ps. 130:3. [3] Is. 53:5, 11; John 3:16; II Cor. 5:21.  

Qu. But who is that Mediator who at the same time is true God and a true and righteous man?

A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,[1] whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30).

[1] Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; I Tim. 2:5; 3:16.

Turning back to the objections from my heckler, it is important to note a few things. Firstly, the time between Jesus’ birth and the commencement of His ministry is documented in Scripture. See Luke 2:41-52. At the age of twelve He was aware of who He was and that it was necessary for Him to spend time in His “Father’s house” (the Temple). Secondly, the Bible is not obligated to give us a detailed account of his entire childhood and early adulthood. We know that as He grew up He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Clearly He lived a life that was set apart from the rest of humanity. However it was not until He reached the age of thirty that He entered into His ministry in a far more significant way. There is no problem with this, for it makes sense that He would be of a mature age with adequate life experience when the time eventually came. 

We all got into conversation with people after I had finished preaching. I spoke with a young girl who seemed certain that God is not the Creator of the universe and that there is another explanation, although “we don’t know what it is.” I reasoned with her logically and offered to her three hypothesis for our existence:  

  1. The universe created itself. 
  2. The universe has always existed. 
  3. The universe was created by a supreme being.

One-to-one witnessing.

I explained that option 1 is impossible, since for something to create itself it would mean that it existed before it existed. This of course is absurd. Option 2 has been accepted almost universally by the scientific community as false since the laws of thermodynamics show us that the universe must have had a beginning. This leaves option 3 as the only rationale explanation for our existence. She didn’t like this but it was obvious she saw the logic to what I was saying. I reasoned with her some more and explained that there truly is a God before whom we must one day stand and give an account. 

Although the spot we have chosen is great for open-air preaching, it is tricky with regard to one-to-one witnessing, as the road we are in is opened for traffic at roughly 10:00pm. It became quite difficult and so we decided to move back down to Leicester Square. Arriving back at the Square we continued to witness to people and hand out tracts. It was a great time and I was so encouraged to join with so many brothers and sisters in making Christ’s name known. Lord may you open the hearts of the people to hear and respond to your Word. Grant repentance and faith Lord to the lost people of London!

Praise the Lord in all things!

Soli Deo Gloria!


Essex Team

Saturday, 29 October, 2011

Posted by Posted 4 November 2011, 8:04 AM by Andrew Noble. Permalink

The Essex Team broke loose on the Brentwood High St today, sharing the Gospel to anyone and everyone who came our way.  We began with a small team consisting of Rob Hughes and myself, and were soon joined by Roman, Elyske, Ingrid, Wesley and James.  We spread out and handed out loads of tracts and got into a few conversations with pedestrians that would lend us an ear.  I had a wonderful conversation with an ex roman catholic priest from India.  His name was Thomas and he expressed "belief" in the Bible but when pressed, he only acknowledges the 'red letters' of Jesus.  I asked if he was born again and he said he got born again at his "christening".  We talked about Gods righteous requirements in his Law and how he matches up, and discussed Hell and justice.  We parted amicably and I stressed 'faith in Christ alone' NOT in the roman church or a human priest!  A great time of sharing was had by all.  May God grant repentance to those who read or heard the Gospel this day!

Andrew & Catholic PriestElyske and IngridWesleyElyske


London Team

Friday, 21 October, 2011

Posted by Posted 25 October 2011, 6:02 AM by Robert Hughes. Permalink

On Friday evening we had much to thank God for! The Lord truly blessed us with a wonderful time of outreach. Early that morning I received an email from a photography student (Hollly) who mentioned she was doing a project on street preachers and would like to come out and photograph the team in action. I was surprised by her request but saw no reason to say no and so replied saying that it would be no problem. 

