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Saturday, 7 February, 2009
After some time of prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship, we moved to our regular spot in Queen Street Mall to begin our night of evangelism. Craig Ireland and a number of people from his Church joined us again for this outreach, which was a real blessing.
I stood up to preach first and talked about how every single human being knows there is a God (Romans 1). But what many people do is that they suppress this truth in unrighteousness. Alex (our weekly agnostic heckler) didn't like hearing this so he immediately began to heckle me with his usual line, "There is no God!" Since Romans 1:20 tells us that the way everyone knows there is a God is through "the things that have been made", I gave a simple argument for God's existence from the universe's existence. It is outlined below:
- Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
- The universe has a beginning.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
This argument is logically valid, but Alex wanted to dispute the first premise. He said that there are examples in quantum mechanics (like virtual particles) of things that arise without a cause. However I responded by saying that wholly apart from the disputed question of whether virtual particles really exist at all, the central point to be made here is that the quantum mechanical vacuum on which they depend for their existence is emphatically not nothing. The dynamical properties of vacuous space arise out of its interaction with matter and radiation fields, in the absence of which "this dynamism of empty space is but a formal abstraction lacking physical reality." The quantum vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy which gives rise to virtual particles. Thus, virtual particles can hardly be said to arise without a cause.
Alex simply ignored my point, and kept repeating that virtual particles are an example of something coming into being uncaused. So as to not get the discussion bogged down on this topic too much, I then talked about what is to come after we die. Since there is good evidence for God, the topic of the afterlife is very relevant to discuss. Alex brought forth his usual argument against any afterlife by saying, "Have you ever had a thought outside your brain?" Obviously we haven't. Therefore, he concluded that there is no afterlife. I pointed out that his conclusion does not logically follow from the argument's premises. For in order to prove a negative, one must either know absolutely everything about the subject matter to know it does not exist (like there are no Muslims in the U.S. Senate), or show a logical contradiction within it, making it impossible to exist (like a married bachelor). But Alex did not do either, so therefore his conclusion does not logically follow.
So I briefly outlined how we can know there is a judgment to come, and the existence of Heaven and Hell. I then proceeded to talk about how we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I warned both Alex and the crowd that had gathered that every idle word that you speak will be judged on the Day of Judgment. Jesus even said that lust is adultery. Alex did not like hearing about the judgment to come and sin, and so kept repeating, "There is no God!" After warning about the judgment to come, I gave the good news of the gospel to those listening. And that is, we can be forgiven of our sin through the death of the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ. But we must repent and trust that He died on the cross for us. I also pointed out that we don't serve a dead Saviour, for three days later Jesus rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.
After I had finished preaching, Andrew Hsu got up to preach. After a little while, he had a few hecklers asking him various questions. God brought in quite a few people to hear the message he was preaching. After Andrew had finished preaching, he continued to chat with a couple of the people who had been listening for many minutes afterwards.
By the time Andrew got down there was only half an hour left to go on the outreach, and since we had no other spare preachers, we all instead focused our energies in handing out gospel tracts and witnessing one2one with people.
There were many people who heard the gospel this evening. Please pray that God will convict them of their sin and draw them onto Himself.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 7 February, 2009
Jason, Markus, and I met under the Surfers' Paradise sign ready to proclaim God's Word at the Gold Coast right on noon. We firstly prayed, and then I got up to preach. A small crowd gathered and the people sitting on the all the various seats in hearing-range listened to the message being preached. However, there was no one who wanted to heckle. I called out to a young man that was listening whether he thought he was a good person, he said yes, however as soon as I mentioned some of the commandments, he ran away as the conviction of sin he did not like.
After expounding on the law and the gospel numerous times, I stepped down and tagged Jason in. He spoke about the temporality of this life and the fact that the judgment follows it for every single person. During this time a group of guys stood there intently listening. One even decided to record the message on his phone. A few of them tried to mock the message, but Jason reminded them that what you sow, you will also reap one day. The law and the gospel were also clearly explained to them, so I pray that God will grow the seed that has been planted in their hearts.
