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.
All week I had been in bed ill with a head cold. Today was really the first full day I had out of bed in seven days, so I decided it would be wise to take it easy. So it was with that in mind that I thought it best not to preach at the Gold Coast, but rather to save my energy for Brisbane.
Upon arrival at the normal preaching point on the Gold Coast we saw that it was nearly empty, this hadn’t come as much of a surprise since it is now our winter and unusually it has been really cold for us. We decided that instead of preaching we would just do some one to one witnessing and hand out a few tracts.
I was able to get a conversation with two young men from the Sudan. They both claimed to be Christians, but thought that one became a Christian by birth, as a result they had no understanding of how to be saved or what the gospel message is. One of the young men was very interested, the other walked off to look at the “pretty girls”. I spoke to the other young man for a few minutes and I stressed the need of repentance to him, he seemed to have grasped it and he said he would definitely think on these things.
After speaking to the two guys I went back to handing out tracts to those who happened to chance by. While I was doing this a couple from Sydney took a tract and asked “What is it?” Since I was using our “Are You a Good Person?” comic, I simply mentioned that it was a comic that asked the biggest question we could ever face, ‘Are we good enough for heaven?” They both assured me that they were good enough, so I asked if I could quickly quiz them and see if they are good people by the God’s standard. After spending some time looking at the standard of God’s law, they realize they needed a Saviour, so I pointed them to Christ and showed them that He is the only hope for salvation.
While I was witnessing to the couple, Ryan stood up and began to preach. Nearly instantly he had a crowd of young blokes on bikes who decided to heckle, so Ryan did what he does best, he engaged them in conversation then gave them Christ.
The rest of the day was spent with Blake and Ryan preaching. It was a quiet day, yet it was still such a joy to get out and declare the good news of Christ Jesus coming into the world to save sinners.
Saturday - 6th June, 2009 - Gold Coast
150 years ago the State of Queensland was officially established, before that time it had been under the administration from the colony of New South Wales. Throughout the state today there were many celebrations and the weather for these celebrations was ideal. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear skies and mild temperature. While people in the state celebrated we made our way down to Surfers Paradise for our weekly outreach.
We arrived at lunch time, so we quickly ate a meal, spent some time in prayer and Bible reading then we began to witness for Christ. Many tracts were going out and many people were interested in talking to us. Ryan as usual was locked in a one to one conversation with an elderly gentleman, while Blake and Joel handed out tracts to the many people walking along the beach front.
I was to be the first preacher up for the day. Personally I don’t like being the first preacher, but sometimes it has to be done. So as I began to prepare I realized that I couldn’t think of what to preach on. Now, I knew that it would be a gospel message, but how was I to start? As I thought about the message I was about to give I remember a conversation I had a few days earlier with a friend about slavery, this was to be my starting point. Physical slavery in the world today and also spiritual slavery in the world.
I used John 8 as my text and pointed out that Jesus said we are all enslaved to sin when we commit sin. A few people gathered around to listen, but for the Gold Coast it was a really small crowd. But, God is glorified when His word goes forth, so I took heart and continued to preach about Christ and how He came in love to save a people unto Himself. The message went for about twenty minutes and afterwards there were many great conversations with people in regards to the gospel. One Christian gentleman came up to me and offered words of encouragement, then also stressed that we need to do an appeal for physical healing. I thanked him for his words, but would not issue a call for healing.
Blake was the next preacher up and shortly after beginning a man walked past screaming abuse. The man wasn’t like every other pedestrians, they all walked on the footpath, this man walked on the road with the traffic. We ignored him and Blake kept on preaching. None of us really thought much about this man, but in a few minutes he had our full attention.
For a second my attention was away from the preacher and when I looked back at Blake preaching I saw the same yelling man standing next to him. This time the man did more than just yell, he began to punch and attack Blake. Immediately I yelled for the man to back off and I advanced towards him. The man did as I expected and he ran away. This however was not the end.
I turned and put my backpack on the ground and as I turned again the man was once again approaching. This time he was yelling, “I am going to break your neck!” He was anger, his eyes full of hatred. He came charging in, so I told Blake to keep preaching. I lined up the man as he came running in, my job was to make sure he brought no harm to the preacher. The man began to dance around me yelling he was going to take me out, I called for Ryan to run and get police. Jaime was now also involved, he was apart of the blocking team. The violent man was now entangled with Jaime, so I began to preach to the crowd about how as Christians we are to love our enemies as Christ loved those who He came to save. People listened and they saw the difference between light and darkness.
As I preached the man screamed more and made more threats. He then came running up beside me and started to throw punches at my head. I was able to block all his punches and continue to preach. All up he threw around 10 - 15 punches, and by God’s grace I was able to stop them all. It would have been easy to get angry and fight back, but all I felt for the man was sorrow. Then we heard a sound approaching that made the heckler turn and flee. That sound was the wail of sirens as a patrol car sped to the incident. The police pulled up with lights flashing and then took off after the man who had attacked us. We later found out that the police actually lost him and couldn’t find the man. However, they kept an eye on us for the rest of the day. As they drove by or walked past they would give a friendly wave and keep on going. This is a marked difference from just a few months ago when they were trying to arrest us for preaching.
After this Ryan preached and so did Joel. Many people were interested in talking and we were able to have many great conversations. People seemed grateful to hear the good news, and many wanted more information. I have found that whenever the enemy advances God moves in a mightier way.
To God be the Glory!
The team today consisted of Blake, Jeremy and I. There was not a cloud in the sky and so there was quite a lot of people about. After some prayer together, I stood up to preach. There was a number of people that heckled me, most of them being atheists. So I addressed their common questions, like: "How do we know there is a God?", "How do we know the Bible is true?" The hecklers were constant, as well as the crowd, so I preached for about two hours as there wasn't really anytime before that at which I could say "That's all, folks." :)
During the time I was preaching, I saw two police officers walk towards the esplanade. Once on the esplanade, they then walked the opposite direction to where I was. But suddenly, they turned around and started walking towards me. I thought that they're going to tell me to move along, like they attempted to do two weeks prior (but couldn't). But instead they just walked past me. Praise God!
I had one heckler who at various stages seemed to change his beliefs. If I remember correctly, at one point he was proclaiming to be an atheist. But when he came up to me afterwards, he said he was a Christian. He was from Canada and admitted that in the last 4 years he had been running away from God. But recently he had religious experience and he said he's back in step with God. When I asked what the experience was, he said that he had received new revelation from God and apparently God said that everyone is a child of God. So I responded by saying that the Bible contradicts that - it says that if you're a Christian, you are a child of God; but if you are not a Christian, you're a child of the devil (1 John 3:10). He didn't like hearing that. But I tried emphasising with him that the Bible is the final authority of truth - for it is the word of God. I also made sure I explained the gospel to him.
Meanwhile, a fellow from New Zealand, whom I have witnessed to a number of times before, was chatting to Blake. He lost his Passport and had been sleeping on the beach for a number of months now. Blake bought him lunch and was able to share the gospel with him again. The guy is very inquizitive about Christian topics, but please pray God will convert him.
After I preached, Jeremy got up and gave a clear presentation of the judgment to come, sin, the cross, and what someone must do to be saved.
The gospel was preached and many gospel tracts went out, so that means the day was a great success!
To God be the glory!
Jeremy, Blake, Joel, and I made our way down to the Gold Coast for a day of evangelism there. However, when we arrived, it started pouring down with rain. Thankfully, after we prayed for a bit, the rain stopped and we were able to make our way to the the top of Cavill Avenue. Throughout the week, there had been stacks of wind and rain at the coast, so that the whole esplanade was covered in a layer of sand. And the harsh weather still hadn't stopped today, with very strong winds, and even waves up to 15 metres hitting the beach at certain parts of the coastline. Because of this, there wasn't as many people about.
