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!
Chris, Alistair and Warren joined me for the Redcliffe team on Sunday. It was good to have Warren back, after his mission trip to various north Queensland aboriginal towns. Firstly, we prayed and then head down the Jetty handing out gospel tracts to everyone we met.
I had a conversation with an eldery man who was a pantheist - a person who believes everything is God. So I asked him what evidence did he have to back up his belief. He said, "You need to get out of realm science, knowledge, and reason and empty your mind and the truth will come to you". So I said, "You are telling me that I should forsake believing in things I have good reasons for by getting out of the realm of science, knowledge, and reason, and enter the realm of fairy tales?" He proceeded to say that he has a good feeling that his belief is true. I pointed out that I've spoken to many people who also claim to have these same feelings and they say something totally contradictory to you. Who can we believe?
So then I provided logical reasons as to why pantheism is false. Such as, if God is everything, and since we know the universe had a beginning, God must have not existed at some point. But that is impossible because then God would have to exist (to create the universe) before he existed. That's self-contradictory.
He said, "We are all made in the image of God. So if we are made in God's image, then we must be God." So I responded, "That does not make sense. Firstly, Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, not us (because of the fall we cannot say we are exactly God's image). Secondly, just because I make something to look like me, it does not logically follow that that thing becomes me."
So I proceeded to talk about our sinful nature and that we have all sinned and deserve God's wrath. He did not like that concept. He didn't think he was a sinner and refused to admit he had broken any of God's law. He admitted he just picks and chooses what parts of the Bible he will accept. He said, "One day you'll wake up to your divine nature and realise you are already in Heaven." I made it clear to the man that if he does not repent and trust Christ alone for salvation he will suffer the wrath of God in Hell. Please pray for this man, as he seems to be totally deceived.
Many seeds of the gospel went out on Sunday, to God be the glory!
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
Keith and I had been in Sydney for the past few days getting ready for the big outreach to coincide with the Roman Catholic World Youth Day. Over the past couple of days we had done outreach locally in and around Sydney, and even hooked up with Yorke and his team in Manly for a bit of outreach. But today was the first day in which we were able to engage with those who were in Sydney for the Pope.
In the morning we went to church at Castle Hill Baptist Church, and heard a brilliant exposition of Hebrews 12:1-2 by Rev. Ian Deane. Then after that we headed into the CBD of Sydney to do some witnessing in Hyde Park.
By the time we fought the Sydney traffic, we realised that we only had one hour to witness in Hyde Park before he had to go back to Castle Hill to fulfil a prior commitment. So we set to work witnessing and handing out tracts as fast as we could. Hyde Park was full of Roman Catholic's who were all there for the big celebration. Tracts were going out really quickly and the majority of people thanked us for the tracts. The interesting thing is that we even have priests and nuns lining up to take the gospel tract from us, and then as they left they would pronounce a quick blessing upon us.
We had been witnessing for awhile when this man came up to me, and started to yell "THOU ART PETER!" I looked at him blankly and was thinking "I am not Peter, I'm Josh." But he kept on yelling "THOU ART PETER!" It appeared that this was the only few words he knew. For the next few moments he just kept repeating these same few words, and then said "Do you believe that?" I replied that if he was talking about Matthew 16 and Jesus saying those words to Peter then yes, I would agree. But however, if he meant that to mean that Peter was the rock upon which the church was built, then I would strongly disagree. The man then went nuts yelling at me, that the Roman Church was the only true church, and that all others were imitations. I tried to reason with him but he just stormed off saying "THOU ART PETER!"
By now Keith had joined me, he had been witnessing to a Roman Catholic who kept stating what the Greek text said, so I Keith asked her to show him in the Greek where she got her info from. It soon became clear that she didn't know the Bible, nor the Greek.
