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Saturday, 22 May, 2010
The Essex OP513 team was on Brentwood High St this Saturday, lead by Andrew Noble and accompanied by Ruth Weil. We were quite thin on the ground this week but the weather was sunny which was a big change to previous weeks, so I was hoping folks would be more comfortable to stop and chat.
Ruth and I had our first conversation with a young man named David. He classified himself as a "spiritualist" and believed all paths lead to "God". We chatted about the nature of truth, the claims of Jesus according to scripture and his accountability before God in breaking the moral law.
We also spoke to two separate groups of young boys who found the million pound notes fascinating. Even at such a young age the understanding of morality and accountability was prevalent. One of the boys took a gospel of John and then every other boy wanted one! They even thanked us for explaining what the Bible says regarding sin, death and righteousness.
Many tracts were passed out to the public and we pray that God will bless those that read them and grant them salvation! SDG!
Friday, 14 May, 2010
The team was back out on Friday evening armed with the Word of God and the strength of the Lord. After meeting for a time of fellowship, devotions and prayer in our favourite cafe we headed into the square. Straight away we noticed that there were some festivities happening and it soon became clear that it was a celebration of Buddha’s birthday. I found this to be particularly interesting.
Andrew stood up first to preach. It’s really great to see him preaching with such boldness and confidence, and with a deep burden on his heart to see people saved. He’s still growing as a preacher but through the Lord’s help I think he’s doing a great job.
I stood up to preach next. Depending on crowd interaction I decided not to preach for too long in one sitting, but instead decided to preach a second time later on. I think this gives the rest of the team a bit more opportunity to get into one-to-one conversations. As it happened I didn’t preach for a second time, as I was engaged in a number of conversations, but I think it’s a good way to go and it’s something I will implement again next week.
During my message I spoke of the fact that there have been many great men through the years and many have accomplished great feats in the eyes of the world. People have been influenced by world leaders, particularly regarding world religions. However, they are all dead. Buddha himself is dead, but Jesus Christ is not dead. He has risen and is alive for evermore, and in Jesus Christ is there freedom from sin and death for all who trust in Him.
After I finished preaching I was pleased to see that the team was involved in conversation with people who had stopped to listen to the preaching. I managed to have a number of conversations throughout the evening.
I spoke with a man named Derek, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. He professed to be a believer so I asked him a few questions regarding his conversion. I asked him if he was saved because of something he has done or because of something God has done for him. I was hoping to hear the latter, but instead he answered with the former. This of course concerned me so I shared the Gospel with him and stressed that salvation is by grace alone and that no amount of good works can save us. I had only a brief time with him but my prayer is that the Lord will impress upon his heart the truth of the Gospel. Do pray for him.
Next I spoke with a young woman from Egypt. She expressed a religious disposition and I surmised that she was Muslim, and although I did not ask her this she told me that she was. As we were talking she mentioned that we were not very different and that Christianity and Islam are very similar. I agreed with her that there are some similarities but I also stressed that there are some fundamental differences. As an example I told her that in Islam a person can earn salvation, whereas according to the Bible it is impossible to earn salvation. This really surprised her and she said that she had never heard this before. As I began to explain to her why this is the case her friends arrived. My window of opportunity had closed, as they all had movie tickets to see a film and needed to head off. I gave them all an in-depth Gospel tract and so do pray with me that they would read it and think upon its message.
Afterwards I spoke with Mohammed, a Muslim gentleman who comes to Leicester Square often to engage in conversation with us. Barney had already been speaking with him and I also noticed that he had a friend with him. We got talking and during our conversation I had to answer a number of false claims that are often made by Muslims. One in particular concerned the notion that the Bible speaks of the coming of Mohammed, who Muslims believe to be the last prophet sent by God. The proof text given for this was Deuteronomy 18:15 which reads: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.” Here in this context Moses is talking of a future prophet, and although the identity of this prophet is not confirmed in this verse, later we read in Acts that he is aligned with the Messiah, that is, Jesus Christ (see Acts 3:22-24; 7:37). This verse is most definitely not speaking of Mohammed.
Later on I got to talk with two young men that believe in evolution. We spoke at length about natural selection and I stressed to them that natural selection is incapable of increasing or providing new information for the genome of a cell, which is what is necessary for evolution to be true. We got only so far in our conversation and as time was getting on I asked if they would like to continue the conversation through email. They agreed and so do pray that I would be able to continue to reason with them concerning the truth of God’s Word.
