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Sunday, 31 August, 2008
At midday in the city, I walked out after Church and soon spotted Josh Mitchell's car and found him stretched out in the passenger seat asleep. He had been up until 2AM last night sharing the Gospel with the Brisbane team since it was Riverfire. I drove his car along the pacific highway and we listened to some sermons as we went. Andre joined us when we picked him up on the way down. Three of us listened to sermons for the rest of the way down (I was really glad that Josh could sleep a bit and recover in the back seet).
Soon familiar territory came into view as we approached Surfers Paradise. I think my driving is improving, although there was one occasion when, after waiting at the lights, the light turned green and instead of moving forward we started off backwards. I think Josh said shortly after that he almost missed a heartbeat. At any rate, we were all pretty awake and ready to go when we arrived.
The three of us walked together to Cavill Ave, stopping for a short pit stop (we pretty much drink water all day to keep hydrated) and we prayed for the Lord's blessing at the beachfront and Snowy joined us. I hadn't even quite set up my camera when Andre jumped up to preach first.
He proclaimed the gospel clearly, and he challenged those people around our area to think about death, their standing before God, and the certain Judgment day to come. He interacted with lots of people. Early on, a middle aged Roman Catholic man was very offended by the Gospel, particularly, that we would dare to say that we can have certainty as to knowing how we will fare when standing before God in Judgment, as per scripture (e.g. Hebrews 9:27-28 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9). He said that there was no way of knowing what will happen until we meet God. He left very unhappy (and cursing I think), while Andre urged him to repent and trust in Christ.
Josh Mitchell also preached, with boldness and clarity, interacting with a number of people. After a while, a fairly large crowd had gathered listening to Josh, some bikers stopped near where we were preaching and revved up their Harley's. Josh said later that he was wondering if they were planning to come and beat him up. He kept preaching hard. Then, I had a tap on the shoulder, and a policeman told me to turn off my camera. He then went over to Josh, accompanied by another Police officer, and told Josh to get down and talked with him for a while. This livened up the crowd, and many stayed around (I think some were cheering and saying silly things like 'take on the police Josh'). Gospel tracts were being handed out to them. After asking a couple next to me what they thought of the preaching, they were impressed and said they were Assyrian Orthodox and were on holiday from Sydney. They were both very disappointed by the police interruption. I also had a good conversation with a Muslim and we explored the clear differences between Islam and Christianity with a focus on Jesus and the Gospel. When he had to leave, I urged him to consider the Gospel, he said thanks and shook my hand as he left.
After the preaching we packed up and handed out more Gospel tracts. Snowy had a long chat with a guy who held to a primarily symbolic interpretation of the bible, saying that there was no literal Jesus but that it all has symbolic meaning. I listened to some of his way of understanding things but we had to finish-up for the day. Soon we were on the road, driving home into the sunset.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) "without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
Special note from Josh Mitchell: We would like to thank the police of Southport and Surfers Paradise, who keep criminals away from our public spaces, and let us enjoy our civil freedom's in peace.
I also would like to thank Snow, Dave and Andre, who joined themselves to our work here on the Gold Coast. God bless you guys for blessing God with what he has given you!
Friday, 29 August, 2008
On Friday evening we were back at Leicester Square to preach the gospel to the people of London. The previous Friday we'd had some trouble with one of the artists who trades in front of the railing that runs along the promenade of where we meet to minister. I was a little anxious as I was not sure what the response would be like this week. We've been going to Leicester Square now for well over six months and so we do feel settled and of course keen to stay. I believe it to be a great venue for the ministry we do. As it turned out my fears were justified. Our disgruntled artist was certainly out to make his displeasure felt. Each artist has a temporary license they pay that allows them to trade in a specific spot of the promenade. It is a marked out spot that they can use. I made the point that we were not trading, consequently we did not need a license as did the artists. The complaint against us centered on the idea that we would infringe upon his spot with the crowd that we would undoubtedly gather. I certainly do not boast in our ability to do this, in fact I can't help thinking how amazing it is that we are able to do this week in week out. I can only say that God is our provider and that He is the one who is drawing the people for us.
