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Saturday, 8 August, 2009
The show is in town! Each year the Ekka comes to Brisbane and the whole city gets caught up in the excitement of the show. Since tonight was the opening of the Ekka we expected the crowds in the city to be larger than the normal winter crowds. This proved to be true. Even though there was a strong, cold westerly wind blowing the people still came out, and this made for a lively time of ministry.
Ryan was out of action tonight, since he had been preaching on the Gold Coast and as a result had killed his voice. This left us with only 2 or 3 preachers for the night. So while Ryan was off handing out tracts and conducting one to ones, I began to preach.
Not long into the presentation a few hecklers stopped and a small crowd began to form. The questions flew thick and fast. They ranged from Islam to Atheism, from Evolution to Textual Criticism. Tonight reinforced my opinion that for some strange reason every drunk is a theologian.
I did my best to answer the crowds objections and then swing it back to the Gospel. I believe it is vital to take the time to answer the questions from the crowds and not avoid them. As this goes to show the crowd that we as Christians do actually care for their concerns. In fact the Bible tells us we must give an answer to those who ask:
“but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” (1 Peter 3:15).
One of the stand out hecklers for the night was the son of Wayne our (non-heckler) heckler. Even though he is just a teenager he has some great questions. And, unlike his farther he seems to be prepared to listen to the answers and even admit if he got it wrong. While this young man professes to be an atheist at this stage, we pray that God would grant him faith in Christ, so that he may have all his sins forgiven.
The heckling went of for about an hour, but one of the main points that kept coming back up was the doctrine of Original sin. I explained it from the Scripture and then demonstrated how we all have a sin nature, but even though we may love sinning now, Christ has come to set us free.
After I finished preaching Jeremy got up and had a bash. I have nicknamed Jezza my “big hitter” cause he just stands and delivers the gospel straight and hard. He rarely engages hecklers but just proclaims the everlasting gospel.
The night finished well. Many tracts were handed out and many one to ones conducted. Praise God for such a good night.
Saturday, 1 August, 2009
A cool breeze drifted down the Queen Street Mall as we prepared for the nights outreach. Already the team had spent time in prayer and bible reading, but now was making sure everything was ready to go for the night. As I set up the Bible table a young lady approached and asked if she could have a Bible. One of the team members got her one, but before she left they had asked if she knew what the main message of the Bible is. This in turn led to a fairly lengthy discussion about the gospel.
The mall was fairly empty, I put it down to the fact that it is cold. While we may live in Australia there are times when the temperature drops and most Aussies stay at home or in the pubs.
Since there was not much movement, we decided to hand out tracts and just one to one for a time. There were some great conversations. I got to speak to one man who had claimed to be a Christian, yet when we examined that claim we found out that he was just a church goer. At the end of our conversation the man turned to me and said, “You know, I have never heard that message in my entire life!” Such a shame that a person can attend a church, yet still have no concept of the Gospel. While to a certain degree it is the fault of the person attending the church, for they should be reading their Bibles and studying the Word, however, a level of blame must fall on the ministers of those churches. If you are a minister, preacher or leader in the church, then I plead with you - Be faithful in preaching the Word. For you as a leader must give an account for the souls of those to whom you minister (Hebrews 13:17).
After spending a time in one to one, I decided it would be a good time to get up and preach. My topic was about the tragic deaths of a family in Sydney. I spoke about how in one instant a whole family was murdered, yet a daughter was away on a school trip. During the funeral the girl said, “I don’t know why this happened, or where you have gone.” I used that comment as a jump off point. Many people have no assurance of where they are going when they die, yet the Scriptures tell us plainly that we can no for sure that we have eternal life.
The Bible says: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:12-13).
Dear reader, perhaps you aren’t assured that if you died tonight you would go to heaven. The Bible gives the promise to you that if you have Jesus Christ, then you have eternal life. But, how do I get Jesus? First, you must realize you have sinned against God by doing a variety of things like lying, stealing, lusting, getting drunk, failing to give God the glory etc. And, for those sins God must give you judgement, and that place of judgement is hell for eternity.
