On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge we had a team of 6 members which was a blessing to be able to split up and talk to people in a larger area was great. There was much conversation had and we were able to share the love of Jesus Christ despite our sinful state.
I spent the first while talking to some Mormons and they are very adamant in what they believe, they take many singular verses from the Bible pull it out and use to to justify and defend things like a previous spiritual world, the option for salvation after death and different levels of Heaven.
It breaks my heart that they are convinced of their falsehood and greatest of all the blaspheme God in saying that we can please Him with our deeds and that Jesus Christ's death was not sufficient, we must also earn it by works.
Please pray for the many who believe this, please pray that these two and many others can hear the truth of the Gospel and walk away from trusting in Jesus + Themselves and turn to trust in Jesus ALONE and His perfect work for their salvation.
We also talked to some of the usuals, there was a young man who we had talked to a few times who has been reading the Gospel of John and we have invited him to a local youth group to encourage him in the faith.
I finished off the evening by talking to two young men who were relatively drunk, they kept pulling up problems, throwing out many objections they had but wouldn't accept this answers, they wanted to live in unbelief so that they could do what they wanted to do
I challenged them about the reason they didn't want to believe, was it because of their desire to live for themselves and they both admitted to that being the reason.
This breaks my heart, for Christ has died for sinners such as us and they still don't want His salvific work.
Please pray for those who took tracts, there were many who left with tracts, many who we had short encounters with and some we talked to and discussed the things of God with, please pray that God changes lives, that he changes the hearts of the many people in the area.
Please pray that the fruits of this evangelism become widely shown, that many want to be saved, that many people hear the good news and turn in repentance trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness and payment of sin.
Please pray for those who are damaged by the effects of alcohol and drugs that they may desire to turn from these harmful ways and live a life Holy and blameless because of a miracle of salvation worked by the Power of the Holy Spirit!
Please keep many in prayer.
Also please keep the team in prayer, I found myself getting frustrated yesterday as I talked to two different groups, I lost sight of the fact that we all need the Gospel, I lost sight of the Grace of God in my own life that I didn't deserve salvation just as much as they and I had got into argument winning mode rather than Gospel sharing.
Please pray for the team that we can stay vivigilant in remembering the place from where I came and it is only by God's power that we are who we are!
Soli Deo Gloria!
A Woodridge station it was a different afternoon yesterday, a lot of the 'usual' people around weren't there, many were off somewhere else, allowing for some new and less known people to hang around.
We started off the afternoon with scattered conversations and few interactions, just with those who were around.
We talked briefly to some young men sitting on chairs near us but the three of them even though the knew they deserved Hell, they didn't want Christ. Why? Because they wanted to live in sin, one of them literally said "I don't want it, I like what I do at the moment too much". Absolutely heart breaking, that though they have cognitive understanding of the Gospel, they still don't want Christ.
Soon the school children started pouring off the trains. It wasn't long before I was having a conversation with three young men, who professed to be Jehovah's Witnesses. As we talked two of them were bringing up every possible objection to Christ being God.
They bought up many verses and many times said that Jesus is God's son not God. Which got me thinking it was a misunderstanding of what Christians mean when we say Jesus is God. I explained to them I didn't mean they were the same person but Jesus is God the Son, God is God the Father and the Holy Spirit is God the Holy Spirit. Explaining the 3 but 1.
And we discussed things a little more but the two who were very quick to try and pull holes soon left. The middle young man continued to ask questions and continued to listen and at the end of the conversation he said, I understand the Jesus must be God.
We gave him a Gospel of John and encouraged him to read it as many times as he could before next Tuesday were we'd bring him a bible.
We also encountered a few men we occasionally talk to one who claims Christ returned in the first century and another who claims Jesus isn't God. We have talked to these guys many times, please pray that these two men consider Christ and His kingdom and that they may be saved before they have to stand before God.
A late conversation we had was with Krystal and Yasmin, who heard the Gospel but decided that they too wanted to live for themselves, it didn't matter what the consequences were they were just happy to live to gratify the desires of their flesh.
I also had the opportunity to catch up with Richard who I had talked to the week before, last week was the first time he had heard of Jesus Christ and he had started reading his bible, may God continue to change his heart!
Please thank God for those who heard the good news that their hearts may be pierced and their lives changed submitting to Christ as Lord and being Saved by His blood.
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Tuesday afternoon we headed to Woodridge train station, where there are many people who hang around and many that flow through coming or going from the train.
