Once again we faced the cold, oh joys of evangelism in winter. But, we had a big team and we were ready to reach as many as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My plan for the night was not to open air preach, my reasoning behind this was because for the past week I had been battling a cold. So I thought, I’ll just hand out tracts and talk to people.
The first preacher up for the night was Alex, as he preached three teenage girls began to heckle. But they were poor hecklers, they would just talk about random things, not engage the preacher and generally just be a nuisance. Alex engaged them on a one to one basis while Ryan took over the preaching.
As Ryan preached, Wayne began to heckle. As usual the arguments of Wayne were built of a false understanding of Christianity. He quite regularly tries to argue, but the problem is he doesn’t understand the reformed evangelical position.
Once Ryan finished preaching Alex got back up and preached some more. He did a good job in engaging with people and presenting Jesus Christ. One thing I love about the preaching of Alex is that he will engage in apologetics and also the gospel. This proves to be very fruitful in the open air.
After Alex finished preaching, Blake jumped up and began to thunder out the Gospel. A few people stopped to listen as for about 40 minutes he expounded on who Christ is and what He has done.
By the time he stood down, it was about 11:20pm, so John got up to preach. Wayne circled in and began to heckle. At some points it appeared as if John was about to be swamped, so I tagged in and began to engage Wayne.
Wayne was taking issue with the doctrine of original sin, so I began to explain the biblical position on human depravity, at this some hecklers who had been hanging out all night began to fire. One of them was a young man in really tight red jeans and the other was a young woman who claimed to be a nurse. The one claiming to be a nurse became very hostile and was threatening to hit me, it took a few of her friends to physically drag her away from me. Red pants continued his heckling, but couldn’t answer the gospel.
By now we were pushing midnight so I wrapped up and then engaged in one to one. The first person I spoke to was a solider, and it turns out he is a pastors son. He admitted that he was running and needed to come back to the truth. I spoke to him for some time and left him with a gospel tract.
Please pray for him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
A nice western breeze was blowing as we prepared for our weekly outreach. The city seemed fairly busy, which was kind of surprising since it was a fairly cold night. We met as per usual and we had a time of team prayer and bible reading. When 9pm rolled around we found ourselves setting up in the Queen Street Mall.
As I looked around at the team, I couldn’t help but notice that we were a few preachers short tonight. My mind was telling me that there was no way in which only 3 of us could preach the full three hours in the cold. But, we trusted that God would work despite the shortage of workers.
Ryan Hemelaar was the first man up for the night, and I was a bit surprised when he only preached for about 20 to 30 minutes. Normally he is much longer, but obviously God only willed for him to preach that long.
During his time of preaching he was able to deal with some interesting heckles and each time he was able to swing the questions back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After Ryan finished preaching it was my turn to preach. I began by dealing with the issue of death and why we die. Very quickly I had some hecklers.
One of the hecklers was a really scruffy looking man and his wife. There issue was one of murder and abortion. As they heckled they soon began to ask about if abortion was a sin or not. I answered them that it was, but they didn’t like that. For the next two hours they stood and argued over the issue of baby murder.
During this time others hecklers arose, but the main reoccurring issue was that of abortion. Eventually for some reason homosexuality arose, and the ones that heckled me on it were claiming to be gay Christians. I pointed out from the Scripture that it was impossible to be gay and saved at the same time. But they didn’t care, and they openly said they didn’t believe the Bible (more fruits of them not being Christians).
At the end of the night there were many gospel conversations going on. God had been kind in bringing in a decent size crowd for the preaching.
As I finished preaching I found myself still in conversation with the woman who had admitted to 5 abortions. She then got really hostile and was threatening to attack the team. Her husband was furious and was saying how he was going to punch me out. It was at this we called the police, the couple soon left.
Please pray for him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I was running late to the city tonight. The day had been made up of a church outreach and then sermon writing. So I found myself having to arrive in the city at 9pm. As I made my way to the city I felt strangely ill and even vomited a couple of times. I dismissed it as merely being tired and I once again focused on the outreach at hand.
The team arrived in the Queen Street Mall at the same time I did and we began to get ready for a good night of outreach. Blake was the first preacher up for the night and he did a good job on expounding the truth of the Gospel.
After Blake finished preaching I decided I should get up. I began on preaching on the frailty of human life and how we aren’t assured of tomorrow. Within seconds of beginning I had one woman begin to scream abuse. She then turned and tried to pull her pants down to flash us, but her partner dragged her away. It looked like we were in for an interesting night.
Shortly after this 5 young Muslim men began to stop and heckle. They were making the standard claims that there is only one version of the Koran and that the Bible has been changed. I quickly dealt with their objections and turned to the Gospel. After I explained salvation, they began to disagree saying that Jesus was never crucified (as the Koran teaches). I challenged them on the truthfulness of the Koran and they were adamant that Jesus never died, but rather Allah made someone appear as Jesus on the cross. To which I pointed out that Allah had deceived people, they readily agreed, then I made this statement which set them off, “If Allah deceived people then, doesn’t that make Allah a deceiver and one not to be trusted? If Allah deceived people then, how do you know you aren’t being deceived now?”
At that they went off onto to dogma and refused to engage in any more discussions. But hecklers beget hecklers and more arose to the challenge. This time the heckling gallery was made up of atheists / agnostics and a woman who claimed to be a Christian from an Assembly of God church. The atheists made the same claims as usual without any backing and many of them tried to attack the Scripture, but often times they actually didn’t know the very thing they were attacking. These hecklers did however produce some of the largest crowds we have seen for some time.
For about 90 minutes I preached and engaged the hecklers, then at the end I tagged Ryan in who continued with the discussion.
Ryan went on a preached for a while, and did a good job as usual. But, I must admit I didn’t pay overly much attention to him, since by now I was feeling fairly ill again and in need of a break.
As midnight rolled around I found myself feeling very ill and then Mr. Crazy Professing Christian entered in. He had been there all night but now he was engaging the hecklers. The problem is he wasn’t being biblical or factual, but rather he was making up arguments that were easily refuted. I challenged him on it and he refused to acknowledge anything I said, just kept saying, “I can say the same to you”. Those watching concluded that he was crazy and didn’t represent Christianity.
