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!
As I walked into the city I noticed that many of the walkways were free from pedestrians, and it seemed that there was a hush over Brisbane. There wasn’t many people out partying, nor were there many people out in the restaurants. At first I couldn’t think why this would be, but it soon became clear when I was told that University exams were being held that week.
As we set up for the night, people began to gather around a conversation soon developed. I was approached by two men of middle eastern appearance who started to throw questions at me in regards to “How do I know Christianity is right out of all the religions?” I did a quick apologetic, but they weren’t interested in answers. But, I did however, manage to present the gospel of Christ to them. One of them claimed to be Roman Catholic, so that assured him of favour with God. I replied that no man made religion can get anyone favour with God. He then asked me, “How do I find favour with God?” It was then I was able to talk about how Christ satisfied the wrath of God, and by repentance and faith we can enter into relationship with our Creator. At this stage he had to leave, but did promise to come back later. He took a tract and then left.
By now all the Bible table stuff had been set up, so I stood to preach. I began by talking about how in life, everything is captured in some way, be it CCTV or personal records, but then I swung and spoke about how God captures everything we do, and how He calls us to account. A few young people stopped to heckle, one of them was drunk and drugged out of his skull and one young female was talking in obscene language about sex. I engaged them and presented Christ to them. The beauty of their heckling was that it drew a crowd to hear the gospel.
My preaching lasted for about 40 minutes. After that Blake got up to preach. He did a good job, and then it came time for David Gee to preach. He went for about 30 minutes but then his voice gave way. But not a drama as we had Ryan to finish the night off.
Throughout the night we were able to have many great conversations and hand out many tracts. Also, it was great to see so many people getting witnessed to then have them walk away with a Bible. Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to all those who heard the good news tonight.
Soli Deo Gloria!
This week Josh was back from his 8 week long outreach in the USA and was happy to be part of the Brisbane outreach again. We met in the newly opened King George Square in the elevated part to read the Bible, to pray and to have fellowship. At 9pm, we walked to Queen St Mall and started setting up the Bible table.
Blake preached first up, and he had a few hecklers ask him questions and he was able to provide responses to them. He faithfully preached the gospel for about half an hour before stepping down.
Then Josh got up to preach. Wayne was delighted to be able to heckle Josh, something he had been missing for the past two months. Josh argued that evolution does lead to racism and Nazism. But Wayne disagreed and said Darwin never talked about different races. So I brought up a picture of the cover of Darwin's Origin of Species on my phone and showed it to Josh. For the book's full title is: "The Origin of Species by means of natural selection on the Preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life". Wayne was completely unaware of the full title.
Wayne then asked Josh, "Do you celebrate Christmas?" Josh said, "Yes". Wayne then pointed out that some other pagan deity as well has their birthday being on the 25th December, and so Wayne concluded that Christians copied from this other religion. So Josh responded by saying that no where in the Bible does it say that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, that day was chosen as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus because it was a day set aside in the Roman world to celebrate a pagan deity. Since Christians did not worship this other god, they instead celebrated the birth of Jesus on that day. Wayne kept trying to insist that it's part of Christian doctrine that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, and tried pointing to the Catholic Catechism. So Josh reminded him that evangelicals do not subscribe to the Catholic Catechism, only the Bible.
After Josh finished preaching, I discussed with Wayne for a little bit and asked him whether he thought that just because there may be similarities between Christianity and another religion, does that make Christianity wrong? He said it did because it means it was copied. So I pointed out that firstly, having similarities with something does not necessarily imply that it was copied. And secondly, that argumentation actually commits the genetic fallacy - which is, dismissing a belief as being wrong because of the origins of that belief. Even if Christianity did have its origins by copying from other religions, it does not mean that the beliefs of Christianity are wrong. He didn't seem to understand that at first and so I gave him a few examples - such as if someone said today: "America will never be at peace, for look at who founded it", then that person would be committing the genetic fallacy. As who founded the nation is irrelevant as to whether America can be at peace at some stage in the future. After giving a few examples, he seemed to understand it.
To God be the glory!
