Last night at the Gold Coast we got to speak to many Muslims about Christ. For it is the time of the year when they come from Middle Eastern countries to the Gold Coast for a holiday. It's great that even though most of them are from countries that are closed to Christian missionaries, they come to us and get to hear the gospel while on holiday!
I found that for most of the conversations last night with the Muslims, it started off with just a couple people in the conversation. But by the end of the conversation, it had grown to about 8, with the person's friends joining in to listen and ask questions.
In each of the conversations, they all seemed to present the same sort of faulty arguments - about the Bible being changed, about the Bible speaking of Muhammad coming, and about there being many different versions of the Bible.
The Muslims were fascinated to hear that I was 100% sure I was going to Heaven when I died. Not because of I'm good enough, but because Christ is perfect and has died for my sins. Grace appeared to be such a foreign concept to them, and so that is why I focused a lot of my time on that, as well as on the deity of Christ. The beauty of God's truth is that it never returns void!
I could tell that one of the Muslim men I spoke was intently listening, that even at the end of the conversation he said to me, "I am going to start reading the Bible."
Trevor and I also preached with the sketchboard last night and people stopped to listen to what was being said. Tom and George also took turns reading the Sermon on the Mount. Please pray for all those who heard the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
It is really exciting seeing people seriously consider the claims of Christ and say they want to start reading the Bible. That happened a couple of times yesterday at our outreach in Sunnybank.
One extensive conversation I had was with a Chinese man named Carter. He said that he had just finished his university degree in Australia and is heading back to China on Tuesday. He knew that God exists. When I asked him why he is going to Heaven, he said it was because he is a really good person.
So I went through the law of God, showing him how we aren't good enough on our own merits to save ourselves, and explained how it is only through Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we can be saved.
Carter replied, "A friend gave me a Bible when I first arrived in Australia about 4 years ago, but no one has talked to me about God since. I have been waiting to hear from God, but now I think this is God speaking to me."
After initially thinking he had to just 'try harder' from now on to be saved, he came to grasp that all of our sins - past, present and future - were atoned for on the cross if he comes to repentance and faith in Christ.
I also talked with him about the cost of coming to faith in Christ. That Christ is not a mere add-on to our life, but that He should be the centre of our lives. We should love Him more than we love anything else.
He said, "I do not want to make a quick decision here. Because this is really huge. This will change everything. I need to seriously think about this and start reading the Bible for myself."
I love seeing that he saw that this is something he needs to count the cost on first. For we don't just want 'decisions', we want people to be converted. Please pray for Carter.
Team member Johnny mentioned to me that at the same time as this conversation, he was speaking to another Chinese university student who was about to head back to China after finishing his degree, and he was very open and had lots of questions.
To the King of Kings be the glory!
We had a good sized team, which was great because it was busy.
There were many great conversations that were had by the whole team. There was one young lady I spoke to for a long while named Pippin. I noticed that she was standing listening for basically the whole time while I preached with the sketchboard.
Afterwards she came up to the free Bibles table and I started a conversation with her. She said she grew up Anglican but had made the choice of leaving Christianity a number of years ago. She said that she came to deny the existence of God. After briefly explaining to her about how things made must have had a maker, so must the universe then have a maker, she said, "That makes sense."
But she didn't really want to acknowledge God. I asked her why, and it boiled down to that she wanted to live life her own way. I asked her, "If a friend of yours was going to make your favourite meal for you, and they said to you that it will taste very nice, however there is a little bit of poison in it, and so you'll be dead in one hour's time. Would you still eat it?" She responded, "Of course not." I said, "That's like sin, it may be enjoyable for the moment, but it's ultimately killing you and leading you to Hell. It's really not worth it."
I could tell she got the point. I talked with her about sin, the judgement to come, Heaven and Hell, the cross, repentance and faith. The love of sin was the big barrier of her coming to repentance and faith in Christ. She was very appreciative of the chat and said she would think seriously about it.
Pippin has heard the truth now, please pray that God will save her. Praise be to God the results are in God's hands!
To God be the glory!
We set up the Chinese Bible table and a number of people took Bibles. It was great having Johnny on the team who spoke to those who could only speak Chinese.
One really good conversation that I had was with a young man named Bobby. He comes from China and is nearly finished High School. He thought he would be going to Heaven because he respects God.
He didn't know anything about Christianity and so after explaining the message of sin, the coming Judgement and the cross, he said he wants to trust in Jesus today for his forgiveness. He came to grasp the gospel and wants to submit to Christ.
I got his number and have asked a local pastor who lives near where he lives to disciple him. Please pray for Bobby.
Glory to God!
On Saturday night at the OP513 Brisbane Outreach, some of the team members were able to speak to a young women named Sally. They spoke till about 3am and afterwards invited Sally to a local church near where she lived. Sally did go to that church and found that the sermon passage that morning was exactly what she needed to hear.
The passage: Mark 7:1-30. The message: "Targeting Sins Power - The real power of sin lives within and our hope is a new heart."
Little did the preacher know that as he spoke of the misunderstanding the Jews had regarding external cleansing rather than internal cleansing of the heart, that this young women was an ex-practicing Jew that was currently fasting to gain God's approval.
What Sally was told by the faithful witnesses on Saturday night was that she could find true freedom and peace in the finished sacrifice of Jesus, and what she heard the next morning from the faithful preacher caused Sally to be amazed at Gods love and patience with her despite her many sins.
Sally didn't go home from church after the morning service, but instead stayed to hear the evening message. Please be in prayer for Sally as she considers deeply the cost Christ paid for all those that would come to Him, and also the cost Sally would have to pay to die to herself and finally be free in Jesus Christ.
Hobart Report 11/8/15
The work in Hobart continues and the last fortnight has been particularly encouraging and there have been many opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Hobart.
