Since Josh Williamson was down in Sydney already for World Youth Day, Andrew Hsu and I lead the team on Saturday night. However, when we arrived at the city for the usual meet up at 7:30pm for bible reading and prayer, we discovered King George Square was totally fenced off. So after meeting up with some other team members, we walked to Anzac Square to read our Bible and pray.
Just before 9pm we walked to our usual preaching spot and set-up for the night. In the middle of Queen Street Mall, there were a bunch of Roman Catholics singing and dancing around an idolatrous pole. Since World Youth Day was starting on Tuesday in Sydney, we expected we would encounter a lot of Roman Catholics throughout the evening.
Even though some regulars were away, the team was still larger than usual. At 9:20pm Andrew Hsu opened up the preaching for the evening and stood down an hour and three quarters later. He had many people heckling him and asking questions about various subjects. One fellow called out to Andrew and asked him this question, "Why was a young Christian friend of his only given a month still to live?" So Andrew answered the question from a Biblical standpoint, referring back to our God made the world originally without death and suffering, but because of sin, the world is like it is now. However, some of the people listening tried to argue that because there is evil, God simply couldn't exist. But that objection in no way leads to the conclusion that God does not exist.
Other common questions were asked by the crowd, such as, "How do we know there is a God?", "What about all the bad atrocities done in the name of Christianity?", etc. So Andrew answered all those questions, whilst always coming back to the gospel message.
I then preached for the remaining 45 minutes. There was a number of hecklers who objected and asked questions. One bloke shouted, "There is no God". So I asked him what evidence that he has that there is no God. He then proceeded to say, "What evidence do you have that God exists?" However I pointed out, he made an absolute negative claim to the non-existence of God. To make such a claim, he needs to have good reasons why. Likewise, when I say there is a God, I need to provide good reasons to back that up. He realised he had no reasons as to why God could not exist, so he decided to run away.
Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, tried to propose that we cannot know any absolute truth because our minds are fallible. However, he erroneously thought that just because our minds can believe things that are incorrect, it does not mean everything we believe is incorrect. It seems that since Alex's arguments keep getting smashed each week, he needs to resort to the position that we cannot know anything at all.
Many one to one conversations were had, and heaps of gospel tracts and Bibles went out.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 5 July, 2008
There was a light rain falling over Brisbane city as we prepared to share the gospel of Jesus Christ tonight. Cold and wet weather is not overl y common in Brisbane and the locals aren't used to such weather. So it was no surprise to see that the mall was nearly deserted when we arrived in the mall. But we don't preach for crowds we preach for the ones and the twos. If we get to share the gospel with one person then God be praised.
We were down a few numbers tonight, but we had enough to man all our normal ministry roles. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph. He started in preaching, but soon became sidetracked by a quiet Alex who was whispering questions to him. So we got Ralph to go to one side and deal with Alex in a one to one, while Andre preached.
Before Andre got up to preach he was engaged in a one to one conversation with a man who grasped the fullness of the Gospel. The man stated that he was going right home to repent and get right with God.
Andre preached for a bit, and there were very few people standing listening. While he was preaching a few one to ones were also occurring in the background. At about 10:15pm, I decided to preach, I had a head cold so I didn't want to preach for very long. But God had other plans.
I started by preaching from Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 20:11-15, and I focused on God's judgment upon a sinful society and how His wrath abides on those who do not know the Christ. Alex began to heckle at this time, but he wasn't his normal self tonight. He was yelling that I was lying, so I asked him to please tell those listening what exactly I said that was a lie. Alex couldn't answer, so it appears that he just made it up as he went along.
He didn't heckle to much after that, and I had the chance to explain the gospel to those who were listening. A heckler then opened up saying "you don't know the Bible, how dare you say Jesus Christ is God, the Bible says in John 1:1 that Jesus was ‘a god'." This is a common argument of the Jehovah Witnesses, so I countered it, but I was a bit surprised to find out that the heckler was not a JW but rather a Roman Catholic.
After preaching for awhile a small group formed in around me. And then a question got asked that always seems to fire up the crowd. A young woman in the crowd held the hand of a woman next her and said "What does God think about lesbians?" Instantly I knew this was an ambush, so I answered by saying, "The Bible says that lesbianism is sin, but God does not just judge homosexuals, but He will judge all sinners be it homosexuals or heterosexuals"
The women began to hurl abuse at me while I preached, and then from my right a big man came up yelling "NO NO NO! YOU'RE WRONG! THE BIBLE DOESN'T SPEAK ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS!" I replied by showing him from the Bible where it exactly condemns it. He ignored it and kept saying that it was my interpretation, so I read out Romans 1, and asked him what the correct interpretation was. He ignored and just started to make statements to distract from the topic at hand. It turned out that his daughter is a lesbian, so I understand why he was upset, as this man was professing to be a Christian, and yet based on the Bible his daughter was damned. But this man had more of an issue, he was showing much rotten fruit in his life, his language was something that would make you blush. Yet, even though he abused and cursed, he maintained that he was a Christian.