After this I headed home for a rest and also to continue the church work. All in all it was a great night. With many hearing the Gospel. SDG!
Soli Deo Gloria!
It’s hard to believe that is has been one month since last writing. Each week I sit down with the plan to type a report but normally church and ministry work take over. I do apologise to those who have been looking forward to the weekly reports. I will try to get this done more regularly. We have received an email from Alex the Atheist saying he misses his entertainment in reading the weekly reports. Well, we have had disappointments from Alex also, as the calibre of arguments coming from him for the atheistic front keep getting weaker and weaker, most time they are just this side of the outright absurd.
As the night of the first of May rolled around, I found myself quite tired, this was due to the fact that I had been out witnessing in Banyo for the church plant I pastor for the past two days, but it was good to have a change from the suburbs to the inner city. Dave Gee came to my place and from there we carpooled in. It was great sharing a ride with another believer, since we got to chat theology and apologetics. We were even able to predict the arguments that Alex and his atheist platoon would use later that night.
After a time of prayer and Bible reading, we made out way to the Queen Street Mall. Andre was the first preacher up and he did a splendid job. While Andre was preaching a man in a New South Wales state of origin jersey came up and tried to grab the Bible out of Andre’s hand, he then went to punch Andre in the stomach. I stepped in and told the bloke to clear off or we would get the police. After this God was kind to us and brought a good size crowd in to hear the gospel, but as usual the atheists showed up and tried to railroad the whole event in order to justify their sin.
Andre preached for awhile, then Ryan took over and began to deal with the atheists. We were surprised to see that there were less members of the Brisbane atheists out tonight, which in some ways was saddening, as I wanted to ask Steve the leader, why he never emailed me about a book that disproved his position on the Christian God. He did promise he would do it, but never did. I guess he wasn’t very open minded about the whole thing. Also, I was disappointed that another of the atheists did attend, he was a “former” Christian now an atheist. Last time I spoke to him, he said Richard Dawkin’s had convinced him, but he was unable to say what argument convinced him, or what disproved Christianity. Last time I spoke to him, he took a DVD looking at the other side of the debate, he left with a promise to watch it, but I have since found out that he binned it. Another atheist who is close minded and brain washed to his position. I just find it so hypocritical that they accuse Christians of not being free thinkers, yet they won’t ever look at opposing views.
Alex was running around yelling out abuse as he normally does, this time he seemed more hostile than usual and his arguments were worse than ever. This wasn’t just our opinion by Wayne the Agnostic stated this also.
At one point while Ryan was preaching, Alex was talking to a husband and wife about how the Bible was wrong. The lady said she was a Christian and the man said he was a Hindu. Alex was arguing that the Bible teaches that the world is flat. But, when challenged to present his evidence he tried to cite some Hebrew which actually disagrees with him. But being one who never lets facts get in the way of a good myth he pressed on. When challenged again on this issue, Alex quickly changed and tried to show that Behemoth of Job 40 actually shows the Bible in error. Sadly, his argument was all wrong from the beginning, first he misquoted the reference and then misquoted the verse. When he was challenged with this and shown to be in error did he concede? Not on your life!
Alex then started saying that the word “loins” when used of Behemoth only appeared in the NIV from 1978. He then maintained that before this time, it was in no Bible. However, if you would pick up a copy of the 1611 King James Version, you would see that the word “loins” appears in Job 40:16 when referencing Behemoth.
I confronted Alex with this argument, so he did what ever good atheist does when confront with facts, he walked away claiming victory. I’m sorry, but I was always led to believe that if you say something that is proven wrong, then you aren’t the victor, but rather you are the one in error. From this point on Alex became more hostile and angry. Next time he came up to me he shoved his finger into my chest a few times (I am sure he as a lawyer knows that constitutes assault). A few of those around later expressed concern that Alex may one day fly of the handle and hit people. I hope this isn’t the case.
Ryan was still preaching at this stage, and after failing to answer my questions Alex decided to heckle Ryan again. This time he said that Ryan could not argue science since he was not trained in science at university (for the record neither was Alex). When we called him out on his hypocrisy here, Alex said, “A scientist is one that uses scientific methods.” However, with that definition he shot himself in the foot, for he just allowed Ryan to argue science as a scientist.
At this stage the long hair atheist who is normally quite vile came running in. He said that we could not talk about science since we weren’t trained in it. But at that time Alex was talking about physics (which he was never trained in). So I asked him, “If one has to be trained in something to talk about it, then what right to they have to talk about theology and science, since they aren’t trained in it?” To which he replied, “This isn’t about me, don’t twist it!” Ahh…. Good to see the doubt standard of the atheists on display.
By now things must have gotten a bit hot for them, since they refused to engage Ryan’s arguments and they all walked off to go have a beer. This in an of itself is not unusual, but they normally return later in the night more vile than before. This time however, we didn’t see them again. Which is sad, since they still haven’t answered the questions before them, and screaming abuse doesn’t count as an answer.
The rest of the night went quite well, Ryan was able to expound the Gospel of Christ, as was Blake. They did a great job of explaining how despite all our sin, God is loving and kind in to send Christ to die on the cross for His people, but they didn’t finish there, they then went on to explain that Christ arose again and if you would repent and trust in Christ, you would not perish but have eternal life.
It was a good night, with much bad heckling. Please pray for the atheists.
Soli Deo Gloria!
For more photos from each outreach, view them on our Facebook page.
It is a strange and hard thing to pick up the pen (so to speak) and start writing again. In the months since my last report I have found myself being overrun with work. For those that don’t know, I have been appointed as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church and that has consumed much of my time. But, each week I have been going out as usual and witnessing, the only difference is I haven’t had much time to sit down and write a report. God willing this will change and once again we will be able to bring you a weekly update.