To begin the night off, I got into a conversation with two gentlemen - one a Hindu and the other a Sikh. Firstly, I brought them through some of the 10 Commandments to show them that they aren't good people in the sight of God, in order that I could tell them of the great news of Christ's death on the cross and what that means. I explained the atonement, that Jesus' perfect life and His death on the cross can satisfy God's wrath on our behalf, and so God can declare us righteous in His sight. The guys seemed to like the idea and agreed with it. But so often with people who hold to religions that are popular in the East, they simply add Jesus onto their existing religion. So I explained that Jesus said that He is the only way to Heaven, meaning that every other religion is wrong. They were shocked at this thought, for although they say they believe in Jesus too, it is always that they don't believe in the real Jesus whose life and sayings are recorded in the Bible. They thanked me for the conversations and said they would read the Bible and think about this important matter.
The first preacher up was Blake, he faithfully proclaimed the message of the gospel and some people stopped to listen.
This evening, Wayne (the friendly atheist debater) and his son were in again, ready to do some heckling to support their viewpoint. And so when Andrew got up to preach Wayne and Andrew had a long debate in the open-air over "What is true, Christianity or Atheism?" During this time, a pretty large crowd of people had gathered, and various people asked Andrew all sorts of questions.
Wayne's son didn't have a chance to ask any of the questions during that time that he had been thinking up, so when I preached, he asked away. He asked questions like: 'How can God create a world knowing that people would sin?'. We also had a big discussion on evolution and he was wondering how there are different skin colours. So I explained about genes and also natural selection, how things more suited to their environment will survive and reproduce, and so things adapt to their surroundings. Christians believe in natural selection, just not evolution (animals changing from one kind to another).
To God be the glory for another great night!
At 7:30pm we met in King George Square for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Once the clock struck 9, we walked to Queen St Mall, and started setting up the 'Free Bibles' table. I got up to preach first, and a number of people heckled as I preached the message of reconciliation with God by the death of Jesus, which every person must believe in and repent to be saved. None of the hecklers stayed for a long period of time, however. But other people did stop to listen to the message being preached.
After I got down from the preaching spot, I offered a tract to a man that was walking past eating a burger. Upon hearing that there was a Christian message inside, the man got outraged. He started spitting on me and so I pulled back, hoping that the guy would just move along. Then he started yelling at a whole group of us. A newer team member then went forward and started preaching about the atonement of Jesus. The angry man did not like hearing about Jesus and started spitting on him as well. At this point, Andrew stood on the soap box and tried to engage the man in some sort of discussion. The man wasn't at all keen, and instead was just hurling abuse at Andrew. A few moments later, the angry drunk man decided to throw the burger he was eating in the face of the first person who started preaching at close range. At this point, we called the police and arrived pretty quickly and arrested the man.
But while this was all happening, a massive crowd had gathered and Andrew was able to preach the message of the gospel to them all. Week after week, whatever the devil tries to do to stop the preaching simply results in more people hearing the gospel.
To close the night off, Blake stood on the soap box and faithfully preached the gospel. Just after this, Andrew and I had a conversation with some guys who had been studying philosophy and their studies unfortunately had lead to some of them denying that we can know anything of history. We tried reasoning with them, and made sure we shared the gospel wit them. Please pray that God will convert them.
To God be the glory!
The city was very busy this evening and so I expected that it might be an interesting night. After praying and reading the Bible, we made our way to Queen St Mall at 9pm to begin our evening of witnessing. After the Bible table was set up, Andrew got up to preach. Wayne (one of the friendly atheist debaters) was in again this weekend and started discussing with Andrew in the open air trying to prove his worldview.
A group of people stopped to listen to the discussion taking place. This brought with it more hecklers and a crowd of about 50 people quickly gathered. Most of the hecklers were arguing an atheistic worldview, and so Andrew presented a number of reasons about why the Christian worldview is the true one. He then went on to explain the dire predicament that mankind is in because of their sin, that we don't naturally deserve Heaven, instead we deserve God's punishment in Hell. This then lead onto the proclamation of the news of the cross; Jesus died to pay the punishment for all the sins of those who would repent and trust in Jesus' death alone for their salvation.
At one point, a group of 'Christians' came and started heckling Andrew, saying that people don't need to hear about sin or the atonement. They just said people only need to know that God loves them. Andrew tried reasoning with them from the Scriptures, but they were not interested. They were trying to talk to the non-Christians who were heckling to tell them that they are not sinners. At this point, Andrew called them out and rebuked them. Thankfully, soon after, they left.
There was also a point at which one young girl (possibly drunk) got outraged when Andrew was going through the 10 Commandments with her when she recognised she was a sinner, that she went up to him and rubbed the soft-serve ice-cream that she was eating all over his face. It seems the devil will try anything to stop the Christian gospel getting out, however all that did was simply attract a larger crowd.
