Saturday, 17 May, 2008
Tonight I decided to field test Ryan as the team leader. Over the past few weeks we have been working on training him up as a leader, and he has shown some good growth. So tonight was the night in which we would put his training and leadership to the test.
As Ryan went about organising the team, I had a chance to stand off to the side and hand out tracts, and talk to people. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, while he was preaching I got into a conversation with a man who claimed to have a Christian background but would not reveal exactly what that background was.
We spoke for some time in regards to the teachings of Jesus and the use of parables, the whole time I was watching him, and listening very carefully to his arguments. The case that put forward was consistent with the common arguments presented by the Seventh Day Adventists. So I asked him if he was a Seventh Day Adventist, he looked stunned and refused to answer. We then entered into the discussion in regards to what happens when someone dies. We both agreed on the basics, that is we die once, and then after that we are judged. However, the man stated that we enter into ‘soul sleep', that is once we die, we stay in the ground until such a time that Jesus returns. To this I decided to take him to the Bible:
"Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Paul in this passage indicates that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. The man looked at me and said "Yes, I agree with that, however, there is a long period of time between dying and being with the Lord." This was a classic case of eisegesis. So I called him out on that and pointed out the text doesn't say that, but rather he is forcing his presupposition into the text. The man maintained that he was not, so I asked again, how he got that from the verse. He did not answer that question, but then changed gears and started to ask me about the doctrine of hell. This worked well with what we were talking with as I then turned him to Luke 16 to illustrate about two people who had died and were immediately in a place where they were conscious of their surrounding, thus, destroying the case for ‘soul sleep'. But as with most cults, and with those who twist scripture, he had an answer. His reply was to allegorize the text, and then turn into a parable.
The parable argument for Luke 16 is rather weak, since the account that Jesus is talking about doesn't follow the structure of other parables, since Jesus mentions that ‘there was a certain man' and then gives specific names. This does not follow the pattern of parables. The story is supposed to be interpreted literally. The man refused to listen, and said he would like to debate some more. Threw the week he sent me and email, in which he was rather arrogant, and wanted to fight over the issue. Something, I haven't the time to engage in.
After this I was able to hand out a few more tracts, and engage in some good one to one discussions. It was now that I noted that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was back, he has been coming back on a weekly basis for months now. I always look forward to talking to him, as he is good to draw a crowd, and his arguments are rather weak. But, I want all those reading this report to stop right now, and pray that God will convert Alex.
Ryan preached for a bit, and he finished up around 11pm. It was then that I decided to step up the preach. I really didn't feel like it, since I had next to no sleep. But as I preached God was gracious to draw a small crowd in. He brought a bunch of young people, who all at once began to heckle. Yet, claimed to be Christian. They all counted their Christianity on the fact that they attend a large church called Citipointe COC, they said they went there for the games, and had been assured by the leaders that they were Christians. That church has a reputation of being a false convert factory, that waters down the gospel to the point where there is no ‘good news' left in it. We got to have a good witness to the youth, and they all took tracts at the end. Please pray for their conversion.
The night ended with a lot of one to one conversations. May God be praised for allowing His Word to go out!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 10 May, 2008
When will I ever learn? Every time I head out on the street and say "Tonight, I won't preach" I end up preaching. Tonight I resolved that I would not preach due to the fact that I would be preaching at Rosalie Baptist Church the next morning, and I wanted to be fresh for the pulpit sermon.
As we set up for the night I noticed that we had a demonic painter set up in our preaching area. This really frustrated me since this guy paints really dark paintings, and often times he gets large crowds. Knowing that there would be clash of light and darkness I prepared for a long night.
Initially I tried to get the Queensland Police to move the painter from our area, but I was informed by police that it is a Brisbane city council matter, and they have no say. Which was interesting since in the past they have moved us for council matters.
The first preacher up was Ryan, and he battled to get a crowd, since people would stand and look at the painter painting instead. He did mange to get a few hecklers, and he did well dealing with them.
