Your donation allows Operation 513 to provide more free gospel tracts for people to hand out during special outreaches. Also it allows us to give out free Bibles and apologetical resources during our outreaches.
100% of any money received goes directly to supporting the proclamation of the gospel. We have no admin fees.
Saturday, 13 August, 2011
Atheists. Aggressive hecklers. Police: A fairly typical Saturday night at Queen st. mall. Nonetheless, a great opportunity for the message of Salvation to be proclaimed.
It was a full moon tonight. I was the first one to preach and it wasn’t long before a small group of our atheist friends arrived. Fortunately they weren’t as vocal this early in the evening and the Gospel was preached for a small time unhindered. One of them sarcastically made a comment, “What did Jesus actually on the Cross? Did he really do anything?” This was an excellent springboard for the Gospel so I was able to explain how humanity is under the just anger of God because of the evil we commit against him and therefore we are all deserving of punishment in hell. However, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and was the perfect sacrifice when he lay his life down for the sins of his people, taking their punishment upon himself. Praise be to God who changes the hearts of sinful man, granting them to turn from their sin and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection in order for them to stand blameless before God, on account of Christ, and receive eternal life! Unfortunately my voice gave way after a short time so I stepped down for Alex to preach.
Alex was the second preacher up and had the pleasure of dealing with hecklers for the majority of the time. The typical questions/assertions were employed by the Atheists as the basis for their arguments against the Truth. “Other than the Bible what proof do you have that God exists?”, “Prove that Jesus rose from the dead….no you can’t use eyewitness testimony, that is invalid”, “Can God make a burrito so hot that he cannot eat it?”. There were, however, some good questions that were asked. One of them, was to the effect of, “If one man in his whole life only stole a loaf of bread and another was a mass murderer, would they both go to hell?” Again, this provided the opportunity to explain the Gospel and warn of the coming judgment. James 2:10-11 tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said “Do not commit adultery”, also said, “Do not murder”. If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law”. Likewise, the man who is not a murderer but is a thief is accountable as a person who is guilty of disobeying the commands of a holy God who demands justice. So then, we are all equally deserving of hell.
Our 3rd preacher for the evening was a new-comer to OP13, named John. Ryan spotted him preaching alone not far from where our usual spot is and invited him to join us. He eagerly jumped up on the box and preached for a small time, imploring people to repent and turn to Jesus.
Next up was Ryan, who also had a good crowd of hecklers whose questions Ryan was able to answer. As is often the case, the later it gets the more people there seems to be and while this is a great opportunity for the Gospel, it also carries the danger of drunken people getting aggressive. Unfortunately Ryan was the target of such aggression. It seems that a person in the crowd was offering money for someone to punch/kick Ryan. One of them obliged and made an attempt to kick Ryan but did not make full contact. The police were called but the guys responsible had fled. Bek managed to capture them on camera and fortunately Ryan was uninjured. This sort of opposition has become increasingly regular over the last few months. Praise God no serious harm has befallen any of us but it is a demonstration of peoples hatred towards this message and towards God.
By this time it was getting close to 12:00 so I finished up, preaching for 15 mins.
We are blessed to be able to proclaim this great message of Salvation each week, uniting together in the hope we share. There were some good one-on-one conversations over the course of the night and many tracts handed out. Despite the occurrence of events, the Gospel was proclaimed faithfully and many people heard it although we have no power to convert people but it is God who draws his sheep and it is He who is glorified! How unfathomable that God would use sinful men to proclaim the message of Salvation to sinful men?
Friday, 29 July, 2011
Friday evening was a truly blessed time for the team. We met in the cafe at 7pm and enjoyed a time of fellowship and Bible study before heading out to the Square. During our Bible study we looked at Romans 12:9-21, which is such a tremendous passage. It details the marks of a true Christian and is summed up with this verse: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When we are out on the street we come across much evil, but the goodness of God will always triumph over evil, and in that we can rejoice.
Arriving in the square our team consisted of Andrew, James, Rhea, Roman and myself. After praying together I stood up to preach. You can see below a sort clip from my message. I emphasised our need to get right with God, that we are not an accident and have indeed been made by God, but tragically we have fallen in sin and so we stand condemned before a just and holy God. God, however, is also a God of love, and He offers forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He offers it to all and calls on everyone to repent of their sin and trust in His Son. Some did stop to listen and as a result a number of conversations began.
