I was excited about tonight and as I was preparing for to leave home the idea of being able to stand and preach once again the glories of Christ was really awesome. What privilege we have as fallen human beings to stand and give testimony about our great and merciful God who saved us not because of anything we have done, but rather He saved us by His grace alone, so that He may get all the praise! It is a tremendous honour for any Christian then to stand and declare the good news of salvation to anyone who would listen. And to also plead with them, to look unto Jesus Christ and be saved.
When Andre, Tamara, and I arrived in Brisbane, the first thing we noticed was the fact that the car park was full! Each week for the past few months I have been able to park in the same car park, yet tonight I had to park elsewhere, this of course was a good indication of how busy the night was going to be.
We made our way over to King George Square, and on the way we ran into a good friend of ours who had just returned from a few weeks away on mission trip. Warren has been a real blessing to the team in the whole time he has been coming out with us. And it good to be able to call him a brother and also a friend.
Before too long we were joined by some other team members, and after a bit of a chat about theology, we started to pray for the evening, we prayed that God would be gracious to us, and that He would draw a crowd in for His Glory. We also prayed that He would Sovereignly draw His elect unto Himself.
After this time of prayer, we all opened our Bibles and read the Scripture together. Then once we had finished, we were able to spend some good time in fellowship. And once again discuss theological issues. I have heard other ministry leaders say that one should not talk about theology. I think that as Christians it is good for us to encourage each and other and also challenge each other over different theological thoughts. Of course there is a time and place to discuss such things, and when witnessing that is a time not to talk theology, but when we are fellowshipping together our conversation should be God focused, so it is in those times that we should be talking about the Study of God (theology).
At 9pm, we were in our normal spot in the Queen Street Mall, and we began to set up for the night. As per usual we set up the Bible table, which is a great place to have one to ones, and also to engage in apologetics. Since this table has been set up we have been able to distribute 100's Bibles. This is an awesome privilege, since we have been given the chance to put the very word of God into the hands of people who do not know Him. While it is probably the most expensive part of our weekly outreach, I think it is by far one of the most beneficially to the gospel ministry.
Alistair was the first preacher we had tonight, he has come along way in his preaching. He used to just stand up there and preach for a few minutes then stand down. But now he is preaching for longer periods of time, and he is preaching with a passion. Something I noticed with Ali's preaching is the fact that it is saturated with the Word of God, what I mean is, when he opens his mouth to preach or answers a question he does so with Scripture. This of course is the best way to open air preach, or for that matter, preach in general. As our words really mean nothing, but it is the Word of God that will not return void.
Ali's preached for near on forty minutes, and during that time he was able to engage a few hecklers with the gospel. I must say it is always encouraging to see God raising up more and more open air preachers with the passion to take the gospel to where the lost are.
Just after Ali finished preaching, a drunk man came up and decided to tell us how much God loves him, and how much God hates us. This man was offended and angered at the fact that there were Christians in the mall preaching about Jesus. Even though this man claimed to love Jesus. I tried to deal with this man, but he was too drunk to even have a decent conversation with.
As the drunk man stumbled off up the mall another man appeared to take his place. This man was carrying a Bible, and very quickly declared himself to be a **** evangelist. One didn't need to have the gift of discernment to quickly realise that something was not right.
This man walked up right next to me and said "I've save 200 people from hell!" Then he paused and waited for me to respond. I presume he wanted me to congratlate him on all the people he had saved, yet I couldn't do that. My response was "You didn't save anyone from hell. If they got saved then it was by God's own election." The man quickly replied, "Yeah, I know that but I saved them" then he continued "What has God ever done for me? I hate Him, He does nothing for me!" This is an odd thing for an "evangelist" to say, so I pointed out to him that the very fact that he currently lives, and currently breaths is a sign that God is doing something for him. God doesn't have to give him life, yet it is by an act of kindness that God allows him to live. The man replied rather angrily "If God cared for me, he would give me a job, give me a home, and give me lots of money!"
