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Friday, 11 February, 2011
After the events of last week – with Joshua being arrested – one may find it hard to believe that tonight would be completely opposite to last week. But it was. Just earlier in the day, the Gold Coast City Council finally gave to us a permit to preach in the mall. The permit allows us to use a PA system and covers both Friday and Saturday nights. Praise God for how He works!
The funny thing is that on the permit itself it makes a distinction between material that contains Biblical messages and material classed as business advertising publications. Yet the majority of the fines that we have received from the council have been classed under ‘Business Advertising Publications’, and yet in all those instances where we were fined, it was for handing out gospel tracts – that is, material that contains messages from the Bible!
So it seems absurd that the council would still take us to court for these fines. Yet the latest we have heard from them about it is that they will be. They estimate it will go to court in late March-early April.
The council has recently notified us that they have dropped two of the fines because of incorrect fining. Both of these fines were for preaching. The rest of the fines (compromising almost entirely of fines for handing out gospel tracts) they are still pursuing. They said that after a person elects to have their fine heard in court, it usually takes only about 4-6 weeks before that happens. Our fines were all the way back in August-September last year and yet we are still waiting for them to bring us to court.
I think they won’t actually bring us to court - for the whole reason they did it in the first place, I suspect, was simply to intimidate us – hoping that we would stop our outreaches. That is why they made sure to fine us the maximum amount they could – $375 each. But I could be wrong, they may take us to court and if that happens, it should be an easy win.
This evening I was actually running late, so when I arrived everyone was already witnessing in Cavill Mall. When I arrived, we set up at one of the preaching spots allocated to us and I stood up and preached. We didn’t have an amp with us this week, but hopefully by next week we should.
Next preacher up was Blake, who after only a short while had a bunch of hecklers. This attracted a sizable crowd and so Blake made sure to preach the news about the death and resurrection of Jesus faithfully. While he was preaching, the council local law officers came up to me and they were happy that we finally have a permit. That actually surprised me that they’d react like that.
The permit only goes until 10pm and so as that time was approaching, Blake stood down and we moved to outside the mall. Ryan Francis then got up to preach – he spoke about the need everyone has for the Saviour. For God has appointed a Day of Judgement to come – and the only way to be forgiven of our sins is by trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross and repenting. After this, I then preached again till the end of the evening.
The council local law officers saw us handing out gospel tracts and said that we can't do it. I said that when I met with council this week, they said to hand out gospel tracts is to not break any of their local laws. In fact, they even said preaching anywhere outside the mall is fine too. So we kept doing it and they didn't fine us.
Praise God for His faithfulness and opening up the opportunity for us to preach in the Mall. Ideally, permits shouldn’t be required for that to happen, but regardless thanks be to God for the permit.
While all this preaching was going on, the rest of the team was faithfully witnessing one2one with people and handing out lots of gospel tracts. Please pray that God will grant repentance to all who heard or read the gospel this evening.
Friday, 4 February, 2011
We had about 16 people on the team tonight – maybe the largest it has ever been. It is great to see how the Lord has been raising up new labours all the time to share his Word.
Ryan Francis started the preaching for the evening and did a great job proclaiming the Biblical message about our sin, the coming judgement, and the greatness of the Saviour. After about 20 minutes of preaching he tagged Joshua Corneloup in. Joshua has a very loud voice, which enabled more people to hear the message.
After about fifteen minutes, the council local law compliance officers that were on duty for the evening came up to Joshua and asked him for his ID. Joshua explained that he didn’t have any on him. But the council did not seem to believe him and so they said they were going to get the police.
Once the police arrived (two officers), they came up to Joshua and said, “Can I see some ID on you? Mate pull it out.” At this Joshua honestly responds that he doesn’t have any on him. He said the council will be giving Joshua a ticket. Joshua repeats that he doesn’t have ID on him. The Senior Constable then said that he will be coming to the police station.
The Senior Constable then started grabbing Joshua with both his hands, and then attempted to steal the camera off him. At this Joshua says, “No, you are not having my camera mate.” Both police officers then grabbed Joshua, and so Joshua then gave the camera he was holding to me and I gave it then on to Jeremy. One of the police officers then pulls hand cuffs from his back pocket and looked like he was going to put them on Joshua, but he ended up not doing that.