We all had some great opportunities and so praise the Lord for a good night.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 7 May, 2010
Tonight was a great night of ministry. Meeting at Cafe Nero before heading into the square we enjoyed a blessed time of fellowship and prayer. Barney spoke with us about the importance of standing biblically on the issue of homosexuality. There is a good reason for this.
Recently, a good friend of mine and fellow open-air preacher, Dale McAlpine, was arrested while preaching in his home town of Workington. It involved speaking about homosexuality and the charge was that he had caused harassment, alarm and distress, which falls under section 5 of the public order act. A person is guilty of this offence if he:
(a) Uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) Displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
Having spoken to Dale, clearly these charges are completely fabricated and untrue. While he was preaching from a ladder Dale did not mention the sin of homosexual practise at all. He was approached by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), who told him that if he said homosexual conduct was “sinful” it would be a crime. Dale correctly responded by stating to the PCSO that it is not a crime to describe homosexual practise as a “sin.” Police officers arrived later on the scene and Dale was arrested.
Dale is due to stand trial, yet we are confident that he will be found innocent of all charges. He is currently being represented by The Christian Institute. A trial date has yet to be set. You can visit www.christian.org.uk to learn of any new developments.
Barney gave us a good summary of how we ought to defend our position should any of us be pulled up by the police:
1) The Bible teaches that God loves sinners (Mark 2:17).
2) The Bible teaches that homosexual practise is sinful (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
3) The Bible teaches that everyone who repents from their life of sin and turns to follow Jesus will be saved from the eternal punishment they deserve (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
After we headed into the square we quickly got ready and then Andrew stood up to preach. It was great to have him back with us after he had recently gone back to Australia to visit with his family. After preaching a solid message on the Gospel and the importance of turning to Christ, I stood up to preach.
I asked people where their hope resides. Recently the U.K. had a General Election and people are looking to a new government to bring us out of the many problems that the country is facing. But ultimately our hope needs to be in God and not man. The Bible says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8). During my message I was able to engage with a young man named Aiden and I took him through the good person test and into the Gospel. He seemed to listen with a keen interest.
After I had finished preaching we all got busy talking with people one-to-one and handing out Gospel tracts. I got talking with a young man named Constantine. He is from Greece and grew up Greek Orthodox. Our conversation became quite philosophical and we spent some time wrangling over the issue of morality and how we can make sense of the belief that says there is no God even though we have an absolute morality in this world. Where did this absolute morality come from and why is it that universally we know things to be wrong at a fundamental moral level if there is no ultimate standard that tells us what is right and what is wrong? We are all moral agents and so for sure there is a Moral Law Giver.
Towards the end of the evening Aiden and his friend Frank came up to me just to say thanks for my message and that it was certainly going to make them think. We gave them all some in-depth Gospel tracts and that told them to really think upon the things they had heard. Do pray for them.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 8 May, 2010
I was running late to the city tonight. The day had been made up of a church outreach and then sermon writing. So I found myself having to arrive in the city at 9pm. As I made my way to the city I felt strangely ill and even vomited a couple of times. I dismissed it as merely being tired and I once again focused on the outreach at hand.
The team arrived in the Queen Street Mall at the same time I did and we began to get ready for a good night of outreach. Blake was the first preacher up for the night and he did a good job on expounding the truth of the Gospel.
After Blake finished preaching I decided I should get up. I began on preaching on the frailty of human life and how we aren’t assured of tomorrow. Within seconds of beginning I had one woman begin to scream abuse. She then turned and tried to pull her pants down to flash us, but her partner dragged her away. It looked like we were in for an interesting night.
Shortly after this 5 young Muslim men began to stop and heckle. They were making the standard claims that there is only one version of the Koran and that the Bible has been changed. I quickly dealt with their objections and turned to the Gospel. After I explained salvation, they began to disagree saying that Jesus was never crucified (as the Koran teaches). I challenged them on the truthfulness of the Koran and they were adamant that Jesus never died, but rather Allah made someone appear as Jesus on the cross. To which I pointed out that Allah had deceived people, they readily agreed, then I made this statement which set them off, “If Allah deceived people then, doesn’t that make Allah a deceiver and one not to be trusted? If Allah deceived people then, how do you know you aren’t being deceived now?”
At that they went off onto to dogma and refused to engage in any more discussions. But hecklers beget hecklers and more arose to the challenge. This time the heckling gallery was made up of atheists / agnostics and a woman who claimed to be a Christian from an Assembly of God church. The atheists made the same claims as usual without any backing and many of them tried to attack the Scripture, but often times they actually didn’t know the very thing they were attacking. These hecklers did however produce some of the largest crowds we have seen for some time.
For about 90 minutes I preached and engaged the hecklers, then at the end I tagged Ryan in who continued with the discussion.
Ryan went on a preached for a while, and did a good job as usual. But, I must admit I didn’t pay overly much attention to him, since by now I was feeling fairly ill again and in need of a break.
As midnight rolled around I found myself feeling very ill and then Mr. Crazy Professing Christian entered in. He had been there all night but now he was engaging the hecklers. The problem is he wasn’t being biblical or factual, but rather he was making up arguments that were easily refuted. I challenged him on it and he refused to acknowledge anything I said, just kept saying, “I can say the same to you”. Those watching concluded that he was crazy and didn’t represent Christianity.
After this I headed home for a rest and also to continue the church work. All in all it was a great night. With many hearing the Gospel. SDG!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 8 May, 2010
Today we had on the team Bekk, Yarran, Dan, Rick and Glenda, Chris and Gary, and a few others from CWMF. It was great to have such a large team again. Since we had a decent sized team we split up, some of us went to different areas of Surfers Paradise for parts of the outreach. Bekk and I went down Cavill Mall, we didn't get very far before we were in a number of conversations.
One of the conversations we had was with a guy who was still very hung over from drinking the night before. He was telling us that the woman whom he has a child with broke up with him yesterday, and so he decided to drink his sorrows away. He said that he also spent $1200 at bars last night in buying drinks for strangers in order to try and find another woman whom would have sex with him, but to no avail. I asked whether he likes the way he feels now, being hung over for drinking so much. He said no. So Bekk asked, "If you recognise that the following day you'll have a headache and be depressed after getting drunk, why do it?" He didn't know, but did say that this morning in order to not start thinking of drinking again, he went to the local casino and spent $1000 on the pokies. But admitted that he'll most likely go out drinking again tonight.
I then asked him about whether he thought he was going to Heaven. He thought so, because he said he's a stand up guy. So I went through the commandments with him, showing him that he would be guilty on the Day of Judgement. After this he said, "I believe in mother nature." I asked him what he meant by that. He said, "Well it means that I can do whatever I want because I am god." I responded, "Really? Can you prove it? I would love to see you hover into the air and then start flying around." He obviously couldn't, but kept claiming that he could do anything - he even said he could get the numbers of all the girls walking past. I was thinking in my head, how come he couldn't get any girls' numbers last night if he really can do anything. I just kept warning him that there is a day of Judgement coming, that he isn't god, and he needs to repent and trust in Jesus to be forgiven. But he wasn't interested at all in conceding that he's not god.
Another conversation I had was with a guy from Belguim who said he was an atheist. I asked him how the universe came about, since he agreed that it had a beginning and that all things that have beginnings have causes/creators for them. He resorted to saying that the universe was self-caused. That means, he thinks the universe created itself. This viewpoint is clearly illogical, for it means that the universe would have to exist before it existed in order to make itself. But if it already exists, it doesn't need to make itself. And so therefore, it didn't make itself. To put it another way, how can something exist and not exist at the same time? It's impossible, for it violates the law of non-contradiction - that A cannot be A and not-A at the same time in the same relationship. I explained this to the man and he conceded this point, agreeing that there must be an external cause to the universe. But he would not allow the possibility of God being that cause.
At this time, Yarran had began preaching on the usual preaching block. After a short while, he had two hecklers in which he was engaging. Since these hecklers were very close, causing Yarran to not speak as loud, I indicated to Yarran that he should continue talking to them in a one-2-one conversation instead of in the open air. About a minute after this, two police officers (whom I had never seen before) looked like they were coming to speak to Yarran but since he was in conversation with the two individuals who were heckling, they waited around for a few minutes before wandering off. We haven't had any hinderance from the police in a long time, possibility these officers were just new ones to the Gold Coast region that didn't know that we do this each week and that the Gold Coast council have no problems in doing what we do. We don't know for sure whether they even wanted to talk to Yarran, for it seems they had a piece of paper with mug shots of people they were looking for.