Next up was Kevin, I really like to hear Kevin preach, he has come such a long way since I first heard him preach. He keeps calm under pressure, and constantly points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While Kevin was preaching a man came and stood really close to him, so I moved in just in case it got violent. As the man stood close to Kevin, I could hear the language he was using. Some of the words were the most vile I have ever heard, then the man had the hide to claim to be a Christian. Kevin slammed him for his hypocrisy, and then the man yelled "I am on the Council of the Queensland Uniting Church, and we want to see you guys stopped!" This stirred Kevin up to preach all the more.
After Kev preached, Ralph had a go. He did a wonderful job, and he managed to preach to a few people that were gathering. Towards the end of his open air he was heckled by a couple of Jehovah Witness girls who were drunk. Ralph tagged me in, and I began to deal with them. The girls quickly turned and ran. But by now many hecklers had moved in.
It was interesting to see that the crowd watching the painter quickly became a crowd listening to the preaching and the debate. We went back and forth over the existence of God, and then a man who studied philosophy started to heckle. This debate led to a discussion on "Is there absolute truth and is there absolute right and wrong?" Of course all the hecklers said "No!" The leading vocal heckler was "Mr. Dawkins Man" he was yelling that there is no absolutes. After a few illustrations which show that there must be right and wrong. He started to yell that I was wrong. It was then that I pointed out that under his viewpoint I couldn't be wrong, since there is no right and wrong. This caused the crowd the chuckle.
Throughout the fifty minutes I preached, the gospel was presented many a time. At the end we got to have some really good one to one conversations!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 3 May, 2008
I was still rather excited about the conversion of my niece as I made my way to the city. Another cool thing about tonight was that we had a few new people come out on the streets. It is always encouraging to see new people come out to share the gospel.
Tonight was also a night in which we got to field test our new Operation 513 tracts, and it soon became clear that they all were going to be a great success. After we set up the Bible table, and got the team ready for the first open air, the thought struck me just how fortunate we are to have the freedom in Australia to declare the gospel of Christ. Even though over the past few months there have been multiple reports of preachers being arrested nationwide, we still had the freedom in Brisbane to preach, and we also have good relations with the fine men and women of the Queensland Police.
Ralph was the first preacher up for the night, and it soon became clear that it was going to be a long slow night. Ralph is coming along really well in his training to be a preacher, he has good voice projection, but the only thing he needs to realise that hecklers will try to keep him quiet. But the skill of handling hecklers only comes with experience. Ralph preached for near about thirty minutes, and during this time only a few people stopped to listen. Some people and ministries would be disappointed with the fact that a large crowd did not gather, but we were thankful that God allowed us to share the gospel with at least one soul.
At the start of the night I sent a four man team under the leadership of Dan Kent down to a busy intersection to hand out tracts, but after an hour of them being away I had to send someone to go fetch them back, as many people were stopping at the Bible table asking questions. Many great one to ones occurred during this time, it was encouraging to see so many people interested in learning more about the claims of Jesus Christ.
After a while I began to preach, and not long into my preaching a few hecklers arrived. The problem was that these guys were bad hecklers, one of them who was drunk was cursing and claiming to be a Christian. So I rebuked him for his hypocrisy, and pointed out that he was not a Christian. This began to get the crowd fired up, and a few people began to throw out questions like "What about paedophiles?" "What about those preachers that want your money!" "What about evolution?" I did my best to answer all these questions from the Bible, and I must say it was good to see "Mr. Dawkins Man" back even though he was sick.
There was one man who kept standing right up in my face screaming and cursing. Multiple times I told him to step back and stop touching me. He refused, and eventually Hsusy began to distract him. Unfortunately the man decided to continue to stand right in front of me and yell at Andrew. The crowd went from listening to me to listening to this demonic drunk man yell. A few people formed up on my right and began to ask questions, so I did my best to answer them. This was done more in a one to one setting, but before I realised it a crowd and stopped to listen. By now the crazed yelling man had gone, so I began to address the crowd. One asked about the Roman Catholic priests that molest children. I answered his questions, but while I was talking to him the police came and took him away for fighting earlier in the night.