The police asked for Joshua’s name and he gave it immediately. The Senior Constable then said, “You’re coming to the station with me.” Joshua asks if he is forced to come. The Senior Constable responds, “You are under arrest.” Joshua asks, “Am I under arrest?” The Senior Constable says again, “You are under arrest.”
At this point both police officers manhandled Joshua down Cavill Ave then onto Orchid Ave. Once on Orchid Ave, Joshua says, “You’re hurting my arm.” The Senior Constable did not respond and so Joshua repeats what he said. Then he said, “That’s hurting my arm.” The Senior Constable said, “Walk!”
Joshua said that he didn’t want to be forced to walk. The Senior Constable then hit Joshua’s arm very firmly and shouted at him, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting or you will be thrown in the watch house.” The police officers then put him a against a wall, the badgeless officer then let go of him but the Senior Constable still had Joshua’s arm twisted behind his back. The way the officer forced his arm to go did seem very painful.
The badgeless police officer pulled to the side, indicating to the Senior Constable that he wanted to speak to him. But the Senior Constable did not move, saying something about the fact that we were filming. So the badgeless police officer walked over to the Senior Constable and whispered something to him. And then I heard him say to the Senior Constable, “Just come over here.”
The Senior Constable responded by saying, “No he’s fine. We’ll take him back to the station.” The other officer said, “You sure?” The Senior Constable responded, “Yep, I am happy with that.” The other officer said, “Ok, if you’re happy.” They then proceeded to manhandle him again towards the police station. At this point, Joshua instructs Jeremy and I to leave now. The Senior Constable then points to Jeremy and shouts, “Oi, you there! Come here! Come here!” and starts moving fast towards Jeremy.
The police officer then grabs Jeremy’s arm and says, “Give me the camera. If he wants to sue me, he can use that camera as evidence!” Jeremy tried giving me the camera, however at that point the police officer then starts very forcibly grabbing his other arm and then proceeded to snatch the camera out of Jeremy’s hand. The Senior Constable then gave Jeremy a very forceful shove on his chest.
At this point, I feared for my own safety. If a police officer used that much force to get the video camera off Jeremy, I thought I was next, because I was still filming with my camera at this point in time. I didn’t want the footage on my camera to be erased as well.
The Senior Constable then tried to temper with the camera, most likely in order to delete it. He then proceeded to talk with Jeremy for the next ten minutes, while the other officer held Joshua’s arms. As the minutes went on, more police officers arrived so that there were now six officers around Joshua. After about ten minutes of waiting around there, two undercover police officers then manhandled Joshua to the police station.
In the end, Joshua was released without charge and was fined $375 by the council for preaching. We had a chat to the local law compliance officers after all this and they insisted that preaching is forbidden on all of the Gold Coast council’s land. It says nowhere in their such a thing, it just seems to be these particular council workers that really do not like the gospel.
After this, I started preaching back on Cavill Ave and the council officers just walked past and did nothing. After walking past a few times, they commented to Trevor that they won’t fine me because I already have a fine that is still to go to court. I don’t think that’s the real reason. The real reason is because they know that to preach the gospel on public land is to not break any of their own local laws.
With all the hassles, the gospel was still preached and many people received gospel tracts. So to God be the glory!
Friday, 28 January, 2011
It was looking to be a very busy night, as it was very difficult to find a car park. We ended up having to park about a kilometre away from Cavill Ave. However while we were walking towards Cavill, it started to rain. I knew this would make things a bit quieter, but after 5 minutes the rain subsided.
When we arrived we found the rest of the team and then we all prayed together. Prayer is very important in evangelism, because salvation is completely the Lord’s work, not of any human effort. After concluding our prayer, we sought out a place to preach.
We chose a spot just outside of Cavill mall facing into it, and I got up to preach. However, after about only ten minutes of preaching, a busker with an amp set up nearby and started playing loud music. So we decided to move to the corner where Hard Rock Cafe is and start preaching there. However, soon after, rain starting tumbling down again, resulting in us moving undercover to preach.
