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Sunday, 13 July, 2008
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
Keith and I had been in Sydney for the past few days getting ready for the big outreach to coincide with the Roman Catholic World Youth Day. Over the past couple of days we had done outreach locally in and around Sydney, and even hooked up with Yorke and his team in Manly for a bit of outreach. But today was the first day in which we were able to engage with those who were in Sydney for the Pope.
In the morning we went to church at Castle Hill Baptist Church, and heard a brilliant exposition of Hebrews 12:1-2 by Rev. Ian Deane. Then after that we headed into the CBD of Sydney to do some witnessing in Hyde Park.
By the time we fought the Sydney traffic, we realised that we only had one hour to witness in Hyde Park before he had to go back to Castle Hill to fulfil a prior commitment. So we set to work witnessing and handing out tracts as fast as we could. Hyde Park was full of Roman Catholic's who were all there for the big celebration. Tracts were going out really quickly and the majority of people thanked us for the tracts. The interesting thing is that we even have priests and nuns lining up to take the gospel tract from us, and then as they left they would pronounce a quick blessing upon us.
We had been witnessing for awhile when this man came up to me, and started to yell "THOU ART PETER!" I looked at him blankly and was thinking "I am not Peter, I'm Josh." But he kept on yelling "THOU ART PETER!" It appeared that this was the only few words he knew. For the next few moments he just kept repeating these same few words, and then said "Do you believe that?" I replied that if he was talking about Matthew 16 and Jesus saying those words to Peter then yes, I would agree. But however, if he meant that to mean that Peter was the rock upon which the church was built, then I would strongly disagree. The man then went nuts yelling at me, that the Roman Church was the only true church, and that all others were imitations. I tried to reason with him but he just stormed off saying "THOU ART PETER!"
By now Keith had joined me, he had been witnessing to a Roman Catholic who kept stating what the Greek text said, so I Keith asked her to show him in the Greek where she got her info from. It soon became clear that she didn't know the Bible, nor the Greek.
We went back to handing out tracts as fast as we could as many people were coming up and grabbing tracts from us. People seemed grateful for the tracts, and many people were excited about the gospel being handed out. Then Jeff had a woman start screaming at him for handing out tracts, and then she came up and engaged Keith. Keith was very patient with her and kept asking her "What part of the message do you disagree with?" She couldn't provide an answer, and after a while she left.
After an hour we started to leave, and make our way back to Castle Hill. On the way to the train station Keith spotted a large group of ‘pilgrims' standing along George Street so he rushed over to them to try and give out some tracts. The pilgrims were all standing in a big circle, and when he got to them they freaked out a bit as these ‘good' Roman Catholics were all smoking marijuana.
Keith then turned his attention to a Scientologist who was handing out literature. They spoke a bit in an apologetic realm, and then the Scientologist started to yell at Keith; "You're hacking my brain!" Keith left him with a tract, and then we made our way back to Castle Hill.
It was a good hour of witnessing. Between three of us in one hour we were able to hand out over 2000 tracts!
Monday, 14 July 2008
Today we return ed to Hyde Park. We arrived at about 11am, and began to hand out tracts as quick as we could. Like the day before it was packed in the park. As we were witnessing I noticed that SBS had set up a television crew and they were interviewing people about World Youth Day. I was approached by the host and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed, I quickly agreed. But when they heard I was from Australia they didn't want to talk. As they only wanted to speak to foreigners. So I called Keith over and pointed out to them that he was actually Irish. They were then interested in interviewing him.
Keith began the interview, and he made sure that he constantly got to mention the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was asked questions about Rome, and he answered from a Biblical worldview and kept on stressing that salvation is not of works, but by grace alone.
While Keith was being interviewed some Samoan pilgrims came alongside me and started to say "They shouldn't interview him, he is a protestant!" So I simply asked them what was wrong with Protestants. They replied "They don't have Jesus, they aren't real Christians." This of course led into a discussion. I started to ask them about what they believed, and as soon as I started to talk a Catholic seminary student joined in the mix. He was quick to attack Biblical theology, but it didn't take long for me to counter his arguments. So he left me and engaged Keith who had just finished his interview.
For the next hour we spoke about many topics, from Mary, the mass, the Bible, the church, the pope, and also salvation. By the end the group of Samoans that I was talking to had realised that there own works would never merit them salvation. But rather they had to flee to Christ alone to save them. After talking they all took tracts and then posed with us to have our photo taken.
