On Tuesday for our outreach at Woodridge, we had a large team out and as a result we were able to spread out further by some on the team walking around the area in search of people who needed to hear of Jesus. Thankfully there were many around!
A stand out conversation was with a government worker named James. He said he thought about Heaven and Hell a lot but really didn't know where he would go. He thought he was a pretty good guy, but wasn't sure.
After a short discussion, James had raised the selfishness of humanity that he had seen through his job and also was a little frustrated that he worked hard to get places and yet there are people who get to live great lives without ever working hard. On both points, we were able to explain the parallels with what he felt and humanity's rejection of God. God has given us many good gifts, life being the best and yet we use the very gift God has given us to mock Him.
Secondly we shared that we deserve God's justice. We deserve punishment and judgement and yet God in His love, willingly suffered the penalty we deserve so that we can be free. Christians are people who have received a right standing before God and all the blessings of being children of God with no work or merit of their own but entirely of Christ.
Please pray that James is able to understand God's immense love in salvation and to cry out in surrender and trust in Christ! Praise God that He brings people across our paths who so desperately need him!
Tonight the team had the privilege of serving their Saviour in bearing witness to Him in Queen St Mall, Brisbane.
The team interacted with quite a number of other Christians who were meandering through the mall on their Saturday night. It was a real encouragement to the team to have these Christians encourage them to press on and many of them said they were keen to consider sharing the gospel with people as they returned to their homes.
One person on the team got up to preach with the sketchboard and spoke about how humanity in an attempt to find true freedom, rejected the freedom they were given and replaced it with the illusion that we are in control. It was explained that this rejection of God and His design for us, earned us Hell but that God in His immense love, gave up His freedom and willingly became a servant, to suffer a cross kind of death, that we could have freedom from sin and judgement.
When the sermonette had finished a young man named Alex from the United Kingdom, who was in Brisbane for 1 day, came up to a team member to discuss about the Bible.
Alex had grown up in a Christian home, had studied Theology and Philosophy but as a result sat in the unknown. He wasn't sure he could trust the Bible and yet couldn't really argue against it.
He had many ideas and thoughts and a whole host of questions. As the conversation drew to a close Alex seemed less against God and more willing to submit to God's truth. So we suggested a local Church he could attend that was only 200m away from where he was staying the night. While explaining the service times, the pastor of that very church walked by.
The pastor and Alex were introduced to each other, which seems like God's sense of humour played out in providence. This was quite an exciting moment and the conversation continued a little after that.
Please pray that Alex would attend church tomorrow and that God by His Spirit will speak through His exposition of the Word, the very words of God, that Alex may for the first time understand the gospel and come to a surrendered faith in Christ. Please pray also for the many other people who the team had the pleasure to speak with about Christ and His saving work!
It was encouraging to see that during our outreach last night at the Gold Coast, the team were so engrossed in various gospel conversations, that it meant we finished half an hour later than we usually do. We had 15 labourers on the team.
One conversation we had was with a man holidaying from Dubai who is in the police force over there. He said that Dubai is such a city of sin, worse than the Gold Coast. He was raised in a Muslim family, but he has been living life his own way and so when he was asked if he will go to Heaven when he dies, he responded, "No I think I will go to Hell."
He said, "After I spent a night out in Dubai, I feel guilty for the things I've done and it worries me where I am going to go after I die. But I think if I just say sorry to God and clean up my life I think I'll maybe spend 40 years in Hell and then go to Heaven afterwards."
I explained to him that that is not how it is going to work. Because Jesus told a story in the Bible about a rich man who went to Hell and a poor man who went to Heaven, and when the rich man wanted someone to come down to him to cool his tongue because the anguish he was in, Jesus describes that there is a great chasm between Heaven and Hell so that no one can pass between the two places. That means, where you go after you die, you are there forever.
Moreover, I explained, imagine a criminal stood before a judge and said, "Judge, yesterday I murdered that person, but today I am really sorry and I won't do it again. So please let me go. Would that work?" He replied, "Of course not."
"That is why the only way is if we have a perfect person who can pay our fine for us, which will satisfy God's justice on our behalf and therefore allow us to enter Heaven. That is, Jesus - who is God, and died and rose for our forgiveness. As he was hearing this, this man was beginning to grasp the gospel and asked a number of good questions. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading. He asked, "Will you be here next week so that I can come back and talk further?" "Yes definitely", I said.
To God be the glory!
The outreach at Sunnybank today went from one extreme to another. At one end of the spectrum there was polite conversation, then at the other end we had a group of drunks decide to start smashing the Free Bible table.
The afternoon began quietly enough with us handing out tracts and trying to engage people in conversation. One elderly couple walked past a person on the team and were rather hostile. Upon being offered a tract, the elderly man took it, and then threw it back saying, “I have a living faith in the Lord Jesus, which I doubt you have!”
I asked the man where he went to church and he identified a local Anglican church. I then asked, “Sir, I’m a Baptist Minister, why do you believe I don’t have faith in the Lord Jesus?” He seemed stunned and replied, “OH! I thought you were a cult!” The man and his wife then apologised, and informed me that they also attend a Bible study at a local Baptist church.
Then he said something that was truly sad. He said in 70 years, he has only ever been approached by Christians three times in public in order to talk about the gospel, but the cults had approached him many times. We all agreed that this shouldn’t be the case, and that more Christians need to take Christ into the public arena.
Shortly after this I was able to get into a good conversation with a Muslim gentleman from Sudan. He was extremely friendly, and was dissatisfied with those who follow Islam in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East. We chatted about the Lord Jesus, and then he brought up about the Bible being corrupted. In my pack I had a booklet that dealt with that topic, so I gave it to him and encouraged him to read it. He said he would, and we parted with a handshake.
During this time we had a group of white drunken yobbos come by. They were walking in the traffic and generally making a nuisance of themselves. When they saw the Chinese Free Bible table they began to overturn it and start smashing things up. I quickly stopped this, called the Police and then began to clean everything up. As they left the scene, a fellow Christian was able to give them tracts. Please pray the Lord saves them.
It was a productive afternoon with many tracts being handed out and conversations had. It was also encouraging to see that six people took copies of the Gospel of John in Chinese. May the Lord Jesus rescue many.
Eden came to Woodridge yesterday to play Pokemon Go, but he went home considering the claims of Christ. He was one of the people we spoke with during our outreach yesterday in Woodridge. He said that he never thinks about eternal matters, and doesn't have a Bible.
But as the conversation went on, he saw his own sinfulness and how he didn't deserve Heaven, but then came to grasp the gospel as he heard of Christ's death and resurrection for his sins.
He said, "I think I should trust in Christ today". He mentioned how he doesn't live in the area and never usually comes to Woodridge, but he decided to stop by Woodridge this particular afternoon to play Pokemon Go, and I said to him, "I don't think it was an accident that you stopped by today, it was all in God's plan and in His timing so that you would happen to be walking by at this time and we'd have this conversation." We gave him a gospel of John to start reading and recommended a local church.
Please pray for him and the dozens of others who we witnessed to throughout the afternoon. To God be all the glory!
At the outreach at Capalaba Bus Station on Monday afternoon there were 4 team members out and a whole host of conversations were had!
Capalaba is a very interesting place, some people are incredibly hostile, they will often yell, "Don't you dare talk to me" and yet the person sitting right beside them will be happy and open to hear about what God has done to save sinners.
An early conversation was with a woman named Chloe, she had no hostility but was completely open. It was a scary conversation in some respects because this woman who was in her early twenties had never heard of Jesus. You read that right, she had no idea who He is, who He claimed to be, when He had lived or what He had done. The only thing she knew about Him was His name, Jesus Christ.
There was great pleasure taken in explaining what sin is, who God is, the resulting penalty for sin and yet that God, through Christ had provided a way of salvation. Chloe left with a Gospel of John and said she would have to consider it that night.
Another man the team talked to was named Jordan, who is also in his mid twenties, at the beginning of the conversation he was saying that he was pretty sure Heaven and Hell didn't exist but after only 15 minutes of discussion he was asking how a sinner could be forgiven and be right with God.
This was probably the most encouraging discussion of the afternoon, he hopped on the bus pondering the question, "Will I continue to live for myself and suffer God's justice in Hell, or will I acknowledge that I am a sinner in desperate need of salvation and surrender in trust to the God who punished Himself on my behalf?"
There were a whole host of other conversations, so please take the time to come before the Lord in prayer pleading on behalf of these people and all those talked to that God would graciously grant them repentance!
Please also ask God to bring back these same people next week for follow up conversations and discussions! And finally may you lift up the team in prayer that God may equip and empower them by His Spirit to keep boldly proclaiming the gospel.
The gospel was proclaimed on Saturday night in Brisbane city by the team of about 10 people that showed up. Through the preaching, listeners were asked whether they thought they were a good person, but unfortunately no one is since we have all sinned, and therefore that is why we all need the forgiveness available only through faith in Christ.
It was great to see the team engage in many gospel conversations, including two new people on the team who have never evangelised on the street before. They stepped out of their comfort zones to share the gospel with people.
I think this principle holds true: The amount a person will enjoy coming out evangelising will depend on how much they are prepared to step out of their comfort zone. If a person doesn't really want to do that, they'll find evangelising maybe a bit boring. But when we ask God for courage and then step out of our comfort zone to approach people and strike up a conversation about eternal matters, it won't be long before we are in a gospel conversation with someone, and it is so exciting! We will go home rejoicing at the end of the day!
And even for those of us who have evangelised for years, we still need to each time ask God for help for boldness. And when we step out in faith, God blesses our efforts for His glory.
We encourage you to come along to one of our outreach teams, details are listed here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
We had a great outreach this afternoon in Brisbane city. God allowed many to hear the truth today, through the gospel tracts that went out and the conversations had.
One person the team spoke with was named Rad. He grew up Buddhist and is now searching to find which religion is the truth, since he knows that logically they all can't be true at the same time. He listened intently as he heard the gospel and was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading.
Another person later on in the afternoon came up to one person on the team and said he had some questions about God. His name was Tyson and he said he knows there is a God, as there is no way to deny that a creator made the universe. But he said he didn't know who exactly that God is and wanted to find out.
So we took him through the law of God, he saw his sinfulness and deservedness of Hell, but he wasn't sure how to be forgiven. We explained about Jesus, being God in human flesh, died to take our punishment for us. He had a bunch of questions about the trinity, about the Bible, food laws in the Old Testament, and about certain people in the Bible - because he said that he hasn't read much of the Bible at all.
He seems to be searching and was grateful to take a gospel of John to start reading. He even wanted our contact details so he can ask any further questions that he has. Please pray for him and all the others who heard the gospel today.
To God be the glory that His word went out and accomplishes what He wants it to!
The team enjoyed another outreach at Woodridge this afternoon, with plenty of good gospel conversations had and lots of tracts handed out.
There was a theme with some people who said that they wanted to put off getting right with God now and do it later on in life. So we tried to show them the urgency of doing it as soon as possible, since death could be right around the corner for any of us. We used the following analogy:
Just like if a frog is sitting in a pot that is slowing heating up on a stove, since the temperature increase is slow, he won't realize it's getting hot until it's too late and he boils to death.
So in the same way, we can so often think that we've got plenty of time left in life, and so as day by day goes along, we think we still have more time, until suddenly it's too late and death gets us. And if we haven't trust in Christ, it's too late.
We found this made the people we talked to really think and begin to realise the urgency of trusting in Christ alone for their forgiveness while they still can.
This is also what we went on to say today: For it is not something you want to get wrong. If you fail an exam at school, you can always do another one later. If you lose your job in life, you can always find another. But if you die and get sent to hell, you're there forever and there is no escape. That is why there is nothing that matters more than where you go when you die.
There were also a couple people we talked with who said they wanted to trust in Christ today. There were a few gospels of John given out as well to interested people. To God be all the glory!
Glory to God! He makes His work of telling forth His good news so interesting. The various chats today amply illustrate this fact.
- An Arabic family, Mark & Ruba (sp?) were wanting to teach their children the Truth. They were firm that only the Bible had this Truth. They are searching, e.g. Who is Dt. 18:18 referring to? (Answer in Acts 3:22 in context plus Mt. 17:5 + Jn. 8:31,32), and at present have no religion. The girls had a long chat with them, including the law (he thought that he was good enough) and the gospel.
The final words to them were encouraging them to read their Bible asking God to reveal Himself to them, and recommending that they attend a church near to them - a specific one was nominated. They had a question whether they would be welcomed since they are not Christians. They were assured them that they would be most welcome. Pray that the Lord brings them to saving faith in Christ Jesus.
- Aileen and Izzy had been discussing eternal things and have now heard God's glorious plan of salvation. Receiving a gospel of John each, pray that they make a true commitment to follow Jesus, Lord and Saviour.
- Anthony started out stating that he only believed in what he could see. Pointing to a building, Ryan stated that someone had built that building. Even though Anthony had never seen that builder, he still knew there was a builder. Anthony agreed. Going through the law and gospel, he reverted again to his 'no sight, I do not believe' position. He was challenged that his desire to live life the way he choose as being the reason he would not trust Christ alone. Pray he considers the horrors of eternity without any comfort as his outcome for living his life without Christ now.
God uses us in our imperfections and so we freely give Him all the glory for whatever He does in each encounter; whether it is passing out tracts, having a brief or long conversation or whatever transpires. What a honour and privilege to serve Him who first loved us.