This week has been a hard week, as happens to most people in this ministry from time to time; we have been discouraged and low. We've been disheartened by the hardness of people's hearts and seemingly pointless arguments with the cult members and those of other faiths. These things, though difficult, do not change the command to go and preach the gospel. Nor do they remove our great comfort, the work and person of Jesus Christ.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
In town we prayed and then found a place to preach from in Fargate, while I preached Anna handed out tracts and spoke with people. As I was proclaiming the gospel some young men came up to heckle, I engaged Jack and we went through the good person test. Jack freely admitted being guilty of sin (as I am), but at the same time thought that there would be no consequence for his crimes. When asked why Jack responded that there is no reason to believe the bible and he doesn't believe in God. I was beginning to speak to Jack about the reliability of God's word and the importance of trusting in Jesus' work to save us, but was interrupted by Chris.
Jack's friend Chris is rather a hard hearted atheist who believes that there is no evidence for the existence of God. This disbelief is nothing to do with the lack of evidence and more to do with Chris' heart. I spoke with him at length about the evidences we have all around us, the design and purpose of the world, the historical/archaeological backing of the bible, the prophecies that confirm the bible and many other evidences. In the end his position would not bend and I told him that the reason for his unbelief was not lack of evidence but rather that he would not believe: There are none so blind as those who will not see!
Chris also seemed to think that we were preaching obedience to the law as the way to heaven (which he was right to say is contradictory). I told him that the only way to heaven is in Jesus Christ, through repentant faith in Him. As he and his mates left I challenged them to consider the gamble they are taking; if they are right and there is nothing after death - they lose nothing by rejecting Christ. On the other hand if they are wrong but continue in their rebellion - they will lose everything and face the unending wrath of God almighty in hell.
During the preaching Anna was handing out tracts and talking with those who gathered. At the very beginning she spoke with John, he was very open and could see his guilt and need, Anna gladly shared the gospel with him. After this encouraging conversation she spoke to Tom, a searcher who has been attending a catholic church in an effort to learn the truth. Anna warned him of the false righteousness taught by the catholic church which is based in works and the false doctrine of men. Tom was very interested in learning more and Anna encouraged him to look primarily to the bible and to use it to test everything. Tom took a bible and contact details for one of the sound bible teaching local churches.
We rejoiced to have seen the gospel go out and some receiving the word gladly. With a song in our hearts and thankfulness to Jesus our Lord and God we headed for home.
Friday this week was bright and clear for most of the day, a pleasant change to be sure! It is still cold but less than before, praise God it has stopped raining some days! Jim and I went into town to preach the gospel to the shoppers and business people of Sheffield.
We set up to preach in the middle of Fargate and I preached on the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness in the long term because it leads to destruction. As I was preaching "Bobby" with a mate stopped to talk. Immediately he took offence that I was shouting at him as he said, I explained that I was preaching and no I would not get down to talk with him but he could stay if he wished. He did stay and I asked if he was a good person, saying yes he was I tested his profession against the ten commands of God. He justified himself numerous times and asked if I had broken God's law (yes to all of them in word, deed, or thought), before I had finished Bobby walked off with his friend. Pray that the message would sink into his heart and mind, and that today's interaction would not be just a bit of a laugh for him.
I preached for a while longer, urging any who could hear me to turn from sin and trust in Jesus as their Lord and saviour. A highly tattooed man stopped to yell at me and I had the privilege of explaining that I was not condemning people in town. Rather it is out of knowledge of my own sinfulness and need that I warned others like me. This seemed to calm him down and I then preached the gospel to him and the local council officer nearby. Praise God! What opportunities He gives us!