This is one of the most heart breaking locations, firstly because many people have very little, many of the things we'd take for granted they don't have and many are slaves to trying for fulfilment in things that don't satisfy such as alcohol or drugs.
But even more heart breaking, something that brings me to tears is that even though they are in this state, stripped of many human 'dignities', most men and women here don't want Christ, apart from being drawn by God we in our sinful state will never bow to Christ as Lord.
Yesterday we had some conversations were a range of people, most know that they are in some form of the word, sinners, that they have broken God's law but many also think that it isn't overly serious, as long as they ask forgiveness and prove they really want it by doing good things that God will forgive them. Sadly many don't know the Love of God and the call to surrender to Christ as Lord and Saviour.
But it is a privilege for us to be able to go and share this truth with them, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!
One conversation I had was with a young man whom for years attended a local church. When I asked him if he was going to heaven said he wasn't because he was a sinner. He said this thought worried him, that he has been scared about what will happen because he could never live up to God's standard. When he was offered the saving work of Jesus Christ as a payment for His sin, he said he had never heard of it before and was very glad to hear about it. He left with the challenge to read the bible, to consider the cost of being disicple and to submit to Christ as Lord, accepting His death as payment for sin.
Though there were many others who heard the Gospel and didn't really want to turn from Sin, it was a blessing to see some fruit from conversations.
We also were able to talk with some young men who had accepted the Gospel and were struggling with some truths and what the bible said on certain things, it was a privilege to be able to encourage them and teach them as they desired to learn about God more!
Please keep all those who have heard the Gospel, taken a tract or seen our presence in prayer, knowing that God is sovereign, please ask that He may call many of them to repentance and cause many of them to be saved!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Many good conversations were had today during our outreach at Woodridge. I first spoke to a guy named Hayden, he said, "I don't believe in God, I only believe in what I can see!" I responded, "Can you see the air?" He said, "Good point!"
I then explained that just by looking at a building we know there must be a builder, even though we haven't seen him, so when we look at this universe and realise it had a beginning we know there must be a creator, even though we haven't seen Him.
He agreed and changed his mind about God's existence. So I then proceeded to talk about sin, the judgement to come, Heaven and Hell, the cross, repentance and faith. After hearing it all, he said "I have never heard it explained like that before. That actually makes sense."
Please pray that God would save him and for all the others who heard the gospel today.
The police were around on horseback for most of the afternoon nearby our outreach location. It is great having them there, people are much more well behaved.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
It was a rainy day today, yet, despite the weather we still had our outreach in Woodridge. When we arrived today we saw that Police had a strong presence in the area, and also there was a large group of Maori Wardens (community support group). This had a positive impact in the area as it kept crime down.
Today, for the first time we set up the Bible table in Woodridge. We had free copies of the Gospel of John, colouring books for the kids, apologetic material, and other evangelistic literature. We weren't sure how the table would be received, but to our surprise people loved it. Many people came over to take resources and to chat. We were even encouraged by a Police Officer who encouraged us in our work and said it would only be the Gospel which changes this community.
Throughout the afternoon we had good conversations and many tracts were handed out. In particular, I had a great conversation with a young New Zealander who is a local drug dealer. He had never heard the Gospel before, so for the first time in his life I had the honour of telling him about Jesus. This young man acknowledge the truth of Jesus and the fact that he needed the Saviour. However, he openly said he couldn't come to Christ as that'd mean giving up his drug dealing. I stressed to this young man that sin, while it may look good for a time, will actually be the death of him. We agreed, yet he still held onto his sin. At the end of the conversation the young man couldn't stop shaking my hand and saying thank-you. Even though he wanted to continue in sin, you could see that he was seriously thinking through the issue. He took a Gospel of John and also an evangelistic leaflet. Please pray for him.
Please remember to pray for all those we spoke to today. May the Father draw many to Christ.
One of the most encouraging things from Tuesday's outreach at Woodridge was that one of people who has become a Christian because of our ministry there (and has been attending a local church for past 6 months) was keen to help us hand out gospel tracts. He joined us for several hours.
Praise be to God!
Praise be to God for a good outreach at Woodridge yesterday. We had a good size team which meant lots of gospel tracts went out.
At one stage I offered a tract to a young couple and the man refused it. But a few minutes later he returned and said he wanted to ask a question. His name was Ben.
He asked about why do bad things happen in this world. I told him about how God created the world and it was good, but then humanity said to God that they didn't want to live His way. So God basically said: "Ok, but there will be consequences. People will die, get sick, be in pain, etc. So in essence, humanity's to blame for the bad things happening in the world. Ben said, "That makes a lot of sense."