At this point we did see the council law local officers on duty, but they did not approach us. After realising that the spot we were at undercover was very quiet, we decided to move a busier spot. The spot was great and quite a few people were stopping to listening to the preaching. But after a while, a security guard who in past weeks has repeatedly tried to stop the message of the gospel proceeding told us to move away. But the thing is that we were not even in the front of the shop that he was guarding. But to prevent a scene, we moved a few metres further away from him.
The council numerous times saw us and walked straight past us. Usually they come up and threatened to fine us if we continue handing out gospel tracts and preaching on public land. We always do continue, since we are not breaking the law, and for months now even though they do see us continue, they haven’t fined us.
After I stepped down from the soapbox, John and then Ryan Francis got up to preach. While Ryan was preaching, a large crowd was starting to gather and quite a few people listening had questions. So Ryan was able to answer their questions and then direct the discussion back to the gospel. That if a person is to repent and trust in Christ’s death alone for their forgiveness, they would be forgiven.
Questions that kept getting raised from hecklers included, “How do you know the Bible hasn’t been changed? What about other religions?” etc.
Many gospel tracts were also handed out by the rest of the team, resulting in some good conversations. Please pray that God will convert those who heard the gospel or received a tract this evening.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 22 January, 2011
After an extended Christmas break, the Essex team have begun afresh this year, bringing the Gospel of Christ to streets of Brentwood. The team was small but as the day grew, the team expanded. I was joined first by Suzi and then by Mike and later by Roman.
After chatting to a South African couple about Christian things in Cafe Nero we went to the High St and prayed. I managed to share with a couple of young boys who were resting from riding their bmx bikes. We joked a little about the sins we have all committed but later they took a more serious demeanour when discussing the punishment of God against sin. They took some good person tracts and split.
Mike introduced me to a hindu friend of his and we proceeded to discuss the presuppositions of the hindu worldview and how it contradicts itself. I attempted to explain the Biblical worldview and how God is the Creator and how we break His Law. I concluded with the Gospel and handed the hindu man a tract and a copy of Johns Gospel. He was very interested to hear what the Bible says, I pray that he understands and is granted repentance!
The conditions this afternoon were very cold and then it began to rain so after a couple of hours we left. Quite a number of tracts were handed to young men and woman as they pass by so we pray that thay will read them and turn to the only Mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ!
Friday, 14 January, 2011
Bekk and I were running quite a bit late tonight, but thankfully Trevor was there and was able to lead the team in prayer and then get stuck into the outreach. So when Bekk and I arrived, John was already preaching. The team let me know that the council had already gone past threatening to come back and fine those handing out tracts on council land.
Not too long later, two council local law compliance officers came back and started talking to a few members of the team. They were simply saying that handing out gospel tracts on council land is to distribute business advertising publications. However, that is simply not true. So we simply kept handing out tracts like we had been doing.
The gospel is not anything that can be sold, bought, traded or used for commercial purposes. The gospel is the message about the death of Jesus who died on the cross to forgive the sins of all those who would repent and believe, then rose from the dead on the third day. It is good news that everyone needs to hear. Anyone who tries to stop the message of the gospel being spread will have to give an account of their actions on the day of Judgement. The Scripture says “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)
During this whole time, John was still preaching – speaking about the great news of the cross. He ended up preaching for about two hours! Praise God for the passion God has given him for the gospel.
At this point I decided I would preach, but do it about 40 metres from where we were. For the area is brightly light and the awnings are a bit higher. I started preaching on Mark 4 where Jesus calmed the storm – in light of the recent floods in Brisbane, I spoke about how there is someone who has control over all the nature – Jesus.
After only a few minutes, there were a few people heckling me. One women in particular was arguing that Christianity is simply a copy of existing religions prior to it. This is not a new argument; I hear it quite often from atheists. The way they try and argue it is to point to similarities between Christianity and other religions before it, and then they say ‘See it must have been copied!’
So I responded to this lady by pointing out that there are hardly many similarities between Christianity and prior pagan religions. The claims of similarities are often based upon some traditions that now tied with Christianity – eg: there being 3 wise men, or Jesus being born on the 25th December – which they allege is similar to other religions. But the thing is that none of those things are actually mentioned in the Bible, they are just Christian tradition.
I then provided another argument that even if I granted her premise that there were some similarities between Christianity and prior pagan religions, the question needs to be asked, “What exactly does that prove?” Does it prove that Christianity must have copied from these other religions? No not at all. Similarity does not prove copying. I gave an example of two textbooks that might have very similar content, yet it doesn’t mean they copied from each other. They might have just done the same experiments, bringing up the same results and thus have the same conclusions.
This lady knew her basis for not believing Christianity was crumbling, so she quickly walked away. But this discussion did cause a quite large crowd to gather, so I was then able to preach the gospel to them all. The lady returned a bit later, and tried arguing the same point again, but to no real avail.
There were all sorts of other questions that other people brought up. I would respond to them and then direct the discussion back to how we have all sinned, and so deserve Hell forever, but Jesus died on the cross for all those who would repent and believe.
When speaking about sin, I would mention some of God’s laws – using it to bring the knowledge of sin to people. But what I find really interesting that in Australia, since we have such a drinking culture, whenever people hear that God says drunkenness is a sin, most Aussie’s are shocked. They wonder how on Earth God could forbid it. So many people in this country have, as the Apostle Paul states, “seared their conscience with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2). I pray that God will grant many Aussie’s repentance and faith before it’s too late.
After preaching for about an hour, I stood down from preaching and as a team we prayed together to finish off the night.
Saturday, 11 December, 2010
In the midst of all the rain and storms this weekend I found a group of faithful Christians gathered in King George square praying to and praising the God of the entire universe. Josh was dealing with a flood at his church and house so it was just Ryan in charge of the team. I was glad to see that there were also a good number of others who had made it in. After a refreshing time of fellowship and prayer we headed up to the normal area in the Queen Street mall.
As it was still raining, Ryan decided that we would just hand out tracts for a period before starting the preaching. It was wonderful to see the gospel getting into the hands of people and the team members getting into conversations as people passed. We all managed to hand out a good number of tracts and as soon as the rain stopped Alex (not the atheist) got up to preach.
While Alex proclaimed the gospel a group of the team gathered around to play rent-a-crowd, but I thought to myself as I listened that there is more to it than that. The gospel deserves a hearing and every preacher of the gospel should see people gladly listening to the word of God proclaimed. I am often convicted by and encouraged by the proclamation of the gospel and I am sure there are many who weaken their faith significantly by refusing to listen to the gospel because they are “already a Christian…”, as though that excuses them from listening. Alex did an excellent job preaching the word and deftly dealt with the couple of objections that were given by hecklers. He has wonderful way of deconstructing people’s arguments and showing up the presuppositions underlying their objections.
Next up was Yarran, who as normal elucidated some portion of scripture so well that I feel ashamed of my superficial treatment of God’s word. Yarran poured out his heart into the preaching of the gospel and urged the people of Brisbane to turn to the one true God from their many idols. Though there were a couple of hecklers the night appeared to be a slow one with all the rain. The exception to this was the long stream of santa claus impersonators who varied between mildly and severely inebriated. Most of this crowd heckled as they passed on their way into the night, the few who stopped were unwilling to interact and despite questions from Yarran they would not stay to speak to us.
In the middle of all this a group of young women went past and I watched as between them they scoffed and one even made a lewd gesture at the preacher in jest. None of them were considering the words Yarran proclaimed and I at first thought that they were merely another group of revelers. I stopped one to offer her a tract and she said “I’ll swap you one of mine for one of yours” and handed me a tract for their church. Disappointingly it appeared this was a group of Christian women who had just been mocking the preaching of the gospel! I have seen this so many times in so many places yet it always saddens me. Please if you read this consider how it must look to non-Christians when Christians mock at the preaching of the gospel. If even those who claim Christ as their own think that the gospel of Him crucified for sin is a joke, then what will the unbelieving think? You may even think that this form of evangelism is less than constructive, but pause for a moment and consider how your response will either turn people to or away from the gospel. Lastly if you do mock, please consider who it is you’re mocking, if it is the preacher then consider the brother or sister in Christ whose character you are murdering. Christ died for them also. Worse if it is the message itself you would mock, then consider the words of Christ that “…any who are ashamed of me in this faithless and evil generation, I will be ashamed of before my Father and His holy angels”! Would you shame the Lord who bought you?
