"One sows, another waters, but God gives the growth" was evident during our outreach on Thursday at Sunnybank.
We talked with a man named Lee from China who was taught in school that there is no God by the teachers. And so he had never given any thought about God until he visited Hong Kong just before he came to Australia to study a masters at university.
In Hong Kong he encountered a man who shared with him about God and the story of Jesus, but he didn't become a Christian. Lee himself described that it was like that man planted a seed.
So when we met Lee on Thursday, he already knew there was a God and knew about what happened to Jesus (that ground work had already been laid), but he still didn't quite understand the gospel. So as we explained what Jesus' death on the cross achieved, he said, "Wow I have never thought of the story of Jesus that way before" in regards to Jesus paying our fine for us, satisfying the justice of God so that we can be saved.
He was extremely thankful and said that he would have to carefully consider trusting in Jesus for his forgiveness, for he knew it would change his life. Lee said he was returning to China in 3 days time since he has finished his study here. What amazing timing. We gave him a gospel of John to start reading, which he gratefully accepted.
Whenever we share God's truth with people, God will use it for His glory, and can send someone else who can further witness to that person to water the seed that has been sown. We are nothing, but to God alone be the glory!
God reminded the people in Sunnybank this afternoon of His promise to not completely flood the earth again by showcasing a massive rainbow. This was while the team was chatting to people about the only way of salvation, reminding them of the judgement day that is to come.
And God in His providence, allowed hundreds of gospel tracts to go out and some great in-depth gospel conversations were had. Including with a man named Ricky who said that he was Buddhist. The message of sin and grace was explained to him, but he said that he has to remain a Buddhist because that would be the way to respect his grandfather's wishes.
I said, "But it really matters that what we believe is true. If a person is told that it's fine to just run out on the road with your eyes closed, you'd hope that person would consider for himself whether that is wise to do so, because ultimately his life is at stake. In the same way, even though your grandfather's wishes may be for you to remain in Buddhism, if Christianity is true and by the time you die you've not trusted in Jesus for your forgiveness, the consequences will be hell forever - because God will have to give you justice for the sins you've committed."
He saw that, and came to realise that just trying to do better would not undo his past. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading to find out more about Jesus, having never read it before.
Please pray for him and all the others who heard the gospel today. To God be the glory!
The outreach at Sunnybank today went from one extreme to another. At one end of the spectrum there was polite conversation, then at the other end we had a group of drunks decide to start smashing the Free Bible table.
The afternoon began quietly enough with us handing out tracts and trying to engage people in conversation. One elderly couple walked past a person on the team and were rather hostile. Upon being offered a tract, the elderly man took it, and then threw it back saying, “I have a living faith in the Lord Jesus, which I doubt you have!”
I asked the man where he went to church and he identified a local Anglican church. I then asked, “Sir, I’m a Baptist Minister, why do you believe I don’t have faith in the Lord Jesus?” He seemed stunned and replied, “OH! I thought you were a cult!” The man and his wife then apologised, and informed me that they also attend a Bible study at a local Baptist church.
Then he said something that was truly sad. He said in 70 years, he has only ever been approached by Christians three times in public in order to talk about the gospel, but the cults had approached him many times. We all agreed that this shouldn’t be the case, and that more Christians need to take Christ into the public arena.
Shortly after this I was able to get into a good conversation with a Muslim gentleman from Sudan. He was extremely friendly, and was dissatisfied with those who follow Islam in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East. We chatted about the Lord Jesus, and then he brought up about the Bible being corrupted. In my pack I had a booklet that dealt with that topic, so I gave it to him and encouraged him to read it. He said he would, and we parted with a handshake.
During this time we had a group of white drunken yobbos come by. They were walking in the traffic and generally making a nuisance of themselves. When they saw the Chinese Free Bible table they began to overturn it and start smashing things up. I quickly stopped this, called the Police and then began to clean everything up. As they left the scene, a fellow Christian was able to give them tracts. Please pray the Lord saves them.