I pointed out to the man that no where in Scripture does God promise us any of those things. But the man just kept rambling on about prosperity. This man showed clearly the curse that comes from that charlatans on TV that preach "health and wealth" those TV "prosperity pimps" are not ministers of the gospel, but rather they are servants of their own wallet. They cause people to curse God because of their antics, and they are saving up God's holy wrath that will be revealed against them on the day of judgement! (2 Peter 2:3)
The angry and bitter man (who has ever right to be bitter as he was sold a lie) left yelling his hatred for God. So I began to prepare to preach. My opening for the night was going to be on "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" As I started in on this topic a few people began to gather in and listen, and as I went through an analogy illustrating how in life bad things do happen, I swung to Luke 13 and explained how when Jesus walked on earth He got asked some similar questions.
I pointed out to the people that had stopped to listen that Jesus answered the people by saying "No, unless you repent you also will perish!" As I expounded on that I showed the crowd that the real question is not "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people" but rather "Why would a good God allow bad people to live?" This of course then spring boarded into talking about the total depravity of man, and how apart from God's grace we cannot ever be saved.
God showed His favour towards us by bring back the drunk man from before. The man began to heckle, God used this man's heckling to draw a large crowd in for His glory. The man began to really fire up and the louder he got the bigger the crowd got. Some of the members of the team commented that this was either the biggest crowd we have ever had or the second biggest. I am not sure how big it was, as my focus was on dealing with hecklers and preaching the gospel.
More hecklers began to enter into the discussion, and some of them had genuine and good questions but others were just plain silly. I would say that the majority of the time was spent on the gospel, with very little time being spent on apologetics. We spoke in depth about how bad things happen in this world, and how this is a result of sin. Then we spoke about how society as a whole is sinful, but we must always remember that society is made up of individuals who are sinful.
About half way through I could feel my voice starting to go, this was from the fact that I still hadn't fully gotten over being sick. Then a man came running into the middle of the crowd and through a tract that was on fire in front of me. The crowd erupted in cheers as the gospel burned. This man later on professed to be an atheist, and wanted me to answer the question "Does God exist." I tried to engage him in apologetics but he wasn't interested. He was more interested in performing to the crowd. But at least he stayed, and got to hear the gospel a few more times.
One young bloke decided to be a bit of a clown, so he jumped up next to me and began to mock me while I preached. He turned and passed wind into my face while preaching. The crowd took great delight in this, but I kept on with the gospel. After preaching open air for a few years it takes a bit to really annoy me. This young bloke seemed to think that it was his job to annoy me for the night. The problem is he failed rather miserably.
The next trick this bloke did was to get a handful of ice and pour it down my shirt. Now this being the middle of winter, and being cold already didn't really do much to make me feel good. But I ignored his ice antics and kept on preaching. He decided then that it would be funny to throw stuff at me while I preached. This is not an uncommon thing, so once again I ignored him.
But this young bloke had strong willpower and endurance. He then decided to climb into the garden behind me and proceed to shower me in bark. This once again I ignored, and kept on preaching that Christ Jesus can forgive us of any sins we have committed.
The young bloke seemed to calm down for a short while (maybe to think of new ideas), and during that calm in the storm I was able to freely preach the gospel, and also to answer questions from the crowd.
As it neared the hour mark of the preaching, I knew my voice didn't have much left in it, so I was preparing to tag Ryan in, when our young clown decided to do one more show. This time the man let out a loud yell of "I love you!" then came running towards me at a full pace arms spread wide. Then in for the hug he came. The problem is it wasn't your usual ‘drunken' hug, but rather it was a full on tight embrace. This man was so close to me while he hugged me that I felt like he was attached to me. He then started to talk about how much he liked to hug me, and how much he liked to smell me. This led him to start smelling me while I was preaching. The crowd seemed to enjoy all this. I was able to pry him off me and he said he was leaving. He took a few steps and then turned yelling "I cannot be separated from my love!" Once again he became attached to me. Alex (our regular agnostic heckler) then came over and tried to get the man off me by saying "Let's make them look silly by our arguments, and not by our actions." I really appreciate what Alex tried to do, but the man refused to listen. And once again I was engulfed by his full embrace.