After Jason got down, I got up to preach and tried to engage this group of guys. One of them was willing to see if they were a good person, and he soon realised he wasn't. So I explained that the Jesus Christ came to die on the cross to take the punishment we deserve in Hell, He can take it on the cross for us. But we must repent and trust in Jesus' death to save us on the Day of Judgment to receive forgiveness of sins.
After I got down from preaching, Jason and I joined Markus handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to people one2one.
Jason had a good conversation with a person who was a Roman Catholic. Jason explained that contrary to the Roman Catholic teaching, the Bible actually says we are saved by grace through faith alone. No one is required to take part in any of the sacraments or other good works to be saved, they are simply a natural response to genuine faith. He also talked about the idolatry of Mary in the Vatican's teaching, and what the Bible says about it. The man seemed to understand what Jason was saying and he was very thankful for the conversation. He said he had never really heard that before and said that he would really investigate these things. Please pray that God will convert this man.
During this period of time, Jamie arrived at the Coast and joined in witnessing to people. He had a very extensive conversation with a person who was brought up Roman Catholic but now had his own religion. So Jamie presented the law and the gospel to Him, and I pray that God will convert this man from his work-righteous religious system.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 31 January, 2009
Andre, Jason, David and I met at 7:30pm at our regular place outside City Hall for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. I received a call from Peter letting me know that Andrew and he had a flat tyre on their car and so thus they would be late.
So at 9pm we moved to our usual spot in Queen Street Mall, but we couldn't set up the Bible table or soap box, as Andrew had them and he hadn't arrived yet. Alex (our regular agnostic heckler), and his fellow agnostics were there ready to heckle. Some of them were even saying, "When are you going to preach?"
This week we also had Craig Ireland and his crew help us for the outreach, which was a real blessing. We had a big team this week, totalling about 25 people.
At 9:30pm, Andrew and Peter arrived with all the Bible table gear and the soap box. So after setting up the Bible table, I stood up to preach. Almost immediately, Alex was heckling me saying there is no God. I talked about the judgment to come and about sin. After Alex's embarrassing lack of knowledge of fallacy names when we were debating on the streets just weeks earlier, he must have done some research as he now seemed to know their names, but would always misapply them. For example, at one point he would claim I committed the fallacy of appealing to authority when I was talking about God and what He has done. It is not fallacious to learn about God and what He is done from His revelation to us. He is the one who would actually know that information, so we should get that information from God, thus it does not commit the fallacy of appealing to authority. Moreover, God is even more of a reliable source to get that information because of the fact that He logically cannot do anything evil (like lie).
The next question then is how do we know what God has told us? This can be proven many various ways; one way is through the Argument for the Resurrection. For if the resurrection of Jesus really occurred, then that authenticates the teachings of Jesus as being true, which in turn authenticates the Bible because Jesus said the Bible was true. And there is good evidence that the resurrection actually did occur. And we know that the Bible hasn't been corrupted over the millennia either.
I asked Alex if he had any proof that the Bible is wrong. He quoted John 21:11a - "So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them." He said that this number of fish was recorded in a story with Pythagoras by Iamblichus centuries earlier; therefore the whole Bible is wrong. Obviously, that conclusion does not logically follow from the premises. In fact, I explained to Alex that he was committing the genetic fallacy. That is, dismissing a belief as wrong because of the origins of that belief. Even if there was some sort of reference to a prior story in the account of John, that does not prove the Bible is wrong in any of its parts.
During the preaching, I proclaimed the law and the gospel many times, calling everyone to repent and trust the Saviour. The dialogue with Alex attracted quite a bit of a crowd, and I pray God will convert all those that heard the gospel.
Andrew then got up to preach, but it seems Alex didn't want to heckle. Andrew preached about the coming judgment, and how we've all sinned and deserve God's wrath, but that we can be forgiven through Christ's death on the cross. After a while, he had a few hecklers come up real close to him and ask him various questions. After a dialogue with them, he stood down from preaching and Dave Strachan got up to preach. He talked about who God is, what He demands of us, and how far we fall short. That is why we need our sins forgiven, but it can only be through Jesus' death on the cross.
