Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Praise be unto the Lord Jesus Christ! Today was quite an interesting day, and we could not have started, continued or finished our task without His Sovereign help. Glen Dibben reported a man undercover recording the preaching in a rolled up newspaper and earpiece. An atheistic heckler, gave me quite a bit of work to refute, and a new ager apparently on drugs caused a big scene. A Japanese film maker, made out to the police there was going to be a fight, bringing out two officers unnecessarily. Muslims debated my pastor, Glen Dibben, and praise be to God's wonderful grace, we preached the gospel to many large crowds.
Adversity seems to be the word to describe this day down the coast. It is amazing to me, how God uses a small number of people to accomplish so much. God's Spirit doesn't need anything but Himself, but he is pleased to the Lord's redeemed in His work. What a privilege!
Also an interesting point for me, was how often our hecklers have live debates, and sometimes get a little emotional, when they realise they had believed a lie, and are found with no argument for their position.. yet they almost always shake the preachers hand at the end of each encounter. It is an excellent example to the crowd, of how to have decent argument/debate, without losing it completely, or causing a fight. In fact, we make a lot of friends down the coast, through this historical method of evangelism ordained by Christ Jesus. Frequently non-Christians from various backgrounds, Muslim, atheists etc, will give out their private mobile numbers, or email address's for further conversations.
Thank you for your prayers friends, may God magnify His name here, indeed in all the earth!
May we be "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel"!
For Jesus name,
This week seemed to be about how unpredictable the weather can possibly be, we've had five and six seasons in one day not just the usual four. I walked into Sheffield on Wednesday in bright sunshine to preach with Jim, as it appeared to be just the two of us we began with prayer. Calling on God to work in and through us we submitted to His will in this day and prayed that He would save sinners from Sheffield.
I was first up to preach today and became the only one to preach due to the blessing of the Lord. I began with the fact that slavery is still a reality in our world today. Men and women everywhere are enslaved to sin and unable to free themselves no matter how hard they try and not only that but there are those who joyfully serve their master and embrace him daily. I used this as a springboard to preach the great need all have of salvation from the wrath and just condemnation of God. During this and before I could point to the only and great saviour that God has provided, a heckler stepped up to query me on a minor point. I answered his question from scripture and then queried him in return about his position before God, was he good or evil? I discovered that he was a philosophy student and it was plain that he and his atheistic friend were uncomfortable with the confronting demands of God's law.
There are three distinct ways that the human mind seems to go when confronted with the law that destroys our self-righteousness. First into hopeful legalism: "But God will forgive me because of the many good things I've done...." (or similar). Second into subjectivism and apathy: "Well you may believe that but I don't so it doesn't matter anyway....". And lastly into prideful dispute: "Evolution and science disproves the bible....".
First the philosopher was hopeful of his good works, we looked to see if this would work in the lesser court of man to see if it applies before God. Just as a murderer is no less a criminal for donating to charity, it follows that if we break God's law in any way (lies, lust, hate, blasphemy etch) we are not made right by doing good. We need a perfect life if we are to be made right through legalism, and as the saying goes "No-one is perfect....".
Second the atheist piped up that he doesn't believe God exists so it doesn't matter anyway. We first discussed the philosophical difficulty of claiming to absolutely know that God doesn't exist anywhere at any time Unless this young man was more than he seemed and actually knew all things, "Knowing the beginning from the end...." (being God as such) he could not logically claim to know there is no God.
Second I asked if Adolph Hitler did the right thing in Germany with the Jews? He said no that it was wrong. I then raised the very difficult issue of good and evil for the atheist perspective. If man is just a consequence of random chance then there is no innate value in man, woman or child and if there is no absolute moral law giver then there is no absolute moral law saying that it is wrong to do the evil things Hitler did. Atheism crumbles in the face of both immense moral evil and also immense moral good. It has no reason for no such things as the "good and heroic" rescuer who dies saving the life of a disabled child (the least fit and least worth saving as per evolution) or for the "evil and perverted" torture of such children by men become monsters in the camps of Nazi Germany.
At the mention of the theory Hitler worked out in practice, both these men chimed in with "what about evolution?". There are many issues with the theory of evolution so I tried to be brief because at this stage a crowd was gathering to hear the debate. I touched on the lack of the predicted millions of transitional forms in the fossil record (the missing links are still very much missing!). I also spoke on the implications of a changing speed of light for the ageing of ancient finds. It has been shown to be slowing exponentially by physicists, which means that the "millions of years" in the fossil records is likely to be artificial!
I ended by quoting Sir Arthur Keith who said "Evolution is unproven and unprovable, but we choose to believe it because the alternative is unthinkable....". At this I swung to the crowd and told them that the alternative is true, God made them and they are accountable to Him. Following this I was able to give the great news of hope that comes in the person of Jesus Christ and in His propitiating work of death and resurrection.
With this I had to head back to work and so handed things to Jim wishing fervently that there would be more labourers that would join us in this work.
Praise God that He uses such an unworthy vessel as me! May His name be glorified and His honour be forever more!
I was with my Lord alone on Saturday and rejoiced to go as He has commanded to preach the good news to all the world. In my little corner of this world there was plenty of opportunity in the peace gardens but as I arrived the rain came bucketing down and I ran for cover.
As the rain emptied the gardens completely I then went down into Fargate and preached there on the ultimate statistics, death and judgement. For the length of the preaching the only hecklers I had were scoffers who would not speak but rather preferred to jeer as they passed.
God is kind to me though, at the end He allowed me to see some of the hidden fruit that are not so easily seen as the scornful and hateful passers-by. A quiet young lady who had been standing nearby came over to talk with me. Though she is admittedly heavily influenced by the eastern religions, she welcomed the interaction as we talked through the justice and mercy of God. I urged her to read the bible and trust in it, she left with a smile and a tract in hand.
As I left for the day I handed out tracts to the people passing through the mall, I am always encouraged to see people taking the tracts and reading them as they walk. This is a great opportunity we have in this country, I am sure we will not always have it. Christian readers, are you taking the opportunity to witness while you can, the time is short!
Editors Note (JM): Brothers and sisters please pray for this man, who is willing to go alone for the sake of Christ. We love you Mr Gee, keep up the difficult work for His name's sake. To all of you out there, who witness alone.. know that you are not alone in these endeavours, and we pray God will send more labourers into the harvest with you! S D G
Chris and I met at the Redcliffe Pier at the usual time on Sunday. There had been a festival on at Redcliffe for the past 3 days; though the weather was miserable for it as there had been rain for half the weekend. As a result of this, I was unsure how busy Redcliffe would be today, but God saw fit to hold off the rain for the few hours we were there, and brought out people to hear His Gospel.
After praying, we set off down the pier handing out tracts and attempting to engage people in one-to-ones. A lot of people took tracts, but generally weren't willing to talk for more than half a minute. After we had finished on the pier, we set off down towards the lagoon, where we were able to strike up a conversation with three men who were waiting for their wives. From our perspective we didn't get very far as they were continuously changing topic, and would interrupt and speak over us when we were countering their arguments. Their arguments were of the standard atheist sort (with the standard lack of evidence and/or logic to back them up). For example, one of them claimed to be an evolutionist, but could only stare at us blankly when we asked for evidence to back Darwinism up.
After that, we continued on and met a man who believed, on the evidence of design, that the universe was, well, designed. However, he believed that there were multiple gods, which was interesting as it goes flat in the face of the Scriptures. He didn't stick around for too long, but I was able to explain to him that there is only one God, who expects our worship and devotion, and even though we all have rebelled against Him and deserve wrath, He sent Jesus, who took that wrath upon Himself on the cross, and rose again.
After that, we continued handing out tracts for a while, and then finished with prayer. Praise God that we have the opportunity each week to witness to the people of Redcliffe, and pray that the many post-modern people there would have their hearts softened towards the Gospel. Also, pray that God would rise up more people to join the team, and that His name would be glorified.
