My body was aching all over as I awoke today, and every part of me
screamed that I needed a rest. Instantly I began to think up excuses in
regards to why I could have the night off from witnessing. But I am
bound to preach the gospel of Christ, so I began to prepare for the
The city seemed fairly quiet when I arrived at 7:30pm, and I thought maybe it would be a nice and calm night. Yet, every time I think that it always goes the other way. We rallied in King George Square, and as we waited for more team members to arrive, we saw a large group of people with Bibles.
This was not surprising since many churches come out witnessing at Easter time, most of them don’t do it at any other time, but only at Easter or Christmas. As they prayed it soon became apparent that they were a Pentecostal group, and before we could engage any of them they had walked off. There outreach for the night was to have a man dressed up as Jesus and a couple of Roman soldiers walking through the Queens Street Mall. As they beat the man carrying the cross people would call out scripture passages.
They walked right by us while we were setting up for the night, so Ryan quickly took advantage of the situation and began to preach. He spoke on the cross of Christ and why He had to come and die. This then led into explaining the depth of sin and human depravity.
A crowd formed quickly and began to heckle, Ryan held his own for about twenty minutes, and then tagged me in. I begun to engage hecklers, at this stage I had five hecklers, so I started to try and bring some order to the chaos. One of the hecklers was an atheist, another a Buddhist, another was a Hindu. The Hindu man was very vocal and kept yelling questions at me, but he would not let me answer. So I asked him in front of the crowd “Will you let me answer?” His reply “NO!” Then he started accusing me of not answering his question. The crowd soon became annoyed at him and started yelling for him to let me answer the question. After awhile of him not letting me answer his question I moved on to deal with Atheism.
While I was dealing with some proofs for the evidence of God, and man and a woman pushed to the front of the crowd. The woman grabbed my hand and tried to place it on a ‘red’ area of her body, I kept pulling up my hand and she stated that she respects what I was doing. She then asked some questions in regards to God. While I was answering a man of Indian descent walked in an grabbed her, and then tried to twist her arm behind her back. I called on him to let go, and to cease assaulting her, he refused, but he soon realised that I was not going to let the issue drop. He eventually let go, and I refused to answer any of his questions since it is not right for a man to assault a woman.
The crowd kept on calling out questions so I did my best to answer their questions, then entered Mr. Walking Dawkins, who when he heckled would quote Richard Dawkins and then walk around the crowd mocking Christians. I think it was clear to the crowd that his questions had not basis, and it wasn’t hard to respond. Eventually he left and the crowd continued to call out questions. The time was now about 11:30pm and I had been up for over two hours, so I began to bring it to a wrap up. It was then that two young ladies approached and began to ask questions in regards to salvation. I began by explaining our need of a Saviour. It was then that Mr. Buddhist from the start of the night began to advance at me yelling. He got so close that I thought he was going to hit me, so I asked him to step back, he refused so I asked one of the team to go get the police. After he yelled for a bit he backed away, and I was then able to expound on the grace of God to the two young ladies. The females were cut up and began to cry as they heard about Christ coming down from Heaven to save sinners.
It was about midnight when I stood down, and I nearly fell over from exhaustion, but praise God many people got to hear the gospel!!!
To God be the Glory
Anyone who engages in Christian ministry would soon tell you that once you start doing something for the Kingdom of God, then the enemy will attack. This week has just been one attack after another, and the constant lies that are being told about me, and concern the m inistry are starting to wear me down. But, one has to stop and think about why these attacks? While on one hand it hurts to be attacked by those who are supposed to be your brothers and sisters in the faith, but on the other hand I have grown deeper into God during this time. Something I have noticed is that as you dig deeper into God, then the attacks increase. Some have suggested I turn my back on the ministry and walk away, since the pain isn’t worth it, some have contended that is better for me to lay down my sword and just surrender, since I am loosing friends.
As I think about it, I have to wonder why would I surrender? Why would I give up? My King is the one who humbled Himself and came to earth in the form of a man to save His people from their sins. Why should I leave the ministry when my Master is the one who was rejected and despised by those whom He created? If He can endure all those things, then surely I can stand firm with His help! During this time I have taken great encouragement from the Scriptures, and also from the song “I’d rather have Jesus”:
Saturday, 8 March, 2008
Before heading out on the streets tonight I was pondering some things that had been said to me in the week previous. I thought about how some people view street evangelism as not being compassionate, so I prayed that God would give me greater compassion. I thought about how people say this sort of ministry doesn’t show fruit, so I prayed that God would let us see just a little fruit if it be His will.
The whole accusation of not having compassion I freely admit cut me up a bit, because I believe that those who engage in street evangelism are having compassion on those in society who the church seems to reject. Many of us would have heard sermons about going to the poor, since they are the down trodden of society and that they are the people group that Jesus spent time with, but the people that think this way don’t seem to realise that there is another people group that Jesus spent time with also, and that is the part of society that many street evangelists deal with daily, the society I am talking about are the drunkards.
