Saturday - May 30th, 2009
Another night, another chance to preach the same old gospel that has been proclaimed for the past 2000 years. And, once again we had the privilege of seeing God work in peoples hearts and bring them to Christ. As usual we met for prayer and bible reading before actually commencing the outreach. Tonight, we were joined by many new faces and also we had Andrew Walkington from Melbourne come into Brisbane to join us for the outreach.
We had a good time of fellowship at the start of the night, but at 9pm we made our way to the preaching spot in the Queen Street mall. The first preacher for night was Joel Barnard. He was very nervous at the idea of being the first preacher up, but it is great training for him. After watching him preach over the past couple of months I think in many cases he sells himself short. He is a really decent preacher and given time he will develop into one on fire open air evangelist.
After Joel finished his open air preaching it was my turn to preach. Tonight I preached my classic open air message “The Stalker” it had been awhile since I preached it in Brisbane, so I dusted it off to use once again. Not long into the opening analogy I had a few hecklers yelling random things out and then a group of young blokes came and stood right in front of me. They looked at me then looked at the crowd, it was show time. The boys began to jump around, dance, throw balls and just put on a show. It was hard to regain control during this time, but I used much of what they did to the advantage of the gospel. Finally towards the end one of the boys named Conner asked a few questions, this was the opening I had been looking for. I answered his questions and then presented Christ to him. He like all the other young blokes rejected Christ and continued with their jeering. However, later on in the night I noticed all the young blokes were in one to one conversations with members of the team.
After finishing up my message I was a fair bit discouraged as it was a hard open air, but then I was informed that a man had a approached the Bible table and was asking more about he could become a Christian. Andre was able to minister to this man who was covered in tattoos and had his hair in a Mohawk. It served to remind me that the power is not in the preacher, nor is it in the how the atmosphere is during the open air, but rather the power is from the Holy Spirit who convicts the hearers of sin, righteousness and judgement.
Ryan was soon up on the box to preach for the night, as he preached and made known the mysteries of the Gospel, God brought a crowd in to hear about how they can have sins forgiven. Ryan did a wonderful job in preaching Christ and Him crucified. People stopped to listen as Ryan expounded on how to become a Christian. During his preaching he had a few hecklers and around the outside of the crowd there were many people locked in one to one conversations.
During his sermon I was called to an area behind the preacher. A man had come forward to speak to one of the team earlier in the night and he now wanted to put his trust in Jesus Christ to save him. I explained the gospel once again to this man and stressed the cost of following Christ. The man acknowledge it and said that he wanted to pray to receive Christ right there on the streets. So with Ryan in the background preaching, and a crowd listening to the preacher, we bowed our heads and prayed for this man. After the man prayed to receive Christ he looked up and said “A burden has been lifted from me! I have been forgiven!” We were able to give this man some follow up material and gave him the details of a local church. After seeing a person trust in Christ I was excited and pumped for the rest of the night. I later found out that the man who had trusted in Christ actually had been at the preaching a few weeks earlier and was heckling and mocking the gospel.
At the end of the night I also found out that there was another person who had broken down during the preaching and placed faith in Christ. God has been moving in Brisbane city, He is doing many wonderful works and deeds. Please continue to pray for us as we reach out to the lost in this city.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The team today consisted of Blake, Jeremy and I. There was not a cloud in the sky and so there was quite a lot of people about. After some prayer together, I stood up to preach. There was a number of people that heckled me, most of them being atheists. So I addressed their common questions, like: "How do we know there is a God?", "How do we know the Bible is true?" The hecklers were constant, as well as the crowd, so I preached for about two hours as there wasn't really anytime before that at which I could say "That's all, folks." :)
During the time I was preaching, I saw two police officers walk towards the esplanade. Once on the esplanade, they then walked the opposite direction to where I was. But suddenly, they turned around and started walking towards me. I thought that they're going to tell me to move along, like they attempted to do two weeks prior (but couldn't). But instead they just walked past me. Praise God!