After the preaching was finished a Muslim man who has spoken to me before stopped to speak with me again. I asked him about abrogation of the will of his god Allah. I have been thinking a lot lately about the Muslim theology of abrogation (a later revelation cancels out an earlier one). This theology has serious implications for the Muslim belief in the all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing nature of their god. To put it succinctly, Allah cannot be all these things and yet abrogate his will. Is Allah lying to people one time and telling the truth others? Or is he not powerful enough to maintain the truth of his revelations? Or again is he ignorant of the future events when he reveals two contradictory "truths"? This is a serious problem for those who will entrust their eternal soul to this god; will he change his mind and cast you into hell after a period in paradise?
Among other things we also discussed the "miracle" of the Qu'ran as given to Muhammad and produced as a sign of his prophethood. The prophet Muhammad claimed to be in the line of the Biblical prophets and the Son of God Jesus Christ (a so called Islamic prophet).
Thinking on this after our discussion of the Qu'ran I could not help but be struck by the contrast that so many others have seen between the prophets and Jesus Christ and Muhammad the man from Mecca. The prophets, the apostles and Jesus displayed many public miracles that where irrefutably supernatural, compared with a single book produced by Muhammad. The prophets, Jesus and His apostles all were in complete agreement with each other (pointing to a single source - God), Muhammad claimed his writing superseded and abrogated the word of God previously given. The prophets, the disciples and in an absolute sense in Jesus, all lived lives of self-sacrificing service to both man and God. Muhammad according to the Ahadith set himself up as a prophet king, ruling in prestige and luxury, owning massive tracts of land, and mercilessly killing any who would stand in his way (an old man and a girl on two recorded occasions (where?)). The difference between Muhammad and the Biblical prophets is striking; the difference between Muhammad and Jesus Christ is astronomical! Has God changed? Is He unable to support His prophets? Is He powerless to produce signs now? Does He no longer care for the moral standing of those who stand for Him? NO and No again! God has not changed, the explanation is in the self styled prophet from Mecca, this man was not a Biblical prophet; his life and writings prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
We pray that the Muslims of Sheffield would have their eyes opened by the Spirit of truth and would look to the final revelation of God in the Son of God (Heb 1). The true Muslim is in submission to the True God, don't buy the contradictions and inconsistencies. Seek the truth, it is found in Jesus Christ.
Saturday was an interesting afternoon, Anna was unwell but came to support me and pray. This support is invaluable, how can I do anything if God will not act? No minister can do anything of use. Christian readers please pray for Anna and I as we work in Sheffield, appeal to God that He will graciously use our work and save people. Tracting through the centre of town many people would take tracts but none would stop to talk. After running out of tracts, I then walked up to the Peace Gardens aiming to talk with some of the young people that we've met before and then preach. I stopped to speak with a group of four young people and then started a conversation that lasted the afternoon and into the evening.
The group consisted of a guy with a heavy interest in philosophy but no actual opinion of his own; a young lady with a history of church involvement; and two other guys who varied between surly and mocking and listening. The discussion was focused around giving an apologetic for the Christian faith and worldview and refuting the various objections they raised. During this time one of the young men seemed convicted and they all heard the gospel in full. The whole discussion was nicely summarised by the interaction: "I don't know why you are preaching, you are not going to change anyone" and I responded, "yes I cant change anyone but that's not my job, God must change your heart, and I will be praying that He will!"
The young lady collared me as we were about to head home, she wanted to talk to me about the church experience she had in London. This church was lead by a pastor whose main concern seemed to be raising funds and not seeking and feeding the sheep of God's flock. The hypocrisy of this man and those in the church like him had driven her from the church and caused her to renounce the Christian faith as hypocritical. This is a travesty! I urged her to look at the bible and test ALL preachers by that standard and showed her that the love of money has no place in those who are following Jesus. We pray that she will look at the bible and get into a bible teaching church.
Ministers, I plead with you not to abandon your high calling to represent the King of Kings. Don't play with the muddy toys of wealth and prestige when your sovereign has given you the privilege of being His ambassadors! Love the Word and teach the Word, love the Lord Jesus and live out your devotion to Him. In fear and trembling serve at your given post for you do not know when your master will return. We need ministers that are Holy and devoted to God alone! The world is full to the brim with evil and darkness, don't compromise, sacrifice and stand firm for the sake of those you seek to lead under God. Be strong, faithful and courageous, God is with you who can stand against you?
With the rest of the team away or at work I headed into Sheffield to witness alone. Yet in the words of my saviour I was not alone, for it is written "behold I am with you until the end of the age".
Beginning with tracts I handed out material pointing people to Jesus and calling them to repent and be saved in His name. I was and always am saddened when I see tracts torn up and left on the ground. This is not only inconsiderate of those who must clean the streets but shows the hardness of man's heart toward God. I truly believe that in our natural state man would tear the very presence of God from the world if we could.
I got up to preach and began to proclaim the word of God to any who would stop to listen. Some boys stopped and while they stayed to listen they where very hard of heart and said to me repeatedly "you're just making a fool of yourself". Perhaps the street preacher does appear foolish and I may seem foolish, but oh to be a fool for Christ.
Oliver stopped to discuss what I was preaching and give his opinion. This was focused on a vague love that God in his opinion is for all people. Oliver believed that there is a fellowship of belief that he shares with all believing people of all religions and that they worship the same God. I would be interested to see him try and convince a Muslim and a Buddhist that they worship the same God! With all this focus on sentiment I was not surprised when the loving commands of God for the good of His people produced a very prickly reaction in Oliver. He believes that there is no absolute truth and law in the world except the absolute truth that his opinion of the world is correct, an arrogant position to take. I strived with him for some time for the sake of the gospel but he eventually left unmoved. Pray that God will be gracious to him, his current authority is himself and he is in danger of death and hell eternally at every moment of every day.
A man in a leather jacket had also stopped and told me that he was in training to be a lay preacher for one of the local churches. Unfortunately he evidenced very little of the grace that should be present in a minister God. His behaviour during the preaching was more consistent with a mocker or a judge than a minister, with arrogant interruptions and contradictions. This could only tear down the credible preaching of the gospel and though my preaching is weak in the extreme I was saddened to see a supposed brother tearing me down in public to display his own superiority. To end it all he used foul language, swearing to Oliver and merely smirking when rebuked.
I raise the issues of this man not to shame him in return but in the hope that he and others would consider carefully their behaviour in light of the bible's demands that Christians and most of all ministers of the gospel be above reproach and gentle with other Christians. There is nothing but shame brought to the gospel by exulting ourselves over one-another and living contradictory lives, preaching the word of God but not living it. I pray that in future this man would seek to build up street preachers by approaching them in private to offer help from his knowledge of scripture.
Today was cold and very wet and so we didn't go to Sheffield, pray that God will give us more clear weather that we can preach more regularly.
Armed with the word of God and tracts I walked into the centre of town and began giving out tracts, many people were taking tracts and I think that at least 150 tracts went out! A few people were curious as to what the tracts were about but no one went beyond that today.
Going up to the Peace Gardens I saw Owen, a young man that I have spoken to in the past. Despite the opposition of some of his friends Owen has continued to be open to speak with me about the gospel and tells me that he is considering the things of God carefully. He is troubled by the lack of opportunity for some people to hear the gospel and be saved; at this I called him to consider himself before God. No one can believe for any others but YOU are called to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. I left to consider the things of God and we will be praying for him until we meet again.
In the centre of Fargate I set up to preach and with fear and trembling at the enormity of what I was doing I preached. I preached from the great commission and the commands of the law, calling people to turn from their well-loved sin and trust in God. In as many ways as my weak mind could muster I called the hard hearts of Sheffield to trust in the atoning death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. A few people stopped and listened for a while but not for long. This town is so hard, pray that God will send His Spirit to break their stony hearts and drive them to the saviour!