At one point I was able to pry him off my left side only to get him to let go and hug me from my right side. I then called in a couple of the team members to come and get him off me. Snowy came across and was able to wrestle him off me, but the man quickly came running back again. So Snowy grabbed him once more, but this time the man didn't let go of me, so as Snowy pulled, I was pulled off the pulpit. Quickly I was able to get back up and continue to preach.
The young man then came and jumped up on the pulpit with me and once again began to hug me. This time he decided to act like a dog and try to have sex with my leg. Snowy once again pulled him off, and again pulled me down. Once again I was able to jump back up and preach on.
Some of the team members by now had headed down to the police station in order to get some police to come and assist. And they later told me they could see everything that was happening as the police were watching the situation on a TV in the station (probably having a good laugh!). Once the young clown heard that the police were coming he hugged me once more, said he loved me then left up the mall at a very quick pace.
I looked down the mall and could see two police officers approaching, so I handed a large wad of in-depth tracts to Ben and told him to hand them out to all in the crowd. A large number of the crowd took tracts, and the reason I got him to do that was because I knew that once the police arrived the crowd would leave. This is what happened, so I quickly wrapped up the open air. But before I could stand down Alex decided it was time for his weekly heckle. Since my voice was nearly gone, I told him to wait as Ryan would be next, then I turned to the crowd and told them that up next was the debate "Does God Exist?" Quite a number of the crowd stayed as Ryan got up to engage in debate with Alex.
As soon as I got down I was surrounded by a few Christians who were encouraged about seeing the gospel preached in public. This by far is one of the most encouraging things for me as a gospel preacher. I don't want to just preach so that the lost get saved, but I want to be able to encourage other Christians to go do the work of an evangelist.
The rest of the night for me was spent dealing with Christians, some who loved open air, and others who thought we should be doing "healings, signs and wonders".
Ryan preached for the rest of the night, and many one to ones followed. God truly was gracious in allowing His gospel to go forth!
Soli Deo Gloria!
I made it to Redcliffe shortly after 2pm and met up with Warren. After waiting for a brief time for any others we spent a few moments in prayer then made our way out onto the pier. Warren and I handed out our tracts and were continuing to do so when we noticed the Whale watching boat making its way in. Being low on tracts and only having the two of us I was thinking to myself ... 'we're not going to get as many of these people as we would have liked to. Though praise the Lord that Tim turned up just prior to the boat coming in.
We made the decision to hand our tracts out further down the bridge this week to avoid people dumping them in the bin immediately after having received them. We managed to hand out quite a few tracts which was great. After the 'rush' we decided to make our way up the beachfront and over to the Redcliffe lagoon. We handed out a few tracts on the way down and back but unfortunately the one to ones were scarce this week and we didn't have any good conversations with people. Nevertheless, the Word of God was preached to the many people that received the tracts and we pray the Lord will use this work for His glory and to draw these people unto himself.
After spending a little time at the end of the bridge and continuing to hand out the tracts we decided to call it a day and made our ways home.
Report by Chris Addison
Today was a beautiful Queensland afternoon, but unfortunately a terrible feeling of lethargy had crept over me. I couldn't shake it much, and was further perplexed to find that our normal preaching spot was occupied by persons for almost the entire time we were present. Not wishing to lose opportunities to glorify my Lord Jesus, I made a decision for our small gathering to break into one2one's.
The Lord gave me two young ladies, who both immediately professed personal goodness. As I pressed in with the ten commandments, to show them how sinful they were, you could see the haze was lifting and felt discomfort in the presense of God's commandments. I truly believe men will be so entirely uncomfortable when they are delivered into the holy presence of God, on judgment day. The most ardent, intellectual athiest, will shake at the knees, and desire in every part of his being to be immediately absent, from the presence of the loving Lord who made them.
After God allowed me to share His gospel, with these two, I was able to speak with some young french men, who seemed to make very quick use of their lack of english to escape the test of God's law. However some took tracts in english, and I pray God will grant them understanding of His truth, and a repentant heart with which to believe in Jesus!
