Heading into London we were encouraged to know that we would be blessed with a new face for the evening. James Paice, pastor and friend, came along to join us and it was wonderful to have him with us. We arrived at 8:30pm and immediately set about preparing ourselves for the evening.
After opening in prayer I stood up to preach. We were able to bring in a crowd quite quickly. It wasn't long before I drew in some hecklers, who of course voiced their views, many of which dealt with the idea that there is no God and therefore religion serves no purpose. As I was refuting their claims a couple of police officers approached me and asked if they could have a word. I was told that this was not the place to be preaching open air as the crowd that would form would ultimately be deemed an obstruction of a right of way. If you have been to Leicester Square you will know how wide the promenade is where we meet to minister. I explained this to the officer and also mentioned that we had been preaching in the same spot for over six months. However he remained resolute and it seemed that he was not going to change his mind. It was surprising then when he turned to me said that he would give me ten minutes to speak. This then changed to fifteen minutes, which then changed a third time when he said that both him and his partner would be moving on to another location and that I should be finished when they returned in half an hour. This seemed fine with me and so I stood back up on my stepladder and told the crowd that I had been told by the police that I could speak for thirty minutes.
In terms of what the officer told me with regards to the obstruction of a right of way, consider the following, taken from a document by a solicitor to the Open Air Mission in April 2007. Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 relates to permanent or semi-permanent obstruction of a right of way. It enables the Council to take action to assert and protect the rights of the p ublic to the use and enjoyment of any highway for which they are the Highway Authority. Section 137 of the Act governs the offence of obstruction of the Highway. A highway obstruction has been defined by the courts as ‘something which permanently or temporarily removes the whole or part of the highway from the public's use altogether'. As this would cover stopping to talk to a friend, no obstruction is committed where there is lawful authority or excuse. This is commonly understood to mean that the reasonableness of the obstruction must be taken into account. Under Section 149(1) of the Act a Council would need to identify that a nuisance is being caused, then require removal of the nuisance by notice, and can apply to the Magistrates Court for removal and disposal order if the person fails to remove the nuisance. Under Section 149(2), immediate action can be taken when there are reasonable grounds to consider a danger is being caused, subsequently the obstruction can be removed forthwith. However it must be clear that there is a clear danger in view
In light of this it would be appear that the officer who spoke with me was not acting in accordance fully within the boundaries of these Acts. While I have no problem with them telling us what we should be doing and what we shouldn't be doing, ultimately it is not their job to restrict us from doing something simply on the basis of what could ensue should we do it.
As I carried on preaching I got into a dialogue with a man named Frank. I reasoned with him concerning the existence of God, the fact that God is ultimately in charge, and that one day He is going to judge this world in righteousness. Some of his counter points centred on the notion that Christians themselves have proven to be hypocritical of their own beliefs in the things they have done. The issue of the Crusades came up. I asked him if he had heard the expression, "Tarred with the same brush." I could see that this caused him to stop and think for a second. The point I was trying to make was that you cannot refute the teaching of Jesus simply because men and women who claim to be His followers act in a way that is contrary to His teaching. Consider two men. One is your close friend and the other is his close friend (a man you do not know). If this man were to act unjustly towards you, would it be right for you to blame your close friend? Of course not. In the same way, to use the actions of so-called followers of Christ to dismiss Christ and His teaching is to act unjustly and unfairly towards Christ. The issue that needs to be addressed is whether or not a person is acting accordance with His teaching. Jesus made it clear that you will know a Christian by his or her fruit (Matthew 7:15-17).
After I finished preaching the team immediately got involved in speaking with people one-to-one. This is the great advantage of open air preaching. If, as a Christian, you are in a crowd when someone is preaching open air, all you need to do after the preaching has finished is to approach someone you noticed had been listening and ask, "Hi there, what are your thoughts on what you just heard?" Before you know it you are in a one-to-one conversation, giving you the opportunity to share the gospel. (See below. The tracts and Bibles we put out always get snapped up!)