Sam is a young man who calls on the name of Christ and we have spoken a couple of times before. Sam attends a catholic church and his family is catholic in background. With this in mind I sought to encourage and build up the faith that Sam professed. He struggles to see that the word of God is unchanged so I discussed with him the amazing accuracy of the bible we have now verified by the documents of thousands of years ago. I also encouraged Sam, as I do all Christians I meet, to live lives that honour the Lord they claim. Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow him (Mat 16:24-28) or to put it another way, to die to self and live to God (Rom 6:7-11), so I encouraged Sam to kill off the old sinful ways in him and live to glorify Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter called Christians to be always growing in the faith towards perfect love (2 Pt1:5-8), so I encouraged Sam to examine himself to see if he is growing in the faith. Indeed to consider if he truly is in the faith as we are all commanded to do.
Dear Christian reader, do you trust that God is sovereign and omnipotent? Then trust His word in full, it is able to make you fit for all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17). Are you actively killing the sin that remains in your heart and mind and living a Godward life? Are you growing in the graces of God and seeking to increasingly be the savour and aroma of God in this corrupt and sin stained world.
Misuse of Mary, A beautiful book, Amazing manuscripts, and the doubtful of Sheffield.
This weekend we went to Dublin for a birthday weekend for Anna. In this city we found a few things that were a surprise and one thing in particular that was a delight for us to find by accident. It was a blessing from God to see the good things that are given to yet another city of the sons of man that is so undeserving of any good. We spent wandering around the city and visiting the various historical and interesting places to see including the museums, castle and the only bridge in Europe that is wider than it is long.
While walking through the main street I stumbled on a store that outraged me and I believe would outrage the Christian it was named after - Mary the mother of Jesus. The store claimed that Mary of Nazareth is mediatrix of all graces and so claiming salvation can be found in Jesus and in her. As I said this would have outraged this Godly woman who submitted herself to salvation through her son and her God Jesus Christ.... ALONE. This is witnessed to by her presence among the disciples before Pentecost devoting herself to prayer, which in this context would have been directed in faith to the Father and to Jesus as they awaited the Spirit (Acts 1:13-14). It is one of the great tragedies of church history that faith has been misplaced in Mary and the church of Rome has indulged in the sin of the Israelites using her as an idol.
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)
We pray that those who teach and practice this idolatry would be saved from it to a pure faith in God alone and that He would purify them by the blood of Jesus!
We also had the opportunity to view the Book of Kells while we were at Trinity College; this book is full of amazing illustrations and the most minute and intricate detail I have ever seen in an ancient book. This book was truly beautiful to behold and is a witness to the creativity of mankind. It is a great pity that in reading the history of this book we found that its purpose was to decorate an altar ("...was intended as altar furniture" was the phrase) and not to be read and treasured for the beautiful words that God has given us. While the Book of Kells was truly beautiful, it is also a sad state of affairs when the more beautiful words of God are neglected and left to stand gathering dust on an altar. This is also the state of many bibles in this land, left to gather dust on the shelves of many homes and libraries. Wake up people! There is a treasure greater than the Book of Kells on your shelves! In the words that came to Augustine we would urge you all "Take up and read, take up and read"! Do not neglect what can make you wise unto salvation.
Quite by accident we stumbled upon a great treasure when visiting the Chester Beatty Library. Within the Christian religion display that the library has we found some old manuscripts of the new testament and the description underneath them revealed them to be P45, P46 and P47! We were astounded, here were authenticated manuscripts dating from 200AD to 250AD, a less than 150 years after the writing of the originals. These manuscripts were written by people who's grandparents or great grandparents would have been alive in the time of Jesus Christ. We were amazed at the privilege God had given us by bringing us to the library unbeknownst to us, to see these ancient works that support the word He has preserved for us His children.
Along with the 5000 odd other manuscripts that are currently known, these manuscripts provide more support for the bible's unchanged nature than any other ancient book. The histories of Rome and Greece, the books of the Qu'ran and Ahadith, the biographical works of Julius Caesar and Alexander the great, all these accepted ancient writings must be thrown out as so much trash if you will not accept the bible as historically accurate. When compared to the New Testament none of the above writings (individually or even collectively) have as many manuscripts to support them and none of the manuscripts are as close to the original time of writing. Do not doubt Christian readers that you have a book that can be trusted. The translators of the bible from Koine Greek into modern languages have one main problem; the wealth and volume of the material that they have to work with, it is embarrassingly large!