If you read my report from last week you would have noticed that I had to stop preaching due to some rather aggressive Muslim men. The crowd had grown large and it did in fact spill over to the area next to us. Even though this was an unusual case and influenced by some aggressive Muslims, we were conscious of the fact that our artist friend did have his business to run. Consequently we moved over as far as we could. However this did not seem to appease him and it was starting to become clear to me that he simply did not want us there, preaching something he did not want to hear in an area that he believes is reserved for artists only. We were in a bit of a quandary as to what we should do and spent at least half an hour or so debating amongst ourselves as to our course of action. I was becoming rather frustrated as I could see that time was escaping us. In the end we decided that I would still preach and should the crowd behave the way it had the previous week I would move even further to the left. So after spending some time in prayer I stood up to preach. Phil kindly manned the table we had laid out that was loaded with tracts and free Bibles. I have to confess that it took me a while to get going as I was feeling a little unsettled. God was good to us though and before long we drew in a crowd. My first hecklers were some young teenagers who stood nearby and threw a number of questions at me. They defended the idea that they were good people and so I took them through the commandments to show them that they were in fact sinners in the hands of an angry God. A young girl who was with them, and had picked up a Bible (you can see her holding it in the picture above), became quite passionate when she heard me say that God sent His only Son to die in the place of sinners. It was rather interesting because prior to her saying that I had explained to her that since God cannot justify the wicked (according to His own law - Proverbs 17:15), our predicament is grave indeed. If we, being wicked, cannot be justified by God because of our wickedness, what hope do we have of being justified before Him? How can we be justified?! I put this question to her, and you know what? She came back with the right answer! Someone would have to pay the penalty for us. And so that is what led me to explaining to her what God has done for sinners by sending His own to Son to die on the cross. She questioned how a loving God could possibly allow His own Son to die in the place of others. I explained to her that Christ came to this earth willingly and that He also went to the cross willingly (John 10:17-18). Christ knew that He would rise again, since it would not be possible for death to keep a hold of Him (Acts 2:24).
As time progressed our crowd did become larger and so I moved further to the left. A young Australian man started to heckle me and we became locked in a debate concerning creation verses evolution. He was actually enjoying himself and it was obvious that he wanted to have a good old banter. He was the perfect heckler because he kept the crowd and I could see that he was not the sought to take things too far. I kept him hooked by throwing some humour back at him, saying things like, "Come on man, use your head, there must be a God!"
Later on after I had finished preaching Andrew Noble got into a good one-to-one conversation with him. Andrew is also from Australia so I thought it was just perfect that the two of them got talking. As I carried on preaching a lady from the crowd asked me why women have ended up with such a raw deal in that they have to go through such pain in child birth. She understood that it was because of Eve's sin but still felt it was a raw deal. I thought for a minute and then simply said to her, "Ma'am that is something you will have take up with God." The answer was not what she expected and it was clear that she was at a loss as to how to respond.
Shortly after I got talking with a Muslim lady, who called herself Faith. She also had some Muslim friends with her. I explained to her why Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). She said that she respected other religions but wanted to make the point that Islam makes more sense than Christianity, due largely in part to their belief that God is not Trinitarian. I explained to her that God has revealed Himself in His Word as one in essence, three in person, and that settles it. This got us talking about the veracity of the Bible. I gave a solid defence for the Bible and showed them how it is far more authenticate that any other book in all of antiquity. Carl had one of his placards that showed how science confirms the Bible, since we can find many scientific facts in its pages. I got a lot of scoffs at this point and a lot of unreasonable objections. I responded by pleading with them to be reasonable and to listen to what I had to say. It was at this point that I got pulled aside by a police officer who warned me that religious debate can lead to a breach of the peace. I responded by saying I understood but that no breach of the peace had yet occurred, and I also pointed out that political marches and campaigns have as much potential to cause a breach of the peace as does the discussion of religion. I got back up to preach and addressed the crowd with a final plea for them to turn to Christ to escape the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). I had preached for well over an hour and addressed a number of questions and topics. The gospel had been clearly preached and so I was very grateful to the Lord.
Coming down from my ladder a young man approached me and asked if I had a copy of the scientific facts in the Bible that I had shown whilst preaching. Carl had some in a tract format so it was great to be able to give him the resource. I then got talking with him for about half an hour or so. It turned out that his Dad is a pastor and so he had a fair amount of Bible knowledge, even though he professed to be an agnostic. I reasoned with him from the stance of creation and conscience and then took him through the law and the gospel. At the end of the conversation all I could do was to plead with him, that he think carefully about his sin, how his sin condemned him to hell, and that he should flee to the Saviour, not simply to escape the terrors of hell, but ultimately because Jesus had been so kind to save sinners just like him from hell (Romans 2:4).
Andrew Blake, Carl, Andrew Noble and Philip were busy too, talking with people and handing out tracts. Philip has kindly written a short report of some of the opportunities he had for the evening...