It was a productive afternoon with many tracts being handed out and conversations had. It was also encouraging to see that six people took copies of the Gospel of John in Chinese. May the Lord Jesus rescue many.
"I would love to have a Bible."
Today God's providence was on full display (again) during our outreach in Sunnybank. We had a team of 3 of us. Here is what happened. At one point, I was chatting to a school student sharing the gospel with him and gave him a New Testament at the end of the conversation.
Not long later, I chatted with three different school students and they were very receptive. I asked if they had a Bible at home, and I heard that one of them didn't, but I wasn't sure what the other two said. So I gave my last NT that I had in my pocket to the student that said he didn't have a Bible. At that exact moment, the student who I had given the NT in the earlier conversation came up to me and said that he didn't want the NT anymore and handed it back to me.
One of the three students then said that they all had to go as their parents were waiting, but one stayed behind and got my attention again and said, "Can I have one? I would love to have a Bible." Praise God I now had a NT in my hand again that I could give him. He grateful took it and then ran to catch up with his friends who were already quite a distance away.
The team found that a lot of people took gospel tracts today, and there were plenty of people happy to have a gospel conversation. God is always amazingly faithful, so we give Him all the glory!
In the Great Commission, Jesus says "Make disciples of every nation" and yesterday it appeared all the nations came to Sunnybank for our weekly outreach there. We had four on the team.
We had a good chat with a man from India named Rigit. He said he just went to his Hindu temple and received a dot on his forehead. He says he hopes doing these rituals will make life go well for him, even though he's not sure if any god exists or if his religion is true or not. I guess you'd say he's trying to cover all his bases.
We spent quite a bit of time showing why Christianity is true because Jesus rose from the dead which we know because of eye-witness historical accounts. For it matters whether that event happened or not, and the Bible says that if it didn't happen, there is no point believing in Christianity. We explained the gospel to him and Rigit was happy to take a gospel of John to find out more.
Another person we had a long conversation with was named Joe. He was from China and has been in Australia for a year now. He had a lot of questions. From "How do we know God exists?" to "How old is the earth?" to "What about the Crusades?". He majored in biology in universe and after being surprised that I said that evolution is not scientific because we have no observations of it taking place, neither can we do any repeatable experiments to show it happened, he conceded that it is a hypothesis and cannot be tested.
Please pray that God would draw Joe to Himself, as he had the gospel thoroughly explained to him, and he is now considering whether he is prepared to turn from sin and trust in Jesus.
We had another great afternoon of evangelism at Sunnybank yesterday. The Lord brought along 3 of us on the team which meant we were able to cover both sides of the road.
We praise God that about 500 gospel tracts went out and we got to speak with a variety of people, including Thomas. He is from Cambodia and has never heard anything about Christianity. He was very receptive and afterwards was happy to take a gospel of John.
Also spoke with a man named Colin. His mother attends a Catholic church and he says he goes along sometimes. He said he's been slowly drifting away from God. We talked about sin, the coming Judgement, and how forgiveness is only available through faith in Christ alone. He came to grasp the gospel, and he admitted that he has never actually been a Christian before, since he now realised he never has believed the gospel before.
He was encouraged to make sure he counts the cost of coming to faith in Christ, for Jesus doesn't want half-hearted followers. But at the same time, he was encouraged not to delay, since none of us know how long we have left on this earth. He has a Bible and said he is going to start reading it. He was also encouraged to find a good Bible believing church in the area he lives.
To God alone be the glory!
We had a great outreach at Sunnybank yesterday, we had 4 of us on the team and praise the Lord, plenty of gospel tracts went out (in English and Chinese).
Three highlight conversations:
1. We spoke with a typical Aussie lady named Taylor who says she has never thought about God or eternal things before, but by the end of the conversation she had a lot to think about. She was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray for her.
2. A young couple who I happened to speak to the guy a few months ago in Capalaba. He remembered me, and he said he was much more open this time. He kept bringing up "there is no evidence" even after I discussed some with him. But later he admitted that he doesn't believe in God not because of a lack in evidence, but because he wants to live in sin. But the couple soon agreed that living sin doesn't really satisfy at all.
As the conversation progressed and they heard the gospel, the couple said, "We have never heard it explained like that before. That makes perfect sense!" They each took a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray for them.
3. A Chinese man named Joe who said that his parents are Christian but he doesn't believe in God. After pointing to the fact that the universe had a beginning, he soon realised that God exists. We went through the law of God and the gospel and he said, "I am going to have to really think about this. I am going to talk to my sister about it too because she is a Christian."
To God be the glory!
On Thursday at our Sunnybank outreach, we had 4 of us on the team. Throughout the afternoon, it was great to see that God brought along people who were open to chat with us about the things of God.
In particular there was one young man named Josh. He said he used to go to church until about a year ago when three of his family members died in a car accident. Since then he has been living life his own way and rebelling against God.
I asked him whether during the time he was going to church, did he have certainty that he would go to heaven. He said he didn't, because he said we can't know. It appears that even while going to church, he thought his entry into heaven was based on his performance in some way.
So we spent some time talking about what the Bible says is the way that we can have our sins forgiven, how it is nothing about our goodness or church going or prayers, but instead through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and by faith alone in Him. He came to grasp the message and said, "I have been saying that I will one day come back to God. But I really see this as a sign that I need to do this today."
I encouraged him to definitely count the cost, but also to read Psalm 51 and make that his prayer. To God be the glory that He uses unworthy vessels such as us in His Great Commission!
We encourage you to come along to an outreach sometime, see times and locations here: http://www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
It was a fruitful day of evangelism today in Sunnybank with gospel tracts going out and some great gospel conversations had. There were four of us on the team, which meant we were able to cover both sides of the road.
One person we spoke to was named Shika. He said he was a Hindu and thought God would let him into heaven based on his goodness. So we named a few commandments and he admitted to breaking them, just as we all have. He said that he had been taught that doing more good deeds than bad would solve the problem though.
We said, "Imagine if an earthly judge did that. 'Murderer I am going to let you walk free without any punishment because you've done more good things in life compared to how many murders you've done.'"
At this point, it began to click for him. So we went on to explain how if God is just, he cannot compromise justice by ignoring our sin. So instead we need someone perfect who can take our punishment for us. For if that person pays the penalty for our sin, that satisfies God's justice so that God can show us mercy and let us into Heaven. And that perfect person is Jesus.
This Hindu man then said, "I get it now. I have always been wondering how God's justice can be satisfied." He came to realise that he needed a substitute and that Hinduism doesn't provide one.
We went on to explain that he can't just add Jesus on to his existing religion, but that he needs to leave Hinduism and trust in Christ. He was seriously going to consider this and he was happy to take a Bible.
To God be the glory!
The weather was a bit barmy yesterday afternoon. One moment it would be raining and cold, the next moment the sun would be out and hot. This was a pattern that would be repeated throughout the outreach.
Despite the weather, the outreach the afternoon went really well. One of the highlights of ministering in Sunnybank is that you can touch the nations without leaving Australia. We have found it extremely important to have material in Chinese to reach a large segment of the community.
Yet, not all our work in Sunnybank is evangelistic, sometimes we minister to fellow Christians and help them grow in Christ. For instance, yesterday a man stopped to talk because initially he disagreed with our method of evangelism. He had tried open-air work in the past, but believed it didn't work today.
We chatted for awhile about different tactics in witnessing, and then we spoke about some theological and apologetic struggles he was having. At the end of our conversation this brother shook our hands and thanked us for being out in the streets. It was wonderful to be able to encourage him in Jesus.
Please continue to pray for this outreach. May the Lord be pleased to save many. SDG!