I had some really encouraging conversations. One in particular was with a young man from France. He was a delight to talk to and really showed some interest in what I was saying. He mentioned that he had looked into Christianity but was not convinced concerning the reliability and authority of the Bible, particularly when we see so many other religions in this world. He also believes that the Bible has been changed and modified over the years.
I explained to him that this is not true. We do have many translations of the Bible, but each of these translations have come from the same collection of manuscripts (the same source), namely, manuscripts written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. We spoke at length about this but I realised that I would need to send him some information for him to look at, so I asked if I could email him later. He welcomed this, which was very encouraging. He also took some tracts before he left and so do pray that his heart would be open to the Gospel. I have since emailed him about the veracity of the Bible and I hope to hear back from soon.
A little later in the evening we were joined by Kofi, Kwabena and Kwadwo. I really love these guys, three brothers that love the Lord and come out each week to share the Gospel. They got stuck right into things and started talking with people andhanding out tracts. Below is a little snippet from Kwadwo regarding a conversation he had:
"On Friday I had a really long talk with one individual and both Rhea and Andrew came and joined in to talk to him. He was on a two day stay from Germany and claimed that he was a Christian but recently began to think that God does not exist and now at the age of 22 he was pretty set on thinking that there is not a God so he doesn't need to worry about judgement after he dies. So we emphasised that he should listen to his conscience and that deep down he knows that there really is a God.
When we showed him that he has sinned against a holy God he disputed certain matters such as lying as not sining because it doesn't hurt anybody, but eventually he did see how it is sin to God as it breaks God's law and then we gave him the Gospel before answering the many questions he had. Before we left him he said he would certainly think about what we have said but he continually insisted that we could not convince him with which we continually answered of course we can’t, only God can. That was the main conversation i got into and I believe that Thomas went away thinking about the questions that had played on his mind earlier on."
Everybody on the team was involved in a number of conversations throughout the evening, which was brilliant. At around 10:30pm we left the square and went and sat in Burger King, enjoying some hot food and giving feedback to one another from the time we’d had. We have been running with this format for a few weeks now and it’s really helpful for everyone.
It’s great to share those encouraging conversations we’ve all had and to talk about the challenges we faced and the objections we struggled to answer. Friday night is definitely great training ground for all of us and it helps to equip and prepare us for those conversations we are fortunate to have later in the week.
Do continue to pray for the work of Operation 513 London.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 9 July, 2011
Since moving to Goulburn from Brisbane a few months ago, I have been looking for an opportunity to start a new Operation 513 evangelism team. And now it appears as if that opportunity has arisen. Being located in Goulburn (as the pastor of Goulburn Baptist Church), I have found myself strategically located just 50 minutes from the nation’s capital – Canberra. I have heard many stories about evangelism in Canberra, and the hardness of the people, and I am able to report that the accounts I have heard are true. The people in Canberra seem to be very hardened towards the Gospel. Yet, in their hardness I find hope, since Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and those who have hardened their hearts to Him are among the biggest sinners around.
After spending some time trying to figure out when it would be best for evangelism we settled on planning a weekly outreach on Saturday afternoons from 2pm-4pm in Garema Place in Civic (Canberra CBD).
On July 9th was the first afternoon of the outreach, and amongst the hardness we did find some people who were more than willing to take tracts, talk to use about the Gospel and even to listen to us open air preach.
I arrived in Civic at 2pm and was soon joined by Merhawi who is a part of the Westminster Presbyterians in Canberra. He’d been witnessing in this part of Canberra before so I valued his wisdom and insight on the best spots to witness. As we began to hand out tracts our eyes were drawn to a large group of black African wearing white shirts. This group was handing out some kind of literature, and were walking around with TV quality video cameras and microphones. Deciding that this looked interesting, we made our way to one man and asked what was happening. Turns out this group was a new Pentecostal church plant in Canberra, and what they were doing was handing out a devotional written by their apostle (warning bells) in Texas. They provided me with a copy of the devotional and then asked me to smile to the camera and thank this apostle. I refused, gave the man a tract and then proceeded to walk off. Shortly after this we ran into another group of people from this same church, so I decided to quiz them on the Gospel. As I spoke to them I was very surprised that they were solid on this front. They explained to me the need of salvation, the cross, repentance and faith. Although their church is on the dodgy side with Apostles (dodgy cause Apostles have ceased), they had the gospel correct. We handed the group some tracts and then continued to walk around Civic handing out tracts.
