One very interesting chat I had was with a Roman Catholic man. When I asked him why he is going to Heaven, he responded, "It's by faith and works." So I pulled out my Bible to show him Ephesians 2 where it says we are saved by faith and not works, but he said, "How can you as a man interpret the Bible?"
Hear more about this in the video report below.
To God alone be the glory!
Be encouraged, watch the following video battle log report below from Saturday's outreach and see how God is working in this part of Australia.
"God's Word never returns void" Brisbane Evangelism 30 March 2013
Who can compare to God? Praise be to Him!
We are excited to announce that the usual evangelism report for the Brisbane and Gold Coast street teams will now be in video format. The benefit of this is that you'll get to see snippets of what actually happens on each of the outreaches, the people we encounter, and get to hear from those on the team itself. We will strive to have a video uploaded for almost every week's outreach.
This is our first video Battle log for the Brisbane team.
To God be the glory!
The temperature was cool, as the team met beforehand for prayer together. This evening, we had a very decent sized team ready to speak to people about Jesus. After reading Romans 10, concerning how “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ”, and that “people cannot hear without someone preaching”, the team moved over to Queen St Mall to begin our outreach.
Luke was keen to kick off the preaching for tonight, and so once the free Bibles table had been set up, he stood up on the soapbox and begin to preach. Luke is a new-ish open air preacher, and he did well this evening in presenting the gospel. It is good to see him grow in confidence and zeal for open air preaching. He did not have any hecklers and after about 20 minutes he concluded his message calling for people to repent and believe the gospel.
After this, Blake stood up to preach and started off by preaching about the parable of the Prodigal son. By this time, a bunch of guys from the Brisbane Atheists (really, agnostics) group had arrived and started debating with Blake. They discussed issues such as evolution and whether it is true. Blake argued that it isn’t because of the extreme lack of evidence.
He then preached about the coming judgement and that the fact that we’ll all stand before the creator God one day to give an account of our lives. This then lead to him preaching about sin, and about the only way of forgiveness of sins, by faith in Jesus Christ – his death and resurrection. He preached probably over an hour, answering all the various questions people had.
After this, Josiah and then Alex faithfully preached the gospel, calling all who were listening to repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. One of the people listening to Alex asked the question, “How can God send people to Hell forever for a finite crime?” Alex responded by saying that it is up to God the judge to define the punishment, and he has defined it thusly.
But he also mentioned that it’s not as though those who will be sent to Hell, will instantly stop sinning. It’s likely they will keep on sinning, and therefore keeping extending their sentence there. Alex then pointed out that because the punishment for sin is so severe, it really shows how important it is to have your sins forgiven.
Meanwhile, Luke and a few other team members reported to me that this evening they had been having some great witnessing encounters with people. Tonight quite a number of Bibles were given out to all those who were interested including a bunch of teenagers. This group of teenagers had been hanging around for the whole time we were there, at first being really immature in the things they were saying and doing, but a number of the team were able to witness to them throughout the evening, and it appeared that a lot of them were having a change of heart. They wanted a Bible and said they were going to start reading it. Please pray that God will draw them unto Himself and grant them repentance and faith.
To God be the glory for another great night!
Tonight the team had about fifteen Christians, this larger than usual number came from God sending an extra sister and some brothers in Christ to join in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ on Queen Street. I was encouraged to see more Christians out witnessing tonight, because every extra person makes a difference to the entire team.
The preaching line-up was Yarran, Lindsay, Josiah and Ryan. As usual, the authoritative message from God as revealed in the scriptures was proclaimed in the open-air, private conversations, and through the distribution of gospel tracts.
One of the preachers explains: the great and glorious God who has made the world and everything in it, who gives us our very life and being, has not been obeyed by humanity. All have broken God's commandments, including those proclaiming this message, by things such as lying, stealing, getting drunk, having sexual desires for others outside of marriage, by failing to worship God perfectly. God is good and hates and punishes evil, and when left to ourselves, we will receive this punishment in hell for eternity. However, God sent Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man, He lived perfectly in God's eyes, never breaking His commandments. Then He laid down His life willingly through allowing himself to be executed through crucifixion. Jesus did this to take the punishment for the evil of His people, and then rose again to life, giving life to His people. God commands all people everywhere to turn from their evil towards trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation from evil and the wrath of God.
During the gospel proclamation in the open air, a young lady and young man interacted with the preacher. “Have you ever told a lie?”, the preacher says. The young lady hesitates and the preacher asks the young man with her, “Has she told a lie?”, with him responding promptly as witness to her guiltiness. The preacher is quick to explain, “I also have told a lie”, and proceeds to ask further questions. The young man interjects with opposition to God's standard of perfection. Nevertheless, the conversation hastily reveals that like the preacher, the young lady has disobeyed God. A sight that could shock many, that the voices of both the preacher and the young lady reveal that they deserve to spend their eternity in hell under God's punishment for breaking His commands.
Following this, the preacher inquires of the young lady for her knowledge of Jesus, receiving a blank response. Jesus' identity and actions are explained with joy, “Jesus is God's son, fully divine and fully human, He lived perfectly 2000 years ago. He died on the cross in order to take the punishment for people like you and I, those who are His people. He paid the punishment for their evil in full, and rose again from the grave to give them life. Jesus commands you and I to turn away from our evil and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from God's wrath” The preacher asks, “have you turned from your evil and trusted in Jesus?”
After her voice had responded, she was given a business-sized card that contained a summary of what her ears had already received. With haste the young man took the unknown card and threw it away, in a vain attempt to diminish the power of the message given by God Himself. Promptly, the preacher gave her another card that found rest in her pocket.
How have you responded to the Lord Jesus?
If you have turned from your evil and trusted in Jesus, please gather with the rest of your family in Him to share the message of God's full and complete salvation from sin and His wrath, if you live near Brisbane, please join us in serving our loving God on a Saturday night at 7:30pm in King George Square, Brisbane. If you have questions, please visit us outside Copenhagen/Myer Center on Queen St at 9pm.
Never to disappoint, Saturday night again proved to be quite eventful! There were a few of us out tonight, which was good because it was football night and the fans were loud and proud.
I was the first one up to preach and I decided to open with Romans 6:23 ”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. We live in a society that understands the concept of an owing wage, many people live for their weekly paycheck! Here we learn that the wage for our rebellious attitude towards God is death. Death is a punishment we deserve and is owed on the basis of our failure to worship and serve our Creator God. Earlier in the book of Romans we are told that “none is righteous, no, not one” and “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Sin is universally participated in by humanity and therefore we are all deserving of death. Since we are all guilty of sinning against God, we all face this. But Romans 6:23 also points to a free gift of eternal life. How do you receive this? Through Jesus Christ. 2000 years ago Jesus came to earth for a purpose to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21) Jesus did this by living the perfect life we couldn’t live before laying his life down and dying on the Cross and rising from the dead 3 days later. He did this in order to take the hell- punishment for the sins of his people. God commands you to turn from your sin, repent and place your faith in Christ and his righteousness. Those who have done this show their heart has been changed and have been born again, assured of eternal life.
It wasn’t long before some hecklers arrived. First up was a lady who claimed to be a pagan. She did not want to listen or engage in conversation. Instead, she just wanted to protest. Despite her abuse, the plus side was that her protests attracted an audience which enabled more people to hear the Gospel. However, her friend was a lot more aggressive and began screaming for me to stop preaching. Lindsay and Yarran stepped in front of me to try and calm the guy down, which worked for a time. However, he would walk off and then come back again and scream his abuse. After a couple of rounds he became increasingly violent, grabbing my shirt and trying to pull me off the box. At this point the Police had been called and he made no further attempts to attack me.
As Lindsay stepped up to preach, he came back again. This time he was jumping in the garden behind Lindsay and looked like he might launch himself to knock Lindsay off the box. By this time, the Police had arrived and they were quick to remove the man from injuring himself or others around him. After giving testimonies to the Police, the man was removed and his lady friend also. This ended our initial opposition and the rest of the night went without a hitch.
I was able to spend a good majority of what was left of the night doing some one-to-ones and handing out tracts with Aaron. I was able to talk the Gospel through with a Samoan group who said they occasionally go to church. It was a fruitful conversation and they all took tracts and were given free Bibles. I also had a conversation with a fellow who trusted in Science, even though he wasn’t sure what answers Science actually gave him. It was good that he was willing to listen as I explained that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation…I think he took a tract as well.
It certainly is a challenging time as each week presents new struggles. Lately, we have had a pretty consistent team of preachers and people handing out tracts. However, with a recent increase in violence we have had to be extra cautious in dealing with aggressive hecklers. Again, we are fortunate to freely proclaim the Gospel and speak the message of Salvation. Praise God for His works!
Atheists. Aggressive hecklers. Police: A fairly typical Saturday night at Queen st. mall. Nonetheless, a great opportunity for the message of Salvation to be proclaimed.
It was a full moon tonight. I was the first one to preach and it wasn’t long before a small group of our atheist friends arrived. Fortunately they weren’t as vocal this early in the evening and the Gospel was preached for a small time unhindered. One of them sarcastically made a comment, “What did Jesus actually on the Cross? Did he really do anything?” This was an excellent springboard for the Gospel so I was able to explain how humanity is under the just anger of God because of the evil we commit against him and therefore we are all deserving of punishment in hell. However, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and was the perfect sacrifice when he lay his life down for the sins of his people, taking their punishment upon himself. Praise be to God who changes the hearts of sinful man, granting them to turn from their sin and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection in order for them to stand blameless before God, on account of Christ, and receive eternal life! Unfortunately my voice gave way after a short time so I stepped down for Alex to preach.
Alex was the second preacher up and had the pleasure of dealing with hecklers for the majority of the time. The typical questions/assertions were employed by the Atheists as the basis for their arguments against the Truth. “Other than the Bible what proof do you have that God exists?”, “Prove that Jesus rose from the dead….no you can’t use eyewitness testimony, that is invalid”, “Can God make a burrito so hot that he cannot eat it?”. There were, however, some good questions that were asked. One of them, was to the effect of, “If one man in his whole life only stole a loaf of bread and another was a mass murderer, would they both go to hell?” Again, this provided the opportunity to explain the Gospel and warn of the coming judgment. James 2:10-11 tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said “Do not commit adultery”, also said, “Do not murder”. If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law”. Likewise, the man who is not a murderer but is a thief is accountable as a person who is guilty of disobeying the commands of a holy God who demands justice. So then, we are all equally deserving of hell.
Our 3rd preacher for the evening was a new-comer to OP13, named John. Ryan spotted him preaching alone not far from where our usual spot is and invited him to join us. He eagerly jumped up on the box and preached for a small time, imploring people to repent and turn to Jesus.
Next up was Ryan, who also had a good crowd of hecklers whose questions Ryan was able to answer. As is often the case, the later it gets the more people there seems to be and while this is a great opportunity for the Gospel, it also carries the danger of drunken people getting aggressive. Unfortunately Ryan was the target of such aggression. It seems that a person in the crowd was offering money for someone to punch/kick Ryan. One of them obliged and made an attempt to kick Ryan but did not make full contact. The police were called but the guys responsible had fled. Bek managed to capture them on camera and fortunately Ryan was uninjured. This sort of opposition has become increasingly regular over the last few months. Praise God no serious harm has befallen any of us but it is a demonstration of peoples hatred towards this message and towards God.
By this time it was getting close to 12:00 so I finished up, preaching for 15 mins.
We are blessed to be able to proclaim this great message of Salvation each week, uniting together in the hope we share. There were some good one-on-one conversations over the course of the night and many tracts handed out. Despite the occurrence of events, the Gospel was proclaimed faithfully and many people heard it although we have no power to convert people but it is God who draws his sheep and it is He who is glorified! How unfathomable that God would use sinful men to proclaim the message of Salvation to sinful men?
On Saturday night (14th May 2011), we were having our usual outreach in Brisbane city. While I was preaching, a few young blokes who had been listening to my message for a bit decided that one of them should plank beside me.
Planking is a recent fad in Australia which involves simply laying down very flat in a random location and then getting a mate to take a photo of it. It has recently gained lots of popularity, and even has been featured on news programs on television where some of the hosts 'planked' as well.
Well on Saturday night, a group of young guys planked beside me while I was preaching. I was at the time speaking about how life is so short and the reality that tonight could be any one of our last nights. For no one is guaranteed 100 years to live on this Earth.
I didn't think much about the planking incident from that point on until I received a phone call from a friend the next day. He was watching the news and he told me that very early Sunday morning a 20-year old man had been planking on the railing of his 7-storey building very near the Brisbane CBD and had fallen off and died. The news report mentioned that this man had been planking in Brisbane city with mates that night.
It struck me, that the young man who planked beside me was very likely the same man who fell off the 7-storey building to his death just hours later. My words about this possibly being our last night alive rang true for him. It is sad to hear of his death, but at the same time it should make us think about our own human mortality too.
The young man who died didn't expect to die that evening, but he did. And you may not expect to die until a very long time away, but the reality is that you could die at any moment. I hope that makes you recognise you should start thinking about what comes after death.
The Bible speaks about everyone having to give an account of how they have lived after they die. How would you do? The Bible says that God's standards to get to Heaven is perfection. But you'd have to agree that none of us have lived perfectly in our lives. For as soon as we tell a lie, steal something, use God's name in vain, or get drunk we tarnish our record. And the Bible says that what we deserve for our sins is eternity in Hell.
But the good news is this, that even though we don't deserve to go to Heaven (we haven't lived perfectly), God sent Jesus to this Earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross. His death on the cross provides forgiveness of sins; for Jesus on the cross takes all the punishment that we deserve in Hell. Jesus then rose from the dead three days after he died.
Jesus will only take the punishment for you if you do two things:
I hope you do that today if you haven't already, for today could be your last day.
In the midst of all the rain and storms this weekend I found a group of faithful Christians gathered in King George square praying to and praising the God of the entire universe. Josh was dealing with a flood at his church and house so it was just Ryan in charge of the team. I was glad to see that there were also a good number of others who had made it in. After a refreshing time of fellowship and prayer we headed up to the normal area in the Queen Street mall.
As it was still raining, Ryan decided that we would just hand out tracts for a period before starting the preaching. It was wonderful to see the gospel getting into the hands of people and the team members getting into conversations as people passed. We all managed to hand out a good number of tracts and as soon as the rain stopped Alex (not the atheist) got up to preach.
While Alex proclaimed the gospel a group of the team gathered around to play rent-a-crowd, but I thought to myself as I listened that there is more to it than that. The gospel deserves a hearing and every preacher of the gospel should see people gladly listening to the word of God proclaimed. I am often convicted by and encouraged by the proclamation of the gospel and I am sure there are many who weaken their faith significantly by refusing to listen to the gospel because they are “already a Christian…”, as though that excuses them from listening. Alex did an excellent job preaching the word and deftly dealt with the couple of objections that were given by hecklers. He has wonderful way of deconstructing people’s arguments and showing up the presuppositions underlying their objections.
Next up was Yarran, who as normal elucidated some portion of scripture so well that I feel ashamed of my superficial treatment of God’s word. Yarran poured out his heart into the preaching of the gospel and urged the people of Brisbane to turn to the one true God from their many idols. Though there were a couple of hecklers the night appeared to be a slow one with all the rain. The exception to this was the long stream of santa claus impersonators who varied between mildly and severely inebriated. Most of this crowd heckled as they passed on their way into the night, the few who stopped were unwilling to interact and despite questions from Yarran they would not stay to speak to us.
In the middle of all this a group of young women went past and I watched as between them they scoffed and one even made a lewd gesture at the preacher in jest. None of them were considering the words Yarran proclaimed and I at first thought that they were merely another group of revelers. I stopped one to offer her a tract and she said “I’ll swap you one of mine for one of yours” and handed me a tract for their church. Disappointingly it appeared this was a group of Christian women who had just been mocking the preaching of the gospel! I have seen this so many times in so many places yet it always saddens me. Please if you read this consider how it must look to non-Christians when Christians mock at the preaching of the gospel. If even those who claim Christ as their own think that the gospel of Him crucified for sin is a joke, then what will the unbelieving think? You may even think that this form of evangelism is less than constructive, but pause for a moment and consider how your response will either turn people to or away from the gospel. Lastly if you do mock, please consider who it is you’re mocking, if it is the preacher then consider the brother or sister in Christ whose character you are murdering. Christ died for them also. Worse if it is the message itself you would mock, then consider the words of Christ that “…any who are ashamed of me in this faithless and evil generation, I will be ashamed of before my Father and His holy angels”! Would you shame the Lord who bought you?
I was next up to preach and just as I stood up a regular heckler Wayne turned up with his son Rob. I have interacted with Wayne and to a lesser extent Rob for the last couple of months when I have been able to come into the city. During this time I have raised with Wayne many of the evidences from history and science that confirm that we are made by God and that Jesus is the Son of God and our only opportunity for salvation.
One of the witnesses to this is a set of studies done to support a very young age to the earth (by current standards) of 6000-10000 years old as is witnessed to in the bible. These studies have found substantial amounts of C14 in diamonds (similar studies have found similar in many other supposedly ancient artifacts/fossils/coal etc), also the studies have used alternate methods of dating supposedly ancient rocks finding a much younger age. For those interested here is a link to the studies in summary: http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-and-old-ages-in-disarray. This linked with secular work confirming similar results (Taylor RE, Southon J (2007). "Use of natural diamonds to monitor 14C AMS instrument backgrounds". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 259: 282–28) provide a major support for a young earth. As there is no such thing as fast forward or fast anything in evolution this is a potent support for the Christian belief that we are made by a supernatural being and as such are responsible to Him.
The other witness is easily found and if you will only take and read the eyewitness accounts of history from God’s perspective as found in the bible (note I don’t mean an exhaustive history!). This account is what I tried failingly to impress upon Wayne and the couple of other people he attracted (as always thank you for that service Wayne you are most kind!). We are lost and sinful people and need a savior to take our place in the wrath and punishment we deserve for our hatred and sin towards God. Jesus is this savior and loved us so much that He died for sin though He deserved eternal praise and worship. I urged people to this until I had no more time and no more voice.
Wayne was unchanged as is so often the case and continued to cling to his blind faith in the skepticism he has in all things Christian. I pray that God will work in him to soften his heart and bring him to repentant faith in Jesus. There were some others present and praise God they took tracts afterwards also.
For those of you who read these words we covet your prayers and your support in what ever way you can. The days are now here when people will not listen to sound doctrine and only want what will scratch whatever itch they happen to have. Australian Christians please pray for us as we work the streets of your homeland, petition the Lord of Glory that he would bless our work and bring many souls to faith and home to glory. Please also pray for the team members who so frequently (much more than I it must be said), give of their time and sacrifice comfort and recreation time to preach the gospel to the lost on your doorstep. If you can please join a local team and work in this mission field, there will not always be in Australia the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy now.
The night as always was a testament to the glory of God and we pray that He would be praised for His work in and through us both to save us and to use us in the glorious work of proclaiming His works.
The Bible is a Neolithic book! It was written in the Neolithic period! You cannot trust it!
Wayne was in fine form tonight. The heckling began while Alex (not the Atheist) was preaching. I stood in back play listening to the ramblings that is Wayne. Yarran and I were discussing some of the arguments that Wayne was using, and we both found it interesting that in the Neolithic period (allegedly) there was no alphabet or writing, so we were both confused how the Bible was supposed to be written some 4000 - 5000 years before the invention of the alphabet. But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good heckle.
Alex dealt with Wayne for some time, and then Wayne must have been on repeat because once again he went back to the Neolithic argument. It was at this point I jumped in and began to deal with the heckling.
I asked Wayne for proof of the Bible being written then, and his best argument was, “Genesis says there was a talking snake and unicorns”. But then his argument changed slightly to say that the oral tradition began in the Neolithic times.
When I challenged Wayne on these points and made an apologetic showing how unicorn, doesn’t have to mean a mythical one horn horse, but rather it could be a one horned animal and that the talking snake was actually Satan talking via the snake. I concluded by saying for you to disprove the Genesis account, your main argument has to be against God, you have to disprove Him.
Well that sent us on another round of heckling. Wayne the atheist started to talk about how some things are immoral etc. So I asked him on what basis does he make a judgement on something being immoral? His reply was that society determines what is right and wrong. So I took him a step further and said, “What if one society condones child rape, is that ok?” And Wayne replied by saying that it is universally wrong. Now he had an issue, how can right and wrong be determined by individual societies and yet there still be absolutes?
This was a question Wayne was unwilling to answer. So I put to him, “To say that something is immoral requires there be a universal moral law, which is not tainted by our own society values, if that is the case then there needs to be a moral law giver, who is outside of our domain, that is the being we call God. For there to be right and wrong, there must be one who determines right and wrong. An atheist cannot have a moral basis apart from God.”
At this stage Wayne was happy to let another heckler take over, this heckler had the deep theological thought of “What happens to the souls of cars when they die?” To which I simply replied, “Well that depends if they run on LPG or Petrol”.
The rest of the heckling for the night was fairly tame. We had some good one to ones and many tracts were handed out.
Praise God for a good evening.
View photos from the outreach, here.
The following is from Ryan Hemelaar about a certain conversation he had:
Doctor S backslides from atheism?
On Saturday, I got into a conversation with "Doctor S" from the Brisbane Atheist Group. We started talking about the Ontological argument - specifically Plantinga's formulation of it. Not sure what that is? Read it below:
A maximally great being would a necessary being, therefore if he can exist is some possible world, he must exist in every possible world (because he's necessary), including our own. Doctor S admitted that the argument is logical and he knows of no way of refuting it. So I asked whether he now believes the conclusion of the argument. He answered, "I'll have to go home and see whether anyone else has refuted the argument." I responded, "If no one has, will you then believe it?" He answered, "No, because it doesn't mean that no one has been able to refute it and just can't find it." So I said, "This shows you actually have a vested interest in not believing in God because you are unwilling to believe under any circumstances. For this argument is logical with its premises supported, so therefore it is not just a matter of the conclusion possibly or probably following from the premises, it means that the conclusion to the argument logically and necessarily follows."
After a bit of further discussion, he said, "I can admit there is a maximally great being, but that doesn't mean a 'God'." I asked, "But is not a being who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and so on, 'God'?" He refused to admit this. He tried to maintain that admitting that there is a maximally great being does not mean he is no longer an Atheist. I disputed this point with him, letting him know what is the standard definition of atheism in the field of Philosophy (according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - it doesn't mean lacking a belief in God, it rather means the belief that there is no God.
He then went on to try and deny logic to get around the predicament he was in, but I pointed out to him that logic is the basis for all rational discussion and so he cannot do that.
Soli Deo Gloria!