We then headed down to the entrance of Hyde Park and began to hand out tracts to everyone who walked past. Like yesterday priests and nuns were lining up to take tracts, and they were once again very grateful. But this all seemed to be the calm before the storm. After handing out tracts for awhile an American Catholic priest approached me, and read the tract. He then came back shoved the tract back into my hand and said "That's anti Catholic!" So I asked what part was anti Catholic, since Roman Catholicism and the Pope were not mentioned in the tract. He looked at it again and said, "It is anti Catholic, as it says you are only saved by faith alone in Christ alone!" I pointed out to him that everything stated in the tract was backed up by Scripture, so how would he reply to those verses. He agree that everything in it was biblical, but the church however has a different teaching. When I tried to engage him in apologetic discussion, he quickly backed off and started to tell everyone not to take our tracts as they opposed Rome. So this time a bit louder I asked him with everyone watching "Which part opposes Rome, and what part of the Bible do you disagree with?" People stopped to look, then quickly took tracts. The priest chased after them trying to get the tracts off them, so I said to him as he was leaving "God's judgment will be a lot harsher on those who try to keep people from the Kingdom!"
The priest stormed off so I continued to hand out tracts. Things once again went along fine. Although after awhile some New South Wales police officers arrived to say that they had received complaints about the tracts. So we gave all the police tracts and they read them. After reading them they all agreed that there was nothing wrong with them, and that we had the freedom to keep handing them out. In fact some police stayed for awhile and were encouraging us to go and engage the atheists on the other side of the park in debate as it would be interesting.
Tracts were going out at a rapid pace, and by now Ryan had arrived from Brisbane so he also started to hand out tracts. Every now and then we would get people stop and engage us in debate over Roman Catholicism, and they all seemed to use the same arguments over and over again. But most of the people we spoke to left thanking us.
By now it was getting late in the afternoon. And we had handed out thousands of tracts. Then things took a turn for the worse. Another local ‘evangelism' ministry joined us on the streets, and they also were handing out tracts. Since I knew the team leader I believed that I could trust him not to do anything that would cause trouble. I was proven wrong on this matter. He decided to enter into the big Roman Catholic Cathedral where they had a ‘Saints' body on display and tract up everyone in the Cathedral. This of course got him in trouble with the police, and also caused a very irate Roman Catholic to follow him. The problem for us was that he came to us to brag about his exploits. In my opinion the thing he did was rank stupidity and it endangered the whole outreach. It was then that Keith and I noticed that the angry Roman Catholic was on the phone to the police now making a complaint against us.
During this time a bunch of young Roman Catholic girls approached and were screaming at us that we were Protestants. And their leaders were yelling for people not to take tracts, and to rip them all up and throw them on the ground. This brought the police down, who told the Catholics that we had every right to hand out tracts, and that they had no rights to encourage people to destroy property and litter. The Roman Catholics quickly apologised.
Once again these Roman Catholics maintained that our tract was unbiblical, but when challenged to show us what part was wrong, they couldn't.
We put up with them for a few minutes, then the police arrived who had been called by the irate Roman Catholic that had followed the other guys from the Cathedral. Because of his complaint the police asked us to stop handing out tracts until such time as they could investigate what was happening. The police were very friendly, and were real apologetic over stopping us, but they indicated that someone had called to make a complaint.
Keith and I chatted to the police, and all the police were reading our tracts, so we were fine with that. As it gave us a chance to minister to these officers of the law. But things changed when the guy who had handed out tracts in the Cathedral entered in to find out what was happening to "his team". The police told him to go away as it had nothing to do with him. And Keith and I weren't to amused as we weren't "his team" and because of him, we were being stopped from witnessing.
Then the police received a call from headquarters and they were informed to issue us a move on order. Which means we weren't allowed in the Sydney CBD for twenty four hours. As they issued the order they also apologised, and made sure to stress that this order came from higher up, and was not due to them. We thanked the police for their time, and also informed them that we had no problems with them as they were just doing their job.
So we packed up our tracts, and left. The day had been very productive although it was shorter that we had planned. It goes to show that on outreach you must watch out for "glory boys" who seek to do something ‘daring' (stupid) in order to have something to brag about. It was because of one guys stupidity that a whole outreach was shut down. The worse thing was, that he isn't apart of Operation 513 but rather he leads a different ministry. We got shut down but he didn't.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Since we got shut down yesterday, and because we still had twenty four hour ban on us, we decided to have a bit of a sleep in, and then head across to Manly to do some witnessing. Our ban ran out at 4:30pm, so all we had to do was stay out of the CBD till then, and after that we could witness all we wanted to.