As we were walking I handed a tract to a man who was walking around with a football, he seemed interested in talking, so we engaged him with the Gospel. It turns out that this man’s name is Mick, and he considered himself to be an ‘in-between good person’, although he had just admitted to robbing a lady around the corner! He was hard to witness to, as he seemed to be under the influence of alcohol, but I preserved, made sure he understood sin, and then understood who Jesus is. Mick took a tract, thanked us and then walked away. My prayer is that God would save yet another drunk and transform his life.
As we continued to walk around Garema Place in Civic, we noticed a young Asian man handing out books, so we walked up to him and asked what he was up to. It turns out this man was a part of an Eastern mystic religion, and he was handing out books about what his “master” had taught. The books focus was how if we all eat vegan, then global warming would cease. We spoke to him for a bit about his beliefs, it turns out that he believes that all religious roads to lead to paradise, and that we will be reincarnated. He went on to explain that reincarnation teaches that we will be judged for our good deeds and bad deeds, then depending on how much karma we have, will determine what we come back to earth as. Upon hearing this I asked Lang (the Eastern mystic) who it was that actually did the judging when we die, who determines if we have done enough good or bad. He paused for a moment then said, “We judge ourselves, our true selves will determine that.” To which I replied, “But most men will proclaim their own goodness, so surely we will all judge ourselves good and come back as humans.” Lang disagreed, and said that we all judge ourselves correctly, and we can trust our judgements. So I asked Lang, “Have you ever been wrong about something?” To which he admitted he had, so I followed up by asking, “How can you trust your judgements then? How do you know that you are correct concerning reincarnation?” Lang went on to try and explain how we can’t really know anything in and of ourselves, but rather we need an outside source to tell us. I asked what that outside source was, and he said it was his master. She was always right, so we can trust her, as she is a religious leader just like Jesus and Muhammad. The conversation then went down the path of all religions being the same, so I started to talk about ‘Master’ Jesus and how His teachings make Him unique. I showed him that Jesus claimed to be the only way of salvation, and if that is true, then all religions aren’t the same. Lang didn’t believe us, and insisted that all masters are equal. We presented the gospel to him, and I left him with a tract explaining who Jesus is. Please remember Lang in your prayers. May Jesus save him and deliver him out of the kingdom of darkness.
After this I managed to get a quick conversation with Curtis, who wasn’t sure where he was going. He didn’t seem very interested but still took a tract. May Jesus save him.
As the day drew towards an end, we decided it would be good to open air preach. So I set up my box in Garema place and began to preach on the frailty of human life. A few people stopped (probably 20-30) and a few hecklers emerged. One man claimed to be a Christian and he had a go at me for preaching from the Old Testament, so I went to the New Testament to prove what I was saying. This man then made the claim, “Jesus died so I can live in sin.” That was a statement I had to go after. I took him to 1 John and explained that if we live in sin, then it shows we aren’t of God, but rather we are of the devil. This seemed to quiet him down for a bit. The next heckler that came along decided to yell abuse at me and swear at me for “telling people my opinions in public”, he said no-one should shout their opinions. I pointed out he was being a hypocrite, as it was his opinion that no one should shout their opinion. He swore and walked off. The next heckler decided he would try and drown out the preaching by taking off his shirt (in freezing temperatures), put on a wig and play the saxophone really loudly. I used this distraction to explain how people love their sin and hate Jesus, and that they will do anything to silence the gospel.
A few people stayed to listen to the end. At about 4:30pm, I finished up and we headed home. Praise God for a good first day. May the ground in Canberra be ploughed up and may the seed of the Gospel take root.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 15 July, 2011
Last night was another blessed time of reaching out to people with the Gospel. Our team for the evening was Kwabena, Kwadwo, Wainaina, Waithera, Rhea, James, Barney and myself. It was a warm and pleasant evening for outreach and there were certainly plenty of people about. Perfect for witnessing.
Standing up to preach I began my message by talking about the recent scandal with the News of the World. Due to illegal phone hacking the paper has now had to close down after 168 years in print. I decided to use this to draw on people's concept of what they believe to be right and wrong, and more importantly, how can we know what is right or wrong, and also, to which standard do we turn when asking the question of what is right and what is wrong. If the News of the Word staff believed they acted rightly, who are we to say they acted wrongly? Is right and wrong just a matter of opinion, or is there an objective standard? There is, and that standard is God. He made the world, and that means He makes the rules. This allowed me to bring the message into line with examining ourselves in light of God's rules and understanding that we are guilty sinners worthy of judgment. Helping people to see they deserve the wrath and judgment of God for their sins makes the grace of God offered through Jesus Christ far more amazing. People are also able to appropriate a clearer understanding of why they need Christ.
Not long after I finished preaching another preacher entered the Square. His message was built very much on the prosperity Gospel and was also a mish-mash of condemning statements, some of which really made me cringe. He had even made some rather disturbing advances towards some young girls. One of the girls I had spoken with previously commented on how much of a hypocrite she saw him to be. In contrast she was appreciative of the fact that we were preaching from the Bible and were sincere. She is not a Christian but to hear her say this encouraged me that God was helping her to see the truth. It was frustrating to hear this preacher say so many unhelpful and erroneous things. Talking amongst ourselves Rhea really encouraged me when she said that a little while ago, when another team had come into the Square to preach, a Muslim walking passed said to her that it was clear we preached with love and compassion, even though the other team of Christians did not. Of course I wish this was not so, but it shows that people can see when people are being sincere and loving and when they are not. Also, when you consider that each week we speak of hell and judgment, it is so encouraging to hear that people can still see that we care about them and want them to be saved.
We all had some great conversations. Rhea spoke with a gentleman who was visibly moved by what he heard. He said he would like to visit her church and he also took some tracts. Please pray for him! I spoke with a Muslim gentleman who told me that he was married to a Christian. He appeared quite liberal in much of what he believed and he also leaned heavily on an evolutionary understanding of the world. I found it very interesting when I took him through God's moral law. He had said that he believed himself to be a good person but when I asked if he had lied, stolen, etc, it was so evident that he was convicted and that his conscience was speaking to him. We got talking about evolution, etc, from that point on because he kept asking me questions about it, to which I answered as best I could, as I feel it is only right that we do answer their questions. However I had hoped that I would have had more time to expound on the Gospel. I was encouraged that he left with a John Blanchard booklet called "Ultimate Questions," which really opens up the Gospel well.
I also spoke with another Muslim who said that he is a relativist. He believed morality existed only for our survival and so laws are in place to protect us. Ultimately it is pragmatism that has shaped our value system and defined our moral code. We know something is wrong only because we have experienced certain practical consequences. We have seen how it affects us through the pain it brings and also through that which we end up losing.
But is this really true? Do we not intrinsically know that certain things are right and wrong? I believe we do. For example, I don't need to kill someone and then see the result of that before knowing it is wrong. To suggest that we only know murder is wrong because we realise after it happens that there are serious consequences for the person being murdered shows that we have no concept of the value of life and are incapable of making moral judgments before we do something. This of course is absurd because history and practise shows that we do value life. Ask anybody why they have become a doctor or fireman. Will they say they chose that profession simply to maintain a right balance in society so that we don't lose the people we need to function properly? No, they will say they chose that profession because they value life and want to protect people. Now, it is true that the non-Christian doctor or fireman does good works to show to themselves, and God, that they are good people worthy of accolade and Heaven, but even with this selfish attitude that drives them, they still know that what they are doing is good and praiseworthy.
You see, even though their motive is not good, they are still doing good because they want people (and God) to see that they are good. The fact that they want people to see they are good shows they do understand the intrinsic concept of good versus evil. Let me point out though that a non-Christian would undoubtedly say they have no selfish agenda and are doing good because they know it is the right thing to do and so are not trying to prove anything to anybody. This is not the case, but the point is, when pressed, a non-Christian would not say they are doing good to maintain societal balance, rather they would say they are doing good because they themselves are good. So in practise the truth is that people intrinsically know what is right and what is wrong. Morality is not a result of pragmatism. Of course, we do see people doing wrong, but this is not because they do not know it is right or wrong before they do it, rather they do it because they have a rebellious and sinful heart.
After explaining to him as best I could that we do intrinsically know what is right and wrong it was frustrating to see him deny it so strongly. He is certainly not the first relativist I have spoken to and he won't be the last. It is a predominant worldview today and we need to do our best to help them see the absurdity of what they are saying.
It was certainly a profitable evening. Do pray for all who heard the Gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 8 July, 2011
Our team on Friday evening was made up of Wainaina, Waithera, Kwabena, Kwadwo, Joram, James and myself. After a time of Bible study and fellowship at the cafe we hit the streets. It was good to be out together to share the Gospel!
While I was preaching a man came passed who expressed a lot of an anger and rage at seeing me standing on a ladder preaching from the Bible. He wanted to know what gave me the right to stand there and "tell others what they should do." I explained that I was simply declaring the message of the Gospel and that I did have have the freedom to stand on a ladder and preach. He wouldn't let it go so I calmly said, "Sir, I tell you what, if you want to get a ladder and come set up next to me and preach that will be totally fine by me." This helped to calm him down, which was good! I decided to build on the theme of freedom and addressed the crowd (that my angry heckler friend had so wonderfully helped to bring in) concerning this, explaining that we enjoyed many freedoms in our country because of Christianity. At one point I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is still a free country," to which many clapped and cheered and said, "Hear, hear." It was brilliant to then preach the whole Gospel to the crowd as they stood and listened.
After I finished preaching I noticed our angry heckler had calmed down a lot and was talking with the rest of the team. He came up to me and said, "Mate, I apologise, I had you all wrong." Wow. It turned out he had heard open air preaching before elsewhere in London and said that all he heard was that he shouldn't do this and he shouldn't do that. We talked for quite a while after this and I was able to share the Gospel with him more adequately. He had some interesting ideas of his own and I spent quite a bit of time adressing these and then bringing it back to the Gospel. He left with some tracts and much to think about. Please pray for him.
The team all got into a number of conversation, which was so encouraging. As there are now a number of new people on the team I decided it would be good to have a time of feedback and an opportunity to ask questions. We settled in Burger King and had a good time sharing some of the challenges we had all experienced. Many in the team expressed how they realised they had so much to learn. I can certainly relate to that. We are so fortunate in our day and age to have such an abundance of resources available to us so that we can indeed be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 1 July, 2011
We were a small team on Friday but the Lord still used us to reach out to a number of people with the Gospel. The team for the night was Esther, Laurence, Kwadwo, Kwabena, James and myself. After some warm fellowship in the cafe we arrived in Leicester Square and I got ready to preach. I’d had a difficult day at work and was not relishing the thought of standing up to preach, the flesh certainly was waging war with the Spirit! But I persevered and stood up to preach, and I was so glad I did. Isn’t it awesome that the Lord is able to use us even though we are weak.
As I was preaching a few people stopped to listen. In particular there were three gentlemen who listened throughout my message. After I finished preaching Esther got talking with two of the men and I was able to talk with the other young man who had been listening. We had a very interesting conversation. He considered himself “in touch” with God through an experience that he’d had when he was younger, although he was not able to explain what this was. He instead stressed that it is something a person simply must experience. I explained to him that the Bible tells us there is only one way to experience God and that is through the person Jesus Christ. I spent some considerable time explaining to him why Jesus is the answer to the problem facing us all, that we stand condemned as sinners before a holy God, guilty and unable to make ourselves innocent, sentenced to eternal punishment as is fitting for the lives we have lived. Our only hope is for an innocent substitute to step into our place, one who is fully man so that He can stand before the judgement seat of God as man’s representative, and one who is also fully God, since only God is able to bear the punishment for the sins we have committed, and at the same time able to deliver others from that sin. This substitute is of course Jesus Christ, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Amen!
The gentleman I spoke to did not show any sign that he was persuaded by the truth of the Gospel, but he listened all the same, and I pray that God opens his heart to hear and understand the awesome news that I shared with him. Please pray for him, the Lord knows his name.