While many people are happy to be involved in the social gospel of helping the poor, there are many who would not take the time to sit in the gutter next to a drunk and tell them about God’s amazing grace. Now I applaud those who share the gospel with the poor, but I appeal to them not to forget the other people groups as well. As Christians our mandate is to preach the gospel to the poor, the drunks, the rich, the upper class, the lower class, the working class, in short we are to preach Christ to all. This I think is a true sign of compassion, when we don’t care who we witness to, as long as we get to preach Christ!
Our job as those who engage in evangelism is not to sit by and wait for the lost to come to church, but rather we are to be pro-active in the gospel proclamation and go out to where the lost are and point them to the Way, Truth and Life! Our primary role is not to engage in social reform, while that is good it is not the main purpose of evangelism. The main motivation for evangelism is not even the salvation of souls, but rather it is that God may get glory!
As I walked along the streets of Brisbane all I could think of was “Lord, I long to see your name glorified! Father glorify your name!” Then coming to mind was the familiar scripture of John 12:28: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." (ESV)
As we set up that was our motive, to see God glorified! And as one focuses on that as our purpose for being, one soon realises that what people think about you means absolutely nothing, and that its not our job to seek fruit, but rather it is our job to seek God!
The first preacher up for the night was Andrew Hsu, the mall looked quiet but as he stood to preach one could hear the familiar sound of the call that sounds before any Operation 513 preacher speaks, and that was the call of SDG (Soli Deo Gloria!) This call reminds the preacher for who he is preaching.
While Andrew was preaching I was in back play with Ryan on the Bible table that has run out of bibles (good problem!) During this time I was approached by a man from India, I began to speak to him and it turns out that he is a Sikh. We began to discuss different religious viewpoints and he was very open to hearing the Christian message. So I opened my Bible and began to show him the scriptures that explain the gospel.
Firstly I spoke from Romans 3:23:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Then I explained to him that we show that we are sinners when we break the Law of God, and we do that by lying, stealing, lusting, hating, blaspheming God’s name etc. After the man had an understanding of sin I took him to Romans 6:23:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The payment for our sins I explained to him was eternal death and punishment in hell. This made the man stop and think. He grasped the concept of eternal punishment as I explained to him how a lawbreaker must be punished by a good judge, then I swung around and showed him that God is the good judge of all the universe.
But, I pointed out that the rest of the verse talks about how one can have eternal life, and that is found only in Jesus Christ, this led me to Romans 5:6-8:
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
From this passage I was able to point him to how at just the right time Christ Jesus came to die for the ungodly, that is He came to die for liars, for thieves, for those who hate, and for those who lust. Basically Christ Jesus came to die for sinners like you and I. But, that is only part of the account, for three days later He arose from the dead and now He lives as King of Glory!
After explaining the cross to the man, and also the resurrection I then turned in my Bible to Romans 10:9:
“… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
One could see a light go on in the man’s eyes as he realised that there is life and hope in Christ Jesus. He understood how Jesus Christ took our punishment upon Himself, so that if we would trust in Him we would not perish. He also realised that contained in that trust in Christ involved a turning and forsaking of sin, and that in confessing Him as Lord meant that one no longer lives a life of sin, but rather lives a life the way God says to.
The man took our last Bible, and also an in-depth gospel tract. As he left I pleaded with him to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation, since we do not know the day or the hour in which we will die. As he left I shared one last scripture with him, 2 Corinthians 6:2:
“…Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Please pray for that man, pray that the gospel seed that was sown would take root in his heart, and that God would grant him repentance.
During this time Hsusy was preaching to a large crowd that had gather to listen to the discussion between himself and a humanist who was raving on about there being no heaven, no hell, and no God. Andrew did some good apologetics, and then swung in and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the crowd that had assembled. Many of those within the crowd took gospel tracts as they left.
Later on in the night it came time for me to preach, so I spoke about the reality of death and dying. But then old mate the humanist heckler returned to dialogue which I was quite happy to do.
We spoke for a brief time, and then other hecklers began to open up and scream at me. I did my best to present the living Christ to them, and also to answer their questions.
While I was preaching a group of young men approached and asked if I remembered them, at first I had trouble, but as they spoke to me it began to come back. These men had been in the crowd about a year ago, and some woman tried to beat one of them up. I was the one that stopped the fight then witnessed to the men. They remembered the conversation and still had the gospel tracts that I gave them. It was good to be able to share with them again, and this time we exchanged details and plan to stay in touch.
Surely God is great! He didn’t have to show us fruit but he was kind enough to show the team that we are indeed having an impact on our city! May His name be praised forever!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 1 March, 2008
The year has gone so quickly, we are now three months into the new year, and looking back to the start of the year I am amazed at the mercy and grace of God. This year has been spent advancing the glory of God through the proclamation of the gospel. It is so incredible and humbling to sit back and just watch God sovereignly intervene in the lives of those who have been touched by the life giving gospel.
We had a small team tonight, and as a result of this I was forced to call in re-enforcements. The city was abuzz with excitement and lust. The homosexual community was excited due to the night being the big yearly celebration of their abomination in Sydney, and the other deviants were excited due to the Sexpo that was being held in the Brisbane CBD.
Operation 513 - Brisbane, followed its normal routine of prayer and Bible reading, then at 9pm we set up in the Queen Street Mall. The first preacher up for the night was Ryan.
Ryan preached on a range of topics ranging from evolution and atheism to the universality of morals. For most of the night Ryan had a good sized crowd listening. Which was quite good since Ryan preached for well over two hours.
He did a good job in handling hecklers, and arguing everything with an eye on the cross. No matter what was presented he would answer the question and then point it back to the glorious gospel.
At around 11:30pm Ryan tagged me to deal with a young female heckler who was dressed in the typical garb of a Goth. She was asking about the Pax Romana (Peace of Rome) and the early church. So we did a bit of church history and I explained how the Christians earned respect by caring for others, then we had to move forward in history to deal with the Crusades.
I built the case that a true Christian will be a follower of Christ, and since a follower does as his master says, then a true Christian is one who keeps the words of Christ. The hecklers agreed to this, so then I pointed out that Christ commanded us to love our enemies, and not to go about killing people in the name of God. We then concluded that the Crusades were a religious war, and not a Christian war.
This then opened up onto the topic of salvation, so I was able to expound the mercy of God, and Sovereignty of God. I explained to the crowd that salvation belongs to the Lord, and He alone is the one who has mercy. Then I built that our good works will never earn out way into heaven. The crowd was receptive, and people took tracts after the open air.
While we were short staffed for the night, it was still good to see God’s name being glorified by the preaching of His Word!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 23 February, 2008
This summer the weather hasn’t been too bad, mostly we have had mild days with a few exceptions, and today was one of those exceptions! Near where I live the temperature was recorded at hitting 44’C with high humidity, and by the time it came around to going out to preach the temperature hadn’t dropped all that much.
This all served to sap every bit of energy from my body before we even arrived to preach. I arrived in the city early since I had a meeting with a mate, and before we had even got out of the lift in the Myer centre he had given tracts to those who were riding the lift with us.
We met in King George as usual, and it was good to have a time of fellowship around the Word of God, and also to come together as a team and pray for the outreach that night. I have been more and more burdened with the necessity of praying for the outreach, while we fully rest on the Sovereignty of God in the salvation of souls, He still commands us to seek His face. I have been on many outreaches in Australia and overseas, where prayer has not been a central theme, and as I look back on these outreaches I cannot help but wonder if we were as effective as we could have been. Before we can preach the King’s message we should spend time talking to the King. Prayer is vital when it comes to evangelism.
The first preacher up for the night was Ryan Hemelaar, it was good to have him back on team since he has been away on a mission trip in Thailand for the past six weeks. At first I thought he would be rusty in his preaching since it had been a while since he had last done it, yet he preached as if he hadn’t ever stopped preaching.
For about forty minutes he expounded the gospel of Christ, and a good size crowd gathered as he spoke about how everyone has the knowledge of right and wrong written upon their conscience.
After Ryan finished preaching, then Andrew Hsu began. Not long into his message a young woman began to yell at him, and state that only 144 000 people will get to heaven, the rest of humanity will spend eternity on earth. By her arguments it was easy to recognise her as a Jehovah Witness. Andrew expounded the Scripture on how the Bible talks about eternity in either Heaven or Hell. But she would not listen, she just kept on shouting the teachings of the Watchtower. It was then that Andrew said “In the Old Testament it says: Whoever calls upon the name of Yahweh will be saved! But in the New Testament it says: Whoever calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved! Christ is the God of the Old testament!” Upon hearing this the woman turned and left very quickly. Just like many of those within the cults they leave when the truth is being presented, please pray for her, that God would open her eyes to the truth of the gospel.
The time was around 10:30pm when I stood up to preach. Before I even began to speak to young hecklers began to open up on how God does not exist, so I turned to them and asked them to present their case on why they don’t believe in God. This caused a couple of Satanists who were sitting on the ground in front of me to start yelling as well.
It wasn’t very long before God had brought a crowd in to hear the discussion, but as I watched the crowd gather it dawned on me that this was going to be a rough open air meeting. The reason behind this was because everyone in the crowd sat down on the ground, and history has shown that whenever you get a large sit down crowd then you can be assured that something will erupt.
I dealt with hecklers for a few minutes when a young woman approached me to ask a question. In her hand she was holding a cup full of an orange liquid, a thought ran through my mind as she spoke, and that was in a few moments that liquid would be on me. Her question was a loaded one, and every time you get this question you know someone is looking for a fight, the question was “What does God think about homosexuals?” I knew I had to answer, and I knew the moment I did the crowd would erupt, but as preachers we aren’t called to please men, but rather we are to please God, so I opened the Bible and pointed out that God views homosexuality as an abomination.