Yarran and Dan (who joined the conversation) stayed talking to these two folk for about an hour and a half, well past when the outreach usually concludes. I thank God for raising up so many keen laborers who love sharing the gospel. To God be the glory!
Saturday, 1 May, 2010
Today it was just Bekk and I on the team, but not long after arriving a husband and wife who usually also hand out tracts on weekends at the coast met up with us. It's always great meet other people who have a great desire to share the great news of the gospel.
Soon after this, a local who has determined to try and engage us in conversation with him each week (so that we can't talk to others - but even in the conversation with him, he won't let us speak) arrived. He generally rails against doctors and the government. He was doing the same today, and as he was progressing in his monologue, he started swearing. So I pulled him up on that. He insisted that he didn't swear. But it was clear as day that he did. So I said, "Look if you can't even admit that you swore, I don't want to continue this conversation." As I was walking away, this person recognised that he had lost my attention. So he made a scene, and started shouting, "I am so low! I am not worthy. Can I kiss your feet? I have sinned against almighty God" in a very sarcastic and blasphemous way. I simply ignored him because I was already in another conversation by this stage. Thankfully the man left after that. A local soon after that came up and said, "Good thing you walked away, that guy is an idiot."
After a few further conversations I decided to start preaching. I began by speaking about a tourist who had died just two days earlier when they drowned at a beach nearby. Since where we preach is right in front of the beach, stories of drownings really do bring it home that death could happen to any single one of us at any time. I then talked about sin, the cross and what someone must do to be saved. After about 30 minutes of preaching, I stepped down.
As we were walking back to the car, we got into a conversation with two teenagers. As I gave one of them a tract, he replied, "I got one of these at Schoolies last year." So I then asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He said he didn't believe in Heaven or Hell, but he believed in God and that God was good. So I explained that how if God is good, He would make sure those people that do horrible atrocities would get punished one day. He agreed. So I said that that is why there must be a Hell - a place of punishment and a Heaven - a place of no punishment. He said, "Oh that makes sense".
So I went through the commandments to show him that he too was deserving of punishment because of his sins. "But if I do good things, doesn't that cover it up?" he said. I explained how justice doesn't work like that. He responded, "Then everyone will be going to Hell." I remarked that it is true every one deserves Hell, but God provided a way to be forgiven of our sins and that is by the death of Jesus. So I explained the gospel to him and told him that he needs to repent and believe to be saved. He said would seriously think about it. Please keep this guy in prayer.
We found that almost everyone was willing to take a tract today, and it was very easy to get into conversations. To God be the glory that the gospel still goes out abundantly even with few team members!
Saturday, 1 May, 2010
It’s hard to believe that is has been one month since last writing. Each week I sit down with the plan to type a report but normally church and ministry work take over. I do apologise to those who have been looking forward to the weekly reports. I will try to get this done more regularly. We have received an email from Alex the Atheist saying he misses his entertainment in reading the weekly reports. Well, we have had disappointments from Alex also, as the calibre of arguments coming from him for the atheistic front keep getting weaker and weaker, most time they are just this side of the outright absurd.
As the night of the first of May rolled around, I found myself quite tired, this was due to the fact that I had been out witnessing in Banyo for the church plant I pastor for the past two days, but it was good to have a change from the suburbs to the inner city. Dave Gee came to my place and from there we carpooled in. It was great sharing a ride with another believer, since we got to chat theology and apologetics. We were even able to predict the arguments that Alex and his atheist platoon would use later that night.
After a time of prayer and Bible reading, we made out way to the Queen Street Mall. Andre was the first preacher up and he did a splendid job. While Andre was preaching a man in a New South Wales state of origin jersey came up and tried to grab the Bible out of Andre’s hand, he then went to punch Andre in the stomach. I stepped in and told the bloke to clear off or we would get the police. After this God was kind to us and brought a good size crowd in to hear the gospel, but as usual the atheists showed up and tried to railroad the whole event in order to justify their sin.