After Andrew had been preaching for about an hour and a half with constant large crowds, his voice was beginning to strain, so he tagged me in to preach and I started dealing with the hecklers that were still very vocal. After addressing many of the people's questions and proclaiming the gospel many times, I finished up preaching.
Here are some photos from the night:
To God be the glory!
As I was drawing near to the city, I noticed that there was again lots of dust in the air, similar to what we had just days earlier that was reported on the news. I knew that this would keep a number of people away from the city and so I expected a quiet night. But we had actually rather large team tonight with a few new team members. One of the new members was a guy called Paul Ross. He had written a book on the case against scepticism, and so I knew that he would be great value on the apologetical side of things.
After having a brief witnessing encounter with some people who were at the spot we normally meet at, we prayed, read a bit from the Bible and had great fellowship. At 9pm we made our way to Queen Street Mall and starting set-up the 'Free Bibles' table. The dust was very thick, but it was a little better in Queen Street Mall, but it did certainty make things a bit quieter in the mall.
Blake, Jeremy and I all took turns preaching, however because of the dust, there were no real hecklers and only a small number of people stopped to listen to the message that was being preached.
However, Alex (our regular agnostic heckler friend - although he claims to be an atheist) was in again. He had a rather long conversation with Paul Ross and had to concede a number of points. Alex admitted that he doesn't know for sure that God does not exist, even though he is the leader of the Brisbane Atheist group, and 'atheist' by definition is one who says there is no God. Paul said the conversation was beneficial and he hopes to continue to discuss with him further at a later stage. Please keep Alex in prayer. It's been over two years since we first met him and he has been coming into the city just to heckle us for nearly every week for that entire duration, so he knows the gospel but clearly hates it. Please pray that God will soften his heart and he might come to the knowledge of the truth.
Throughout the night, our larger-than-normal team was faithfully handing out gospel tracts to all those that were passing by and through the tracts, many one2one encounters started. Please pray that God may grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts tonight (1 Cor 3:7).
The only photos we have of tonight were taken right at the end of the night, as Peter Webber, our normal photographer, has been away for the past few weeks. Here they are:
To God be the glory!
PS: If you live nearby or are in the Brisbane area for a week, you are more than welcome to be part of this outreach. We meet in King George Square at 7:30pm for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Then we head to Queen Street Mall at 9pm and evangelise there till midnight.
When I arrived at the city at 7:30pm, Warren was already at the meeting place. He then handed me two pamphlets that he had been given by some people standing outside of City Hall. I then had a brief read of the tracts and noticed on them that it said, "One must be baptised by full-immersion in order to be saved." So I went up to them and had a conversation with them about this erroneous doctrine of salvation by works. I asked them what Biblical support they have for requiring a person to be baptised to be saved. They tried pointing to Mark 16:16, where it says "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." So I pointed out to them that verses 9-16 are most likely not in the original manuscript of Mark as they are not in the earliest manuscript copies we have today. And secondly, the second part of that verse would indicate baptism is not a requirement: "but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
They then tried pointing to Peter's exhortation on the Day of Pentecost where he said, "Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38). I reminded them that any doctrine that we believe in shouldn't just be based off a single verse. They agreed with this, and so I asked them what other support do you have to support your idea that one must be baptised to be saved? They didn't have any. So I laid a case from the Bible where it talks time and time again about salvation being only by God's grace through faith and not of works. So even from the outset, since the rest of Scripture disagrees with Acts 2:38, the surface level interpretation of that verse must be incorrect. But if you look at the Greek, you'll find that that verse does not actually indicate salvation by water baptism (this is due to the shift from second person plural when mentioning repentance, to third person singular when mentioning baptism, back to second person plural again when mentioning the forgiveness of sins. Thus indicating that this verse is not saying that baptism is what makes a person have their sins forgiven).
At this point, one of the gentlemen that I was talking to conceded, "Well I don't believe someone needs to be baptised to be saved." But the other person rebutted what he was saying, by saying that it is still required.
They then went on to mention that speaking in tongues is also a requirement for salvation. For they said, that is the fool-proof way we can know someone has the Holy Spirit. So I asked, "Is it not easy to fake tongues? In fact, I know many atheists who have spoke in tongues, but clearly they do not have the Holy Spirit." I then turned to 1 Corinthians 12:30 where it says: "Do all speak with tongues?" - implying the answer no, the Greek makes this abundantly clear (question starts with: μὴ "no").
After talking with them for about an hour and a half, they finally resorted to saying, "I agree our beliefs are not Scriptural, but they are based on our experience and you can have this experience too..." The 'church' holding the rallies was 'The Revival Centre International', it's clearly a cult. So if you ever run into any one from that 'church', witness to them, they need the gospel.
At 9pm we started setting up the Bible table at our usual location in Queen Street Mall. Then Andrew and myself took turns having a preach, and a number of people listened and asked questions.
Reece Freeman also had a turn preaching. He had never done preaching in the open air before and was hesitant to do it at first, but he managed to muster up the courage to do it. He did very well, speaking of the reality of death, the coming judgment, our sin and the news of the cross. He pleaded with people to repent and trust in Christ's death alone for their salvation.
Many one2one conversations were also had this evening by all the members of the team. Often those that don't preach in the open-air don't get a mention in the report, but we have a number of faithful men and women who attend each week to witness to people one-on-one and hand out tracts. In fact, this evening, a father came with his son, Steven, to witness. His son is only twelve years old, and yet was very enthusiastic to hand out tracts throughout the night. He would make sure everyone walking up and down the mall got their hands on the tracts he was handing out. In fact, even by the end of the night when everyone was leaving, he wished he could stay to keep on doing it. Praise God for keenness of this young boy and the faithfulness of all the team members. Thank you each one of you for being part of the team.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
Tonight was Riverfire, the busiest night of the year in Brisbane city. Riverfire is basically half an hour of fireworks and a few planes flying over. We knew that people would be arriving in the city very early in the afternoon to get the best viewing spots, so we decided to start the outreach at 3pm. Warren and I got there at that time and started handing out tracts. There was already such a large amount of flow-through of traffic of people crossing the Brisbane River via the Victoria Bridge, that within an hour we had handed out at least a thousand tracts.
As the afternoon went on, they closed off the Victoria Bridge for cars, so that more pedestrians could cross the river. By this time, 5 or so other people had arrived to hand out tracts as well with me. And thankfully, they brought a box load of tracts to hand out, for there were by this time stacks of people about.
By the time 7:00pm rolled around, the fireworks started and Victoria Bridge was lined with people. We used this opportunity to have a bite to eat, and then we returned to our where we were once the fireworks ended. Once 7:30pm came, thousands of people were pouring across the Victoria Bridge to the city. So we all spread out, making sure we got a tract in the hands of most people going past us. We continued doing this till about 8:30pm, at which point we actually ran out of tracts. We had handed out over 10,000 tracts in just a few hours. But the outreach was not over yet, we still had over 3 hours to go.
After restocking with more tracts, we set-up the free Bibles table in our usual location in Queen St Mall at 9pm. I then got up to preach and almost immediately there were hecklers. I went through the 'Good person test' with a number of the hecklers in order to show them that they too don't actually deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's wrath in Hell. This lead onto the good news of Christ and His wonderful plan of salvation by dying on the cross to satisfy God's wrath in our place.
Andrew also had a preach and large crowds gathered as he preached of the great news of the gospel. Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, also returned and dialogued with Andrew for quite a while. Photos below:
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
After meeting at 7:30pm for prayer and Bible reading, we set up the free Bibles table at 9pm and prepared for a night of outreach. First up for the night we had Jeremy and Andre who took turns preaching. They both faithfully preached about the reality of the judgment to come, our sin, and the fact that one can be saved through the death of Jesus if they repent and trust alone in the Jesus' death for their salvation. There were a number of people that stopped to listen, and a few passes by that shouted out some comments, but there were not any loud vocal hecklers for an decent period of time.
I then got up to preach, and a guy named Lachie objected by saying there is no proof for God. So I reasoned with him, showing him that we know that things do not arise without a cause, he agreed with this point. I then moved onto my next premise, that we know the universe had a beginning. He agreed with this point also. "So therefore, the universe must have a cause for its beginning", I argued. It seemed to 'click' in his mind and so he said that he was now no longer an atheist. I then went through the commandments of God to see if he was a good person. He, like the rest of us, wasn't either. So I informed him that the punishment for sin is eternal torment in Hell. It's a bad place. But then I shared the great news of the cross and what someone must do to be saved. He said that he would definitely think this through, and count the cost of following Jesus. Please keep him in prayer.
After I got down from preaching, the two football matches that were on in the city seemed to have finished and so the Mall seemed to get quite a bit busier. Andrew got up to preach and a decent sized crowd gathered.
Many various people were witnessed to and lots of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory!