It was a warm day today and so it was very busy at Surfers Paradise. Daniel, Rick, Glenda, Amy and I were part of the team today. I got up to preach not long after midday, and within moments there was a loud vocal heckler objecting to what I was saying. He asked the question, "How do you know that Christianity is true?" I responded by giving some reasons about why we can know the resurrection of Jesus really did happen. The fellow argued that you cannot trust anything in the Bible because it is something written down. So I responded, "If you cannot trust anything written down, then you cannot know about pretty much anything that has happened in the past. For example, the main reason why we know that Alexander the Great conquered thousands of years ago is because of the historical documents written down about him. We know that there was a great fire in Rome in 70AD because of the historical documents written about it. In the same way, we can know that Jesus lived, died, and even rose from the dead because of the historical documents written about those events." The guy wasn't interested in listening however, but rather simply to keep repeating his own opinion. But God had found it fit to use this discussion that was going on to draw in a crowd of about 100 people, and there was a decent crowd for the whole hour and quarter that I preached.
When I was explaining the gospel message, so many of the people listening objected when I mentioned that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That same main vocal heckler that I was discussing with earlier said that I can't say that all other religions are wrong. So I asked him, "Are you saying that it is wrong for me to say that all other religions are wrong?" He said, "Yes!" So I pointed out that his own statement is self-refuting, for he is saying that it is wrong for me to say that someone else is wrong, yet he himself is telling me I am wrong. Basically, he's doing the very thing he's condemning me for doing. That's hypocrisy at its finest.
I explained to the crowd that I can say Jesus is the only way because in no other religion is there a Saviour, that is, one who can pay the penalty for our sins instead of us. For in Christ, God shows mercy towards us, but not by overlooking our sin, but rather by punishing Jesus for our sins and thus by that, He satisfies God's justice.
After stepping down from the preaching box, I was greeted by an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. He was absolutely delighted to hear the Word of God being preached in the open air, that he even shouted us all lunch.
After lunch we continued handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to various people. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of outreach!
It was a smaller team today, consisting of just Jamie and I. Craig Ireland also came down and witnessed for part of the afternoon with us. I did a bit of open air preaching and there were a few hecklers, but they didn't stay long enough to have a meaningful dialogue.
After preaching, a couple guys who I had witnessed to before asked me to come unto the beach to witness to their mate. So I went there and explained the message of sin, the judgment, and the cross to them all. During this discussion with them, two people sitting not far from us seemed to be listening and one interjected that she thought God was not a God that would judge people. She thought she was a good person and definitely deserved Heaven. So I quoted some Scriptures to her about how God is a judge and that we are not good people. But it was obvious that she didn't want to conform her beliefs to the Word of God, and instead had portrayed a god in the image that she wanted him to be. As the group got larger, I was able to share the gospel with the new participants, and since the different groups of people on the beach seemed to be sitting very close to one another, I could see two other people not far from us that were intently listening as well.
The original people I was talking to openly admitted that they would rather keep going in their lifestyle of sin, rather than repent and trust in Christ. They had all sorts of questions about Christianity, and so the conversation with them lasted over an hour. Please pray that God draws them unto Himself.
Many other conversations were had and a lot of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of witnessing!
Once we arrived at Surfers Paradise, Blake and I spent a bit of time reading through 2 Corinthians 5 which talks about how God has entrusted to us this awesome message of reconciliation through Christ, and that He asks us to make this known everywhere. After being encouraged by that we prayed together, and then ran into a fellow brother in the Lord. It was Craig Ireland, and he was faithfully handing out gospel tracts throughout the day, praise the Lord!
I was the first to get up and preach. And immediately as soon as I had said only basically one word, a guy sitting on a seat about 30 metres from me yelled out something about Jesus. So I dialogued with him in the open-air. He was very resistant to anything pertaining to God, but God still saw fit to use him to draw in a crowd to hear the Word being preached. This lead into a number of other hecklers piping in with their questions or objections.
One heckler was a Muslim bloke who was arguing that the Bible did not exist only 700AD. So I responded, "The Dead Sea Scrolls clearly refute that assertion, as they date back to about 300BC and contain every book of the Old Testament bar Esther. Plus we have thousands of manuscript copies of the New Testament, many dating back to prior-700AD. Moreover," I argued, "Your statement is simply not compatible with the Qur'an, as the Qur'an states that the Bible is a prior revelation, yet it came into being at about 650AD. So if your statement is correct, that would mean that the Qur'an came before the Bible, which would contradict what the Qur'an says." At this the gentlemen saw the error, but wasn't open-minded enough to continue the dialogue. I made sure that I preached the gospel over and over again, calling everyone to repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation.