I had the opportunity to get into a conversation with two young men, a man named Michael, and his friend Rom. The issue with both these young men was that they were not willing to accept that to have a creation you must have a Creator. They believe that we can attribute this world to an "accident." We spoke for quite some time; however its focus centred on the existence of God more than anything else. Both presented themselves as proud of heart and so I did not labour to open up the grace of Christ to them, as I felt it would result in them trampling underfoot the good news that it could save them. Still, earlier they had both taken in-depth gospel tracts from the table that we put out, so my prayer is that through what they heard the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts to bring to them acknowledge the God who made them and that they desperately need His forgiveness.
Moving on I noticed that Carl had been speaking with Frank, one of my hecklers I had engaged with when I had been preaching. It was very interesting in that he was willing to discuss and talk with us. As we carried on speaking to him we noticed that his tone changed and that he began to use language that showed he admitted there could indeed be a God. When he had first introduced himself in the crowd he mentioned that he was an agnostic. This led me to asking whether he knew everything. He admitted that he did not. I then asked him to imagine that he knew one percent of everything (which is still a great deal). Would it be possible in the ninety-nine percent he did not know for there to be ample evidence that God did in fact exist. This is why God does not believe in atheists. You cannot, by definition, be an atheist. To be an atheist you would need to have all knowledge. Someone who professes to be an atheist is in fact an agnostic. They simply do not know whether God exists (although I would maintain that they do know, they are simply restricted by their sinful nature to admit that they do). We had a good conversation with him and encouraged him to think through what we had shared with him. Below is a picture of Carl and Frank together.
It had been a good evening. The two police officers who had spoken to me earlier arrived not long before we left and so we were all greatly encouraged that the Lord had provided us with the opportunity to declare His gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We arrived at Gold Coast about 2:30 pm, and it was busy. A man came asking for a light, and seeing a Bible, asked if we were doorknockers. A beautiful day, and plenty of lost souls. As we prayed for the Lord to help us, a fight started, and people gathered to watch.
I spoke to a man from Brisbane who was enjoying his day. He claimed goodness, but upon being challenged, said God would forgive. After sharing the Gospel, he said that Christians he knew thought that they had a licence to sin, and didn't understand the need for repentance.
As he left two young men took his seat, and I offered them tracts. They said they were good, but one refused to take the good person test. His mate tried to talk him into it, but then took it himself. He was found guilty, and without hope, and seemed unaware of the good news
I spoke with a new born Christian lady, who said about the importance of the manifestations of the Spirit. When I challenged the lack of total healing by the power of God, she said that the people healed lacked faith or stopped believing, and were thus left in their state of illness or injury. When our Lord healed, He made people whole. When challenged about evangelizing in the street, she said it wasn't her thing. This attitude has led to the famine in our land, not for bread or water, but hearing the word of the Lord. If we appreciate our salvation, we must surely want to tell others of the grace of God.
I spoke with two catholic men who fled their country in fear for their lives. Claimed repentance, and faith in Christ. They were happy to see us preaching, and have been disappointed by the general apathy of people in our country towards God.
Driving into Brisbane city, I could not fail to notice the long line of dark storm clouds coming in from the west. Every now and then the dark line of clouds would be illuminated with flashes of lighting. This storm front was a blessing, as it would keep the crowd numbers down tonight. Which was good for us, as we only had a small team out in the Queen street mall.
As I arrived in the mall the heavens opened up and the rain began to fall, so I quickly made my way across to King George Square to meet up with the other members of the team. Once at the square we had a problem as there wasn’t anywhere to take shelter from the rain, so eventually we made our way to the other side of city hall, and there we used a bus shelter to give us some cover from the rain.
Tonight we only had two preachers, Andrew Hsu and myself. Both of us weren’t really excited about preaching the whole night, so we split up the shifts. While we were setting up for the night a group of young ladies came up to me, and asked if I would be preaching tonight, as they had come to listen. I replied I would be preaching later, but not just now. The young ladies stayed around, and as soon as Andrew got up to preach they came in to listen.