There were many one2ones that occurred, and heaps of gospel tracts went out. Please pray that God will bring the increase on the seeds that were planted in so many people's hearts tonight.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 31 January, 2009
Many people were out and about at Surfers today. Ryan and I handed out heaps of gospel tracts to people before we arrived at our preaching spot where we met Marcus. We were a team of 3. Over the course of the afternoon, each of us handed out hundreds of gospel tracts and people. Most people were responsive.
I chatted with 2 guys who hold to humanism. Unfortunately I didn't get to challenge them with the gospel, but they took and read the gospel tracts I gave them at least.
I did get to challenge 2 guys who hold to Islam. They were actually really friendly, great blokes to talk with. As I challenged them with what Jesus said - that he is the only way. They couldn't believe that Jesus was God or anyone more than just a prophet. May God 'grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth' (2 Timothy 2:25).
Ryan and I took turns preaching. We interacted with a few people in the crowd.
I had a group of younger guys and gals come in close while I was preaching and ask me a bunch of questions about what heaven will be like and whether there will be animals in heaven and whether or not we will eat in heaven. I tried to make the focus of my response about them making sure - first and foremost - that they were actually going to heaven. I then proceeded to provide some of the descriptions in the bible about heaven. One of the girls asked if there will be sex in heaven. I responded by quoting Jesus...
Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
...And then, much to the relief of one of the guys there, I said that this does not mean that we will be ghosts or a chubby babies in diapers playing harps for all eternity, but rather we are told that we will have real glorified bodies. One of the blokes asked if there will be death in heaven. I said that the bible tells us that every tear will be wiped from our eyes - there will be no suffering or death in heaven but we will be given glorified bodies that are imperishable.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 30 January, 2009
Friday evening saw the team come together once more for a night of evangelism. The team was as follows: James (my younger brother), Steve, Ben, Carl, Jannah, Susi, Philip, and me. We met at Café Nero for a time of devotions and prayer and then headed into Leicester Square to minister the gospel.
After standing up to preach it wasn't long before people stopped to listen and make comments. One of the first to do this was a man named Ali. After I explained to Ali that we are all sinners, that we have all lied and stolen and looked with lust, he asked me this question: How can I redeem myself? This allowed me to explain to him that we cannot redeem ourselves; we cannot make ourselves right with God. The only way we can be made right with God is through trusting in the One who died in our place so that the wrath of God might be satisfied. This is the love of God, poured out through Jesus Christ.
Later on I was heckled by a man who held a thick philosophy book in his hand. He asked some challenging questions and he certainly had a keen ear. I had explained that there is nothing we can to save ourselves, and then a few minutes later I said that in order to be saved we must repent and believe in Christ. He pulled me up on this and said that I had contradicted myself. I explained that Scripture tells us we cannot repent and believe unless God gives us the grace to repent and believe. Even so, God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe. God is able to do this because all have sinned and have fallen short of His glory. God is sovereign and He saves those who are His. We must tell people that even though they cannot cause themselves to be born-again, unless they turn from their sin and trust in Christ they will be cast into hell. Our job is to strip a person of all hope they have in saving themselves, so that they would throw themselves on the mercy of God.
After I finished preaching open-air the team set about speaking with people one-to-one. Steve manned the table that held the free Bibles and tracts we put out. Everyone was engaged in conversation and we all had the opportunity to proclaim the gospel to the people of London. It is a real joy for me to see how the team has grown and to see men and women of God who desire above all else to proclaim the name of Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 30 January, 2009
We were a smaller team this week with Jim and Sucraj both away unwell but we had the encouragement of Nikki joining us for the week. There was a fair number of people in the square so after beginning with prayer we started to hand out tracts.
Many people in this country will take a tract when they will not stop and talk to you. It is always encouraging to see people reading tracts when they take them but sometimes I almost laugh aloud for joy as I see a group of people gathered around on friend as they walk reading aloud the gospel!
It was very cold this week and as such not many people were stopping to talk but one couple of young ladies stopped and spoke with Nikki and I. One of them was very hard in her sin but the other was more receptive, we struggled to give them the gospel but the constant distraction of the night's partying was drawing them away. After a short period a middle aged atheist came over and proceed to insult and patronise both of us and refused to even enter discussion (all the while claiming to be the rational and reasonable one!). At this the girls left and we talked for a period over what had happened and then got back to it.
During this time Carl and Gemma had arrived and where at their normal busy pace of giving tracts to everything that moved. Those two are machines at tracting! When Nikki and I finished talking she had to head off due to the cold and as the other two were busy I set up to preach.
This week I preached regarding the jokes and laughter that Hell often inspires in people today. With my heart grieved to see them so deceived I gave the sobering truth of the judgement to come and the eternal hell that is deserved by all those who sin. Then pleading that people would turn away from eternal death and destruction I pointed to my great saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. Not many were stopping and fewer still were heckling, cold or indifferent? I just pray that they will remember whatever they hear and that God will use it to bring them to faith.
We ended the night with prayer and headed home. Praise God for the encouragements we receive!
Saturday, 24 January, 2009
We knew we will have to do this with a skeleton crew tonight, we just didn’t know how slim the skeleton was going to be.
Ryan is away this week, backsliding... er... holidaying with the family. Since most of the people who come in fortnightly have all showed up the week before, we knew there isn’t going to be many of us in the team this week...
It is nine o’clock, and team consists of me, my lovely wife and Rachel. Alex our regular not-so-friendly neighbourhood Atheists is within sight. This is going to be interesting...
Of course, this is where I tell you how my brilliant leadership just kicked into hyper-drive and Andrew the Fearless arisen to the occasion and saved the day. No, that didn’t happen. Instead, Craig Island and his crew showed up just in the nick of time. Yes, God providentially provided and Andrew did not break down into tears like a little girl.
We operated this night without the Bible table; everyone is to carry their backpacks so no one needs to watch the bags. By this time Nick has showed up as well, Dan is on his way to reinforce us and usually a few more people would show up throughout the night. We have enough so that I can preach without worrying too much about the safety of the girls. So off we go...
The mall is a little quiet for the Australia Day long weekend; I step up to the soap box and started to preach. A couple of teenagers, some looks to be drunk, have started to gather around me. I started to walk through the Law with a young man named Benny, who claimed to be a Christian. Initially Ben tries to say the right things, but when I was turning up the heat on him about breaking the law of God and the coming judgement, he did not like it. His knowledge of the Bible, and therefore the Gospel is absolutely abysmal. Benny and his mates keep referring themselves as Christians yet they were clearly intoxicated and were completely hostile to the Gospel. I couldn’t help but think that our modern evangelism endeavours are cranking out false “believers” like these young people with alarming rate. They have been to an outreach concert, walked the aisle and signed a card and now are reassured that God loves no matter what they do. As Benny and friends walks away, while I tried to explain to them the good news of the Gospel, it appears that they would reject it because they want to carry on with their sinful life style; I pray that God will save them out of His mercy.
Meanwhile Alex has been relatively civilized this week. From memory he did not engage me during the first half of the night. I stepped down after about an hour. There are now some one-on-one witnessing going on. By now the crew number has grown to about ten people and all of them have someone they were talking to. Nick has expressed that he wanted to open air preach. I do believe this is his first time and he is very keen to do so. I agreed to put him on and he stepped up to the soapbox.
Nick’s first open air went quite well. Later he commented after viewing the video that his volume was very low, it was loud enough to get Alex interested. In his usual form Alex started heckling Nick and while Nick was able to hold his ground he was not able to overcome Alex’s domineering style. I swapped with Nick and I wouldn’t say I won the contest, to Alex I am way too much of a fundamentalist dinosaur to satisfy his intellectual tastes; unfortunately to me, Alex’s arguments remain very much the same week to week. Our engagement usually ends with Alex finding someone more interesting to talk to. I don’t blame him, all I do is keep reminding him that God is going to have a day of reckoning with all men, Atheists or not. He knows the Law, he knows the Gospel, he can say many things on that great and fearful day but he won’t be able say that he is ignorant of the good news. We still pray for him, he doesn’t like it but we still pray for him.