By the time I reached the cafe later that evening I was encouraged to find Holly waiting for us. Shortly after the team began to arrive and before long we were a good 10 people plus. Holly had a few questions she wanted to ask, in particular what we do on the street and what we say to people. As it turns out Holly is not a Christian and so this was a wonderful opportunity to not only answer her question, but also share the gospel with her. I laid out the gospel as carefully as I could, not speaking to her directly as I might do when I normally witness to someone, but in such a way that she would have a firm grasp on what the gospel is. I was certainly praying for her as I did! I was so encouraged to see her taking notes, and although she was doing this for her project, I was in awe of how the Lord is able to use such diverse ways to bring people into a hearing of the gospel!

As Leicester Square is under some serious new development in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, we have moved to a new location. We are now very close to China Town, which is barely a ten minute walk from Leicester Square. It has proved to be a great location for witnessing and a wonderful spot for open-air preaching too! Although in the area of China Town, there are still plenty of English people about, and it is still typical London in that there are people from every nationality you can think of. 

One-to-one witnessing.

As we were setting up I was thrilled to see that we had a really large team out. We must have been at least 20 people in size. Not all made it to the cafe, but instead joined us at our new spot. I stood up to preach and before long a good size crowd had formed. This was helped by a passionate heckler who really went out of his way to make his voice heard. I do like it when a heckler speaks up as he helps to bring in a crowd. Unfortunately the heckler we had on Friday night, while bringing in a crowd, was also a real handful as it was clear he was determined to be a hindrance to me and the preaching of the gospel. He did this in quite an annoying way by parading in front of me as I addressed the crowd. I have to admit this is something I find difficult to overcome and probably the biggest frustration I have experienced while preaching open-air. Some hecklers stand within the crowd and heckle, that is fine, but when they intentionally come forward and parade in front of you it is very difficult. It was not all bad though. At one point he turned to the crowd and said, “I bet no one here wants to hear this guy,” pointing to me. To my delight a number of people in the crowd responded by saying, “We do!” (Unbeknown to us a party of roughly 15 Christians, on holiday from Wales, were in London and just happened to be passing through as I was preaching. You’d almost think God was somehow involved!) This was great in that it helped to disarm him, although he did not withdraw entirely. 

Although he was a significant hindrance, I was able to speak past my heckler to the crowd and share the gospel. After I stepped down from preaching we all got involved in talking with people one-to-one. Holly was taking loads of snaps, we certainly kept her busy! I was so encouraged to see a number of the young girls on the team talking with her and quite a few shared their testimony with her as well, which was just brilliant. Do pray for her. The Lord certainly brought her to us and it really is so wonderful that she has been exposed to the gospel in such a clear way. In the picture below you can see Ymkje sharing the gospel with Holly. 

One-to-one witnessing.

While we continued to speak with people I noticed that our angry heckler was still circling, even though I had finished preaching. I discovered later that his girlfriend is a Catholic and they often have rows over the existence of God. It was clear that he was venting and is angry with God. When God’s Word is preached there often comes hostility, and it is precisely because the gospel is the truth that there is this hostility. Please pray for him. 

Holly stayed for quite a while but left with much to think about, I’m sure! I told her we’d love to stay in touch and that she must let us see her project when it is finished!

At the end of the evening we came together in prayer and thanked the Lord for all He had done. It sure was a full evening!

Soli Deo Gloria!


Brisbane Team

Saturday, 24 September, 2011

Posted by Posted 26 September 2011, 10:48 PM by Lindsay Huf. Permalink

Tonight the team had about fifteen Christians, this larger than usual number came from God sending an extra sister and some brothers in Christ to join in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ on Queen Street. I was encouraged to see more Christians out witnessing tonight, because every extra person makes a difference to the entire team.

The preaching line-up was Yarran, Lindsay, Josiah and Ryan. As usual, the authoritative message from God as revealed in the scriptures was proclaimed in the open-air, private conversations, and through the distribution of gospel tracts.

One of the preachers explains: the great and glorious God who has made the world and everything in it, who gives us our very life and being, has not been obeyed by humanity. All have broken God's commandments, including those proclaiming this message, by things such as lying, stealing, getting drunk, having sexual desires for others outside of marriage, by failing to worship God perfectly. God is good and hates and punishes evil, and when left to ourselves, we will receive this punishment in hell for eternity. However, God sent Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man, He lived perfectly in God's eyes, never breaking His commandments. Then He laid down His life willingly through allowing himself to be executed through crucifixion. Jesus did this to take the punishment for the evil of His people, and then rose again to life, giving life to His people. God commands all people everywhere to turn from their evil towards trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation from evil and the wrath of God.