By now I had two young men heckling me who were Muslims, so I was trying to engage them in conversation. But the big man kept interrupting. He started to accuse me of attacking other religions, so I asked the Muslims if I was attacking them or if I was merely asking them questions. They both stated I was not attacking them. The big man didn't like that so once again he became abusive.
During this time a teenager climbed up next to me, and tried to hit me in the face with his skateboard. So I pushed it away, and then he accused me of hitting him. No one in the crowd believed his story so I kept on speaking.
I did my best to deal with hecklers, and answer there questions. The big man kept at me till after midnight, then as I began to wrap it up. He stepped up and started to curse and blaspheme God, then in the next breath say that he was a Christian. So I asked him not to curse God's name, and if he wants to continue in his sin, then please don't claim to be a Christian. The man said he would claim to be whatever he wants. So I replied from the Scripture and pointed out that the Bible says he is not a Christian.
Well that set him off, he stood right up in my face and started to poke his finger at my mouth, the tip of his finger was within centimetres of my mouth. His body language revealed that he was about to hit me, so I dropped my Bible behind me, and put my hands in front of me in an effort to fend off any attack. The man ranted on, and then he snapped. He swung out at me, and grabbed me by my jacket and started to pull me towards him. While he was pulling me he was screaming, so I took the appropriate action to get him off me, and to defend myself.
After a while the police came and spoke to both of us and then done nothing. Although one of the police officers said that they would be watching the man on the security cameras in case he tried something again. Just as we were leaving the man shook my hand and said "You guys do a good job, and I respect that!" A few minutes earlier he wanted to punch my face in, and now he is thanking me. Sometimes I wish people would just make up their minds.
Anyway, it was a good night, and the gospel got out!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 28 June, 2008
Tonight was just your average Saturday night, not a lot happened. Just the same old routine of sharing the gospel and dealing with hecklers. It wa s a good clear night, and it wasn't as cold as it has been, so that created some good witnessing weather.
We set up in the Queen Street Mall at around 9:00pm, and we all knew that the first preacher up will have to deal with Alex, as he is a "Preacher Seeking Missile" and since he wasn't present last week we expected him to be as fiery as ever. We weren't disappointed!
The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, he opened up the Scripture and began to share the gospel of Christ. Not long into his message Alex opened fire upon him and began to heckle hard. Ralph did a fairly decent job handling Alex. Ralph is a fairly new preacher so he did well. Alex was heckling and walking back and forth waving his arms about. After awhile Ralph tagged Ryan in. Ryan began instantly by engaging Alex on an academic level. The amazing thing is that Alex seems to move the goal posts every time someone answers his arguments. But, it is growing tiresome with dealing with Alex as he uses mostly the same arguments week in and week out. So each week we have to answer his same objections week in and week out. Although, this week he did have a print out from an atheist website which gave him a few new arguments that we had to look at.
Alex argued with Ryan for sometime, then came over and spoke to me behind the preacher. We had a discussion in regards to the meaning of the word ‘atheist' and ‘agnostic'. I maintain based on the meanings of the words, and also based on the root words used, that you cannot be an atheist and agnostic at the same time. However, Alex believes that you can be an atheistic agnostic. We discussed that issue for awhile, and it seems to be that Alex is prepared to admit that there is possibly a god, but his pride won't allow him to let go of his ‘atheist' title, and become an agnostic.
During this time Ryan got to preach the full gospel, a few people were standing around listening, so they all got a solid message. Ryan preached for well over 90 minutes, and he dealt with a variety of hecklers like Alex and Riley right down to drunks who would just scream something random.
While Ryan was preaching a man who had been listening walked up to me and said "I need to be saved, can you lead in a prayer so that I can become a Christian." My reply was "Do you believe that God should save you?" His reply, "Yes!", "Do you think you are worthy of Heaven?" I asked, again he replied "Yes!". I looked at him and said "Sir, you don't seem to understand the fact that you are a sinner and that you don't deserve Heaven. You aren't ready to receive Christ yet as you still think God should do as you want Him to do." The man became angry and stormed off saying "Well, when I am in hell it will be you who gets blamed!"
After Ryan finished preaching, Andre got up and had a preach. He is very new at preaching, and he did a decent job in fending off Alex who decided to open fire. Andre preached for a bit, and then tagged me to preach. Instantly I was under fire from Alex, so I did my best to engage and answer his questions, but also to preach the gospel. It never ceases to amaze me, that Alex has stated that it is his goal to stop us spreading the gospel, but each week when he heckles he gathers a bigger crowd for us to preach to! His efforts to stop the gospel proclamation has actually increased the number of tracts going out, and also the number of people hearing the gospel via one to ones and open air. If Alex really wanted to slow down the gospel proclamation it would be far better for him to remain silent, and not gather a crowd for us by heckling!
