"How could God die? How could God be in a human form? What is the Trinity?" These were some of the questions that were raised by a Muslim from Oman that Justin was speaking with at the Gold Coast.
Watch this week's video evangelism report below:
Salvation belongs to the Lord!
One lady we spoke to said that her beliefs are more evolved than the beliefs Jesus taught, thinking that whatever a person believes will happen, will happen.
Listen more about this in the following video report from the night:
To our Mighty Saviour God!
This Friday night God really blessed us by bringing in lots of labourers for the team who were ready to proclaim the gospel. This meant we were able to spread out and get into conversations all around the place.
Watch the following video battle log report from the night:
Soli Deo Gloria!
"I met the first ever honest Atheist!"
Interesting encounter this week at the Gold Coast, with an "honest Atheist", I was shocked to hear it myself. I've never heard an Atheist hold to this position. Watch the 3 minute video below to hear about it.
Please pray for the people that we mentioned that God may save them for his glory. We have a great gospel to share, and if you live in the region and would like to join us on outreach, please contact us.
May God become all in all!
This was a Good Friday outreach at the Gold Coast. See the following 3 minute video for a report on it.
"The Atheists were listening" Gold Coast Evangelism - 29 March 2013 (Good Friday)
God is very good!
Starting this week, our Gold Coast Battle Log reports will be in video format. This way you'll get to see snippets of conversations had, and hear from those on the team.
So go ahead and watch the first one and don't forget to share it. Thanks.
To God be the Glory!
This particular Friday, Justin and I decided to make our way to the Gold Coast a couple hours earlier than usual, and continue our outreach till the usual time of 10pm. When we arrived we read through Matthew 10:24-42. In this passage Jesus commands not to have fear of men three times, a very good passage that counters timidity. With this in our minds and after praying, we walked to Cavill Ave.
Greek Orthodox young man
We handed out gospel tracts for quite a while, and then both started getting into some conversations with the people there. One chat I had was with a Greek orthodox young man. I asked him the question about whether he thought he was going to Heaven. He said, “Yes, because I try to do my best.” I then brought up Matthew 5:48 where Jesus commands us to be perfect. What that means is that trying to do our best will not be enough, God demands perfection and He cannot have any sin dwelling in his sight. But the problem is that we have all sinned against God.
I then asked the man, “Have you ever lied?” “Yes”, he said. I asked, “Ever stolen anything?” “Yep.” “Ever looked at a woman with lust?” “Every day”, he said. I then asked, “So if they are some of the standards on which God will judge you on the day of Judgment, would you be innocent or guilty?” He recognised his guilt, that he had not lived well enough and knew he was deserving of Hell. So I then explained the message of the cross to him, and that if he truly repents of his sin and trusts that the only reason why his sins are forgiven is because Jesus died for him, he would be saved. I also mentioned that Jesus then rose from the grave on the third day. I tried to stress with him that faith alone is what saves, not works.
But this is where he disagreed. He said, “how come James says that faith without works is dead. Therefore what saves a person is faith plus the things they do.” I explained that what James is talking about is that a genuine faith will produce good works, and a fake faith won’t. A fake faith won’t save, a real one will. But it is not the good works that save at all, it is the faith in Jesus. I then brought him to Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This passage clearly teaches that faith alone saves, in no way can works contribute to our salvation. But he kept trying to go back to “faith without works is dead”. I would have to say that that verse in James’ epistle is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. For if people simply read the verse in context of the whole book, and then in the context of the whole Bible, it is very clear that the verse does not contradict Ephesians 2:8-9, or Romans 4, Galatians 2:15-21, etc etc.
Eason the Taiwanese
The next chat I had was an encouraging one with a Taiwanese guy called Eason. He is in Australia on a working visa and does not know much about Christianity. Right from the start he thought he was going to Hell because he has done too many bad things in his life. So after briefly touching on the issue of sin and the day of judgement, I was able to present him with the gospel which he has never heard before. I explained how Jesus, who is God in human flesh, lived a perfect life on this Earth, and yet was crucified on the cross in order to pay for sins, rising from the dead three days later. So that if he repents and trusts only in Jesus for his salvation, he would be forgiven.
This seemed to make perfect sense to him. So I asked him the question, “When will you repent of your sins, and trust only in the death of Jesus for your forgiveness?” He said, “Right now.” That was so exciting to hear. But I wanted to make sure he truly understood what I was saying, so I asked, “If God asked you, why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?” He responded, “It’s only because of the death of Jesus!” I got his contact details and he’s able to meet up in the following weeks to go through the Bible together. Praise be to God. Please pray for him.
"Love the tracts, but it's missing one thing"
During this chat, there was a guy who came over and asked for one of my tracts that I had in my hand. I gave one to him and then he walked off. After I finished the conversation with Eason, this guy returned and said that he loved the tract, but it’s missing one thing – Acts 2:38. I knew immediately when he said that what his viewpoint was, he thought baptism was a requirement of salvation. I asked him, “Why do you think baptism is a requirement of salvation?” The only verse he could think of was Acts 2:38, and pointed out that lots of people in the book of Acts got baptised.
But Acts 2:38 does not really support the idea that baptism is a requirement of salvation, for verse 37 says that the people were “cut to the heart” and thereby implying that they were already beginning to believe what Peter had said up to that point. So in Luke’s (the writer of Acts) accounting of Peter’s sermon, he does not deem it necessary to record about Peter saying that you need to have faith (for he may have explicitly said it), for that is obviously implied based on everything Peter has said up to this verse. Therefore, Acts 2:38 should in no way be interpreted as saying that baptism is a requirement of salvation. It is something a Christian should want to do, but it’s not a requirement.
I then asked the man how he deals with texts like Ephesians 2:8-9. He had no answer. I then told him in the apostles’ day how the Galatian Church was saying that circumcision is a requirement of salvation (Gal. 5), and Paul says that is a completely different gospel and those who are teaching it he wishes they would be eternally damned (Galatians 1:8). So in the same way, if anyone adds baptism as a requirement of salvation have a completely different gospel.
His response was that those letters were written to people who were already baptised, instead he thinks we should just look to what the book of Acts says. That does not explain away those verses even in the slightest, and this man did not want to talk for much longer. I just tried pleading with him to not add works to salvation, but to trust only in Jesus alone for his salvation.
The Jehovah Witnesses - "144,000 only go to Heaven and that's full now"
Next I had three conversations not long after each other with three different groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The conversations all went in a similar fashion.
One of the longest was with a lady in a wheelchair and her husband. I said whether they thought they would go to Heaven. They said, “No, I’m going to live on the Earth forever.” I asked, “Who goes to Heaven then?” “The 144,000, and that number filled up in the 1930s”, she responded. I asked, “Where’s that in the Bible?” “Revelation 14”
So I asked her, “I’ve read that chapter before, and did you know that in verse 4 it describes the 144,000 as being ‘those who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins’. What that means is that the 144,000 are just male virgins, right?” She responded, “Oh, no there are women in that number too.” I asked, “How can that be when it clearly says that the 144,000 are those who have not defiled themselves with women for they are virgins.” She said, “That must be symbolic then.” I said, “Hold up, why is that detail symbol but yet the number of 144,000 is exactly precise and not symbolic? Do you see how what you’re believing in is inconsistent? Also, the fact that the quality of being a virgin is repeated twice in different ways more shows that it is not to be taken symbolically.” She said, “Um, I’ll have to look that one up.”
I knew that she would simply go back to the Watchtower and believe any explanation they could give her even if it was not good. So I challenged her, “As a Jehovah’s Witness, are you allowed to read theological books not published by the watchtower.” She didn’t like admitting it, but ended up having to admit that she is not allowed.
So I asked her, “Could the Watchtower ever be wrong?” She said, “Yes, they can.” So I said, “Then couldn’t the Watchtower be wrong regarding who goes to Heaven, who the 144,000 are and issues like that?” She responded, “Oh no way, they’ve done lots of study into this issue. They can’t be wrong.”
The problem with that is that the things that the Watchtower says they have been wrong about in the past were the very things they said they were certain about beforehand (eg: dates regarding return of Jesus, etc).
I then asked whether she believed in a real Hell. She said that she did not because how could a loving God punish people forever. So I brought her to Matthew 8: 11-12 -
“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I explained that that passage clearly teaches that there is a real place of conscious torment and suffering. I then brought her to Luke 16 – Lazarus and the rich man, which makes the same point. She had no idea how to respond, and said she would have to really do lots of research in this. Please pray that she would, and instead of blindly believing the Watchtower, may she read God’s word instead.
Overall, a wonderful night was had by the team. Justin had a few conversations, and Greg and Judy and her daughter were able to join us as well for a few hours. To God be the glory! Praise God that His Word never returns void!
Sorry for the lack of recent reports here on the Battle log for the Gold Coast team, just reminding you that the team meets weekly even if no report gets put up. So if you are in the area and would like to join us, please feel free to contact me.
This week when we arrived to Cavill Mall, both of our locations were taken. So we decided to pray and move outside the mall to preach. That was interrupted by a busker who decided to start setting up his amplifier right next to us. Rather than cause a conflict, we decided to move back to the mall, but both locations were still occupied. It had been this way for an hour and a quarter already. Soon after, one of the locations cleared up and so we started preaching there.