I was next up to preach and just as I stood up a regular heckler Wayne turned up with his son Rob. I have interacted with Wayne and to a lesser extent Rob for the last couple of months when I have been able to come into the city. During this time I have raised with Wayne many of the evidences from history and science that confirm that we are made by God and that Jesus is the Son of God and our only opportunity for salvation.
One of the witnesses to this is a set of studies done to support a very young age to the earth (by current standards) of 6000-10000 years old as is witnessed to in the bible. These studies have found substantial amounts of C14 in diamonds (similar studies have found similar in many other supposedly ancient artifacts/fossils/coal etc), also the studies have used alternate methods of dating supposedly ancient rocks finding a much younger age. For those interested here is a link to the studies in summary: http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-and-old-ages-in-disarray. This linked with secular work confirming similar results (Taylor RE, Southon J (2007). "Use of natural diamonds to monitor 14C AMS instrument backgrounds". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 259: 282–28) provide a major support for a young earth. As there is no such thing as fast forward or fast anything in evolution this is a potent support for the Christian belief that we are made by a supernatural being and as such are responsible to Him.
The other witness is easily found and if you will only take and read the eyewitness accounts of history from God’s perspective as found in the bible (note I don’t mean an exhaustive history!). This account is what I tried failingly to impress upon Wayne and the couple of other people he attracted (as always thank you for that service Wayne you are most kind!). We are lost and sinful people and need a savior to take our place in the wrath and punishment we deserve for our hatred and sin towards God. Jesus is this savior and loved us so much that He died for sin though He deserved eternal praise and worship. I urged people to this until I had no more time and no more voice.
Wayne was unchanged as is so often the case and continued to cling to his blind faith in the skepticism he has in all things Christian. I pray that God will work in him to soften his heart and bring him to repentant faith in Jesus. There were some others present and praise God they took tracts afterwards also.
For those of you who read these words we covet your prayers and your support in what ever way you can. The days are now here when people will not listen to sound doctrine and only want what will scratch whatever itch they happen to have. Australian Christians please pray for us as we work the streets of your homeland, petition the Lord of Glory that he would bless our work and bring many souls to faith and home to glory. Please also pray for the team members who so frequently (much more than I it must be said), give of their time and sacrifice comfort and recreation time to preach the gospel to the lost on your doorstep. If you can please join a local team and work in this mission field, there will not always be in Australia the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy now.
The night as always was a testament to the glory of God and we pray that He would be praised for His work in and through us both to save us and to use us in the glorious work of proclaiming His works.
Saturday, 11 December, 2010
The snow had melted and the general public were in a shopping frenzy this particular Saturday. I was greeted by Peter Ruck on arrival and we were both joined later by Ingrid and her daughter Elyske. Tracts were easy to pass out since people appeared to be engrossed in a mind frame of consumerism as we approach Christmas Day. I managed to have a conversation with a young man named Alex. He began by saying he was an atheist but believed that when we die, we go to better place. This is perhaps similar to Buddhism in that it does not have personal God that reveals Himself, but through moralism, one may attain a state of benevolence in the cosmos...
We discussed the Law and the concept of justice and what happens in ultimate justice, instituted by God who will by no means clear the guilty! Again, Alex like many others, felt that what he believed about reality would actually be true in his experience of it. He also asked why God cannot just "forgive" and let everyone go free. We discussed the need of Atonement for sin and the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross for his people. This was to be entered into by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Alex was very friendly and took a couple of tracts to read.
By Gods grace I manage to get large groups of teenagers to talk with and this day was no different. A group of about 6 -7 teenagers took tracts and I began to ask them whether they felt they were 'good people'. Some of the girls said they were fine to get into heaven so after we discussed the demands of the Law the depiction of their righteousness did change. We discussed why we celebrate Christmas and what we have to do to get right with God. SDG!!!
Monday, 22 November, 2010
Monday 22nd November 2010
Today was the first day of Schoolies Outreach – the outreach where we spend a week evangelising at the Gold Coast during the year 12 end-of-school celebrations. For it, 5 of us booked a unit nearby to stay for the week.