After meeting up with a new bloke who wanted to join us, we head over to Manly and began to hand out tracts and witness. Within minutes of getting there we had a bunch of American Roman Catholics start to engage us. One of them was getting rather angry at me, that Keith believed that he was going to hit me. We spoke about church history for a bit, and this man even though he claimed to be a theology student didn't know much about history nor theology. So we examined his beliefs in the light of Scripture. He kept making statements so we challenged him to provide biblical evidence for what he was saying. Of course like most Roman Catholics he knew more about Tradition than he did about Scripture.
After witnessing at Manly for a time, we caught the ferry back across the harbour to the CBD. Upon arriving we noticed that the opening mass was underway, and literally thousands of people were walking along the harbour. So we set up and started to hand out tracts as fast as we could. Many people took tracts, and soon it became clear that we probably wouldn't have enough tracts for the night. While we were handing out tracts one of the police officers from the day earlier approached us and said "G'day" once again he apologised for yesterday and encouraged us to keep going.
After a while we headed up to Barangaroo where the opening mass was being held. Upon arrival near the entrance we spoke to the World Youth Day security team, and they told us where we could stand. They were fine with us being there as long as we didn't block traffic. We agree with their terms and made sure that we were spread out so that no one could accuse us of blocking the flow of pilgrims.
As the Mass ended we were surrounded by a great sea of humanity, and many thousands upon thousands of tracts went out. The traffic flowed freely so we were having no trouble. The whole time we were right next to the World Youth Day security post. After a couple of hours of handing out tracts four police officers approached me and the Crown Sergeant who was leading them started to yell at me and snatched all my tracts out of my hand. The police officer then started to blast me for standing the walkway handing out tracts. I pointed out to him that World Youth Day staff told me to stand there, and he replied "I don't care, this is my turf I am in charge of it!" He said many complaints had been made against us, so he was going to shut us down. I asked him what law we were breaking, and he didn't answer. So I said "I have constitutional freedom to do this, so if I am not breaking any law I will continue." The Crown Sergeant then grabbed a tract and began to read it. As he read it, he started saying "This is hate speech!" So I asked what part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hate speech, he indicated to the part that said "going to church won't get you to heaven." So I pointed out that is what the Bible says, he maintained that it was hate speech, and that I couldn't hand them out. I stood my ground, and said that since no law was broken I would be continuing to hand them out. He snapped at me that I couldn't and then said "I am detaining you under the World Youth Day laws." This surprised me since only two hours earlier the Australian Government overturned the World Youth Day laws stating that they were unconstitutional. I pointed that out to the Crown Sergeant, and he just replied "Tough!" It was then that I said I would be making a formal complaint over this matter, and he just laughed saying "Go ahead, they can't touch me, I am above that!" To which I replied "You may be above this legal system, but you aren't above God's, and He will all you to give an account one day." This made the Crown Sergeant mad, and he ordered me to sit on the wall of an Anglican church and not move less I be arrested. But before I would move I asked him for his details, and also for the details of the other police officers. The Crown Sergeant refused at first, but then gave me his name, but wouldn't tell me his station. So I turned to the three constables and asked them for their details. The crown sergeant ordered them not to give me their details, and told me I wasn't allowed to have them. To this I replied "By law, you must give me your details." He just laughed and started to turn away. One constable quickly gave me his badge number before the Crown Sergeant stormed off.
So I was confined to sit on the wall of an Anglican church. Immediately I called my Barrister and started to ask him on how to proceed. He pointed out that the police had just broken the law, and they couldn't confine me to a wall. After speaking to him for awhile another police sergeant walked past, so I asked her about the law, and why was I detained. She told me that I had been detained for "incitement" but I pointed out that the Crown Sergeant said "World Youth Day laws and hate speech", she was a bit shocked at this, so she read the tract and said "I have no problems with this, you can continue to hand these out". Upon hearing this (in the presences of witnesses) I headed back out to hand out gospel tracts.
While I was sitting on the wall, I got to see what some of the priests and nuns were doing to our tracts. Some burnt them, others spat on them. Still others urinated on them. All this and these people are supposed to represent God's Church! The Roman Catholic Church revealed itself that night as being a church that is corrupted and a church that hates all those who aren't opposed to it.
I rejoined Keith and Ryan, and we were able to hand out thousands of tracts. As we looked at our stock level we saw that it had nearly reduced to nothing. But then the Crown Sergeant entered back into the scene. He stood right near us and watched every move, after awhile a bunch of American Catholics started trying to stop us from handing out tracts, all the while holding an American flag. We challenged them on what Freedoms the American people held dear, they responded "Freedom of Speech", so we asked why they would stop us from having Freedom of Speech in our country when over 100 000 Australian soldiers had died to give us that freedom? The Americans over the course of this outreach were the worse behaved. They shouted "Freedom" then opposed those who didn't agree with them. This is really sad, but it is clear by their actions why most of the world hates the USA.
