This is an update on what has been happening at the Gold Coast for the past three weeks (10th, 17th, 24th September).
On the 10th September, we were doing our outreach like we normally do in Cavill Ave each Friday night - handing out tracts, talking to people and doing a bit of preaching. When reasonably early in the night, we saw two council local law officers taking photos of us and writing down notes. After they had done this for about 15 minutes, they went up to some police that were nearby. Soon after, both the council and the police came up to us.
The council local law officers said that they were giving us all fines for $375 each. We asked why and they said, "For the person that was preaching, he was a doing a 'prescribed activity in a public place without a permit'. For the rest of the team, fines were received for 'distributing business advertising publications'. No warnings were given, they straight away just came up and fined us, saying "We were sent from the council to fine you guys."
The person that was preaching at the time tried to find out exactly what he was doing wrong. The police said that he wasn't doing anything wrong. But the council local law officers insisted that he was, because they said that doing a public address is against the council laws, however they could not show us where it says this.
Regarding the fines for handing out tracts, the council officers could not explain how the gospel tracts we were handing out could be classed as 'business advertising publications'. One of the council officers recognised this and so on the fine(s) that he wrote, he did not include the word 'business'. But the thing is, is that there is no law against the handing out of advertising publications, only business ones. But even under the definitions section in the Gold Coast City Council law local 5, 'business advertising publications' means "a publication that publicises any business, commercial or trade activity."
None of the tracts advertise any business, commercial or trade activity; so we can't be breaking that law. The tracts simply contain the message of the gospel - that a person can be completely forgiven of their sins through Christ's death on the cross.
We are appealing all the fines because we are simply not breaking the law they think we are breaking. Please pray for us during this time.
The following Friday night (17th September), we received about 3 more of the same fines for the same reasons.
The following week after that (24th September), we received only one fine - for preaching. It's possible they now realise that they have no legal leg to stand on regarding the handing out of tracts. For we advertise no business, commercial or trade activity.
We will continue to be faithful to our Lord and still have our outreaches at the Gold Coast every Friday night despite the risk of fines (for we are not breaking the law). If you are in a area, please come along. Contact us for more info.
For all the fines we will have to go to court, please keep us in prayer during this time. If you think you will be able to help us on the legal side of things, or even the financial side of things (to pay for court/legal fees), please do contact us! Thank you.
Our liberties in sharing the gospel are being suppressed here at the Gold Coast. If we do not fight these fines, Christians in the Gold Coast (and it may extend to across Australia) will not be able to share the gospel as freely as they have enjoyed in the past.
Please pray, and get in contact with us if you think you can support us in some way. Thank you!
To God alone be the glory!
This will just be a quick report to let you know what is happening:
We started our outreach at 8pm and I got up to preach at our usual location in the middle of Cavill Mall. There were quite a lot of hecklers, and I was having a good discussion with them. But after preaching for about 30 minutes, a busker then began setting up his stuff about 5 metres away from me. Then a guy in an Elvis suit (a different person) started playing his music next me, but I just kept preaching. This Elvis guy attracted more and more of a crowd to hear the gospel, which was good.
He stopped playing and then immediately two undercover police officers came up to him, asking him what he was doing. He said that he wanted to listen to this other busker and said that I was preventing him doing that.
The undercover officers then told me to stop preaching and talk with them, saying "Bring your stuff, you won't be coming back." Without even discussing with me at all, they had made up their mind that they were going to move me on.
The police officers were very angry right off the bat and were not interested in discussion. I asked them why I was being moved on and they said that someone had complained that I was stopping someone enjoying someone else's lawful activity. So I asked, "Is what I was doing, unlawful?" They responded, "No, it's not."
This raises the interesting question of: 'Why does that other person's lawful activity have higher priority over mine? Especially since I was there first doing that activity, and secondly the vast majority of people that were there wanted to listen to me rather than the Busker.' It seems like, since one of the lawful activities that were happening that night was preaching, it immediately has the lowest priority out of any other activity.
So I had to move on, but the rest of the team kept going. Blake and David Richardson preached later for quite a while, and did not get stopped. Later in the night, 8-10 police officers came swarming the group, informing them that they could no longer hand out gospel tracts since it says on one of the tracts "the wages of sin is death", they said the tracts are offensive. At this time, David Richardson was preaching and they police went around to the crowd asking them whether they didn't like the preaching, so they could shut him down. Thankfully, none of them didn't like the preaching, so Dave kept going.
Please keep us in prayer that we don't have any more hassles from the police in the coming weeks and months.
As we arrived outside Hard Rock Cafe at the bottom of Cavill Avenue, there was already a busker there playing loud music. So we had a quick time in prayer together and then decided to move more towards the middle of the mall. On the team tonight we had about 10 of us.
Last week at the end of the night we found a great place to preach, because it was an area that was not as open as the stage. So we moved there and I got up to preach and had a number of Muslims heckle me, however they wouldn't stick around for very long.
All the people in the restaurants across from me could hear the message, and a few of them began shouting something in response. It was clear they were against the message of the gospel. One of our team members over heard the restaurant manager call the police to complain about us. However, the police only came about an hour later. At this stage, John was the one preaching. He is a pretty good preacher, but he's not that loud. So that meant by the time the police arrived, the preacher couldn't really be heard at the restaurants at all. So the manager of the restaurant looked a bit silly complaining about a guy who wasn't that loud at all.
But the police went up to John and told him only to move along. We could tell that they didn't want to move him along, but they thought they had to because of the complaint they received. Right after this, we decided to move 20 metres down the Mall to another great spot that wasn't facing the restaurants. Blake then got up to preach. The police did return but had no problem with us being there.
After Blake preached, I got up to preach again. Quite a large number of Muslims gathered round to listen and asked some very interesting questions. Some of their questions and objections consisted of "The Bible has been changed!", "When did Jesus say that He was God?", "When Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, God provided a substitute. Why couldn't God provide a substitute for Jesus when he was going to the cross?", "If Jesus is God, how could He die?"
A number of videos of the interaction I had with these Muslims is below:
The Muslims were very appreciative that their questions could be answered, and said they would be back next week.
To God be the glory!
It's getting to that time of year again, where it seems as though every second person at the Gold Coast is a Muslim. From July to about September, lots of people from the Middle East travel to the Gold Coast for holidays and so that is why it is essential to have Arabic gospel literature on you.
When we arrived outside Hard Rock Cafe, a busker was playing already there with his loud amp. So after a bit of fellowship and prayer together, we made our way to the middle of Cavill Ave. We thought it would be a good idea to begin preaching at the same stage as we preached last week.
I was the first man up, and started off telling a true story about something that happened to someone in the UK just earlier that day. Bekk let me know about it right before I preached. There was a lady in the UK who had been battling breast cancer for years and just today she had been told that she has beaten it. She would have been thinking, I've beaten breast cancer, nothing will be able to stop me now. But on her way back from the doctor's office, she ran off the road in her car and drowned in a river. Death came so unexpectedly. I told this story to show that death could happen to anyone at any time and that is people should be thinking about eternal things.
I transitioned from that to talking about how what we do here matters forever. And since we have all sinned, by breaking God's laws, we are all deserving of Hell. But I then spoke of the cross and how if someone repents and trusts in Christ's death alone for their forgiveness, they would be saved. I noticed there were quite a number of Muslims listening, so I stressed that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and that in no other religion can a person have forgiveness of sins.
After I stepped down from preaching, a young Muslim man came up to me saying, "I have no problem with what you are doing, but you shouldn't say Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Because I wouldn't say to you Islam is the only way." I responded, "The reason why I say Jesus is the only way is because He is. That means that if someone dies a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu or part of any other religion, they will end up in Hell. For example, imagine if there was a blind man walking towards a cliff listening to some music, would you not go up to him and warn him off the cliff ahead (even though he may not want to be interrupted from his music). I would, that is the loving thing to do. In the same way, the loving thing for me to is to warn you and others who are not Christians that they must repent and trust in Christ alone to be saved." The man seemed to understand my point. I then discussed with him why Christianity is true as opposed to Islam.
