Jeremy, Blake, Joel, and I made our way down to the Gold Coast for a day of evangelism there. However, when we arrived, it started pouring down with rain. Thankfully, after we prayed for a bit, the rain stopped and we were able to make our way to the the top of Cavill Avenue. Throughout the week, there had been stacks of wind and rain at the coast, so that the whole esplanade was covered in a layer of sand. And the harsh weather still hadn't stopped today, with very strong winds, and even waves up to 15 metres hitting the beach at certain parts of the coastline. Because of this, there wasn't as many people about.
First up, we had a conversation with a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. They tried to argue that Jesus was not God, and they pointed to John 1:1 saying that it contains an indefinite article before the word God, theos. So I explained to them that in the Greek language, there is no indefinite article ("a"), there is only a definite article ("the"). So it's impossible for John 1:1 to have an indefinite article. However, it does lack a definite article, but I pointed out that that does not mean it's indefinite (eg: "a god"). For at the very start of John 1:1, it lacks a definite article before the word meaning 'beginning' (archē), yet even the New World Translation has John 1:1 translated as: "In the beginning was the Word..." So the authors of the New World Translation have a double standard here in translating 'beginning' as being definite and 'God' being indefinite, when both lack the definite article.
The correct translation of John 1:1 is: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - and that is the way basically every other translation of the Bible has it rendered. For in Greek, if everyone knows what thing you are referring to, you do not need to supply the definite article. That's why it's: "In the beginning", and not: "In a beginning" - for everyone knows what beginning John was talking about. In the same way, the Scriptures are clear that there is only one God, so John did not need to supply the definite article before the word for God because everyone knows what God he is talking about.
And once we pointed to other Scriptures proclaiming the deity of Christ (eg: John 8:58), they did not want to continue the conversation. In their closing comments, they tried to say that we're all Christians and the deity of Christ is just a minor difference of opinion. But I pointed out to them that 2 John 9 states that if you do not hold to the doctrine of Christ, you do not have the Father.
At this time it was raining pretty hard, so we made our way down the mall to an undercover area to continue witnessing. We did this for a while, and then had a bite to eat. Since it was Sermon on the Mount Saturday - a day in which hundreds of people around the world had decided to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) aloud in a public place - we made our way back to our normal preaching area for the rain had stopped and decided to split up the reading of it between us.
So I started off and after not long a person who was riding past, listened for a bit, then decided to ask a question about why we consider Jesus to be God. So I responded to him, but he did not like the answer it seems and rode off. After continuing reading for a bit longer, the rain started to come down again. So I closed up my Bible, so that it would not get wrecked and decided to simply preach. There was a teenager listening and I called out to him to see whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He thought he would. So I brought him through some of the 10 commandments to show his guilt, and then I shared the wonderful news of the gospel. But he blatently said that he would much rather sin then be forgiven of his sin.
Once the rain had stopped, I finished off my part of the reading and then passed it over to Jeremy, Blake and Joel to complete the rest of the chapters.
Even though there was less people about, we still were able to share the gospel with many people.
To God be the glory!
The night began with some great fellowship at Café Nero. The rain was really coming down and so we were unsure as to whether we would be able to minister in the Square. We decided that we would stay in the café and fellowship together, and should the weather clear up we would make our way to the Square. To the right is a photo of us together. Some new faces!
The weather did eventually clear up so we made our way to the Square. After arriving we set up and I got ready to preach. The pictures below show the team all ready for some outreach! (I'm giving a few pointers here and there...)
During my preach a crowd gathered despite the poor weather. At one point a young couple began to heckle me. They wanted to know what was "so special" about me that I had the right to stand up and point out faults in others. I explained that I too was a sinner and that I simply wanted to help people understand that God's judgment would come upon them unless they repented and believed the gospel. I took them through the moral law and showed them that they were sinners just like everyone else. The young lady went on to explain that she still considered herself a good person and she pointed out relief work that she had done in Africa. She was promoting her self-righteousness and so I had to keep pointing out to her that even though it was quite likely she was far better than some people, it was God's standard she had failed. She wouldn't have it though, particularly the notion that she was a bad person. Before she turned to leave she insisted that she was actually a Christian. I could not see how this could be as it was clearly obvious she trusted in her own self-righteousness and not in Christ. It was hard to see this and as we spoke about it later we realised that we simply had to pray that God would humble her so that she would trust in Christ. I never got their names, but do pray for them both. The picture below has an arrow pointing to them.