During the gospel proclamation in the open air, a young lady and young man interacted with the preacher. “Have you ever told a lie?”, the preacher says. The young lady hesitates and the preacher asks the young man with her, “Has she told a lie?”, with him responding promptly as witness to her guiltiness. The preacher is quick to explain, “I also have told a lie”, and proceeds to ask further questions. The young man interjects with opposition to God's standard of perfection. Nevertheless, the conversation hastily reveals that like the preacher, the young lady has disobeyed God. A sight that could shock many, that the voices of both the preacher and the young lady reveal that they deserve to spend their eternity in hell under God's punishment for breaking His commands.

Following this, the preacher inquires of the young lady for her knowledge of Jesus, receiving a blank response. Jesus' identity and actions are explained with joy, “Jesus is God's son, fully divine and fully human, He lived perfectly 2000 years ago. He died on the cross in order to take the punishment for people like you and I, those who are His people. He paid the punishment for their evil in full, and rose again from the grave to give them life. Jesus commands you and I to turn away from our evil and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from God's wrath” The preacher asks, “have you turned from your evil and trusted in Jesus?”

After her voice had responded, she was given a business-sized card that contained a summary of what her ears had already received. With haste the young man took the unknown card and threw it away, in a vain attempt to diminish the power of the message given by God Himself. Promptly, the preacher gave her another card that found rest in her pocket.

How have you responded to the Lord Jesus?

 

If you have turned from your evil and trusted in Jesus, please gather with the rest of your family in Him to share the message of God's full and complete salvation from sin and His wrath, if you live near Brisbane, please join us in serving our loving God on a Saturday night at 7:30pm in King George Square, Brisbane. If you have questions, please visit us outside Copenhagen/Myer Center on Queen St at 9pm.


Brisbane Team

Saturday, 27 August, 2011

Posted by Posted 3 September 2011, 1:36 AM by Josiah Wilson. Permalink

Never to disappoint, Saturday night again proved to be quite eventful! There were a few of us out tonight, which was good because it was football night and the fans were loud and proud.

I was the first one up to preach and I decided to open with Romans 6:23 ”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. We live in a society that understands the concept of an owing wage, many people live for their weekly paycheck! Here we learn that the wage for our rebellious attitude towards God is death. Death is a punishment we deserve and is owed on the basis of our failure to worship and serve our Creator God. Earlier in the book of Romans we are told that “none is righteous, no, not one” and “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Sin is universally participated in by humanity and therefore we are all deserving of death. Since we are all guilty of sinning against God, we all face this. But Romans 6:23 also points to a free gift of eternal life. How do you receive this? Through Jesus Christ. 2000 years ago Jesus came to earth for a purpose to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21) Jesus did this by living the perfect life we couldn’t live before laying his life down and dying on the Cross and rising from the dead 3 days later. He did this in order to take the hell- punishment for the sins of his people. God commands you to turn from your sin, repent and place your faith in Christ and his righteousness. Those who have done this show their heart has been changed and have been born again, assured of eternal life.

It wasn’t long before some hecklers arrived. First up was a lady who claimed to be a pagan. She did not want to listen or engage in conversation. Instead, she just wanted to protest. Despite her abuse, the plus side was that her protests attracted an audience which enabled more people to hear the Gospel. However, her friend was a lot more aggressive and began screaming for me to stop preaching. Lindsay and Yarran stepped in front of me to try and calm the guy down, which worked for a time. However, he would walk off and then come back again and scream his abuse. After a couple of rounds he became increasingly violent, grabbing my shirt and trying to pull me off the box. At this point the Police had been called and he made no further attempts to attack me.

