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Saturday, 21 March, 2015
It was raining continually during the outreach in Brisbane city last night. But since there is cover near where we witness it didn't really hinder the outreach. Instead it channels people right past us as they are ducking for cover.
We were lower on team numbers but lots of great conversations were able to be had. One person I talked to was a young guy named Steve. He initially didn't want to talk, but we ended up having a long in-depth conversation.
He said he was the owner of nightclubs and he says his life is about the accumulation of money and gold. He pointed to his gold watch and necklace. He said he doesn't think about eternal matters.
As I talked about sin, the coming judgement and the cross with him, you could tell he was intently listening. After hearing of the gospel he said, "So what is the next step?" Later on he also asked the question, "Would I have to give up my nightclubs?"
For him, you could tell that his love of money was stopping him from coming to Christ, but he said he would seriously consider the message. Please pray for him.
Not long later, Michael mentioned to me that he had just been talking to an older guy who is the owner of the strip clubs in the area. This man kept bringing up the fact that he had died before and therefore isn't worried about what comes after. However Michael was able to share the truth with him for a long while.
Please also pray for:
• Anzil - Muslim parents, said he is sinning a lot, gave him gospel of John, said he would think about the message he heard.
• Kieran - too many things going on in life to worry about what comes after. Softened up, took gospel of John.
Many seeds were sown, God gives the increase. To Him alone be the glory!
Thursday, 19 March, 2015
Sunnybank is a place with many Chinese people. They are taught in school in China that there is no God, and so many of the people we speak to on our Thursday afternoon outreach in Sunnybank are atheists.
But the beauty of it is that they are like that simply because they haven't given much thought to the issue. So as soon as you give a simple apologetic showing how the universe must have a creator, they quickly change their minds.
That was the case again today with a guy named Winnie. He at first said he didn't believe in God but then came to realise his existence. I talked about sin, the coming judgement and the cross, but for him it appeared he was preoccupied with the here and now. Please pray for him.
I spoke to a young man named Nathan. He said he basically only focuses on his study and doesn't think much about God. His parents said that if he does more good things than bad he would go to Heaven. So I explain how that would not work because God's standard is perfection and thus even if we did a million good things and only one bad thing, we have not lived up to perfection.
He heard the full message but then had to go. But a few minutes later he returned saying that he wanted to ask a few more questions. He wanted to know why Christianity was true as opposed to the religion of his parents. Please pray for him.
Soon after, team member Trevor spoke to a young guy named Ian (the person in the photo). He didn't know much about Christianity and was very open. He talked with Trevor for a long while, and at the end of the conversation Trevor remarked, "I think you might have missed your bus". He replied, "I have missed my bus three times, but I wanted to stay and learn."
He said he would go home and start reading his Bible and trust in Christ.
During this time I was talking to a young man named Rex (the person walking by on the right side in the photo. He used to go to church, but didn't know the gospel message. He came to understand the gospel and said he is going to count the cost.
To God alone be the glory!
Tuesday, 24 March, 2015
We have changed our approach in the Hobart mall for the next two weeks due to an incident last week. There was a group of people that began to be destructive at the incitement of our regular heckler combined with some foolish words on my part. I was pushed around a little and the bible table was scattered but mercifully no-one was hurt. I light of this I am refraining from preaching and we will run only the bible table and hand out tracts for the next two weeks. As much as I am unhappy to be doing this I think that in order to keep the peace there is a need to let things cool off for the next couple of weeks.
This week we have seen God honour this desire to live in peace with others and share the gospel sensitively. Many bibles went out from the bible table and we handed out many tracts and great conversations were had. I have decided to limit the team's interaction with Samuel as he is essentially using this as an opportunity to stir up strife and abuse team members. Samuel was not happy that we have done this and spent the afternoon harassing me. Thankfully though this limited his ability to interfere with other good conversations going on around him.
Please pray for:
• Samuel : even in the need to limit his damaging behaviour we long to see this young skeptic saved and come to love Jesus. Please pray that God would humble him and bring him life.
• Paige : a school girl I have spoken to previously who loves Jesus but her atheistic parents prevent her from attending church and recently "confiscated" her bible. I have replaced the bible and we hopefully will soon have her connected to a Godly lady for regular fellowship and discipleship. Pray that God will make a way for her to be able to attend Church and live out her faith despite her parent's opposition.
• Su Chi : a regular in the mall who frequently comes to speak to us, he has heard the gospel a couple of times but is still vague on what he thinks of Jesus. Please pray that God will drive the gospel deep into his heart and save him.
• Alex : another atheist who has some questions and protests but is cagy on why he is truly opposed to the gospel. He took a bible today and has said he would read it. Pray that God would use His Word to convict and redeem him.
As always please pray for the team that we would be enabled to share the word of God in full with boldness and love.
Praise Him for his generosity to use us sinners in His work!
Wednesday, 18 March, 2015
Similar to last week, when we were setting up we already had people coming up to us wanting to talk about eternal matters. The first person we talked to was from the Philippians and said she was a catholic. But she mentioned she prefers to believe in the sun and moon and worship the universe instead. For she said the universe gives us everything we have.