After I finished preaching open-air the whole team got involved in one-to-one conversations. It was really wonderful to see. The open-air and the one-to-ones worked perfectly. It was great!
Katie, James and Raymond in a one-to-one conversation.
Michael and Harriet (on his right) in a one-to-one conversation.
All in all it was a great night! Below is a group photo of us all in the Square.
It was truly wonderful to have such an enthused team. May the Lord continue to add workers to the harvest!!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tonight was one long conversation that Suhkraj and I had with two young muslim men. One of them was a philosopher at heart and was interested in debate and closed up like a clam shell the moment that Jesus Christ the Son of God was mentioned. The other was more receptive and listened carefully to what we had to say. It appears the second young man had heart Jim and I preaching some months back in Fargate during the week. Praise God that it was still being kept in his remembrance. Pray for these young men that God would settle their objections and show them clearly and winsomely the truth that Jesus Christ came to save sinners just like them and open their hearts to the saviour.
Praise God for such a week of good work that I was privileged to be a part of. Praise Him for all the holy men and women who I met and was encouraged by. Glorify His name that Jesus Christ saves both slave and free, woman and man, Muslim and atheist, Jew and gentile; all those who will trust in His name!
I joined Jim and Andy this week it was nice to get out and be involved in serving the Lord evangelistically on the streets of Sheffield after what seems like a long time away. I arrived mid afternoon and found the pair of them in full swing with Andy just stepping down from speaking and Jim about to get up.
I set to handing out tracts and very quickly found myself in conversation with two young ladies from the local mobile phone shop. While somewhat distracted with work (sales to the passing crowds), they were willing to talk with me. I asked them how they thought someone got to heaven and if they thought they would get there (having given them a big money tract with that exact question on it...). The both thought that they would get in because they were good people and had not done anything wrong in any big way. We discussed for some time what would happen if there was justice only for the three of us. We've all broken the law of God and as criminals in His court we could only expect judgement and punishment. This did not go down well with one of them and she switched off from the conversation from that point onwards. I was able to talk with the other young lady for some time and reason with her about her need of a saviour and appeal to her to turn to the only saviour Jesus Christ. She listened and was receptive to what I said to her, I pray that God will open her heart to the gospel seed that has been planted in her heart.
As this conversation ended so did Jim's preaching and so I went and spoke with him and then stood to preach myself. I preached on the need that we all have for a saviour and that most people are not honest when they say that Christianity is for weaklings and those needing a crutch. In the light of the uncertain future and definitely in the light of eternity, we all are weak and needy. I urged people to look to the help that is offered by God to save us from the eternal and temporal consequences of our sin and from sin itself which enslaves us. Today there were no hecklers as such but there was a good number of people floating around the periphery trying to look like they weren't listening. Also as I preached I had multiple Christians stop to encourage me.
Please note any Christian readers of this report, one of the most encouraging things you can do for a Christian street preacher (if you believe they are biblical of course!) is to smile and give an encouraging word to them (God bless you or the like...). Believe me most people have no idea how much of a blessing it is.
I ended the day speaking with a young man named Ben, please pray for Ben. As a philosophy student he has plenty of theories to hide behind and tries to use them to run from God. Pray that God will strip away these "fig leaves" and bring him to the saviour that his blindness, sickness and death would be healed and he would know life in Jesus Christ.
Saturday, May 9th 2009
There was a light westerly breeze blowing through the city tonight, which meant it would be cold. So I prepared by putting on some warmer clothes and made sure I had a jacket just in case.
I wasn’t feeling overly well tonight, I think it is from all the work I have been doing of late, and also from lack of sleep. But, these are the “joys” of the ministry.