I had one heckler who at various stages seemed to change his beliefs. If I remember correctly, at one point he was proclaiming to be an atheist. But when he came up to me afterwards, he said he was a Christian. He was from Canada and admitted that in the last 4 years he had been running away from God. But recently he had religious experience and he said he's back in step with God. When I asked what the experience was, he said that he had received new revelation from God and apparently God said that everyone is a child of God. So I responded by saying that the Bible contradicts that - it says that if you're a Christian, you are a child of God; but if you are not a Christian, you're a child of the devil (1 John 3:10). He didn't like hearing that. But I tried emphasising with him that the Bible is the final authority of truth - for it is the word of God. I also made sure I explained the gospel to him.
Meanwhile, a fellow from New Zealand, whom I have witnessed to a number of times before, was chatting to Blake. He lost his Passport and had been sleeping on the beach for a number of months now. Blake bought him lunch and was able to share the gospel with him again. The guy is very inquizitive about Christian topics, but please pray God will convert him.
After I preached, Jeremy got up and gave a clear presentation of the judgment to come, sin, the cross, and what someone must do to be saved.
The gospel was preached and many gospel tracts went out, so that means the day was a great success!
To God be the glory!
It would appear to an observer that Wednesday is the day Sheffield's different evangelists gather in Fargate to talk and evangelise as one. It would be wonderful if this was the case in the future but for now it is an informal arrangement that has fortuitously come together. This week Andy, John, Clive, Cedric and I all witnessed together for the afternoon and many good conversations were happening throughout.
We began by tracting the local crowds that push through Sheffield city centre every day in their various pursuits. Not many people were stopping but lots of tracts were going out, it is so good to see the gospel seed spread far and wide. After a short period of this I got the urge to preach but just as I was beginning a brass band began to play 20 meters away down the mall. Completely drowned out and unwilling to waste my voice I headed up Fargate a short distance and then began again.
I preached today on 1 Cor 6:9-11 and who it is that will inherit the kingdom of God. Beginning with this list of various moral failures (that heartbreakingly are not uncommon in the UK), I urged people to examine their consciences and think soberly about the judgement to come. Then with joy I pointed to the hope that is in Jesus Christ if only people will trust in Him and stop relying on themselves. A couple of people stopped to listen and I was glad to see many one-to-one conversations starting afterwards.
Before Andy got up to speak I had a good conversation with a group of youth and was able to tell them not only a little of why I believe the bible to be true but also that we need a saviour and pointed them to Jesus. At this their attention waned but one girl appeared to have listened and I pray that God will open her heart.
Andy spoke next and did an excellent job clearly portraying the three major questions we have (Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going to?), and the answer man and God give to them. I didn't get to hear much of his preaching though because I spoke for the next 30-40 minutes with a young man I believe called Steven (God knows him even if I got the name wrong). We spoke about why the bible is true and there must be a God. Steven responded that evolution and changes in the bible discredit the message of the bible and that he was a Buddhist anyway. We discussed Buddhism at length and I reflected to him that much of Buddhism is built upon a contradiction at the start. If Buddha had truly achieved the state of enlightenment and gotten rid of all desire, why then did he desire to share his enlightenment and make disciples to follow after him? This coupled with Buddha's indefensible abandonment of his family to follow a self focused goal makes Buddhism a system that I could never follow even if I was not Christ's. Steven and I talked for some time and I was able to present Christ to him as the best model to follow and the only saviour from our deserved condemnation before God.
Steven had also experienced much hurt from friends and now felt very suspicious of others, and hearing what he'd been through I couldn't help but sympathise. But after talking together he left smiling and saying that he was glad to have spoken with someone who he could relate to, I pray that God will use this conversation to break down some of his distrust of others and of Jesus.
John preached next and made a solid call to Godly grief and repentance towards God and a trust in Jesus only. From this a couple more one-to-ones arose but my time was up for the afternoon so I headed home.