As Lindsay stepped up to preach, he came back again. This time he was jumping in the garden behind Lindsay and looked like he might launch himself to knock Lindsay off the box. By this time, the Police had arrived and they were quick to remove the man from injuring himself or others around him. After giving testimonies to the Police, the man was removed and his lady friend also. This ended our initial opposition and the rest of the night went without a hitch.

I was able to spend a good majority of what was left of the night doing some one-to-ones and handing out tracts with Aaron. I was able to talk the Gospel through with a Samoan group who said they occasionally go to church. It was a fruitful conversation and they all took tracts and were given free Bibles. I also had a conversation with a fellow who trusted in Science, even though he wasn’t sure what answers Science actually gave him. It was good that he was willing to listen as I explained that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation…I think he took a tract as well.

It certainly is a challenging time as each week presents new struggles. Lately, we have had a pretty consistent team of preachers and people handing out tracts. However, with a recent increase in violence we have had to be extra cautious in dealing with aggressive hecklers. Again, we are fortunate to freely proclaim the Gospel and speak the message of Salvation. Praise God for His works!


Essex Team

Saturday, 13 August, 2011

Posted by Posted 17 August 2011, 8:56 PM by Andrew Noble. Permalink

Today Peter Ruck and I hit Brentwood town center.  After prayer we both walked up to the main street and began to hand out many tracts.  Peter had a few conversations with some people who were sitting on the seats near the ruins and I too, managed to speak to a number of people.  Firstly it was a young girl named Taylor who said that during the last few weeks various people had been talking to her about Jesus and giving her Bibles etc.  We discussed the Law of God and the need for Jesus death for forgiveness of sin.  She appeared to be taking these truths seriously, perhaps God is drawing her to salvation!  The second person I spoke to was a young guy named Grant.  He just wanted to "live life while He's got it" and we discussed the notion of Divine Justice for law breakers.  He agreed that people will be held accountable for their sins, but didn't want to think of the penalties he will incur at the moment.  He did take a tract at the end, may God break his capricious spirit!  The last gentleman I spoke to was a Dave.  He was a Scotsman who had a Presbyterian up bringing.  We discussed the Law, condemnation and Jesus' death for those who repent and believe.  Dave didn't seem to take much interest.  I reminded him that even if he didn't believe the Bible was true, it wasn't going to change the reality of Gods judgment on His and everyone's sin.  I think he tuned into what we were talking about then and even thanked me for chatting to him.  SDGPeter talking


Brisbane Team

Saturday, 13 August, 2011

Posted by Posted 15 August 2011, 11:22 PM by Josiah Wilson. Permalink

Atheists. Aggressive hecklers. Police: A fairly typical Saturday night at Queen st. mall. Nonetheless, a great opportunity for the message of Salvation to be proclaimed.

It was a full moon tonight. I was the first one to preach and it wasn’t long before a small group of our atheist friends arrived. Fortunately they weren’t as vocal this early in the evening and the Gospel was preached for a small time unhindered. One of them sarcastically made a comment, “What did Jesus actually on the Cross? Did he really do anything?” This was an excellent springboard for the Gospel so I was able to explain how humanity is under the just anger of God because of the evil we commit against him and therefore we are all deserving of punishment in hell. However, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and was the perfect sacrifice when he lay his life down for the sins of his people, taking their punishment upon himself. Praise be to God who changes the hearts of sinful man, granting them to turn from their sin and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection in order for them to stand blameless before God, on account of Christ, and receive eternal life! Unfortunately my voice gave way after a short time so I stepped down for Alex to preach.

Alex was the second preacher up and had the pleasure of dealing with hecklers for the majority of the time. The typical questions/assertions were employed by the Atheists as the basis for their arguments against the Truth. “Other than the Bible what proof do you have that God exists?”, “Prove that Jesus rose from the dead….no you can’t use eyewitness testimony, that is invalid”, “Can God make a burrito so hot that he cannot eat it?”. There were, however, some good questions that were asked. One of them, was to the effect of, “If one man in his whole life only stole a loaf of bread and another was a mass murderer, would they both go to hell?” Again, this provided the opportunity to explain the Gospel and warn of the coming judgment. James 2:10-11 tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said “Do not commit adultery”, also said, “Do not murder”. If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law”. Likewise, the man who is not a murderer but is a thief is accountable as a person who is guilty of disobeying the commands of a holy God who demands justice. So then, we are all equally deserving of hell.