But, God is love and because God loves His people so much, He sent Jesus Christ to come to the earth, to die upon the cross for the sins of His elect, and then three days later He arose again to life. Because Jesus died in the place of sinners and rose again, He can offer you eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Right now you need to repent (turn from sins) and trust that Jesus died and rose again for you. Beg God for mercy, if you cry out to Him, He will come and grant you repentance and faith. Would you do that today?
The above message in a nutshell is the central message of the Bible, and it is the message that we preach to all those who would stop and listen. Even though tonight was slow, we did have a great time of ministry.
We rejoice in the fact that the gospel got preached and that God got all the glory. Please be praying for those who do not know the Gospel.
Tuesday, 14 July, 2009
OPERATION 513 SUMMER OUTREACH
(14th July – 18th July 2009)
Our summer outreach has come and gone and looking back what an amazing time we had. It began on the Monday with the team arriving at our base of operations, Trinity Road Chapel. We all got settled in and spent a bit of time getting to know one another. Some of us of course already knew one another but others we were meeting for the first time. Rebecca had come all the way from Italy and Liz and her daughter Chloe had driven up from Hampshire. Matt had joined us from Plymouth and Andrew, Ben and Susi had come down from Essex. Our friend Robert from Africa joined us as he did last year and of course Dave and Anna Gee were with us from Sheffield. We also had people join us off and on during the week, those who could not commit to coming out each day.
Below are some photos from the first day preparations…
Each morning we would have a time of prayer and devotions and after breakfast we would head out, armed with Bibles, tracts, DVD’s, etc. It was such a blessing to have so much literature at our disposal. During the day we would head to places like Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Covent Garden. Some open-air preach was done during this time but the majority of our preaching we reserved for the evenings. Each night was spent in Leicester Square as it is really is one of the best places for open-air and street evangelism.
On one of the nights David had a very long conversation with four Muslim girls. They listened, were interested, but disagreed and wanted to talk more. They came back on the Wednesday and brought their Father, Mother and most of their extended family. Dave was able to share the gospel with all of them, and even though it was not enthusiastically received, they heard the claims of Christ and the evidence that supports His exclusive claims and the contrast of the Bible with the Qu'ran. We pray that they will trust in the Saviour and not their good works and come to repentance and faith in Christ.
During one of the days at Covent Garden I was engaged with a young man named Lucas during an open-air preach. He had quite a few objections to Christianity and took an atheistic/evolutionary view to life. As we were talking a very angry heckler came my way and interrupted me a great deal and demanded that I talk with him. When I respectfully informed him that I was already talking with Lucas he dismissed that and when I said, "Sir, I am already talking with someone," his response was simply to become angrier and ask that I not call him "Sir," since he had never been knighted. It was obvious to me that anything I was going to say was going to fuel his anger. So I decided to refrain from talking altogether. Lucas stayed waiting, as did the rest of the crowd. In the past when I have been in similar situations and I have taken this approach the person has moved on. However this was not the case with our very angry heckler. So I decided to stop and come down from preaching. It was disappointing and my immediate concern was Lucas. However when I looked over I saw that he was still there. I went over to talk with him and we ended up having a one-to-one conversation for over an hour.
During the course of our conversation he came to understand why Jesus made the claims He did: that He is the only way to the Father and that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. He understood why Christianity presents itself as the only truth, through understanding man's great need, and that Jesus is only viable solution to man's dilemma. While I not excepting the command to repent and believe he did come to understand the Gospel and why Christianity is able to make such exclusive claims regarding man's salvation. It was quite amazing to see the change in him during out conversation and how he became more open as we talked. I am so grateful to the Lord that he can now make an informed decision regarding his eternal salvation. Do pray the Holy Spirit would draw him to the Son. He left with a gospel tract and said that he had enjoyed the conversation. I was very grateful to the Lord.
The outreach saw some open-air preaching for the first time from both Ben and Steve (from the London team). This was so awesome to see. Both Ben and Steve have been coming down from Essex each Friday night for over six months and have been throwing themselves into sharing the gospel with people on the street. Both have shared enthusiastically how much they have learnt during this time and how passionate and excited they are to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have seen how much they have both grown and when it comes to this kind of evangelism it has to be said that it simply cannot be learnt in a classroom or from a book. You simply have to step out and learn through doing.
On the Thursday evening I had the great privilege of seeing two young lads make a profession of faith in Christ. With the rain pouring down the three of us stood under an umbrella and talked about the gospel. They listened and were certainly responsive and were clearly thankful for being helped to understand something they have never quite understood before. They are both young teenagers but they grasped the seriousness of the message and at the end were desirous of knowing the Lord. They both prayed by themselves for forgiveness and committed their lives to Christ. I have been in touch with them since then and have been greatly encouraged to hear that they have been reading their Bibles and a little booklet I gave them, called “Save Yourself Some Pain,” written by Ray Comfort. The booklet contains principles for new and growing Christians. I have not been able to meet up with them again since our time at Leicester Square but hopefully we will meet again soon.
That same night the heavens opened on us and the rain poured down. We all had to run for cover and do our best to see out the rain. It was quite an adventure trying to keep all the literature we had dry. Still, it was great fun and made for some great memories. It also gave us the opportunity to witness with those around us who had also run for cover.
“On one of the days at Covent Garden We had one 'interesting' meeting with a guy who claimed to work for the council and Police, who assured us we were not allowed to set up our bible table in a certain area as all the spots had already been taken. Dave and I got out the relevant Christian Institute documents (the law relating to Street Evangelism) and refuted his remarks, though he continued saying we were not allowed and if we didn’t move he would phone someone to move us on. However, 2 Police Community Support Officers came to our rescue. We explained the situation to them, and then they spoke with the man. It turned out he was just a magician doing a show, and was trying to move us out the way of his act in case we diverted attention away from them. The Police also said we could make a complaint against him for falsely impersonating a council worker. It was quite funny in the end, as he was wearing his bright red bowler hat, waistcoat and three quarter length trousers, with no ID, and so we should have guessed!” – Written by Matt Rolfe.
It had certainly been a great week. We praise God for His great favour we had. My home church was so good to us and the ladies who did the catering were such a blessing. We pray that all those who heard the gospel that week would never forget the great message of the gospel and that they would look to the Saviour and be saved!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 25 July, 2009
On the team today we had Blake, Jamie, the whole Barnard family, and myself. As Blake and I waited for the others to arrive, we had chat with a guy named Vim. He had just arrived from Europe for a holiday. He thought he was good enough to get into Heaven. So we told him what some of the standards in which God will judge him one day and we realised he didn't deserve Heaven. We then shared the gospel with him, but he said that he would only think about repenting and believing the gospel once he is on his way back to Europe. For he informed us that he had come to Australia to do some sinning. We reminded him that he can't be guaranteed that he'll be still alive by the time he leaves Australia, as we aren't guaranteed another day to live. So we warned him that if he doesn't repent and trust in Christ alone for his salvation, he will end up in Hell. He acknowledged that point, but said he was willing to take the risk.
I then did a bit of open air preaching, and I got into a dialogue with two young guys named, Chris and Ryan. They were Aussies, but didn't know much about Christianity and didn't even have a Bible at home. They too thought they were good enough to get to Heaven. But after asking them whether they had lied, stolen, used God's name in vain, or even lusted after a girl, they had to admit they had and realised that they aren't good people in the sight of God. So I explained the cross and what they must do to be saved, and then I asked them, "Now that you've heard both the bad news (that you deserve Hell because of your sins) and the good news (that you can be forgiven of your sins), the real question is this: When will you repent and trust in Jesus' death alone to save you?" They responded, "Well, now!" So I then concluded my preaching and continued chatting with them. Blake and I made sure they understood the gospel, and they seemed to and they said they now do believe it, even after warning them of the cost of discipleship. We gave them Bibles and prayed for them as well. Please keep both these guys in prayer.
Blake then did some preaching and this lead into some more great one-2-ones. The gospel went out today through voice and through the loads of tracts given out, so to God be the glory!
Sunday, 5 July, 2009
Sunday, July 5th 2009 - Written by Ryan Hemelaar
Blake and I arrived at the coast at 2pm and there were a lot of people about. We got into a conversation with a guy from Brazil named Kyle. He's currently studying here in Australia and was very open to the gospel. His worldview was so different to the Biblical one, so we spent a lot of bit time explaining what the Bible says. Kyle saw the frivolousness of living a life without Christ in the centre, and he explained to us that in Brazil, in order to be liked, you need all the latest stuff - good cars, fancy clothing. He was interested to hear that Jesus said: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15).
We warned him that if he wants to follow Jesus, he must be prepared to deny himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus. Meaning, he even needs to be prepared to die for Jesus if the need arises. He said he would seriously think about it, and we gave him a Bible and recommended a local Church for him to go to. Please keep this man in your prayers.
Both Blake and I did some preaching, and at the conclusion of both our messages sparked a number of witnessing encounters. Blake had a good conversation with a Muslim young person who wants to meet back up with us again so that he can learn more about Christianity. Meanwhile, I was chatting to a couple where the husband was a Muslim and the wife was simply non-religious. The husband and I had a long chat as we walked to his car because he wanted to give me a book about Islam and a DVD. I was able to bring up some problems within Islam, and his responses to them were basically, "Don't say that about Allah, because he's your god too." So I pointed out numerous times that the concept of God is very different in Christianity to Islam. We believe God is a trinity, while the Qur'an blatantly denies that.
Another conversation I had was with a bunch of young guys from Portugal. They too had little knowledge about Christianity, and were very open to the gospel. I gave each one of them a Bible and they said they definitely would read it.
It was dark by the time we got back to our car as almost everyone was willing to chat with us. God is really doing something here in the Gold Coast, to Him alone be the glory!
Monday, July 6th 2009 - Written by Josh Williamson
Today was the first day of the Gold Coast “Week of E”, the week previous saw Ryan leading a team in Brisbane, and this week it saw us working together down the Coast. We were blessed to be able to stay at Ryan’s parents apartment on the Coast, as that made it so much more easier for evangelism.
After arriving and making ourselves at home we headed out to Cavill Avenue. It wasn’t as busy as normal, but there were still many people about. Something we noticed immediately was that the mall was full of tourists. Most of them from either India or the Middle East. Unfortunately for me, I had left my Arabic tracts behind at the apartment.
It didn’t take long before we had a few conversations going, I was able to speak to one young man who stated he was out looking at girls, so I shared the gospel with him. He seemed rather open an the idea of God giving him forgiveness if he would repent seemed to blow this guys mind. While I was witnessing to him I noticed a lady who was working at the near by adult shop stepping closer. She was listening to the conversation, so I gave her a tract. She went away and read it. A few minutes later she came back and wanted to talk about the tract. She said she was in agreement with it, but struggled with the issue of Christ taking our place upon the cross. So I explained to her about penal substitution. Upon hearing this she understood and thanked me for sharing the good news with her.
Later in the afternoon, Ryan and I were walking through Cavill Avenue, when we noticed two Indian men walking towards us. Ryan was able to grab one in conversation and I was able to grab the other. Both of them had no knowledge of Christianity, so we were able to share with them the good news of salvation. Both of them listened as we explained the gospel to them, and they both took Gospel of John’s at the end. Please pray that God will save them.
The rest of the day was spent handing out tracts and talking to people. It was a great day!
Tuesday, July 7th 2009 - Written by Josh Williamson
It was a harder day of witnessing today, this was due to the fact that it was cold and wet. It isn’t much fun witnessing at the beach when it is raining, but we still went out and were blessed to be able to have many good conversations.
Today we were joined by Rachel and Juan, and together we were able to hand out many tracts. Ryan as usual was running around witnessing to everyone he could find, and it is so encouraging for us to see. He seems to have a knack of being able to witness to anyone, and even if someone may not be interested in talking, he somehow opens them up and stands there having a conversation.
