Saturday, 19 April 2008
A cool breeze was blowing as I headed into the Queen Street Mall, while I was excited about witnessing, I was also distracted. The reason for the distraction was because at Sunday lunch time I would be leading the Gold Coast team, which a week earlier had been arrested and detained. So I was preoccupied with the notion of facing possible arrest.
Something I learnt during this whole situation is that often times we can not trust in God to be Sovereign over the situation. While we may profess that He is in total control, often times our actions are at odds with our theology. It was during my drive into the city that I pondered these thoughts, and the one scripture that kept coming back to my mind was Ephesians 1:11 "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will." God works ALL things out according to His will, and as I grasped that truth, I became at peace with all that was going on.
After our normal time of prayer and Bible reading we had a bit of fellowship then headed up to the mall to begin our preaching for the night. It looked like we had a small team this week, so we prayed that God would raise up labourers, and of course He is always faithful, he brought in guys that hadn't been on the street for some time to work alongside us.
Ralph was the first preacher up, this was his fourth open air, and he is showing amazing growth as a preacher. In the time that he has been preaching his confidence has grown, and also he is starting to develop skills in regards to handling hecklers.
It was a quiet night in the mall, yet Ralph managed to get a heckler who wanted to stand really close to him as he preached. This is a standard thing on the street, as often times the enemy wishes to shut down the open air, so he brings a heckler along to make the preacher talk quietly. Ralph handled this guy well, and did a decent job in getting the gospel out.
While Ralph was preaching, those on the Bible table and standing behind the preacher were constantly ducking for cover, as some bats had decided to take up residence in the tree above us. The problem was these bats would sit above us and then let some ‘gifts' fall on us.
It was around this time that Kristine spotted a man sitting behind the preacher listening. This man was the man she had sat next to on the bus trip into the city, so she grabbed some tracts and headed over to speak to him. I covered the Bible table for a bit and even had the privilege of giving to Arabs a copy of the New Testament in their own language.
By now Ryan was up preaching, and a man was sitting next to the preacher listening and heckling. As Ryan preached I was called over by Kristine to assist her in witnessing.
The man she was witnessing to was a self righteous humanist, who was only looking for an argument. He kept saying "What if a person kept all of God's Laws, yet didn't believe, would they go to Heaven". Of course in his mind he was that ‘good person', as we went through the Laws of God it soon became clear that he was not good, nor had he kept all the law. Yet in his own mind he was convinced that he had. It is always saddening to see how sin blinds many people. It blinds them to the point where they think they are sinless in the sight of a Holy God.
While I was discussing the gospel with my humanist friend, Ryan's heckler began to scream, and Ryan just calmly responded to all his questions. The man finally got so mad that he walked away yelling. This was interesting as it shows what happens when ones pride gets damaged by the Gospel of Christ.
I turned once again to the humanist, and began to expound on sin, and how it is repulsive to God. But he just hardened his heart, and decided to leave still believing that he is not a sinner.
By now our regular heckler "The Dawkins Man" was back, now he was heckling Ryan over the existence of God. Ryan dismantled his argument piece by piece, and then proved to the few listening that God does exist. But as usual "The Dawkins Man" just ignored the arguments and kept saying "Christians can't prove it!" even though anyone listening just saw the proof of God.
Ryan tagged me in and I opened up on "The Dawkins Man" showing him the reason he refuses to accept the evidence is because he is a slave to sin, and loves his sin. He didn't argue but admitted that he had sinned. This drew in other people who wanted to speak, but since I was about to beaten by the clock I only dealt with one of them. That was a young lady who had many questions about Christianity, and why we were doing what we do. I stressed to her that I love her, and I will do this because I care for her. This softened her up to the Gospel, and she willingly took a gospel tract. While I was talking to her a drunk man got up in my face. He was showing all the body signs of wanting to fight, so I prepared myself to defend. But a drunk aboriginal man decided to come to my aid and began to fight with the man. He landed a few good punches on this man, and eventually they both walked off.