God also let me speak to a man, who has been emotionally, and tyranically opposed to the gospel proclamation over the last two and a bit years we have been preaching the gospel in this location. We had a lovely conversation, and we exchanged personal contact details. Please pray God helps him understand his need of Christ, that he might use the rest of his days enjoying and proclaiming the goodness of God in sincerity!
With time now passed, we quickly gathered our things and headed back to the car. On the way out, a very old Arabic women, accepted a gospel tract written in her own tongue. Thank God for the Arabic Chick tract, "This was your life". Please pray God converts her, and uses her to win her fellows in her own country!
Friend's I know for certainty that God's, program of gospel proclamation, conversion of His people, and progressive sanctification of His converts, is still marching on.
The question is, what part are you going to play, and working with Him down here on earth..
For Jesus name,
Gold Coast - Team Leader
PS. If I can make a very special and urgent request to my readers. Please if you can, I beg you get some christians in a prayer team together to pray for the outreaches. It does make a difference, Spurgeon used to have 100+ plus prayer warrior's beseeching God at times, while he preached. We are in battle, and if we can't have you on field labouring with us, the next best thing is a humble christian on thier knees, supporting us in prayer!
The Operation 513 Skypecast started at the scheduled time of 9pm on Sunday, and was also simultaneously broadcast live on Voice of the Truth Radio. Andrew Caswell and Ralph Patrick graciously helped out for various parts of the Skypecast, as Josh Williamson was unable to be there.
The first conversation I had was with a gentleman who thought that all religions were just created out of fear for things. I informed the man that that is not necessarily true. I think religions were created because of the fact that through creation we can know there is a creator (Rom. 1:20), yet some religions worship the creation rather than the creator (Rom. 1:25). I also pointed out to the fellow that we all have a conscience (Rom. 2:15), so we know the difference between right and wrong. And because people recognise they have done wrong, various religions have incorporated a sacrificial system (whether it be animals, good works, etc) into their beliefs which they think will pay for their sins. Yet also we know that because pretty much every religion believes different things to each other, they all cannot be correct. So I reasoned with the man, showing him that all the other sacrificial systems (of good works, etc) can never properly satisfy God's justice, only in Christianity through the death of the sinless Son of God. And that is what happened on the cross 2000 years ago.
The next heckler we had on was a self-proclaimed Atheist. He wanted to know why we would believe in a God. So I presented the Kalam Cosmological Argument for God's existence to the fellow, and he remarked, "Wow! You are not like any other Christian I have met as you actually present good reasons to believe the things that you believe. What you are saying makes sense." So then I talked about why we can know there is a judgment after we die, because God is just. Then after a rather lengthy discussion about how we can know God is just and the topic of where morality comes from, I brought him through the law and the gospel.
Next we had a Muslim lady who was very talkative, and as soon as she was moved into the talking area, she stressed that religious discussions need to be had and done in a reasonable manner. She thanked us that our Skypecast did that. She also emphasised the point that we cannot just believe in a religion because our parents brought us up in, but rather we need to have reasons for the things that we believe in. I completely agreed with her, and at that point, I wondered if she would still say that at the end of the conversation we were having. ;)
So I brought up some of the logical inconsistencies within Islam, and the best she could respond with was, "You cannot learn about Islam from reading an English Qur'an; it must be in the Arabic." I find that position rather self-refuting because I asked her if someone could become a Muslim by just learning about it from an English Qur'an, and she said yes. Why the double standard? She also brought up the intriguing claim that the Bible says that another prophet will come, and she said that it was talking about Mohammad. However when asked for the reference, she could not provide one. She said she had just heard about it from her 'Christian' friends. It says that nowhere in the New Testament. Moreover, I pointed out to her that I've met another Muslim lady who said it was okay to worship whatever god you want (even the trees). Should I use her as my final authority to learn what Islam is? Of course not. The same with Christianity; we should look at what the Bible actually says.
At the end of the conversation, she said that Muslims know that Christianity is a religion from God (yet strangely don't believe it?), and she admitted that there would always be these contradicitions within Islam, yet she would not give up her beliefs. Please pray that God will open her eyes to the truth and she will trust in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!
I was excited at the idea of witnessing tonight, but sadly I knew I would be unable to open air due to the really bad head cold I had. As I prepared to head out on the street, I could feel my voice slowly going, and this concerned me as I had the honour of preaching at "For His Glory Evangelical" the next evening.
When I arrived in the city, the first thing I noticed was how dead the mall was. There were very few people walking up and down the Queen Street Mall. Based on what I saw anyone could be mistaken, and think it was the early hours of the morning, instead of the busiest hour of the night.
As per usual we met in the now drastically smaller King George Square for a time of prayer and fellowship. We spent some time reading through Psalm 119 and then had a time of just general building each other up in the faith. I have found these times of fellowship before the outreach to be very important, as it limit's the "chit chat" during the actually outreach. Which in turn means more people get to hear the gospel.
Tonight we suffered from a shortage of preachers, which is something we haven't experienced in quite some time. Normally we have so many preachers, that we don't all get to have a preach.
Since it was really quiet I didn't expect much of a crowd to gather, and this proved to be true for a little while. Ryan preached first and he did a good job, his apologetics in regards to atheism are brilliant, and each week we have regular atheists who come in and argue. We have found this to be a good way to help the people of Brisbane, as many people like to think "there is no God", but after seeing what atheism offers many people we speak to afterwards, believe that there is a God who created the world, this in turn then creates an opportunity to tell of Jesus Christ.
Alex the agnostic was present from the time we started right through the time we ended. He is more regular than some of our team members, and to be honest most of us look forward to see Alex each week, and also to hear his ‘latest' arguments on why God does not exist.
While Ryan was preaching, I noticed that our regular cranky old Catholic man was present. This man comes past every now and then, and normally hurls some abuse about us being Protestant and then wanders over to the nearest female and starts to get a bit ‘friendly'. Tonight was no different, he began to talk to some of the females on the team, so I walked over and stood near him. Normally that is all it takes, and he moves on, tonight was no different.
The next preacher up for the night was Ralph, he spoke for a bit about the gospel of Jesus and how that can set you free from all your sins. He spoke on the atheism and evolution debate, thus showing how there must be a God who created everything. Then once again he swung back to the Gospel.
The mall was near deserted, so we decided that once Ralph finished we would just hand out tracts, and do one to one for a little while. Then once that had been done for a time, then Ryan would preach again.
During this time many one to ones were occurring. Then it came time for Ryan to preach once again.
This time Alex couldn't control himself and longer and he began to heckle Ryan as he preached. This of course grew a small crowd in. It was an interesting time, we had other atheists heckler, we had two agnostic philosophy students enter in the fray, and also then turn their attention to the atheists and told them to stop arguing theology if they don't believe in God.
Then one loud mouth young bloke was heard from among those listening. He was your typical false convert. He was swearing like anything, and then in the same breath claiming to be a Christian. He then started to yell at us for preaching the gospel, and talking about sin. In his mind he was led by the Holy Spirit, and we weren't. I challenged him on his Christianity, and how he was saying one thing, but then by his fruits showed another action. Every time I used the Bible to show my point, the man would become more hostile. Eventually he stopped heckling and started talking to the atheists.
During this time, I got to have a one to one discussion with Alex. And I must say my respect for Alex as a heckler has diminished. We were speaking about "The Truth" and how there must be a standard of truth. Alex of course believes that truth is not knowable. So I tried to use some basic logic on him showing that from the law of non-contradiction that there must be truth. The reply that Alex gave was rather interesting, his answer was "We could be in the Matrix, and we may not even be here." Then to prove his point he showed us a hole in the back of his head, which could be the socket for the Matrix plug.
Once again Alex illustrated the truthfulness of Scripture:
"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good." - Psalm 14:1 (ESV)
Soli Deo Gloria!
Editors Note: London Team Leader joined with Sheffield Team this weekend!