We went back to handing out tracts as fast as we could as many people were coming up and grabbing tracts from us. People seemed grateful for the tracts, and many people were excited about the gospel being handed out. Then Jeff had a woman start screaming at him for handing out tracts, and then she came up and engaged Keith. Keith was very patient with her and kept asking her "What part of the message do you disagree with?" She couldn't provide an answer, and after a while she left.
After an hour we started to leave, and make our way back to Castle Hill. On the way to the train station Keith spotted a large group of ‘pilgrims' standing along George Street so he rushed over to them to try and give out some tracts. The pilgrims were all standing in a big circle, and when he got to them they freaked out a bit as these ‘good' Roman Catholics were all smoking marijuana.
Keith then turned his attention to a Scientologist who was handing out literature. They spoke a bit in an apologetic realm, and then the Scientologist started to yell at Keith; "You're hacking my brain!" Keith left him with a tract, and then we made our way back to Castle Hill.
It was a good hour of witnessing. Between three of us in one hour we were able to hand out over 2000 tracts!
Monday, 14 July 2008
Today we return ed to Hyde Park. We arrived at about 11am, and began to hand out tracts as quick as we could. Like the day before it was packed in the park. As we were witnessing I noticed that SBS had set up a television crew and they were interviewing people about World Youth Day. I was approached by the host and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed, I quickly agreed. But when they heard I was from Australia they didn't want to talk. As they only wanted to speak to foreigners. So I called Keith over and pointed out to them that he was actually Irish. They were then interested in interviewing him.
Keith began the interview, and he made sure that he constantly got to mention the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was asked questions about Rome, and he answered from a Biblical worldview and kept on stressing that salvation is not of works, but by grace alone.
While Keith was being interviewed some Samoan pilgrims came alongside me and started to say "They shouldn't interview him, he is a protestant!" So I simply asked them what was wrong with Protestants. They replied "They don't have Jesus, they aren't real Christians." This of course led into a discussion. I started to ask them about what they believed, and as soon as I started to talk a Catholic seminary student joined in the mix. He was quick to attack Biblical theology, but it didn't take long for me to counter his arguments. So he left me and engaged Keith who had just finished his interview.
For the next hour we spoke about many topics, from Mary, the mass, the Bible, the church, the pope, and also salvation. By the end the group of Samoans that I was talking to had realised that there own works would never merit them salvation. But rather they had to flee to Christ alone to save them. After talking they all took tracts and then posed with us to have our photo taken.
We then headed down to the entrance of Hyde Park and began to hand out tracts to everyone who walked past. Like yesterday priests and nuns were lining up to take tracts, and they were once again very grateful. But this all seemed to be the calm before the storm. After handing out tracts for awhile an American Catholic priest approached me, and read the tract. He then came back shoved the tract back into my hand and said "That's anti Catholic!" So I asked what part was anti Catholic, since Roman Catholicism and the Pope were not mentioned in the tract. He looked at it again and said, "It is anti Catholic, as it says you are only saved by faith alone in Christ alone!" I pointed out to him that everything stated in the tract was backed up by Scripture, so how would he reply to those verses. He agree that everything in it was biblical, but the church however has a different teaching. When I tried to engage him in apologetic discussion, he quickly backed off and started to tell everyone not to take our tracts as they opposed Rome. So this time a bit louder I asked him with everyone watching "Which part opposes Rome, and what part of the Bible do you disagree with?" People stopped to look, then quickly took tracts. The priest chased after them trying to get the tracts off them, so I said to him as he was leaving "God's judgment will be a lot harsher on those who try to keep people from the Kingdom!"
The priest stormed off so I continued to hand out tracts. Things once again went along fine. Although after awhile some New South Wales police officers arrived to say that they had received complaints about the tracts. So we gave all the police tracts and they read them. After reading them they all agreed that there was nothing wrong with them, and that we had the freedom to keep handing them out. In fact some police stayed for awhile and were encouraging us to go and engage the atheists on the other side of the park in debate as it would be interesting.
Tracts were going out at a rapid pace, and by now Ryan had arrived from Brisbane so he also started to hand out tracts. Every now and then we would get people stop and engage us in debate over Roman Catholicism, and they all seemed to use the same arguments over and over again. But most of the people we spoke to left thanking us.
By now it was getting late in the afternoon. And we had handed out thousands of tracts. Then things took a turn for the worse. Another local ‘evangelism' ministry joined us on the streets, and they also were handing out tracts. Since I knew the team leader I believed that I could trust him not to do anything that would cause trouble. I was proven wrong on this matter. He decided to enter into the big Roman Catholic Cathedral where they had a ‘Saints' body on display and tract up everyone in the Cathedral. This of course got him in trouble with the police, and also caused a very irate Roman Catholic to follow him. The problem for us was that he came to us to brag about his exploits. In my opinion the thing he did was rank stupidity and it endangered the whole outreach. It was then that Keith and I noticed that the angry Roman Catholic was on the phone to the police now making a complaint against us.
During this time a bunch of young Roman Catholic girls approached and were screaming at us that we were Protestants. And their leaders were yelling for people not to take tracts, and to rip them all up and throw them on the ground. This brought the police down, who told the Catholics that we had every right to hand out tracts, and that they had no rights to encourage people to destroy property and litter. The Roman Catholics quickly apologised.
Once again these Roman Catholics maintained that our tract was unbiblical, but when challenged to show us what part was wrong, they couldn't.
We put up with them for a few minutes, then the police arrived who had been called by the irate Roman Catholic that had followed the other guys from the Cathedral. Because of his complaint the police asked us to stop handing out tracts until such time as they could investigate what was happening. The police were very friendly, and were real apologetic over stopping us, but they indicated that someone had called to make a complaint.
Keith and I chatted to the police, and all the police were reading our tracts, so we were fine with that. As it gave us a chance to minister to these officers of the law. But things changed when the guy who had handed out tracts in the Cathedral entered in to find out what was happening to "his team". The police told him to go away as it had nothing to do with him. And Keith and I weren't to amused as we weren't "his team" and because of him, we were being stopped from witnessing.
Then the police received a call from headquarters and they were informed to issue us a move on order. Which means we weren't allowed in the Sydney CBD for twenty four hours. As they issued the order they also apologised, and made sure to stress that this order came from higher up, and was not due to them. We thanked the police for their time, and also informed them that we had no problems with them as they were just doing their job.
So we packed up our tracts, and left. The day had been very productive although it was shorter that we had planned. It goes to show that on outreach you must watch out for "glory boys" who seek to do something ‘daring' (stupid) in order to have something to brag about. It was because of one guys stupidity that a whole outreach was shut down. The worse thing was, that he isn't apart of Operation 513 but rather he leads a different ministry. We got shut down but he didn't.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Since we got shut down yesterday, and because we still had twenty four hour ban on us, we decided to have a bit of a sleep in, and then head across to Manly to do some witnessing. Our ban ran out at 4:30pm, so all we had to do was stay out of the CBD till then, and after that we could witness all we wanted to.
After meeting up with a new bloke who wanted to join us, we head over to Manly and began to hand out tracts and witness. Within minutes of getting there we had a bunch of American Roman Catholics start to engage us. One of them was getting rather angry at me, that Keith believed that he was going to hit me. We spoke about church history for a bit, and this man even though he claimed to be a theology student didn't know much about history nor theology. So we examined his beliefs in the light of Scripture. He kept making statements so we challenged him to provide biblical evidence for what he was saying. Of course like most Roman Catholics he knew more about Tradition than he did about Scripture.
After witnessing at Manly for a time, we caught the ferry back across the harbour to the CBD. Upon arriving we noticed that the opening mass was underway, and literally thousands of people were walking along the harbour. So we set up and started to hand out tracts as fast as we could. Many people took tracts, and soon it became clear that we probably wouldn't have enough tracts for the night. While we were handing out tracts one of the police officers from the day earlier approached us and said "G'day" once again he apologised for yesterday and encouraged us to keep going.
After a while we headed up to Barangaroo where the opening mass was being held. Upon arrival near the entrance we spoke to the World Youth Day security team, and they told us where we could stand. They were fine with us being there as long as we didn't block traffic. We agree with their terms and made sure that we were spread out so that no one could accuse us of blocking the flow of pilgrims.
As the Mass ended we were surrounded by a great sea of humanity, and many thousands upon thousands of tracts went out. The traffic flowed freely so we were having no trouble. The whole time we were right next to the World Youth Day security post. After a couple of hours of handing out tracts four police officers approached me and the Crown Sergeant who was leading them started to yell at me and snatched all my tracts out of my hand. The police officer then started to blast me for standing the walkway handing out tracts. I pointed out to him that World Youth Day staff told me to stand there, and he replied "I don't care, this is my turf I am in charge of it!" He said many complaints had been made against us, so he was going to shut us down. I asked him what law we were breaking, and he didn't answer. So I said "I have constitutional freedom to do this, so if I am not breaking any law I will continue." The Crown Sergeant then grabbed a tract and began to read it. As he read it, he started saying "This is hate speech!" So I asked what part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hate speech, he indicated to the part that said "going to church won't get you to heaven." So I pointed out that is what the Bible says, he maintained that it was hate speech, and that I couldn't hand them out. I stood my ground, and said that since no law was broken I would be continuing to hand them out. He snapped at me that I couldn't and then said "I am detaining you under the World Youth Day laws." This surprised me since only two hours earlier the Australian Government overturned the World Youth Day laws stating that they were unconstitutional. I pointed that out to the Crown Sergeant, and he just replied "Tough!" It was then that I said I would be making a formal complaint over this matter, and he just laughed saying "Go ahead, they can't touch me, I am above that!" To which I replied "You may be above this legal system, but you aren't above God's, and He will all you to give an account one day." This made the Crown Sergeant mad, and he ordered me to sit on the wall of an Anglican church and not move less I be arrested. But before I would move I asked him for his details, and also for the details of the other police officers. The Crown Sergeant refused at first, but then gave me his name, but wouldn't tell me his station. So I turned to the three constables and asked them for their details. The crown sergeant ordered them not to give me their details, and told me I wasn't allowed to have them. To this I replied "By law, you must give me your details." He just laughed and started to turn away. One constable quickly gave me his badge number before the Crown Sergeant stormed off.
So I was confined to sit on the wall of an Anglican church. Immediately I called my Barrister and started to ask him on how to proceed. He pointed out that the police had just broken the law, and they couldn't confine me to a wall. After speaking to him for awhile another police sergeant walked past, so I asked her about the law, and why was I detained. She told me that I had been detained for "incitement" but I pointed out that the Crown Sergeant said "World Youth Day laws and hate speech", she was a bit shocked at this, so she read the tract and said "I have no problems with this, you can continue to hand these out". Upon hearing this (in the presences of witnesses) I headed back out to hand out gospel tracts.
While I was sitting on the wall, I got to see what some of the priests and nuns were doing to our tracts. Some burnt them, others spat on them. Still others urinated on them. All this and these people are supposed to represent God's Church! The Roman Catholic Church revealed itself that night as being a church that is corrupted and a church that hates all those who aren't opposed to it.
I rejoined Keith and Ryan, and we were able to hand out thousands of tracts. As we looked at our stock level we saw that it had nearly reduced to nothing. But then the Crown Sergeant entered back into the scene. He stood right near us and watched every move, after awhile a bunch of American Catholics started trying to stop us from handing out tracts, all the while holding an American flag. We challenged them on what Freedoms the American people held dear, they responded "Freedom of Speech", so we asked why they would stop us from having Freedom of Speech in our country when over 100 000 Australian soldiers had died to give us that freedom? The Americans over the course of this outreach were the worse behaved. They shouted "Freedom" then opposed those who didn't agree with them. This is really sad, but it is clear by their actions why most of the world hates the USA.