As I stepped down from the soapbox the second time and the time is approaching midnight. A very polite young man and his girl friend were sitting next to where I was preaching. He stopped me and asked me a genuine question: “Why are there people who uses religion to their own personal gain?” He was asking that because he came from a religious background, and he has witness major hypocrisy in the church he was involved with and the scandal had to do with money. It was a very pleasant conversation as I get to explain that many who profess the name of God are not true believers. God will one day deal with people who have abused religion as a way to personal gain, if not in this life then on the day of judgement. In fact God will deal with all injustice that took place in this world finally and completely when that day comes. I turn the table on the young man and I asked him: “How will you personally do in the court room of God?” This leads to a fruitful conversation where I was able to show him God’s justice, walk him through the Law and finally present with him and his listening girlfriend, the Good News of Christ dying and saving sinners. When that conversation is over, it is past mid night. The crew had finished what they were doing and we were ready to leave the mall.
Despite a shaking beginning, the night ended with many people witness to. We pray God will be merciful and save those who have heard the Gospel tonight.
To God be the Glory.
Saturday, 17 January, 2009
We had a decent sized team at the start of the night. Ryan had a wedding to attend and will join us later in the night. The mall was relatively quiet. With the Bible table setup, Andre was the first preacher of the night. He did a good job presenting the Gospel. There were a few stayed to listen to him. From memory it was fairly uneventful for the earlier part of the night.
I was the next preacher up. Again while I preached there was not a lot of reaction from the crowd. I noticed a gentleman listening sitting on a bench to the left of me; there were very little traffic in the mall. I preached for about half an hour and closed my preaching with a general call to the Gospel.
I was a fraction of a second from stepping down from the soap box, the gentleman who sat on the bench came up to me with a question. He started out being very courteous and looked as if he was genuine in his tone and attitude. His question revolved around the problem of evil – one of the most common objections we encounter on the street. The basic argument boils down to this:
A. The God of the Bible is Loving
B. The God of the Bible is All Powerful
C. Evil is incompatible with a loving God
D. An All powerful God can stop evil anytime he wants to
WE KNOW FOR SURE:
E. Evil exits in the World
F. God is incapable of stopping evil - HE is not all powerful
G. God doesn't want to stop evil - HE is not loving
The flow of the above logic, based on the REALITY of evil in this world, people have come to the conclusion that God does not exist. It appears to be a very powerful argument, and we encounter this in the street on a semi-regular basis. There are many ways to point out the flaws in the above argument; I won’t bore you with them all. My favorite route to take is to point out the inconsistency in trying to deny the existence of the Christian God, yet still utilize the Judeo-Christian standard of good and evil.
I questioned the gentleman: “How do we know what is good and what is evil without God?” The problem is that when we say it is evil for “innocent” people to die or suffer, I would agree, if someone is truly innocent and endures what appears to be needless suffering then that would be evil. Problem is, according to the Bible, no one is innocent, everyone is guilty and when we suffer the consequences of sin, either from the hand of others or through our own rebellion, we receive from the hand of our Creator, what we rightfully deserve. That’s not all the Bible has to say about evil but the Bible is very clear about evil, it is measured against a immovable standard set out by a Holy and Just God, and He deals with evil, and will deal with it ultimately, in His own time and in His own way, that is perfectly consistent with His nature.
On the other hand, when human beings attempt to call something evil, by what right do we do so apart from God’s law? In the humanistic point of view based upon the Darwinian philosophy of “survival of the fittest”, why is it evil when people die? They are not fit enough for their environment, so they have lost the “race” why would that be evil? If one group insist on that certain “bad” things happening around the world is “wrong” or “evil”, but another group think such things are perfectly good even admirable, who is to say which group is right? Do we take a vote?