Our 3rd preacher for the evening was a new-comer to OP13, named John. Ryan spotted him preaching alone not far from where our usual spot is and invited him to join us. He eagerly jumped up on the box and preached for a small time, imploring people to repent and turn to Jesus. 

Next up was Ryan, who also had a good crowd of hecklers whose questions Ryan was able to answer. As is often the case, the later it gets the more people there seems to be and while this is a great opportunity for the Gospel, it also carries the danger of drunken people getting aggressive. Unfortunately Ryan was the target of such aggression. It seems that a person in the crowd was offering money for someone to punch/kick Ryan. One of them obliged and made an attempt to kick Ryan but did not make full contact. The police were called but the guys responsible had fled. Bek managed to capture them on camera and fortunately Ryan was uninjured. This sort of opposition has become increasingly regular over the last few months. Praise God no serious harm has befallen any of us but it is a demonstration of peoples hatred towards this message and towards God.

By this time it was getting close to 12:00 so I finished up, preaching for 15 mins. 

We are blessed to be able to proclaim this great message of Salvation each week, uniting together in the hope we share. There were some good one-on-one conversations over the course of the night and many tracts handed out. Despite the occurrence of events, the Gospel was proclaimed faithfully and many people heard it although we have no power to convert people but it is God who draws his sheep and it is He who is glorified! How unfathomable that God would use sinful men to proclaim the message of Salvation to sinful men?


London Team

Friday, 29 July, 2011

Posted by Posted 31 July 2011, 12:21 AM by Robert Hughes. Permalink

Friday evening was a truly blessed time for the team. We met in the cafe at 7pm and enjoyed a time of fellowship and Bible study before heading out to the Square. During our Bible study we looked at Romans 12:9-21, which is such a tremendous passage. It details the marks of a true Christian and is summed up with this verse: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When we are out on the street we come across much evil, but the goodness of God will always triumph over evil, and in that we can rejoice. 

Arriving in the square our team consisted of Andrew, James, Rhea, Roman and myself. After praying together I stood up to preach. You can see below a sort clip from my message. I emphasised our need to get right with God, that we are not an accident and have indeed been made by God, but tragically we have fallen in sin and so we stand condemned before a just and holy God. God, however, is also a God of love, and He offers forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He offers it to all and calls on everyone to repent of their sin and trust in His Son. Some did stop to listen and as a result a number of conversations began. 

I had some really encouraging conversations. One in particular was with a young man from France. He was a delight to talk to and really showed some interest in what I was saying. He mentioned that he had looked into Christianity but was not convinced concerning the reliability and authority of the Bible, particularly when we see so many other religions in this world. He also believes that the Bible has been changed and modified over the years. One to one witnessing.

I explained to him that this is not true. We do have many translations of the Bible, but each of these translations have come from the same collection of manuscripts (the same source), namely, manuscripts written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. We spoke at length about this but I realised that I would need to send him some information for him to look at, so I asked if I could email him later. He welcomed this, which was very encouraging. He also took some tracts before he left and so do pray that his heart would be open to the Gospel. I have since emailed him about the veracity of the Bible and I hope to hear back from soon. 

A little later in the evening we were joined by Kofi, Kwabena and Kwadwo. I really love these guys, three brothers that love the Lord and come out each week to share the Gospel. They got stuck right into things and started talking with people andhanding out tracts. Below is a little snippet from Kwadwo regarding a conversation he had:

"On Friday I had a really long talk with one individual and both Rhea and Andrew came and joined in to talk to him. He was on a two day stay from Germany and claimed that he was a Christian but recently began to think that God does not exist and now at the age of 22 he was pretty set on thinking that there is not a God so he doesn't need to worry about judgement after he dies. So we emphasised that he should listen to his conscience and that deep down he knows that there really is a God. 