As has been the case for many months now people are continuing to ask for Bibles and most weeks we are almost running out. There have been many conversations around the Bible table and we have had one lady attending church at Cornerstone Presbyterian as a direct result.
Last week I was able to have a conversation with a local neuroscientist who asked for a Bible despite his reservations about Christian beliefs. He and I were able to discuss faith and science for almost an hour and I was able to share the scientific basis for believing in God and His account of creation. While not agreeing on all points we were able to talk through thing well and I could present the gospel to him in light of the creation and fall accounts in the Bible.
Over the last two weeks two new team members Nathan and Taylor have been reading the Bible aloud in the mall. This has been fantastic and it is wonderful to hear God's word going out because it is the power of salvation and we have His promise it will achieve His purposes. It is also a great encouragement to see others prepared to step up and boldly stand and speak God's word publicly. This week Taylor read aloud the 7th chapter of Matthew's gospel well and clearly.
During my preaching there were quite a few hecklers and praise God, their noise attracted a crowd of listeners that lead to many gospel opportunities.
Mr S. was at his usual vocal best, trying to preach his twisted distortion of the gospel.
A couple of young men tried to tell us that God was not real because of abusive pedophile priests and tried to burn a copy of the new testament. After this failed to stop the preaching they tried to throw some food at me.
A tall young man told us he was an incarnation of the arch-angel Michael and Jesus was not God. Because of this we were told to stop preaching the gospel or he would be violent.
A Chinese ethnicity man tried to say that the God of the bible is false and God was responsible for both the origin of sin and incest in the first generation of people.
A very comic older man mocked the Bible and God and tried to detract from the preaching with jokes and humour.
A college student asked how we can trust the Bible since it has been translated from language to language so many times.
While these questions represent a challenge to the Christian worldview they are answered clearly by scripture and history. Not only that but these things also represent a challenge for those who would reject God. For example if we reject God as the source of good and evil people are left unable to say anything in the face of evils like pedophilia and violence. God be praised that we were able to declare the glories of God and the salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
After the preaching the whole team was caught up in conversation for the following hour. Many times people heard the gospel from the others in the team and most people went away glad that they could discuss these things and thanking the team for speaking.
We have had three extra people join our team, it is a wonderful thing to have the extra encouragement and help. As I have written previously, it is a wonderful thing to be part of the body of Christ! The skills and personalities of others in reaching our lost world is vital. No Christian is an island and this is especially true when we evangelise.
This week we had 9 bibles, and many tracts go out, this has been a consistent pattern for many weeks. For our small town this points to a significant hunger for the word of God and willingness to listen to the gospel.
Likewise there have been many great conversations around the bible table and during and after the preaching. Some of these conversations are bearing fruit and leading to people not only coming back each week but also seeking churches and discipleship.
This is what we long for and pray for, that God would call people from the darkness into his glorious light. Praise his name for his kindness to the people of Hobart. May many more come to know him as Lord and Saviour.
It is the time of year when thousands of people from the Middle East travel to the Gold Coast for a holiday. That is why last night for the first time, alongside our normal free Bibles table, we also set up a table for giving out Bibles in Arabic. It was great to see many Muslims coming up and taking a Bible in their own language.
Last night, the team took turns either reading the Bible out loud or preaching. I also preached using the sketchboard and God saw fit to bring in a crowd to listen for quite a long time. There were a few people heckling and asking questions, such as: "Is every other religion false?", "Why is Jesus true?", "What about those who have never heard?", "What about homosexuality?"
It was great being able to address their questions, knowing that I was not just speaking to the questioner, but also to everyone else who was listening. That meant I kept going back to the message of the gospel many times. During this time, the team was busy in conversations and handing out gospel tracts.
Please pray for all those who heard the gospel.
Glory to God!
One of the most encouraging things from today's outreach at Sunnybank was chatting again to a Chinese man whose English name is Butters.
Just over a month ago (see 11th June report), we met him at Sunnybank and on the day we met him he said that one day earlier he saw us preaching in Queen St Mall and even showed us a picture he took of us preaching. Being a university student from mainland China who had only been in Australia for several months, he said he was an atheist. After a bit of discussion, he came to acknowledge the existence of God and after hearing the gospel, said that he wanted to trust in Jesus that day.
Now a month and a half later, it was great to catch up with him and see how he was going. He said he has been reading the gospel of John that we gave him and said he wants to get the rest of the Bible too. He has a hunger for the word of God, and still has a good grasp of the gospel.
Today, I had Johnny along with me to help evangelise, and glory to God, Johnny knows Chinese! So he spent over an hour explaining to Butters further from the Bible in Chinese. Johnny commented that Butters was listening really intently to everything he was saying. We are going to continue disciple Butters in the coming weeks.
God's word never returns void!
I had prayed earlier in the day that it wouldn't be raining much in the city. God answered that prayer as later on when I looked at the rain radar, a long band of rain was heading towards the city but kept dissipating before reaching the city! This meant we could do some open air preaching. It is great hearing the word go out in public, with people stopping and listening.
I had a great conversation with a scientist who came up to the free Bibles table. He said he believes that all the religions are true, and said he had read the Qur'an and the Bible. So I reasoned with him for a bit, showing that it is impossible for all the religions to be true at the same time. He came to acknowledge that. Then I was able explain Christianity's message of grace compared to every other religion's message of work righteousness (doing more good than bad and hoping that it will save).
This man was beginning to grasp the gospel, and said he really needs to think more about what he heard. He commented at the end, "This has been so helpful. You have made my day!" His name is Larry. Please pray he comes to repentance and faith.
The rest of the team throughout the afternoon were busy handing out gospel tracts and getting into gospel conversations. We leave the results in God's hands!