The Easter weekend was a busy one, by the time Saturday night had rolled around, I had already preached 3 pulpit sermons and had 2 more to go. Since I was away preaching at a conference on “Preaching the Gospel in a Post-Christian Era” I found myself arriving late to Brisbane. I was very thankful to have David Gee cover for me and my lateness.
The city seemed to be rather busy when I arrived, this was to be expected since after all it was the long weekend for Easter. When I arrived the team was just handing out tracts and talking to people, but that soon changed. The box went down and up jumped Alex to preach the Gospel for the first time this night.
As Alex was preaching some really drunk hecklers, who lacked much intelligence began to hurl abuse. One of them used the fact that Alex wore glasses as a proof that God didn’t exist. Their arguments were so far beyond ignorant that much of what they said didn’t need a reply. After Alex dealt with them for about 30 minutes he tagged me in. Now I had the joy of dealing with these hecklers, with a voice that had been strained already.
For the next thirty minutes I dealt with their arguments and eventually a good size crowd gathered. I began to bounce of their heckles and use their views to show why the Gospel of Christ was true. Some more hecklers arrived on the scene who were nothing short of foul, but nevertheless we pushed on.
At the end of thirty minutes my voice was sore, so I tagged Dave in who then proceeded to engage the crowd with the Good news concerning Jesus Christ.
It was then that an interesting thing happened, we had a young atheist who was in the crowd actually start defending us. He began to make arguments that disproved his own world view. This interjection came as a shock to us and also to the hecklers.
While he was doing this, one not very lady like female began to grab Bibles and throw them in the bin. When I approached her and asked her not to do it, she in defiance threw more in there. I informed her that if she continued I would be forced to contact the police. She was rather brazen and said she didn’t care. What she didn’t realize was at that moment two plain clothes officers were walking up behind her. The police pulled her aside and told her to leave the mall, she wasn’t so tough now.
I spent the rest of the night talking to people and handing out tracts. Our friendly atheist was still defending us and hanging around. So a few of us got to talk to him about the Gospel.
As the night came to an end we had one atheist heckler who was going after Dave. His arguments were basic and we were able to answer him. After Dave stood down, the atheist continued to heckle, so I stepped in and showed that from his own arguments he was wrong. The man didn’t like that too much, so he changed tact. But his arguments kept destroying his own position. It was at that moment the fight erupted. It wasn’t a fight between him and us, but it was between him and a homosexual man. This man stopped and walked up to the atheist grabbed in a hug and then kissed him. The atheist responded in self defence and head-butted the guy. We quickly jumped in the middle and split up the warring groups. The police eventually arrived and the homosexual group legged it.
What a way to spend Easter Saturday, who knows what next week has in store.
Thursday, 31st December 2009
“I’m a Doctor in Physics and a Satanist! I hate your God, He isn’t real! Christianity is false!” These were but a few of the heckles that were thrown at me as I preached in King George Square. It is New Years Eve, so we decided to have a special outreach and to commence the night by preaching in the new square. I started off by using an amplifier, which aided my voice greatly, as it covered the whole square and many people were able to hear. The only thing was that this increased preaching volume also drew in people who wanted to destroy the source of this new found volume.
The one heckler who claimed to be a scientist initially tried to break the cord that connected the microphone to the amp. But that failed, so he tried to argue science with me. It soon became very clear that he had no idea what he was on about. When he was challenged in this area he quickly hid behind his Satanist card. When I began to quote the Satanic Bible and address the errors in it, he decided he had enough and legged it across the street.
By now I was preaching without an amplifier, this wasn’t too good since I strained my voice by switching between the two modes of delivery. After I finished preaching, I had a break as I could feel my voice beginning to hurt. During this time Ryan and David went about handing out tracts to the many hundreds of people in the Square for some ball.
As the night progressed we went about our regular preaching routine. We had a few open air preachers up through out the night, and as we evangelised we had the honour of handing out thousands of tracts to the people of Brisbane city. Also, during this time we found it possible to have many great conversations, as people were interested in talking about many issues. This we have found to be the trend over the past few years. Every new years eve seems to provide a time for people to reflect and talk about things done and their plan for the future.
As the new year was coming in people began to celebrate. Then about 30 minutes after midnight the crowds began to leave. So we formed a preaching line and began to share the gospel to the thousands of people in the mall. The basis of a preaching line is this, in a fast moving crowd, you may only have 30 seconds to a minute to preach, so we line up about 8 different preachers and each preacher does a one minute gospel. Then the next preacher takes over. This line just keep going around and around until everyone is exhausted. Which in our case proved to be about 1:30am.
Overall it was a great night and we had an awesome time proclaiming Christ as one year ended and a new one begins.
Saturday, 2nd January 2010
My voice was still hurting from the other night and I was still physically exhausted from the really late night of Thursday, but once again we headed into the Queen Street Mall to proclaim the gospel.
It came as no surprise to us, when we saw that the city was nearly empty. People had spent all their money and were partied out after the New Year celebration. There were however, a few people in the city, so we continued our ministry of tracts, one to one and open air preaching.
The crowds were very minimal during the preaching and not many tracts were able to go out. But those who heard the gospel were worth it. At around 11pm we stopped the preaching and just focused on handing out tracts and one to one for the rest of the evening. In this time we did get to have some great conversations.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 9th January 2010
The city was a little bit more busy tonight. It seemed that the Christmas / New Years slump was over and people had gotten back into their weekly parties and drunkenness.
The first preacher up for the night was a new guy to the Brisbane team. For the past few weeks he had been ministering with our Gold Coast ministry, but had never been into Brisbane. He had stated that he wanted to preach, so we decided to let him go first, since it was the safest time of the night for a new preacher.
John preached for about 20 minutes and did an alright job. He presented Christ and explained to anyone who would give him an ear about how salvation is found in Jesus alone.
After John finished preaching, I stood up and preached on Jesus having the power to lay down His life and to pick it up again. And, I explored the concept of resurrection in today’s society. It didn’t take long before I had one heckler who claimed to know it all. This young boy of about 16 decided to stop and heckle, his arguments bordered on the absurd and it showed that he had never really given thought to why he was an atheist.