While Andrew was explaining the gospel to them, I was locked in conversation with the boyfriends of these young ladies. Most of them were rather abusive of the gospel, but one young man was paying real close attention, and kept asking about how he could be forgiven. This young man listened to every word, and at the end he took a gospel of John, and an in-depth tract. The interesting thing is the fact that during the conversation, his friends kept trying to drag him away with the enticement of going to a strip club. However, this young man refused and was more interested to hear of sins forgiven.
During the time Andrew preached there were a small number of people stopping to listen. However, there were no hecklers, and as you watched the people who listened you could see that they were hanging on every word. It was a really good gospel sermon, no one objected, people just stood in silence and listened. After Andrew finished preaching we handed out some in-depth tracts, and the vast majority of those listening took this tract. Please pray that God would save these people.
After Andrew finished preaching, I prepared to get up and start to preach. Tonight was I was going to talk about “Preparing for Eternity”. As before with Andrew people stopped but no one heckled, in fact they just stood and listened to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However, half way through my message when I was talking about how our sin has separated us from God, a police wagon drove into the middle of the crowd, and the officers inside rolled down the windows. I was expecting the officer to say something immediately, but they didn’t. They just sat there for a few minutes listening, then a young constable told me to step down and come to the window. I did this, and at the same time told Andrew to start preaching, the police officer said “NO!” To Andrew getting up, so I went over to the police wagon to hear what the officer had to say. The young constable said to me “What you are doing is disorderly conduct! People can hear you throughout the mall, you must stop this!” I refused stating that Brisbane City had given us a permit to preach, and that it was a local law issue, which legally is out of his jurisdiction. The constable then stated that if I kept on doing it, I would be arrested for disorderly conduct. So, I looked at the constable and said, “I have been preaching here for three years, and now you want to arrest me for this? Then constable you had better get you hand cuffs out as I am not stopping!” The constable looked a little stunned, and pointed out that he could arrest me, once again I said to him, “well, you had better arrest me then.” The officer seemed to be a bit unsure about what to do, and stated that he wasn’t against preaching, just didn’t want it to be loud so people could hear it. So I told him that I would be a little bit quieter, but not much. At this they drove away and left me to the preaching.
After this I finished preaching then Andrew started again. By now we had hecklers and a good size crowd had gathered. After awhile, Hsusy tagged me and I began to deal with more hecklers, including the fame Alex the Agnostic.
Overall it was a good night, and many people got to hear of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Full report with pictures: http://www.operation513.com
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Report by Dave Strachan, Photos / Edited by Josh Mitchell
Josh Mitchell, Snowy and I had the pleasure of driving from Brisbane down to Surfers Paradise together. We picked up Snowy on the way. This helps save on fuel...and having more company is a bonus as well. We arrived at Surfers in a little over an hour. Parking was rather difficult today, as the beach seemed to be the place where everyone wanted to be. It's starting to get really warm now that summer is fast approaching. As we walked along the boardwalk, looking out along the beach we could see people everywhere.
We soon arrived at the Cavill Avenue beachfront. We met Tim and some of his friends from Helensvale Baptist there and we prayed with them. I put on heaps of sunscreen - I do prefer coming home coloured white rather than red. I then set up my camera and tripod. Josh was first to get up and preach. He then tagged Snowy up to preach and swapped with me to man the Camera himself so that I could preach when Snowy tagged me up. This was my third time ever preaching. Once again I read Romans 1:16-5:21. I think that the three of us had two turns each to preach.
It appeared that Snowy had two big fans when he was preaching. Two young ladies were interacting with him for quite a while. Snowy went through some of the ten commandments with them, but they did not appear to show any shame over their sin, but rather, they gloried in it. They thanked us and left, saying how they were going to go and "lust some guys".