After I got down a lot of the team was engaged in one to one, as I began to pack up an old aboriginal man came up and stated that the spirits wanted to kill us. It turned out that he is an aboriginal spirit man, and his job is to summon the spirits to do his bidding. Many Christians get frightened when a ‘spirit man' curses them, but my rest is in the Sovereignty of God. And I know that God will not allow something to happen, unless He wills it!
As he began to speak in a demonic tongue, I began to quote the Scripture to him, and pointed out that the spirits in him are subject to the One who defeated them at the cross. The man shot back that Jesus Christ had no power, but the Scripture was finding its mark, as the man began to look uncomfortable and left.
Praise God for His faithfulness and Sovereignty!
Saturday, 12 April, 2008
Why is it every time I think "quiet night" things always goes nuts! I was expecting a small team tonight. But God's grace brought a fifteen person team out on the street to witness. We spent some time in prayer, and Bible reading. Then we had a time of fellowship.
At 9pm we made our way into the Queen Street Mall, at about 9:15pm Ralph began to preach. It is good watching Ralph preach, he is doing a good job, and with some time he will turn into a good open air preacher. For someone who has only preached three times, he is sounding like one who is an old professional at the open air preaching game.
He went for about 15 minutes, and then he tagged me in to deal with a heckler who was an Australian living in Saudi Arabia. He was asking questions in regards to Christianity compared with Islam. I did my best to answer his questions, then swung into the gospel. He was very open to hearing the gospel, and he thanked me for presenting the truth to him.
This then created another wave of hecklers. It was good to see one of the hecklers we had from a few weeks back in the crowd. He is one of the friendliest evolutionary hecklers we have ever had, and it is really good to talk to him. But sadly, the hecklers we had tonight, weren't really the friendly ones.
One man screaming about atheism came up next to me with a bag of fries from a fast food place, and proceeded to put the fries in his mouth and then spit them at me. When I didn't respond to him doing this, he got the bag of fries and poured them all over the soap box and the ground. I ignored his antics, as I was dealing with a heckler who wanted to debate on "Can we know what is after death."
I was able to go through the Christian message with this young man, and he seemed convicted as I explained to him that he would have to give an account to God for all his sin. It was then that the pseudo-intellectuals opened fire, these guys had been standing in the crowd for sometime, one of them asked the question "If Christianity is true, then why does it copy older pagan religions? Christianity is just paganism repacked!" I asked him to explain what pagan religion Christianity allegedly copied. The man stopped and thought for a moment, then with a big grin he said "They copied the Egyptian religions!"
That argument was interesting, so I asked him "Are the Egyptian religions polytheistic or monotheistic?" His reply was "polytheistic", then the question was asked, what was Christianity, his reply was "monotheistic". I then pointed out that the central doctrine of God, is not copied from Egypt, so why does he think it was? He made the case from an account of Osiris being the same as Jesus. This argument lacks any support, for if one examines the Osiris myth, you soon see it has nothing in common with the message of Jesus. We went through the argument, and the man conceded that Christianity is not a copy of any pagan religion.
By now a man wearing what I though to be a dress started heckling me. He started off by telling me that it is not a dress but rather a really long jacket. We debated back and forth on the issue on how we can trust the New Testament. The interesting thing was this man was presenting so many arguments that showed a distinct lack of understanding of the Christian message. But he kept on stating that he had a solid knowledge of Christianity.
For an hour and half, we debated back and for on apologetics and the gospel. The man did not realise the his arguments were being smacked all around the field. It was rather amusing when the atheists in the crowd started to turn on him, and explaining to him that he had no idea on what Christianity teaches. Then Mr. Dawkins Man entered into a debate. We had him a few weeks ago, he would ask a question then run away before you could answer. Again this was his ploy, and once again the atheists turned on him.
By now it was nearing midnight, and I had been up for 150 minutes, so once again we entered into the Gospel, and explained to many people listening the truth of the message of Jesus Christ. A lot of those in the crowd took tracts, and many one to ones took place after the open air.
Praise God, for the Gospel and His faithfulness!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
As I was preparing to leave for the streets, I happened to glance at the news that was on the television, the sports presenter was talking about a big football match that would be occurring that night. Normally I am not interested in the sport, but when the reporter said “Game starts in just under thirty minutes in Brisbane”, I knew that it was going to be an interesting night.
Where we witness in Brisbane is between two major sporting stadiums, and many of the people who attend the sports events walk past us on the way to catching a train. So we are strategically located to witness to many of the fans.
By 9pm we were in position in the Queen Street Mall setting up for the night. It was then that I noticed that two Brisbane City Council officers were present also. In the past the officials have given us a little bit of hassle as we witness but tonight they were friendly, and gave us a wave as they walked by. Praise God for Him opening doors for the Gospel to keep going in our city.
Ryan was the first preacher up for the night, and as we listened to him preach one could tell that he has been spending a bit of time studying apologetics. His arguments for the existence of God were brilliant, and as he spoke he proved how logically one can know that there is a God. He then looked at the atheistic position and how it is a logical false.
It was while Ryan was explaining the flaws of atheistic thought that a British accent was heard to call out from the crowd. Two young British tourists decided that they would have some fun and heckle the preacher. This boyfriend and girlfriend team went into bat on the side of atheism and evolution. While Ryan stood and represented Biblical Christianity.
The debate soon took off with both sides making their cases, and as they debated the crowd began to grow. Ryan did a splendid job in presenting an apologetic case, and the British couple did a good job presenting their view. From listening into the debate it seemed that they just wanted to believe that God did not exist so that they could continue to live in a lifestyle of sin.
Ryan turned and tagged Hsusy in, who went from the atheism debate into the evolution debate. The crowd seemed to be loving the discussion. People stopped to listen, and as they left many of them took gospel tracts. The British couple tried to make the case that there is no moral absolutes in the world. So Andrew gave them a few scenarios to think about. Then he swung into the conscience and began to see if the British couple had a sense of right and wrong. This of course led to the Gospel being presented, which sadly I didn’t get to listen to.
Just as Andrew started in on the Gospel I was approached by two young men who had been listening behind the preacher. They asked me what was going on, and why were they debating. I explained to the two men that the debate was over the existence of God, and also evolution. They both laughed when they heard this and said “We went to Catholic school, we know God doesn’t exist!” These two men hated the Bible due to what the Roman Catholic School had taught them. So I went through some basic arguments showing the existence of God. As they thought about the arguments they admitted that there probably is a God. So from there I decided to swing into the Gospel.
The question I posed to them was “Why should God let you into Heaven?” They seemed stunned at this question and thought about it for a few seconds, and then one said “He shouldn’t!” But the other said “Because I am a good person!” So I reached into my pocket and found a pressed penny with the ten commandments on it, gave both of them one, and asked “Are you good by God’s standard?” From there we went into discussing the Ten Commandments, and how they all leave us as guilty and show us the need of the Saviour.
After they saw their sin they listened carefully as the gospel was presented. They both left understanding the full gospel, and also with gospel tracts. Please keep those two men in your prayers.
My attention turned back to the preaching, and I saw that Andrew was stilling dealing with the same hecklers. He went on for about another twenty minutes then wrapped it up.
As soon as he stood down the team swung into action and began to witness one to one to the people who had been listening. This time of one to one went on for at least forty minutes, and then Kevin got up and preached the night home.
I must say it is an honour to serve with the men and women who make up Operation 513 - Brisbane, they do such a wonderful job, and many souls are being touched by their ministry. It is a blessing to serve alongside them!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 29 March, 2008
The was a sense of idol worship in the air as I made my way into King George Square, tonight was the night in which the world stopped to worship the earth for one hour. While I fully support the idea that we should look after the environment I think we cross a line when we start to think that the earth runs all things. People who are ‘earth worshippers’ are classical Romans 1, they forget that there is a Sovereign One who holds the earth together, the one who sustains life, the one who created all, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I sat in the square waiting for the team to arrive I noticed that there were a lot more Satanists in the area than normal. And with the city turning their lights off I didn’t really want to be a lone Christian in the midst of the Satanists in the dark. So I decided to put a call through to Josh Mitchell, and leave my phone open so if anything happen he would be able to direct the authorities.
While I was sitting there I listened to one of the Satanists talk about calling up the dark spirits, and how he had been having communion with them. It was saddening to see one so deceived by the enemy. The man failed to realise that those dark spirits whom he calls friends were his enemies and hated him.
At around 7:30pm I was approached by a Satanist who I had debated with and witnessed to many times. He was friendly and started a conversation. We spoke a bit about the gospel, and he kept re-affirming the fact that he is wanting to go to hell because he likes pain. I wasn’t interested in getting into a long debate with him, but rather I just kept pointing him back to the Word of God, he stated that he did not believe the Bible, but that didn’t worry me since in combat an enemy solider may not believe in a rifle, but that still doesn’t stop me from shooting him. As Christians we are called to sow seed, so I kept on sharing the Word with him and his girlfriend. He got fired up a bit and started to make obscene comments about God. This drew other Satanists into listen. One man walked in all arrogant, then yelled as he saw me. He yelled “You are that preacher from the mall!” After that he wouldn’t come near me, nor talk to me. By now the team had arrived, so I got them praying while I continued to witness to the group of Satanists. We all parted on good terms, and many of them waved to us later in the evening when they saw the team. Please keep all of them in prayer.
At 9pm we made our way to the Queen Street Mall, and as we set up we noticed a large group of Islanders hanging around. The Bible table seemed to be attracting them, so we sent Ralph up to preach. It was his second open air sermon, and I must say he has good projection of voice, and knows his Bible. There are a few things he needs to tie down, but those small things come with experience.
It turns out that the Islanders were all Mormons. I was able to engage one of them in discussion at the Bible table. He kept talking about how they support our ministry, I pointed out to him that he couldn’t support us, since we preach opposite to what the Latter Day Saints teach, he informed me that we taught and believed the same thing. This then led into an apologetic conversation in regards to what the Mormon church teaches, and after going through a different topics he said “You know your stuff, I am not here to debate” after that he walked off. I noticed that other members of the team were also locked in Mormon dialogue. It was then that I noticed the man I just spoke to come around to Ralph and start to heckle. Ralph asked him if he was a Christian, and the man’s reply was to say “yeah, kinda”. Ralph pressed him for more information but the man wouldn’t give it, but when it came out that the man was a Mormon, he again took off.
By now I was engaged in a discussion with three Mormons, we were looking at the doctrine of good works. They maintained that one had to earn salvation, whereas the Bible teaches that salvation is not of anything we have done but rather it is all of Grace.
We spent some time going through the Scriptures showing that we cannot earn salvation, we looked at Ephesians 2:8-9:
“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.” (ESV)
Then we looked at Titus 3:5:
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
We spent ages on many passages like Romans 4, Romans 5, Romans 8, Isaiah 64, Galatians 2, Titus 3, Ephesians 1, Ephesians 2.
By the end of the run through the Bible one of the Mormons who was doing all the talking asked if we had a note pad and pen, since he had never seen this before and wanted to write down all the passages. We were more than willing to give him all the details. After we built the case for salvation being not of works, we compared it with the Book of Mormon that states that we are saved by works. This stunned the Mormons since they were always taught that the Book of Mormon and Bible align.
After parting ways with the Mormons, I turned around was engaged in another discussion this time with a group of young Pentecostal men, who believed that we shouldn’t preach sin, since they believe all men know they are guilty. Also, they pushed that we must have signs, wonders and healings. While I am a cessationalist in theology, I pointed out to them not the cessationalist argument, but rather how from the Scripture those signs, wonders, and healings followed the proclamation of the Gospel.