Praise God for a good evening!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 21 June, 2008
A cool south westerly breeze was blowing into Brisbane tonight, so it made it rather cold when it came to doing evangelism. But, nevertheless we pushed on to declare the good news of Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners.
It was good to have Heather from New Zealand join us tonight, I first met Heather a couple of years ago while on an outreach in Christchurch, she has since moved to Brisbane, and is now witnessing with us.
The team gathered at around 8:00pm in King George Square and we engaged in a time of Bible reading, and team prayer. After this we had a short time of fellowship before heading up the mall.
As we entered the mall we were greeted with the sight, that there wasn't too many people about, this is probably due to the last week of exams at all the local universities. Another problem we had tonight was that all the preachers were sick, and had head colds. So it was going to be a hard night of preaching, especially if we got hecklers.
Ryan was the first man up to preach, he expounded on what it means to be a Christian, and also on how one can be saved from their sin. He stressed how we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and then how if we repent we will be forgiven our sin because of what Christ Jesus did upon the cross.
While Ryan was preaching Ralph was in back play discussing things with a man and his wife. The man appeared to be rather forceful, so I dropped back to listen to their conversation. The man was building his case for why one must keep the whole of the law and especially the Sabbath to be saved. He was also stating that one does not need to repent in order to be saved, and that Jesus never preached "repent".
I engaged the man with an open Bible, and we looked at a few verses that indicated that one must repent. "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19), "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
The man still maintained that repentance was never taught by Jesus, and that we could not trust the Apostle Paul as he was a homosexual. I challenged the man on this and asked where he got the information from in order to make such a statement. The man replied "Well, Paul wrote about homosexuality thus he is a homosexual!" I pointed out to him that Paul wrote about many other things as well, but that doesn't make him those things. The man kept on ignoring me saying "Paul was gay!" So I showed him to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 to show that homosexuality is a sin and that Paul says in v11 that people were homosexuals, indicating that one turn from homosexuality in order to be saved. So Paul could not be a Christian and homosexual.
The man quickly changed gears, and went back to the repentance issue. He maintained that Jesus never told anyone to repent. So once again we opened the Bible to show him the Scripture: "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3), " No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5), " From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17).
These passages made the man change gears once again, this time he said "Yes, but no where in the Bible does it say you must repent to be saved!" To this his wife joined in "You should listen to him, he studies theology and has a degree!" My reply was "You may study theology, and you may have a degree but what if I can show you in the Bible that you must repent in order to be saved?" The man simply said "You can't show me that!"
So I opened my Bible to 2 Corinthians 7:10: "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.". I asked the man from the text to explain to me what leads to salvation? He looked at me, laughed and said "I bet you don't keep the Sabbath, you are a law breaker!"
Now he was off and running down the path of how one must keep the law in order to be saved. I handed him the Bible and asked him to show me one verse where it states that under the new covenant we must keep the Sabbath. He laughed again, and said that there were plenty of verses. I asked him for just one. He refused to show me saying that I was preaching another gospel. So once again I challenged him to show me from the Scripture where it says I as a new covenant believer must keep the Sabbath.
To this both he and his wife said "We both keep the whole law perfectly! We never break it!" I asked them if they kept all the Ten Commandments, they both said that they did, I asked them if they kept all the laws found in the Torah. They said they did. I then took them to Leviticus 20:13 and asked if they killed homosexuals. They replied that they did not, but that law didn't apply to them. So I challenged them on how they can pick and chose what law they wish to keep and what laws they don't wish to keep. To which they replied, that they must test these laws by the New Testament. I agreed with them on this point, and then asked, where in the New Testament does it say "Keep the Sabbath?"
Once again they went on a tirade about how I am going to hell because I don't keep the Sabbath. I challenged them by showing Galatians 3:10: "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." I pointed out to the man that if he thinks that the law will save him, then according to the Scripture he is under the curse, for only Christ can save. The man laughed and walked off with his wife.
By now Ryan had fi nished preaching, and was witnessing one to one with people. I was then called over by Peter to assist with a guy he was dealing with. The man had some strange theological beliefs. The man was claiming to be a Mormon Hare Krishna. So I spoke to him a bit on the problems of Mormonism in the light of the Bible, and stressed to him how his good works could never save him. I showed him in the Scripture: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The night was quiet, so at around 11pm I got up to have a bit of a preach. Within minutes of standing up the crowd erupted in anger. Hecklers emerged from everywhere scream obscenities about God and Christianity. It took ages to get past all the hecklers, but eventually I was able to get to the point where the hecklers calmed down, and then I was able to preach the full gospel while engaging in discussion with a young man.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts and doing one to one.
Praise God for a good evening!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Well, it was an interesting night. The results of the night were rather interesting, as our "friendly enemy" Alex has decided to start his own blog in which he attacks the ministry of Operation 513.
The night began with our normal time of Bible reading, and prayer as a team. Then at around 9pm we headed up the Queens Street Mall. I was expecting a lively night, as today was the big homosexual parade in Brisbane and history has shown that in the past it is normally the homosexuals that respond most violently to the gospel proclamation in Brisbane city. It was interesting to run into Riley, who is a regular. He openly admits to being homosexual, but tonight he was running around with fairy wings, and a halo on. Also, shouting about taking five ecstasy pills.
Andre was the first preacher up, and as normal Alex was standing in the back throwing a few heckles out. Andre ignored him and continued to preach the gospel. During this time it was encouraging to see a few people from my church stop by and watch. I didn't know they were coming, but I was glad to see them there, and also encouraged to see them witnessing to some of the people in the area.
Once Andre had finished his preaching, I jumped up and began to immediately to engage Alex in open air debate. I really enjoy his debates, and the cases he tries to make for evolution and atheism. Although, some other Atheists have commented that they disagree with the arguments he uses. Nevertheless, we began to have our open air discussion. Alex started in trying to prove evolution, this time he used E-coli a ‘proof' of evolution. The case he tried to build was that we have observed E-coli evolving, however, he failed to mention what he believed to be evolution. What Alex described was what is known as "micro-evolution" or variation within a species. Now, any Creationist would agree with Alex over "micro-evolution", the E-coli that "evolved", went from one kind of E-coli to another kind of E-coli. This did not prove his case of "macro-evolution" (one kind becoming another kind - I.e. Primates to Humans") But rather that we observe changes within kinds. However, the case that Alex made was simple "If there is a lot of little changes within the species, then it is possible for it to change into another species". Sadly for the evolutionary camp there is no evidence of one species becoming another species. The "argument" that was put forward by Alex was nothing more than an "argument" built upon speculation. The argument he made has some major holes in it, for instance, "Where did the new information come from in order to create this new species?" If you are going to have one kind evolve into another kind, then new information must be added somewhere along the line. Now where does that new information come from?
After we wrestled over the issue of E-coli for awhile, I decided it was best to make a line for the cross of Christ. My reasoning for this was that earlier when Andre was preaching, Alex argued his hardest against Christ dying on the cross for the sins of His people.
Alex objected to this, which was to be expected, as the Bible makes it clear that those who are not Christians find the message of the cross foolishness, and abhorrent to them. But, I still preached the cross, for it was on the cross that Christ Jesus paid for the price of Alex's sin if he would repent and believe.
I always wish to be fair in open air debates, so I addressed the crowd and stated that I would make a five minute case for the existence of God, and the Christian worldview, and then Alex will present the case for atheistic evolution. Alex corrected me and said that he would present the case for "evolution without the need of God". So I made my case, and Alex then made his case. He stated all these ‘facts' but failed to bring any support for them. And in his speech he spent time attacking Christianity. So I wonder how attacking actually counts as evidence for your claims?
Alex then called on the crowd to vote, and I admit there were 10 known Christians in the crowd. So the crowd put there hands up over which side they agreed with. Without much surprise the theists won. But Alex managed to get three votes. So then Alex launched into another speech on how his view point was correct. [It should be noted the crowd actually grew in this time and no one left]. Then the call to vote was give again, this time Alex lost votes from those who had been with him previously. This makes me wonder how Alex can claim victory on his blog when he actually lost ground with the crowd...
Some of the arguments that Alex presents are self refuting, for instance one of his favourites is "There is no evidence for God!" However, he fails to realise that logically speaking, for him to make that statement, he must have seen ever bit of evidence in the universe, and have all knowledge of everything. Now, if that was the case and he knew everything about everything, then by definition he would be "God". It would be far safer for Alex to say "In the knowledge that I currently have, I am yet to see evidence for God".
This of course led us into the argument of "What evidence is there for God?", this week I thought I would ask Alex a question to see what he would accept as evidence. His reply was "If God is real, then let Him come down to earth, and appear before me!" Now, there are some problems with this demand, firstly, God did come down to earth in the form of a man, and they nailed Him to a Cross. Secondly, Why should God bow to the will of Alex? If there is a Supreme God who controls everything, and He chooses not to appear before Alex, does that make Him any less real? No! The problem is, Alex wants God to conform to his ideals and also to his standard. Basically speaking, Alex is wanting God to be subservient to him, and that he becomes the sovereign.
From here we went onto the argument of the "proof of God", and after reading Alex's blog, I am rather perplexed over why he failed to mention on his atheistic blog for all his atheistic friends, on why he admitted (on video camera) that there could be a God, and since there is a God He could do whatever he wants! No correct me if I am wrong, but I was always under the impression that an atheist believed that there was ‘no god' (a= no; theos= God), however, what Alex admitted to was not being an atheist, but rather an agnostic (a=no; gnosis=knowledge). Was this backsliding on behalf of this member of the Brisbane atheist group? Going from "No God" to "There could be a God" is a fairly big leap for one who champions the cause of there being no god.
This revealed something interesting, the Alex does not have an issue with God. But rather his issue is with Jesus Christ. So I asked Alex "If there is a God, can He do whatever He wants?" to which Alex replied "Yes", that admission destroys Alex's argument against the Cross of Christ. For if there is a God then He is perfectly right to provide one to die in the place of sinners.
Something that I did find rather interesting throughout the whole discussion was the fact that Alex maintained that there is no "right and wrong", and under some circumstances he believed that rape and even child molestation could be ‘right'. Yet, whenever a case was made opposing his view argument, he would very loudly shout "you're wrong!" How can one be "wrong" if there is no "right and wrong"? All these arguments really just go to show the silliness of the atheistic worldview.
Alex then tried to make the classic case of religion being responsible for the deaths of millions. To which I agreed, religion has been the cause of many wars and deaths. Alex then said "Christianity has been the cause!" This is where I had to get Alex to define his terms, what did he mean by "Christianity", his definition was "someone who claims to follow Christ". I disagreed with his definition, and pointed out that if I claim to be a doctor, it doesn't necessarily make me one. Then I pointed out that a Christian is one who has repented and trust in Jesus Christ, as a Christian is a Christ follower. Now, if that is what a Christian is, then we should be able to judge the fruits of those who claims to be Christians. For instance, Jesus made the case in the Gospel of John, that if someone kills you in the name of God, then that person does NOT know God. Jesus also made it clear that as Christians we are to love our enemies, and bless those that curse us. So by definition those who kill in the name of God, are not Christians. But rather they are religious.
From here I made the case that atheistic communism is responsible for more deaths than any religious movement. And that if one takes the time to look at the top twenty dictators you will not find a Christian among them, but rather you will only find Atheists and Muslims. Alex rejected this argument, stating that Atheism is not violent, however, I would like to reference Alex's blog from June 19, 2008: "CASE dislikes violence of any kind (unless it is necessary to futher the One True Cause: Atheism)" [http://casehq.blogspot.com/2008/06/case-note-street-preachers-instigate.html]
Really the question has to be asked, which is more dangerous: A Christian preaching, repent and trust in Christ, Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself! Or an Atheist preaching, the use of violence to advance the cause of atheism?
I will let the reader decided which one is more dangerous for society...
By the end of the hour of the discussion, Alex who openly admitted that there could be a God, and that God could do whatever He wants, made one final attack before withdrawing for a cigarette. His closing argument was "You Christians believe in God by faith!" To which I replied "I accept God's existence by faith, even though I can see evidence for Him, and the atheists accept God not existing "by faith", and I don't have enough faith to be an atheist!"
I tagged Ryan in, and the reason for this was that Ryan has spent a lot of time studying atheism, and the evidences for the existence of God. Each time in the past when Alex has engaged Ryan in debate it has ended up with Alex's arguments being smacked for six. It is interesting to note, that Alex even though he was present did not engage Ryan this time for discussion. So, Ryan preached the gospel to the good size crowd that had gathered.
The rest of the night was quite quiet, with many people being witnessed to, and many people getting to hear the gospel. One highlight for me was a friendly long haired atheist who came up to me, and thanked us for taking the time to come out and debate and discuss many issues. He stated that he enjoyed the night, and hopes to come back to talk again some time. It is my hope that this man would heckle, as he is really friendly and calls himself a ‘rationalist atheist'.
In closing, I must mention, that on Alex's blog he invites other atheists to come out on Saturday nights to the Queen Street Mall. So, I would like to on behalf of Operation 513 encourage the atheists to come along and have some friendly chats. We look forward to our future discussions!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 6 June, 2008
The weather had been threatening to rain all day, the news was reporting the possibilities of showers. For a state that is gripped in drought, it is amazing how much rain we are actually getting. Normally on a Saturday night when we want to evangelise!
Andre and I were the first team members in position, and shortly after we arrived I was joined by some of the other guys. It was good to have a time of fellowship, prayer, and Bible reading as a team. By doing this it creates a greater team unity, and it allows for us to come together on the streets and beseech the Almighty God for His blessing.
As nine o'clock neared, we headed up to the Queen Street Mall, where we were joined by Andrew and Desma. It was really good to have Desma come out on the streets with us, she is a vital part of the ministry. She has been away for awhile, which is fully understandable due to her preparing for the upcoming wedding. So, it was good to have her in Brisbane tonight.
Andrew informed me that he had a sore throat, and as a result he would not be preaching tonight, that was fine since I expected to have more than enough preachers in play. First preacher up for the evening was Ralph. Now Ralph is one we have to watch, he is a very smart boy, and has a great passion for God. While he is only new at preaching, he has been growing in leaps and bounds.
Tonight as he preached, I had complete confidence in him as a preacher, normally I am really cautious around newer preachers, but Ralph proved himself. He did a good job at proclaiming the gospel, and dealing with hecklers. He had a quite a few hecklers open fire tonight, and each one that launched an attack he did well to handle.
While Ralph was preaching, Andre was on the Bible table. This table is by far one of the best things we have put in place in the Brisbane team. We set up a simple card table with some tracts, Bibles, and Creation Ministry booklets, and then hang some signs simple saying "FREE BIBLES", it is a magnet that draws in many people for a one to one conversation.
I was watching the Bible table, and making sure everything was running alright, when I heard a woman walk up to Andre and say "Are you against gay marriage?" Andre replied "No ma'am, I am not against it, the Bible is!" The woman then said something, grabbed a bunch of the Creation Ministry booklets, and began to rip them up and throw the paper on the ground. The woman then walked away and began to abuse the preacher, she had more tracts, and booklets so she ripped them up also, and threw them into the air. She made a rather big mess in the middle of the Queen Street Mall. She then started yelling out to Ralph, "People are gay! It's not wrong!" Ralph's reply was brilliant, he said "Yes, people are gay, people also steal, lie, and lust, yet just because people do those things does not make them right!" The woman walked off, and Ralph continued to preach the gospel.
At around 9:50pm, Ralph stood down, the call then went out for Andre to prepare to preach next. Andre got up, and with Bible in hand began to expound on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not long into his message a rather vile man in a yellow shirt became very hostile and started to hurl abuse at the preacher. Andre tried to reason with the man, but he refused to listen. So Andre kept on preaching. The man then came in really close, and started to curse Andre and also God. I moved into position just it case it got violent, as I got into position the man reached out and grabbed Andre while he was preaching. Instantly Andrew and I moved in and pushed the man off, telling him to step away from the preacher. The man became more vile, and showed his hatred all the more. I noticed that some of the people he was with, were actually some of our regular hecklers. So I spoke to them, and they were reasonable about not abusing the preacher.
By now the man in the yellow shirt was screaming at our camera man, so Andrew moved into position to guard the camera. The man soon lost interest in the camera, and started to threaten Andrew. Upon seeing this, I walked over to tell the man to calm down or we would be forced to call the police. The man just cursed, and me then bent down to get something out of his backpack. As the man bent down, another man emerged from the crowd and started to abuse the man in the yellow shirt. He was screaming that he should get some respect for the preachers, and also that he should shut up. Of course that is the sanitised version of what he said. Yellow shirt then started to challenge this other man to a fight, so I stepped in and told both of them to back off and walk away. As I worked on breaking those two up, and cry was heard from the crowd. I turned and saw that a fight had erupted in front of the preacher.
Two hecklers were locked in a fight on the ground, one of them was bleeding the other was being punched in the face. As they wrestled with each other, I noticed one of them shove his fingers in his opponents eyes, and twist them. This cause the man that was punching to yell in pain. The man on the bottom then took the advantage, and spun the other guy over and started to beat him up. I tried to break it up, but they refused to listen. Then I noticed one of our regular hecklers come running in to join the fight. This was fast becoming a full on brawl. I sent two of the team members to run and get the police. The only problem was the police weren't in their usual location, so we had to wait some time before they arrived.
By now one of the men in the fight was being held down, while someone else began to kick him in the head, ribs, and stomach. The man doing the kicking had steal toe boots on, so I grabbed him, and spun him out of the fight. He was rather hard to hold back, and he got a couple of extra shots in before he backed away. While the two original fighters fought on the ground, I turned to the regular heckler who had been kicking, and gave him a good dressing down. He apologised, and then hugged me. While he was hugging me he decided to give me a few quick kisses on the side of my neck. This was truly turning out to be a strange night!
By now there was a massive crowd watching the fight, security guards were present but they did nothing but watch on. The fighters must have realized that the police were coming, because they stopped fighting and ran. Since the crowd stood there in stunned silence, I decided to jump up and preach a quick two minute message to them. While I was preaching all I could see was a sea of blue police uniforms running up the mall. Quickly I gave the order to the team to tract everyone up, so the team set about tracting everyone in the crowd.
About fifteen police responded to the brawl and arrested all parties involved. Some of the fighters wouldn't learn, they say in hand cuffs abusing the police, and threatening them. Pray for the police, they have a tough job but they do it well!
This incident took about an hour out of our time, as the police wanted to talk to a few of us, and to also review our video that we caught of the fight.
After the police left I stood up and preached for about 30 minutes. And after that excitement of a fight, the night went a bit more slower. I had very few hecklers, and I did my best to make known the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I had finished preaching, I was informed that the man sitting to my left was a Jehovah's Witness, so I went across and began to talk to him. The man was very unfriendly, and called me a paedophile since I attended a Baptist church, he then started to talk about how the Baptist church was founded by Satanists, and the Illuminati. The man eventually got out of "conspiracy theory" mode, and we began to talk about the deity of Christ, and if Jesus Christ arose bodily. His arguments were standard Watchtower Arguments, he didn't know why he believed, except for the fact that he was told to believe. After awhile, I got Andre to deal with him, as Andre is well versed in Jehovah Witness apologetics.
By now it was nearing midnight, so we began to pack up. Ryan was busy dealing with a man who was rambling on about something to do with animals having souls the same as humans. So Andre after finishing with the JW decided to wade into the apologetic debate. Then Andrew decided to join in, the man just kept going in circles, so they wished him good night and left. As we were preparing to leave the man came back, and this time wanted to talk to me, within minutes the man admitted that he chose to rebel against the Bible because he loved his sin. He said he did want to repent, even though he knew the gospel was true, because that would mean giving up his sin. I hit him with the gospel, and the man left promising to email me.
Overall the night was rather interesting! Praise God that His Gospel went forth!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Winter is almost here, a cold wind was blowing threw the city tonight, and the rain that we had experienced for the past few days only served to make the temperature drop. Many people have commented on how they don't like to witness in winter due to the cold, personally I like to witness in the colder months.
Due to the colder weather, I was expecting to be a few team members down tonight, as some of the Operation 513 team has come down with colds. But, never the less we decided to push on no matter how many people came out.
The night was looking grim for man power, when at 8:30pm, only four of the team were present, I was starting to think that it would be a very hard night of witnessing. But, by nine o'clock we had a ten man team on the ground.
I had decided early in the day that I would not be preaching tonight, due to the fact that I would be preaching an evangelistic service the next morning at Browns Plains Baptist Church, so I handed over the preaching to Andrew Hsu.
As we were setting up it was good to see Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) hanging around as per usual. As he was walking by he greeted a couple of the members of the team, and revealed that tonight was his birthday. So I went across and gave him a DVD that I promised him that details the historic proof for the existence of God. Alex is a decent bloke, and I really like talking to him. I guess we could be classed as "friendly enemies" he takes the hardline position of atheism, and I take the hardline position of Biblical Christianity. We are all praying for Alex to be converted, and hopefully G od will one day grant Alex repentance so that he can come to the understanding of the truth.
By now Andrew was in full voice preaching the gospel. While he was preaching I got the chance to talk to a couple of people standing behind the preacher. The conversation were simple at best, they would ask "What's happening here?" So, I would explain to them about the preaching, and lead into the gospel.
By now the heavens had opened up once again and the rain began to fall, so we quickly packed up the Bible table, and I did find it rather amusing when one of our atheist hecklers was actually helping us pack away the Bibles so they wouldn't get wrecked in the rain. Riley has become on our regular hecklers, but he is in a different league to Alex. Both of them hold to the same position, but both have different ways in arguing their case.
Riley had been spending some time doing study to ask us questions in regards to religious beliefs. His question focused on "Why is there many different religions if we all came from the one God". This question is a rather good one, so I took it back to show how men and women will often take a truth and pervert it to justify their own actions, and as a result of man's sinful idolatress heart, we get many religions and sects being formed.
From there we did go on to talk more in an apologetic sense about the age of the earth, and how long man had been present. I like talkin g to Riley as he thinks out his questions, and he seems to be willing to learn and study. But just like Alex, Riley is lost in sin unless God saves him. So please keep Riley in prayer also.
At this stage there was a quiet time in the outreach, so I called the whole team in to where we have our bags. I then called over Alex and Riley. During the preaching Rachel had gone down to the doughnut shop to buy a pack of doughnuts to share for Alex's birthday. As a group of Christians along with our atheist heckler we sung "Happy Birthday" to Alex, and then we had a few minutes of general chit chat before heading back into the preaching.
During this time Andrew had finished preaching and was dealing with one of his hecklers in a one to one. So I put Ryan up to preach for awhile. Since it was a cold night, and because Ryan was a bit sick, he couldn't preach for long. But, the time he did preach for was rather good.
After Ryan preached, I decided that we should put Rachel up to preach. This was her second time of open air preaching. While she is new at this form of evangelism she shows promise. While she was preaching, she did a call out on an African man who was listening, once she had the dialogue going with him, she went threw the full gospel and explained that without Christ no one could be saved.
Overall it was a good night, with many people getting to hear the gospel. May God be glorified from the work He is doing in Brisbane!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 24 May, 2008
When we arrived in the city tonight Andre and I were met by the sight of thousands of Asian people walking around the CBD. This was odd, so we went about tracting people in the Queen Street Mall as fast as we could. We then headed across to King George Square, and once again we were met with the sight of many Asians in the square. Instantly, Andre and I reached for our tracts and headed into the crowd. It turns out that they had just finished a memorial service for those who died in the massive Chinese earthquake.
We then met up wit some of the team, and had a time of prayer, and Bible reading. I noticed that the team was down a bit on numbers tonight, so we began to pray that God would see fit to raise up more labourers for His harvest. As always, God is faithful, and He brought in more people to work with us on the streets.
I decided to preach first for the night, this is something I am not a big fan of doing. I would rather preach second and deal with hecklers, but tonight I thought for a nice change I would open up. It was good to see as we were setting up to preach, that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was hanging around, I think that he is a "Preacher Seeking Missile", as soon as we began to minister, he was right up there talking to people. While I was preaching I was heckled by a bunch of youth from a large church, who we ministered to last week. They were just as loud, and sinful as the week prior. After preaching for awhile, I stood down, and got the next preacher ready to go. It was a real quiet night, and it was hard to get hecklers. Even Alex wasn't heckling.
I noticed that there were a few young adults from church present, so I went across to greet them. Alex came across a few minutes later and began to heckle a bit in a one to one. So I engaged him in debate. A crowd gathered around to listen to us debate. The topic of discussion was over the historical Jesus. I produced the evidence of from secular history in regards to Jesus Christ living, and being crucified, and then I did an apologetic to prove that He rose from the grave. We then got on to the topic of atheism. It was an interesting discussion, and I truly think Alex is starting to soften to the Gospel.
During this time, Andre preached, and so did Kevin. By the time I finished talking to Alex, it was time for Hsusy to preach. He did a good job, and it is a real blessing to have him on the team. He does a fine job expounding the gospel, and dealing with hecklers.
One heckler, that kept attacking Hsusy was rather strange. No matter, what Hsusy said he would not listen, and he would just make up another argument. It was very clear that what the heckler was saying, was not built on fact, but rather on fantasy. He contended that Jesus Christ is actually from a pagan background, and that if you look at pagan religions there is a man called "Jesus". Hsusy, countered this claim, and the man didn't know what to do.
If one spends enough time on the street, you get to hear a lot of ‘odd' information. This man showed some of the ‘oddest'. He started to argue, that Jesus Christ did not exist till the eighteenth century, and that we did not have the Bible until the sixteenth century. Hsusy, took his argument apart piece by piece, and the man quickly turned, and ran away.
For the rest of the night we spent time doing one to ones, and also handing out tracts. Just before we left some homeless people approached us, and asked that we buy them dinner. Hsusy was quick to respond, and went and got them a hot meal.
Please keep Alex in prayer, and also Riley. Both of these young men argue for atheism, and are really regular heckles. Pray that God would grant them repentance, and bring them to the knowledge of the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 17 May, 2008
Tonight I decided to field test Ryan as the team leader. Over the past few weeks we have been working on training him up as a leader, and he has shown some good growth. So tonight was the night in which we would put his training and leadership to the test.
As Ryan went about organising the team, I had a chance to stand off to the side and hand out tracts, and talk to people. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, while he was preaching I got into a conversation with a man who claimed to have a Christian background but would not reveal exactly what that background was.
We spoke for some time in regards to the teachings of Jesus and the use of parables, the whole time I was watching him, and listening very carefully to his arguments. The case that put forward was consistent with the common arguments presented by the Seventh Day Adventists. So I asked him if he was a Seventh Day Adventist, he looked stunned and refused to answer. We then entered into the discussion in regards to what happens when someone dies. We both agreed on the basics, that is we die once, and then after that we are judged. However, the man stated that we enter into ‘soul sleep', that is once we die, we stay in the ground until such a time that Jesus returns. To this I decided to take him to the Bible:
"Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Paul in this passage indicates that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. The man looked at me and said "Yes, I agree with that, however, there is a long period of time between dying and being with the Lord." This was a classic case of eisegesis. So I called him out on that and pointed out the text doesn't say that, but rather he is forcing his presupposition into the text. The man maintained that he was not, so I asked again, how he got that from the verse. He did not answer that question, but then changed gears and started to ask me about the doctrine of hell. This worked well with what we were talking with as I then turned him to Luke 16 to illustrate about two people who had died and were immediately in a place where they were conscious of their surrounding, thus, destroying the case for ‘soul sleep'. But as with most cults, and with those who twist scripture, he had an answer. His reply was to allegorize the text, and then turn into a parable.
The parable argument for Luke 16 is rather weak, since the account that Jesus is talking about doesn't follow the structure of other parables, since Jesus mentions that ‘there was a certain man' and then gives specific names. This does not follow the pattern of parables. The story is supposed to be interpreted literally. The man refused to listen, and said he would like to debate some more. Threw the week he sent me and email, in which he was rather arrogant, and wanted to fight over the issue. Something, I haven't the time to engage in.
After this I was able to hand out a few more tracts, and engage in some good one to one discussions. It was now that I noted that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was back, he has been coming back on a weekly basis for months now. I always look forward to talking to him, as he is good to draw a crowd, and his arguments are rather weak. But, I want all those reading this report to stop right now, and pray that God will convert Alex.
Ryan preached for a bit, and he finished up around 11pm. It was then that I decided to step up the preach. I really didn't feel like it, since I had next to no sleep. But as I preached God was gracious to draw a small crowd in. He brought a bunch of young people, who all at once began to heckle. Yet, claimed to be Christian. They all counted their Christianity on the fact that they attend a large church called Citipointe COC, they said they went there for the games, and had been assured by the leaders that they were Christians. That church has a reputation of being a false convert factory, that waters down the gospel to the point where there is no ‘good news' left in it. We got to have a good witness to the youth, and they all took tracts at the end. Please pray for their conversion.
The night ended with a lot of one to one conversations. May God be praised for allowing His Word to go out!
Soli Deo Gloria!