I was manning the "Free Bibles" table. While Rob was preaching, several people came up to ask for New Testaments. A man known as "Mac" took a New Testament to read and asked for prayer so I prayed with him. Another man came up and asked for a Bible. He said he'd read some of the Bible already and I was able to encourage him to read more of God's word to him so that he could get to know God better.
After Rob had finished preaching after being interrupted by a keen policeman, I got talking to a lady who'd been in the crowd and was sticking up for Rob. She is a Roman Catholic and although she liked to talk, I was able to rehearse with her what Rob had been preaching on i.e. the Law and God's gift of Grace in sending Christ Jesus. I don't know how much was being taken in, but I encouraged her to trust in what Jesus had done alone, and not to put any faith in her own works which are like filthy rags before God. God being holy cannot accept anything that is tainted with sin, even the best of our works are not acceptable to Him outside of what Christ already did in dying on the cross for those who will repent and put their trust in this very work He did for them.
It truly was a great evening. Our artist friend was still complaining to the police at the end of it all, but praise God, they were on our side and told him plainly that we had a right to stand there and preach.
Please pray for all those who heard the gospel, as well those who took tracts and Bibles.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 30 August, 2008
The busiest day of the year for us had arrived! Every year at this time Brisbane city goes into party mode as the city has a big "River festival", while the party goes for a week, tonight is the biggest night of them all, as it is "River Fire" night, a night when tons of fireworks go off, an d an F-111 from the Royal Australian Air Force does a dump and burn. Since this is always a good light show to watch a couple of hundred thousand people crammed themselves in around the Brisbane CBD and river.
Since the city was bursting at the seams, we had to get to the city a bit earlier, this was to get a car park, and to also hand out many tracts. Andre, Ryan and I had our back packs crammed full of gospel tracts, so at 5pm we made our way quickly to the main walkway the crossed the river, there for the next two hours we handed out tracts.
I started off by using our Operation 513 "Big Money" tracts, and it soon became clear that the one thousand that I had was going to run out very quickly. It took only 45 minutes for every single Big Money tract to be taken. People were lining up asking for the tract, others were running against the flow of traffic in the hope that they would be able to get one before they ran out. It was a good time of tract work.
After I had run out of big money, I quickly handed out all the millions that I had on me. The tracts were going so quick the fear was we would run out of tracts before we even started the normal preaching time.
By 7pm I had handed out close to 2000 tracts, and the other guys had handed out large sums of tracts also. Since we were nearly out we made our way to King George Square, where we would meet with the rest of the team for the nights outreach.
After a quick dinner, we realised that where the team meets is actually just on the main walkway to the train station, and that at any moment all those people who were rushing home from the fireworks would pass by us. So we quickly looked in our packs to find as many tracts as we could, and then we took position and once again began to hand out tracts to many people.
By 7:45pm I was completely out of tracts, so it was good to see that Rick and Glenda had arrived, and they had more tracts to hand out. We then spent a time in prayer and bible reading as Rick and Glenda witnessed to many of the people who were leaving the city.
Since we were in for a big night, it was really encouraging to see so many people out on the streets witnessing. It was also good to see that a large number of guys from Kenmore Baptist even came out for the night.
Once 9pm rolled around we went into the Queen Street Mall to preach, I was the first one up and nearly instantly we had many hecklers opening fire. Ranging from Alex the Agnostic right through to some drunk bloke who asked the same question seven times.
It was a hard open air as many hecklers just kept yelling but wouldn't answer, but the good thing was, that while the vocal people were going me, behind the crowd there were many one to one conversations going on.
I was up for a fair while, and then I tagged Andrew Hsu in to preach for a bit more, as the crowd did to me, they did to him also. Andrew did a good job of battling through there heckles and getting to the gospel.
While he was preaching a drunk man was behind him, and was become rather unfriendly to Andrew's wife, so I stepped in and told him to back of. He appeared as if he wanted to argue but he backed down, and left - for a short time.
The man returned a little while later, and this time he was a bit toey, he began to make threats towards me, which I basically ignored, then he started ranting and raving about how he has three black belts, and that because I spoke against his family (which I never) we was going to kick my head in. The man then stepped back, jumped and did a spin in the air, he then squatted and put his hands in an "combat" position, this was rather amusing as in the position he was in he couldn't hurt anyone. But, just to be on the safe side, I put myself in a defensive position, so if any attack came I could stop it fairly quickly. No attack came, and the man mouthed off and left.
Andrew Hsu was still preaching at this time, and as normal Alex was heckling. It was then that something happened, and the next thing you know both Andrew Caswell and Alex were behind the preaching going at each other over the atonement of Christ.