This sent the young woman into a fit, she bean to scream that she hated me and that she would cut me up and kill me. I replied that if God grants her that authority then she can, but until that time God will not allow her the power to kill me. She then turned and threw the whole cup of orange liquid at me. I saw it coming so I was able to turn a bit, this cause the liquid to splash across my chest and then continue on behind me. The only problem was that Andrew and Dan were standing right behind me, so they ended up getting wet as well! It turns out that this liquid was vodka and orange juice, and for the rest of the open air I smelt like a pub!
The action of throwing the vodka then set the crowd into a frenzy, the cry went out “50 points to whoever can hit him in the head!” The crowd cheered and began to throw things at me, they threw bark and rocks. But the most interesting was that they were throwing money at me, the problem was they were aiming at my head. This caused me to duck and put my arm up to shield my head as I was pelted with projectiles.
While people were throwing stuff at me I was able to walk through the complete gospel with a young person who stopped to listen. While I spoke about sin the crowd didn’t do much but throw things, but the moment I got to the cross they began to yell and shout as well. One could clearly see the enemy was all over this situation, and you could see that he did not want the gospel to go out. In those situations all you can do is stand firm and continue to preach the Gospel!
It wasn’t long after this the police came and the crowd quieten down a bit, the police took a man away for drinking in public and as the officer left he held up the alcohol and yelled out “The evils of drink!” This cause the crowd to boo the officers.
The rest of the night was fairly tame, except for the guy who tried to burn me with a cigarette lighter, and the Pentecostal preacher that told everyone that they were children of God, and on the way to heaven. It got a little bit more interesting when that same Pentecostal preacher then physically assaulted Andrew in front of the crowd while speaking in tongues! This event cause the police to go after the Pentecostal preacher in order to arrest him for assault. I made sure to stress to the crowd that the man was not a Christian, since a Christian does what the Bible says. This seemed to get the respect of the crowd.
It was an interesting night in all. Many got to hear the gospel of the good news of salvation in Christ alone.
Soli Deo Gloria!
“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness” - John Calvin
The ground upon which the city of Brisbane city rests, is another walking ground of men and women dead in thier trespasses and sins. Thier "Romans 3" misunderstanding of God, and love for sin, is proof that they hate thier maker. Oh how we ought to plead with God for thier salvation, if he be pleased to grant them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
Andrew Walkington was the first preacher up for the night, and he did a good job expounding the gospel to a gathered crowd of individuals.
Myself (Josh Mitchell) and Andrew Hsu were the last two preachers, and we were discovered by quite a few drunken sorts who slandered us, and were hypocritical in their attacks upon the both of us. None the less we persevered and did our best to answer questions presented, and to preach the gospel in the light of the truth of Creation, and His revealed word.
The team were used greatly of God tonight, with many reports of successful witness encounters with all sorts of people from various cultures, backgrounds and so on. Praise God for the faithful members of Operation 513, to strive to preach the gospel in this dark city of Brisbane. May the lamp of the name of Christ one day be lifted high in this place, that the darkness of sin should flee for fear of He who is light: Jesus Christ.
To God be the glory, great things he hath done, and shall do for the glory of His great name, may we be quick to encourage each other, lest we be hardened through the decietfulness of sin.
God sure used His christians tonight in preaching the gospel. It was a good night with many conversations being had. A lot of people hearing the true gospel for the first time in thier life. God even brought two new people out to witness tonight, so that was pretty cool, both to meet them and observe them in action.
I chatted a ex-lutheran young man, who did not understand the gospel properly. After explaining the gospel clearly, that man began to say he was just having trouble believing. Having a little experience recently on this particular issue, I cut to quick and pointed out his loved his sin. He readily admitted that this was what he was having trouble with and the source of his unbelief. He didn't like God judging him. I pointed out how many sins he had committed over the last five years, and there was thousands and thousands. The young man said he would think about it tonight and read his bible.
Glory to God to be used by God, for the glory of God :)
Please pray for those that God used us to witness to tonight. S D G
Saturday, 12 January 2008
Another week and another battle to fight, as I approached the battlefield of Brisbane city I was rather excited about the outreach. Tonight would be my last night in Brisbane for a few weeks, since I am going to the United Kingdom for two weeks of outreach over there.
The mall seemed quiet as I made my way to King George Square, but looks have been known to be deceptive. We met as usual, prayed, and read the Bible as a team. Then once 9pm rolled around we were into the mall for the preaching.
Ryan was the first preacher up for the night, this also was his last night, since he will be in Thailand on mission for 5 weeks.
While he was preaching, I was on the Bible table. While I was waiting for people to approach two Korean students came up to me and asked if they could have a Bible in English so that they might learn to improve their language skill. I gladly gave them Bibles, and also gospel tracts. Hopefully, as they improve their language, God would grant them repentance.