What came straight to my mind was Romans 1, how people worship the creation rather than the creator.
She thought of herself as a good person, and so I asked her whether she had broken some of the Ten Commandments. She had, and realised she deserved Hell. So I explained the news of Christ's death and resurrection for our forgiveness. She was strongly holding on to her universe worship.
So I left her with, "Wouldn't it make more sense to worship the One who made the universe?" She said she would think about it.
Later on I preached on "The Way to Heaven" with the sketchboard. A small crowd gathered to hear the message. Afterwards, I spoke to a guy who was listening for most of it named Max.
He at first said he didn't believe in God, but after pointing out to him that this universe logically must have had a creator, he acknowledged that God exists. We then talked about sin, but he kept trying to downplay it, saying "It's not that serious. God won't mind."
He wasn't willing to acknowledge the existence of Heaven and Hell, and eventually admitted the reason for his rejection, because he would rather live a life of sin now. Please pray for him.
Please also pray for:
• Vinote - encouraged him to read Bible daily, maybe came to understand gospel.
• Curtis - used typical popular atheist arguments, acknowledged he loves sin.
• Adef - from Egypt. Muslim background, took gospel of John.
Mark - in the photo, he is talking to team member Matt. He said he had been a Christian for 25 years and gave it up 5 years ago. He now calls himself an atheist, and is going to an atheist conference tonight. His understanding of the gospel was a clear indicator he wasn't ever a Christian. But he heard the truth today, so please pray for him.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
If you are keen to join us on an outreach, please visit: http://www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
Saturday, 14 March, 2015
Good size crowds & A flying sketchboard!
For a couple hours crowds kept gathering to listen to the preaching of the gospel at our Brisbane outreach.
Someone took great offense at Jesus being the only way that he made our sketchboard fly. Check out the video (please note that the footage is straight from the streets and may contain coarse language).
The message I had preached with the sketchboard earlier was how the greatest gift one could ever receive for a birthday is not any material possession (like a car or a house) but is instead the person of the Lord Jesus who by his death on the cross offers forgiveness of sins to whoever comes to him in repentance and faith.
After that, Joel got up to preach starting off by talking about the origins of St. Patrick's Day, since it was St Patrick's Day weekend. There were quite a number of Irish people who were heckling him asking him all sorts of questions. God used that to attract a good size crowd.
Later on though, Joel had some people who really didn't like the fact that he was preaching about Jesus. One commented that he would stab Joel if he was out in the bush. Then one of them picked up the sketchboard, which is very heavy by the way, and made it fly. He didn't want to stick around after that, as he knew in his conscience he had done something wrong.
No matter what people do to try and stop the glorious gospel from being preached, God's word still goes out. So to him alone be all the glory!
Tuesday, 10 March, 2015
We had one guy who was really confronted about the tract "You may not have tomorrow", and by making threats towards us he was hoping we would be intimidated by him. But he ended up softening majorly and we had a great long gospel conversation with him.
Please also pray for:
• Tour - gave gospel of John, knew already he wouldn't go to heaven because of how he has been living, heard gospel.
• Clay - Jordan had a good conversation with him, and gave him a gospel of John. He said he would count the cost.
We sow the seed, but God gives the increase. So to Him be all the glory!
Saturday, 7 March, 2015
So I asked him whether he has thought further about the message he heard. He said he had been beaten up since then and couldn't remember the conversation.
So we spent some time talking about sin and the judgement to come, and even when some friends of his were trying to distract him and drag him away, he told them to go away because he wanted to keep listening. We then shared the glorious news of the gospel.
His response was, "I am not ready yet." He explained how he wanted to keep living life his own way for a while longer. We showed him how that's really not a good idea and so he said he would consider the message.
When we arrived in Queen Street Mall at 7:30pm, we set up the sketchboard and I preached a message on the 'greatest gift'.
Throughout the night, we received quite a few encouraging remarks from Christians who were excited to see the gospel going out. We encouraged them to share their faith as well.
A few other people to pray for from the night:
Barman - came from Iran 2 years ago, said he loves sin, not really religious, "I know Jesus says he is the only way, but I want to go my own way."
Tarlier - thought she was a good person, very receptive. Came to understand the gospel. Never has read the Bible before. Happily accepted a Bible.
Photo: John is explaining the message on the gospel tract to this Sikh man.
To God be the glory for another wonderful night!
Friday, 27 February, 2015
As I was driving to the Gold Coast on Friday evening, I noticed dark rain clouds over the area. I suspected that it may be another rainy night. But I prayed that God would not allow it to rain until the outreach was over.
It was fine weather when I arrived and continued that way for the entire outreach! And as soon as 10pm rolled around (we had already packed up), then the rain started.
Praise be to God for answering that prayer. For the fine weather meant that there were lots of people around to witness to.
We used the sketchboards and good size crowds gathered to listen and observe as we preached while illustrating the message with paint.
While this was happening, the rest of the team were having conversations with people or handing out tracts. A few of the conversations that were had were with Muslims (such as the one on this photo).