This debate then led to one of the group just attacking how we preached the gospel, but he wouldn’t present a better way to preach. He just kept saying “I don’t agree!” We went through the Scriptures one by one, and I asked him each time what he thought that verse meant. After about twenty minutes he got frustrated and walked off in disgust. The others in the group thanked us for taking the time to explain the Scripture to them.
Ryan then got up to Open air preach, and he did a go job expounding on the Scripture, after awhile he got a few hecklers yelling at him. One of them turned out to be a Seventh Day Adventist who wanted to argue over the Sabbath. The man was trying to argue from church history, and he clearly was wrong in his statements. Ryan tagged me in to talk to the man. So I jumped up and began to discuss the issue of the Sabbath. As the discussion went on the crowd grew. So I kept on pressing him from the Scripture to prove his point.
The man stated that we must keep the whole of the Law, so I asked him if he would kill a homosexual (Leviticus 20:13), he stated that he would not since Christ fulfilled the Law. So I asked him, if Christ has fulfilled that law, then why do we have to keep the Sabbath, surely He has fulfilled that one also? The man then claimed that the New Testament taught Sabbath keeping, so I pressed him to show me within the New Covenant where the Sabbath was taught. He couldn’t show any Scripture, so his next argument was “Sunday is pagan! It is the day of worshipping the sun! That proves we shouldn’t worship then!” I asked him “Do you worship on a Saturday?” He answered that he did, so I said “Do you know that Saturday is a pagan day? From the worship of Saturn?” He was a bit stunned, I then explained that these were just days in our culture so it doesn’t matter if we worship on them, but rather we should worship everyday.
Then I saw him, a Seventh Day Adventist ‘apologist’ who I have debated with many times before, but when challenged this man will never reply. He opened up by saying that I didn’t know my Bible because the New Covenant clearly taught Sabbath keeping. I asked him to show where it taught this. His reply was read Luke 23:54:
“It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.”
He then said “See, Jesus rose from the dead on the Sabbath, thus we must worship on the Sabbath.” This was the first time I have ever heard this argument so I took a second to re-read over the passage, thinking that I must have missed something. As one looks at the context of the passage one quickly sees that the verse is not talking about the resurrection, but rather it is talking about the burial. So I called him out on the context, he quickly started to back track. As he yelled at me the crowd kept on building, and I was starting to eyeball the crowd to see who I could call out to engage in the Gospel proclamation.
The Seventh Day Adventist kept yelling at me that I was following a lie, and that we must worship on the Sabbath. By now I was getting tired of the debate, so I asked him simply “What day does the book of Acts say the early church met together?” As soon as I said that you could see a look in his face that revealed that he was stuck. He answered “Everyday!” So I asked, “The book of Acts list what day it was, do you happen to know what day that was?” He yelled out again “Everyday!” So once again I asked him the question, this time he said rather quietly “The first day”, then I asked “What day is that?” Before he could respond a bunch of people in the crowd started laughing and called out “That’s the Sunday!” The man refused to answer, so I asked what day is the first day, he eventually said ‘Sunday’. The man then got really angry and started to yell at me about how we must keep the Sabbath, this was fine since it was just drawing in a bigger crowd to hear the Gospel.
Then the worse thing that could happen occurred! Four police officers walked through the crowd, and one of the Constables stopped and called me and the SDA apologist to him. I quickly tagged Andrew in to preach, and he started to preach the gospel to the crowd. The well meaning police officer told the SDA guy to back off and walk away, since I had every right to be there. While I appreciate what the officer did, he without knowing killed the crowd.
Andrew then tagged me back in and now to a much smaller crowd I explained the gospel. Many in that crowd took an in-depth tract afterwards, and we got to have some good one to ones.
Ryan was quickly collared by the SDA apologist, so they engaged once again in debate. Shortly after the debate started the man walked away angry, since he had announced that you must keep the Sabbath to be saved, so Ryan slammed him on works based salvation, and how the Bible says “cursed is every man who does not do all things written in the Law”.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts, and talking to people.
Overall it was a great night, and many people got to hear the Gospel of Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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.