After a week of rainy days, it was good to experience warm sunny weather on Thursday at our weekly outreach at Sunnybank (QLD).
One of the first conversations I had was with an elderly man who attends a Uniting church. After asking him why he would be let into Heaven, he quoted John 3:16 to me.
But then after probing a bit deeper into what he believed it turned out he denied the fact that Jesus died on the cross or experienced any suffering whatsoever. Instead this man said he picks out the nice things of the Bible and only believes them.
So I spent a bit of time explaining how Jesus said he came to give His life as a ransom for many, and that forgiveness is available only because He died. But not long after, his bus arrived. However it is my prayer that this elderly man would seriously consider what he heard.
I then got into a conversation with a high school student named George. He didn't believe in God, but soon conceded that he would be happy to believe in a deistic God - that is, one that doesn't tell him how to live. I could tell then that it was a love of sin that was the reason for this young man's rejection of God.
But he had a lot of questions. So I spent the next two hours reasoning and sharing the gospel with him. Please pray that God would convict him and save him.
Meanwhile, George's friend named Taneegee was listening for most of the conversation and so after speaking with George I turned my attention to Taneegee. He said he goes to a True Jesus Church, where they don't believe in the Trinity and instead think that God simply takes different forms at different times. So I asked him, "Who was Jesus praying to on the cross?" He couldn't respond.
The discussion went on to about how we are saved, and Taneegee thought it was baptism that saved him. I showed him Ephesians 2:8-9 and a few other Scriptures - that it is only by faith alone in Jesus alone that we can be saved. He said he is going to go home and study the Scriptures I showed him and come back to chat with us another day. This discussion with Taneegee actually helped George who was still listening, as from this he appeared to come to grasp the relationship between faith and works.
During this time, team member Col was handing out hundreds of gospel tracts to all the people getting off at the bus stop.
It was another very worthwhile day sharing the glorious gospel. Soli Deo Gloria!
God's providence was on full display today in Sunnybank! At the commencement of our outreach we offered a tract to a Chinese gentleman who was walking by; he took the tract then looked us. As he looked towards us a expression of shock crossed his faith, he said, "You were preaching Queen Street yesterday!"
This man had stopped to listen to me preach on Wednesday, and he even took a picture of me preaching. Now, 24 hours later Ryan and I were able to talk to him in Sunnybank. The background of this man was atheistic; he had grown up in mainland China so that was all he was taught. However, after talking to him his atheism soon crumbled.
He listened intently to the Gospel as we shared it with him; and before he left he said nothing was going to stop him from repenting. He took a Chinese Gospel of John from us, and also a tract in his language. Please pray for this man.
Today, was also the first time we tested out our new Chinese literature table. We were able to set it up between the rain showers. The purpose of this table is to help reach the Chinese speakers of the community. I can't speak Chinese, but I can offer material in their language. One elderly lady came by and took a Bible. The smile on her face was priceless. There is something special about being able to read the Bible in your own tongue.
Despite the rain many great conversations were had, and many tracts handed out. Please pray for all those we encountered.
Wow. It was a surprising afternoon of outreach at Sunnybank today. One Chinese man that I was attempting to share the gospel with, couldn't speak much English at all, so I encouraged him to get someone else to translate for him the gospel tract that I gave him.
So after walking a few metres up the pedestrian overpass, he encountered some Mormon missionaries who he had obviously spoken with before. He asked them to translate the tract for him. One of the missionaries quickly grabbed the tract out of his hand and threw it over the edge of the railing.
We saw that these Mormon 'elders' had done that, so Col walked up to the Chinese man to give him another tract, which he gladly received. The Mormons then tried to convince the man to give back the tract. He was reluctant at first, but after their earnest pleadings, he gave the tract back to Col.
I then said to the Mormon missionaries, "Do you remember what Jesus said to the Pharisee's in Matthew 23 - you go across land and sea to make one convert and when you do you make him twice a son of Hell as yourselves."
I then said, "How bad will it be for you on the day of Judgement that you would prevent this man from coming to know the gospel." At this, one of the missionaries started swearing at us and was flaring up in anger. He said, "How can you say I'm going to Hell, you can't say that, only God knows that. You're going to Hell!"
We pointed out the hypocrisy in his statement there. He then angrily came right up very close to our faces, still swearing at us, and appeared as if he was going to throw a punch at us. He said, "I hope someone kicks you guys really hard."
Soon after, he walked away. You'll know them by their fruits. I think the Chinese man saw a difference today between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism.
There were also many open and receptive people whom we spoke with today, so please pray for them.
To God be the glory!
As I was explaining the gospel to her, she asked me what I thought of Mormonism. I thought she was wanting to make sure I wasn't a Mormon, but after I said "Mormonism is not Christian", she exclaimed, "What? Really?"
It turns out some Mormon missionaries have been speaking with her and so she has been reading the Book of Mormon and plus some of the Bible. They told her Mormonism is Christianity.
So she asked me what the main differences are. I explained the difference of salvation by grace alone through faith alone which the Bible teaches, compared to a salvation by works that Mormonism teaches. She was beginning to understand that.
I also spoke of how Mormons believe in many gods and that one day you can become a god of your own planet. She said, "They haven't told me that!"
So I encouraged her to visit carm.org to see some more of the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. I said, "Because like most cults, the Mormons won't reveal to you all the strange beliefs they have until they have gotten you into it."
Then she asked, "There are so many religions around, how can I know which one is true?" I explained how the Mormons will say it's based on praying and waiting for a feeling. But I mentioned how feelings are not the way we find out if something is true or not, feelings will change based on whether we are hungry or full, healthy or sick. They are not a test of truth.
So instead I took her to Acts 17 where Paul commends the Jews in Berea for examining the Scriptures daily to see whether what Paul was saying was true. That is what I encouraged her to do. I said, "Everything you hear about God, check it with the Bible."
She was so thankful that I explained all this to her. She said she had no idea about this and said she is going to have to start reading the Bible a whole lot more. Please pray she doesn't get caught in the Mormon cult but instead will come to saving faith in Jesus.
Lots of gospel tracts were handed out today by the team, and we got to encourage a struggling Christian in her faith.
To God alone be the glory!
Lots of gospel tracts went out yesterday at Sunnybank and some good conversations were had.
I spoke to a guy named Steven who goes to an international church in Kelvin Grove. He said that he would be going to Heaven because of some sacrifices he was about to make.
He explained that money is basically evil and the way to heaven then is to give your money away (he called this sacrifices).
Despite this I witnessed to him normally - going through the law to bring the knowledge of sin, talking of the judgement to come, the cross, and repentance and faith - and he began to see why his idea of giving money away wouldn't save him. It turns out, he was very willing to reconsider his beliefs and seemed to come to understand the gospel. Please pray that he comes to saving faith.
Col was able to witness to an elderly man who a couple months back, fell over. At that time, Col helped him back up. This man returned to Col yesterday and was able to hear the gospel.
He ended up getting a lift home from Col as well, enabling him to hear more of the message. Pray that God would make this elderly gentleman understand grace.
To the God of all be the glory!
Sunnybank is a place with many Chinese people. They are taught in school in China that there is no God, and so many of the people we speak to on our Thursday afternoon outreach in Sunnybank are atheists.
But the beauty of it is that they are like that simply because they haven't given much thought to the issue. So as soon as you give a simple apologetic showing how the universe must have a creator, they quickly change their minds.
That was the case again today with a guy named Winnie. He at first said he didn't believe in God but then came to realise his existence. I talked about sin, the coming judgement and the cross, but for him it appeared he was preoccupied with the here and now. Please pray for him.
I spoke to a young man named Nathan. He said he basically only focuses on his study and doesn't think much about God. His parents said that if he does more good things than bad he would go to Heaven. So I explain how that would not work because God's standard is perfection and thus even if we did a million good things and only one bad thing, we have not lived up to perfection.
He heard the full message but then had to go. But a few minutes later he returned saying that he wanted to ask a few more questions. He wanted to know why Christianity was true as opposed to the religion of his parents. Please pray for him.
Soon after, team member Trevor spoke to a young guy named Ian (the person in the photo). He didn't know much about Christianity and was very open. He talked with Trevor for a long while, and at the end of the conversation Trevor remarked, "I think you might have missed your bus". He replied, "I have missed my bus three times, but I wanted to stay and learn."
He said he would go home and start reading his Bible and trust in Christ.
During this time I was talking to a young man named Rex (the person walking by on the right side in the photo. He used to go to church, but didn't know the gospel message. He came to understand the gospel and said he is going to count the cost.
To God alone be the glory!
Many good conversations were had and lots of gospel tracts were handed out.
Please pray for:
• Jack & Mirah - two school kids, came to understand the gospel. As Jack was hearing the gospel he was saying, "Wow, that makes sense."
He told me that his dad died and since then he has been thinking about what comes after death. He said he even tried googling to find the answer. They both were very appreciative of the chat.
• Editaa - have talked before, he has been reading the gospel of John I gave him. He has Hindu parents. His parents said he can only read the Bible for education purposes and is not allowed to become a Christian.
So I encouraged him to keep reading the Bible and talked about how our love for Christ should far exceed even the love we have for our parents in that if they are preventing you from becoming a Christian, you should become a Christian anyway. He understood that and said that he has got some serious thinking to do.
• Calvin - initially said "I will go to Heaven because I've been nice". Was intently listening as I went through the law and the gospel. Gave him a gospel of John.
• Lachim - Have talked before, he says he is not ready to come to Christ because he loves his sin.
• Kevin - would go and count the cost. Gave him gospel of John.
• Claire - high school, intently listening.
• Shaun & Justin - school kids, said they would repent and trust in Christ.
Praise be to the God of all!
Photo: Col handing out some of the Biggest Problem gospel tracts.
A Mormon missionary who Col has been speaking to in recent weeks, I got to speak to. He's from China and says he is on mission as a Mormon to find out what the truth is. He's not sure which religion is true, and he is thinking that all religions lead to the same God. I explained how logically that doesn't make sense.
After explaining the gospel to him, one of the other Mormon missionaries came up to me asking mocking questions about the God of the Bible, like "So your God can do whatever He likes, can He? That's crazy." I responded by quoting Psalm 115:3 - "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases."
After this occurred, I continued talking with the Chinese Mormon missionary and he said, "I actually think you might have the truth, because even when some of the other missionaries say mocking things to you, you don't get angry; you stay very calm. I am going to think about what you said." Please pray for him.
Please also pray for:
• Runya - Arabic speaker, gave gospel of John
• Conrad & Linden - go to a catholic school, not prepared to turn from their sin. Listened to whole message.
• Faria - thought good person, came to understand gospel.
• Thomas & Julian - Thomas Mum is Buddhist, unsure which religion is true, going to think about it seriously.
Photo: One of the bus stops that we witness at in Sunnybank.
My first conversation was with a young Mormon missionary. He engaged me in discussion and wanted to know what I was talking to people about. This was an open-door to share the true Gospel with him. We spent some time speaking about how salvation is all of grace, and how the LDS church pervert the Gospel by adding works to it.
Sadly, no matter what was said to this young man he kept falling back onto his 'feelings'. He claimed that the Bible wasn't always right, but the Book of Mormon was. When asked how he knew this, he kept replying, "I know."
After a while he called a senior Mormon missionary over. This young man was a bit more on the aggressive side. It was clear that his job was to get the junior missionary away from me as fast as possible. However, before they left we examined what the Bible says about a true prophet, and then examined Joseph Smith to see if he fitted the criteria.
It soon became clear that Joseph Smith could never have been a prophet of God. Sadly, the LDS missionaries ignored all the data, and instead said, "We know he is a prophet, you don't" with that they walked away. Please pray the Lord would save them.
Another great conversation I had was with a 90 year old Scottish lady. At first she wasn't interested in talking, however, I was able to get her talking about Scotland. I shared with her how until recently I was living in Scotland. This got her talking about her past, and her life growing up in the Free Church of Scotland.
Even though this lady had been living in Australia for many years, she was able to recall all that she was taught in her church back in the Highlands. It was nice to encourage this lady as she knew full well that salvation was all of God's grace.
Please pray for all those we spoke to today. May Christ be exalted among the nations.
There were no Mormon missionaries to be seen at all on Thursday during our Sunnybank outreach. That is good news in that thankfully they were not able to spread their false message, but it also meant we weren't able to continue witnessing to any of them, including the one who last week revealed to us he doesn't believe the Book of Mormon is true. We will hopefully see him another week.
When I arrived I started handing out tracts as I crossed the bridge. And one young lady I handed a tract to came up to me only about half a minute after I gave her tract, and she wanted to give the tract back to me.
So I started a conversation with her asking whether she thought she'd go to Heaven. She was a firm believer in reincarnation.
I explained how reincarnation doesn't fit with reality in that if it were true, you would expect the population of this Earth to be staying about the same - for when someone dies they go into a new body. But the population of this Earth has exploded exponentially, thus showing reincarnation is not true.
She said, "But you could turn into an animal too." I pointed out that that doesn't help her case, as there are more animals on this Earth right now than there ever has been, because humans are mass-breeding them for food.
I said, "Since we both haven't died yet, it would make more sense to believe the words of one who has died and rose from the dead three days later, and that is Jesus. Jesus says it is Heaven and Hell after we die."
She conceded the point and so I went through the law of God, talked about the judgement to come and she said she was terrified of ending up in Hell. She thought stopping her sins would save her, but I pointed out that doing that won't get rid of the history of her sins.
So I explained how the only way to be saved is by having a perfect person take the punishment for us on our behalf, that is Jesus. At this point she exclaimed, "No one has ever explained this to me before! It makes sense."
By this time, it had already begun to rain but she didn't care, she just wanted to learn more. She said she would download the Bible on her phone (for she didn't want to have one made of paper) and she said she would seriously think about trusting in Christ after counting the cost. Her name is Helen.
Col arrived a bit later in the afternoon and was able to hand out lots of gospel tracts to people as they got off the bus.
Some more people to pray for whom we talked to:
• Ivy - a Buddhist, after hearing the full message and my challenge to her of when will she come to trust in Christ for her salvation, she said "This is a very big. I will need several days to think about this. It is really big."
• Victor - Goes to a Catholic Church. Had no idea of gospel. Said he would repent and believe the gospel. Encouraged him to then start reading his Bible daily and to check everything he hears about God with the Bible.
Just a team of two today, but the people we spoke to and those who received tracts will never be the same in eternity!