The Americans stood in the middle of the road (blocking traffic) yelling at people to rip up the tracts and throw them in the bin. The shocking thing was the Crown Sergeant was encouraging them to do it also. So I turned walked up to him and said "Sir, you told me that if I am in the road I would be arrested, yet you are allowing them to do it, why?" His reply was "One rule for them, and one for you!" To which I replied "So, one rule for Catholics and one for Protestants?" He just grinned, and then said "They are sick of your propaganda and protestant c**p!" This stunned me that a member of the New South Wales police would discriminate against me in regards to religion, so I turned my phone on a called a friend so he could hear it. I asked him to repeat it, and when he realised that I was recording he refused to say much. This was a clear display of Police corruption, this Crown Sergeant openly opposed those who were Protestants, whoever thinks that Rome has changed need to spend a night in Sydney to see how the antichrist (pope) has the police wrapped around his little finger.
During this time a group of Catholics approached Keith and said that we need to watch out as they would be waiting at the foot of the hill to beat us up when we left. We continued to hand out tracts despite the opposition from the American Catholics and also the police. And by God's grace His Word still went forth!
As we were leaving we asked for police protection due to the Catholics saying they would get us. The Crown Sergeant refused to assist and told us to go down the hill and talk to someone else.
We made it out of the city safely, and it was a good feeling to know that God had seen fit to allow His Word to go out even though people tried to stop it!
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Today was the final day of outreach for us in Sydney. We began the day off by meeting up with some friends, and then heading to an Anglican church to attend a Bible study. This church had been doing Bible studies all week about why Roman Catholicism is wrong, and each day they had a testimony from those who had been Catholics but had left the false church.
After attending the study for an hour, we headed out on the streets to witness. We made our way to Hyde Park as it was a hive of activity. Yorke and Jeff were already present handing out gospel tracts, so we joined them for a time.
Today seemed to be a day of debates. Within minutes of arriving I was engaged in a debate with three Catholic priests from the USA. One of them kept yelling "Shut Up!" While another priest was telling me that the priest is the mediator between God and man. This interested me, so I handed the priest my Bible and asked him to please read 1 Timothy 2:5, as he read it I asked "According to the Scripture, who is the only mediator?" He replied "Jesus Christ" and then went silent. Before leaving he thanked me for showing him that verse and said that he needed to study out some issues now. Please pray for that man.
After finishing the discussion with them, I turned and was engaged in debate with two Mormon missionaries. These men were out pushing that we must have good works in order to be saved. So I spoke to them on that topic for awhile, and I illustrated how that we do good works not to be saved, but rather to be saved. After explaining this to them I showed them to Ephesians 2:8-9. The senior missionary wanted to leave the discussion, but the junior missionary was very interested. After talking for awhile the junior missionary said "I agree with you, the Book of Mormon is wrong." This statement caused the senior missionary to drag him away. Please also pray for him.
Once again I turned, and this time I was in a debate with a traditional Roman Catholic who was a fan of having the mass sung in Latin. We had a good discussion in regards to the Bible and salvation. He didn't like the state of the modern Roman church, and wanted it to return to the traditional teachings. We spoke at length about salvation and then parted on good terms.
By this time I was starting to feel like this was the day of debate, then before I knew it I was once again locked in a discussion. This time with two Franciscan Monks. These men were very polite, and were very well educated in the Bible. We discussed a variety of issues from the immaculate conception of Mary to salvation by works or by grace. It was a great time of chatting, and we all left on very good terms.
I spent the rest of the day handing out tracts, and I thought that perhaps I wouldn't need to debate anymore. But then once again an angry American priest appeared, so I engaged him in debate while his French friend yelled at Yorke in French. After talking for awhile about Jesus being the bread of life, it became clear that this priest did not know his Bible. So I used the Scripture to show him the gospel, the priest quickly stated "I must leave, and go um... pray now." Then left.
The rest of the day was quiet, with many tracts going out.