At 10:15pm, it was my turn to preach. So I started off by declaring the majesty of God, and then I noticed a couple of people stop to listen. I did a call out and engaged them in open air discussion. It turned out that one of them was an atheist, and he wanted to talk about the existence of God. So engaged him in an apologetic over how we know that there is a God.
An atheist attracts an atheist. All of a sudden I had two atheists, but this second one claimed to have been a Christian before seeing the ‘light'. He wanted to debate over some alleged contradictions in the Bible. I enjoy this kind of debate, because often times many people in the public have these questions, and as ministers of the Word we need to be able to answer their questions.
We covered a lot of ground in regards to the existence of God, and then I got to use my favourite argument against atheism, and that is the argument from morality. For if there is no supreme being then, there cannot be any moral absolutes. The atheists I was dealing with argued that the law gave us morals, yet the law came from peoples morals. I pointed out that was circular reasoning.
By this stage another atheist had joined the mix, so it was me trying to dialogue with three atheist at once. I do have to say that they were all very polite, and they were men who had spent some time thinking about the subject. It is always refreshing to debate someone who knows why they hold to a certain position.
I presented arguments to them from teleology, cosmology, and morality, and slowly the arguments made ground. Finally after realising that since they didn't know everything, there could be evidence for God, they admitted that no longer would they hold to the atheistic world view. Two of them declared themselves agnostic, and took some literature, and the third declared that he now believed in God, and wanted to learn more about Christianity.
During this time two young men were ripping up Bibles and tracts, then throwing them at me as I preached. The ground around me was white like snow from all the destroyed Bibles. The police came and then in front of the people watching the officers made the two men pick up everything, they then issued them a move on order and allowed us to continue.
The night finished strong with many hearing the Gospel. Please be praying for all who heard the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 5 January, 2008
The day was strange for me, I felt tired, and I felt like doing nothings. So in my ‘wisdom' I decided to go out on the streets, but not preach. One would think that I would learn, but I never do. Whenever I have said ‘no' to preaching, I have always ended out declaring the gospel.
It was good to have Andrew Hsu back from his trip to Taiwan, so since he hadn't preached in awhile I thought it would be good to put him up first. However, this changed when Josh Mitchell arrived on the scene. It was Josh's schedule week off, yet for some strange reason he appeared in the city. So we put him to work right away and got him up on the Brisbane box declaring the gospel.
The night was fairly quiet, and there wasn't many people in the mall. Josh Mitchell did a good job, and then it was time for Andrew to preach. Hsusy got up and declared the gospel in his normal fashion. But I didn't get to hear all that much of his message since I was in a one to one conversation behind the preacher.
At around 10:45pm, Andrew thought it to be good to make me preach for the night, I tried every excuse to avoid preaching, but Andrew wouldn't buy it. So I got up thinking that it was a quiet night, so I will do a ten minute message then stand down. But God had other plans...
I was going to do my "Booze Sermon" based on Proverbs 20:1, but before I could get into it, I had a couple of hecklers opening up on me. So I dealt with them to the best of my ability. Yet as any preacher knows, a heckler is a magnet for more hecklers.
As I finished with the first two hecklers I got fired upon by a young man who had many questions and statements in regards to the hypothesis of evolution. This topic interests me from an apologetic mindset, so I engaged him on that topic. But like most people who hold to evolution, this man didn't realise that there is a lack of evidence when it comes to macro evolution.
Every time I would ask for evidence he would avoid the questioning, or change topics. During this time another regular heckler was standing beside me yelling abuse at myself, and blaspheming God.
The crowd was growing as the debate raged over Creation and Evolution. I particularly like dealing with this topic, since it is so easy to swing from Creation into the fall, and then into personal sin. From there it is but a small jump to declare the Gospel.
Mr. Evolution would only cite his year eleven biology book as evidence, but he wouldn't tell me what part of the book supported evolution, nor would he tell me what evidence the book presented.
The crowd had given birth to other hecklers, so I was busy trying to deal with four people yelling at me all at the same time. Upon being asked to wait there turn three of them agreed, however, the fourth would not.
The questioning then turned to "how do we know Christianity is true?" They also stated that it was just made up by a few guys who wanted to make a quick dollar. So again we entered into the apologetic realm and answered the questions in regards to that. Then as the hecklers have done in week previous, they asked about the historical Jesus, and if there was any evidence for Him. I do find it quite amazing that these questions always appear, and no matter where one preaches a heckler has to ask that question.
I built the historical case for Christ, but the vile young man next to me wouldn't accept it. I pointed out to him that non-Christian historians actually record about Christ, and that they all had bias against Christianity, yet he wouldn't accept history.
He then started to do his ‘apologetic' to the crowd that had gathered. He tried to make the case that if he believed his shoes to be alive, and if he wrote a book about it. Then would that become a religion, and would that become truth? I replied to him that it may cause some people to worship his shoes, however, it wouldn't make it true. Moreover, I stated, it would be highly improbably that your opponents would write historical accounts saying that your shoes are alive. Yet the opponents of Christianity wrote about Christ Jesus.
By now a young islander named Ricky appeared on the scene, I had already spoken to him earlier in the night, so I engaged him in the gospel. The crowd listened, as I explained the love of God towards sinful humanity, and how we didn't deserve mercy. As I spoke you could see the conviction in the eyes of Ricky. Yet, throughout my talking to him, people tried to drag him away. He stayed firm and listened to the whole gospel, and thanked me for presenting it. - Please pray for him!
By now it was after midnight, so I wrapped it up. A few people took in-depth tracts, so pray that God will use the gospel presented tonight to change their hearts.
As I was packing up I was approached by Mr. Evolution, who wanted to talk more about Creation and evolution. So we discussed that to a deep level, and I made the case for the existence of God from a morality view point. Sadly the man couldn't see his own circular reasoning, it is always hard to witness to a blind man who wishes to stay blind. But we can rejoice in the fact that God is the Sovereign one in all matters.
Sunday, 6 January, 2008
The heart rate was up, and the nerves were pumping as we made our way to the Gold Coast. Exactly one week ago we were arrested for witnessing, but we knew we had to return to preach once again.
The weather was threatening, but for a time it held off. Josh Mitchell was the first and only preacher of the day, and God blessed the gospel with bringing in some of the largest crowds we have seen on the Gold Coast.
I was on the camera and I was expecting the police to appear at any time, and at one point a police officer stopped, looked at the crowd and then kept walking.
After an hour of preaching, the heavens opened up and God sent forth the rain. Many of the listeners wanted to learn more, so they took good in-depth gospel tracts.
Tuesday, 8 January, 2008
Each year in January, the large Pentecostal youth movement "Planet Shakers" roles into town. And each year thousands of youth attend the event in order to ‘party for God'. In the past I have worked as security at these events, but the things I saw as a guard, made me realise that we needed a Gospel witness in the place.
I arrived at 1pm, and met up with Keith and Josh Mitchell. Since I was known to the security it didn't surprise me to see that they were already watching me and following me, while I was at the event.
We decided that we would head across to the Southbank parklands, and do some witnessing over there, while the conference delegates were on break. When we arrived I did a Way of the Master radio interview with a youth pastor for a Salvation Army church. He knew the Gospel, but he couldn't verbalise it, so we helped him to the best of our ability to understand how to present the gospel in a clear and logical fashion.
After this, we decided we wanted to hand out some tracts, since the youth were not getting a biblical message inside, but rather they were getting from the conference preachers, nothing but false assurance and demonic lies.
We started to hand out tracts, and many of the youth thanked us for the tracts, and many even stopped to talk.
Now you need to picture this, we are on public property, away from the convention centre where the event is being held. Then from around the corner we are approached by a group of Planet Shaker security guards, who come to complain about us witnessing. They formed a circle around me, and tried to intimidate me to stop witnessing, so I pointed out to them that since we are on public property they can't actually stop us. This caused one of the security guards to snatch a tract out of my hand, and start to call me a hypocrite. I asked why I was a hypocrite, and he stated: "Because you say there are none good, yet claim to be good". I replied that I did not claim to be good, and nor would I even claim such thing, since after all the scripture says we have all sinned, and none of us do good.
He declared that he didn't like what I was saying, and I replied that he didn't like the Bible then. He just laughed and said that he was a Christian, and what I was saying is lies. So I asked him what part was lies. He couldn't answer but just spoke about how they are true and we are wrong.
Before I could respond, I was approached by Mark Penny, who is one of the top guys from Planet Shakers. I only know Mark from last year, when he tried to stop our witnessing, but in the end agreed to let us continue.
This year he and I chatted about general things, and then he encouraged us to keep up the good work. He then left stating that we could hand out tracts outside the venue. I later found out that the security guard that was with him told everyone that we are JW's.
That night we decided to go into the free night session to see what was happening in the realm of Pentecostal youth. To be perfectly honest I was sickened by what I saw. The band whipped the crowd into an emotional frenzy, then Russel Evans got up and told everyone to listen to him, and got the crowd doing waves around the auditorium.
After this they had some slower ‘worship' songs, that always seem to focus on ‘me' instead of God. After the crowd was all emotionally stirred up, it was time for the offering. The man doing the offering, told us that if we want to give our heart to Jesus, then we need to give in the offering. Since where our treasure is, there is our heart.
He then went on to use the Creation account to prove that God wants you to create space in your wallet, so that He can fill it with money. Then he promised healing, wealth etc to all those who obeyed.
I was outraged, how could a thief be allowed into the pulpit, how could a money hungry charlatan be allowed to minister to so many people. The only verse running through my mind was 2 Peter 2:3.
After the showmanship was over the ‘evangelist' Reggie Dabbs, came out and did another show to the people, and started the chant of "bye, bye, bye, bye" and we were told to say this to all our hurt and pain. He then declared that we should say "shut the front door" when pain tries to come back to us.
The message he preached, was nothing more than psychological dribble. He spoke about Jesus Christ coming to help you with your sorrows, and how He came to make you feel better. This is NOT the Biblical gospel! If Jesus wanted to make you feel good He could have sent you a hallmark card, He didn't have to die! The Gospel is about God saving sinners who don't deserve mercy. Yet Planet Shakers seem to miss that point.
I was heart broken as thousands stood to pray the prayer of "bye, bye, bye, bye".
Thursday, 10 January, 2008
Today we returned to Planet Shakers, since thousands of youth were getting a false gospel, we knew we had to do something to make sure they understood the true gospel.
We began by handing out tracts, thousands were going out, and many pastors were coming back and thanking us for the tracts that we had given out. People even wanted to pray for us, since they were excited to see people declaring the gospel.
But then... two of the top Planet Shakers organisers approached, and one of them lied to Keith, and then tried to snatch all the tracts off him. Keith pointed out that we were on public property and that he couldn't do that. The man then assaulted Keith by grabbing him, and again Keith warned him that was assault. The man just ignored, and told him that he would make us move.
The other Planet Shaker leader then began to yell at all the youth that they shouldn't take these tracts, since they are wrong and the message on them is not true. I replied that we were not a cult, but rather we are from Baptist churches, and that the message on the back is from the Bible. The youth stopped, and didn't know which way to go, so I called out "get the information that Planet Shakers doesn't want you to have!" This resulted in many youth eagerly taking tracts. The first leader then started to take them of the youth as they walked past, so I went and circled behind him, and gave them tracts again. This made him keep moving further and further back until he realised that we outnumbered him, and that he could not stop the gospel tracts.
A bunch of youth swallowed the lies of the false prophets from Planet Shakers, and began to rip up the tracts saying that the message was false, yet when questioned on which part is false they could not answer.
After awhile, I went and spoke to the first Planet Shakers leader, and asked him what part of the message does he disagree with. He was stunned, so I asked him "why do you hate the gospel?" He replied that he didn't and that he did agree with what the tract said, this led to me asking him "why then did you try and stop the youth from having it? All you have done is created a situation in their mind where they now believe the gospel to be false!"
The man apologised, and was sorry for trying to stop the gospel. He stated that he agreed with all the tracts message, and that he also believed that message to be truth. He then apologised to Keith for lying and assaulting him.
I must say, that based on the fruit that Planet Shakers produce, then I would have to declare them as nothing more than an anti-Christian, anti-Gospel, religious party. In which the Bible is not respected, but rather the words of the leaders are taken as truth.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown intothe fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. - Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV)
Soli Deo Gloria!
The sense of the festive season was still in the air as I arrived in Brisbane City for our weekly Operation 513 outreach. As I walked through the Queen Street Mall, I noticed that it wasn't all to busy, and that few people were hanging around. I presumed that it may have been due to the fact that in two more nights the city would be full due to the New Year Eve celebrations.
The team met in our normal spot in King George square for a time of prayer and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father, then after prayer we spent some time as a group reading through the Scriptures. It was good to have some old friends from Sydney with us tonight as we ministered the Word.
At 9pm we made our way to the Queen Street Mall, and began to set up for the outreach. It was then that I decided that I would be the ‘strike' preacher, that is, the first preacher of the night. Normally I don't like going first, since my preaching style plays a lot of hecklers, and the first preacher of the night normally gets not many hecklers.
I started off by talking about how in a couple of nights people will make New Year resolutions, and how many people will break their resolution within hours of making it. Then I asked how many people would make the New Years resolution of "I will not die in 2008!".
From there I asked the question of ‘How many people died in the past year?' and ‘Are you assured of surviving 2008'? By God's grace a crowd began to gather, so I then opened up the Scripture and gave the crowd a biblical perspective of life from James 4:13-14:
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." (ESV)
Then I established with the crowd, that we could die at any moment, and it did not matter how old one was. Once people were thinking about death, and thinking about eternity, then I spoke about why we die, and how originally there was no death, but through sin and rebellion against God, sin passed to all people.
I had a couple of hecklers during this time, and they brought up one of the most ask questions that we have had in recent weeks, and that was the question of "prove there was a historical Jesus". I have enjoyed these questions, since it has made me study more the historical documents outside of the Bible that testify to the life and death of Jesus Christ.
After I stood down from preaching I had a good conversation with a young man who was an intellectually. He was really interested in knowing more about the historical Jesus, so I spent some time doing a bit of an apologetic work with him, and then brought it back to the Lord Jesus Christ, and how He only is the only one who can save sinners.
The rest of the night was fairly quiet until just before midnight, when a drunk Irishman decided to start abusing and threatening Josh Mitchell as he preached. So I moved into position behind Josh Mitchell to give any support if the situation got violent. The Irish man saw me, and then started to threaten me and generally abuse me. I was happy to let him threaten me since he was allowing the preacher to continue without interruption.