The Americans stood in the middle of the road (blocking traffic) yelling at people to rip up the tracts and throw them in the bin. The shocking thing was the Crown Sergeant was encouraging them to do it also. So I turned walked up to him and said "Sir, you told me that if I am in the road I would be arrested, yet you are allowing them to do it, why?" His reply was "One rule for them, and one for you!" To which I replied "So, one rule for Catholics and one for Protestants?" He just grinned, and then said "They are sick of your propaganda and protestant c**p!" This stunned me that a member of the New South Wales police would discriminate against me in regards to religion, so I turned my phone on a called a friend so he could hear it. I asked him to repeat it, and when he realised that I was recording he refused to say much. This was a clear display of Police corruption, this Crown Sergeant openly opposed those who were Protestants, whoever thinks that Rome has changed need to spend a night in Sydney to see how the antichrist (pope) has the police wrapped around his little finger.
During this time a group of Catholics approached Keith and said that we need to watch out as they would be waiting at the foot of the hill to beat us up when we left. We continued to hand out tracts despite the opposition from the American Catholics and also the police. And by God's grace His Word still went forth!
As we were leaving we asked for police protection due to the Catholics saying they would get us. The Crown Sergeant refused to assist and told us to go down the hill and talk to someone else.
We made it out of the city safely, and it was a good feeling to know that God had seen fit to allow His Word to go out even though people tried to stop it!
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Today was the final day of outreach for us in Sydney. We began the day off by meeting up with some friends, and then heading to an Anglican church to attend a Bible study. This church had been doing Bible studies all week about why Roman Catholicism is wrong, and each day they had a testimony from those who had been Catholics but had left the false church.
After attending the study for an hour, we headed out on the streets to witness. We made our way to Hyde Park as it was a hive of activity. Yorke and Jeff were already present handing out gospel tracts, so we joined them for a time.
Today seemed to be a day of debates. Within minutes of arriving I was engaged in a debate with three Catholic priests from the USA. One of them kept yelling "Shut Up!" While another priest was telling me that the priest is the mediator between God and man. This interested me, so I handed the priest my Bible and asked him to please read 1 Timothy 2:5, as he read it I asked "According to the Scripture, who is the only mediator?" He replied "Jesus Christ" and then went silent. Before leaving he thanked me for showing him that verse and said that he needed to study out some issues now. Please pray for that man.
After finishing the discussion with them, I turned and was engaged in debate with two Mormon missionaries. These men were out pushing that we must have good works in order to be saved. So I spoke to them on that topic for awhile, and I illustrated how that we do good works not to be saved, but rather to be saved. After explaining this to them I showed them to Ephesians 2:8-9. The senior missionary wanted to leave the discussion, but the junior missionary was very interested. After talking for awhile the junior missionary said "I agree with you, the Book of Mormon is wrong." This statement caused the senior missionary to drag him away. Please also pray for him.
Once again I turned, and this time I was in a debate with a traditional Roman Catholic who was a fan of having the mass sung in Latin. We had a good discussion in regards to the Bible and salvation. He didn't like the state of the modern Roman church, and wanted it to return to the traditional teachings. We spoke at length about salvation and then parted on good terms.
By this time I was starting to feel like this was the day of debate, then before I knew it I was once again locked in a discussion. This time with two Franciscan Monks. These men were very polite, and were very well educated in the Bible. We discussed a variety of issues from the immaculate conception of Mary to salvation by works or by grace. It was a great time of chatting, and we all left on very good terms.
I spent the rest of the day handing out tracts, and I thought that perhaps I wouldn't need to debate anymore. But then once again an angry American priest appeared, so I engaged him in debate while his French friend yelled at Yorke in French. After talking for awhile about Jesus being the bread of life, it became clear that this priest did not know his Bible. So I used the Scripture to show him the gospel, the priest quickly stated "I must leave, and go um... pray now." Then left.
The rest of the day was quiet, with many tracts going out.
At the end of the day we tallied up the total number of tracts handed out in three days, and we estimated that over 30 000 tracts were given to those at World Youth Day. Please pray for all those that received the gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sunday, 20 July, 2008
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. - Psalms 145:1
As I laboured today, I was very mindful of the fact, that it was only by God's providence, that this preaching of the gospel was being accomplished. Adversity was plentiful in many ways, yet God made a way for the gospel to be preached, and what a privilege to those who heard it.
Let no man say, Jesus Christ is dead, for He still commands creation, and He still works to the end that God be glorified.