We all had the opportunity to tell others about the Lord and so that is a successful night in my book! James passed out what must have been a hundred tracts and so do pray the Lord would speak into the hearts of all those who took a tract and read it.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 24 June, 2011
It was a wet summers Friday night, as we head out to share the Gospel once more in Leicester Square. We met as usual in Cafe Nero, with a team of roughly 6 (although quite a few more joined us later in the Square). As we were looking at God’s Word together, a middle aged man entered the Cafe and began to rant and rave at one of the cashiers. We discovered (as did everyone else in the coffee shop) that he wanted to use the cafe’s restroom, however since he was not a paying customer he was refused. He became very angry and began using obscene language, hurtling abuse at the poor girl who was serving. We were unsure what to do, as interfering could have inflamed the situation even further. Wainaina decided to get a little something for him so that he could use the restroom, and it turned out to be a great move. A little later as he came passed our table he said, “It would be people like yourselves to come to my rescue.” That was interesting I thought. He began to comment on the fact that we were having a Bible study, so we encouraged him to join, to which he did! As we shared with him from God’s Word we encouraged him to apologise to the cashier. He did, which was so encouraging to see. We spoke with him some more and listened as he shared some rather strange ideas on God’s Word. He knew a fair amount of Scripture, but was quite wrong in much of what he said! It was definitely a very interesting meeting, and I pray the Lord will do a great work in his life.
When we left the cafe it was spitting with rain and that turned out to be a constant for the rest of the evening. It definitely made things difficult and more people would have stopped during the preaching had it not been raining, but we still ended up having some great conversations. One conversation in particular that I had was with two young ladies. One of them chose to not believe in God at all, the other (who had grown up Catholic) said she believed in evolution but believed in God as well. As she had brought up the issue of evolution I asked her what she knew about it. She said that she had studied Darwinism at college, so I mentioned I had studied it too. As we spoke about evolution and what constitutes true science I could see that she was impressed somewhat that I had a handle on it all. She asked how it was that I had studied evolution, particularly as I was a Christian, so I explained that I wanted to know about all belief systems, whether religious or secular, so that I had an openness to what others believed. She was definitely impressed and this gave me an opening to talk with her about spiritual things.
When it comes to the field of apologetics and learning what others believe we don’t need to gain a PhD in a certain field. What we should do is study enough so that we have an understanding of what others believe and so that we can demonstrate how their arguments are flawed. Click on the following link to learn more about evolution and the fallacies that accompany it: http://carm.org/evolution
The rest of the team had some great conversations too. James spoke with a Muslim gentleman who posed the question: “How can God die?” referring of course to the Christian belief that God became a man in the person Jesus Christ and later died on a cross for the sin of the world. James had recently watched an apologetic video that addresses this question and he drew on what he had learned for his answer. You can watch the video via this link: http://operation513.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-can-god-die.html.
Although wet and somewhat miserable, the team enjoyed a great night of witnessing and fellowship. It was certainly a blessing to be out together sharing the wonderful Gospel of our Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 14 May, 2011
On Saturday night (14th May 2011), we were having our usual outreach in Brisbane city. While I was preaching, a few young blokes who had been listening to my message for a bit decided that one of them should plank beside me.
Planking is a recent fad in Australia which involves simply laying down very flat in a random location and then getting a mate to take a photo of it. It has recently gained lots of popularity, and even has been featured on news programs on television where some of the hosts 'planked' as well.
Well on Saturday night, a group of young guys planked beside me while I was preaching. I was at the time speaking about how life is so short and the reality that tonight could be any one of our last nights. For no one is guaranteed 100 years to live on this Earth.
I didn't think much about the planking incident from that point on until I received a phone call from a friend the next day. He was watching the news and he told me that very early Sunday morning a 20-year old man had been planking on the railing of his 7-storey building very near the Brisbane CBD and had fallen off and died. The news report mentioned that this man had been planking in Brisbane city with mates that night.
It struck me, that the young man who planked beside me was very likely the same man who fell off the 7-storey building to his death just hours later. My words about this possibly being our last night alive rang true for him. It is sad to hear of his death, but at the same time it should make us think about our own human mortality too.
The young man who died didn't expect to die that evening, but he did. And you may not expect to die until a very long time away, but the reality is that you could die at any moment. I hope that makes you recognise you should start thinking about what comes after death.
The Bible speaks about everyone having to give an account of how they have lived after they die. How would you do? The Bible says that God's standards to get to Heaven is perfection. But you'd have to agree that none of us have lived perfectly in our lives. For as soon as we tell a lie, steal something, use God's name in vain, or get drunk we tarnish our record. And the Bible says that what we deserve for our sins is eternity in Hell.
But the good news is this, that even though we don't deserve to go to Heaven (we haven't lived perfectly), God sent Jesus to this Earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross. His death on the cross provides forgiveness of sins; for Jesus on the cross takes all the punishment that we deserve in Hell. Jesus then rose from the dead three days after he died.
Jesus will only take the punishment for you if you do two things:
- Trust that all your sins are forgiven only because Jesus has paid the punishment for all your sins when He died on the cross.
- Repent - instead of loving to sin, you hate to sin and therefore start turning from it.
I hope you do that today if you haven't already, for today could be your last day.
Sunday, 24 April, 2011
The Redlands Easter Festival is an event put on by a large group of Churches in Redland City. The organisers were expecting about 10,000 people to turn up, so we thought it was a great idea to share the gospel there to all those attending. So there were about twelve of us who turned up and after arriving at the festival, we went to sign in at the volunteer’s booth.
Operation 513 had set aside 2,500 Good Aussie gospel tracts for free use at this event. The organisers wanted us to hand out this tract because the theme of the festival this year was the Christian heritage of Australia. So the Good Aussie card suited very well.
The event did seem a little bit smaller than previous years, but there were still stacks of people there. So after signing in, we dispersed ourselves around the showgrounds handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations with people. During Easter time, it is really easy to hand out gospel tracts, for you simply need to say “Happy Easter” and then hold out the gospel tract to them and almost always the person will take it.
After a few hours, the proportion of people who had received a gospel tract was definitely increasing and so it was becoming a more common thing to hear from people that they already had one. But I found that this was a perfect opportunity to ask them whether they had read it. If they said yes, I could then ask them what they thought of it. If they said no, I would say, “Well it asks you on the back, ‘If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven?’ What do you think?” And that would lead into a gospel conversation.
The usual response to the question of whether the person I was speaking to thought they were going to Heaven was ‘Yes’, for they thought they were good people. People by nature love speaking about how good they are, but the Bible clearly says that no one is good in God’s sight (Rom. 3:10-12). So in order to show people that they are actually sinners in need of forgiveness, I used the method that the Apostle Paul used, I showed them God’s law and how they fared compared to it. “...through the law comes knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20.
The way I showed them God’s law was by, asking them how good they were, whether they had ever told a lie, ever stolen something, or ever used God’s name in vain. Everyone has committed basically all these laws, and so people usually won’t have a problem admitting that. I would then ask, “Well if those things are some of the standards in which God will judge you after you die, do you think you would innocent or guilty?” They’ll usually say ‘Guilty’. So I ask, “Therefore, do you deserve to go to Heaven or Hell?” This makes most people realise that they are in a very bad situation deserving of Hell, and so then I can talk about the good news of forgiveness.
Since it was an Easter festival, I could then ask them about what Easter is about. A great deal of people I spoke to actually had no idea what Easter is about. Some said, “Yeah I’ve always wondered what Good Friday is, other than being a public holiday.” I then shared about Jesus dying on the cross, taking the punishment that we deserve in Hell for our sins. But a person needs trust in Jesus’ death alone for their forgiveness (meaning, not a person’s good works or own goodness) and repent (hate sin and start turning from it), in order to be forgiven. I then shared the meaning of Easter Sunday – that Jesus rose from the dead three after he died.
In the evening, there was an AOG preacher on the main stage that was supposed to give the gospel talk. He started off on John 3:16 and talking about how popular it is to wear shirts that say John 3:16, but he suggested that many people don’t know what the verse says or means. So he read it out. But then he decided to focus on the ‘so loved’ part of the verse. He interpreted ‘so loved’ to mean ‘God loves you soooo much’ in the modern sense of using the word ‘so’. However, that is not what ‘so loved’ means. Instead it actually means ‘loved thusly’ or ‘loved in this way’. The ‘so loved’ in John 3:16 does not mean that God has such a great amount of love for the world, it is rather that God loved the world in this way that He sent His one and only Son... (you can even check it in the Greek - οὕτως)
So the whole main point of his message was completely faulty. He then spoke about how everyone has a desire to come to God. Where does the Bible say that? The Bible says otherwise, in that “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10). He then proceeded to have an altar call, calling people to come to the front and come back to God.
But at no time in his message had he spoken about sin or the fact that we deserve punishment for our sin. Neither did he even speak about Heaven or repentance or that salvation is by grace through faith. He had simply talked about the sheer amount of love God has for everyone and that’s why a person should come back to God. So I knew that basically anyone coming forward could simply not be genuine, since the gospel had not been preached.
There were about 15 people who came forward, and there were a few counsellors going up to them giving them things. So Lindsay and I went to the front and got into a few conversations with a number of those came to the front and shared the gospel with them.
One conversation I had was with I think one of the counsellors, he said he had been saved 8 months. I asked him why he is going to Heaven. He said it is because he has changed his life and is not doing as much sin anymore. But I pointed out to him that changing your life doesn’t forgive your sin, because even if you never sinned again, you still would have the past history of all your sin that God cannot simply overlook. He understood this and said, “Yeah that’s true, I don’t know how I’m going to get forgiveness then.” So I shared the message of Christ’s death on the cross taking the wrath of God that we deserve for our sins if we repent and believe, and it was like something clicked in his mind. He said, “That makes sense, it’s because of Jesus death that I can be forgiven.” He was very appreciative of the chat; I pray that he is genuine.
During this, fireworks began going off, which marked the close of the festival. After they finished the rest of the team made sure to hand out tracts to everyone leaving, while I continued to have chats with those who came to the front.
The festival was good overall in the sense that it was good opportunity to witness to lots of people, both professing non-Christians and also those who attend Church but don’t truly believe. But the ‘gospel’ presentation given by the AOG pastor, Steve Kennedy was absolutely atrocious. The organisers need to seriously rethink who they get to give the gospel talk. The preacher they had last year was actually quite decent. I am not sure why they would scrape so low this year.
Please pray for the thousands of people who received gospel tracts that they would read them and that God would grant these people repentance and faith.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 18 March, 2011
On Friday night the team was out once more to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the people of London. We were about 10 strong and it was a joy to see a few new faces as well.
I stepped up to preach first and it wasn’t long before some conversations took place as a result. During my message I called people to recognise the God that had given them life, to see that our existence is not random and chance oriented, but that we have been created by an awesome God, a God to whom we owe our worship and obedience. We planned to have James step up to preach after me with a short gap in between.
I had the opportunity to talk with a group of tourists from France. Their English was very limited so I used the GM28 app on my iPhone. If you’ve never heard of this app it’s basically a witnessing tool that presents the Gospel in a number of different languages. You can see a video and learn more about the app by clicking on this link: http://www.thegm28.com. It was difficult to tell how much of an impact the Gospel had on them but they seemed to respond well to what they read on my phone. The seed of the Gospel had been sown and although we do not know how the Lord will use that seed it’s important to use every opportunity we have to reach this world for Christ.
We also had some boards with us that start with the question: “Ask me....” These are great for getting into conversation with people. They’re a little different from approaching someone with a tract to start a conversation, but they definitely have their advantages. A person’s defences will be down if they decide to approach you, for example. The boards were a great success during the night. “Ask me what happens when we die” is definitely my favourite.
I spent some time talking with Michael, someone we have all come to know and talk with at some point for quite some time now. Michael professes to be an atheist, but not in a casual sense, he is very much a product of the militant atheistic drive that has been pushing for some years now. There are times when he can be very disruptive and unsettling, however I have built a relationship with him over time to the point where he will at least listen to what I am saying. I’m very encouraged by that.
James preached a little later and I can’t help but marvel at how well he has come on these last few weeks. He has a firm grasp of what he wants to say and he presents the Gospel clearly and boldly. It’s such an encouragement to see. Please pray the Lord continues to use him.
It was wonderful to be used of God to make His name known.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Page 1 . . . 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 . . . 87