John was the first person to preach there and he did a great job proclaiming the predicament that all of humanity is in, and that is we are deserving of Hell forever because of our sin. He then went on to explaining the cross – that if a person repents and trusts in Jesus, they will be forgiven. After John preached, Ryan got up to preach.
While he was preaching, a person from the Coffee Club came up to asking us to turn the volume of the amp down. So we decided to turn the volume down on it a third and even face the speaker completely away from the coffee shop.
But minutes later the police arrived because that shop complained and they told us we have to move to our other spot, and that we are not allowed to continue preaching here, even though we have a permit for this location. The police officers were not reasonable and were saying that a person shouldn’t have to hear our message if they don’t want to. I pointed out that we are compelling no one to stand here and listen to us.
At this point, I was just holding a camera in my hand and they really didn’t like it. They said we’re not allowed to use the footage for anything. I asked them what law says that. They said, “Look it up.” The reality is this, that if a person is in public, he can record with his camera as much as he wants and do anything with the footage. Another one of the police officers then said that they will now start seizing the cameras off us. That is theft. The only legal time a police officer could do that is if the officer reasonably suspects that the camera is evidence of the commission of an offence.
We decided to move to the other location, even though the police had no right to tell us to move, but we did so under duress. We started preaching at the other location and the police just stayed nearby for the next hour. At one point, the police signalled to myself and Ryan to go towards him. He then said to go with him with the camera. The police officer said, “Bring the camera because I will want this on camera when I seize the camera from you”. So at this point, I refused to go with him. Ryan went with him and the police said to him that we could still be heard at the local shops. Ryan pointed out that the busker that was playing was incredibly louder than we were, moreover, being able to hear a busker or preacher at a local shop does not mean we are too loud.
It was clear that for at least one of the police officers, the problem they had with the preaching was the message. They did not like hearing about sin or about Jesus. The police think that they can do things that they have no right to do. We were gathered lawfully for the preaching and they told us to move. So we have since charged one of these police officer’s with disturbing religious worship under the Criminal Code. Hopefully this will send a message to the Queensland Police Service that they should only act how they are legally allowed to act.
Despite all the events that took place, the gospel was preached and God was glorified.
To God be the glory!
This week we had a new amplifier, which was donated to us from the Corneloup family in Adelaide. We knew this amp would be much better than the one we had last week. So after praying together, we moved to our preaching spots. The one near the end of the mall was occupied by a busker, so we decided to use the other one. Preaching using the amplifier is especially good for those who ordinarily preach quite softly. Even they could be heard quite a distance away.
At one point, a person came up to me saying that they would like to use the spot we were at to do a circus show. I said we’d move only if the other spot we have been allocated is available. He came back reporting to us that the other spot is available and so we started moving down there.
When we arrived at the other spot, there was a busker there still with his stuff set up. He was the one he had been there all night. I spoke to him saying that he can’t stay there all night, for under their permit conditions they can only be in the one spot for 45 minutes. He argued that there were no other available spots, so he decided to stay there. I made a deal with him that we could have about half an hour of preaching here, and then he can resume doing his show there. He agreed.
Jeremy got up preaching first (without the amp). Another busker (who does not like Christianity) saw us preaching and became enraged that we were preaching there, for he claimed that was a usual busking spot. He didn’t believe us that we had been given a permit from the council to preach there. So he decided to call the police.
By the time the police arrived, I was preaching and they went over to speak to the angry busker. Then the police (four of them) came over and spoke to me. They said that we had to turn our amplifier off because they claimed that someone at a nearby coffee shop left the coffee shop because they didn’t want to listen to our preaching. I mentioned to them that our permit allows us to use an amplifier. They asked to see the permit, I replied, “Ok, but what is your name first?” The police officer that was speaking to me refused to give me her name and purposely covered up her name badge so I couldn’t see it. She then said that the council local law officers are just minutes away so they’ll just wait for them.
Once the council arrived, they had a chat to the police and then came over to us. They said to turn our amplifier down a bit because of a condition on our permit is that noise cannot unnecessarily go to nearby shops. We said that we’d comply, but we’re not going to turn our amp off as the police said we had to. The police then denied they ever said that. They were clearly lying. The police are supposed to uphold justice, how can they do that if they lie about what they said?
We continued preaching, but then the busker who doesn’t like Christianity started setting up his amp right opposite us in the mall and playing his music really loud. He was basically drowning us out, so we had to move to our other location, which was available again.
The rest of the team had lots of good conversations and handed out lots of gospel tracts.
To God be the glory!
Since the permit we have been given from the council allows us to preach in Cavill Mall from 7pm-10pm, tonight we decided that we would aim to arrive at Surfers at 7pm. Usually the team starts at 8pm and goes till 11pm. This proved to be quite difficult for most people on the team, so it was closer to 8pm by the time basically everyone on the team had arrived.