While the police were there the crazed yelling man returned. He was calm while the police were there, then as they left he watched them walk down the mall. As soon as he thought they were far enough away he swung at me and slapped me across the face. Before he had a chance to respond I put my arm out to block any future shots, and also to restrain him. The police which were a fair way down the mall heard the sound of the slap so they came running back to arrest the man. While this was happening I was thinking "What a waste of time, the open air just got wrecked!" But God used this to open up some of those in the crowds with hard hearts. Some were shocked that we kept on witnessing even though I was assaulted, this led to many great one to ones. Many of those witnessed to took Bibles after that.
The rest of the night was spent in one to ones and tract work.
Praise God that He is in full control!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 26 April, 2008
Tonight was an interesting night. As I prepared for the outreach, I was reminded of last week, and how we had a young man threaten to get some ‘goodies' to pour over me while I preached. This idea did not really excite me, but as I thought about it, I concluded that the young man probably was just making up some threats.
As Ryan began preaching, I was approached by Kyosti who told me that he had just witnessed to a group of young men, and that I should be aware that one of them has a big jar of honey to pour over me when I preach. As I looked around I spotted the young man from the week before, and I knew it was going to be an interesting night.
The young men walked over to me and we began to chat. I have witnessed to these guys before, and Kyosti just went over them again with the gospel. So as Ryan preached in the background we just chatted about general stuff. I informed that I was aware of what they were planning to do, and that no matter what happens I would not become angry, nor would I hate them. But rather I would continue to share Jesus with them. One of the team softened and was very open to talking. The other two were under the influence of alcohol, so it was hard to talk to them.
We spoke for some time on different topics, and one of the boys turned out to be 13 years old, and the sad thing was he was drunk and could barely stand. Because of their drunkenness they would run up to people and try to scare them. This resulted in the police coming up to see what was going on. I spoke to the Police constable, and explained what was happening, then I asked him to have a word with the 13 year old on the dangers of drinking. The police officer took the boy aside and gave him a good dressing down for drinking and even call his mother. The boys attitude changed after this and they were very polite and friendly.
Ryan was still preaching at this time, he was heading towards the two hour mark when he finally stepped down. All around our section in the Queen street mall one to one's were occurring. I noticed that our regular heckler "Mr Dawkins" was present so I walked over to him, and had a conversation. We seem to have a good relationship with a lot of our regular hecklers, and one can see that they are softening towards the gospel.
"Mr Dawkins" and I chatted for some time about atheism, and Christianity. We went back and forth over the existence of God, and in the end he admitted that their ‘may' be a God. I pointed out to him then that he could no longer hold to atheism, but rather he must be an agnostic. We then chatted about how the belief in no god, is just as much a religion as a belief in God. "Mr Dawkins" didn't like that two much, and as we parted ways he said he would talk about this more. So no doubt we will see him again this coming week, even though he keeps saying he hates listening to us.
By now it was midnight, so we started to pack up. I was quite impressed, the night was quiet, yet many great one to ones occurred. Then as we were preparing to leave a man claiming to be a pastor was getting violent. He was drunk, and trying to beat up a teenager who was listening to him being witnessed to. Myself and couple of the guys jumped in the middle, and tried to keep them apart, but the ‘pastor' kept pushing past. Eventually we were able to separate them, and the drunk ‘pastor' was getting hostile towards me, his face was familiar, and I thought I had seen him somewhere before, so I asked him if he was related to a certain family that has a lot of pastors in the AOG movement. As I said the name of the family his face changed, and he couldn't get away quick enough.
It is sad to see so many false converts out there saying their Christians, when in reality they are still lost.
Praise God for His Gospel Truth!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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”: