There is a lot of ink that has been spilt over the last month on the festival of Dark Mofo, particularly the upside down red crosses in the harbor. I am tempted to wade in with my opinions on the festival but probably better than that is to thank David Walsh!
I would like to give a hearty thank you to David Walsh for putting this festival on. He has gathered together large numbers of seeking non-Christians in one place – my home town! It is wonderful that not only has he brought all these people here, but he places preaching illustrations around our town to boot! So, for these entirely unintended blessings, thank you very much David!
No actually… I really want to thank you Almighty God for using a blasphemous God-hater to give glorious opportunities and blessings to your people!
Over the last two Fridays a team from Cornerstone and other churches and I have been blessed to reach out to the crowds at Dark Mofo. Over the course of two nights almost three thousand tracts were placed into the hands of locals and visitors to Hobart. It was wonderful to see the tracts going into pockets and bags to be read later and even better yet to see groups of people gathering around people with tracts in hand and to hear the gospel read to them.
We were using three different tracts these evenings, the “Eternity” card, the “You May Not Have Tomorrow” card, and the cartoon “How We Know God Exists…” tract. With the black and white color scheme on the cards and the message about life and death they were the perfect foil to the “festival of death and sex” around us.
It was wonderful to work with other evangelists; the team was varied in age and background. Yet we were united in our aim, to share the good news of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. The team all had their own styles, some very bold, Robyn would walk along-side groups of people talking to them about God and offering them tracts. Some quiet, Andrew would smile and hold out a tract and allow people to take them as they wished. Some serious, Karl would speak to people with a serious, loving and urgent voice and give them tracts. Some cheerful, I would smile and laugh and wish people a good night as I offered them tracts.
The response of the people varied as much as the approaches of the team. One man laughed and declined with a thank you, a lesbian couple eagerly took a tract each interested in life after death, one woman scoffed and handed it back, and an adult family stopped and came back to get a tract each. In all the response was very positive. There were even a few who recognized Karl and I, laughing that we were down at Dark Park too!
Towards the end of each night I preached, there were a moderate number of people who gathered to listen as I spoke. Andrew also spoke at the end of the first Friday, giving a great gospel message. As opposed to last year, we were not harassed by the staff from the festival. Last year they called the police, but the police were utterly uninterested in our work as it is perfectly legal and positive. I think that street preaching and outreach fit the festival rather well, I suspect that a lot of people initially thought the preaching was some sort of street theatre as part of Dark Park.
In the gathering dark of winter and a society increasingly running from God, a great gospel light shone in the streets of the Hobart harbor. Thank you to all those who prayed for the team and a huge thank you to the team for their courage and faithfulness.
Please pray that all those tracts would find homes and that the Gospel message would be used by God to the salvation of thousands!
God is great, God is good, God is merciful, God is kind. Praise His name!
Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and only Mediator between God and man had 6 of His body members in the team today. For the first time at Wellington Point, Ryan and Harry had the use of a flip chart. As an example of how this was advantageous, there was a family to whom they had been chatting. When they indicated that 'they had to go', they were asked if they had done this "Good Person" test. They stayed and were engaged as God's good news was presented. The other 2 teams took up their usual positions and carried on as usual.
The team spirit has been developing into a blessing for each one of us. e.g. A young man flying his drone was chatted to. He had been challenged just a few weeks earlier by a different team of ours. May our gracious God awaken the spirit of this young man to consider what he has heard - seriously. Eternity in God's prison with no possibility of escape, is a dreadful prospect for any sentient being to experience.
May the Lord build His house, Ps. 127:1 + 1 Peter 2:4-6! To Him alone be all glory and praise, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord had again blessed our hearts on this outreach - we were able to have 3 speakers preach in the open air, there were many who stopped to listen to the gospel with also a number of John's gospels handed out. I had met up with another Pastor who is based at a Takanini Baptist church that is also wanting to team up alongside us for evangelism. It is always an encouragement when you meet other believers who are keen to partner together for the sake of the gospel.
SDG - To God alone be all the Glory forever and ever.
It was a beautiful winter's day as we gathered in Redcliffe for an outreach. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, everything was perfect for a time of evangelism. As I made my way to our normal witnessing location I noticed that a busker had set up where we normally minister. This meant things were going to be different today; we had to find a new location to set up our Free Bible table and flip-chart.
We had a number of people on the team, so we were able to space out and cover several locations. As we set up the Free Bible table, a worker form a shop nearby came out to ask if she could have a Bible in order to read to her children. She took tracts and some booklets also. This was an excellent start to the day and it was encouraging to know that a mother wanted to teach her children the Word of God.
Once the table was set up, I left two team members to witness in that location, while I headed to a different spot about 100 metres up the road. Mike, Daniel and I, all positioned ourselves near the entrance to Redcliffe's biggest tourist attraction, the Bee Gee Way. Due to the number of people walking past this location, it was quite easy to hand out tracts and talk to them about the Lord Jesus.
While handing out tracts, a man named Wayne, who is my age, took a leaflet. As he looked at what I had given him I asked, "Mate, do you think you'll go to Heaven one day?" He paused, looked at me and said, "That is a very good question. I use to think about that quite a bit, but recently I have been so busy I've stopped thinking about it." I followed up with, "It is a very important question; let me put it another way, if you were to die tonight, and you stood before God, why would God let you into His Heaven?" Wayne replied, "I really don't know." I could see from his face that this question troubled him. As he pondered the question, his grandmother came by and told him to keep walking. Sadly, Wayne apologised and followed his gran. Please pray that he would read the tract I had given him, and he would consider his eternity.
During this time, Mike had had managed to get a young man named Jayden to stop to chat. They were going through the Good Person Test on the flip-chart. I could tell that the conversation was going really well, and that Jayden seemed quite open. Mike later told me that Jayden had recently lost a loved one who had died in their sins. This created all kinds of questions in the mind of Jayden, but Mike was still able to share the truth about Jesus with him. Jayden took a tract and was encouraged to read the Gospel of John. We have been asked to pray for Jayden, so would you please pray the Father draws Him to the Son.
Things were getting busier around Bee Gee Way with many tracts going out. As I handed out literature I noticed that numerous people were walking around playing games on their phone. It is normal to see people use their phone in public, but this was different, crowds were gathering and all were playing a game. I stopped one man to chat, he was busy playing, but he took a break to talk briefly. He told me that he believed in reincarnation, but not in God. I asked him, if he knew who would determine what people would come back as after death (which was a question he had never pondered)? I then briefly told him of Jesus, but I could tell that the game was pulling him back. Before he left I asked what everyone was playing, he said, "Pokemon Go! In a few minutes a raid battle is going to take place in this very spot."
Before too long crowds of people were gathering in our location all getting ready to play Pokemon Go. One bystander said he thought hundreds of people were now in the area, all of which were playing a single game. As a team we looked upon this gathering as God's providence on display. He had brought a crowd to our location in order to hear the gospel, so I did something I have never done in Redcliffe before, I preached in the open-air.
I started my message by talking about the game they were all playing, and then asked, "What happens when the game ends? Surely, there is more to life that simply playing video games?" From this point I transitioned into how we were all made by God in order to know Him. I then spoke about our sin, and the need of rescue. Finally, I declared the gospel of Jesus, and called on all those playing to turn to the Saviour and trust only in Him.
A few people mocked and ridiculed, but I rejoice in the truth of John 10:27-28, when the Lord Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
Those whom the Father had appointed unto eternal life would believe, so I simply proclaimed the gospel, and called on all to trust in the Saviour. It is liberating in evangelism to know that the results are up to God.
Please pray for all those we encountered today. May all of them come to know the Saviour.
Our Lord brings an interesting variety of people under the sound of the word of Christ. The Holy Spirit works wherever He chooses and however He has determined. There seemed to be fewer people than usual but I had a chat with 2 people that I had never seen before and that was within the first hour of our team being there.
Please pray for Nori who is studying to become a librarian. She was knowledgeable about the Bible (she guessed the correct answer to the "What is the Most Stolen Book?" tract question), partly due to a loving relative and also from Roman Catholic schooling. Nori was accepting of her own sinfulness and unworthiness of being allowed into God's heaven just as Adam forfeited Paradise as a result of his one transgression. God is perfect and heaven would not be suitable for Him if He allowed even one person in with only one sin not atoned for. We progressed through the difference between justification by faith alone vs. justification by faith plus 'my' works; always imperfect.
As a student until the end of this year, she had not been spending time reading His Word. She gladly received a gospel of John after I showed her how to use it. I asked her what about God impressed her most (she is thinking about this) and shared that I am quite moved when I ponder the pure selflessness of God.
She also was taken through the builder/building analogy and shown how it tied that in with the "How we know God Exists" tract which I put in every John's gospel. Nori volunteered that she would give that to her parents and younger brother.
May our great and awesome God be glorified for He alone is altogether glorious.
Hear the team share how some conversations went with a Catholic man and an Irish man who knew a lot of Catholics.
One went to a church and was still worried about his salvation and the other knew a lot of hypocrites in the church.
This afternoon in Brisbane city the team had seven members out and God provided many conversations for us. It was clear that he had bought people along that he had been working in previously.
One conversation was with a man named Ben, he had grown up in the Church, knew the Gospel but was struggling with obedience to God. It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage him with the Gospel and to use it to equip him to share his faith on the way home. Please be praying that Ben was empowered by the Spirit with boldness to share Jesus' offer of salvation with someone on his bus ride home.
Another conversation was with two German travelers named Jacob and Justus. These young men didn't want to acknowledge that God is who He says He is. They wanted God to be loving to the point that He didn't care about justice.
The Gospel was clearly presented, alongside God's revelation about His Holiness. These young men were left with the serious challenge to stop believing the god they had made in their own image, and instead to surrender to the one who had made them in His.
A third conversation was with a young lady, named Natasha. As we spoke, it became clear that God was doing something in her life already. For the past 12 months she had been learning about Christianity through a campus group and there were very few gaps in her understanding of the faith. She had reached a place where she acknowledged the truth of the gospel, but had not trusted in Jesus for her salvation. As we spoke about what Jesus had done for her, she began to tear up and had to repeatedly wipe away tears from her cheeks with her sleeve. I pleaded with her to trust Jesus and asked her to email me and let me know how she got on.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel this afternoon and for the team as they continue on outreaches this week.
Hear how three team members were able to encourage two different Church-goers with the Gospel.
One man was feeling to guilty for Christ's salvation and another thought that forgiveness in Christ was only given after each individual sin was repented for.
On a cooler and quieter afternoon at Woodridge on Tuesday, the team had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a range of people.
One such conversation was with a man named Ezra. He had a lot of ideas about who God is and what he has done, many of which came from different religious groups he'd spoken to in the past.
Ezra acknowledged that God exists but his main problem was that God was all about His own glory. Ezra couldn't comprehend that God could be loving and yet desire us to serve Him. Even when it was was explained that we were designed to find our greatest joy and fulfillment in this.
This conversation went on for a few minutes but sadly Ezra didn't get to hear the fullness of hope that there is for humanity, offered on the basis of Jesus' wrath absorbing sacrifice. He did take a tract though!
Please be praying for those who heard the Good News and took tracts, that they may turn in surrender to Christ as Lord.
Hear about an encouraging conversation with an older gentleman who was pondering his eternal destination and a lengthy conversation about a young man who was convicted about a specific sin in his life.