Alex hates the doctrine of Christ Jesus dying on the cross for sinners, and he shows his hatred week in and week out. So for Alex the following applies, and yes, I do know that you read this blog Alex, and Alex know this that many people are praying for you!
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18
Alex, you may find the cross foolishness, but let me tell you that God is being gracious towards you and is warning you that you are perishing in your sins. However, if you repent and trust in what Jesus Christ did upon the cross you will be saved.
The night basically went on as normal after that, people heckled, and we preached. Ryan and Josh Mitchell both got up and had a go, and many people got to hear the gospel.
Praise God for a good night!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 30 August, 2008
This Saturday was short due to my work responsibilities but we pray that God would use the work done relying on His power. Peter met me in Fargate and we prayed together shortly pleading with God that He would save the souls of the people we spoke with.
We began by handing out tracts, with the crowds in Fargate there were many tracts going out and we quickly worked through the ones that we had. Unfortunately few people will stop to talk or listen in Fargate but it is a wonderful place to handout tracts.
We headed up to the Peace gardens to preach to the people that gather there on a Saturday afternoon. The Sheffield City Ambassadors do not want Christian witnesss in the Gardens and will stop anyone who preach or witness in the area. We have had many discussions with the Ambassadors and at the moment we have consent to speak with people in the gardens but not to give out tracts. As we walked through the gardens we ran into one of our regular hecklers William who stopped to speak with me. While we spoke Peter was hard at it giving out tracts and doing a great job of it.
William and I chatted for a short period and as he often does he brought up all the reasons why Christianity is false. Many of the things that he holds to are purely his opinion and there is no evidence that it is true. I often confront him on this and as to yet he has not brought any evidence to show the truth of his world-view. One of the things that he brought up were the Summarian Tablets, which were unearthed in the ruins of Babylon. These tablets, while they contain many interesting snippets of information about the ancient world, only provide context to the biblical account. In fact in the case of the myth of Gilgamesh and the flood it also confirms that there was indeed a world wide flood that occurred in the time span that is presented in the bible.
After a short chat with William he left telling me that again he thought we were wrong and that I should do my research but that he would leave me to preach as he knew I would. So I did, preaching from the side walk of an old street I gave a short gospel message to the people in the gardens. The Ambassadors predictably came and told me that I was on private land (which I was not) and that I could not preach there (which I could). I finished the preaching and Peter and I headed out to get back to our respective work places.
Praise God that the revelation He has given is so clear and that there is such a strong witness to the bible in the history and archeology of the world. We pray that He would use His word through us and that we would faithfully preach and proclaim all of His word.
Friday, 29 August, 2008
One Week Witnessing in Greece
This last week Anna and I have had the privilege of helping out in a church plant in the Greek island of Kos. Kos is a small island just off the coast of turkey which has most of it's economy based around tourism. Alec and Glynn Molton are the missionaries we assisted, they hail from the Open Air Mission (another open air/street evangelism group operating in the UK).
The Molton's have been working to plant an evangelical church on Kos as there isn't one currently. Their heart is to see Greek people come to the saviour and trust in Him alone. This is much needed as many of the Greeks are trusting in the Greek Orthodox church to save them and justify them. The lamentable situation of many Greeks is that they trust a hierarchy of men to tell them what to believe when these self same men have introduce all manner of heresies into the Orthodox church. To give example of just a few, icons (decorated pictures of saints) are worshipped with festivals at which they are kissed and prayed to, many people have their own small shrine at the front of their home at which they offer praise to the creature rather than the creator. In this environment the work is hard and the Molton's have my admiration for working in Kos and they need as much prayer support as possible.
We arrived very early morning Sunday Kos time and after a short sleep joined the Molton's and their grand-daughter and travelled to Kos town for Sunday morning church service. We set up in the hotel tv room that is the Kos Christian Fellowship's chapel and were joined by a Dutch family for the morning. It was wonderful to start a week of evangelism with praise and worship to our great God and father in heaven. After the service we headed to the pool area of the hotel to have lunch together and rest until the evening service. We enjoyed the rest and after afternoon passed we set up for the evening service again, as no-one else arrived we spent some time in prayer and packed up for home. With a hit and miss congregation it is quite jarring for the Molton's on Sunday's and we pray that God would encourage them. Monday was a day of rest and preparation for Alec for the following Sunday and for us to recover from the flight.
Tuesday we went out to deliver newspapers of a very different sort to the normal ones people would expect, bilingual (Greek/English) papers delivering the great news of eternal life. Before going we all joined in prayer and a time of bible study as is the habit of the Molton's every morning. After appealing to God on high to work in the lives of those we witnessed to this day we drove to kos town. In town we dropped Alec at his normal spot by the harbour where he has a board advertising the church and tracts/literature he offers to all passing. Leaving him there we headed into the town residential area and began with Glynn to deliver newspapers. This seems like a small work to some but I am convinced that it is a very useful way to get literature into the hands of people who would not publicly take it on the streets.