Saturday, 5 July, 2008
There was a light rain falling over Brisbane city as we prepared to share the gospel of Jesus Christ tonight. Cold and wet weather is not overl y common in Brisbane and the locals aren't used to such weather. So it was no surprise to see that the mall was nearly deserted when we arrived in the mall. But we don't preach for crowds we preach for the ones and the twos. If we get to share the gospel with one person then God be praised.
We were down a few numbers tonight, but we had enough to man all our normal ministry roles. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph. He started in preaching, but soon became sidetracked by a quiet Alex who was whispering questions to him. So we got Ralph to go to one side and deal with Alex in a one to one, while Andre preached.
Before Andre got up to preach he was engaged in a one to one conversation with a man who grasped the fullness of the Gospel. The man stated that he was going right home to repent and get right with God.
Andre preached for a bit, and there were very few people standing listening. While he was preaching a few one to ones were also occurring in the background. At about 10:15pm, I decided to preach, I had a head cold so I didn't want to preach for very long. But God had other plans.
I started by preaching from Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 20:11-15, and I focused on God's judgment upon a sinful society and how His wrath abides on those who do not know the Christ. Alex began to heckle at this time, but he wasn't his normal self tonight. He was yelling that I was lying, so I asked him to please tell those listening what exactly I said that was a lie. Alex couldn't answer, so it appears that he just made it up as he went along.
He didn't heckle to much after that, and I had the chance to explain the gospel to those who were listening. A heckler then opened up saying "you don't know the Bible, how dare you say Jesus Christ is God, the Bible says in John 1:1 that Jesus was ‘a god'." This is a common argument of the Jehovah Witnesses, so I countered it, but I was a bit surprised to find out that the heckler was not a JW but rather a Roman Catholic.
After preaching for awhile a small group formed in around me. And then a question got asked that always seems to fire up the crowd. A young woman in the crowd held the hand of a woman next her and said "What does God think about lesbians?" Instantly I knew this was an ambush, so I answered by saying, "The Bible says that lesbianism is sin, but God does not just judge homosexuals, but He will judge all sinners be it homosexuals or heterosexuals"
The women began to hurl abuse at me while I preached, and then from my right a big man came up yelling "NO NO NO! YOU'RE WRONG! THE BIBLE DOESN'T SPEAK ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS!" I replied by showing him from the Bible where it exactly condemns it. He ignored it and kept saying that it was my interpretation, so I read out Romans 1, and asked him what the correct interpretation was. He ignored and just started to make statements to distract from the topic at hand. It turned out that his daughter is a lesbian, so I understand why he was upset, as this man was professing to be a Christian, and yet based on the Bible his daughter was damned. But this man had more of an issue, he was showing much rotten fruit in his life, his language was something that would make you blush. Yet, even though he abused and cursed, he maintained that he was a Christian.
By now I had two young men heckling me who were Muslims, so I was trying to engage them in conversation. But the big man kept interrupting. He started to accuse me of attacking other religions, so I asked the Muslims if I was attacking them or if I was merely asking them questions. They both stated I was not attacking them. The big man didn't like that so once again he became abusive.
During this time a teenager climbed up next to me, and tried to hit me in the face with his skateboard. So I pushed it away, and then he accused me of hitting him. No one in the crowd believed his story so I kept on speaking.
I did my best to deal with hecklers, and answer there questions. The big man kept at me till after midnight, then as I began to wrap it up. He stepped up and started to curse and blaspheme God, then in the next breath say that he was a Christian. So I asked him not to curse God's name, and if he wants to continue in his sin, then please don't claim to be a Christian. The man said he would claim to be whatever he wants. So I replied from the Scripture and pointed out that the Bible says he is not a Christian.
Well that set him off, he stood right up in my face and started to poke his finger at my mouth, the tip of his finger was within centimetres of my mouth. His body language revealed that he was about to hit me, so I dropped my Bible behind me, and put my hands in front of me in an effort to fend off any attack. The man ranted on, and then he snapped. He swung out at me, and grabbed me by my jacket and started to pull me towards him. While he was pulling me he was screaming, so I took the appropriate action to get him off me, and to defend myself.
After a while the police came and spoke to both of us and then done nothing. Although one of the police officers said that they would be watching the man on the security cameras in case he tried something again. Just as we were leaving the man shook my hand and said "You guys do a good job, and I respect that!" A few minutes earlier he wanted to punch my face in, and now he is thanking me. Sometimes I wish people would just make up their minds.
Anyway, it was a good night, and the gospel got out!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ralph and Chris Addison joined me today for witnessing at Redcliffe. We prayed and then set out with our gospel tracts in hand. Many good conversations were held, with most people proclaiming that they are good enough to get to Heaven on their own (Proverbs 20:6). An elderly lady I talked to was such an example. She kept pointing to the good things she has done in her life to cover the bad things that she has done. Even after sharing the gospel with her and telling her what she must do to be saved, she couldn't humble herself and let Jesus be the way she gets to Heaven. For she understood that if you trust Christ, you must lose your own pride (James 4:6).
Another conversation I had was with a group of people who took great offence to the gospel message. They did not like being called a sinner, nor have their deeds exposed. So they threatened they would do certain things if I didn't leave them. So I promptly left them.
"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." - John 3:20
The whale watching boat went out as well today, so when they arrived back we were able to give tracts to all the passengers aboard.
There were major technical difficulties the entire evening on the Skypecast. Only Josh Williamson and I were able to speak. That meant that we could not even have a chat with any hecklers. Nevertheless, if people had questions, they were able to field them to us via chat message and we were able to answer them on air. It was also a rather slow evening with the total number of listeners amounting to just over 100.
Despite the technical difficulties, the gospel still went out clearly.
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!
Saturday, 28 June, 2008
Tonight was just your average Saturday night, not a lot happened. Just the same old routine of sharing the gospel and dealing with hecklers. It wa s a good clear night, and it wasn't as cold as it has been, so that created some good witnessing weather.
We set up in the Queen Street Mall at around 9:00pm, and we all knew that the first preacher up will have to deal with Alex, as he is a "Preacher Seeking Missile" and since he wasn't present last week we expected him to be as fiery as ever. We weren't disappointed!
The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, he opened up the Scripture and began to share the gospel of Christ. Not long into his message Alex opened fire upon him and began to heckle hard. Ralph did a fairly decent job handling Alex. Ralph is a fairly new preacher so he did well. Alex was heckling and walking back and forth waving his arms about. After awhile Ralph tagged Ryan in. Ryan began instantly by engaging Alex on an academic level. The amazing thing is that Alex seems to move the goal posts every time someone answers his arguments. But, it is growing tiresome with dealing with Alex as he uses mostly the same arguments week in and week out. So each week we have to answer his same objections week in and week out. Although, this week he did have a print out from an atheist website which gave him a few new arguments that we had to look at.
Alex argued with Ryan for sometime, then came over and spoke to me behind the preacher. We had a discussion in regards to the meaning of the word ‘atheist' and ‘agnostic'. I maintain based on the meanings of the words, and also based on the root words used, that you cannot be an atheist and agnostic at the same time. However, Alex believes that you can be an atheistic agnostic. We discussed that issue for awhile, and it seems to be that Alex is prepared to admit that there is possibly a god, but his pride won't allow him to let go of his ‘atheist' title, and become an agnostic.
During this time Ryan got to preach the full gospel, a few people were standing around listening, so they all got a solid message. Ryan preached for well over 90 minutes, and he dealt with a variety of hecklers like Alex and Riley right down to drunks who would just scream something random.
While Ryan was preaching a man who had been listening walked up to me and said "I need to be saved, can you lead in a prayer so that I can become a Christian." My reply was "Do you believe that God should save you?" His reply, "Yes!", "Do you think you are worthy of Heaven?" I asked, again he replied "Yes!". I looked at him and said "Sir, you don't seem to understand the fact that you are a sinner and that you don't deserve Heaven. You aren't ready to receive Christ yet as you still think God should do as you want Him to do." The man became angry and stormed off saying "Well, when I am in hell it will be you who gets blamed!"
After Ryan finished preaching, Andre got up and had a preach. He is very new at preaching, and he did a decent job in fending off Alex who decided to open fire. Andre preached for a bit, and then tagged me to preach. Instantly I was under fire from Alex, so I did my best to engage and answer his questions, but also to preach the gospel. It never ceases to amaze me, that Alex has stated that it is his goal to stop us spreading the gospel, but each week when he heckles he gathers a bigger crowd for us to preach to! His efforts to stop the gospel proclamation has actually increased the number of tracts going out, and also the number of people hearing the gospel via one to ones and open air. If Alex really wanted to slow down the gospel proclamation it would be far better for him to remain silent, and not gather a crowd for us by heckling!
Praise God for a good evening!
Soli Deo Gloria!
2PM to 4PM, June 29th 2008
The Esplanade, Cavill Ave, Surfers Parardise QLD
His Majesty, the Lord Jesus guided my steps today, as we preached for the glory of God.
David Strachnan filmed the crowd and preaching, and Snowy Barwick backed me up for preaching. It's such a delight to serve the Most High, with these His beloved children.
We encouraged each other to share the gospel, and prayed together that Jesus might be lifted up high, and God answered our prayer. Our God is a prayer answering God! For me personally, I find it especially wonderful to see the effects of His working through the gospel proclamation.
Smokey, my dear heckler, who has contempt for me as a christian, sat quietly on the preaching block, before we could start. God bless his soul. We left for the bathroom, and when we came back, Smokey was nowhere to be seen. Instead, two asian young ladies sat on the concrete block. I began to get frustrated, that we wouldn't start preaching, and while I considered preaching at a different spot, God moved her away, and we were able to begin.
Later in the afternoon, three young man sat apathetically in front of the preacher, and mocked the idea of God's existence and his judgment after death. However God was having His sovereign way with one of them, and they stayed to hear much dialogue with others, and one of the lads even admitted God's existance and his fear of judgment with Dave Strachnan. I feel sorry for people, when I consider the darkness that they live in each day.
Speaking of darkness, a young lady wearing nothing but a bikini challenged the preacher with her girl friends. Before long, God in His grace had brought her to an understanding that she was far more wicked than she first thought. As this discussion continued, the crowd got quite a bit larger, and the platform was made to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on thier souls.
A british fellow towards the end of the afternoon, argued that all the preacher had said, was rubbish. He argued God didn't exist, and that he could judge others. With some difficulty, and gratefully aided by the Spirit of Christ, I was able to communicate to him, that he had no right to judge someone in a world where God did not exist, and that he was guilty, before the God who did exist. He shook my hand at the end, and walked off down the beach.
An cocky and upset asian young man, who had been listening began firing foolish question after foolish question, at the preacher. The crowd had grown quite large and they had come in quite close, it seems many were very eager to hear. Our asian aquaintance argued the silly question, "Who made God?" Well, after some time, by the grace of Jesus, he was quiet. His question was answered, and we made one last attempt at the gospel.
One last time, King Jesus let me preach the gospel, and it was a lovely place to finish. As I stepped down, I was delighted to see all the christians present now about eight in number, were engaging in conversations and handing out tracts. Snowy reported that almost every one took gospel tracts today.
God the Father magnified His holy name in the past, and He sure did it again today.
Please continue to make many petitions to God, for the gospel ministry, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
Credit: Photo's by David Strachnan
This Saturday Anna and I headed into Sheffield to witness, as we went we prayed that God would go with us and work through us to save sinners. As soon as we arrived in Fargate I saw Mekial, a non-Christian friend we have made while witnessing.
Mekial and I talked for quite some time while Anna and Peter (who arrived while we spoke) gave out tracts. Mekial among other things struggles with how belief works in the context of the rest of our lives and what it means to turn from a sinful life. I spent some time encouraging him to not run from God, but rather trust Him and trust that He knows what is best for him. I also encouraged Mekial to read the poem "The Hound of Heaven" and think on the ways that God is pursuing him - something Mekial has often mentioned feeling.
Mekial headed off after promising to come and talk some more another day and I headed for the trees that have become our regular place of preaching. I preached for what seemed like a short period and though not many came to heckle there was still a number of people that gathered around and listened as I proclaimed Christ crucified for sin and sinners and raised gloriously for their hope and justification.
After handing out a couple more tracts the three of us headed around to the Peace Gardens to witness to the youth who would be gathered to enjoy the sun. Anna immediately got into a discussion with a group of people and while some of them joked and laughed at first "George" told them all to be quiet because he wanted to listen. This was the beginning of a conversation that went on for the best part of an hour and a half. During this Anna was able to share the gospel with both "George" and his friends, at the end "George" spoke briefly to me and said it was the first time a woman had talked sense to him (especially on this topic from the other things he said).
Peter who is relatively new at witnessing with us in Sheffield did excellently and held his own with a large group of youth all firing questions at him. Given some time I am sure that he will be very bold indeed for the Lord.
I spoke with "Josh" and his friend "Luke" and was able by the grace of God give them the gospel over and over again and answered their questions to the best of my ability. After speaking with them at some length I went and spoke to Jaunosh the local philosopher-goth. One of his friends was eating a bible he had received from Anna and Jaunosh was gleefully filming the act. Thus the discussion began with the depravity of mankind's heart and their enmity to God through their mind of wicked works. Jaunosh among other things tried to charge God with bribery and blackmail for warning people of their just punishment in hell for sin and rebellion against Him. I tried in a couple of ways to show him that God is immensely merciful in giving any warning to us but that He warns us in so many different ways and so often - this is grace apon grace to a people who hate Him by nature.
At the very end of the night a young bloke that we saw when we first came to Sheffield named Rob (sorry I forgot your name again Rob!) came up and asked if this was our job? I responded that no we do this voluntarily thinking that was it, at which he asked how he could become involved in doing this volunteering also. I got his contacts and gave him mine and Anna gave him a pack of tracts and said "you can start by handing these out...".
What an end to the night, praise God that He raises up workers to this harvest field. To Him be praise and Glory and Honour both now and forever more!
The evening started off very slowly, with only a trickle of people joining the Skypecast. Additionally, Josh Williamson also had microphone problems so that we couldn't hear him most of the time. However, God is faithful and he brought a flood of people into the room for the final hour of the Skypecast.
Also thankfully, Daniel Kissell (who runs the Australian division of Heartcry Missionary) was able to preach in the Skypecast, about topics such as: the holiness of God, the sinfulness of sin and the great news of the gospel.
I had a discussion with a man who had dabbled in a number of the Abrahamic religions but had come to the conclusion that Jesus came to just teach us how to live a moral life. He liked the concept of God being just, but not just enough to punish sin or his own Son. So I went through God's moral law with him to show him his sinfulness. But the fellow kept trying to contend that if he changes the way he lives, he will get to Heaven. So I explained that there is none who do good, and none who are righteous in the sight of God and so we are deserving of Hell because God is just. And if God let people who just repent into Heaven, He would cease to be just. So that lead straight into the gospel.
But when the man heard about Jesus, he resorted back to "He was a great moral teacher. That is everything he is about." So I used C.S. Lewis' Liar, Lunatic or Lord proposition. Jesus himself left no option for him to just be a great moral teacher; He claimed to be God.
Unfortunately during this time, our Skypecast administrator Janet (who faithfully helps us out each week) dropped out of Skype and couldn't return. So that meant we couldn't drop the fellow down to the listening area in order that we could preach the final gospel message. So I continued the conversation with the man and after a while Josh Williamson managed to log into the host account and drop him down.
Over the course of the evening, many seeds of the gospel went out and there were 457 people who listened in.
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!