Given that Josh wasn't feeling very well, it was a gracious gift from God that Josh was given the ability to preach his heart out really well for a long time to finish off. Josh went through the ten commandments with two or three very young women. They appeared to have gotten really embarrassed when Josh asked them if they had kept the commandment not to commit adultery and then told them how Jesus raised the bar of sexual purity such that to look at a person with lust makes you as guilty in God's eyes as having had sex with someone who is not your spouse (Matthew 5:28). They giggled together for a bit and then left rather quickly.
For the last 10 minutes or so that Josh was preaching, some professing Muslims started making quite a scene. They were laughing, yelling out, and making fun of Josh seemingly every way they could. While, over and over, they kept demanding that Josh show them respect, ironically they showed extreme disrespect to Josh. Some of the Australians watching on in the crowd were utterly appalled at their behavior. Josh's patience and love in trying to engage them with the truth was amazing. He also got to preach the Gospel to quite a number of people who had come to watch what was going on. After Josh had finished preaching we handed out Gospel tracts to everyone who was there. Josh talked some more with the Muslims who became increasingly hostile. When one of them struck Josh's book out of his hand, he called Snowy and myself saying that it was time to leave - so we left together.
Later that night I was hanging out with some of my housemates and we reflected briefly on the topic of death. Lachlan mentioned that when a Christian who we know dies we often mourn - but also rest in the fact that they have a certain hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was then very sobering, especially for myself, to consider those who die and are not Christians, those who do not believe in Jesus and follow Him and live for His cause. According to God's Word, they will perish (John 3:16) in eternal hell forever.
John Piper Writes...
'The Dreadful, Terrifying Portrait of Hell in Scripture
It is a profound and dreadful reality. To speak of it lightly, or not to speak of it at all, or to speak of it in a way that changes suffering into feeling nothing, simply proves that we do not grasp its horror. I know of no one who has overstated the terrors of hell. We can scarcely surpass the horrid images Jesus used. "Weeping and gnashing of teeth,"4 "their worm shall not die" (Mark 9:48); "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:43); "eternal fire" (Matthew 25:41); "the hell of fire" (Matthew 18:9); "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46); "anguish in the flame" (Luke 16:24). The point of all these is that we are meant to shudder. We are meant to tremble and feel dread. We are meant to recoil from the reality. Not by denying it but by fleeing from it into the arms of Jesus, who died to save us from it.
Revelation 14:11 is probably the most graphic New Testament statement of the eternal suffering of the unrepentant. "The smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night." Torment forever and ever. The endless suffering of unrepentant sinners is a reality taught in Scripture'
One of the main reasons that I go out each week is to Glorify God by faithfully echoing Jesus' own warnings about hell, and urging people to put their trust and hope in Jesus and cry out to Him alone for mercy, that they may escape God's wrath and gain eternal life both with and through our great Savior, Jesus Christ, who was raised mightily from the dead (Acts 2:24), who ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51-53) and whose 'throne... is forever and ever'(Hebrews 1:8).
Having spent time in prayer, Snowy, Hemelaar and myself headed over to begin preaching. It was a beautiful afternoon to be granted the opportunity to share God's offer of salvation to perishing men and women.
I have been quite sick with a bronchitis type cough of late, so I was quite pleased to have Ryan and Snowy with me, to preach in my place.
It was a bit windy today, however Ryan did a really good job of preaching anyway. Quite a few people stopped to listen. As Ryan was debating a young British fellow, his friend tried to distract him, so I offered him a comic gospel tract, "This was your life". He began asking questions, about what we were doing, and so I told him. Justin has had a religious background, but didn't seem to understand the gospel very well. I did my best to explain it to him, and he was very appreciative. He left church at a young age, but was quite open to what we spoke about. He let me take a photo of him, so please pray for this young man, that God uses what he has heard and seen to the end he might come to Christ for God's glory.