After arriving at our unit, we headed out to the streets of Surfers Paradise at 7:30pm. There we met up with a few other people who were joining us for that night’s outreach. Once we had prayed together, we went out to our usual spot to hand out gospel tracts and do some preaching.
It was very busy, and as the night progressed it got even busier. Just after 9pm I decided to do some preaching, but there was so much ambient noise that it was extremely hard to be heard. There were a few people who stopped to listen, and I was able to bring them through the good person test. For them to hear me though, I had to speak very loudly, which was straining my voice. So only after about 20 minutes I stood down.
I had really good conversation with a Schoolie named Mark. I asked him first up whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He thought he would. So I asked him whether he had broke some of the commandments – like lying, stealing, using God’s name in vain, and lust. He had. I pointed out that the punishment for sin (even just one sin) is eternity in Hell. This concerned him, and so he commented, “How can I get to Heaven then, as I have had sex outside of marriage?” I then told him of the death of Jesus, how He died on the cross taking the punishment for our sins. I then instructed him that the way of forgiveness is by repenting (turning from sin) and trusting that it is only the death of Jesus why he can go to Heaven.
That all made sense to him, so I asked, “When are you going to repent and trust in Jesus?” He said he would go back to his hotel tonight and really ponder what he heard.
A few hours later I saw him again and he said to me, “What you’ve said is really stuck on my mind. I am heading home now, I’m going to repent tonight.” Please pray for Mark that his profession of faith may be genuine.
We handed out about 3,000 gospel tracts tonight between us all, and ended up heading home just past 1am. Even at that hour there were plenty of people still about.
Tuesday 23rd November 2010
After sleeping in, we headed back out on the streets at about 1:30pm. As we arrived at Cavill Ave, we saw the local law officers that were on duty. We prayed together and started handing out gospel tracts. During the day time, there are many schoolies about and most of them are bored and so they are willing to talk.
Not too long after starting to hand out gospel tracts, one of the local law officers came up to me, saying, “You know you are not allowed to hand out those.” I responding by saying that gospel tracts do not constitute ‘business advertising publications’, as they like to say it does. They said that they’ll come back later and if they see us still doing it, they’ll fine us.
We knew we were not breaking the law, but for convenience sake we decided to go on to private land to hand them out. This area had been recommended to us by a number of the local law officers over the past few weeks. The local law officers came back and saw us handing them out on private land, and although they could not touch us there, they decided to be annoying. They called up the centre management (the ones that own the land) and told them that we were handing out things on their land. They then went up to the security guard on duty nearby to get him to tell us to stop doing it.
At this point, we decided that it would be worthwhile simply having conversations with people, without using tracts to get into them. This worked very well, so we kept doing this for about an hour.
After going back to the unit for dinner, we returned to the streets at 7:50pm armed with thousands of gospel tracts. The ones were using mostly were the Good Aussie cards and the Big Money notes. I find that the Big Money notes work really well at special events, and so they were going out like hotcakes at schoolies.
At one stage, the local law officers that were on duty that night (they were different from the day time) came up to us instructing us to go on to private property to hand the tracts. I informed them that the local law officers that were on duty during the daytime did all they could to get us off private property. They were surprised and said they will have to look into that. But they said that we can’t hand out gospel tracts on public land. I asked them, “What exactly is wrong with them?” They firstly said, “Because it has a website on there.” So I asked, “If I take the website off, would it be allowed?” They said, “No, because what it comes down to is that you are still promoting something.” I said, “We are promoting the gospel of Jesus and you don’t pay for it.” They said, “That’s right, and you can’t do that on public land.”
Can’t promote the gospel on public land? Where have the freedoms gone that citizens of this country have always possessed? This council is overstepping the laws of this land and even their local laws. For there is no local law forbidding promoting in general. Under their local laws only promoting business, commercial and trade activities are forbidden without a permit. Yet they think that promoting the gospel is one of those activities? That is very hard to see.
We simply kept on talking to people and handing out tracts and the council didn’t do anything.
Wednesday 24th November 2010
Like yesterday, we decided to head out on the streets in the afternoon for a few hours and then to return at night time. As we were walking from our car, we saw the local law officers in their car driving past us, and we waved to each other. Once we reached Cavill Ave, we prayed together and then started having conversations with people like we were yesterday.