Most of the Muslims we talk to are tourists from Middle Eastern countries where it would be very hard for us to go and preach there (it would be illegal), but the good news is that they all come to us, in a country where we can preach to them. They then can take the message and tracts back to the countries where they come from. It is great how God works.
Please pray for all who heard the gospel. To God be the glory for a wonderful night!
Tuesday, 10 March, 2015
There is some opposition to the work in Hobart's CBD that has begun to make itself felt. This has primarily come in the form of increased aggression and abuse from our "regular heckler" Samuel. Please continue to pray for him, he needs salvation and the peace of God.
This week we where initially unable to enter the mall due to the Lady Mayoress making an inspection of the new street cleaning machine. This was turned into a blessed opportunity as Mitchell and I were able to hand out 80 or so tracts in the space of 30 minutes. Praise God for those 80 little soldiers of The Lord, they will never sleep, never get tired of preaching the gospel and be patiently waiting for whoever looks at them. I love giving people tracts, they will turn up in some of the most interesting and astonishing places.
The Bible table has continued to be a source of good conversations, this week we had three good conversations that occurred around the table.
Angel - has recently lost her son due to suicide and struggles with a neighbour who is abusive. Yet in-spite of this she is an active member of the Salvation Army church here in Hobart. We were able to talk at length and encourage each other.
Abdullah - a long term contact of Carl's, he is a Shia Muslim and they have had many conversations and discussed the person of Jesus many times. Please pray for him that he would follow the true prophet and only saviour Jesus Christ.
Preaching this week focused initially on the two prisoners in Bali and what a scandal it would be if their lawyer was to offer to take their place. Yet this is exactly what we see in the work of Jesus our Lord, He takes the place of sinners who hate Him so that they can come into a loving relationship with God.
Romans 5: 6-11
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Samuel as always had some very forceful opinions to air and some very aggressive opposition he directed at the team. Ironically Samuel thinks that the forgiveness of sin is one of the most shameful aspects of the gospel. He preaches for me in a backhanded manner, parading around the scandal of forgiveness of even the most evil through Jesus. He equally thinks that hell is abhorrent and will preach on how horrible God's punishment of sinners in hell is. Through all of this I try to provide the theological correctives needed and let him preach the gospel!
Interspersed through the various rants (he was not in a good mood this week for some reason) that Samuel had this week a few other people asked questions:
Three high school girls - asked about homosexuality and divorce. I spoke with them about God's model for sexuality and marriage (a loving Christlike husband serving and his wife submitting to his love). I also emphasised as I have to frequently that Christians are called to love and respect people even when they must identify a lifestyle as sinful and leading to hell. One of the girls was very affected by by the preaching and took a bible afterwards. Please pray that she would love the giver of these good gifts not the just gifts.
Homosexual man - protested that the bible is written by man and we cannot know any of it is true (Chinese whispers scenario). There are so many good responses to this that we are spoilt as Christians. I provided a couple of reasons to believe but he left scoffing. Please pray that God would open both his ears and his heart to hear the truth.
One high school guy (Reed I think) - as a secularist this guy essentially wanted to stop the preaching because it is forcing Christianity on others. He stayed afterwards for a period and listened to the discussions/debates that happened. He did not engage a lot but would comment from time to time. Please pray that he will consider carefully what he has heard and will come again and be changed by the gospel as he hears it.
It was a full week and afterwards there were good discussions that continued for an hour after we finished. Please pray for the people of Hobart, many that I do not interact with hear the gospel and need salvation through Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them life and bring them to Jesus. Pray to The Lord of the harvest to save souls and send workers into the fields of Hobart.
Most of all please pray that God would be glorified in all that we do and say and that he would keep us from the many stumbling blocks that litter the path of this ministry.
Thursday, 26 February, 2015
Many good conversations were had and lots of gospel tracts were handed out.
Please pray for:
• Jack & Mirah - two school kids, came to understand the gospel. As Jack was hearing the gospel he was saying, "Wow, that makes sense."
He told me that his dad died and since then he has been thinking about what comes after death. He said he even tried googling to find the answer. They both were very appreciative of the chat.
• Editaa - have talked before, he has been reading the gospel of John I gave him. He has Hindu parents. His parents said he can only read the Bible for education purposes and is not allowed to become a Christian.
So I encouraged him to keep reading the Bible and talked about how our love for Christ should far exceed even the love we have for our parents in that if they are preventing you from becoming a Christian, you should become a Christian anyway. He understood that and said that he has got some serious thinking to do.
• Calvin - initially said "I will go to Heaven because I've been nice". Was intently listening as I went through the law and the gospel. Gave him a gospel of John.
• Lachim - Have talked before, he says he is not ready to come to Christ because he loves his sin.
• Kevin - would go and count the cost. Gave him gospel of John.
• Claire - high school, intently listening.
• Shaun & Justin - school kids, said they would repent and trust in Christ.
Praise be to the God of all!
Photo: Col handing out some of the Biggest Problem gospel tracts.
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