At the end of the day we tallied up the total number of tracts handed out in three days, and we estimated that over 30 000 tracts were given to those at World Youth Day. Please pray for all those that received the gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. - Psalms 145:1
As I laboured today, I was very mindful of the fact, that it was only by God's providence, that this preaching of the gospel was being accomplished. Adversity was plentiful in many ways, yet God made a way for the gospel to be preached, and what a privilege to those who heard it.
Let no man say, Jesus Christ is dead, for He still commands creation, and He still works to the end that God be glorified.
It must have been almost an hour and 30 minutes into preaching, that a young lady heckler admitted that her grandparents were Christians. My heart just leapt for wonder, knowing that she was only standing before a gospel preacher, because God loved her grandparents, and had designed her day to bring her this way.
At the completion of the gospel being preached, a friend whose name I do not know, preached the gospel for a further three minutes, and it was quite good.
Immediately I was met by a family of Egyptians, who were Christians come to Brisbane, to love the Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were very kind to me, and we exchanged contact details. Apparently a young man of about fifteen years, heard the gospel preached last week and brought his whole family out to listen this week.
PS. If you are interesting in joining our team, please be present at Surfers Paradise sign, at the end of Cavill Ave (beach side), at 2PM on Sunday. You can contact me on 0412 759 536.
Please pray that those who are converted have confidence to come to me, and seek fellowship!
Anna my lovely wife joined me in witnessing to the lost of Sheffield this week, we prayed together beforehand and pleaded with God for the souls of those we would speak to today. As the weather was fine, Fargate was full of people and opportunities.
We began by handing out tracts while we waited for some others to join us. During this time many people took tracts and we both had a few people stop to ask what it was all about. While the couple of people Anna spoke to were hard of heart and cursed God, I had a good conversation with a pair of young men. While they didn't give me their names they both gave me their full attention and listened well. There was a few self justifying comments when they heard of the law and judgement, but they quickly were settled when we examined the justice of that judgement. I rejoiced as these two young men heard the gospel and left having given me assurance they would turn to God. We entrust them to your great hand Lord God and pray that you would draw them to you and keep them in the Lord Jesus Christ until they come to heaven.
After distributing the tracts we had, I set up to preach under the trees. I preached the great divide between the great gifts of God to us (life, a world to live in, food, clothing, sun, fellowship etc.) and the stingy and miserly gratitude that mankind shows Him in response. Worse than this we tend to hatefully use the very name of God as a swear word and interjection! Most would be aghast if you did this with their loved one's name, as any Christian should be if they hear the name of God blasphemed. A group of young ladies walked past laughing and I called out one of them and began to talk with her about her own response to God and her position before Him according to the law. We unfortunately were interrupted by her friend and she left so they didn't hear the whole gospel.
During this however Caz stopped with his mate and they wanted to speak to me about the things of God. Caz was proud and wanted to be able to stand before God and be justified without repentance and faith in someone else's work. In short he wanted to be able to do it himself - sadly the desire of most people. Again part way through Caz and his friend had to go and though they left with a tract it was sad to see him leaving still wanting self justification.
Next up was Anna, she doesn't preach very often any more but when she does I am always encouraged by her clear exposition of the scriptures and clear presentation of the gospel. During her preaching a couple of young people stopped to listen for a moment and then came back to listen to her. She engaged them on weather or not they were good and then went on to preach the gospel to them. Anna is very expressive when she preaches, today the stool that we use to preach from copped the full force of that expressiveness as Anna stomped on it to express the hate that most have for the name of God in blasphemy. The stool promptly broke into many pieces and so we have not stool but thankfully also no one was hurt either. At this the preaching to the young people became one-to-ones and many good conversations followed.
One particular couple stayed around for a period to talk and we were able to talk with them at length about the gospel and give apologetics for the faith that we have in Jesus Christ. The time was congenial and they left with smiles and tracts.
Praise God that He uses us to speak, may His word not return void!