That night, I had an interesting conversation with a Pentecostal guy who had just gone to a Church service at Surf City (the local Pentecostal Church). From the outset, he was like shouting at me and standing really close, and so I asked him whether he was drunk. He said that he hadn’t had any drinks tonight. He then began to tell me of all this new revelation he has received from God, and I expressed my doubts to him about that really being from God. For God has given us the Bible, and in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says that the Scriptures are everything we need to be equipped for every good work. This man at this point started getting angry and then began speaking in gibberish and moving in a very erratic way. For the whole conversation he was spitting as he spoke, and as he got angry it got worse.
Then he began swearing and blaspheming. So I said to him that he should not say those things, for the Bible says that no unwholesome language is to come out of your mouth (Ephesians 4:29). He responded by saying that he can say and do whatever he wants and God doesn’t care. I told him he needs to repent, for Jesus said “Unless you repent you will perish” (Luke 13:3). I asked him again, “Are you drunk?” He said yes this time. “So you lied before?” I asked him. He said, “So?”
This really set him off. He began getting really angry, he started swearing more and said, “How can you judge me? You can’t judge me!” I said, “Yes, I can. In fact, I am commanded by God to judge you. It says in 1 Corinthians 5 that you are to judge a man who says he is a Christian and is not living accordingly.” At this point he was really angry, and he was not far off hitting me. But right at that point, a security guard who heard the man getting angry came to him and told him to move on. He said, “Leave these guys alone, they are just trying to share their beliefs.”
Thursday 25th November 2010
The schedule for Thursday was the same as the previous days, a few hours of outreach in the afternoon and then more outreach from 7:50pm in the evening till after 1am. The time we were leaving each night was getting progressive later and later each day, because even past 1am, it is still very busy. All of the official Schoolies concerts have finished for the night by that time, but the Schoolies just seemed to linger about for quite a while after that.
With the Big Money gospel tracts we were handing out, I found that quite often people would simply see me holding them and ask for one them. Usually they would then ask what it is about, and so that was a great opening to share the gospel with them.
Please keep Rio in your prayers. I was able to share the gospel with him this night and it really impacted him. Please pray that he repents and trusts in the death of Jesus alone for his salvation.
Friday 26th November 2010
When we were out on the streets during the afternoon, we encountered some Jehovah’s Witnesses. They thought that what we were doing is good, despite our differences in theology. That wasn’t reciprocated by us, as 2 John says that someone does not abide in the doctrine of Jesus, they do not have the Father. For the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God, instead they believe He is Michael the Archangel.
As soon as they heard that we believe Jesus is God, they instantly brought up their stock standard response to John 1:1, even before we mentioned that verse. They try and argue that the verse is lacking the definite article before the word for ‘God’, therefore they say Jesus is only ‘a God’ and not the God.
However, what is wrong with that interpretation is that it ignores the rule in Greek that if everyone knows what thing you are referring to, you do not need to supply the definite article. Every Jew reading the gospel of John knew that there was only one God, therefore John did not need to supply the definite article.
What really shows the Watchtower’s hypocrisy in their New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witness Bible) is that only 5 verses later in John 1, the word for ‘God’ is there without a definite article and they do not render it ‘a God’ there, instead it is simply rendered ‘God’. These 2 guys had no idea how to respond to this.
I then pointed to John 8:58 which says: ‘Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”’ The Pharisee’s hearing Jesus’ statement would immediately know what he was referring to, and that is the burning bush back in Exodus. When Moses asked God, “Who should I say to Pharaoh has sent me?” God responds with, “Say to Pharaoh, ‘I AM has sent you’.” Therefore we know from that Old Testament background that when Jesus says that He is the I AM in John 8:58, He is proclaiming to be the very God of the Old Testament. This is further confirmed by the reaction of the Pharisee’s, verse 59a says: “So they picked up stones to throw at him.” Why? Because if you said that you were God in those days, you were stoned to death.
These 2 JW’s were stumped; they had no idea how to respond. We stressed the importance to them of getting it right as to who Jesus really is. At least one of them, we could tell, from our conversation was questioning the validity of the New World Translation. Please pray for the two gentlemen that God would open their hearts to receive the true gospel message.
