Australia Day 2016
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)
To celebrate Australia Day, we headed into the Queen Street Mall to share the Gospel. Since, many things were closed today, we found that quite a number of people were just hanging out in the area.
We started the outreach by handing out tracts and chatting to people. After doing this for awhile, we decided it was time to preach. Earlier in the day I had decided that I wasn't going to preach today, instead I was just going to focus on one to one witnessing. However, God had other plans.
As I was chatting to Ryan, I came up with an idea for a sketchboard message entitled, "Good Aussie?" Before I realised what was happening I was painting up to preach this message. But again, God had other plans.
I started to preach using the sketchboard, but I hadn't gotten very far when a man began yelling at me. He was screaming about how the Bible supported rape and slavery. I challenged his position and asked him to show me from the Bible where these things were. The man then began to state that on every page of the Bible there is immorality. He then challenged me to open my Bible to any page and he'd show me the error.
Well, I decided to flick my Bible open and let the man choose where we read from. He randomly chose a passage in Luke's Gospel which declared the greatness of Jesus. He wasn't happy with that passage, but it ended his argument (for now).
After this, the man began to ask about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I was able to present an apologetic for traditional marriage, but the man kept falling back to the 'love argument.' He said that if two adults loved each other, then they should marry. So, I asked him, "What about brothers and sisters, can they marry? Or how about mothers and sons? Or perhaps fathers and daughters?"
You could see that this man was getting uncomfortable, but he held to his convictions. He boldly declared (to the shock of the crowd) that incest was acceptable and that it wasn't his business to judge. Again, I was able to challenge the man from Scripture as to what the Bible says about this topic.
From this topic we jumped around to people misinterpreting the Bible and to the issue of if someone should be killed for working on a Sunday. After answering all his questions and setting forth the Gospel, the heckler came up to shake my hand. We had a bit of a joke and then he left.
As the man left another heckler rose up. This man was heavily focused on homosexuality. He seemed to have the view that God just singled out homosexuals and that they were picked on. I read to him 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and asked, "Are homosexuals mentioned in this passage?" He agreed that they were. Then I asked, "Are they singled out?" He answered that they weren't.
From there I was able to show that God is Holy, so He is against all sin. But the beautiful thing about the Gospel is that all sin can be forgiven. The man came up and shook my hand upon hearing this.
I had planned to use the sketchboard, but God wanted an apologetic discussion and Gospel presentation. It was really encouraging to see crowds of people gather to listen and to engage in the discussion.
After, I finished preaching, Ryan decided to preach also. He also saw crowds gathering around to hear the Gospel proclaimed. Overall, today was a wonderful day. May the Lord bless the preaching of His Word, and may our country be blessed.
The afternoon at Wellington was a typical Sunday in summer with plenty of sunshine and a nice breeze. Two of the team members were still away on holidays, so there was just the four of us. As usual the ladies headed off to the jetty while Ryan and I went to our spot.
For a rather hot day there were not as many people out and about, as we would have expected. So we chatted while we handed out tracts and we were saying to each other how blessed we are to live in this part of the world, when a bloke approached and upon handing him a tract he said "What's this all about?" I said, "It asks you if you are good enough to get to Heaven."
His reply was that this was Heaven right here, just look around. He thought he was good enough, and as he was starting to walk off I challenged him on what the Bible says is 'good enough' - you must be perfect (Matthew 5:48). The guy had to go, but asked for another tract so he could read it, so I gave him a comic tract for a deeper understanding of how sinful we are.
He shook my hand and continued up the path, when another couple walked past saying the same thing that Heaven was right here. Ryan asked them to read the tract he handed them.
Just before 3pm the ladies returned from the jetty and told us of a conversation with a young lad from up Ipswich way. He didn't think he was going to Heaven, but wasn't concerned about Hell. So they took him through the Law and explained how our sin separates us from God and, starting from Genesis, they were able to tell him of our history and fall of man by rebelling against God.
After a long chat with him, the ladies encouraged him to read the book of John and asked when was he going to get right with God, as none of us are assured of tomorrow.
Afterwards, we prayed together as a team and thanked our Lord for His mercy and grace upon us and for the privilege to proclaim His glorious gospel.
A storm rolled through Brisbane city last night during our Saturday night outreach. There were some pretty close lightning strikes causing some very loud thunder. That provided a good opportunity to say to people, "Maybe God is trying to get your attention."
Even though the city wasn't as busy, we had a good size team. Two people on the team preached, including one who had never done it before. It's so great to see God is raising up people to preach His gospel in public in this land.
Please pray for more labourers, as the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.
To God be all the glory!
Being a long weekend, it was especially busy at the Gold Coast last night for our weekly outreach. Even once 10pm rolled around, when we usually finish up, the mall was still buzzing with people. So we decided to stick around a bit longer sharing the gospel with people.
Throughout the night, when we were preaching with and without the sketchboard, a good number of people were listening, some for extensive periods of time. This led into some good conversations with them afterwards.
One conversation we had was with a guy named John. He was a student from China who had been studying in Australia for the past year.
When I asked him whether he was going to Heaven, he responded, "No, I am too busy with study." After enquiring more about his current beliefs, I established that he didn't really have any religious background but has attended church once in Australia and has a grandmother who is a Christian.
So I explained how we have sinned against God and deserve His wrath forever, and how the only way to be saved from that wrath is through what Jesus has done in dying on the cross for our sins. After talking about the need to repent and believe in Jesus, he said to me, "Can I do that now?"
To ensure he knew what it really means, I then went on to reiterate that Jesus shouldn't just be an add-on to our life, He should be the centre. Jesus should be our number one, not study. He said he understood that.
He was very open, and knew of a Chinese church he wants to start attending. He even has a Chinese Bible. Please pray for John that he will truly repent and believe the gospel. And praise God that the fields are ripe for harvest!
Praise God for a good outreach last night in Brisbane city. We had about 15 of us on the team, and I remember noticing a couple of times throughout the night that every team member was in a gospel conversation with someone.
On the streets, we not only reach the lost, but sometimes also encourage struggling saints that we meet or also sometimes confront those who are professing Christians who may not really be in the faith yet.
While we were first setting up for the night, one person came up to speak to us and this man had a clear understanding of the gospel - salvation by grace through faith alone.
But when I asked him whether he is pursuing holiness, he said no. He said, "That is law, we are saved by grace" and was quite annoyed that I even suggested that we should strive to be holy.
I explained that we agree we are saved by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, but the evidence that someone is truly converted is that their attitude towards sin changes and they desire to live a holy life. This man strongly disagreed and started swearing at me.
I expressed that "Jesus said, 'you'll know them by their fruits', and perhaps the reason you are so strongly reacting to what I am saying is that your conscience is alarming you about your present state." After talking further with him, he said he will have to really think about what I said. Please pray for him.
To God be all the glory!
As the team was heading to the Gold Coast for our weekly Friday night outreach, we noticed dark clouds rolling over and we thought it might rain. We prayed that God would keep the rain away and He did.
Cavill Mall was packed full of people, lots of families who were on holidays from out of state and those from other countries too.
We had an English Bible table set up, with dozens of Bibles given out throughout the night, and an Arabic Bible table, along with a whiteboard displaying a Bible verse in Arabic and English.
We met an Iranian Christian couple from Melbourne who were praying earlier that night that there would be Christians here sharing the gospel to all the people and then they stumbled upon us. They were so excited and praising God and were kind enough to also write the verse on the whiteboard in Farsii as well. With the Gold Coast being an international tourist destination it is really handy having resources in various different languages.
A couple people on the team preached and the rest were handing out tracts and talking to people. Overall it was a fruitful night. To God be the glory!
We had a great afternoon of evangelism today in Queen St Mall, Brisbane. The team was in gospel conversations for most of the afternoon and God brought in a good number of team members.
One conversation that we had was with a man named Sheece. He was a Muslim from India and was happy to hear about Christianity. After hearing about the cross he said, "I can't have someone else take my punishment for me. That's like those Muslims who do lots of bad things all year but go do Hajj (pilgrimage) and say, 'It's all good now for the year.'"
I explained how it's not the same, for if God ignored our sins because of a good deed we have done, he would no longer just as he has accepted a bribe. The difference is: Jesus death on the cross completely satisfied God's justice for those who believe, so that God can be both just and able to show mercy at the same time.
Sheece saw the difference, but said he wasn't ready to come to faith in Jesus yet. Please pray for him.
Praise God for another wonderful outreach!
It was quieter in Brisbane city last night for our weekly Saturday night outreach. But it was so great to see several new team members join us for the first time.
A few people on the team did some open air preaching, while the rest of the team were handing out tracts and talking to people. A number of the team mentioned that the conversations that they had were quite fruitful, with people being receptive to the message of the gospel. While others mentioned that the people they spoke to were quite opposed to the gospel.
In times like these, it is always a great comfort to know that God is in charge of the results and so no matter the response, it's never in vain. God may cause the seeds planted last night to come to growth later on. All glory to God!
It was extraordinarily busy at the Gold Coast last night for our weekly Friday night outreach. We did a number of sketchboard presentations to present the gospel and God saw fit to draw in large crowds to listen to the message.
Even though we were light on team numbers, a good number of gospel tracts went out and some great gospel conversations were had.
Please pray that God would raise up more labourers and also pray for those who heard the message. To God be the glory!
Thank-you to those who prayed for the outreach today. It was a very productive afternoon / evening. We started in the Queen Street Mall at 2pm, and sadly the one Brisbane City Council Local Law Officer who has been giving us grief acted unlawfully once again.
After Ryan had finished preaching, the Council Officer issued him a $589 fine. The law protects us, so we have now handed this over to the Barrister and Lawyers that are representing us. Please pray that all this will be resolved shortly, and that the Gospel will continue to spread unmolested.
I was also able to preach this afternoon. I spoke on the first Christmas and how Jesus is God with us. I stressed the Deity of Christ since the Jehovah Witnesses had set up behind us. A small crowd listened to the Scripture being read.
Throughout the day we had a literature table set up. It was great to see many people taking Bibles and other literature.
In the evening we headed over to King George Square to hand out tracts and chat to people. A few good conversations were had, and over 2000 tracts were given away.
Please continue to pray for our Christmas outreaches.