Ryan having done a wonderful job doing the initial ground breaking work in preaching, handed over to Snowy who was backup preacher today. Snowy began to preach, a little quietly and less confidently at first, but then as people began to engage him, his speech began to flow really well. It was actually quite interesting watching how the Holy Spirit was using Snowy to share the gospel and answer questions with so many people.
Almost as soon as Snowy started, someone wanted to talk to him, but after a short period of time, all the friends of this heckler tried to get him to leave. He left, but Snowy asked the passersby if anyone professed personal goodness. One more popped up and Snow was off again. He was quite gentle in the way he shared with people, which is important for sharing the gospel in a family environment, but he didn't hold back on the truth, which most Aussies appreciate!
In almost no time, the young people gathered to listen began to ask lots of foolish questions. Snow did a fairly good job of defending the biblical worldview.
One guy even jumped up behind Snow, to try to make a fool of him, but it only gave a reason for more people to stop and listen to the dialogues being had!
Ryan jumped up and continued to answer the questions. Big crowds started to build up as answers were given, and people were drawn by God to listen. Thankfully we didn't need to stop for safety reasons, as those gathered sensibly left a large passage for other pedestrians to get from one side of the beach entrance to the other.
Ryan did a good job presenting the biblical worldview, refuting dodgy claims against the gospel. Like Snowy, he kept returning the conversations back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which made me really proud of them.
At one point, the some of the young hecklers from Snowy's crowd who remained to hear Ryan, asked for a bible to look up a passage. I gave them mine, however a man told me to take it back from them, since they kept mocking God, and were not being serious about Jesus. I did take it back, but you can see them hear on the left reading it. May God use what their optical senses saw, to help them come before His presence tonight.
After a while we stepped down and handed out gospel tracts one 2 one, and the fella's began witnessing. I came across two chaps called John and Caesar. Caesar the fellow on the right believed in heaven and hell, but his friend was quite opposed to the idea. However he tried to argue that Gandhi would be in heaven, because he accepted Jesus as a great teacher, and did good works like attempting to lift social oppression against people.
Clearly it was an argument for self-righteous access to heaven, so we looked at Gandhi as a sinner, and the lads as sinners, and that no sinner can get to heaven by their merits, deserving justice. The lads were really nice in their dialogue with me, though John kept defending his good works until finally conceding all men deserve hell. Please pray for John and Caesar, that God would grant them repentance and faith as he sees fit.
Lots of tracts went out, and it was a great opportunity for the gospel. You must come and help us when you can, we would love to have your help!
For Jesus name,
PS. Thanks to God for Ryan and Snow, that promoted God's name today!
Due to some rather miserable weather we were restricted that evening, although the rain did subside long enough for us to minister the gospel. Both Carl and I preached open air. Carl is still growing as an open air preaching and will be preaching far more regularly from now on. During my preach I did manage to engage with some young people. There were no lengthy discussions, although I did spark the interest of a chap named Sam. He took a tract when he left and so it's my prayer that he has read it and kept it.
I was able to speak with a Muslim gentleman from America for a good twenty minutes or so. He did listen to what I had to say although it was clear that his mind was made up concerning his religion. Still, he took a tract. May the Lord grant him repentance and faith.
God is extra gracious to us sometimes and gives us a taste of what He is doing in the lives of those we witness to. I am confident that much of the time He is doing far more than we could imagine, let alone what we see and hear. This week we had many encouragements and blessings as we proclaimed the gospel in Sheffield.
Anna and I went into town and there met up with Beck and Sucraj from Wycliffe our church in Sheffield. We shared in prayer together before beginning and while we were praying that God would move the hearts of people Mekial arrived to talk. We finished praying and while Beck and Anna went to handing out tracts I spoke to Mekial.
Mekial and I talked primarily about how he was spiritually and it seems he had hit on something that makes sense to him. He has been watching Way of The Master on television and was particularly inspired by Ray Comfort's message "Hell's Best Kept Secret". This has fired his enthusiasm for the things of God and he is reading the bible again and praying. With these two good things in place I urged him to not neglect going to church and he promised me he would come on sunday (and he did). We are glad to see that God has not left this young man alone but rather is still chasing him down. I often think of the poem "The Hound of Heaven" when I think on Mekial's life, we're cheering on the hound!
We handed out tracts for a period and many people taking tracts though not many wanting to interupt their shopping with thoughts of eternity. As there was a rap group that had taken over our normal position in front of Marks and Spencers I set up to preach further up Fargate. I began with the fancy that I had as a child, to be an astronaught and free of gravity. If the human body remains in space for too long though it becomes weak and that person will eventually die. Likewise I pointed to the freedom that most people want from moral obligation and the desire to do it their own way. The parallel is frighteningly close, free of moral law people become progressively weaker in conscience until it finally dies. The major difference is that the sinful life and evil deeds of those free from moral law end not in a physical death but rather in an eternal death in the punishment of hell.
During this some young people stopped to listen and I engaged them on the point of morals and asked if they were good or bad. Laura was happy to have her goodness tested and she and her friends listened as I spoke to them about the law of God and the gospel. Despite protesting briefly that God would forgive her sin anyway, Laura saw that justice must be done and that someone would have to pay the price. We spoke about the great news of Jesus' work on behalf of sinners, afterwards she and her friends took tracts and three of them bibles also.
Shortly after this exchange Melissa stopped and we spoke along similar lines. She had begun to reform her life and wanted to be right with God on those terms, hoping the change of lifestyle would be enough to please Him. I urged her to not reform only but to also to cling to Christ Jesus as her only hope and for that reason reform her ways. I urged her also to pray, read God's word and also find a good biblical church to attend. She also took a bible and a tract and left smiling and thanking us for speaking with her.
Afterwards I noticed that Sucraj was mid conversation with a young man, they had spoken throughout the preaching and he was open to the gospel. They exchanged details and hopefully there will be further fruit as Sucraj continues to keep up with him.
We handed out tracts for a short period longer and then gathered to give glory to God for the many glorious things we had seen Him doing today.
Praise His Name and Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 13 September 2008
After having a crazy week at work (a customer tried to stab with a bayonet), I was looking forward to the ‘calm' of going out to the streets of Brisbane city and preaching the gospel.
We arrived as usual at 7:30pm, and we were met with some brothers from way up north, who had come down to spend the night witnessing in Brisbane, then we were joined by Andrew Walkington from Sydney, and later Max also from New South Wales. It is always good to have visitors with us, as it gives us a chance to build each other up in the most holy faith.
After spending some time in prayer and fellowship we went to our normal spot in the Queen Street Mall, and began to set up for the preaching. I thought it would be good to get Andrew Walkington to have a preach first, which is something he said he was a bit nervous about as he hadn't done it for some time. But, he got up there with white bible in hand, and began to expound on the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was fairly quiet while he preached, and there we were very few people who actually stopped to listen. But, that doesn't matter, all that matters is that the gospel went forth.
After Walko had finished preaching, Andre got up and began to preach about how scientists tried to re-create the big bang, an then he swung it around to show that a Supreme Being is needed to cause everything. This then led into the gospel, showing how we have all sinned against God, and how we have all fallen, yet God is merciful towards humanity is that Christ died for us, and if we would repent and trust in Christ we would be forgiven!
Andre got a few hecklers open fire on him, and he did a fairly decent job dealing with some of the ludicrous statements that people made. Andre has come along way in the few months he has been with us, his preaching and apologetics have grown in leaps and bounds. And I freely confess that he is a major blessing to the Brisbane Operation 513 team.
After Andre finished preaching, I stood up and began by speaking about the fear people had experienced through the week, and how many people believed that due to a science experiment the world was going to end. From there I swung into the fact that each day, the world ends for 155 000 people, and how as the Bible says:
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.... And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." - James 4:13-14 & Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)
From there I started to explain the reason we die is because we have all sinned against God, and it was at this point a heckler opened fire upon me, this man walked past screaming abuse, to which I stopped him, and asked what it was that he didn't like. The man simply replied "You are forcing it down people's throats!" This objection wasn't valid, so I asked him how exactly it was that I was forcing people to stand and listen to the gospel? His reply was "you just are!"