Praise God for all His work in Sheffield!
It begins! Last week I finally completed all my classes for my Bachelor of Ministry, but upon completing college I had to face the question of “now what?” After, spending some time in prayer and seeking advice I decided that I would commit myself to full time evangelistic ministry, both here in Australia and internationally as God provides. This decision was made easier by the fact that I am now working two days a week with Evangelist Bill Newman at his ministry Bill Newman Ministries. Being able to work with Bill has been great, as I get to learn more about evangelistic ministry and I also get paid for it. But, most of all this line of employment allows me to focus on reaching out to the lost on a full time basis.
Since, I now have more time to devout to outreach, I thought it to be a good idea to spend more time on Queensland’s largest university, just handing out tracts and having one to one conversations with the students. So, today Ryan and I both made our way to the campus with a certainly level of excitement, but also with an amount of concern as it had been raining all morning and it looked like it was about to rain again. Ryan assured me that there still would be plenty of people to witness to even if it was pouring with rain.
Upon arrival we immediately began to hand out to all the students we walked past, this resulted in many people sitting around reading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It didn’t take long for Ryan to engage in a one to one conversation with a young Jewish man who was trying to disprove Jesus, by stating that He couldn’t have been crucified with nails in His hands, and that Jesus was black. Ryan, stayed on course and presented the Christ who is able to save that man from his sin.
By now the heavens had opened up and the rain was pouring down (although Ryan kept saying “look blue sky!”) So we made our way to an undercover area near where all the students buy their lunch. As we walked into the undercover area we were approached by a student from the socialist alliance, he handed us a flyer which was advertising an upcoming rally on global warming. As he gave me the flyer, I thought, this guy would be interesting to talk to.
At this stage Ryan was sitting down engaging a Muslim man in discussion so I walked up to the socialist student and asked him for an interview. He quickly agreed so I proceeded to talk to him for some time. His name is Ewan and he was very pro-environment and very anti-Christianity. For some twenty minutes we discussed different things and I found it very hard to swing to the gospel with him, as every time I did he would try to rabbit-trail. However by the end of our discussion I was able to present Christ to him.
I noticed that Ryan was still engaged in discussion with the Muslim, so I looked for someone else to talk to. A few people I approached were in a rush to get to class, so I gave them a tract and they continued on their way. Eventually I ran into Ali, who is a business student from Pakistan, his religion is Islam, however, he said he is not a radical. I spoke to him for about twelve minutes and I stressed to him how as a Christian I have assurance of salvation. At the end of the conversation I pleaded with him to trust in Christ alone to save him, as his good works will never been good enough to get him to heaven.
It was now lunch time, so Ryan went to grab some lunch while I spoke to a young adult from my church. After Ryan finished eating he jumped into a conversation with two young students. From all accounts it went very well with them both acknowledging that they needed the Saviour and saying they were prepared to lay it all down for Jesus.
After this we began to make our way out of the campus, however, Ryan managed to get himself into a conversation with a group of students. The group loved the discussion and they were pulling phones out and calling friends encouraging them to come listen to Ryan. By the end Ryan was talking to a large group of students about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During this time I was handing out tracts, and I managed to get a one to one with Richard, who believed himself to be good enough for Heaven. So I quizzed him on this point and the moment he realized his sin he turned and ran away. I was disappointed I couldn’t present Christ to him, but I rest in the fact that God is Sovereign and He will allow Richard to hear the good news of sins being forgiven.
The day overall was brilliant. There is a great need to evangelise the university so I am keen to put one day a week in on UQ campus, and it is my prayer that God will save His people. I would ask that you keep me in prayer as I evangelise in a full time capacity and also pray for Operation 513 as we expand and reach more people for Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Below are two audio recordings of witness encounters from today. The first one is with Ewan the Socialist. And the second is with Ali the Muslim.
1. Ewan the Socialist
2: Ali the Muslim
While in the process of setting up the free Bible table, I had a group of about 10 youth come up to me requesting free Bibles. So I asked them whether they thought they were good enough to get to Heaven. They all thought they were. Some also thought that because they go to Church, God will let them into Heaven. So I asked them whether they had lied, stolen, blasphemed, or looked with lust. They admitted they had, and so I warned them that were deserving of Hell because of that. This shocked them, as they had never been told of the Judgment of God before. So I then shared the gospel to them, about how the death of Jesus can save them from their sins if they would repent and trust in Him. As soon as I mentioned that they had to repent, some of them said, "No, I'm not turning from any of my sin". While others were very interested and even came back later in the night to have further conversations with us.
After this, Blake got up to preach a short message warning people of the coming judgment and the good news of the cross. Then Rick, Peter, Paul, Blake, and Joel took turns reading out Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). This was the first time Peter had done any sort of open air preaching/reading, and did well. But while Rick was reading his portion, two guys heckled him and so he chatted with them briefly and told them that he'd be able to chat to them after finishing his reading. So after reading his portion, he got down and had a chat with them. However, 15 minutes later one of the hecklers that was chatting to Rick got angry and spat in Rick's face and started throwing things at him. This caused a bit of commotion, and out of the woodwork, Alex (the regular atheist heckler) appeared, and tried to get the heckler to settle down. But he didn't. By this time, everyone was looking at what was occurring and Joel had finished his portion of the Sermon on the Mount. Then the heckler shouted out, "Why is no one preaching now?" So I got up to preach about the day when everyone will have to give an account for the life that they have lived. He kept grabbing onto me and grabbing my Bible, so the police eventually came and locked him up. But thankfully God had used him to draw in a crowd in which I could preach the gospel to.
Alex also began heckling, stating that the universe does not exist. As he thinks that the amount of mater and antimatter is equal, thereby equalling zero. So I asked him, "Does the building behind you exist?". And he said it does. So then I pointed out to him that if there is something that exists within the universe, then thus the universe is not nothing, it is something. The discussion drew a crowd and gospel was preached.
Around this time, Josh Williamson and Andre arrived after being counsellors at the Will Graham crusade event.
Jeremy then got up to preach, Alex heckled him, but Jeremy did not engage Alex. He instead faithfully warned of the judgment to come and spoke of the cross of Christ.
Alex then got up to preach, standing on the seat next to our soap box while none of us were preaching. Except his message was atheism, not Christianity. We let him do it for a while and heckled him during the process. We tried using the same arguments back on him that he uses on us, to show the frivolity of his arguments. Such as, "I can't believe you would force your viewpoints upon us.", etc. It was really amusing, as even some atheists had a go heckling him.
Amy Barnard also got the itch to read the Bible publicly, and so she read John 3. Max then read from latter portions of Romans 3. Both Max and Amy haven't ever done that before, and they both did really well.
To finish off the night, Andre got up to preach. In total, there were 10 people who preached (excluding Alex), and a lot of them were new timers. Praise God the gospel went out, even though there was a bit of rain about.
To God be the glory!
The team met at Cafe Nero as per usual this eve. To my surprise some new visitors had come to join us this eve from the Hackney area, we were about 12 people in total. After a brief study on truth and the Bible we moved to Leicester Square. I handed out almost all the tracts I brought to our team and after prayer, we dispersed amongst the crowds. I had a fruitful evening talking to many people and handing out many tracts. I managed to meet several Muslim men and a number of English youths. All conversations were very courteous and informative for both parties. In one encounter I met a young man named Joel and after our chat I gave him my contact details. We have chatted on Facebook and he said he's read the tract I gave him 3 times this week. I pray God will grant him repentance and faith in Jesus Christ! This evening was a wonderful opportunity to sow the seed of the Gospel and we ask God's blessing on the work done this evening.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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.