Recently I had the great pleasure of joining fellow partners of Operation 513, as well as those who network with us. It was an amazing day. The day began early and finished late, and coupled with the heat it meant that by the time we left we were all very, very tired. Was it all worth it? You bet it was! I had the great pleasure in talking with a young man who made a profession of faith in Christ. If you would like to listen to the audio of that conversation simply click on this link. You can also listen to an audio of me preaching open air by clicking on this link. Below are some great pictures from the day.
John Steele draws in a crowd
Jim Gourlay preaching
People came and took free Bibles and tracts from the table we had set up.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Editors Note: Read the Sheffield Report, for a longer, more in depth report! JM
Saturday morning dawns bright and clear and it looks like a perfect summer's day. The markets in the center of sheffield have set up in fargate, offering all sorts of wares. There is fine food and drink, clothing of various sorts, and the usual collection of trinkets and ornaments. Some of the stall holders rely on the smell of the food to attract customers, others on the signs they erected, the occational one calling to the crowds to come and see. Part way up Fargate a small group congregates to set up a table and flip chart - what have they to offer? The free offer of salvation by faith alone in the saviour Jesus Christ! As the day goes on they call any who will hear:
"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food." (Isa 55:1-2)
This Saturday was a glorious day in many respects and not just because of the weather. We were blessed with the arrival of evangelists from all over the UK as we hosted the second of the Northern England Evangelism Circuit outreaches. The team tallied to 12 people all toll and to begin the day we gathered at a quiet spot to fellowship and spend time in bible study and prayer. It was a most encouraging start and we went out from this enthusiastic for the task before us.
There were many people in the centre of town due to the international markets - an unexpected blessing as we were able to give out tracts and speak to people with no thinning of the crowd throughout the day. The team set to handing out tracts while I set up the free bible table and some others the flip chart and preaching post.
The Bible table was a big hit and by the end of the day I regretted having brought so few bibles as we ran out in the middle of the day. Praise God that He make the hearts of people so hungry for His word. Throughout the day this little table was the site of many one-to-one conversations as people enquired about the reason for our hope in Jesus.
One conversation like this was the young lady who asked me exactly that - "why do you still believe in Jesus?". She had grown up in church and become doubtful and as time went by became cold to the things of God. Praise God she has recently started to look for a church again and when see saw the team and the Bible table came to ask about what we believe. I was able to give her my humble story and show her the reason for my hope and also the gospel that sparked that hope. I pointed her to some of the local churches that are evangelical and we pray that God would turn her from unbelief to trust in Him truly.
Shortly after this we began to preach and proclaim the gospel and call people to repentance and faith. First up was Dale from Cumbria, Dale has been coming along in leaps and bounds and I am impressed every time I hear him preach. He stood to preach and proclaimed the word of God clearly, a couple of people stopped to listen and one-to-ones sprung up afterwards. Lord use these words to draw people to yourself we pray!
Anna was speaking at length in this time with a couple of Jehovah's witnesses, these folk were querying the orthodox view of Jesus Christ. Anna is well up on the many ways that the watchtower organisation perverts the bible both in it's interpretation and in the translation from both Greek and Hebrew. It is so important to defend the faith against those who would draw people away from faith in Jesus alone to some other system, we pray that through God's power the words Anna spoke would open their eyes and show them the deception of the watchtower organisation.
During the preaching a young man had stopped and Rob engaged him in a interview about the preaching. Darren spoke at length with Rob and by the end of the conversation was under heavy conviction of sin. When Rob spoke to him about his need of a saviour Darren responded that he wanted to become a Christian and did so with Rob and Anna encouraging him as he prayed to the Lord for mercy in Christ. We made sure that he had a list of good churches in Sheffield and a bible before he left our company and pray that we would meet him again. What amazing joy there must have been in heaven that day as the miracle of transformation took place in Darren's heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. We rejoiced also and praise God for His mercy to another rebellious sinner whom He has humbled through His grace.
Rob preached next and though I only heard part of the preaching I was glad to hear again the errors of the world confronted and refuted and the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed. This is something that Rob does excellently and unfortunately for a large part of the preaching I was unable to listen due to the wonderful problem of an extremely busy bible table!