So, I asked him a question, "Sir, Are you a Christian?" To which his reply was "Yes!" This led into a discussion about the Bible, he said he believed it, but he didn't like the part that commands all Christians to go into the world and preach, he thought that preaching was very unloving. This pushed all my buttons, so I asked him straight. "Do you believe in hell?" He said that he did, but he didn't talk about it, so I slammed him on being the unloving one, as he was prepared to sit by and let millions of people walk right into hell, because he wasn't loving enough to tell them that Jesus Christ will forgive them if they repent.
At this the man went off, he started screaming abuse and swearing at me, so I called him out on the fruit he was showing, This then sent him into another tirade of cursing. He would yell "I am a ^$# Christian, you $#!% *&^%!" This use of colourful language clearly showed this man was not repentant, so I quizzed him on what is the gospel, to which he replied "Love people and follow the path of love!" So, I pointed out that by his own words he is condemned as right now he wasn't being very loving, I also pointed out that if he believed that, then the Bible makes it clear he is not a Christian, but rather a pretender.
The man started to scream and hurl abuse, but before I could engage him any more, Alex the Agnostic entered into the scene, this time yelling "That's your interpretation!" It is interesting, Alex always reveals his hand, he isn't opposed to the false gospel as presented by the man abusing me, but he is against the true gospel as presented from the Bible. This reveals something, Alex likes the watered down message that says, everything, and everyone will be sweet. But the moment Alex hears that he has sinned against God, and that God will judge him, he goes off. But, Alex gets even more fired up when you point out to him that Jesus Christ died for sinners.
It should come as no surprise to us that Alex loves the soft message, and opposes the true message, as the Bible says:
"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." - John 3:19-20 (ESV)
Alex is just like every other sinner in the world, they love their sin, and they love darkness. But Christ Jesus can and will forgive them if they repent!
The rest of the night was spent preaching and dealing with rowdy hecklers, one of which tried to head butt me in the groin, and then steal my tracts. But through it all the gospel got preached.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Full report with pictures: http://www.operation513.com
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Also check out the latest Operation 513 - "The Appointed Time" broadcast: http://www.operation513.com/theappointedtime.php
This Saturday you could see the winter was coming to Sheffield in earnest, the clouds were rolling in and the wind was cold as it blew through the streets. As I was alone to begin the day I prayed to our Lord that He would save some who heard and give me strength and bring others to work with me.
Paddy and I walked into Fargate and began our day's work with handing out tracts. This we continued with for some time and a steady stream of people filed past and many took tracts. As I was looking to continue after a short pause speaking with a city counsel ambassador but two people from Wicliffe Church in Sheffield arrived to work with me.
We continued to tract for a short period and then I stood and preached. One thing I have noticed again and again in Sheffield is the lack of people who are willing to stop and heckle. Part of this is to do with the place we witness, fargate is a thorough-fare and as such few will stop. The otherside to the issue is many in this country are so hard of heart that even the most empassioned pleas or sound reasoning will have little effect on them. One sight warms my heart though, people will often stop in doors to shops or just out of line of sight and listen to what is said, also there are many of the store workers who regularly come out to hear the gospel preached.
Patrisha another friend was also present when I began to preach and was able to give out many tracts while I spoke and afterwards. After finishing I encouraged those who had kindly joined me and we prayed together before heading off.
Praise God for the answers to prayer He brings!
Saturday, 6 September, 2008
The first week of spring had arrived, but you couldn't have told it based on how cold it was in the Queen Street Mall. As we arrived we were hit by a icy blast of wind, and this maintained throughout the night.
One thing that immediately stood out to our attention was the fact, that the city was near on deserted, which was a major swing from the week previous, when there was hardly space to walk up t he mall.
