What an wonderful day it has been today in Hobart! There has been great conversations had and God's eternal gospel has been proclaimed in the streets.
I was joined today by the ever faithful Karl, Jarred, RJ, Peter and Peter and his daughter. We initially set up in the mall with the bible table expecting to see Samuel there but it appears he is taking a break at the moment. After a short set up period I got up to preach from the passage in James which calls our lives a mist or vapour. I compared this Godly wisdom to the worldly view that we are all alright and just fine. I went on to show that we are not ok and are rather naturally selfish idolators who worship anything but the true God. Lastly I glorified God's mercy and kindness to us by giving Jesus Christ to die in the place of sinners and redeem all those who trust in Him.
Afterwards I was able to have a long conversation with a young lady who is well aware of Christian things but is struggling with the judgement of God in the old testament. We talked through the immense patience that God showed in the old testament, forgiving sin again and again throughout the history of Israel before finally bringing down punishment hundreds of years later. Also we looked at how Jesus was utterly condemning of sin in the new testament despite being both merciful and kind. The truth is that God has never changed in His dealings with us, He loathes sin and rebellion this is true; but He also is merciful and kind and forgiving. This is show clearest in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We spoke about many other things and I urged her to read the bible and think on these things further.
After this we spent some time handing out tracts and spoke to a few people briefly as we did so. It always warms my heart to see tracts going out and people walking away with the gospel in their hand.
I preached again on the persecution of God's people and those who would bring the gospel in particular. I again urged the people of Hobart to trust in and embrace the only saviour Jesus Christ and not to trust in those things that would let them down eternally. Quite a few people stopped to listen and some of them took bibles away with them. Afterwards Karl got into a long conversation with a Muslim lady and her sister. He was able to share the gospel with them and also urge them to read the gospels as the Qu'ran tells them to do. It was quite a long conversation and they walked away thanking Karl for sharing with them.
To finish the period in the mall I read out the story of Christ's crucifixion in the gospel of John and we sang "Man of Sorrows" with Jarred leading us. It certainly turned a few heads in the mall to hear us belting out praise to God!
After the team left for the day I spent an hour handing out tracts on my own and ended having a huge discussion with a young man who has a strong interest in the new age and reincarnation. We spoke about truth and falsehood, sin and hell, the historicity of Jesus' life and work, and also reincarnation itself. I urged him to consider the truth claims of the bible and likewise to test the truth claims of the new age movement. I also urged him to consider reading the bible and to carefully watch the reaction of those who heard and consider why they may reject it. As we parted ways he asked directions to our church and said he would try to come on Sunday.
Praise God for when He moves in grace! Praise Him in the highest!
It has been a wonderful day in Hobart this week. The weather has become hot and dry (for Hobart that means 25 degrees) with lots of people in the mall shopping for Christmas or just sitting enjoying the warmth. We were able to share the gospel with many people and the word of God preached. As no-one else was using speaker's corner this week we had the bible table set up for the entire afternoon and many bibles and tracts went out. There were a number of good conversations that were shared around the table.
Taylor and I spoke to a gentleman Mr S. for sometime who was coming from a drinking session and appeared to have many hurts and troubles in his life. We encouraged him to put aside the alcohol and instead look to Jesus for healing and comfort and salvation.
We were encouraged by a lady that stopped to listen to the preaching and chat around the bible table. She said that gospel preaching was something that Hobart needed regardless of anyone rejecting the message. Each time a preacher got up she repeated this as loudly as she could!
Taylor and I took turns to read out the first chapters of Luke and I spoke on the Christ of Christmas and the great and glorious work he has done for sinners. After this Taylor preached on Jn 3:16 and following verses doing a great job bringing out the meaning of the text clearly.
Last in the day I spoke on the beatitudes, focusing on "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". I brought out the terrible reality that sin has tainted all of us and we are not pure, as our consciences show all too clearly. Then I spoke of God's Holy hatred for sin and awesome power, which come together to mean we are all in danger from God. What we need is someone to change our hearts and praise God that is exactly what Jesus did on the cross! I urged the people of Hobart the turn and trust in Jesus Christ as He is their only hope.
After the preaching a number of people gathered to talk. Taylor, Meg and Gail spoke to Mr S. the regular heckler at some length. I spoke with Mr M. and Mr E., Mr E. had what appeared to be regular atheistic objections the the Christian faith but was not a regular atheist himself as he believed in all sorts of supernatural things. Mr M. rejects Jesus, yet very insistently tries to teach Christians what to believe about the bible and each time I have spoken to him it is the same. This week he was wanting to speak about Christmas and how Christians should not celebrate it at all as it has pagan roots. Much of what he brought out is from the Jehovah's Witnesses or Judaism. I engaged with him on the issue trying to show that the timing of the celebration has nothing to do with the date of Jesus's birth. Rather the date shows that ancient pagans turned from their gods to worship Christ. I urged him to do likewise in this and in the many other things we talked about.
After about an hour talking and sharing our faith with this group we packed and headed home. Praise God that His word goes out!
As we headed out to the Coast tonight, some of the schoolies had settled down a bit but many were still going crazy. The volumes of drunk people weren't as large but there were still some very drunk people.
There were some awesome discussions we had tonight, many people we hadn't talked with before came up and chatted with team members and again there was a very large range of discussions but most schoolies will come up and ask a single question or two often related to "Is drinking a sin?" or "What do you believe about homosexuality?" and so the schoolies are keen to talk but sadly earlier in the night many of the schoolies are still quite drunk and so the conversation doesn't go far.
There seems to be a very large amount of Catholics around, they will readily profess to be a 'Christian' but sadly they are often very drunk and there are out on schoolies week doing exactly what God hates. This is often an in to the Gospel because people who profess to 'believe' in God will normally take the moment to chat about their beliefs.
One instance of this last night were two girls, Tahlia and Courtney, they professed to be Catholics and in reality they probably were but Catholicism doesn't get anyone to Heaven, as at its core the catholic belief professes that it isn't by faith alone in Christ that saves you, therefore deny what God Himself said about salvation. So we discussed what the girls thought was going to get them to Heaven. Sure enough very quickly it was 'works', they professed their goodness and were quick to share how great they were before God.
But this lead into a discussion about God's law, when we examined ourselves we saw how far we all fell short of God's standard, the girls at first didn't like this but started to accept the truth of it soon afterwards, allowing for the opportunity to share the Gospel, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Another young lady the team had talked to, when she heard about her sin, simply responded with, "Well it looks like I'm in a bit of a pickle"
Please pray for the many Catholics we talked with and will continue to engage with, as just like the rest of us, they need the salvation offered in Christ alone!
Please pray for those who were exposed to the Gospel, pray that God will use His glorious message of salvation through Christ Jesus to bring many unto repentace!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tonight at Schoolies the night started off very sad, no matter how much I try to prepare my heart to see people on alcohol and drugs it never seems to numb the sadness it brings. But by God's Grace it fills me with this compassion that these people need Jesus Christ just as much as I did and still do.
Tonight it was the schoolies second night, they had been out the previous night and were still revving up and getting into the craziness of it all. But as is so characteristic as we first headed out the vast majority were seriously drunk, the schoolies (as many are under aged and cannot buy drinks while on the street) get really drunk in their apartments at about 6pm, they drink, drink, drink and then head out into the mall to wander around till the sun starts to rise.
But amazingly as we saw God is sovereign, God bought us people to talk with, He allowed many people to want to talk, many of whom stayed for lengthy periods of time, in fact some conversations went for over two hours! Everything from people asking question after question about God, to those who wanted to discuss or debate even the existence of God, the ground covered in discussions were vast. But in all of this, the team was able to proclaim Christ and Him crucified and many heard the Gospel and so we can know that our efforts were 100% successful, in that, it is God who saves and our job purely is to share the message of salvation.
Two awesome highlights were;
Firstly a chat with Evan, the night had been fairly slow, up until the talk with Evan. In fact most people I had engaged with were some what intoxicated and didn't really care but Evan was different, he was inquisitive, asking question after question for over two hours, he would ask something he wasn't sure about and when I would do my best to explain what the Bible said about such things he would very quickly catch on and say he understood and then ask about an implication from the truth of the last question.
It was awesome, we talked and talked, we discussed many things and Evan even though he isn't a Christian understood after a simple explanation most basic and a few more complex Christian theological points. Evan had heard the Gospel, he knows the Gospel and he has had many of his questions about the Bible answered.
Please be praying for Evan, he is quite an intelligent young man, he knows the truth and he has been challenged to consider the cost of following Christ.
Another great highlight was right at the end of the night, we were in the final stages of packing up, there was a bit of a hold up and a young man (named Mitchell) approached us, He asked two questions, "Why is there evil things?" and followed up with, "Why would bad things happen to good people?"
We discussed this, but first we had to establish a common ground of the reliability of the Bible, with some simple discussion about the fulfilled prophecies of Christ and the eye witness testimony that is the new testament. Mitchell quickly submitted to the fact that more than likely the Bible is God's word. Then from that grounding, we discussed sin.
We discussed the fall of Human kind and therefore the fact that the world fell as well, that creatures whose design was never to do bad, people whose design was never for evil suddenly were things that they weren't created to be.
Mitchell listened intently and was constantly asking questions, making sure he understood. But it got better, we discussed evil and then we talked about 'bad things, happening to good people', this is one of the easiest questions to use for sharing the Gospel!
We talked about the fact that there are no good people (All have sinned, all have fallen short of God's standard), meaning the original question had a false premise when applied to humanity but that the only person it could be correctly applied to is Jesus Christ, in fact we got to discuss the amazing love, that Jesus displayed that He volunteered His perfect life as the only good person to ever have a bad thing happen to Him leading to something greater.
Because of what Christ did we were able to discuss the flipping of the original question, that God laid down His life to offer a good thing to bad people. Mitchell heard this line and said wow, he would have to consider such things. He left with a tract and I strongly encouraged him to consider eternity.
Please pray for the those who heard the Gospel! There were many more, there were hundreds who took tracts and lots the engaged the preaching and a large amount who had an individual conversation. Please pray (knowing that God is in control of salvation), that God will use these events, use the Gospel of Christ that the team preached to bring many schoolies unto salvation.
Please pray for the team as we head to bed now that we will rest well and be able to wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready to share the Gospel. Please also pray for the safe travels of those who are joining us in the next few days. And please thank God and give continued prayer for the team being able to seek Him as we were out on the street and being able to flee from sin and please continue asking Him for strength to serve God and not fall into temptation.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Over the past few weeks we have had opposition for our Gospel work in Woodridge. So, today we headed there not sure what would happen. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks we have even experienced opposition from Police Officers who have acted unlawfully in regards to our rights and freedoms.
However, our concerns were unfounded. The afternoon turned out to be an awesome time of evangelism. We had twelve team members join us, so we were able to reach many people with the Gospel.
On highlight was that Matt was able to talk talk again to a man that he first spoke to 8 weeks earlier. When they last chatted, they were professing Jehovah's Witnesses. They believed that their works was the method of salvation and they believed that Jesus was fully man but not god.
Arthur mentioned during the conversation that he had been thinking about the last time they had spoken. In particular he had been thinking about how Matt had shown him some Bible passages showing that Jesus is God. Arthur said at the time he wasn't sure but he went home and considered it and today he told Matt that he was certain that after reading some of the Bible that Jesus must be God, that the events of His life could not have happened any other way. Better yet Arthur told Matt that he was trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
We thank God for the wonderful account of Arthur coming to the truth. Please pray for him and also the people of Woodridge. May the Gospel continue to go forth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Monday afternoon at Capalaba, it was fairly usual, nothing out of place, normal levels of people and completely full of people (the team included) who need the saving grace of God, most of the people just didn't know it yet. It was the team's privilege to take this amazing news of the Gospel, that Christ would die for us, despite our sin, to those who would listen and those who desperately need it.
As usual at Capalaba there is a number of people hostile to the Gospel, there are regulars who come to the bus stop at the same time every week who just despise God. Please be praying for these regulars, mostly elderly ladies who just laugh at God, they hate Him and if you even mention anything to do with God they will laugh at you or call you names.
Please commit these lost souls to the Lord, for we know God is the author of salvation and is sovereign over all who come to Him, please commit these regulars bus stop users to Christ as they desperately need the saving work of Christ, just as we all did!
During the afternoon the team talked with a range of different people, one of the more interesting ones was Frank, he was a man who claimed no 'subscription' to any major religion but was also very quick to point out that he reads the watchtower (Jehovah's witnesses buletin). Due to this, our conversation was very end times based, as the JW's take a very apocalyptic approach to eternal things.
Sadly Frank, was very scared about dying, all of the talk about end times made him very jumpy, in fact he actually had to check the conversation wasn't being recorded because he said, the government would surely kill him, if they knew how much he knew.
When the conversation became Gospel based, Frank professed His righteousness, he made claims about his own goodness, that he was surely getting into Heaven. But at the same time Frank was very scared of death, it was evident that he didn't really know for certain because his 'ticket' to Heaven was relying on himself.
As discussion was had about sin, but he was adamant that he wasn't that bad, he was talking continuously about deeds, about good works and was heavily misunderstanding God's wrath and mercy. By God's grace we were able to briefly cover the topic of Jesus Christ and Frank left with a tract in hand but he, like us all desperately needs Jesus Christ saving work!
Please pray for Frank, that he comes to a knowledge of His sin and therefore trusts in Christ alone for salvation!
Another discussion was with a guy named Jason, when asked about his goodness, Jason very quickly claimed to be ninety-eight out of one hundred. That is the highest, sincere claim of goodness that the team had encountered. A brief chat was had about what had convinced Jason that he was so good.
And Jason like us all, started listing off his works of righteousness. So we used the mirror that reveals the sinfulness of us all to show Jason that like the rest of the world, in the sight of God he was actually not good at all. The mirror of the Ten Commandments and sure enough, just like the team members, Jason had fallen short, in fact of all of the commandments he was tested against he fell short.
But there is a reason the law is important, not to prove our righteousness but rather our non-existent righteousness reveals our dire need for a saviour. That was the case with Jason, he very quickly was asking what could he do to get to Heaven and it opened a great discussion further into the fact that humans cannot do anything on their own strength to get to Heaven, in fact the only way is Jesus Christ, we were able to share.
Please pray for Jason, for Frank and for each other person that was talked to or came into contact with the team, pray that God uses these simple things to bring about knowledge of sin and therefore an understanding of the need for a saviour. Please pray that God leads these people to a desire to know about eternal things and allow them to come into contact with the Gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was a quiet night in the Queen Street Mall, however there were still enough people to talk to. Despite the slowness of the night, a crowd still gathered to hear the Gospel proclaimed in the open-air.
Early in the night we talked with a range of different younger adults, from Marlin and Alexander, who both professed to be going to Heaven based on works; to Shaun a man who attends a local mega-church but also professes that because of his own goodness he will go to Heaven.
Conversations were also had with Bubba, a Hindu man who believed in karma and being good. The talk with Bubba didn't go very far as he would say his view but would deny any countering discussion. He kept avoiding questions in relation to his view of god and justice. Please pray that something did get through to him.
The most encouraging conversation of the night was with Judd, a young man who originally said the way to Heaven was through being good. We spoke about God's holiness and our falleness. We explained to him that nothing we can do could ever remove our sin. As Judd realised who God is, his face dropped. He was convicted of his sin. This led us to the perfect opportunity to share with him the GOOD NEWS; that whilst we were yet sinners, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. He was a little confused but, an explanation was given. We talked about that Christ was punished for sinners and how He absorbed the full wrath of God.
Judd said this was great news and he would have to think about it. We gave him a tract and a Gospel of John.
Please pray for Judd that he may come to faith in the Lord Jesus.
Tonight, we had many oppurtunites to witness. Please pray that the Lord would save the people of this city.
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Friday night our Gold Coast outreach we had a small team, howeve, the Gospel still was proclaimed. Cavil Avenue seems to be extra busy this afternoon and this evening. This was great for us as it meant there were more people to witness to.
We had a wonderful chat with Jessica. She professed to be a Christian but was deep into 'new age' spiritualism. She professed to be going to Heaven because she stays 'true to herself', and doesn't conform to what other people want her to do. It was pointed out to her that in reality, especially in relation to God, this is just pride and sin, because God has given us laws and standards and by following ourselves we will always be led into sin.
She said that sort of made sense but talked about the god she believes in being happy with someone being, "true to themselves." She also professed to be a good person before God. However, when she was compared to the law of God she admitted to sin;she said she had definitely broken God's law but said it was all okay because she was trying her best.
Sadly when sharing the Gospel, all she wanted to do was argue. She said she believed it, but was then very quick to disagree witht the message. She did take a Gospel of John and a tract. Please pray that she considers eternal things. Pray that God will open her eyes to the truth.
Late in the night two young men stopped by for a chat, they both professed to be Christians, claiming to know the way to Heaven. Travis (one of the men), said the way to Heaven was by being pretty good; living up to God's standard (which he thought was about 70% goodness) and Lachlan said he wasn't sure but definitely said there was a way to Heaven.
Discussion was had about, what is sin and its punishmenet. We also discussed if humanity could somehow fix themselves up. After explaining that no one can save themselves, we were able to share the good news, that Jesus Christ has paid for the sins of all those who would believe. It is only through Jesus that we can go to Heaven.
This is a shocking message, but a very loving one. The boys said they hadn't heard it put that way before and it gave new light on the need for Jesus. Please pray for these two young men.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday night in Brisbane is always an interesting time. Each week the crowds are different, so it breaks the mold of 'normal' evangelism.
In Australia many seem to be closed to talking about the read God. Even though around 80% of our population says they believe in some form of God, they really do not want it to be the God of the Bible. As a result people are happy to talk about general conepts in relation to deity, but the moment it gets the Trinitarian God of Scripture they sometimes close down.
Yet, even though there are many who are closed to hearing, there are also many who are open to talking. Each Saturday night we have the privledge of being able to speak to people from a wide variety of backgrounds about the truth of Jesus.
One member of the team, George, hasn't been with us for more than about six months but over the last three has been very keenly serving God, learning very quickly different ways to share the Gospel. He has been a great source of encouragement to us. It is always great to see new people coming along who are passionate about declaring the wonder of Jesus.
In this picture, George is bodlly proclaiming the truth, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!
Early in the evening we spoke to a couple of people who were Jewish. When they described to us why they will go to Heaven, it was like we were hearing the Apostle Paul list his former life in Philippians 3. They truested in who they wre, and what they had done. We tried to explain to them that they must be like Paul, in that they need to let go of all that, and embrace Christ. They didn't really like the idea of Jesus being the Messiah, so we encouraged them to read Isaiah 53 and to find out whom the Scripture spoke of.
Another conversation was had with a man named Rhys, this young man was very talkative, in fact he wasn't scared about 'social norms' at all and gladly engaged in conversing about what he believed the way to Heaven was.
Rhys talked about all manner of things, and just like everyone else, he believed his goodness would get him over the line into Heaven.
Rhys was in a similar scenario to most of us, considered himself to be pretty good (judging by his own standard) but like the rest of us, when compared to the standard of God, he fell short.
He said that this was worrying; what could he possibly do to get to Heaven. Thankfully, God doesn't leave us in despair. He tells us of His amazing love through the Good News of Jesus! Jesus came into this world to do exaclty what we couldn't, be perfect so He could take the penalty for our sin, allowing us the free gift of eternal life, if we trust in Him! Rhys said this was great news and that he would consider what was shared with him.
Please pray for the Queen St Mall outreach. Pray that God will bring along people who have had the soil of their hearts prepared for the seeds of the Gospel. Pray that God will allow them to be able to engage in the a Gospel conversation and hear the amazing news!
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Thursday the 22 October it was a rainy day, this pushed us into the under cover area at the bus shelter, however, this causes more people to gather and give us some great to opportunities to witness one to one.
We spoke to one man named Gordon; he has a vast range of beliefs, which included him being unsure of God's exists, yet he was adamant that he would go to Heaven. What he appeared to have done was mix various religious beliefs together. He had made a god that he was comfortable with; a god who doesn't judge sin. We able to speak to Gordon about the nature of truth, and how God reveals Himself. Gordon said this all sounded well and good but why would a 'loving' God let bad things happen to good people. We discussed the guilt of all men, that every single one of us has broken God's law, has disobeyed Him and therefore deserve the punishment for our sin.
Sadly he didn't want to admit that he was bad in the sight of God. We stressed the fact that all have sinned, and thus deserve judgement. We also explained clearly to him the good news, that Jesus Christ has come to rescue bad people. Please pray for Gordon. He uses a Gospel tract as a bookmark and he has talked with the team a few times before.
We also talked with Scott, a young man who professed to have done many drugs and sadly was speaking irrationally. Our discussion didn't really flow. He very adamantly denied God's existence based on his own enlightenment that a certain drug was the 'god'.
The conversation didn't go far and he directly rejected sin and the Gospel. Please keep Scott in your prayers; he is in need of the Saviour to come and rescue him.
We also had the opportunity to briefly speak with Andy, he had grown up in a Christian home and said he went to church. Yet, he never really 'believed', he heard the stories but by age eleven he had all but rejected God. We asked him why and he didn't really give much of an answer, he said it didn't seem right. We discussed the evidence for the reliability of the Bible and a few other things but sadly he had to leave. Please pray for Andy that our encounter will cause him to begin to think about the things of eternity.
Please pray for everyone we encountered today.
Soli Deo Gloria!