First up, we had a conversation with a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. They tried to argue that Jesus was not God, and they pointed to John 1:1 saying that it contains an indefinite article before the word God, theos. So I explained to them that in the Greek language, there is no indefinite article ("a"), there is only a definite article ("the"). So it's impossible for John 1:1 to have an indefinite article. However, it does lack a definite article, but I pointed out that that does not mean it's indefinite (eg: "a god"). For at the very start of John 1:1, it lacks a definite article before the word meaning 'beginning' (archē), yet even the New World Translation has John 1:1 translated as: "In the beginning was the Word..." So the authors of the New World Translation have a double standard here in translating 'beginning' as being definite and 'God' being indefinite, when both lack the definite article.
The correct translation of John 1:1 is: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - and that is the way basically every other translation of the Bible has it rendered. For in Greek, if everyone knows what thing you are referring to, you do not need to supply the definite article. That's why it's: "In the beginning", and not: "In a beginning" - for everyone knows what beginning John was talking about. In the same way, the Scriptures are clear that there is only one God, so John did not need to supply the definite article before the word for God because everyone knows what God he is talking about.
And once we pointed to other Scriptures proclaiming the deity of Christ (eg: John 8:58), they did not want to continue the conversation. In their closing comments, they tried to say that we're all Christians and the deity of Christ is just a minor difference of opinion. But I pointed out to them that 2 John 9 states that if you do not hold to the doctrine of Christ, you do not have the Father.
At this time it was raining pretty hard, so we made our way down the mall to an undercover area to continue witnessing. We did this for a while, and then had a bite to eat. Since it was Sermon on the Mount Saturday - a day in which hundreds of people around the world had decided to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) aloud in a public place - we made our way back to our normal preaching area for the rain had stopped and decided to split up the reading of it between us.
So I started off and after not long a person who was riding past, listened for a bit, then decided to ask a question about why we consider Jesus to be God. So I responded to him, but he did not like the answer it seems and rode off. After continuing reading for a bit longer, the rain started to come down again. So I closed up my Bible, so that it would not get wrecked and decided to simply preach. There was a teenager listening and I called out to him to see whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He thought he would. So I brought him through some of the 10 commandments to show his guilt, and then I shared the wonderful news of the gospel. But he blatently said that he would much rather sin then be forgiven of his sin.
Once the rain had stopped, I finished off my part of the reading and then passed it over to Jeremy, Blake and Joel to complete the rest of the chapters.
Even though there was less people about, we still were able to share the gospel with many people.
To God be the glory!
Due to the fact that everyone else that usually attends the Gold Coast outreach was busy, it was only me at the coast today. But the day was still very beneficial and interesting. I was armed with loads of the "Are you a good person?" comic book gospel tracts, and they worked extremely well.
So I began handing out gospel tracts and getting into one-to-one witnessing encounters. But about 45 minutes into it, two police officers came up to me. One of the constables asked me, "How many times have I told you that you're not allowed to be here?" I was very surprised by this unexpected question, so I said, "I don't think you've ever told me I'm not allowed to be in Surfers Paradise." The officer said, "You didn't answer my question. How many times have I told you you're not allowed to be here?" So I said, "I don't recall anytime you saying this. You may have said to us that you don't like us preaching here, but you've never said we're not allowed to be here in Surfers Paradise. Are you saying it's against the law for me to be in Surfers Paradise?" The officer responded, "No. You still did not answer my question, how many times have I told you that you're not allowed to be here?" It seemed like he wanted a one-word answer, so I responded, "Never". He then asked for ID, and then made a phone call. Once he returned to me, he said, "You're OK. You can continue to hand out your literature, but if you start preaching you'll be charged with public nuisance."
It's likely that a guy who we see at the coast very regularly and who really hates the gospel message saw me there again today, and then reported me to the police. And then the police officers came up to me assuming I had preached, and since I said I hadn't, he had probably called the council security to see if I had. Please pray for the person who regularly opposes the preaching, and the police officers that they will all be converted. And please pray that we will continue to be able to preach the gospel at the Gold Coast unhindered.
So for the rest of the day I continued to share the gospel by giving out tracts and using that to start up an evangelistic conversation with the people I gave the tracts to. A number of times, when I finished a conversation with someone, I would think in my head, "Mankind is so depraved.". As the sorts of things that the young people especially, were willing to admit that they do (without even feeling ashamed about doing it) really reminds me how Ephesians 2 describes the state of man, as being "dead in our trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1)
Many quite happily said that they would rather continue on in their sins than come to Christ. In that sort of situation, I usually like to pose an analogy for them to think about what they are really saying. I ask them to imagine they were in a house doing some very fun activity. Then they notice that there's smoke around and the house is on fire. I ask them, "What would you do? Would you say, 'I'd rather stay in the house because I'm doing a really fun activity,' and then you get burnt and die? Or you would you run out of the house?" Almost all the people I've used this analogy on say that they would run out of the house. So then I compare their response there to the statement that they made earlier. I say, "That's like your life. The flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, because the amount of time you've got left on this Earth is getting shorter and shorter. So why would you say, 'I would rather keep on sinning for the remaining years, months, or even days that I have left', and then be sent to an eternity in horrible torment? When you can escape that eternal torment, by repenting and putting your trust that Jesus Christ paid for all your sins on the cross. You said you would run away from something that could kill your body - something that has temporal value, yet you would not do the same with something that has eternal value?"
Generally that analogy does bring it home for most people and they understand the foolishness of their decision to reject Christ. But it seemed that most of the young people I chatted to at the coast today were so hard hearted that they still preferred sin over Christ. Please pray that God will convert all the people that heard the gospel today or received a gospel tract, that God would draw them unto Himself and grant them repentance and faith.
To God be the glory!
Another one of the many public holidays that we as Australians seem to be enjoying of late. So to celebrate this day off we decided to head down the Gold Coast to do some preaching on the beach front.
It was good to be joined by Louise today, it was her first time on the Gold Coast with us. The day was interesting we had quite a big team come out, including many of the Brisbane team who came for a day of witnessing on the GC.
Ryan was the first preacher, he only spoke for about twenty minutes but did a good job. As he preached he engaged a few hecklers including one woman who climbed onto a concrete slab to hurl abuse. It is amazing how many people get angry at the preaching of the Gospel. It just goes to show that humanity loves sin more than it can ever love God.
As the preaching was happening hundreds of tracts were going out. It is always encouraging to see people sitting reading the gospel. On the Gold Coast we encounter people from the world over, so that one Gospel tract has the chance to travel the world and win many to Christ.
After Ryan preached I also had a go, as did a couple of other preachers. It was a good day. At the close of play a young lady came forward, she had listened to the preaching for about an hour and her words were these, "I want to give my life to Christ." With that she surrendered to the Saviour. Straight after my preaching I spoke to a young man named Tom who said he needed the Saviour and he wanted forgiveness of sin, but he couldn't give up his sin as he loved it too much. He just wanted Jesus as a ticket to heaven, but he didn't want Christ as Lord. While Tom was under deep conviction of sin, he was still away from the Kingdom of God. Please pray for him.
It was another sunny day on the Gold Coast. There is something special about witnessing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Today we had a good size team on the Coast. Ryan and I were joined by the Barnard family. Today the majority of use were using the new Operation 513 comic tract. This tract worked really well on the Coast, no matter what age the person was the majority took the gospel message.
The we set up and began to preach, Ryan was the first preacher up and he did a great job, he spoke about the necessity of repentance for one to come to faith in Christ. It was a good message and a few people stopped to listen. During his time preaching a rather vocal group of females decided to open fire on him. He did a great job of using them to advance the gospel.
After Ryan had finished preaching, I began to preach. While I was speaking the same hecklers came back, and once again they decided to mock and make fun of the preaching, so I decided to go after them and use their mockery as a launch pad for the gospel. While I was dealing with the girls a man open fire on me and decided to hurl abuse. This continued till a non-Christian in the crowd turned and fired upon him. It is always good when the crowd shuts up the one causing the problems.
Once I had finished preaching Rick Barnard got up and preached about the reality of death and how we all need a Saviour. He did a good job considering he has only preached a few times. It is good to see him up there proclaiming the Word of God.