As normal we spent some time i n prayer, and reading the Bible as a team in King George Square, before we started the night of ministry. We were a little disappointed as the week previous it was reported to us that Alex the agnostic would not be able to attend due to ‘other' commitments. So we prayed that God would raise up other people who would be interested in talking about the things of God.
Once 9pm rolled around we made our way into the mall, and began to set up. It was decided that Andre would be the first preacher for the night. While we were setting up we noticed a major problem (in a good way), and that is we are just about out of Bibles for the Bible table. This is a major blessing, as it means that hundreds of Bibles have been handed out over a period of months. It is such a blessing seeing people walk away with the Word of God in their hands. Hopefully, by reading it God will grant them eternal life.
Andre got up first and began to expound on the beauty of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is good watching Andre preach, as he has come along way over the past few months. His voice is developing so he is becoming a louder preacher, and also he is getting much better at engaging with hecklers.
The man that heckled Andre was a man that had been present for the past few weeks, I have spoken to him for some time a few weeks back. While he is a nice enough man, and believes in the Bible, his theology has been twisted and warped by the cults. Much of what he says is common with the teachings of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). While Andre was dealing with this man, I looked up and saw that our "Preacher Seeking Missile" (Alex the Agnostic) was inbound, this was a bit of a surprise considering we believed he wasn't going to be there tonight.
Based on how drunk Alex was, I presume he didn't expect to be there either, but as he came up he said something about his apprentice not being able to make it. This I found rather cool, as if the local agnostic has to have an apprentice in order to take on the Christians, then it shows that we are doing our job right. Also, Alex is more than welcome to bring as many people as he wants out onto the streets, as that means we get to preach the gospel all the more.
Alex began by talking to Andrew and I, by saying "I could unleash on you, and destroy your beliefs!" To which both Hsusy and I replied that he could go ahead and try, but Christianity will never be destroyed. It was then that he "unleashed" and began to make his argument for why Christianity was wrong. His whole argument was built on the fact that he mis-understood Christianity. For he stated that we don't need Jesus since Christ didn't give us any new moral teaching except that which was already common to human thought. We countered by pointing out that Christ is eternal, that He is God in flesh, and all good morality flows from God. This caused Alex to go into a rant about Jesus being God.
By now Ralph was up preaching, and while he was preaching a man wearing a "Queen" T-shirt approached me, and stated that us Christians were wrong as there was no God, and that was a scientific fact. Since, I am interested in science I asked, what exactly in science proved that God did not exist. His answer was "We can't find him in the universe!" This led me into explaining how God created everything, so He is a being outside of the confines of the universe. The man then asked for "material evidence for this immaterial God" to which I pointed out that you cannot provide material evidence for something that is immaterial. The man became a bit antsy, and started to say "Ha! You Christians can't answer!" This was a very stupid argument that he was making, as I had just answered, the problem was he didn't like the answer. So after he bragged about winning for a few seconds, he then went and started to talk to some of the other guys.
At this stage of the night Alex was raging drunk, and his arguments were even weaker than when he is sober. This was evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of what he said centred around hurling drunken abuse at the preachers. Tonight was interesting watching Alex as in one breath he says "You can have you beliefs, that's fine!" Then in the next breath he is trying to destroy our beliefs. Then he would say something like "your belief is true for you." Then start ranting about how wrong we were.
I think the only reason Alex comes back week in and week out, is because he knows that there is a God, and he knows that He must give an account to Him one day for all his sins. But, because Alex loves his sins, he will keep trying to suppress the truth.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Romans 1:18-21 (ESV)
The rest of the night was spent with Andrew Hsu preaching, and then finally we had David Strachan get up and for the first time ever he shared Scripture in public. Something which Alex loved, and tried to stop. But, when Alex was challenged by both myself, and Ralph to discuss his objections he refused to dialogue, he only wanted to stop Dave reading the Bible.
It was a good but quiet night!
Soli Deo Gloria!