Josh was the next one to get up and preach. God has blessed him with a really loud voice, and so he could be heard quite clearly even at far distances. However at the end, Josh commented that the stage is not a very good spot to preach, because it is so open and so your voice doesn't rebound. He found his voice was hurting even after 15 minutes. Also people seem to think that they can't heckle when we're on the stage.
We then moved further down the mall, where it was less open and Yarran preached solidly for about three quarters of an hour. After this, Jeremy faithfully preached for about 20 minutes. Since the night was rolling on, he had lots of drunk hecklers. At one stage, a guy who came up to Josh while he was just talking to someone else punched Josh in the stomach. Then moments later he went up to Jeremy who was preaching and pulled him off the soapbox. Josh and I immediately went up to him to get him to stop pulling Jeremy and we told him to move along. Jeremy then got up again on the soap box and started preaching again. At one point, some hecklers even pretended to bow down before Jeremy.
The rest of the team did a great job handing out gospel tracts and talking to people.
To God be the glory!
The past two weeks we have been hassled firstly by the police, and then last week by the council. But in the end, both gave us permission to be there and do what we do. Praise God! So we were thinking that we wouldn't have to deal with them tonight and we didn't.
For when we met together for a time of prayer, one of local law officers from week was walking around with a different local law officer. That new officer was about to say something to us about us handing tracts, when the other officer tapped him on the shoulder saying that we were alright.
In our usual spot, a busker was already playing. So we decided to move up to the middle of the mall in a big open area and preach there. So I set up my soap box and started preaching. I had a few hecklers, mostly Muslims. One of the Muslims seemed a liberal, not even believing that Jesus existed! After showing him why it is indisputable that Jesus lived, they all got stuck on the idea that Jesus died on the cross. This is strange, because Muslims think that Jesus is coming back in the future and then He will die. So why they get all up in arms about Him dying 2000 years ago is beyond me.
The spot where I was preaching was fairly decent, with lots of people in hearing range. But after I got down, we decided that preaching on the permanent 'stage' was probably a good idea too. So Blake got up and preached faithfully about the cross of Jesus. As did another guy named Ryan after him.
After this, we noticed that there was a guy in the middle of the mall who had decent crowd around him. We thought he must be a busker. I decided that it would be a good idea to preach closer to him, so the crowd could hear the message too. As I was getting up to preach, the man in the middle of the crowd and the crowd too started moving towards me (probably heading past me). But as they were right at me, Rhoi wolf whistled and said, "Everyone, listen to this man" (pointing to me). Then I began preaching, and went through the good person test with the man who had attracted the crowd (he was wrapped in plastic). So this meant I had the man and all the crowd now listening to me. Praise God how it worked out! I was amazed. I preached about how there is a judgement to come, and since we have all sinned we need forgiveness that is only offered in Jesus.
This is a video filmed a little after that happened:
After it all settled down, Luke got up and preached a location further down the mall and almost immediately had some atheist hecklers. This was perhaps Luke's first time preaching in the open air, and he did a great job.
To God be the glory for another great night!
This was now the second week having the Gold Coast team on a Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon. We thought we shouldn't have any problems with police tonight, after they gave us permission to preach last week.
It was a drizzly night, however there were still lots of people about. The good thing about the rain is that it kept the buskers away. So this week we didn't have to try and compete with them.
On the team tonight we had: Josh, Blake, Jeremy, Bekk and I. We began preaching the gospel and had a few hecklers. However, while Josh was preaching the rest of us were handing out gospel tracts and then two council local law officers came up to Bekk and I. They said that they have no problem with the preaching, however the handing out of gospel tracts they considered touting. I asked how that could be so and pulled up the Gold Coast City Council local laws on my phone, and went to the one that defines touting.
“tout” means to approach another person and publicise either verbally or in writing a business, commercial or trade activity. (Local Law 5)
So I told them that under the Gold Coast law, handing out of gospel tracts is not considered touting. One of them responded, "But I still think it is." I said something to this effect, "You a local law officer, and so you can only make judgement based on what is the law, not based on what you want the law to say." They said, "Look, get approval from the council to do it and then that will be fine. Then we can know you are not handing inappropriate materials behind our backs as well as these gospel tracts." I responded, "We have tried investigating it with the council, and other local officers we have talked to say it is not illegal, therefore it is not possible to get a permit for something that is not illegal. Moreover, how will getting approval stop the possibility of someone handing out something different behind your backs?" They couldn't really respond and just said, "We are giving you an order to stop handing them out or we will fine you."
I then let Josh know about what they said. And Josh thought it was the silliest thing he has heard! He wanted to go up to them and hand out tracts right in front of them, but they had already left. But a bit later we made a strolled up the mall, and found them in a restaurant. So we decided to hand out tracts outside the restaurant they were in so it would be hard for them to miss us.
They then came up to Josh and Jeremy and said that they couldn't hand out tracts because they thought it was touting. Josh said, "Really? According to Gold Coast law it's not. Go ahead and fine us, and we'll make sure to take it to court. They were like, "Na, we don't want that." In the conversation, they kept changing the reason why we couldn't do it - from 'touting' to 'people could slip on it if they step on it'. Then they decided to call their local law HQ, and they asked the person there about handing out of Christian literature. The person on the phone (who was loud enough to hear) said, "Handing out of Christian literature is exempt from the touting law." At this point the law local officers' manner changed dramatically and they began being friendly, probably realising that we could report them for hassling us and trying to make us to stop doing something that is not illegal.
We were very happy with the outcome, and so began handing out tracts even more fervently in the remaining minutes left of the outreach.
We have now received approval from both the police and council, so hopefully next week we won't have any hassles.
To God be the glory!
Tonight was the first time we have had the Gold Coast team on a Friday night. We made the change because more people seem to be available on Friday nights than on Saturday afternoons.
The car was packed as we made our way to Surfers Paradise for a 7pm outreach start. When we were trying to find a park, we noticed that there were a lot more cars, so once we finally found a spot, we had to walk quite a bit further to get to Cavill Ave.
Once Josh, Jeremy, Bekk and I arrived, we met up with Rick, Joel, Kyosti, Oliver and Blake. We firstly sought out the best place to preach. For our usual spot is not good at night, as it is not lit up, so not many people hang around that part. We chose a spot in the middle of Cavill, but then a busker decided to start setting up right next to us before we started preaching.
So we decided to go down to the bottom of the mall outside Hard Rock Cafe, and this seemed like a perfect location. For there was enough room for a crowd to gather, and there was lots of people flowing through.
After a time in prayer, Jeremy was the first man up to preach. He did a great job proclaiming loudly the message of the gospel. During this time, the same busker who had started setting up while we were at the other area came over and started setting up next to us here! So Josh went over to him to let him know that we got to this spot first and it wouldn't really work with both of us being here. He agreed, and then went to another spot.
I then got up to preach and a bunch of young girls began to heckle. I asked them whether they thought they'd go to Heaven and they thought they would because they are good people. After going through the commandments with them, they realised that they didn't deserve Heaven and that wasn't good news to their ears. So some of them wanted to leave, but I was able to quickly get the gospel in before they left. Some of the girls returned later however.
After I finished preaching, another busker came and was starting to set up his amps. I went over to him and said that it wouldn't really work having both of us here at the same time. We told him that we'd be here till 10pm. He was only allowed to busk till 10pm, so we made an agreement that we'd stop preaching at 9:30pm, and he'd get a good solid half hour after that to play without us preaching nearby.
By this time, Josh had already started preaching. After not too long, Josh had a vocal heckler that was asking questions like, "If God is loving, why did He make Hell?" and saying things like "Since we've all sinned, we all deserve Hell, so why are you preaching?" Josh was able to repond to his questions and then start going through the commandments with him. But as he was getting to the gospel, two police officers came over and had a chat to Josh. They were wondering whether the hecklers were giving him grief. Josh said no. They said they had received a few complaints, but then said that there was nothing wrong with us preaching here. They mentioned that they could hear Josh preaching all the way down the street. Josh took that as a great complement. They then suggested to Josh to maybe lower his voice level down just a touch.
Thank you to the Gold Coast Police for giving us permission to preach.
Here is a video of the events that took place:
As the police were leaving, Josh started preaching again. However, the busker then just started playing his music, way before our agreed time. So Josh had to preach at his loud voice level again to try and compete with the amp that the busker had. It was very hard to compete with him. And once Jeremy preached after Josh, it was very difficult to hear the preacher. So we decided to just hand out tracts and have one2one conversations until the busker left.
After the busker left, Blake then got up a preached the message of the gospel faithfully, even while having a few hecklers asking him questions.
It was a great night overall! Praise God for His faithfulness. Friday nights 7pm-10pm is the perfect time to have this team.
The Gold Coast team usually meets from 12pm-3pm each Saturday, but today we decided to push the start and finish times one hour earlier. The reason for this was that two people who join us on the streets occasionally at the Gold Coast were getting married today - Dan & Simonie. Congratulations to them both!
So at the earlier start time, we had Blake, Bekk and I who met together. After a time of prayer, we read from Ephesians 1. Since it was earlier in the day, there were not as many people about. However, soon after starting to hand out tracts, two performers decided to do some antics in our usual preaching area. This drew a small crowd of onlookers, and so we were able to hand tracts out to the crowd.
I thought I would take the opportunity of the gathered crowd to preach, so once the performers were gone, I stood up to preach. I started off by talking about the soccer World Cup that was coming up. Many people have been counting down to it for years. Some have bought flags, their team's fan gear, plane tickets to see the matches and so on. The broadcaster who won the rights to show the Wolrd Cup on US TV screens had to pay 400 million dollars for it. Yet while the World Cup is a massively-popular event, there are some people in the world who haven't been looking forward to it. And some may not even know that there is such an event. But there is an event coming up that no one will miss. A day bigger than the World Cup, that every one will know about it when it arrives. And that is the return of Jesus. I then went on to speaking about the Judgement that will occur at Jesus' return, the fact that we have all sinned and deserve Hell, and that Jesus died on the cross for all those who would repent and believe.
At about miiday, Rick and Glenda arrived, along with Emma. This was Emma's first time out on the streets after only becoming a Christian not too many months ago. She did a great job for a first timer.
One conversation that Bekk and I was with two young ladies. When I asked them that if they were to die tonight would they go to Heaven, one responded by saying, "No, our souls will sleep until the return of Jesus. Then we'll go to Heaven." By their answer I could tell that they would either be Jehovah's Witnesses or 7th Day Adventists. They were 7th Day Adventists. They had no qualms in admitting that they live in sin and have no interest in turning from that sin. For they said that God does not mind them living that way, for God will let them into Heaven anyway.
So I warned them that Jesus said a person must repent to be saved. They responded by saying that even though they are 7th Day Adventists, they are not born again. They said they plan on doing that later in life, and the way that happens is by water baptism. We pointed to them John 3 where Jesus says that unless a person is born again, they will not enter the kingdom of God. Being born again is not an optional extra, it is required. We then corrected their misunderstanding about what they think being born again is. It is not water baptism, it is something spiritual - where a person dies to their old self and comes to be alive in Christ and they receive the Holy Spirit.
But they wouldn't have a bar of it. They expressed clearly that they had no intention of turning from their sin, and yet thought they would still enter Heaven. All we could do is warn them again about what the Bible teaches - that a person must repent and trust not in their baptism to enter Heaven or any other good work, but only the death of Jesus for their forgiveness.
Blake at this point in time was talking to two Jewish guys, and as the conversation progressed, the amount of people listening to his conversation increased. So he eventually had a crowd of people surrounding him listening in. Blake mentioned that some of them after hearing the gospel were very convicted.
Since I preached earlier in the day, there hadn't been a preacher up for a little bit. So Rick decided to get up on the block and doing some preaching. He did a great job in proclaming the awesome truth about Christ paying for the sins of His people.
During this time, Glenda got in a great witnessing encounter with a man who was riding a bike. She said the conversation went for about an hour and the man was very challenged and was soaking in everything she said. Praise God!
To God be the glory!
There was not a cloud in the sky as Bekk and I made our way to the coast. Due to people having weddings and exams being on, it was only us two on the team today. Even so, the gospel still needs to go out and that's why we still do it. And the Lord had provided perfect weather for us to do it today.
All throughout Summer, members on the team had mentioned that it would be so good if there was some sort of shade structure built to cover the area where we usually witness. For last year the council took out lots of trees around the area because of the road work they have been doing, and so there was no longer any shade. But what has been happening for about a month now is one of the new buildings going up in Surfers Paradise actually blocks the sun completely from shining on the area where we usually witness for about an hour during the hottest part of the day. Talk about God being good! :)
After praying together, we started handing out tracts and getting into witnessing encounters. One of the conversations we got into was with three ladies. The most vocal of them was non-religious, one of them was a non-practicing Catholic and the other was just a Catholic. I was speaking mainly to the vocal one, answering her questions and explaining the gospel to her. She, after all that, said "I can get my Catholic friend to explain it me later when I want to think about this God stuff."
It is rare to have someone who is a Catholic who actually understands the Biblical gospel. So when I heard that her friend was Catholic, I asked her friend, "If God was to ask you why you should be let into Heaven, what would you say?" That question does really get to the heart of the issue as to what a person is trusting in to get to Heaven. And to my surprise, she answered the question by explaining that it is only Christ's death on the cross that can forgive her sins. It surprised me that she answered that way, because that would indicate she doesn't actually hold to the Catholic Church's teachings. So I then focused my attention on the other two again, making sure they understood the gospel too.
I then got up to preach and spoke about the upcoming Queensland Day. I started off by talking about even though there are so many reasons to celebrate our great state, it is not without its problems. Even in Queensland, we hear on the news each night about people being murdered, things being stolen, people dying in car crashes, and so on. Death even happens to us Queenslanders. So we should all therefore think about what happens to us after we die. I then spoke about the judgement to come and how we have all fallen short of God's perfect standard. This makes us all deserving of Hell. But the good news is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. So that if someone would repent and trust in Christ alone for their forgiveness, they would be saved.
Even though we were few in number today, the gospel went out. So to God be the glory!
I woke up today to the sound of rain pouring down outside my window and I thought "Oh no, there won't be many people around at the coast today." But by the time I was driving to the coast, blue was covering the sky.
We had at the coast today Yarran, Snowy, Bekk and I. After having a time of prayer, we read a chapter from Galatians. Then we got stuck into witnessing.
One conversation that I had was with someone who had a cryptic shirt. After asking him what it meant, and him explaining to me that it was something sexual, I thought this person needs to witnessed to. He thought he was going to Heaven because he said he was a Christian. I was shocked at that, and so I asked him, "How can you say you are a Christian and yet you love doing the things that your shirt talks about?" He answered, "That's who I am, I like that sort of stuff." He then also explained how he gets drunk very often and yet knows God will forgive him because he is a Christian. So I pointed to him verses that talk about how drunkards and fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But it didn't seem to change his mind.
I warned him that he may very well be part of the number on the Day of Judgement that says, "Lord Lord," and Jesus will say 'Depart from me I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21-23). So I pointed him to the only way a person can have forgiveness and that is through Jesus' death on the cross. But if a person trusts in that, the Bible is clear they must repent. The man wasn't very interested after I told him he'd have to repent.
It was evident that people did stay away from the coast today because of the rain earlier in the day. Even so, I did get up to preach. I was encouraged to get up to preach actually by a non-Christian who works at a local shop. He has come out during his lunch break to listen to us preach for the past few weeks now and today when we hadn't started preaching yet, he came over and said he wanted to hear us preach. I had a few hecklers while preaching, and after answering their questions I directed the discussion back to the gospel.
Yarran, Snowy and Bekk did a great job handing out lots of gospel tracts and talking with people. I thank God for each one of them and the desire He has given them to share the gospel.
If you are in the Gold Coast area, why not fulfil the Great Commission by coming alongside your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and sharing the gospel with us? Please contact me for more information. If you're not in the Gold Coast, please keep us in prayer. Thanks.
To God be the glory!