The city wasn’t that busy tonight, maybe the cold was having an effect on those people from Brisbane, since after all this is the sunshine state, and we don’t do cold very well. However, we still made the most of the night and we preached the gospel to all those who would stop and listen.
Hsusy was the first preacher up for the night, he as usual gave a solid gospel message that dripped with theology and sound biblical exegesis. While, Andrew is most definitely not an evangelist, he is very gifted as a preacher. It is always a joy to listen to him expound the Word of God. While he preached he had a few hecklers, there wasn’t much action just the occasional shout of abuse or someone would throw a question as they ran by.
After Hsusy stood down, Joel got up and began to preach. For a newbie in preaching he is doing incredibly well, however, he doesn’t give him self the credit he deserves. Joel has all the marks of a great open air preacher, it will only be a matter of time before he will be one of our main open air men.
Towards the end of the night, both Ryan and I got up and preach. Ryan is always great when it comes to the atheist hecklers (which seem to swarm to Ryan). His apologetics are one of the best I have heard when it comes to dealing with those who deny their Creator.
Overall the night went well (even though it was cold)
Saturday, May 16th 2009
The night was cool, but not as cold as it was last week. As I walked the Queen Street mall, the text of Matthew 7 kept coming to mind “The Broad Road and the Narrow Road” so I decided to preach on that later in the evening.
First up for the night was Jeremy, he was asking before to have a chance to preach, so I though “no better time than first up!” He started off by preaching from John 3:16, and he spoke about the God who loves. He did well considering he hadn’t preached for awhile.
Ryan preached next, however, he only lasted about twenty minutes due to the fact his voice was almost gone. This was due to the fact he had already preached down the Gold Coast today. However, those twenty minutes were strong, while he preached a few people stopped to listen, and it was a joy to see many one to one conversations.
After Ryan finished preaching Paul got up and preached for his second time in Brisbane, he did a great job. He preaches with passion and is powerful when he speaks. It is great having so many different preachers and different styles of preachers in Brisbane, as together we can reach different people.
Joel then followed by preaching again. I am proud of Joel and all he is doing, he has grown so much over the past few years that I have known him. To see him going from standing around doing very little to standing up with Bible in his hand preaching has been of great encouragement to me.
Nick then got the courage to stand up and have a preach as well and did a great job. At the end of the night I stood up and preached. My text was Matthew 7 and my topic was “Which Road Are You One?” While preaching a young man named Mitch stopped and he heckled a bit, so I engaged him. He started off very arrogant about the fact that he was a bad boy going to hell. But, by the end he was humbled and he saw his need for the Saviour. He took an in-depth gospel tract and also a CD presenting the gospel.
Please pray for Mitch and all those who heard the gospel tonight.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Due to the fact that everyone else that usually attends the Gold Coast outreach was busy, it was only me at the coast today. But the day was still very beneficial and interesting. I was armed with loads of the "Are you a good person?" comic book gospel tracts, and they worked extremely well.
So I began handing out gospel tracts and getting into one-to-one witnessing encounters. But about 45 minutes into it, two police officers came up to me. One of the constables asked me, "How many times have I told you that you're not allowed to be here?" I was very surprised by this unexpected question, so I said, "I don't think you've ever told me I'm not allowed to be in Surfers Paradise." The officer said, "You didn't answer my question. How many times have I told you you're not allowed to be here?" So I said, "I don't recall anytime you saying this. You may have said to us that you don't like us preaching here, but you've never said we're not allowed to be here in Surfers Paradise. Are you saying it's against the law for me to be in Surfers Paradise?" The officer responded, "No. You still did not answer my question, how many times have I told you that you're not allowed to be here?" It seemed like he wanted a one-word answer, so I responded, "Never". He then asked for ID, and then made a phone call. Once he returned to me, he said, "You're OK. You can continue to hand out your literature, but if you start preaching you'll be charged with public nuisance."
It's likely that a guy who we see at the coast very regularly and who really hates the gospel message saw me there again today, and then reported me to the police. And then the police officers came up to me assuming I had preached, and since I said I hadn't, he had probably called the council security to see if I had. Please pray for the person who regularly opposes the preaching, and the police officers that they will all be converted. And please pray that we will continue to be able to preach the gospel at the Gold Coast unhindered.
So for the rest of the day I continued to share the gospel by giving out tracts and using that to start up an evangelistic conversation with the people I gave the tracts to. A number of times, when I finished a conversation with someone, I would think in my head, "Mankind is so depraved.". As the sorts of things that the young people especially, were willing to admit that they do (without even feeling ashamed about doing it) really reminds me how Ephesians 2 describes the state of man, as being "dead in our trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1)
Many quite happily said that they would rather continue on in their sins than come to Christ. In that sort of situation, I usually like to pose an analogy for them to think about what they are really saying. I ask them to imagine they were in a house doing some very fun activity. Then they notice that there's smoke around and the house is on fire. I ask them, "What would you do? Would you say, 'I'd rather stay in the house because I'm doing a really fun activity,' and then you get burnt and die? Or you would you run out of the house?" Almost all the people I've used this analogy on say that they would run out of the house. So then I compare their response there to the statement that they made earlier. I say, "That's like your life. The flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, because the amount of time you've got left on this Earth is getting shorter and shorter. So why would you say, 'I would rather keep on sinning for the remaining years, months, or even days that I have left', and then be sent to an eternity in horrible torment? When you can escape that eternal torment, by repenting and putting your trust that Jesus Christ paid for all your sins on the cross. You said you would run away from something that could kill your body - something that has temporal value, yet you would not do the same with something that has eternal value?"
Generally that analogy does bring it home for most people and they understand the foolishness of their decision to reject Christ. But it seemed that most of the young people I chatted to at the coast today were so hard hearted that they still preferred sin over Christ. Please pray that God will convert all the people that heard the gospel today or received a gospel tract, that God would draw them unto Himself and grant them repentance and faith.
To God be the glory!
Another one of the many public holidays that we as Australians seem to be enjoying of late. So to celebrate this day off we decided to head down the Gold Coast to do some preaching on the beach front.
It was good to be joined by Louise today, it was her first time on the Gold Coast with us. The day was interesting we had quite a big team come out, including many of the Brisbane team who came for a day of witnessing on the GC.
Ryan was the first preacher, he only spoke for about twenty minutes but did a good job. As he preached he engaged a few hecklers including one woman who climbed onto a concrete slab to hurl abuse. It is amazing how many people get angry at the preaching of the Gospel. It just goes to show that humanity loves sin more than it can ever love God.
As the preaching was happening hundreds of tracts were going out. It is always encouraging to see people sitting reading the gospel. On the Gold Coast we encounter people from the world over, so that one Gospel tract has the chance to travel the world and win many to Christ.
After Ryan preached I also had a go, as did a couple of other preachers. It was a good day. At the close of play a young lady came forward, she had listened to the preaching for about an hour and her words were these, "I want to give my life to Christ." With that she surrendered to the Saviour. Straight after my preaching I spoke to a young man named Tom who said he needed the Saviour and he wanted forgiveness of sin, but he couldn't give up his sin as he loved it too much. He just wanted Jesus as a ticket to heaven, but he didn't want Christ as Lord. While Tom was under deep conviction of sin, he was still away from the Kingdom of God. Please pray for him.
Today in Brisbane was the big celebration of the Buddha's Birthday. So we decided to go pay a visit at Southbank where there were thousands of people there worshipping and celebrating this idol. Upon arrival we began to hand out a few tracts, people were very receptive and even asked for more tracts. But that was about all the positive we experienced.
While I was waiting for Andre a man from the Buddhist association approached and told us to leave the parklands (which is public property), when I pointed out that we had legal right to use the park, just as much as he did he ran off to get the police. A female senior constable came over and order Andre and I to stop handing out tracts as it is "illegal". I asked her what law said I couldn't do it, but she didn't give an answer. The police officer once again told us it was illegal to hand them out and the Buddhist organizer was very happy until I said to him, "Mate, you guys are advertising yourself as multi-faith, now surely it wouldn't look good if the media finds out that you banned a bunch of Christian ministers..." The man quickly changed his tune, but the police officer wouldn't. She then told me to put my tracts away as it is against the law for me to carry them in my hand. At this point I had enough, so I encouraged her to arrest me for carrying tracts and asked what law exactly said that I couldn't hold gospel tracts in my hand. She didn't answer but walked away and called for backup.
Since we weren't under arrest Andre and I wrote down all the details of the officer, then walked away. Knowing full well that we were being watched by surveillance. Andre and I met up with Ryan and Ben, within seconds of meeting a security guard arrived and ordered us to leave the parklands. I refused, and asked on what grounds he could order us off public lands. He stated that we had been observed handing out tracts since police had told us to stop. At this point I knew he was lying, so I asked him to prove his case. He then claimed to have personally seen us do it. Once again I asked him to produce the evidence, since the whole parklands is under CCTV maybe he could produce a tape. After talking to him for a bit the security guards story changed, no longer had he observed me handing out tracts but rather he had seen someone else. This of course then gave him no grounds to expel me from the park. The Security guard decided it was best to call the police. While we were waiting for the Queensland Police to arrive the guard told us that it is illegal to carry gospel tracts in our hand, as it is the same as carrying an open bottle of alcohol or a gun. In all my time of evangelism I have never heard of the gospel being referred to in the same breath as carrying a loaded firearm in public.
The QPS arrived and they stated that we couldn't hand out tracts, but we didn't have to leave the park and also they said it was legal for us to carry tracts. We decided to avoid any more hassles that we would go position ourselves on the bridge to the entrance of the parklands. This walkway proved very fruitful as everyone going to the Buddha Birthday Festival walked past and got a gospel tract. By the end of the day thousands of tracts had been handed out.
To God Be the Glory!!
I was really tired before the preaching tonight, it is amazing how the Gold Coast can just sap it out of you. But, anyway. The night was set to be a good one. There is nothing more exciting than getting out there and making known the Gospel to those who have not heard of Jesus Christ.
Andre preached first tonight, it is always encouraging to see that he has grown considerably in the time I have known him. His preaching has improved in leaps and bounds, and also his loudness has grown.
Ryan preached straight after Andre. It was encouraging to hear the news that just before Ryan preached he had the privilege of leading a man to Christ. The guy was from Afghanistan but had grown up in Australia most of his life. After Ryan shared the gospel with him, he found it hard to accept that God could forgive his sins. So Ryan explained the gospel to him again, and it was as if it 'clicked' in his mind. Over the past few weeks we have noticed more and more fruit. This is not because we have changed our preaching or how we do evangelism, but rather it is because God is Sovereign and He will save His people in His timing.
Towards the end of the night I preached a short message, and pleaded with the lost to be reconciled unto God.
All in all it was a great night, many people got to hear the gospel.
It was another sunny day on the Gold Coast. There is something special about witnessing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Today we had a good size team on the Coast. Ryan and I were joined by the Barnard family. Today the majority of use were using the new Operation 513 comic tract. This tract worked really well on the Coast, no matter what age the person was the majority took the gospel message.
The we set up and began to preach, Ryan was the first preacher up and he did a great job, he spoke about the necessity of repentance for one to come to faith in Christ. It was a good message and a few people stopped to listen. During his time preaching a rather vocal group of females decided to open fire on him. He did a great job of using them to advance the gospel.
After Ryan had finished preaching, I began to preach. While I was speaking the same hecklers came back, and once again they decided to mock and make fun of the preaching, so I decided to go after them and use their mockery as a launch pad for the gospel. While I was dealing with the girls a man open fire on me and decided to hurl abuse. This continued till a non-Christian in the crowd turned and fired upon him. It is always good when the crowd shuts up the one causing the problems.
Once I had finished preaching Rick Barnard got up and preached about the reality of death and how we all need a Saviour. He did a good job considering he has only preached a few times. It is good to see him up there proclaiming the Word of God.