Andre preached for awhile, then Ryan took over and began to deal with the atheists. We were surprised to see that there were less members of the Brisbane atheists out tonight, which in some ways was saddening, as I wanted to ask Steve the leader, why he never emailed me about a book that disproved his position on the Christian God. He did promise he would do it, but never did. I guess he wasn’t very open minded about the whole thing. Also, I was disappointed that another of the atheists did attend, he was a “former” Christian now an atheist. Last time I spoke to him, he said Richard Dawkin’s had convinced him, but he was unable to say what argument convinced him, or what disproved Christianity. Last time I spoke to him, he took a DVD looking at the other side of the debate, he left with a promise to watch it, but I have since found out that he binned it. Another atheist who is close minded and brain washed to his position. I just find it so hypocritical that they accuse Christians of not being free thinkers, yet they won’t ever look at opposing views.
Alex was running around yelling out abuse as he normally does, this time he seemed more hostile than usual and his arguments were worse than ever. This wasn’t just our opinion by Wayne the Agnostic stated this also.
At one point while Ryan was preaching, Alex was talking to a husband and wife about how the Bible was wrong. The lady said she was a Christian and the man said he was a Hindu. Alex was arguing that the Bible teaches that the world is flat. But, when challenged to present his evidence he tried to cite some Hebrew which actually disagrees with him. But being one who never lets facts get in the way of a good myth he pressed on. When challenged again on this issue, Alex quickly changed and tried to show that Behemoth of Job 40 actually shows the Bible in error. Sadly, his argument was all wrong from the beginning, first he misquoted the reference and then misquoted the verse. When he was challenged with this and shown to be in error did he concede? Not on your life!
Alex then started saying that the word “loins” when used of Behemoth only appeared in the NIV from 1978. He then maintained that before this time, it was in no Bible. However, if you would pick up a copy of the 1611 King James Version, you would see that the word “loins” appears in Job 40:16 when referencing Behemoth.
I confronted Alex with this argument, so he did what ever good atheist does when confront with facts, he walked away claiming victory. I’m sorry, but I was always led to believe that if you say something that is proven wrong, then you aren’t the victor, but rather you are the one in error. From this point on Alex became more hostile and angry. Next time he came up to me he shoved his finger into my chest a few times (I am sure he as a lawyer knows that constitutes assault). A few of those around later expressed concern that Alex may one day fly of the handle and hit people. I hope this isn’t the case.
Ryan was still preaching at this stage, and after failing to answer my questions Alex decided to heckle Ryan again. This time he said that Ryan could not argue science since he was not trained in science at university (for the record neither was Alex). When we called him out on his hypocrisy here, Alex said, “A scientist is one that uses scientific methods.” However, with that definition he shot himself in the foot, for he just allowed Ryan to argue science as a scientist.
At this stage the long hair atheist who is normally quite vile came running in. He said that we could not talk about science since we weren’t trained in it. But at that time Alex was talking about physics (which he was never trained in). So I asked him, “If one has to be trained in something to talk about it, then what right to they have to talk about theology and science, since they aren’t trained in it?” To which he replied, “This isn’t about me, don’t twist it!” Ahh…. Good to see the doubt standard of the atheists on display.
By now things must have gotten a bit hot for them, since they refused to engage Ryan’s arguments and they all walked off to go have a beer. This in an of itself is not unusual, but they normally return later in the night more vile than before. This time however, we didn’t see them again. Which is sad, since they still haven’t answered the questions before them, and screaming abuse doesn’t count as an answer.
The rest of the night went quite well, Ryan was able to expound the Gospel of Christ, as was Blake. They did a great job of explaining how despite all our sin, God is loving and kind in to send Christ to die on the cross for His people, but they didn’t finish there, they then went on to explain that Christ arose again and if you would repent and trust in Christ, you would not perish but have eternal life.
It was a good night, with much bad heckling. Please pray for the atheists.
Soli Deo Gloria!
For more photos from each outreach, view them on our Facebook page.
Saturday, 24 April, 2010
As I was leaving home, it looked like it was going to be a rainy day, as the sky was filled with clouds. But as I drove further to the coast, the clouds seemed to vanish and so by the time I arrived at Surfers Paradise, there wasn't a cloud in sight.
I was joined by Bekk, Rick, Glenda, and seven people from Christian Witness Fellowship. Everyone was very excited to be out on the streets again, and there were quite a lot of people about due to it being a long weekend. After prayer together, we began handing out tracts and starting conversations. Since we had a sizeable team, I sent a number of groups of two people down Cavill Mall to witness down there. As the flow through of people traffic through the usual area where we witness can be covered with about five people.
However after an hour, it started to rain even though it was still mostly sunny. So we decided to have lunch.
After lunch, we went back to the usual preaching area and I got into a conversation with a man who seemed very shy and timid. He said he attends Surf City Church and thought he was going to Heaven because he has lived very good life. So I asked him whether he had broken any of God's commandments. He had and so I explained that since God is just, He cannot let the guilty go unpunished. He understood this, but argued that his good works would cover the bad things he has done. So I compared what he said to a judge in a court room. A just judge cannot let a murderer to go free if he argues to him "I've helped the poor", or "I've worked for charities". This seemed to make sense in his mind. So I then went on to explaining the gospel and stressed that he needs to trust in the death of Jesus alone for His forgiveness. He said he would, and also start reading his bible.
After this I stepped up to preach, starting on how even though Australia is a free country because of the brave and honourable actions of the Anzac soldiers (Anzac Day is following day), most people in Australia are still in slavery. I then read from John 8:31-34 where Jesus explains that "the truth shall set you free". I said, "Jesus is saying here that a person who lives in a lifestyle of sin is a slave to sin. So even though you may live in Australia, a country free from oppressors or cruel dictators, in reality you are still in slavery if you are living in a sinful lifestyle" I then went from there to the commandments, that when we break the commandments it shows that we are sinners. The truth Jesus was talking about was the truth about Himself - that His death on the cross is the only way to be freed from being a slave to sin and to escape the wrath that our sins make us deserve. I encouraged every listening to repent and believe the gospel. After this I answered some of the questions that were raised by the crowd.
The rest of the team faithfully handed out lots of gospel tracts and many people were spoken to about the amazing message of the gospel. To God be the glory for another great day of witnessing!
Friday, 23 April, 2010
Leicester Square in London continues to be our location of choice for sharing the Gospel with as many people as we can. Friday night was some night indeed. Arriving in the Square we opened in prayer and then set about getting ready.
As he has done in recent weeks Barney stood up to give a little intro before I stepped up to preach. As he was preaching some men in the crowd stopped to mock and sneer and poke fun at what Barney was saying. I was standing right next to them at the time and perhaps they were a little surprised when I stepped up to preach after Barney had finished. No sooner had I said a few words that one of the men who had mocked Barney starting to fly into a tirade of insults and abuse. He was incredibly rude and foul mouthed and was intent on doing nothing but attacking me and the message I was proclaiming. He could see that I had a Bible in my hand and began making wild accusations against the Bible, even though by that time I hadn’t even quoted a verse. It soon became very difficult to preach since he began to stir up the crowd against what I was saying, or at least was trying to say. It made me think of the book of Acts and the many times that the Jews stirred up the crowd against the apostles. This seemed no different. About twenty minutes in my Assistant Pastor, Stuart, arrived and his timing was impeccable. We were a bit thin on the ground and to have another man on the team was a great help. By this time I couldn’t continue preaching and so we all began to engage with people in one-to-one conversations.
The conversations remained heated as there were many people in the crowd that had become part of the “anger mob.” We all did our best to be gentle, but also firm. I per-sonally had to defend my ground quite strongly and when someone squares right up to you, you can’t help wondering what his next reaction is going to be. There were police in the Square, which is normal, but I don’t think these chaps cared much about that. It was St. Georges Day as well, which is England’s National Day. Friday nights always re-sult in alcohol consumption, but I think this night meant an even greater amount. I think this added to the fire. It struck me that I wasn’t scared at all. I certainly don’t say that to boast, but it is something I can honestly say. I had guys around me that were anything but peaceable, yet I had a sure confidence that God was with me and that should I take a beating then so be it. This was front line Gospel work and when we engage the world with the Gospel we shouldn’t be surprised when we meet with hostility. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
As the evening progressed we all started to get the upper hand in our conversations, in the sense that we were able to diffuse the situation as we spoke calmly and firmly with people. I was called all things under the sun for believing that there is a God but I re-sponded by showing them how foolish they were for believing that blind chance some-how engineered the universe we live. They didn’t like it when I called them foolish but I think they were started to see that we had some backbone and that we did have an-swers to the accusations they mounting against us. Towards the end of the evening I got talking with a chap called Neil. He came up to me and said that he was part of the crowd that mocked and laughed at me in the beginning, but actually he really respected me for standing up and making a stand for what I believed in. He had grown up Catholic and had a lot of questions he wanted to ask. As we were talking his friend came up and started to be a real obstacle to our conversation. I have seen this so many times before. You will get one person who is genuinely interested but a friend they are with serves to be nothing more than a hindrance. What was quite interesting to see though was Neil coming against his friend, pleading with him to let me speak. At one point he said to his friend something very true: “If there is no God, why do we have good and evil, right and wrong? Where did that even come from?” I stood there marvelling. Here was a chap who wasn’t born-again, yet he could reason rationally enough to make this conclusion. I continued to talk with Neil for some time. He had many questions so I took his email address and said that I would contact him so that we could continue our conversation. I have since done so but he has not yet emailed me back, do pray that he would so that I can continue sharing with him God’s truth.
It was certainly some night. I can say on a personal level this is probably the most an-ger and hatred I have ever experienced towards the preaching of the Gospel. Yet we rejoice! Jesus said: "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Saturday, 17 April, 2010
I arrived at the usual meeting spot at Surfers Paradise just a a few minutes late, and Dan Carkeet was already there. After a short time in prayer, we started handing out tracts.
One of the first people I chatted to was a young Jewish man. When I asked him the question whether he thought he was going to go to Heaven, he said,"Do murderers go to Heaven?" I responded by saying that they can if they repent and trust in Jesus. He then went on to explain that he was an Israeli who had been in the army for 3 years. He said that he didn't believe in Heaven and Hell, instead he mentioned that he believed in karma - if you do good, you will receive good in this life. And if you do bad, you'll receive bad in this life. When I asked him why he believed that, he said he thought it was just a good principle.
So I responded by saying, "But it seems karma does not really happen in the real world. For there are many people who do horrible atrocities and yet they don't get caught and they don't seem to receive bad things." He acknowledged this point and so I asked, "Do you believe God is good?" He responded in the affirmative. "Therefore, God must punish those people who do wrong. This doesn't seem to happen in this life for everyone. And so this punishment must happen after we die. This place is what we call Hell. But there also must be a place of no punishment, where God rewards the faithful. This is what we call Heaven." He agreed, and so I asked him whether he had done any bad, and pointed him to the commandments. He recognised his guilt and his deserving of punishment.
I then asked this Jewish man what Yom Kippur was all about. He said that they celebrate on that day. I asked him what were the origins of it. He explained, "It was the day of atonement, when a lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the nation for that year. The lamb had to be without blemish. We don't sacrifice a lamb anymore though." When I asked him how then his sins can be taken care of, he said that he had no idea. So then I talked about Jesus, that He was the lamb of God who died to take away the sins of His people. Jesus was sinless; no fault could be found in Him. He died, but then conquered death by rising from the dead. I then explained to this man that he must repent and trust only in Christ's death for His forgiveness. He had never heard of why Christians follow Jesus, and he said he now finally understood. He said he would think about it and at some stage get around to reading the New Testament.
Soon after this, I sat down next to a middle aged man holding a surf board, enjoying the midday sun. His name was Jason. I had chatted to him last week about the gospel (not the Jason I mentioned in last week's report). It was good to see him and I was glad I had the opportunity to witness to him again. He wasn't worried about the Day of Judgement coming, because even though he recognised he had done wrong, he thought God would understand that he had learnt from his mistakes. He was saying that that is the way people learn. I tried reasoning with him, saying, "It is obviously better to know the right thing to do in the first place without making those mistakes. So it leaves us without excuse on Judgement Day. A murderer wouldn't be let free if he tried arguing to a judge that he has learnt not to murder now since he murdered that last guy." I then went on to explaining the cross and repentance and faith. After this I asked the man whether he had read much of the Bible before. He hadn't. So I challenged him to read it, and he understood that it is foolish to reject Jesus without first understanding what he said and did.
Snowy also joined us a little bit later on. Lots of tracts were handed out and many conversations had. Dan commented that he was excited that in the conversations he had with people today, he thought he was really making progress. The people were open to hearing about the cross of Christ and really thinking about eternal things. Praise God for the encouragements He gives us at times.
To God be the glory!
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