After the conversation, Anne-Marie made the point that cults seem to do apologetics training so that their members are trained in how to respond to objections. Yet why is it that most Christian Churches do not offer apologetics training for their whole congregation? Especially since we have the truth! That’s just some food for thought.
At night we had a large team out that we decided to split into a few different locations in Cavill Ave. The Friday night is the last night of Schoolies, so it is the night where everyone goes out to Cavill Ave to celebrate for one last chance. It was very busy, so gospel tracts were flying out left, right and centre.
The local law officers that were on warned us that we cannot hand out gospel tracts on public land. I chatted with them a bit and they said the central reason why we can’t do is because it is still the handing out of something, even though it is the gospel on there. The council themselves have been so inconsistent this week. Some officers saying we can’t do it on private land, while the rest encouraged us to do it on private land. Some officers say it is wrong because it’s promoting something, others say it is because it is the handing out of something. Which one is it?
After chatting with them a bit, they warned us that if they found us still doing it when they returned, they would fine us. We simply kept doing it and they saw us and did nothing. The other council local law officers that were on tonight walked past us and one of them said to his partner, “They’re only handing out gospel tracts” and they walked straight past.
Later on, I had a chat with a girl who works for the Worship Centre in Carina. She had an understanding of the gospel, but was wearing a shirt that had a basically naked woman on it. I told her that she should not be wearing that sort of shirt as it can cause people to stumble. And Jesus warned that it would be better if a millstone was tied around the neck of a person and they were thrown into the sea than they cause a Christian to stumble (Luke 17:2). She said, “It wouldn’t cause anyone to stumble and I don’t really care”. To try and prove her point, she said she would come back after she had asked a sample of guys whether her shirt invoked lust.
She did return later with some of her friends from her Church. They were saying that the Bible is wrong in many areas. They tried naming a few areas, but none were any real contradictions. They then asked what I thought about homosexuality. I said that the Bible clearly states it is a sin. They all got angry that I would suggest that. Then they started saying that people don’t need to get legally married to have sex with someone. I warned them that they needed to repent and trust in Christ to be forgiven. Because no real Christian can live in an open lifestyle of sin.
It was a great week of outreach at Schoolies. By the end of it, my voice was clearly strained from talking so much. Plus this is due to the fact that on the streets because it was so noisy we’d have to speak loud just to be heard even in a one2one conversation. We handed out over 10,000 gospel tracts between us and many great conversations were had.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 27 November, 2010
Another cold winters day in Essex, Mark Torrington and I hit Brentwood to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Most of the time out we spend handing out tracts but, we had a few conversations with people. I came across one elderly man who was a JW, he said that heaven will be on earth and you have to be hooked up with the 'organization' to make sure your going to get there. He was very difficult to talk with, but I managed to show him from scripture that Jesus Christ is God. This was done by reading Psalm 102 v 25 - 27 which was written to "Jehovah" and then turning to Hebrews 1 v 10 - 12 and seeing that the verses are applied to Jesus the Son. He was not very interested in debating this, He preferred to talk about belonging to the correct organization.
The other conversation Mark and I had was with a group of three young boys who came up to us and were asking about the tracts we were handing out. They understood the Law and the demands it makes on humanity and this led into the finished work of Christ at Calvary.
Later we were joined by another member of our church, Peter Ruck. The day was a success in that the Gospel was proclaimed to many members of the public.
Saturday, 20 November, 2010
After a long break from evangelism, the Essex team have resumed their Saturday afternoon outreach!!! I (Andrew) was joined by Nina and Roman, at first and then came Ingrid and her daughter Elyske too. So a healthy total of 5 hit the town high st. handing out tracts and attempting to instigate conversations.
I spoke to about 4 or 5 groups of teenagers during the afternoon. Each group consisted of 3 to 6 kids. We discussed God's Law and how we all have broken it, then leading into repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. I was impressed that the kids hung around to listen to me talk as some conversations took about 10 - 15 mins. I am also most impressed by people that feel mere belief will dictate what reality will be, eg. "I don't believe in Hell, so I wont go there...".
Ultimately God grants repentance, so we continue to pray for those we had a chance to speak to today.
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