Towards the end of the day, I was able to have a great conversation with a man in relation to the person of Jesus Christ. He was a man who had been brought up in a religious background, but had never really understood the purpose of Christ coming to this world. So I gently showed him why Christ came, and how he can be forgiven if he would repent. The man seemed stunned, never had he heard this before. Please pray for him.
Wednesday, July 8th 2009 - Written by Josh Williamson
The weather was much nicer today, it was also good for the team to be joined by Ben and Amy from Brisbane. We all had lunch together and were able to have some good theological discussion while munching on our far from healthy burgers.
After lunch we began to hand out tracts and talk to people. Ryan was in conversations nearly straight away. While handing out tracts, Ben and I were stopped by a man who has listened to us preach on many occasions. He was interested to find out if we would be preaching today as he would like to hear us. We had already decided that we wouldn’t open air, but we spoke to him about the gospel once again. The man was very familiar with the gospel, and he was able to tell me word to word what I said to him last time. But, then he said something so interesting, he said, “I can’t come to Christ, I just can’t, something is stopping me.” This man was a classic example of man’s inability to seek God, he would never come to Christ, even though he knew it to be the truth. Once again we pleaded with this man to come to faith, but he left once again unable to come. It is my prayer that God will irresistibly draw him to Christ.
Thursday 9th July 2009 - Written by Ryan Hemelaar
Today Juan, Alex, and Anne-Marie joined me at Surfers Paradise ready to do some witnessing. Alex and Anne-Marie hadn't done much street witnessing before, but they both did a great job.
Anne-Marie and I chatted to a guy who said he was a Muslim. He was from Saudi Arabia and was on holidays at the Gold Coast. After sharing with him about God's moral law and how each one of us have violated it, he recognised his own sin. We then shared the great news about Christ and that he can have all his sins forgiven if you repents and trusts in Jesus' death alone for his salvation. We then explained that there cannot be salvation through Islam, as there is no Saviour. He seemed to understand this point and then agreed that Islam cannot be the way. We then gave him a Bible and continued to chat with him. His name is Obaid. Please keep him in prayer.
After another great day, I was on my way back to the car when I had an extensive conversation with a Muslim young person studying at a near-by university. His English was superb and so I gave a few reasons as to why I thought Islam is not true. He had never thought about the problems I brought up with Islam and he was very thankful for the conversation and said he would definitely think about it. He didn't have a Bible and so I gave him one and he said he'll definitely investigate to see what is actually true. His name is Faisai. Please also keep him in prayer.
Friday, July 10th 2009 - Written by Josh Williamson
Ryan and I walked rather slowly into the Gold Coast today. Everything was hurting from having a big week of evangelism. Physically we were drained, but we pushed on and dug a bit deeper.
We didn’t end up doing much today, but we both managed to get into a conversation with a large group of students from Canberra. They were rowdy and wanted to argue against Christianity. Although there was much opposition, we made some headway with a couple of the guys. They all took tracts and it is our prayer that they may come to faith in Christ.
After this we were just too tired, so we headed back to the flat to have an afternoon off.
Saturday, July 11th 2009 - Written by Josh Williamson
The final day of the Gold Coast week of E had arrived. By now we were very tired, but we had one final day to go. It was good that we were joined by some German brothers today, they came down from Brisbane to help us on the final day of the outreach. They all did a great job in witnessing to the people of the Gold Coast.
I got up and began to preach first. I spoke about the reality of death and how no one can escape the fact that we are mortal beings. A small crowd gathered to listen as I expounded on why we die and how we can have eternal life.
Ryan preached soon after and he had a couple of hecklers, but overall it was a slow day. At around 1400hrs I had to leave in order to head back to Brisbane to get read for the nights outreach. It was a long hard week, but it was something that I really enjoyed. It was great to see people coming to know Christ.
Saturday, 25 July, 2009
It had been a big week and an even bigger weekend. On the Sunday I was due to preach a teaching message in the morning and an evangelistic sermon in the evening. But before any of that we had the honour of making Christ known in the streets of Brisbane. We were expecting an interesting night tonight, as we had been tipped off that the Brisbane atheists were coming in for a bit of heckling. So we prepared for that and even looked forward to the gathering storm.