Just before lunch John stepped up to preach and in-keeping with the carnival atmosphere did some trivia to bring in a crowd and then went on to preach the gospel to those gathered. Afterwards many one-to-ones were happening and the few of us that weren't occupied with that were rapidly distributing tracts.
During this time Jim and Dale were in deep discussion with a catholic scholar who gladly spoke with them for upwards of 40 minutes. This conversation was a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel of grace by faith alone to someone trusting in the teaching of the catholic church which is more tradition than bible.
Our break for lunch was again a wonderful time of fellowship as we gathered around to eat and drink together as brothers and sisters under Jesus Christ our Lord and King. Afterwards Kevin and Carl both preached, both of them setting out clearly the wonderful work of God in both making and sustaining us and then in redeeming us from the world and sin.
I stepped up to preach next and pointed people to the great blessings that they have through God's grace, I pointed to the greatest gift of all, Jesus sent to die for sinners. During this two young people stopped and I engaged them in the good person test. Wonderfully I was able to speak at length with them both and convinced (by their admission at least) that there was no hope for them apart from Jesus and His death and resurrection. However, in the middle of the interaction a man who often stops to heckle and scoff tried to stop them from hearing what I was saying to them. This is often the case that the enemies of truth will appear when the lost are hearing the gospel and try to prevent it anyway they can. Thankfully he left shortly after arriving and the others heard the gospel and I urged them to turn to Jesus as our time here on earth is short.
Jim was next to preach and did a fantastic job of closing the day, giving a clear presentation of the gospel and refuting the common errors that people will cling to. Again afterwards many one-to-ones started and I was particularly encouraged to see John interacting with two Muslim women and giving them the gospel. After this John and all of us were invited to discuss Islam and Christianity with them further at the local mosque in the near future.
We packed up, and though tired from the work we were rejoicing and so raised our voices in prayer to God for the many people who heard the gospel and received literature. O Lord will you please save these souls in your grace? Praise God for opportunity, praise God for strength and time to do the work in, praise God that He draws people to hear and be saved!
This weeks report by Dave Strachan, who serves with us at 2PM Sunday The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise:
As Josh and I were driving on our way to Surfers Paradise in his car we talked about reaching people with the Gospel. As we approached the city we prayed to our Father in Heaven, seeking his blessing upon the afternoon - that He would be glorified as we boldly and faithfully preached the Gospel.
We arrived and were glad to see Snowy. The three of us then together shared a time of Bible reading and further prayer.
It was a sunny day at Surfer's paradise and many people could be seen walking around the Cavill Avenue beach entrance and hanging out there ... little did many of them know that they were about to hear the most important message that they will ever hear in their entire lifetime - the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we were preparing to start preaching, two guys from Helensvale Baptist church - I believe - joined us. They said that they were keen to get involved in substantially helping out the Gold Coast team in the future.
I started to record video footage as Josh got up to preach. It wasn't long before hecklers started to mock us, Josh managed to interact with some of them. An Irish man particularly comes to mind. He kept demanding evidence and as Josh gave him solid evidence (e.g. creation->creator Romans 1:20) the man became irate - to a certain degree - shouting over and over "Evidence, I want Evidence".
After quite a while, two Policemen came and talked with Josh asking him to move down the beach sidewalk a bit. After we found a suitable area, Josh ran to get his soap box (a mini-ladder) while Snowy and I shared the gospel and handed out tracts to those around us. Josh arrived with his ladder and I set the video camera rolling, once again, as Josh started preaching. Quite a number of people heard the Gospel proclaimed and a group of four young adults (2 men 2 women - probably in their early 20s) sat in front of Josh, drinking and smoking, and interacted for quite a while - one of the women claimed to be a Christian.
After Josh finished preaching we shared the Gospel and handed out tracts even more to those around us - and then gathered together to seek the Lord's blessing.
May God have mercy on the unbelievers who heard the Gospel. Please take away the veil that blinds them from seeing the 'the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ' (2 Cor. 4:4) and be pleased to shine in their 'hearts to give [them] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ' (2 Cor. 4:6) for the glory of your Son. In Jesus name, amen.