I engaged with Jay the atheist until Erin the friendly heckler came along. Erin was a polite young lady who raised her hand to ask me a question. She had given thought to her objections and I must confess I really did enjoy engaging with her. It is rare that we encounter a sceptic who can reason and debate without crossing the line into personal attacks. The crowd grew as we discussed Christianity in the open air. This crowd in turn drew in more people to listen and to heckle. Eventually we ended up on the topic of homosexuality. And it was at this point an aboriginal transvestite began to heckle me. He (although dressed as a she) started to talk about how he was abused as a child and how that action made him gay. This is one of the hardest things to deal with in the open air, an abused child. I assured him that he had not committed any sin when he was abused, and that God was going to judge the abuser. But, I also had to explain that sin is a choice and his homosexuality was a choice that he had made.
Well, the idea that he had chosen to be gay set him off, he began to scream abuse at me and say that God would never judge him for being gay. I opened the Scriptures in reply and showed him what God’s word said. For about an hour and a half we went back and forth on sin and the gospel. Most people were polite, although the aboriginal man was getting rather emotional.
At the end of the open air, I spoke to the aboriginal man (named Kelly, but later revealed his male name is James). We were able to sit down and talk about different issues. It was then that I asked him straight, “Be honest with me, do you like being gay?” His head dropped and he said, “No, I hate it! I want to one day get married and have children.” Rodney and I spent a further 30 minutes with James talking, then he said these words, “You guys are speaking the truth, I want to know Christ. I need to turn from this lifestyle!” With that we all got on our knees in the Queen Street Mall, then James called upon God for mercy.
That was an awesome way to finish the night. Please keep James in prayer, pray that God would save him and that God would be glorified in his life.
Saturday, 16th January 2010
Blake stood up to preach, the first time since he had returned from being overseas on mission trip. It was good to have him back on the box proclaiming the gospel to all who would listen. While Blake was preaching a young drunk professing Pentecostal named Josh came up to us to talk. I have spoken to him many times before and spent hours with him sharing the Scriptures to him. He was claiming to be a Christian, but at the same time he was swearing, drinking, cursing and his own words, committed rape and armed robbery. But, he was convinced he was saved. This stemmed from the faulty theology that said that one only has to say a quick prayer and you are saved.
Some of the guys dealt with him for awhile and then after Blake finished preaching, Ryan began to preach. Things got interesting around this time. I was talking to a young lady, who was from the USA. She had a Southern Baptist background but was now an atheist. Her main argument against God was the existence of hell and how he treats homosexuals. While, I was talking to her a fight erupted behind me, as I turned all I saw was this one young British man being thrown onto the Bible table. I quickly jumped in the way of the big fella who wanted to smack his head in and Kyosti got the British guy out of there.
Both of the fighters hung around heckling for a while, but Ryan was quick to answer their objections. I went back to witnessing to the American girl.
For two hours Ryan preached and taught the Scripture, many people stopped to listen and many took tracts. It was a good night, but at the same time it was hard. Please pray for all those who heard the gospel. That God may save them!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 19th December 2009
“Do you think it is going to rain?” I asked those around me. “Not sure” was the general reply. “Na, it will be fine, maybe rain in a couple of hours” chipped in Ryan. “I think we have only 30 minutes before it pours” Dave added. Since we couldn’t agree on the issue of the weather, both Ryan and I pulled out our iPhones and checked out the bureau of meteorology. The satellite showed rain clouds heading for our location, looked like it was going to be another wet night.
Oh well, in all things give thanks. As we were preparing for the night, one to one conversations began to occur. Ryan, as usual, was engaged in a conversation with a man who was sitting near our location. Then David was in a conversation with a couple who happened to be walking by. It was beginning to shape up for a great night.
We prepared to preach with the clouds looming over us. The first preacher up was Alex. It was only his second time preaching, and it was generally surprising to all of us to see how good of a job he did. As Alex preached a few people stopped to listen, and while the preaching was going on the heavens opened up and down came the rain. Quickly we scrambled to pack down the Bible table and then get undercover. That is, all but the preacher got to go undercover. The preacher continued his job of expounding the gospel to those who would give him an ear.
The rain soon passed, and once again we set up the Bible table. It seems that this Bible table is a yo-yo, as no sooner than it was set up, that it was packed down again as it began to rain.
After preaching for some time, Alex stood down and Ryan took over. As he began to preach, three young guys came close, one of them pulling out his mobile phone and film the preaching. It was then that one of them stepped forward, and with a big grin on his face began to heckle. His goal was to ‘destroy’ the preacher. He argued atheism, evolution and the validity of the Bible. Every single argument he presented was easily answered by Ryan, and then the man was on the back-foot as Ryan turned the attention to the gospel. For the next twenty or so minutes Ryan presented the gospel, this in turn created a whole new wave of hecklers. All of which were dealt with, in a loving and biblical manner.
Ryan preached for some time, then it came time for Dave to preach. Not long into his message he had three guys come up and hassle him with some questions. Out of the three only one showed an interest in what Dave was saying. It was this guy that Dave aimed at. While Dave was talking the man seemed to appreciate all that was going on and he began to shake Dave’s hand and agree with him in regards to the gospel. While this was going on, I was able to speak to one of the other guys, who was not interested in anything to do with Christ, but at least I was able to keep him away from the interrupting the preacher.
It was then that hostility broke out. I was taking a few photos of the proceedings when a drunk man wearing a blue shirt approached me. He leant into my face and said “Do you have a permit to take photos?” I informed him that we didn’t need a permit to take photos since it was a public place. In his drunken ramblings he said, “I’m a lawyer and I’ll sue you!”
He then told me that he had secretly recorded our conversation and it would be used as evidence against us. He then continued to argue that us Christians should not be out here and he would be seeing us in court. After awhile he lost interest in me but went after one of our other team members. The little drunk kept leaning in an aggressive manner towards this team member and he was threatening court action. We basically ignored him and carried on with the preaching.
By now Dave had another man up close to him. This man was probably in his 40’s - 50’s and he was drunk. At first he was hostile towards the preacher, and this stemmed from a hurt he had suffered. It turned out that just recently his father had died and he was still in the grieving process. Dave with much gentleness ministered Christ to him and the man calmed down and even shook Dave’s hand. Later in the evening we would see him again, this time he wasn’t hostile but rather he was smiling and he waved to us, calling out “Merry Christmas!”
Just before Dave finished preaching this young female came up screaming abuse. She was saying “There is no god! God doesn’t exist since there are starving people in the world!” Then, in an act of hypocrisy she threw the hamburger she had been eating at Dave, that which could have fed a hungry person made impact on the chest of the preacher as he continued to expound the message of Christ. The young female growing in anger walked up the mall, turned and then in a voice not her own, but rather in a deep masculine voice screamed out obscenities towards God. Dave, stuck to the gospel, and proclaimed the risen Lord.
The night was quite interesting, we had some good hecklers and many people got the gospel. May God be forever praised for His goodness!
Saturday, 26th December 2009
“And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy
that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)
The day previous the nation, and indeed much of the world stopped to remember the birth of Christ, and being just one day later many people were still in a celebratory mood. Louise and I sent the day having Christmas lunch with parents, then Louise had the ‘joy’ of going to work, while I had the privilege of going out to tell people about the Saviour.
The night was expected to be slow due to the fact that everyone was on holidays and many shops were closed. This expectation turned out to be correct, for in the mall there were very few people. After our normal time of Bible reading and prayer, we made our way to the Queen Street Mall for some evangelism. While setting up things began to get interesting. Yarran was on the Bible table having a great witness to two Indian men. Alex was preparing himself to preach, Ryan was handing out tracts and engaged in a one to one. Then the explosion came. The man to whom Ryan had been witnessing went absolutely nuts, when he read on the tract that Jesus considers lust to be adultery (Matthew 5:28). He came storming over to me asking who was in charge, so I tried to calm him down. He was not in the mood for talking, rather he was in the mood for yelling and this he did plenty of.
His central beef was around the fact that he considered lust to be perfectly fine, and he didn’t like the idea of his love being a sin in the sight of God. To top it off, amongst the abuse, the swearing, the name calling, the threats he said these words “I believe in God, I’m a Christian!” My reply was one that set him off even further, I told him the Bible would say he is not a Christian as the fruit he is showing says that his heart is wicked.
The man stormed off, then came back. This time he was standing on a park bench screaming a abuse and cursing me at the top of his lungs. He then jumped dow
n and came charging up to me. I thought he was about to smack me one, but instead he just got really close, so the that smell of alcohol would be in my face. Then once again he began to curse and say, “I would have become a Christian, except for you and your statements on lust!” To which I answered, “No, you would not have become a Christian, for you love your sin more than you love God.” He then ripped up a tract and went screaming up the mall. All this, and we hadn’t even started preaching.
After the eventful heckle, we thought it time to begin the preaching. Alex (not the Atheist) got up to preach first. He hadn’t been preaching long when a couple of hecklers moved in for the mock. These two guys had obviously been exposed to some wacko teaching in the past, for they started to ask about healing and being slain in the spirit. Upon asking these questions, one began to shout “I’m blind!” To which the other in a mocking tone came over, laid hands on him and yelled “BE HEALED!” The ‘blind’ man fell to the ground and began to cry out “I’ve been healed! I can see!” With these sort of mocks the heckling continued. Throughout all this Alex remained calm and cool, sticking to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For over an hour Alex preached, and he did a wonderful job. Not b
ad for someone who has only been preaching for a few weeks. It seems that he is a natural when it comes to preaching, and God willing Alex will develop into a gifted minister of the Word.
Ryan was the next preacher up for the night, he as usual opened up the Bible and began to tell of the glad tidings that are found in the message of Christ. The hecklers were fewer for Ryan, of course there was Wayne the Agnostic, who threw a few random heckles in the direction of Ryan. Then there was this one young man who came along and mocked the gospel. It even got to the point where he was saying a mock prayer while Ryan preached, and then tried to climb on the box with him.
It was sad to see so many people mock the God who is so kind towards them, the God of the Bible gives them life and everything they need to survive. Yet, they continue to rebel and mock Him. They don’t realise that their sin is an offence to God and that they deserve judgement. Yet, that God whom they mock, in love sent Christ Jesus to suffer and die on the cross in the place of those who would believe. Then, three days after Christ died, He arose again from the dead and defeated sin and death. So, if those who mock would repent (turn from sin) and trust that it is only by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that we are saved, all their sin would be forgiven. Will they do that? That is up to God, but the question reader is this, “Will repent of your sins and trust in Christ, who in love, died and rose again in the place of sinners?” Look to Christ right now and live.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 12th December 2009
The shrill blast of a whistle drew the attention of not just Louise and I, but of everyone in King George Square. As we looked for where the whistle was coming from a new noise reached our ears, this time it was the deep rhythmic beat of a drum. Still the multitudes of people in the square were none the wiser as to where the noise had originated. Then a new sound was added to the din, this time it was the cry of a female voice calling out “EVERYONE SAMBA!” Then as if on cue the drums beat louder and the whistle blasted again. This time those looking saw a dance troupe start walking from in front of City Hall to a more central location within King George Square.
By now people in the Queen Street Mall, King George Square and the surrounding streets were coming to see what the commotion was all about. The crowd continued to build as the music beat on and as those in the crowd began to dance even more people stopped to join in. Young and old stood in the square and began dancing along with the bikini clad leader. Photos were taken and ultimately it seemed like people were having a good time. As the crowd grew so did the danger, for the crowd had gotten to the point where they were spilling out onto one of Brisbane’s busiest inner-city roads.
As I watched the events unfolding before me, I thought it would be good to tract the crowd when the show had finished. Turning to my pack I began to get out all my Christmas tracts, as I thought these would work best, since the square was all lit up for the festive season. The only problem was that I was massively outnumbered. In no way could I manage to get tracts to the majority of the crowd. As I thought about this problem, a solution appeared. Crossing King George at this point was Ryan and Alex (not the atheist). Quickly I hurried up to them and gave them each a pack of Christmas tracts and then explained how we would reach the crowd when they dispersed. We were fully expecting the music to come to a stop then people would leave, but to our utter amazement this was not the case. With music still being played the crowd began to walk with the dancing troupe. Quickly we spread ourselves out and began to hand out tracts. It was very easy to get tracts in the hands of the crowd, all we said was “Merry Christmas” and offered them our literature. Within a short space of time nearly 300 Christmas tracts were handed out and then began the one to one conversations.
As normal Ryan had no difficulties in getting into a witnessing encounter, he seems to attract people who wish to talk. As the group surrounded him to discuss Christianity I continued to hand out tracts. Then it came my turn for a conversation.
A young man took a tract then came back a few seconds later and said, “Aren’t you one of the preachers from Queen Street?” I replied in the affirmative and from there a conversation began. He stated that he admired the work we did, even though he disagreed with us in certain areas. The discussion then focused on the areas of disagreement and it was then that he made the statement that on that particular day he had de-converted from Christianity and embraced Judaism. That was something I had to explore further, so I began by asking him if he accepted the New Testament as truth, he replied saying he believed it to be holy and from God. I pointed out to him that as a Jew, he could not accept the New Testament as truth and yet hold onto the Judaic understanding of salvation, for the Bible indicates that Jesus is the Messiah, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Then this man said something strange, he said “I believe that!”
I had not expected this reply from a man who had just de-converted, so I took him to the book of Galatians to show him that if someone has truly turned from their sins and trusted that it is by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that they are saved, then it is foolishness and a curse to put themselves back under the law. It was at this point that the man said, “I have been told not to debate Scripture”. I asked who told him this, and again I did not expect this reply, he said, “The angels and the visions told me not to debate Scripture, they all told me to leave Christianity and become a Jew.” Since, I was in Galatians already I showed him that if any angel preached something other than the Christian gospel, then that angel is damned. For the next 20 or 30 minutes we went back and forth over the biblical gospel. In the end the man seemed to be getting a little frustrated with the fact that I kept God as Sovereign and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice for the Christian.
The man maintained his position on having visions and angels telling him what to do, he also made the claim that he alone possessed a secret knowledge of God. These were all easily countered via the Scripture. Then he made this statement, “I am humble before God, but I must put myself on a pedestal for a time, since the world must know that I am the chosen one!” To which I replied, “I’m sorry, but you have a Messiah complex, the only Chosen One is Christ Jesus, you can’t take His position.” At this the man huffed and walked away.
It was now nearing 2030hrs, so we came together for a time of prayer and bible reading. The night had already been great for evangelism, but it was shaping up to be an interesting night.
As we entered the mall to set up for the night, I got to encounter our second strange person for the night. This man who claimed to be an artist came to me and began to argue that I didn’t know the Bible. The interesting thing was at this stage I hadn’t even used my Bible in the mall. He told me to read a passage of Scripture, so I turned to Colossians 1 and began to read. As the man heard about Christ being the Creator of all, he began to get angry and started to yell at me to stop reading. I refused and kept reading the Scripture. The man then screamed, “IN JESUS NAME I ORDER YOU TO STOP!” Yet, I continued. The man turned and walked away, only to return a few moments later. He came back and said, “Jesus did not create all things on earth, he made the angels and they made things. That was the job of Lucifer.” Again, I opened my Bible and began to read from Colossians 1, which shows that Christ is the Creator of all things, including the angels. Again, the man went nuts at the reading of the Scripture. He then told me that God was speaking though him and that I was to read Matthew 24. I turned there and asked, “Where should I start reading?” The man gave me a verse then said, “That is what God would say to you!” I agreed that God speaks through his word, but that is not the same as God speaking through him. The man then made some really non-sense arguments. But, it kept coming back to the fact, that he did not believe Christ was God, nor was He the Creator. I pointed to the tree standing in the mall, and said, “That there is proof of the Creator God.” The man disagreed and said, “God created himself! The earth created the tree!” I asked him, “How could God create Himself? The mere fact He can create shows that He must be pre-existent”. The man had no reply. I pushed him on if the tree was created by God, the man said, “No, the earth made the tree, God made everything!” I pointed at the tree and said, “Is that apart of everything?” The man nodded, I continued, “So, God must have made that tree, since God made everything?”
At this the man launched into a demonic tongue and began to pronounce curses upon us. He denied that Jesus was come in the flesh and that God was not eternal. I rebuked him from the Scripture, stating that he had the spirit of antichrist and was an enemy of God. The man walked off, but hung around all night. Constantly being a harassment to the team. This behaviour even resulted in Wayne the Agnostic to comment on how the night seemed to be more strange than usual.
Since we were light on preachers tonight, we decided to let Alex (not the atheist) preach first. It was his first time up, so we thought it best to let him have a go, before the crowd got too hostile. He did a great job of preaching. His voice was clear and even, and when the hecklers arose he did a splendid job of countering their objections in both a biblical and logical manner. Towards the end of his open air a couple of hecklers opened up fairly hard on him, and at one point it looked like he may lose control of the crowd, so I tagged in and took over.
The question that was presented by one of the hecklers was the issue of the Bible and the perceived inconsistency within local churches. He maintained that the Bible ordered all women to cover their heads in church, yet no one does it. So I read him the Scripture and was able to counter his argument. This then spawned into a women debate, the agnostics claimed that Christianity suppress women and order them to be silent in the church. I argued that the Scripture teaches that men and women are equal, however, within this equality there is different roles. I then showed him from the Bible how a female is not allowed to preach / teach in the church and how that is a male only function. But, I stressed that it was in no ways declaring a woman lesser than a man. I then swung it back to the gospel and how we are all equal before God as sinners.
For about an hour I debated and reasoned with the crowd. I had heckles from atheists, agnostics, Roman Catholics, Satanists and the like. Each time I would try to answer their questions and preach the gospel. At the end a young Roman Catholic lady came up to me and thanked me for my preaching. Even though she disagreed with what we said, it had made her think. Please pray for her.
Ryan by now was preaching and as the night got later the crowds got bigger and more hostile. While Ryan was preaching within the space of a few minutes there were two fights. The interesting thing was that it centred around one foul mouthed atheist who claimed to have all the answers. First fight erupted when a bunch of Maori got annoyed at him for his “know it all” attitude so they walked up and pushed him in the face. I jumped in and told the group to clear off. It was then that one of them turned on me and said he would punch my face in. I told him to step up and try if he wished, but it wouldn’t look good for him to punch a preacher. The others at this stage dragged him away.
Then a few minutes later an Irishman smacked the atheist once again because of his “know it all” attitude. Like before I was forced to jump between them and this time I cleared the atheist off. He was claiming victory because the preacher couldn’t answer him. I pointed out that the only victory he had was not being seriously injured by some drunk who wanted to punch him out. The man didn’t care and he stayed around for some time. Later on in the night Ryan engaged this man in a one to one and systematically dismantled his arguments.
Finally a young man who had been there all night heckling got moved on by police because of his foul and abusive language. It was turning out to be a rather hostile and strange night. So much for this being the season to be jolly!
At the close of the night, I was approached by a young guy who wanted to talk about the gospel. His friend however did not. He did everything to disrupt the conversation, but I persisted in talking to this one young guy. As I spoke to him you could see him come under conviction and he believed that I was telling the truth. He took an in-depth gospel tract and left. One of the agnostics saw this conversation and he remarked to Louise in a serious tone, “It looks like someone is about to be converted from darkness to Christianity.” I find it interesting that the agnostic knew that those without Christ are in darkness.
This Christmas, are you in darkness or are you in the light? Have you seen the need of the Saviour? Have you realized that your sin is against God? If so, you must repent (turn from your sins) and trust that it is by Jesus dying on the cross and rising again that you can be saved. Would you do that today? Look to Jesus Christ and live.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 5th December 2009
The air was dripping with the sounds of Christmas, everywhere you turned you could see decorations, trees and festive lights. Playing throughout the Queen Street mall, were Christmas songs of every description. It was plain to all those present that the holidays were here. As Louise and I walked towards King George Square we happened to pass under a seasonal walkway with the words “Love, Peace, Hope” written upon on its steal structure. But, how was it, that this city could associate such words with Christmas, yet forget that we cannot know real love, peace or hope apart from the babe that was born some 2000 years ago in a little manager in the little town of Bethlehem. As we neared the square we saw the Brisbane Christmas tree, and all around it were many people taking photos or having their photos taken. The celebration was on, yet many of those who celebrate the birth of Jesus do not realise that the Christ of the cradle is also the Christ of the cross.
The city had changed in the two weeks since I had last been here, in fact I myself found my life had changed for the better. As today was the one week celebration of being joined with the most beautiful lady in the world. Just the week prior I had said my vows and exchanged rings with Louise. Tonight was my first night on the streets witnessing as a married man, and I counted it an honour to have my lovely wife with me. This coming together in marriage had put my weekly routine out, so I must apologise to our readers for not being able to get all the normal weekly reports done. It was said by the atheists that the reason we have not been writing reports is because we have been beaten in recent weeks by them. Let me assure them and also those reading that this is not the case, in no way have we been beaten back by those holding to atheism, in fact by them coming out and debating us, we have found that our faith has deepened, and that we are now more assured of the truth of Christianity when it is compared to the foolishness of the atheistic worldview.
As the outreach began for the night, we found ourselves meeting in our normal location in King George Square. There we spent some time in fellowship, prayer and reading the Bible. It was during this time that we saw our main heckler for the night, for strolling across the square was one with whom we have debated many times before. He walked across the square in his black leather jacket and as he strode with an air of arrogance we knew he was in town for a debate. Upon seeing him I called out “G’day Alex!” This greeting was met by Alex holding up two fingers showing his disdain for us.
It was nearing nine o’clock when we made our way to Queen Street for the evening of preaching. By now the weather had changed slightly and instead of it being dry, we found that a few drops of rain had began to fall. This played havoc with our Bible table, for it is impossible to have a display table with tracts, apologetic booklets and Bibles out if the weather turns bad. Then to top it all off a strong wind began to blow down the mall. This in course blew the literature off our table and into the street. Eventually the rain stopped and we came up with ways of limiting our material from being swept away with the breeze.
Around this time Ryan came up to me and told me that Alex the atheist was in town to debate me. This is something I did not want to do. I did not want to give Alex the attention he so eagerly craved. My mission for the night was to preach the gospel and that is what I intended to do. But of course, we knew that any preacher would have to deal with Alex first. With this in mind I decided that it would be best for Ryan to go first and then Dave. The logic in this was that by putting up our two strongest apologists when it comes to atheism we would hopefully wear Alex down to the point where the gospel would go out all the more freely.
Ryan was the first preacher up and as expected within seconds Alex came in yelling his one word objection. It seems that if Alex yells out his disbelief long enough that must make it fact, since it is rare to see Alex engage with the arguments presented by the preachers. Ryan did a splendid job of countering Alex and refuting his objections. By now a second heckler had arisen, it was our old friend and regular heckler Wayne the agnostic. Wayne is in many ways different to Alex, he is much more reasonable and much nicer when it comes to talking to us. While Alex is of the militant camp, Wayne is more open to discussion and reason.
Sadly I didn’t get to listen to all of Ryan’s apologetics and preaching of the gospel, for I saw that over near the camera was a man who had taken an interest in Louise. So I wandered over to him and I heard that he was voicing his objections to our preaching. It was not so much the content that he disapproved of, but rather it was the manner in which we did it. He believed that we should not be doing street ministry for this kind of outreach causes wars and murder. While that may sound strange, in his country religion had caused war and murder. The man was Irish and his fear was that at any moment the Roman Catholics and the Protestants would start a fight. I assured him that while such things may happen in Ireland, we are yet to see that occur in Australia. But the man couldn’t understand this, his worldview was one of if religion is preached then it will cause violence. I assured him that it was people that caused problems, sinful, unregenerate people who hated God and if those same people killed in the name of religion then they did not know the Christ of Scripture. The Irish man wouldn’t budge, he changed his argument to say that it may not happen in Australia, but since we are preaching not far from two Irish pubs we had better except a war. My reply was one that shocked him and I am afraid may of offended him. I said, “If any Irishman comes to Australia and starts any sort of religious war, then he should get on an aeroplane and go back to where he came from!” The Irishman didn’t like that too much, but my position still held.
By now Wayne had walked over and was kind of listening to the going on. As the Irishman argued that there would be a religious war kicking off soon, Wayne interjected and stated that he believed that if I was pushed far enough I would support the killing of people of different religious opinions be it Roman Catholic or otherwise. I argued that under no circumstances would I ever support the killing of someone who disagreed with me in regards to God. While they may be wrong, as Christian I am told to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute us, under no circumstances am I commanded to kill them. Wayne’s reply was, “It was normal, reasonable human beings that built the gas chambers in World War Two, they killed people.” To which I replied, “You’re right, they were normal sinful, totally depraved sinners who made such things, that is why humans need to come to Christ and become a new creation, then those things would not happen!” Wayne just shook his head and walked away, it was at this stage that the Irishman had lost interest and wandered away.
By now the preachers had changed and David was up engaging Alex and answering objections from the crowd. A good size crowd gathered around to listen as he shared the message of the Gospel. Alex intensified his objections as Dave explained that even though we have sinned against God, in love He sent Christ to die in the place of His elect, so that if we would repent and trust that by Jesus dying, and rising again we could have all our sins forgiven. The hatred for God and the gospel flowed from the mouth of Alex. He objects and tries to make out that as an intellectual the belief in God is not plausible, but in reality it is him suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Alex hates the fact that God exists, that He is ruler and Sovereign over all. He especially hates the cross, for it is at the cross that God bled and died for the sins of His people, and three days later He arose again defeating sin and death. The sinful man hates such things and will object to it, for it shows that he is a sinful human in need of a merciful Saviour.
During Dave’s preaching a drunk man entered the crowd and began to head butt people. It didn’t matter who they were he would just walk up and ram them in the back. They could be atheist, Christian or just a onlooker, they were all targets to this intoxicated man. I stepped in and encouraged him to walk away. This resulted in him head butting my shoulder and then letting out a groan. Somewhere around this time the police were called in to deal with him, and it was then that his friends intervened and took him away before he could be arrested.
Dave finished preaching around 11:30pm, and it was then decided that I should up and preach. Both Alex and Wayne were waiting to heckle. So I stood and began to preach about Christmas, and how we should remember that Christ came to save His people from their sins. By this point Alex had opened up and began to heckle. His arguments were basic at best. He claimed that somewhere along the lines nothing made something and here we are today. I found the best apologetic for this was to simply quote a Julie Andrews song from the Sound of Music, “Nothing came fro
m nothing and nothing ever will!” As Alex tried to prove the unprovable I was more convinced of the stupidity that is atheism. It is true when the Scripture says “professing themselves to be wise they became fools.” No amount of evidence or countering would prove Alex, for his mind is made up and he has hardened his heart. However, God is still Sovereign, He is in control and salvation is all of His sovereign grace. Please continue to pray for Alex, pray that God would grant him the gifts of repentance and faith. But, also pray for Wayne and his son, who quite regularly heckle. Pray that Christ will reveal Himself to them, and that they would repent and trust in Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tonight as I prepared for the city I was concerned. Concerned because of the fact that it was party night due to university being finished, and concerned because we had a smaller team. But, our trust is in the Sovereign God, not in how many troops we can field.
Once again, it was good to be joined by our Australian brother who lives in Texas, USA. Andrew Peck came out for the second week in the row, and it was a major blessing to have him on team. He is a great guy who is passionate about the Gospel and the God of the Gospel.
The first preacher up for the night was Andre, he did a marvellous job of expounding the gospel and bring the knowledge of sin. In the time I have known Andre he has developed into a great open air preacher. While he has a long way to go (as we all do) he is turning into a good open air communicator.
After Andre preached it was my turn to take the box. I started off by talking about death and how early in the night a man became angry when hearing about the reality of death. Before long I had a couple of hecklers. One of them was a young man from the UK, who argued that atheism is the way to go, so I engaged him in apologetics and showed that the belief in God is rational and logical. This in turn created more hecklers. I then proceeded to engage them in open air discussion. But the whole time I kept swinging back to the gospel. The arguments were the same old arguments “Who made God?” “What about evolution?” I was able to answer these, but then two men stepped up who both claimed to have theology degrees. One claimed to have studied in Oxford, UK (I think he was breaking the 9th commandment). They wanted to argue Church History and how they believed the Bible to be wrong. I dealt with their non-theological objections, and found out there ‘theology’ came from the Da Vinci Code (Hope that isn’t a course at Oxford).
During this time another man came up to me and began to yell “THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL OF PEACE!” I replied and asked him, “Is not preaching Christ died for sinners a peaceful thing? For it by that action we can have peace with God!” The man ran off, only to return a few minutes later. This time he came back angry and began to scream at me “OPEN THE BIBLE!” Which I found interesting since my Bible was open in my hand. He then demanded I read John 1, I complied since reading the Bible is always a good thing. As I read the first few verses he yelled “THERE! SEE WE ARE GODS!” I asked him how he got that out of those verses, since they are talking about Christ. At this stage he yelled and ran away again. Only to return a few minutes later. This time I went after him for being a wolf, and for trying to deceive people with his demonic doctrines. The man went ballistic and ran off for the third and final time.
After preaching for about 55 minutes, I tagged Ryan in, who continued the discussion. He did a great job in countering their objections and presenting Christ to them. Whenever we went near the topic of Jesus Christ, people would respond in anger. People have a natural hatred for God and they want nothing to do with His plan of salvation.
The night finished with many hearing the gospel and receiving tracts. Praise God for His kindness in allowing us to share such a good message.
Soli Deo Gloria!