I tried to answer this gentleman’s objection with the same courtesy I received initially. It was soon apparent that he did not want an answer; he just had an axe to grind. He was not happy with my answer and the exchange was becoming less friendly than how it started. Every two minutes the gentleman was changing the subject, never allow my answer to be complete. It was very frustrating but at the same time our interaction was attracting a sizable crowd. The gentleman was unhappy about the fact I was standing on the soap-box, I told him that I was preaching and this helps me attract a crowd. He was unhappy that I was “yelling”, I told him that I was preaching and this helps me attract a crowd. He was unhappy that I was not allowing a “conversation”, I told him that I am preaching so I am not about having “conversations”, besides if you could stop changing the subject every two minutes the “conversation” could go a lot further.
This gentleman was temporary distracted as I was not giving the satisfaction of dominating over the preacher, I turned and addressed a young man named Kenny. He is a young man in his late teens and so happened he is Taiwanese just like me. Kenny said that he does not like Christians because his previous experiences with youth missionaries who promised young people just like himself if they just accept Jesus into their heart then their lives will get better and all their problems will go away. Problem is that these kids did not get the abundant life they were promised and they felt that they were lied to. I tried to answer some of His objections and then take him through the Law and Gospel. I held his attention for a good ten minutes until the gentleman I was dealing with all of the sudden wanted a piece of the action again, asking completely unrelated questions and demanding that I address his question. I refused because I was half way speaking with Kenny and that annoyed him enough that he went away in a huff. When I turned to address Kenny again, trying to pick up where we left off, he angrily said to me: “I have heard people like you before, and I am really not interested.” So Kenny walked away as well.
I stepped down from the soap box, I said to myself: “I think I am done for the night.”
As providence would have it, this preacher have made absolute hash of things, Ryan showed up just in time to take over. While Ryan is getting ready, I went to my little corner to sooth my inner child. A very encouraging young man named Jared came up to me, he is a Christian who happened to pass by. He said some very kind words to me about my preaching and we had a great conversation about evangelism. While I was trying to explain why we use the Law before the Gospel, Kenny came back with his girlfriend and wanted to apologize for walking off. What happened then can only be orchestrated by our Lord. I was just speaking to Jared about using the Law in evangelism and Kenny gave me a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the use of the Law in presenting the Gospel. More importantly I was able to explain to Kenny about the true promise of the Gospel, and it is not about living our best life now, but it is about the forgiveness of our Sin. I walked through the Law with him and showed him the justice of God in punishing law-breakers. I asked him if he understand that if he dies tonight, he will face God in judgment and God would be just in sending Kenny to hell. He said yes. I then spoke about the grace of God in Jesus Christ. That God send His son to die for our sin upon the cross, taking our punishment, and if we will believe in His name, repent from our sin and trust in the work of Christ alone upon the cross then God will judge us righteous, not because of our own deeds, but His. Again Kenny said yes, and his girlfriend heard the Gospel as well. Kenny and I shook hands, I promised I will pray for him, they walked away with the Gospel message loud and clear.
Yip, my job was done.
Jared and I continued our conversation, we exchanged contact details and he left just before Ryan got up to preach. It was still very quiet in the mall so Ryan just faithfully preached the Gospel to those few who passed by. The situation quickly changed as a young man in a full business suit started heckling Ryan and accusing the God of the old testament is cruel and unjust for allow “slavery”, institute capital punishment and the command of slaughter of whole people groups. While his objections are not new, the mischaracterization of the Old Testament is again a semi-regular occurrence on the street, the angle and the way he presented his arguments was quite new. Ryan tried to answer his objections but the gentleman danced around the issue and was not allowing the preacher to answer these questions thoroughly. Furthermore he was extremely militant towards Christianity, with every argument indented to undermine the position of the preacher. The plot thickens as he revealed himself to be a Zoroastrian, a very interesting religion as it turned out. Claiming to be the oldest religion in the world, and therefore MUST be the true one, these good people believe in a good God who created the universe, there will be a judgment day that is coming and as good Zoroastrians their good deeds can out weight their bad and that is the primary reason why they see Christianity as corrupt because the Bible says that God is not impressed by our good works and that is just not fair. (Disclaimer, the above paragraph needs to be read with your “sarcasm” goggles on.”)