As Warren, Alistair and I met at 2pm at the Redcliffe Jetty, we firstly prayed and then made our way down the Jetty giving gospel tracts to everyone we met. We had some good one-2-one conversations, with the gospel being clearly proclaimed.
One conversation I had was with an elderly fellow, who was a deist - someone who believes God just made the world and has never interacted with it. This man was very versed in psychology, and loved to talk about it. When I asked him whether he thought there was a God, he quoted some psychologist who doesn't believe there is a God, but rather knows there is a God. However, I pointed out that psychology just deals with the subjective, so his 'knowing' that there is a God can only be based on some feeling/experience that he has had. I said we can objectively know there is a God because of the things that have been made (Romans 1:20). He agreed, but he did not think God has intervened or interacted in any way with this world.
So I asked him if he thought God is just. He said yes. So I pointed out that for God to be just he cannot turn a blind eye to the things that are happening on this Earth, but rather he must punish the people that do sinful things. He said, "We punish ourselves". So I responded, "No we don't. Some people may, but the most don't. We don't like getting punished. That is the exact reason why a criminal will not usually turn himself in to the police."
So then I talked about the judgment to come after we die where God will judge us on everything we have done. This lead onto the gospel message and what someone must do to be saved. However, through his psychology study, he had learnt that humans are inherently good. So I asked him, "Do we have to teach our children to disobey? No, of course not. Thus that shows that we are all inherently evil from our birth." I let him know that psychology usually goes completely contrary to what the Bible says because it tries to teach people that they are good. But the Bible says we are not, and the objective evidence seems to point that way as well.
The Skypecast started off at 9pm, and straight away we had a person from China who wanted to discuss the topic. She professed to be a Christian, yet when asked how someone gets to Heaven, she responded, "If you try to be holy you'll get to Heaven." She subscribed to a salvation by works system, and so I brought her through the 10 Commandments to see if she really was holy. But, like the rest of us, she fell way short of God's perfect standard. However, she said you only need to try to be holy, you don't actually have to be. So I reminded her that God is a just judge and will not be bribed by any of our good works. This then lead straight into the gospel message and what one must do to be saved. I also outlined the proper view of our good works, that they are only an out-working of our faith; it simply shows we are converted. She thanked us for our time and even emailed us later asking for an online Bible to read.
Josh Williamson had a conversation with a fellow who brought up the apparent recent discovery of a three foot stone tablet that talks about a person rising from the dead after three days, which has been dated to a number of years before Christ. Some people have tried to use this discovery to say that Christianity stole its ideas from other religions. However, Josh pointed out that this is a Jewish writing and the Jewish faith did not believe in an individual resurrection of a person, but only a general resurrection at the end of time. Moreover, the dating of the tablet is still uncertain, and additionally, the translation is still up in the air, whether it is "three days you will live" or "three days you are living".
The man then proposed that dating of papyri is done through Carbon-14 dating. He said that Carbon-14 dating is a well-established accurate form of dating once-living things to a precision of 12 months in 30,000 years. The man tried to use this to show an inconsistency within the Bible regarding a date mentioned, yet he could not even provide the reference to it in the Bible. So Josh pointed out that within Carbon-14 dating, a major assumption it takes is that the Earth's magnetic field has been a constant strength in the past. But rather the evidence is to the contrary, which would give the artificial inflated years the more you go back in time. This is because with a stronger magnetic field, it would provide more protection against cosmic rays, thus producing much less Carbon-14.
I then had a chat with a Muslim man and he firstly brought up the topic of "Who is Jesus?" He said that he is just a prophet of God. So I asked the man if prophets of God could lie. He said that they could not. So I pointed out to this Muslim that Jesus, therefore, must have been speaking the truth when He said that He is God (John 8:58). After hearing this, the man wanted to quickly jump off that topic to the question what happens after we die. Since the Qur'an believes in the judgment to come and the Law of Moses (10 Commandments), I asked him if he had kept them all. He had not, yet was relying on Allah's mercy to get him to Heaven. I pointed out the contradiction within Islam regarding Allah's justice, and the man seemed to have no answer for it. So I proclaimed the gospel to the man and what he must do to be saved.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!