He then went on to say how he was released from prison just last week and wants to improve his life from now and was wondering whether going to church would do that for him. I explained how improving his life wouldn't get him to Heaven because God looks at our whole life and if we have sinned even once, we deserve Hell. He asked, "Is it too late then?"
I went on to explain the cross, how Jesus was so gracious to take our Hell punishment for us on the cross, and that the way we receive this is not by going to church, not by praying or improving our life, but by trusting only in what Jesus has done for us on the cross for our forgiveness. I then talked about how once we trust in Jesus, we of course want to turn from our sin because we love Jesus.
I asked a few checking questions to make sure he really did now understand the gospel, and it seemed he did. Please pray for Ben as he counts the cost of trusting in Christ.
We spoke to quite a number of other people during our outreach as well. It's never a waste of time when God's word goes out to people, regardless of their responses. Glory to God!
We had a good outreach at Woodridge. As soon as I arrived, I saw some of the high school students I shared the gospel with the week before at the same spot, and so I started talking with them again.
It wasn't long before they asked one of their friends to join the conversation. He said he was religious. I asked him why he is going to Heaven, and he replied by saying that he has been taught by his church that baptism wipes away all his sin and that is why 2 weeks ago he got baptised. Thus he thought that he was all good to go to Heaven.
I pointed out Matthew 5:48 to him, how Jesus says we must be perfect. Then I went through some of the commandments with him asking if he had kept them. Just like the rest of us, he hadn't. He began to realise that he deserved Hell, but then said he would try be better from now on. I pointed out that doing that wouldn't get rid of the history of his sin. Neither would getting baptised or asking for forgiveness - I gave him the courtroom analogy to make this clear.
When I said that the only way of forgiveness is through a perfect person taking our Hell punishment for us on our behalf, he was beginning to understand it, but his bus then turned up. He said he wanted to continue talking with me next week.
Soon after, I had two other young men come over to ask me a question. They asked, "Is there a certain day you need to go to church?" I responded by quoting Romans 14:5-6 how the day of the week that one goes to church isn't a big deal. But I immediately recognised the bigger issue, I needed to find out whether these guys understood the gospel.
Desra, the one who liked my answer to the question, thought he was going to Heaven because he is reforming his life and starting to read the Bible.
While Bernard, the one who didn't really like my answer to the question, thought his own goodness and praying saved him.
So I talked about sin, the coming judgement, Heaven, Hell, the cross, repentance and faith with them. And it took about half a dozen times of explaining the gospel over again in different ways before they came to grasp it.
I could tell Desra was clearly counting the cost, seeing whether he was prepared to repent and trust in Christ. He asked if someone could come over to his house regularly to explain the things of the Bible. I could tell they were both really open, and so I went through a few key passages with them, such as Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 10:32-39, and Matthew 5:27-30. Please pray for them that they will truly repent and trust in Christ. I am hoping to continue going through the Bible with them in future weeks.
Other team members began to arrive during this time, we had four of us in total.
In the attached photo, Stephen is talking with a man about the gospel, but this man said he wants to take the blame for his own sin instead of having Jesus take it for him.
Please also pray for:
• Jonathan - he said he believes in Jesus, but said he needs to do a bit of good to be saved. He was receptive to the message of salvation by grace through faith alone.
• Raw & Nimrod - heard whole message. Said they really appreciated the chat and would think seriously about the message.
All the glory goes to God!
We had one guy who was really confronted about the tract "You may not have tomorrow", and by making threats towards us he was hoping we would be intimidated by him. But he ended up softening majorly and we had a great long gospel conversation with him.
Please also pray for:
• Tour - gave gospel of John, knew already he wouldn't go to heaven because of how he has been living, heard gospel.
• Clay - Jordan had a good conversation with him, and gave him a gospel of John. He said he would count the cost.
We sow the seed, but God gives the increase. So to Him be all the glory!
The place where we evangelise is where lots of school students hang out after school. Today I had good chat with a large group of high school students, some who were Muslims, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses in the one conversation.
Please pray for all who heard the gospel including:
• Tadila - thought works saved. Heard gospel. Would consider message.
• Oscar - faith & works, came to understand gospel. Gave him gospel of John.
• Lelan - tradie, listening intently, gave him gospel of John.
Photo: Wilter is explaining the message of the cross to this gentleman.
To God be the glory!
- Ryan Hemelaar