While he was yelling at me he did hit me once in the stomach, so I warned him if he did that again then I would get the police. He apologised, but then denied hitting me. After about ten minutes passed he started to hit me again, so this time I grabbed his arm and pushed him of me. He then started to shout that I assaulted him, so I sent one of our guys down to the get the police. The police arrived, and arrested the Irish man. I must commend the members of the Queensland Police in Brisbane for doing a fine job in tough situations!
Sunday, 30 December, 2007
The news reported gale force winds, and heavy rain for the Gold Coast, but we decided that we would still go out and witness to those who went to the beach to see the six metre high surf.
Upon arrival it was raining, so Josh Mitchell and Ryan started handing out tracts while Dave and I kept an eye on the teams equipment. Once the rain stopped we noticed the crowd rush to the beach front, so we went to where we normally preach and began to declare the gospel.
Josh Mitchell and Ryan Hemelaar went first, and they preached even though we were being pounded by strong winds, and sand being blown from the beach. A few people stopped to listen, and a couple even heckled. After about twenty minutes the heavens opened up and the rain began again. So once again we took cover, after about five minutes of rain it stopped so again we went back to the beach front.
This time it was my turn to preach, so I jumped up and preached from Hebrews 9:27, and how it is appointed for us to die once and then judgment. A small crowd gathered, and a heckler opened up on me saying that there was no historical evidence for Jesus. So as I did the night before I made an apologetic argument for the historic Jesus Christ.
It was hard preaching in gale force winds, so after about twenty minutes, I tagged Josh Mitchell in to preach. He was preaching for about ten minutes when it began to rain again, but this time we kept preaching, and there were four young men sitting on a seat listening to the gospel, and they were asking some good questions.
Let me set the scene for you. Picture one preacher, addressing four listeners. Behind the preach stood Ryan and I. It was onto this scene that things got nasty.
As I stood behind Josh Mitchell I noticed two Queensland police officers approach us. By the way they came towards us we knew they were coming to speak to us. However, speaking seemed to be the furthest thing from their mind.
They split up and went either side of Josh Mitchell, and as they did this I noticed the rank of a Sergeant and a Constable. They then both grabbed an arm of Josh Mitchell and pulled him down from preaching and forced him to his knees.
At no stage had they said about any law being broken, but they just decided to bring the preacher down. Josh Mitchell complied with their forceful actions, and as they stood him up I noticed that in his left hand, he was still gripping the Bible. The police turned to Ryan and I and asked if we were with him. We answered that we were so they ordered us to follow them to the Cavill Avenue police station.
Josh Mitchell was restrained the whole distance of the walk from the beach front to the police station, and we were all at a lost to what was going on.
Upon arrival at the station Josh Mitchell was taken into the holding area while Ryan and I waited in the waiting room. Before they took Josh away he requested that I come with him to be his witness for the interview. This got be pushed in the chest by the Sergeant and then yelled at.
Once the Sergeant and Josh Mitchell had gone I turned to the Constable who was not behind the front counter and I asked him for his name and details. The officer refused, and would not say anything. So I asked again, this time he gave me his name and rank. I then proceeded to ask for the Sergeants name, and all the constable would say is "his name is Sergeant".
I was also ignored by him when I asked what law we had broken. Since the police were not being forthcoming in what we had actually done wrong, I said that I would be making a formal complaint. And I began to write some notes down in my note book. It was then that I got the greatest shock of the whole situation.
While my back was turned the Constable came out from behind the counter and grabbed me by the neck and upper arm and slammed me into the wall. I called out that this was assault and he replied "Tough!" He then dragged me by my neck further into the station at the same time yelling "You're under-arrest!"
I was then manhandled down the hall way into the holding area where I was reunited with Josh Mitchell. None of us resisted what was going, but we were both breaking that God's will be done.
Since I was under-arrest, I asked for a lawyer, and it was then that the police became rather abusive and made offensive sexual comments towards us. During this whole time they never once told us what law we had broken, however, they did make many offensive comments against Christianity.
For about fifteen minutes we were in the holding area, and finally the Sergeant changed and became a lot more friendly. He told us that he would release us without charge, and that we could go free. But he still wouldn't say what we had done wrong. We were however, ordered to leave that part of the Gold Coast or be arrested again.
We left the area and straight away began to write our notes out so that we had an accurate record of what happened. We also took the time then to make a formal complaint to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, who are now investigating.
Please pray for the conversion of those two Queensland Police officers, and that God will get the Glory!
Monday, 31 December, 2007
New Years eve! As we have done for the past two years we went to the big city party in Brisbane city, not to party with them, but to declare the Words of Eternal life.
Josh Mitchell was the first and only preacher of the night. He went for well over one and a half hours, and the whole time a large crowd was gathered. Then as the midnight hour approached we got ready to preach as the people began to leave. All our tract reserves ran out that night as hundreds of people got the gospel.
2007 is finished, and 2008 is beginning. Pray that God will be glorified all the more in the New Year!
Soli Deo Gloria!