One to one witnessing.

When we showed him that he has sinned against a holy God he disputed certain matters such as lying as not sining because it doesn't hurt anybody, but eventually he did see how it is sin to God as it breaks God's law and then we gave him the Gospel before answering the many questions he had. Before we left him he said he would certainly think about what we have said but he continually insisted that we could not convince him with which we continually answered of course we can’t, only God can. That was the main conversation i got into and I believe that Thomas went away thinking about the questions that had played on his mind earlier on."

Everybody on the team was involved in a number of conversations throughout the evening, which was brilliant. At around 10:30pm we left the square and went and sat in Burger King, enjoying some hot food and giving feedback to one another from the time we’d had. We have been running with this format for a few weeks now and it’s really helpful for everyone.

It’s great to share those encouraging conversations we’ve all had and to talk about the challenges we faced and the objections we struggled to answer. Friday night is definitely great training ground for all of us and it helps to equip and prepare us for those conversations we are fortunate to have later in the week. 

Do continue to pray for the work of Operation 513 London. 

Soli Deo Gloria!


Canberra Team

Saturday, 9 July, 2011

Posted by Posted 18 July 2011, 10:49 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

Since moving to Goulburn from Brisbane a few months ago, I have been looking for an opportunity to start a new Operation 513 evangelism team. And now it appears as if that opportunity has arisen. Being located in Goulburn (as the pastor of Goulburn Baptist Church), I have found myself strategically located just 50 minutes from the nation’s capital – Canberra. I have heard many stories about evangelism in Canberra, and the hardness of the people, and I am able to report that the accounts I have heard are true. The people in Canberra seem to be very hardened towards the Gospel. Yet, in their hardness I find hope, since Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and those who have hardened their hearts to Him are among the biggest sinners around.

After spending some time trying to figure out when it would be best for evangelism we settled on planning a weekly outreach on Saturday afternoons from 2pm-4pm in Garema Place in Civic (Canberra CBD).

On July 9th was the first afternoon of the outreach, and amongst the hardness we did find some people who were more than willing to take tracts, talk to use about the Gospel and even to listen to us open air preach.

I arrived in Civic at 2pm and was soon joined by Merhawi who is a part of the Westminster Presbyterians in Canberra. He’d been witnessing in this part of Canberra before so I valued his wisdom and insight on the best spots to witness. As we began to hand out tracts our eyes were drawn to a large group of black African wearing white shirts. This group was handing out some kind of literature, and were walking around with TV quality video cameras and microphones. Deciding that this looked interesting, we made our way to one man and asked what was happening. Turns out this group was a new Pentecostal church plant in Canberra, and what they were doing was handing out a devotional written by their apostle (warning bells) in Texas. They provided me with a copy of the devotional and then asked me to smile to the camera and thank this apostle. I refused, gave the man a tract and then proceeded to walk off. Shortly after this we ran into another group of people from this same church, so I decided to quiz them on the Gospel. As I spoke to them I was very surprised that they were solid on this front. They explained to me the need of salvation, the cross, repentance and faith. Although their church is on the dodgy side with Apostles (dodgy cause Apostles have ceased), they had the gospel correct. We handed the group some tracts and then continued to walk around Civic handing out tracts.

As we were walking I handed a tract to a man who was walking around with a football, he seemed interested in talking, so we engaged him with the Gospel. It turns out that this man’s name is Mick, and he considered himself to be an ‘in-between good person’, although he had just admitted to robbing a lady around the corner! He was hard to witness to, as he seemed to be under the influence of alcohol, but I preserved, made sure he understood sin, and then understood who Jesus is. Mick took a tract, thanked us and then walked away. My prayer is that God would save yet another drunk and transform his life.

As we continued to walk around Garema Place in Civic, we noticed a young Asian man handing out books, so we walked up to him and asked what he was up to. It turns out this man was a part of an Eastern mystic religion, and he was handing out books about what his “master” had taught. The books focus was how if we all eat vegan, then global warming would cease. We spoke to him for a bit about his beliefs, it turns out that he believes that all religious roads to lead to paradise, and that we will be reincarnated. He went on to explain that reincarnation teaches that we will be judged for our good deeds and bad deeds, then depending on how much karma we have, will determine what we come back to earth as. Upon hearing this I asked Lang (the Eastern mystic) who it was that actually did the judging when we die, who determines if we have done enough good or bad. He paused for a moment then said, “We judge ourselves, our true selves will determine that.” To which I replied, “But most men will proclaim their own goodness, so surely we will all judge ourselves good and come back as humans.” Lang disagreed, and said that we all judge ourselves correctly, and we can trust our judgements. So I asked Lang, “Have you ever been wrong about something?” To which he admitted he had, so I followed up by asking, “How can you trust your judgements then? How do you know that you are correct concerning reincarnation?” Lang went on to try and explain how we can’t really know anything in and of ourselves, but rather we need an outside source to tell us. I asked what that outside source was, and he said it was his master. She was always right, so we can trust her, as she is a religious leader just like Jesus and Muhammad. The conversation then went down the path of all religions being the same, so I started to talk about ‘Master’ Jesus and how His teachings make Him unique. I showed him that Jesus claimed to be the only way of salvation, and if that is true, then all religions aren’t the same. Lang didn’t believe us, and insisted that all masters are equal. We presented the gospel to him, and I left him with a tract explaining who Jesus is. Please remember Lang in your prayers. May Jesus save him and deliver him out of the kingdom of darkness.

After this I managed to get a quick conversation with Curtis, who wasn’t sure where he was going. He didn’t seem very interested but still took a tract. May Jesus save him.

As the day drew towards an end, we decided it would be good to open air preach. So I set up my box in Garema place and began to preach on the frailty of human life. A few people stopped (probably 20-30) and a few hecklers emerged. One man claimed to be a Christian and he had a go at me for preaching from the Old Testament, so I went to the New Testament to prove what I was saying. This man then made the claim, “Jesus died so I can live in sin.” That was a statement I had to go after. I took him to 1 John and explained that if we live in sin, then it shows we aren’t of God, but rather we are of the devil. This seemed to quiet him down for a bit. The next heckler that came along decided to yell abuse at me and swear at me for “telling people my opinions in public”, he said no-one should shout their opinions. I pointed out he was being a hypocrite, as it was his opinion that no one should shout their opinion. He swore and walked off. The next heckler decided he would try and drown out the preaching by taking off his shirt (in freezing temperatures), put on a wig and play the saxophone really loudly. I used this distraction to explain how people love their sin and hate Jesus, and that they will do anything to silence the gospel.

A few people stayed to listen to the end. At about 4:30pm, I finished up and we headed home. Praise God for a good first day. May the ground in Canberra be ploughed up and may the seed of the Gospel take root.

Soli Deo Gloria!


London Team

Friday, 15 July, 2011

Posted by Posted 16 July 2011, 8:48 PM by Robert Hughes. Permalink

Last night was another blessed time of reaching out to people with the Gospel. Our team for the evening was Kwabena, Kwadwo, Wainaina, Waithera, Rhea, James, Barney and myself. It was a warm and pleasant evening for outreach and there were certainly plenty of people about. Perfect for witnessing. 

Standing up to preach I began my message by talking about the recent scandal with the News of the World. Due to illegal phone hacking the paper has now had to close down after 168 years in print. I decided to use this to draw on people's concept of what they believe to be right and wrong, and more importantly, how can we know what is right or wrong, and also, to which standard do we turn when asking the question of what is right and what is wrong. If the News of the Word staff believed they acted rightly, who are we to say they acted wrongly? Is right and wrong just a matter of opinion, or is there an objective standard? There is, and that standard is God. He made the world, and that means He makes the rules. This allowed me to bring the message into line with examining ourselves in light of God's rules and understanding that we are guilty sinners worthy of judgment. Helping people to see they deserve the wrath and judgment of God for their sins makes the grace of God offered through Jesus Christ far more amazing. People are also able to appropriate a clearer understanding of why they need Christ. 

Not long after I finished preaching another preacher entered the Square. His message was built very much on the prosperity Gospel and was also a mish-mash of condemning statements, some of which really made me cringe. He had even made some rather disturbing advances towards some young girls. One of the girls I had spoken with previously commented on how much of a hypocrite she saw him to be. In contrast she was appreciative of the fact that we were preaching from the Bible and were sincere. She is not a Christian but to hear her say this encouraged me that God was helping her to see the truth. It was frustrating to hear this preacher say so many unhelpful and erroneous things. Talking amongst ourselves Rhea really encouraged me when she said that a little while ago, when another team had come into the Square to preach, a Muslim walking passed said to her that it was clear we preached with love and compassion, even though the other team of Christians did not. Of course I wish this was not so, but it shows that people can see when people are being sincere and loving and when they are not. Also, when you consider that each week we speak of hell and judgment, it is so encouraging to hear that people can still see that we care about them and want them to be saved. 

Open air preaching. We all had some great conversations. Rhea spoke with a gentleman who was visibly moved by what he heard. He said he would like to visit her church and he also took some tracts. Please pray for him! I spoke with a Muslim gentleman who told me that he was married to a Christian. He appeared quite liberal in much of what he believed and he also leaned heavily on an evolutionary understanding of the world. I found it very interesting when I took him through God's moral law. He had said that he believed himself to be a good person but when I asked if he had lied, stolen, etc, it was so evident that he was convicted and that his conscience was speaking to him. We got talking about evolution, etc, from that point on because he kept asking me questions about it, to which I answered as best I could, as I feel it is only right that we do answer their questions. However I had hoped that I would have had more time to expound on the Gospel. I was encouraged that he left with a John Blanchard booklet called "Ultimate Questions," which really opens up the Gospel well. 

I also spoke with another Muslim who said that he is a relativist. He believed morality existed only for our survival and so laws are in place to protect us. Ultimately it is pragmatism that has shaped our value system and defined our moral code. We know something is wrong only because we have experienced certain practical consequences. We have seen how it affects us through the pain it brings and also through that which we end up losing. 

But is this really true? Do we not intrinsically know that certain things are right and wrong? I believe we do. For example, I don't need to kill someone and then see the result of that before knowing it is wrong. To suggest that we only know murder is wrong because we realise after it happens that there are serious consequences for the person being murdered shows that we have no concept of the value of life and are incapable of making moral judgments before we do something. This of course is absurd because history and practise shows that we do value life. Ask anybody why they have become a doctor or fireman. Will they say they chose that profession simply to maintain a right balance in society so that we don't lose the people we need to function properly? No, they will say they chose that profession because they value life and want to protect people. Now, it is true that the non-Christian doctor or fireman does good works to show to themselves, and God, that they are good people worthy of accolade and Heaven, but even with this selfish attitude that drives them, they still know that what they are doing is good and praiseworthy. 

You see, even though their motive is not good, they are still doing good because they want people (and God) to see that they are good. The fact that they want people to see they are good shows they do understand the intrinsic concept of good versus evil. Let me point out though that a non-Christian would undoubtedly say they have no selfish agenda and are doing good because they know it is the right thing to do and so are not trying to prove anything to anybody. This is not the case, but the point is, when pressed, a non-Christian would not say they are doing good to maintain societal balance, rather they would say they are doing good because they themselves are good. So in practise the truth is that people intrinsically know what is right and what is wrong. Morality is not a result of pragmatism. Of course, we do see people doing wrong, but this is not because they do not know it is right or wrong before they do it, rather they do it because they have a rebellious and sinful heart. 

After explaining to him as best I could that we do intrinsically know what is right and wrong it was frustrating to see him deny it so strongly. He is certainly not the first relativist I have spoken to and he won't be the last. It is a predominant worldview today and we need to do our best to help them see the absurdity of what they are saying. 

It was certainly a profitable evening. Do pray for all who heard the Gospel!

Soli Deo Gloria!


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