We delivered papers to a variety of places and one of the news papers got into the hands of Drosos who then called Alec wanting to talk. Drosos a is rich Greek man and wants for nothing material but is alone in the world and himself says that he "has nothing at all". Later in the week Alec and he were able to sit and talk for quite some time and we pray that this would be the beginning of God's drawing this man to Himself. We praise God that one of the Greeks responded positively to the newspapers and pray that He would bring Drosos to a living faith in Jesus.
In the afternoon we drove down the length of the island and stopping at the beaches we tracted all the tourist cars and gave out tracts to those we met. Hot work but satisfying to know that there are many who have come to the church through this witness.
Wednesday we travelled to a nearby volcanic Island called Nistros to do some sight seeing. The island was an interesting visit and I was fascinated by the caldera/crater of the volcano with all it's vents and sulphur gas plumes. The boat ride home was a little rough so praise God that we got home safely.
Thursday we headed into Kos town and were handing tracts out in the tourist cafe stretch on the harbour front not far from Alec. This was the first time that Anna and I have worked in a multilingual setting for giving out tracts. It was sometimes difficult to tell if people refused tracts due to language or because they didn't want them... oh well. Many tracts went out and we were able to give tracts to many of the locals also which we were surprised at given they are very often anti-protestant.
During the morning Anna was approached by an Irish couple doing a great and slightly unconventional thing, they are walking across Europe praying for its people. They began quite some time ago and have a caravan as their base from which they walk out 25mi each day while they pray. They encouraged us and Alec and among other talk said they would pray for the Molton's work. We were also able to speak with a Jewish family and give them some tracts. After we finished the tracts that we had from Alec for the morning it was time to go so we headed over to be picked up by Glynn with Alec.
Today Alec and Drosos had their chat and while this was happening Anna and I went to the nearby beach for a swim and also tracted all the tourist cars present. As is this faithful couple's habit drove back home via the beach car parks and placed tracts on the cars.
Friday morning there was a large sea liner from Cyprus in dock as we arrived, this was to be quite a benefit today as we could witness to the day visitors from Cyprus also. As per yesterday we set up in the cafe strip and began to hand out tracts. Today I noticed that there were a lot of Greek speakers (silly me was told later that they were Cypriots!), regardless they were taking tracts and we even had a couple of people come and ask for a Greek tract. I also noticed that the tracts we'd given out were being shared around the tables at the cafe next to us. It is exciting to see this happen, people wanting to know about the work of God in Jesus Christ.
During the morning a Jewish couple came up to ask for directions and I was able to engage them in conversation for a short period. The were cultural Jews only but I challenged them to consider the claims of their ancestor's Messiah and after chatting for a short period they left with some literature smiling. We also were encouraged by a Christian Dutch couple who likewise were after directions. After the encounters I've had so far with Dutch Reform folk I must say that they strike me as genuine warm Christians pleased to see the word preached however it can be. This is a saddening contrast to the many evangelicals I have met who are much more willing to cast aspersions as to "effectiveness" and judgement than to encourage us.
During the morning an ex-pat Cypriot named Andrew also came to enquire what we were doing. After giving him a tract Anna and I engaged him in conversation which had an easy starting point, given he hailed from Brisbane! We were able to talk for a short period only as the liner was soon to leave, but we talked through sin judgement and salvation and I confronted him with the demands of Christ to repent and trust in Him alone. After thanking us and receiving some literature Andrew headed away and we pray that he would make it back to Brisbane a changed man and there begin a new life in Christ.
As the morning came to a close we travelled to the various car parks and then stopped at one of the beaches to have an evening swim.
As Saturday was our last day on the Island before an overnight flight we started late and had an easier day. We went to the tourist town of Kardamina in the afternoon, partly for us to have a wonder around and partly for Alec to chat to Stefos another Greek contact. A lot of the conversations they have are building foundations for ongoing evangelism but Stefos knows the gospel and what the Molton's stand for. In the evening we went to one of the Greek festivals, a honey festival. This was all the things that Greeks appear to love, lots of food, loud music, and dancing. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere but had to leave before the night's entertainment began, we had to get to bed.
Now back in the UK almost a week later we can only thank and praise God for the work of the Molton's in Kos and also for their hospitality to us. We pray that God would be glorified in them and that many in Kos would be saved for Jesus name's sake.
Sunday, 24 August, 2008
The Skypecast started at 9pm and was rather busy throughout. The entire Skypecast was also broadcast again live on Voice of Truth Radio. Many people's questions were answered and we made sure that the gospel was preached throughout.
However, there were quite a few technical difficulties during the night, which resulted in people getting dropped, microphones stopped working, etc. Please pray that the entire Skypecast will run unhindered next week.
One of the hecklers we had was a Muslim, and he made the claim that in Christianity we have many different Bible versions. It's a common argument used by Muslims to substantiate their doctrine that the Bible has been changed. However, the argument is just based upon ignorance. For they are not different versions, they are just translations from the original language. We do not claim that any English Bible translation is inspired, but rather only the original manuscripts were. So a translation is the work of Bible scholars in order to bring the Bible to our common language. Just like the Qur'an has many translations as well, such as an English translation done by Yusuf Ali. And Muslims agree that the translation is not inspired, but only the original is.
The man then diverted onto another subject and asked the question, "Does the Qur'an say that Jesus is God?" I argued that the Qur'an says in Surah 29:46 that the Bible is a revelation of Allah. So therefore, if we look at the Bible, we see that Jesus himself claimed to be God (John 8:58). But that contradicts what it says elsewhere in the Qur'an regarding Jesus, such as Surah 5:116 "And behold! Allah will say: 'O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?' He will say: 'Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.'" So that proves that the Qur'an is not the Word of God because it has blaring contradictions such as that.
If they claim that the Bible has been changed, we see that Qur'an also states that no one can alter the words of Allah (6:34; 6:115; 10:64)).
The man saw this contradiction, so he quickly tried to change the topic. After some further discussion, we got onto the topic of how one gets to Heaven. This is where I could share the good news of grace to the fellow since he is under the burden of a work-righteous religious system.
Unfortunately, Skype has announced that they will be discontinuing Skypecasts from 1 September onwards. So that means that this Sunday, 31st of August, will be our last Operation 513 Skypecast (until they return). However, we are currently looking for alternative software that we can use to continue this outreach. Please keep us in prayer.
To God be the Glory!
Sunday, 24 August, 2008
I met up with Chris Addison and Tim Neal on Sunday, and after spending some time in prayer we headed out along the jetty handing out tracts. It was great weather, so there were a lot of people about, and quite a few took tracts. There were heaps of people who came in off the whale watching boat as well, and we were able to tract quite a few of them. Unfortunately, not much in the one-to-one department happened though.
The only conversation I got to have was with an elderly lady, whose husband was continually edging away while I was speaking to her, putting something of a time frame on our conversation. We talked a bit about what it means to be a good person, and she acknowledged breaking the 10 commandments. She also mentioned that she had a Bible at home, so I encouraged her to read it. After a few minutes, she saw that her husband had "edged" a considerable distance down the pier, so she went off after him.
Pray for her, that she would pick up a Bible, and that God would convict her through His Word, and for all the other people who took tracts.
Saturday, 23 August, 2008
After being away from Brisbane for a week, I was quite excited at the prospect of being able to preach once again in the Queen Street Mall. While it is always a joy to preach elsewhere, and while I loved preaching in Adelaide, there is just something about coming home and preaching in your regular spot.
We met did all the normal things, prayer, bible reading, and then a time of fellowship was enjoyed by those present. Once 9pm rolled around, it was no longer a fellowship time, but now it was a time to go out and witness to those who did not know Jesus Christ.
Ryan was the first preacher up for the night, and he wasn't long into the preaching when a good size crowd gathered around. In this crowd there were a few hecklers, first there were two self-confessed "bad Christians" and also two lesbians. This made for some interesting heckles, as when the lesbians made a case for homosexuality, the ‘bad' Christians would agree with her, and then make a case supporting it also. It seemed to be the night of all the hot topics, first there was homosexuality, and then there was abortions.
For about thirty minutes Ryan held his own against them, but his voice was starting to go (which was a surprise!), so he tagged me in and I began the long task of dealing with the hecklers. First I addressed the ‘bad' Christians, they weren't to impressed, when I stressed that the Bible teaches how we must examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith or not (2 Cor. 13:5) and then told them about how some people think themselves saved, but in reality they aren't (Matt. 7:21-23).
By now the lesbians had left, but a young man with an accent and wearing a New York Yankees hate had taken their place. This man was very vocal, and very opposed to Christianity, he started to rant that it was Christians that killed all the Jews, I tired to counter by pointing out that those who kill innocent people in the name of Christianity, are according to Jesus not true Christians. But this man wasn't interested in listening, he just kept on with his argument, and refused to listen to the counter. By the way he kept talking about Israel and the Jews I presumed he was Jewish, upon asking him, he then confirmed this fact. Since he had been yelling at me for some time now, I thought it proper to at least know who it was that really hated me and Christianity. His name was Noam, and he is a practicing Jew. This led to an interesting discussion about the Messiah, he stated that Jesus could not be the Messiah since he is dead, but I pointed out that God showed that Jesus was the Messiah by raising Him from the dead.
Noam ignored, and kept on yelling his hated at Christianity and Christ. So I opened my bible and asked if I could read something to him, and then get his opinion on it. At first he refused, so I made the statement "clearly this man isn't interested in learning!" This made him stop, and then tell me to read out of my Bible.
So I opened the pages and began to read:
"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."
Once I finished reading, I looked up and noticed that he was already scoffing, so I asked, "What do you think about that, who is it talking about?" Noam looked at me and in an arrogant fashion said "That is talking about Jesus from your apostate New Testament!"
I turned my Bible over so he could see the pages and said "No, that was written by the Prophet Isaiah, from your Bible! Isaiah is talking about the Messiah, and you just admitted that this passage is talking about Jesus Christ!"
Noam looked stunned, but instead of admitting that Jesus is the Messiah, he went off on a tangent and refused to deal with the issue. But you could clearly tell that the Scripture had found its mark, as he wasn't as arrogant as before, and now more than ever he wanted to move away from the open air discussion. I wasn't going to let him move on that quickly, so I kept engaging him about Jesus Christ being the only one that could be the Messiah of God. From there I explained how in the Torah it was taught that there must be a sacrifice made for the atonement of sin, and that how that was a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God, who would come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
By now Noam was very uncomfortable, and at the first chance he got, he headed out to the outer of the crowd that had now gathered. Please pray for Noam, that God would open his eyes, and that he will come to know Jesus as the Messiah.
The rest of the night was made up with the normal heckling, I covered issues of evolution, atheism, Islam, the Bible etc. At one point a Muslim became rather angry as I pointed out that the Quran is a book that teaches hate, and killing. The man started yelling that the Quran taught no such thing, so I quoted the Surah for him, and told him to go look it up. It is interesting, the "religion of peace" is so big on covering up the fact that in their book it says kill Christians and Jews. And the problem is so many people in the West has been duped into believing them. As you read this Islam is on the march in every Western country, the United Kingdom is nearly invaded by Islam, and it is to the point where there are no-go zones due to Islamic violence. The answer for this invasion of the demonic religion is not atheism, or even new political laws. The answer is the same as it has been for 2,000 years, and that answer is found in Jesus Christ. The church in the west needs to wake up, and realise that unless they start preaching the Gospel, one day they will wake up to find that Islam is now in control, and that they are facing death for their belief.
The rest of the night was spent for me in dealing with Christians who believed that we should emotionally manipulate people to make a decision for Jesus, and witnessing to some who had been listening to the preaching.
Andre then got up and preached, and closed the night off.
It was a good night, and many people got to hear the gospel. Please pray for them.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sunday, 24 August, 2008
JM: Special report by Dave Strachan, precious assistant in the Lord
Another Sunday afternoon had already arrived. Soon Josh Mitchell and myself were cruising down the gold coast highway. We picked up Josh Williamson who joined us for the afternoon. I really love hanging out with both Josh's - their passion for God's glory and the way they boldly declare the truth whatever the cost is a real testimony of God's grace working in their lives - and a challenge to me!
As we approached the beach front at Surfers Paradise (Cavill ave) we knew that we were up for another very windy day. We decided to bring the bible table - but later discovered that the bibles and gospel tracts would have probably flew everywhere (likely never to be seen again).
It was great to see Tim, and some of the guys and gals from Helensvale Baptist church. We prayed together at the tables nearby and then quickly set-up (I got to test out my new camera-tripod - it proved very handy). Josh Mitchell got up to preach first. He did well to preach audibly and clearly in such windy conditions ... he also did a fantastic job of interacting with a number of people watching on. It was clear that quite a number of people were interested as they came over to hear the message that Josh was preaching.
Josh Williamson got up to preach as well and had no trouble preaching over the wind. He had a lengthy debate with some guys who seemed to be trying to push their point that Science is incompatible with religion, but they seemed rather confused and often when Josh handled an objection that they put forth, they would quickly change the question. Josh was fantastic in reasoning well, patiently and in an engaging manner with them - quite a crowd accumulated. Josh ended strong with a clear gospel presentation urging people to repent and put their hope and trust in Jesus alone.
After we had finished I asked a few guys who were still hanging around what they thought. One guy said that he thought Josh Williamson was using too much sarcasm. The others had questions as well which I attempted to clarify for them. I assured them that the main thing in all of what we do is the Gospel - not a watered down gospel which pleases people - but the true gospel revealed in God's word.I also thought it would be helpful to let them know why we don't just preach 'the nice guy' approach. Basically I shared with them how important and urgent the message of the gospel is - and that nobody listens to the 'nice guy' who is always polite and seeks above all to not offend anybody - they are usually just incredibly boring, and nobody pays any attention.
Ultimately, we want as many people to know the truth because God uses the truth to set people free (John 8:32).
2 Cor. 4:2 (ESV) But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every one's conscience in the sight of God.
Friday, 22 August, 2008
On Friday night the team met up once more at Leicester Square for another night of ministry. Carl, Philip, Andrew Noble, my brother James, Andrew and I came together in prayer and looked forward to an evening of ministry. Leicester Square was full to the brim with people, just the way we like it!
After setting up our table with gospel tracts and free Bible I stood up to preach. It wasn't long before we brought in a crowd. Carl had a number of laminated cards that he had made up, that showed things like the scientific facts we see in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, fulfilled prophecies, etc. He stood next to me whilst I preached so that I could use them during my message. As I continued to preach the crowd got larger and before long I was being heckled by a number of Muslim men. I refuted their arguments and answered their question; unfortunately they were not best pleased and became quite aggressive. Carl could tell that they were starting to make approaches towards me and so tried to keep a perimeter in front of them and me. This was not working and I was actually more concerned for Carl than I was for myself! Being elevated serves two purposes. It causes people to stop and listen and it is also offers a form of protection.
I had preached for less than twenty minutes when I stepped down. It was frustrating but we were getting nowhere fast. There were people in the crowd who wanted to listen but our Muslim hecklers were not interested in listening at all. It is worth noting how aggressive Muslims can get, and I believe this is due largely to the fact that Islam is a religion steeped in militant teaching. Not all Muslim people that I speak to are this way mind you. Before I had stepped down, Christians from a ministry called "John 3:7" had arrived. One Christian gentleman in particular was very supportive of my preaching and when I stepped down began engaging with many of the Muslims. I also discovered later from the team that a man from the crowd, who was not a Christian, had been prepared to come to my defence, had things turned south. Praise the Lord!
As soon as I was down I made my way over to a young couple who I noticed had been listening to my message. I got talking with Mark and his girlfriend Danielle and we spoke for about an hour. We covered much as they had many questions. One particular question they asked was centred on knowing which religion was the right one. This allowed me to comprehensively share the whole counsel of God with them so that they could see that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). They took a Bible to share and some tracts and we also exchanged contact details. I have since written them an email and so do pray that they would write back so that we can continue where we left off.
We left about 11:30pm, which is more or less the time we need to leave as we have to catch the tube home. It had been a somewhat frustrating evening, however many tracts had gone out and I was particularly grateful to the Lord for the conversation I'd had with Mark and Danielle. Do pray for them. After talking it through we have decided to cut back our ministry on the Saturday at Tooting Broadway to once every two weeks. This is simply down to the practicalities of life I'm afraid. As it happened I was contacted about a week ago by a man named Michael who attends a Calvary Chapel church in London. Every year his church does an outreach at the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival involves marches and parades and so forth. There is always loud music and much food and drink. There is also a great deal of lasciviousness that goes on and so I have avoided it for obvious reasons. However, there are simply thousands and thousands of people who attend and so there is no better place to go if you're looking for people to witness to. My only gripe is that the music is incredibly loud and so it can be somewhat of an obstacle when talking to someone. I had been contacted after Michael had seen my blog. He wanted to know whether my team and I could attend their outreach to give a helping hand. Of course I was quite willing to do so, and so Carl, my brother James and I headed up there Saturday afternoon. The area they use is the same each year and has come to be known as "The God Corner." During our time there we spoke with as many people as we could. The music was quite deafening so we did our best! Michael and those from his church were handing out tracts and talking with people as well. In addition his church had set up a stage and where they had performers who rapped and sang Christian songs. It was certainly different to what I am used to.
I was asked to come up on stage to deliver a gospel message, and so I preached a solid gospel message for about twenty minutes or so. I did not offer an alter call but urged those who did not know the Lord to come to Him in repentance and faith. Please pray that the seed fell on good soil. So in the end a packed weekend of ministry. Praise the Lord that we are privileged to serve Him by sharing the gospel with others.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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