It must have been almost an hour and 30 minutes into preaching, that a young lady heckler admitted that her grandparents were Christians. My heart just leapt for wonder, knowing that she was only standing before a gospel preacher, because God loved her grandparents, and had designed her day to bring her this way.
At the completion of the gospel being preached, a friend whose name I do not know, preached the gospel for a further three minutes, and it was quite good.
Immediately I was met by a family of Egyptians, who were Christians come to Brisbane, to love the Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were very kind to me, and we exchanged contact details. Apparently a young man of about fifteen years, heard the gospel preached last week and brought his whole family out to listen this week.
PS. If you are interesting in joining our team, please be present at Surfers Paradise sign, at the end of Cavill Ave (beach side), at 2PM on Sunday. You can contact me on 0412 759 536.
Please pray that those who are converted have confidence to come to me, and seek fellowship!
Saturday, 19 July, 2008
Anna my lovely wife joined me in witnessing to the lost of Sheffield this week, we prayed together beforehand and pleaded with God for the souls of those we would speak to today. As the weather was fine, Fargate was full of people and opportunities.
We began by handing out tracts while we waited for some others to join us. During this time many people took tracts and we both had a few people stop to ask what it was all about. While the couple of people Anna spoke to were hard of heart and cursed God, I had a good conversation with a pair of young men. While they didn't give me their names they both gave me their full attention and listened well. There was a few self justifying comments when they heard of the law and judgement, but they quickly were settled when we examined the justice of that judgement. I rejoiced as these two young men heard the gospel and left having given me assurance they would turn to God. We entrust them to your great hand Lord God and pray that you would draw them to you and keep them in the Lord Jesus Christ until they come to heaven.
After distributing the tracts we had, I set up to preach under the trees. I preached the great divide between the great gifts of God to us (life, a world to live in, food, clothing, sun, fellowship etc.) and the stingy and miserly gratitude that mankind shows Him in response. Worse than this we tend to hatefully use the very name of God as a swear word and interjection! Most would be aghast if you did this with their loved one's name, as any Christian should be if they hear the name of God blasphemed. A group of young ladies walked past laughing and I called out one of them and began to talk with her about her own response to God and her position before Him according to the law. We unfortunately were interrupted by her friend and she left so they didn't hear the whole gospel.
During this however Caz stopped with his mate and they wanted to speak to me about the things of God. Caz was proud and wanted to be able to stand before God and be justified without repentance and faith in someone else's work. In short he wanted to be able to do it himself - sadly the desire of most people. Again part way through Caz and his friend had to go and though they left with a tract it was sad to see him leaving still wanting self justification.
Next up was Anna, she doesn't preach very often any more but when she does I am always encouraged by her clear exposition of the scriptures and clear presentation of the gospel. During her preaching a couple of young people stopped to listen for a moment and then came back to listen to her. She engaged them on weather or not they were good and then went on to preach the gospel to them. Anna is very expressive when she preaches, today the stool that we use to preach from copped the full force of that expressiveness as Anna stomped on it to express the hate that most have for the name of God in blasphemy. The stool promptly broke into many pieces and so we have not stool but thankfully also no one was hurt either. At this the preaching to the young people became one-to-ones and many good conversations followed.
One particular couple stayed around for a period to talk and we were able to talk with them at length about the gospel and give apologetics for the faith that we have in Jesus Christ. The time was congenial and they left with smiles and tracts.
Praise God that He uses us to speak, may His word not return void!
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
It was only Andrew Hsu and I on Sunday evening operating the Skypecast. However, God still brought in 354 people all up to listen in over the course of the night. We had many people who wanted to join in on the discussion, or a ask a question, or object to something that was said.
Andrew had a chat firstly with a Muslim regarding how one gets to Heaven. Then he had a discussion with a non-religious bloke from New Zealand about various topics. The fellow asked about, "How do we know the Bible is not corrupt?", "Who was Jesus?", and Andrew also made sure he brought the person through the law and the gospel.
I firstly had a conversation with a Pantheistic lady from the US. She believed that everything is God and one day we will recognise our divine nature. So I pointed out that it is logically impossible for that to be true. Since the universe had a beginning, then that would that at one point God did not exist. But in order to have the universe begin, God needs to make it. So then God would have to exist before he existed in order to make himself. That's simply absurd. She tried to assert that the universe is eternal, in a state of constant fluctuation, expanding, then bouncing back in, then expanding again. I pointed out to her that this vacuum fluctuation cosmological model she subscribes to has so many flaws that even the inventor of the idea has already thrown the model out. I proceeded to give a positive case for way the universe needed to have a beginning from both philosophical and scientific reasons. She showed to be a perfect example of someone with blind faith, as she could provide no evidence for why she believed the things she did, and would not change her belief in light of the evidence to the contrary.