It is not fair that God does not let sin slide... I am yet to figure out the logic of that sentiment.
I took my chance to engage the gentleman conversation as he was leaving the preaching spot and I tried to answer his objections one on one. He was much more polite in that setting and we were able talk about some of his problem with Christianity in better detail. Turns out, shock and horror (I am not sure if I am being sarcastic here…) the gentleman used to be a “born again” Christian. He even has the proof of his previous religious fervor, the name of Christ is tattooed in artistic flair across both of his forearms. The problem appears to be that the Christianity he used to be a part of was not moral enough for him, for all the talk of being “different” Christians were not different to the world, yet Christ was taught as being “the only way”, not as a way to salvation, but as a way to better behavior management. When he encounters Zoroastrianism, viola, here was a way other than Christ that produces better morality, and better self discipline. Of course, Christianity is now proven to be a lie, because it doesn’t live up to the promise.
Tragic state of affairs indeed, I tried to show him the real Gospel, but the wall of self-righteousness was so high that even the Law of Moses was too soft and corrupted for him. He refuses to see that he is a sinner in the sight of God; in his view the Christian God is unjust to not take the good works of man into account when it comes to the final judgment. By the end of the night our conversation did not go anywhere, for one thing I am unfamiliar with Zoroastrianism, for another, I am amazed at the level of self-confidence in his own righteousness. “The Pharisees lives” is thought that enters my brain as I said good bye to my Zoroastrian friend. I have heard much smarter and wiser Christian teachers warning that the modern version of “love-me-to-death” Christianity is going to push people into either hardcore atheism, or hardcore legalism such as Islam, or what I saw tonight. Maybe it’s just my gen-x pessimism coming through, but are we seeing some of that trend in the world today? Something for me to think about anyway.
As time passes midnight, Ryan stepped down as the last preacher. It was a good night again because God is sovereign in all that He does. Despite a quiet night, the whole time the team is on the street, member of our team is having a conversation about the Gospel with someone all the time. The Gospel went out to many people and God’s name is gloried when his Gospel is faithfully preached.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Monday, 26 January, 2009
Since it was Australia Day, I knew that it would definitely be busy down at Surfers Paradise. So Peter Webber and I made our way down to the coast. We noticed that many people were dressed up in national colours and a lot of people put flags outside the windows of their cars. So once we arrived, we started handing out gospel tracts to every one we met. Big Money and Million dollar notes worked very well because people saw it as a novelty note for Australia Day. So many people came back asking for more for their friends.
After a few witnessing encounters, I stood up to preach and nearly instantly people started to heckle. Within minutes a crowd of about 100 people had started to gather as they listened to the preaching. I ran the good person test through a couple of most vocal hecklers, and they recognised their helplessness towards God. They knew they deserved Hell. I then preached the cross of Christ and how one can be forgiven of their sins. Since more and more people were joining the crowd, I made sure I went over the law and gospel again, elaborating on certain parts, to make sure the message stuck in their heads.
None of the hecklers had anything meaningful to say though. They were just amazed that someone would do stand up and preach like this. One guy decided to pick me up off the place where I was standing and move me 5 metres away, after which I simply went back and started preaching again.
At one stage, in order to drown out the preaching, a group of guys started saying "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie", at which the crowd joined in with "Oi, Oi, Oi". Then everyone proceeded to sing the national anthem, but instead of making the preaching stop, they simply attracted more people to find out what was going on. So that once they had finished singing, I simply resumed preaching saying that even though it is great to be an Australian, even Australians will die one day. And after that comes the judgment. I praise God for bringing in all these hecklers, as they attracted more people to hear the gospel message.
I had the usual things thrown at me, like beach balls and thongs, but this time I also had a blow-up kangaroo thrust into my face. I also got soked with Coca-Cola, which some guys thought would be funny to do. However, all it did was add more credibility to the message, because the people listening saw that I was willing to keep preaching this message, even when things like that were done to me. For Jesus' words ring out so clear: "Do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do." (Luke 12:4) All an unbeliever can do is kill the body, so there is no reason why we shouldn't share our faith.
After an hour of preaching, I stood down and had numerous people thank me for the message I was preaching. Even non-Christians came up to me saying, "Look, I don't believe your message, but man, do you have guts. I'm really going to think about what you said." Others who said, "Your message has changed my life." Praise God.
We then did some further one2ones and tracting with the people there. After my voice had recovered, I stood back up to preach and God again brought in a massive crowd to hear the gospel. This time, some of the hecklers had some questions, like "Where did God come from?", "How was the world made?" So I spent a little bit of time answering those questions.
There were a couple people drinking beer as they listened. They tried offering me a beer and a cigarette in order to distract the preaching, so I proclaimed to them that "What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matt. 16:26). I asked the whole crowd whether they had lied, stolen something, looking with lust. They all said they had. I pointed out that it makes them deserving of Hell. I then explained why our good works can't credit us salvation, and that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ.
At this stage I saw two policemen start to cross the road towards me. They stood in the crowds for a couple minutes, so I thought they were simply going be my protection if a heckler did something to me. But instead, they came up to me and said that because people were putting beer bottles and cigarettes in my face, they were going to have to move me on. I asked, "What don't you simply move along the people who are doing those acts, as they are the ones breaking the law?" They simply said no. So I said that we have permission from the council and from one of the members of Queensland Police. The officiers just said, "No you don't", and they didn't even want to check with the people who had given us permission. Then they gave me a move on order. However, even during the dialogue with the police, the crowd kept listening. It added further credibility to the message I was preaching, as they knew I would stand strong to the gospel message even though the police regularly moved us on.
But thankfully, when we got moved on was just about when I was finishing preaching anyway. So praise be to God that both Peter and I were able to spend many hours on Australia Day witnessing to the people of the Gold Coast. Please pray that God will convert the people who heard the gospel message.
Here is some more photos from the outreach:
To God be the glory!
Thursday, 22 January, 2009
Praise God for opportunities to speak with people and share the great news of sin forgiven and hell passed over for all of those who trust in Jesus Christ. Jim, Sucraj, Karl and I gathered in barkers pool for just that reason this week. We began with prayer and pleaded that God would break the hardened hearts of the people and bring them to faith in Jesus.
There is a fair amount of foot traffic through barkers pool of a Friday night but it comes in fits and starts. This means that we are often giving out large numbers of tracts all at one time and it would be great to have more hands as the crowd of people come through. This night however appeared to be all about conversations because just as one would stop another opportunity would pop up. Every member of the team had one good conversation through the night and it was encouraging to hear people getting the gospel again and again.
At the start of the night I had a good chat to a local security guard and his mate. They took tracts from me as they wandered through the square and the younger of the two wanted to know what it was about. He had obviously had some Christian upbringing and so we were able to discuss the common misconception that if someone is "good" and moral then God will be pleased with them. We talked for a period about the seriousness of sin and the greatness of God who we offend in our sin and then I pointed him to the cross of Christ as the cure for this huge problem. Unfortunately he was called away on work and the conversation ended with this brief look to the cross but I pray that he would be convicted of his sin and drawn to faith in Jesus.
Jim and Sucraj also had great conversations with some of the local teenagers and while (as there is often with the youth in Sheffield) there was resistance to even the concept of God, they listened and asked questions. Karl likewise was able to engage a man with a very jumbled set of beliefs but patiently and kindly set forth the reasonable and wise plan of salvation in Jesus alone. Both these groups left without any outward sign that they were changed by the exchange, but we trust that God is able to use His word to good effect.
The night as a whole was very encouraging and we left with exultant hearts, praising Him for His goodness to us again.
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