I was the first preacher up for the night, as I preached some professing Christians took offence that I mentioned the words “sin” “judgment” and “wrath”, they moved on shortly afterwards and didn’t hang around the preaching. Not long into the preaching a young man began to heckle. He seemed fairly open and even though he was an atheist he was prepared to talk about issues. His arguments were very basic and I was able to do some apologetics on him and also present the gospel to him.
While I was dealing with this atheist, another one came along. This guy was King Irrational, his arguments consisted of stating that there was no mention of Jesus in any writings until 170 years after Christ died. This of course is absurd from an historical perspective. But the man wouldn’t listen, whenever I answered one of his objections he would jump to another. This commotion attracted in the Brisbane atheist group, they came in and the heckling began. The arguments were as varied as the people in the group, we had everything from textual criticism, evolution, death and suffering and alleged contradictions in the Bible. I did my best to answer all their questions and present the gospel to them.
After the open air I was able to talk to Wayne our friendly “non-heckler” heckler, he was talking about the children of Israel being lost in the desert for 40 years, and then somehow we got onto dinosaurs. I enjoy talking to Wayne as he is very decent and he will let you answer the questions he puts forward. I would ask that all our readers please at this time pray that God would grant Wayne repentance and faith in Christ.
Ryan preached later in the night and once again the atheists entered into the fray. This time they were more aggressive. During the confrontation the police stopped to observe to see what was happening, then after they left an onlooker made a ‘flame-thrower’ and put a blast of flame in the air. I stepped in then and ordered the man to put down the weapon or the police would be called. The man complied and joke about how he was only mucking around.
It was a fairly interesting night, albeit a night where the atheists came in and showed that in reality their faith is just that… faith.
Saturday, 18 July, 2009
Another slow night, as once again Brisbane shivered under below average temperatures. I had already decided that I would not be preaching tonight, due to the fact that I would be preaching at an evangelistic service the next morning at Rosalie Baptist Church, so it was with that in mind that we set up the preaching roster for the night.
First preacher up for the night was Andrew Hsu, he spoke as normal on the gospel, and he even got a few hecklers. He dealt with the hecklers with the best of his ability even though those hecklers were far from rational. While all that was going on I was able to get into a conversation with a Sikh who had never heard of Christianity. I had the privilege of explaining to this man the gospel message. He was stunned to hear about this One and only God who loved the world and sent His son to save His elect from their sins. The man was amazed that God would have that much compassion on a people who do not deserve God’s kindness. The man soon had to go, but before he left he took a Gospel of John and a gospel CD. Please pray that God would save this man out of an idolatrous religion and bring him into the truth.
The rest of the night was spent with Ryan preaching and also with members of the team reading out the first five chapters of Romans. Even though it was quiet God was still at work in this city.
Saturday, 11 July, 2009
It was a strange feeling being back in Brisbane after spending a week on the beach front of Surfers Paradise. The city just seemed dirty and as Ryan later commented, you could “taste” the air of Brisbane. But, it is always good to head back into the CBD. As we set up for the night it was no surprise that the city was not very busy. This is due to the extra cold winter we have been having of late.
Due to the quiet nature of the night we spent much time in one to one and tract work. It is always easy to get conversations in Brisbane, and of late we have had an increased number of Arabic speakers. This is good, since we are able to minister to them in their own language, they way in which we accomplish this is by carrying Arabic tracts and Bibles.
It was also good to have the Malyon College team come out and join us tonight, even though it was quiet the team of students seemed to enjoy the night. The highlight for me was having a mate of mine get up and preach open air for the first time. He did a wonderful job expounding on the gospel and also calling men and women to repentance. All I can say is great job Adam, may God be glorified in your future preaching.
I also preached tonight, and as I was preaching a couple of young ladies approached and asked me about lesbianism. This topic is always a sensitive one, so I dealt with it gently. I explained to them that it was a sin and that God would judge them for their sinful behaviour, I also stressed to them that Jesus Christ is the friend of sinners. One of the girls seemed really interested, and she took a gospel of John and a CD at the end of the message.
The night was great, so encouraging to see people come to the realization of Jesus Christ being their only hope. It is our prayer that many would flee to Christ and be saved.
Saturday, 4 July, 2009
It was a quiet night in Brisbane city, this was no doubt due to the fact that it was very cold. This winter has seen Brisbane having some of the coldest weather in years, and since those in our city aren’t use to it many have been staying indoors.
But, tonight we were proud to be apart of the international outreach known as Project Ezra. This ministry seeks to have Christians the world over to read the same passage of Scripture in the open air all around the world. The passage this time was 1 John, so we as a team took turns in reading the Bible in public. Due to it being very quiet not many people stopped to listen and even less heckled.
After the reading finished we began to prepare for the preaching. It was fairly quiet all night, and now much happened when it came to heckling. But, in the midst of it all there were many great conversations.
It is such an honour to see the gospel go forth in this city of ours. May God continually be glorified.
Saturday, 18 July, 2009
After arriving at Surfers Paradise and making our way to the Esplanade at the top of Cavill Ave, Blake, Joel and I got into a witnessing encounter with a group of Muslims. They were all from Saudi Arabia and had been living in Newcastle for 4 months while studying. We discussed about various topics with them. I argued that since the Qur'an mentions that the Bible is a revelation from Allah, therefore either at all the points the Qur'an contradicts the Bible, the Qur'an is wrong. Or the Qur'an is wrong where it mentions that the Bible is from Allah. They responded by saying that the Bible has been changed, but they couldn't provide any evidence to support that claim. I asked them where they got the idea that the Bible had been changed, they said the Qur'an doesn't mention it, but it's likely that a Hadith does.
Muslims so often have this one particular misunderstanding about the Bible, as they always seem to bring up this objection, and that is that they say there are so many Bible versions that they see when they go to a book store. These gentlemen brought this same objection up as well. So I explained to them that the reason why there are so many different Bibles in bookstores is because there are simply many translations of the Bible into English. But this is something that's not unique to the Bible, even the Qur'an has many different translations into English.
Blake got into a side conversation with one of them which he said was very good, while I was discussing with the rest of the group. Their usual response was, "We're not religious, therefore we cannot answer your question." By religious, they mean scholarly/academic. None of them had ever read the Bible, but they had recently been given one. They said they would email us in about a month's time once they've read the Bible. They also said they would mail us some Islamic books.
It was interesting to notice that on one of the Muslim guys' hands, he had the Sin City Strip Club stamp. I asked them about that, and they said in Islam it is okay to lust. So I asked them why are women supposed to wear a head covering if lusting is allowed? They didn't really respond. I shared with them Jesus' words about lusting, and then went on to explain how a person can be truly saved and know 100% that they will go to Heaven when they die.
We then met up with some OM guys that were up from Sydney for a week, specially sharing the gospel to all the Muslims that have come from overseas for holidays. As during this time of year, almost every second person is a Muslim at Surfers Paradise. They graciously gave us some Arabic material. At this time, Jamie arrived and joined us.
I then had a conversation with a guy from Korea. When I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven, he didn't even know what Heaven was. So I explained to him basically the complete Christian message and after presenting the gospel to him, I asked, "So when will you repent and trust in Christ's death alone for your salvation?" He responded by saying, "Well, why not now?" But to make sure he understood the gospel I asked him, "If God was to say to you: 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' What would you say?" He responded, "It's only because of the death of Jesus." So I then gave him a Bible and found out that he was simply on holidays to the Gold Coast and was leaving the following day. Praise God that he could hear the gospel while he was here, and that God opened his eyes and drew the man unto Himself! To God be the glory!
On our way back to the car, I got into a conversation with two Aussies who were about 20 years old and were from Perth. They were at the Gold Coast on holidays as well. After hearing about the judgment to come, their sin, and the great news of the cross, they too stated that they would repent and trust in Christ today. I discussed further with them, and gave them Bibles as they both did not have one.
To God be the glory for all that He is doing here at the Gold Coast, and all over the world!
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