After preaching for just over an hour, I stepped down and three guys in their twenties came up to me and thanked me for the message. They said that they aren't religious, but the fact that I was willing to get up there and talk about my faith even when objections came was a testament to them that this must be something pretty important. So they said they would now definitely think about the message they heard, and I was also able to have further discussion with them about the gospel. After this, we stopped to have a bit of lunch, and after that Blake got up to preach. He faithfully proclaimed about the coming judgment, sin, the cross, and what a person must do to be saved (repent and trust in Jesus).
During this time, I chatted to various people one2one. One of the conversations I had was with two young ladies. They thought they were good enough to get to Heaven on their own, so I show them from the Scriptures that no one is good enough on their own. They understood that and so I explained the cross and that they must repent and trust in Christ's death alone to be saved. They were very open to the gospel and were very keen to repent and trust in Christ. So I continued to chat with them more about the Christian faith and the cost of discipleship. Please keep these girls in prayer.
Overall, another great day! To God alone be the glory!
Andre was the first one up to preach, and he started by talking about how so much of the news these days is concerned with the Global Financial Crisis, and pointed out that that is something minor in comparison to the Global Death Crisis, with 10 out of 10 people set to die. The fact that 155,000 people die everyday should make us think about our own mortality and think about where we're going to go when we die. He then talked about the judgment to come, sin, and the wonderful news of the cross.
He had a guy who started asking him a number of questions, and after a while, he tagged Josh in. Josh then dealt with his questions and dialogued in the open air with him. During this time a rather large crowd started to gather. Here are some pictures:
Many seeds of the gospel went out today. To God be the glory!
On the team today we had Blake, Jamie, the whole Barnard family, and myself. As Blake and I waited for the others to arrive, we had chat with a guy named Vim. He had just arrived from Europe for a holiday. He thought he was good enough to get into Heaven. So we told him what some of the standards in which God will judge him one day and we realised he didn't deserve Heaven. We then shared the gospel with him, but he said that he would only think about repenting and believing the gospel once he is on his way back to Europe. For he informed us that he had come to Australia to do some sinning. We reminded him that he can't be guaranteed that he'll be still alive by the time he leaves Australia, as we aren't guaranteed another day to live. So we warned him that if he doesn't repent and trust in Christ alone for his salvation, he will end up in Hell. He acknowledged that point, but said he was willing to take the risk.
I then did a bit of open air preaching, and I got into a dialogue with two young guys named, Chris and Ryan. They were Aussies, but didn't know much about Christianity and didn't even have a Bible at home. They too thought they were good enough to get to Heaven. But after asking them whether they had lied, stolen, used God's name in vain, or even lusted after a girl, they had to admit they had and realised that they aren't good people in the sight of God. So I explained the cross and what they must do to be saved, and then I asked them, "Now that you've heard both the bad news (that you deserve Hell because of your sins) and the good news (that you can be forgiven of your sins), the real question is this: When will you repent and trust in Jesus' death alone to save you?" They responded, "Well, now!" So I then concluded my preaching and continued chatting with them. Blake and I made sure they understood the gospel, and they seemed to and they said they now do believe it, even after warning them of the cost of discipleship. We gave them Bibles and prayed for them as well. Please keep both these guys in prayer.
Blake then did some preaching and this lead into some more great one-2-ones. The gospel went out today through voice and through the loads of tracts given out, so to God be the glory!
After arriving at Surfers Paradise and making our way to the Esplanade at the top of Cavill Ave, Blake, Joel and I got into a witnessing encounter with a group of Muslims. They were all from Saudi Arabia and had been living in Newcastle for 4 months while studying. We discussed about various topics with them. I argued that since the Qur'an mentions that the Bible is a revelation from Allah, therefore either at all the points the Qur'an contradicts the Bible, the Qur'an is wrong. Or the Qur'an is wrong where it mentions that the Bible is from Allah. They responded by saying that the Bible has been changed, but they couldn't provide any evidence to support that claim. I asked them where they got the idea that the Bible had been changed, they said the Qur'an doesn't mention it, but it's likely that a Hadith does.
Muslims so often have this one particular misunderstanding about the Bible, as they always seem to bring up this objection, and that is that they say there are so many Bible versions that they see when they go to a book store. These gentlemen brought this same objection up as well. So I explained to them that the reason why there are so many different Bibles in bookstores is because there are simply many translations of the Bible into English. But this is something that's not unique to the Bible, even the Qur'an has many different translations into English.
Blake got into a side conversation with one of them which he said was very good, while I was discussing with the rest of the group. Their usual response was, "We're not religious, therefore we cannot answer your question." By religious, they mean scholarly/academic. None of them had ever read the Bible, but they had recently been given one. They said they would email us in about a month's time once they've read the Bible. They also said they would mail us some Islamic books.
It was interesting to notice that on one of the Muslim guys' hands, he had the Sin City Strip Club stamp. I asked them about that, and they said in Islam it is okay to lust. So I asked them why are women supposed to wear a head covering if lusting is allowed? They didn't really respond. I shared with them Jesus' words about lusting, and then went on to explain how a person can be truly saved and know 100% that they will go to Heaven when they die.
We then met up with some OM guys that were up from Sydney for a week, specially sharing the gospel to all the Muslims that have come from overseas for holidays. As during this time of year, almost every second person is a Muslim at Surfers Paradise. They graciously gave us some Arabic material. At this time, Jamie arrived and joined us.
I then had a conversation with a guy from Korea. When I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven, he didn't even know what Heaven was. So I explained to him basically the complete Christian message and after presenting the gospel to him, I asked, "So when will you repent and trust in Christ's death alone for your salvation?" He responded by saying, "Well, why not now?" But to make sure he understood the gospel I asked him, "If God was to say to you: 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' What would you say?" He responded, "It's only because of the death of Jesus." So I then gave him a Bible and found out that he was simply on holidays to the Gold Coast and was leaving the following day. Praise God that he could hear the gospel while he was here, and that God opened his eyes and drew the man unto Himself! To God be the glory!
On our way back to the car, I got into a conversation with two Aussies who were about 20 years old and were from Perth. They were at the Gold Coast on holidays as well. After hearing about the judgment to come, their sin, and the great news of the cross, they too stated that they would repent and trust in Christ today. I discussed further with them, and gave them Bibles as they both did not have one.
To God be the glory for all that He is doing here at the Gold Coast, and all over the world!
After praying together, Josh, Witali and his two German friends, and I started handing out gospel tracts and getting in conversations with people. Josh and I did some preaching, and a number of people listened but there wasn't any hecklers.
While Josh was preaching, I got into a conversation with two Mormons. When I asked them why they believe the Book of Mormon is from God, they tried to argue from the reference of two sticks in Ezekiel. They said that the stick of Judah is Israel and the stick of Ephraim is the Americas. I asked them what evidence they had to interpret the 'two sticks' that way. They couldn't say a thing, and so I point out that Ezekiel wouldn't have even known that the Americas existed, so I don't see how could he be referring to that. I then asked them about Heaven and Hell, and they said that only adulterers and murderers will go to Hell. But if that's true, why then do we need the cross if most of us have never committed such acts?
At this point in time, Josh joined the conversation and we were asking them how many God(s) they think exist. They said one, however in the very next breath, they said that Jesus is another God besides Elohim. Josh also pointed out that the Mormon doctrine is that there was a council of gods in the beginning, and that Mormons can become gods one day. They didn't expect us to have knowledge about Mormonism and couldn't refute the seeming contradiction between how many gods they actually are. They proceeded to say, "Well it doesn't really matter, we'll find out who is right on Judgment Day." So Josh reminded them, that by then, it will be too late and if they are believing in the wrong god, it will make them end up in Hell. One of them really didn't like hearing this and so stormed off. But the other one stayed around for a bit longer, but it was clear that he didn't really want to keep discussing with us.
There were also about six Hare Krishna's about spreading their religion. It seems as though their method is to place a book in your hands and say it's a free book. But then they say, "We appreciate a donation for it though." And if you don't give at least $10, they'll take the book off you. So it's not really free then.
A number of us had rather long discussions with them, and they tried to claim that they believe in Jesus. So we pointed out that Jesus said that He's God and the only way to Heaven, and by that He's saying even Hare Krishna-ism is wrong. So I asked, do you believe in that Jesus? They said no. So I left them with a challenge to investigate to see if either Hare Krishna-ism is correct, or Jesus is correct; they both cannot be correct at the same time. And I also shared the gospel with them.
It was another great day of witnessing, to God be the glory!
It was very busy down at Surfers Paradise today, and so Joel and I were excited that we once again had the privilege of sharing the gospel with those who don't know the Lord. After praying together, I stood up to preach. A number of people stopped to listen but there wasn't any hecklers.
I got into a conversation with two Jehovah's Witnesses, and when responding to the question I asked them about whether they thought they were going to Heaven, they said, "No, because we're not part of the 144,000 and so we'll simply live on Earth forever". I pointed out that in Revelation, it mentions that the 144,000 are male virgins (Rev 14:4), so I asked, "Will only 144,000 male virgins go to Heaven?" They said that that is symbolic language. So I asked them, "If that is symbolic, why can't the number too be symbolic?" One of them responded by saying that numbers are never symbolic in Revelation. So I pointed to Revelation 17:12 where it talks about ten kings who will reign for one hour and I asked them whether they thought that was symbolic. They said it was, even though it's a number. They saw their double standard and proceeded to say that they are sure that the scholars of the Watchtower Society have got it all sorted regarding this issue.
So I then asked them what they think of Jesus. They said He is simply Michael the Archangel, and not God. So I brought them to Hebrews 1 where it makes the comparison between Jesus and the angels. In verses 7 and 8 it says:
'Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever...”'
They then tried to argue that that is not what it says in their New World Translation (NWT). However, since neither I nor them had a copy of that translation with us, we were unable to verify that point. After looking it up later, I can say that Heb. 1:8 is changed in the NWT to say: 'But with reference to the Son: “God is your throne forever and ever...”' However, the whole chapter still makes the comparison between Jesus and the angels even in the NWT, like: "So he has become better than the angels" (Hebrews 1:4 - NWT).
I challenged the JW's to research and check to see if what they are believing is true, because otherwise they are still in their sins.
Many other great witnessing encounters were had throughout the day, and Blake even arrived to join us at one stage. However he came 5 minutes before we were scheduled to leave, as there had been shocking traffic on the way for him.
The gospel was proclaimed today, so to God be the glory!
Blake, Andre and I made our way down to Surfers Paradise on a day where it had been periodically raining throughout the morning. So once we arrived, there wasn't too many people about, even though it was the first day of school holidays. But it was clearing up, so we firstly prayed and read the Bible together, then Andre stood up to preach. He wasn't feeling well, but he knew that as soon as he started preaching, he would feel much better. So Andre faithfully proclaimed the good news of the gospel after speaking about how temporal this life is, evidenced again by the recent deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett just the day before. So he urged that those listening should think about where they will go for the Day of Judgment is definitely coming.
After Andre stood down, we decided to have a bite to eat because it still wasn't very busy on the esplande. After returning, the sun was out and so both Blake and I had a turn to preach. God graciously drew in a crowd to listen to the message being preached. Afterwards, we also spoke to many people - warning them of the coming judgment and how to be saved from the wrath of God by trusting that the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross paid for all their sins. Reactions varied, with some people blatently admitting they wanted to rather keep on sinning, while others were genuinely concerned and were very appreiative of the message. Please pray that God converts them.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, June 20th, 2009 - Gold Coast
Ryan, Blake, Joel, Louise and I all arrived at Surfers Paradise for a day of witnessing. As we walked along the beach front we saw something no street evangelist wants to see, and that is the sight of empty paths, empty malls, empty roads. This sort of environment is not good for street preaching, so we split up and went to different locations in order to hand out tracts and witness one to one.
While handing out tracts I was able to catch a couple of good conversations, however, it was very hard to get people to stay and listen, this I presume was due to the weather and also to the fact that the area was nearly devoid of people.
After an hour or so of handing out tracts Ryan and Blake returned. We then decided to open air preach. Joel was the first open air preacher for the day, and as he preached a crowd gathered around Ryan, so Ryan began to engage them in a one to group while Joel preached. When Joel finished preaching, Ryan got up and continued to preach to the crowd that was made up of mostly young people.
During this time I was able to engage a young man in discussion, he was putting on a big front to show off to his mates, but as we spoke about the reality of hell and how kind God is to send a Saviour he changed and became more open to the gospel. I pleaded with him to be reconciled to God, he left saying he would think about it. Please keep this young man in prayer. May God grant him repentance and faith.
Shortly after Ryan finished preaching, I got up and began to preach. But within about 5 minutes of starting the heavens opened and the rain came. Thus sending the last few people away. So I wrapped up the open air and we made our way towards the car.
Even though it was a short day it was a good day of witnessing to people on the Gold Coast.