I then had a chat with a Muslim fellow who wanted to respond to a claim that was made earlier in the Skypecast that Islam is logically inconsistent. So I presented my argument from Allah's justice to the man and he seemed to be unable to reconcile the inconsistency. This lead onto the gospel message, that we can have forgiveness of sins without God compromising His justice because Christ paid the fine on the cross. As Muslims tend to do so often when they cannot defend Islam, they go on the offence against Christianity. Or more specifically, the Bible. I showed the man numerous verses in the Bible that teach Christ's divinity. The usual Muslim line, which this man used as well, is "the Bible has been corrupted." I asked him for any evidence to support his claim. He could provide nothing.
Nevertheless, the gospel went out to many people, and a lot of people were able to get their questions answered.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
Dan, Chris, and I met at Redcliffe on Sunday ready to spread God's Word to the people of Redcliffe. It looked like it was raining on Stradbroke Island, so the Whale Watching boat came in earlier than usual. There would have been over 200 people on board so we managed to give gospel tracts to them all as they left the boat. There was even a person who received the tract that was reading the gospel message on the back really loudly as they strolled down the Jetty.
I had a pleasant chat with a Muslim fellow about how one gets to Heaven. I showed the man that if God is to remain always just, He cannot just forgive someone's sins without the fine being paid. In the Hadith it says that if someone becomes a Muslim, Allah automatically forgives a person's sins committed before they were a Muslim. This man denied that this was so. So I asked him if he knew about the unforgivable sin within Islam called Shirk. That is, to associate anyone with Allah. He did know about it, so I pointed out that if Allah does not forgive the sins of Muslims before they converted, then no Christian could ever convert to Islam and go to Heaven. But the man said, "Oh yeah, Allah forgives Shirk if someone converts to Islam." Hence, Allah is not always a just judge because the fine is not paid. Meaning, the god that the Qur'an describes does not exist, as Allah is also claimed to be always just. But that is an internal contradiction.
Many gospel tracts went out and good one to one conversations were held. To God be the glory!
Saturday, 12 July, 2008
Since Josh Williamson was down in Sydney already for World Youth Day, Andrew Hsu and I lead the team on Saturday night. However, when we arrived at the city for the usual meet up at 7:30pm for bible reading and prayer, we discovered King George Square was totally fenced off. So after meeting up with some other team members, we walked to Anzac Square to read our Bible and pray.
Just before 9pm we walked to our usual preaching spot and set-up for the night. In the middle of Queen Street Mall, there were a bunch of Roman Catholics singing and dancing around an idolatrous pole. Since World Youth Day was starting on Tuesday in Sydney, we expected we would encounter a lot of Roman Catholics throughout the evening.
Even though some regulars were away, the team was still larger than usual. At 9:20pm Andrew Hsu opened up the preaching for the evening and stood down an hour and three quarters later. He had many people heckling him and asking questions about various subjects. One fellow called out to Andrew and asked him this question, "Why was a young Christian friend of his only given a month still to live?" So Andrew answered the question from a Biblical standpoint, referring back to our God made the world originally without death and suffering, but because of sin, the world is like it is now. However, some of the people listening tried to argue that because there is evil, God simply couldn't exist. But that objection in no way leads to the conclusion that God does not exist.
Other common questions were asked by the crowd, such as, "How do we know there is a God?", "What about all the bad atrocities done in the name of Christianity?", etc. So Andrew answered all those questions, whilst always coming back to the gospel message.
I then preached for the remaining 45 minutes. There was a number of hecklers who objected and asked questions. One bloke shouted, "There is no God". So I asked him what evidence that he has that there is no God. He then proceeded to say, "What evidence do you have that God exists?" However I pointed out, he made an absolute negative claim to the non-existence of God. To make such a claim, he needs to have good reasons why. Likewise, when I say there is a God, I need to provide good reasons to back that up. He realised he had no reasons as to why God could not exist, so he decided to run away.
Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, tried to propose that we cannot know any absolute truth because our minds are fallible. However, he erroneously thought that just because our minds can believe things that are incorrect, it does not mean everything we believe is incorrect. It seems that since Alex's arguments keep getting smashed each week, he needs to resort to the position that we cannot know anything at all.
Many one to one conversations were had, and heaps of gospel tracts and Bibles went out.
To God be the Glory!
Friday, 11 July, 2008
Leicester Square and Tooting Broadway (11th-12th July)
Friday night began at Leicester Square with Carl, Philip and I. Carl had brought his friend Duncan along to listen to me preach. Duncan is yet to become a believer and Carl, who has know him for some time now, is of course eager to see him saved. The weather was simply awful so we were a bit low on numbers. Our hope was that the Lord would hold back the rain long enough that we could have a good night of ministry. And that He did! After handing out tracts and talking with people one-to-one for a short while I stood up to preach. The rain had dissipated and I could see we had a window of opportunity.
Standing up to preach I drew in a small crowd. About five minutes into my message I began to be heckled by two young gentlemen whose names were David and John. It was interesting to note the difference between them. John genuinely wanted to ask questions whereas David simply wanted to be argumentative and disruptive. There were times when John asked David to be quiet so that he could ask his question!! When it comes to God, the Bible, Christianity, etc, England's society is largely ignorant. They no longer have much of a foundation at all. This was apparent with the questions that John was asking me. He wanted to know when man first started to believe in God, as if God was some "invented" concept. I explained to him that man has always believed in God and there has always been a remnant that has remained faithful to Him. It is because we are born at enmity with God that we wilfully choose to forget Him. It is purely down to the grace of God that we are called out of our rebellion to serve Him with our lives.
As I continued to preach a number of people stopped to listen. You can never underestimate the power of a good heckler and David and John were certainly a great help in drawing in the crowd. It would have been nice to speak with the both of them one-on-one, unfortunately they left before I finished preaching. I continued to speak with the people of the area in one-to-one conversations after I had finished preaching. Carl and Phil were doing the same. We left a little after 11:00pm thanking the Lord that we had been able to minister on a night with such poor weather.
The following morning at Tooting Broadway we arrived to see Christians from another church that had come to do a series of dramas. They were using sound systems and varying equipment as well. It was a little strange as there were so many Christians from their church in the small square outside the tube station. It was not possible for me to preach open air so we spent the rest of the time handing out tracts and speaking to people one-to-one.
We'd had a fruitful weekend of ministry. A bit wet and a bit different but still used by our Lord for His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Wednesday, 9 July, 2008
Wednesday: I went out in a down state of mind because of work stuff but was encouraged by Jim. We both preached a gospel message. Michael, a christian, stopped and gave us his support and interacted with hecklers and was encouraged by the work of the gospel.
We had few good hecklers and a small crowd. One heckler claimed he was an ex-christian yet 'had moved away from that' and now agnostic and apathetic. He was keen to listen the whole time and interacted with Jim quite a bit and praise be to God for opening the hearts of the lost. Another heckler was a 'christian' who tried to rebuke Jim for his intolerance of other religions. We respect people of other religions who can often be kind and earnest in their seeking but no other religious figure claimed to be able to take away sin, no other religion promises absolute certainty about whether you will go to heaven and (Acts 4:11-12) This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
It is false love to 'tolerate' other religions and withhold the life-saving cure of Jesus Christ and leave them callously to perish in eternal torment. And what does scripture say, "For God so loved the world....." how??? "by sending his one and only begotten son....." why? "that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." If God can love the world by sending his son, and Christ commands us to preach the gospel to all the world, shall we not also imitate our Lord and point them to the beautiful saviour and awesome love of our God? This does not make us better than anyone else, we too are sinners saved by God's grace alone, but it does mean Jesus is a better saviour and God alone. After Jim finished preaching, we spoke to Michael, the christian. We were uplifted to have him excited about the preaching of the gospel. I preached next. Michael stayed to support. I preached on God's good gifts to us: life first then other blessings. During this David and a friend stopped to listen. I engaged David and we spoke at length about righteousness, sin, judgement and salvation offered in Christ alone. David listened and his friend protested. As the protests continued, I ran out of time for the afternoon. Michael and Jim stayed to speak with them after I left.
Thanks be to God again for this opportunity and may the harvest be fit for a King. How great is our God and how great his message of love to the lost.
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
The Esplanade (Crn Cavill Ave), Surfers Paradise (GOLD COAST, QLD, AUSTRALIA)
Report by David Strachan
For the duration of the preaching, I was concentrating on my role as a camera man. I enjoyed the preaching and was delighted to witness first-hand the gospel being proclaimed to many lost and desperately needy sinners. Over time, more and more people gathered so that towards the end of the preaching it was, at times, hard to actually see the preacher properly. Comments could often be heard coming from those in the crowd, ranging from many hecklers to a number of professing Christians who were even complementing the preaching.
It was great to see snowy arrive unexpectedly and watch him greet many people while handing out gospel tracts to them and engaging with them in good gospel conversations.
It was a privilege to share the gospel with a number of people afterwards while the crowd was dispersing. There seemed to be a surprisingly larger number of Christians among those in the crowd. A number of them were Roman Catholics (which made sense as it is currently around the time of world youth day). I warned them plainly that Roman Catholicism sadly is a lie, a deception, as it directly goes against the gospel and therefore dishonors Jesus Christ our Lord.
An excellent website which explains this well is:
The Esplanade (Crn Cavill Ave), Surfers Paradise (GOLD COAST, QLD, AUSTRALIA)
Report by Josh Mitchell
God most High, was pleased to grant the hearing of His gospel to many men, women and even little babies today. What a privaledge to serve the most High God, in the gospel proclamation!
Today, as David mentioned was very busy. Jesus the Lord, was pleased to grant sizable crowds for the hearing of His gospel, and it got to the point where I could get quite relaxed, no one seemed to want to leave hardly. You might find that odd, but God has His way, when it pleases Him!
I got to debate politely regarding a number of intellectual positions including: Islam with a few different muslims, the moral dillemna atheists face in Nazi Germany vs the world, who is the real God of the universe, what Christians really believe, and most importantly an abundance of proclamation and defense of the gospel. Honestly I could not to any of this, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, who used me as it pleased Him. Thanks be to God, for his wonderful grace in this wicked earth.
Please pray for the folk out here, God seems to be drawing more people to hear the gospel and it's defence each week, and I am quite mindful, that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. May God be promoted in your lives and lips!
For Jesus name,
PS. If you are interesting in joining our team, please be present at Surfers Paradise sign, at the end of Cavill Ave (beach side), at 2PM on Sunday. Talk to the guy holding the camera, and he will tell you what to do.
Saturday, 5 July, 2008
Events of late have limited our time spent on the street, however this past Saturday we were back at Tooting Broadway to preach the gospel. Philip and I were joined by Antonio, as well as David, a friend from church.
Before I stood up to preach open-air we spent some time handing out tracts and talking with people. I got talking with a young man named whose name I'm afraid escapes me. I reasoned with him of sin, righteousness and judgment, however he did seem quite indifferent. I must admit it was frustrating. Not everyone I speak to is like this, however having spoken to a vast amount of people these last few years it is clear that although some are completely dismissive, there are those who are willing to listen. This was the case with a young woman I spoke to called Ann.
She was willing to listen and so because of this I was able to share the whole counsel of God with her. She admitted to believing in God, which is an important component for all witnessing encounters. When I stressed to her the importance of knowing where you are going to go when you die I could see that she appreciated the seriousness of this truth.
One of things I always stress when I share the gospel is to do my best to help the person understand their need for a Saviour. It doesn't matter if you are a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, an agnostic, a Hindu, a Mormon, a Jehovah's Witness, a Jew or a Rastafarian; everyone needs a Saviour because everyone has committed the most heinous of crimes. They have denied the One who has made them. They have denied the God who has given them life. They have shunned Him. They have mocked Him. They have abused Him. Why is hell reasonable? Because the punishment fits the crime. But there is good news!! No one has to go to hell. No one. God has sent His Son to suffer and die in the place of sinners so that they can be saved. What they must do is repent (turn from their sin) and trust in what Jesus has done. They must put their hope and trust in Him and in doing so they will be saved. Many people today spend a great deal of energy trying to argue away the existence of hell. They spend a great deal of time trying to prove that a loving God would never send anyone to hell. But God is also just and that is why He must condemn sinners to hell. But again, no one has to go there. Instead of trying to argue away the existence of hell the sinner should simply repent and turn to Jesus, because if they do they will be saved. Anne understood this and she left with knowing the truth as well as a gospel tract to remind her should she forget. Praise God.
Standing up to preach my message was much the same of what I had shared with Anne. Some people stopped to listen and so afterwards Philip and Antonio were able to speak with some of them. Our continued presence at Tooting Broadway is very important I believe. I had to chuckle a few weeks back. My brother went to visit a friend he hasn't seen in quite a while who is over from South Africa and is now living in England. As it so happens I have never had the chance to meet her. She and her family live in Tooting just above the Tube Station. Anyway, during the time my brother spent visiting her he showed her some photos that were on his digital camera. One of them was of me preaching outside Tooting Broadway. As soon as she saw it she said, "Hey, that looks like the guy I see preaching each Saturday when I look outside our window." Breaking into a big grin my brother exclaimed, "Yeah I know, that's my brother!" She happens to be Muslim and my brother has spent much time talking to her about Jesus and the gospel. I think it's quite amazing that she should now be living in a place where she can possibly hear preaching each Saturday.
It was a good night and many got to hear the good new. Please continue to pray that the Lord would continue to use us in Tooting for His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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