But with those of us that did manage to arrive by about 7pm, we prayed together and got straight into it. The first spot right at the bottom of the Mall was occupied by a busker and so we went to the other spot in the middle of the Mall. Then John started off the preaching. There were lots of people around tonight and therefore the background noise meant that it was very difficult to hear John.
At about 8pm, Jeremy arrived with his small PA system. So we set that up and I stood up on the soapbox and started preaching with it. The PA did amplify my voice, but I found I still had to shout into the microphone for it to really work. One other downside of using a microphone is that people are less likely to heckle, since they know that they don’t have a microphone. But with that said, a guy did come right up to me and I was able to have a discussion with him in the open air, and I was able to put the microphone in front of him when he spoke, so that the audience could hear his responses too.
After I stood down from preaching, Jeremy got up a preached without the microphone. He thought that without it he would be louder. Only a few minutes later, he had quite a number of people asking him questions, focusing on “How can Jesus be the only way?”
At this point, one of the Gold Coast council local law compliance officer’s that was telling us last week that we still can’t hand out gospel tracts on public land said, “You know how we were having that argument last week about the handing out of those things, and well, I was wrong. I sought clarification and it is perfectly fine for anyone to hand out those materials.” Praise God! Now the local law officers shouldn’t bother us anymore!
I then asked him, “So then, doesn’t that throw out the basis for the fines we have received?” He said, “Yeah, well I don’t deal with those. That’s someone else’s responsibility.” This local law officer was one of them that fined us the very first time back in August last year. It was good on him for acknowledging that he was wrong to say that we couldn’t hand out gospel tracts.
Hopefully now the fines will be dropped, because surely they wouldn’t want to bring us to court over them, now that we have had so much correspondence from the council saying that it’s okay to hand out gospel tracts on council land (and that was the very thing we were fined for!).
After Jeremy preached, Blake got up and used the PA and preached the gospel faithfully. During this time, I checked out the other location to see if it was now unoccupied. The other spot is brighter and busier and so is the preferred location. And I found no busker there and so I communicated to Blake that we should move to the other spot and so after a little while he finished up and we all moved to the new location.
At the new location, I decided I would preach again and within minutes there were quite a number of hecklers about me. I ran through some of the 10 Commandments with them, in order to bring the knowledge of sin to their minds, and then I told them about the punishment that God will pour out on people for their sin. This then led onto the great news of the cross – how forgiveness is through Jesus if we are to repent and trust in His sacrifice on the cross as the only reason that we’ll go to Heaven. A lot of the hecklers understood the message but openly admitted that they would rather keep on sinning than come to Christ. It is really sad when I hear that, but yet at the same time, everyone by nature is exactly the same. By nature, we loved our sin more than God, and yet God did not abandon humanity, He sent Jesus to die for the sins of the elect. Praise be to Him!
A crowd of about 50 people gathered around to listen to the preaching and they stayed for quite some time. In fact, once 10pm rolled around there was still a large crowd gathered and most wanted me to continue, but we couldn’t do so at that spot because our permit runs out at 10pm.
After this, the rest of the team got into conversations with the people standing there, and a young bloke came up to me asking me some questions. His name was Liam and he was telling me about his mum and how she has had cancer for two years. He used to be very active in the Church, but since the cancer he has become angry at God and is now living a lifestyle of sin. He was asking why God hasn’t taken the pain away that his mum is experiencing. His whole Church was praying for it too, and so he was shocked that God still hadn’t done it. So I explained to him about the natural consequence of living in this world is that even Christians experience the effects of the Fall, and that is pain and death. I then spoke about how God can do what he wants and is not compelled to heal someone simply because a group of people are praying for that person, and about how God will have a good purpose in letting it continue (even though we don't know what it is). I then spoke about the hope that he can have during this time, that since his mum is a believer, if she does die, it is simply the Lord taking her home.
I then addressed this man’s problem. After asking how someone gets to Heaven, it was clear that this bloke didn’t understand the gospel. So I began sharing it with him – but he didn’t like hearing it. In fact, at one point he said that he just had God tell him that I should stop talking to him and instead I should be sharing the Word with other people. I expressed my doubts to him about that ‘revelation’ that he had just received. The Bible is our source of revelation from God, and the Bible says I am to preach the gospel to everyone – that includes this man, as he did not understand the right way to be saved.
After sharing the gospel with him, he ended the conversation saying that he won’t repent of his sins and trust in Christ. Please pray for him, that God will soften his heart towards the gospel.
There were 22 people on the team tonight. Praise God for each of these people and the zeal He has given them. Lots of gospel tracts were handed out and many wonderful witnessing conversations had.
To God be the glory!