The rest of our time in Dublin was enjoyable and we returned to Sheffield late on Sunday night.
Wednesday this week I went into Sheffield and spent some time witnessing in Fargate mall. While handing out tracts a couple of young Emo's stopped to talk and one of them was willing to be tested against God's standard. This young lady like me has failed to keep God's law and after a short discussion could see that there should be punishment for sin and that justice would be served one day. She feared going to hell yet wanted to leave at that point, I stopped her and shared the good news of God's intervention in history. She and her friend heard the bad and the good news of God's judgement and salvation and we pray that they would both would turn to Him in saving faith. Interestingly as I was sharing the gospel with them one of their friends spotted them from further down the mall and began to scream "No, No, No!" and came up and warned them about me. It is a re-occurring scenario now with the Emo's/Goths that certain outspoken people are trying to stop their friends hearing the gospel. We pray that these young enemies of God who so loudly proclaim their hatred of God would be saved by the sovereign work of His Spirit in their hearts.
A little while later I was able to speak with two young men and while acknowledging their crimes against the law of God they said it didn't matter because God didn't exist. At this they demanded evidence for the existence of God, in particular that I get God to appear in front of them immediately. I couldn't help but smile, odd that they thought that I (a creature of immense unworthiness) would be able to command the ruler of ALL THE UNIVERSE to come and appear like I would my pet dog! It is quite the opposite, God can and will one day call and all of us will obediently appear before Him.
While giving them some the universe full of evidences for God I warned them that one day they would have their request fulfilled but it would be a terrifying day for them unless they turn in repentance to Christ. On that day God will come in wrath-filled judgement and even the mountains and stars will melt like wax before him. We pray that these boys would not be in the crowd of those who will scream in terror for the mountains to fall on them rather than meet God face to face.
I would ask you to consider dear non-Christian reader (you know in your heart if you have submitted to Christ so examine yourself!) how short the days of grace are. Today is the day of mercy and you are offered again salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The day of mercy is passing, you do not know when you will be whisked into the eternal day where you will meet God who knows ALL your secrets and will judge you and all according to His standard. Do not fool yourself; you will never meet the perfect demands of God's law. Unless a perfect replacement has paid your price you will be condemned for your rebellion against and hatred of God. Turn in repentance and faith towards Christ Jesus while you still have time. You are not guaranteed one more second in this world and may before God before you finish reading this page. You are in danger, look to Jesus.
Oh Lord our God we pray that you would in grace and mercy look on these people who like us deserve your unceasing wrath and punishment. Save them we pray, turn them from the darkness they love to the glorious light of your presence. Bid them enter your courts and give them faith and repentance. Clothe them in the righteousness of Jesus and the indwelling Spirit to make them like our Lord. In short O God save these hard hearted ones for the sake of your Glory and to your endless praise!
Soli Deo Gloria!
The mist and fog came down and stayed down today and so the centre of town was largely deserted with most people indoors hiding from the cold. With Paddy in tow we headed to the Peace Gardens as Fargate Mall was empty. At the bus stop at the top of the Peace Gardens there was a group of people and also a steady stream of people coming and going.
Anna stopped with Paddy and gave out tracts for a while. She had a conversation during this time with a Muslim man who was happy to talk until Anna started to speak of God's Holy law and the demands of justice. At this point he wandered off and Anna continued to hand out tracts. Please continue to be in prayer for the Muslims of Sheffield, their confidence is in the fragile straw hut of works to please God. Works will not survive the fire of God's judgement, pray that they will be drawn to the Rock of salvation in Jesus and build on that foundation with the stones of faith, repentance and good works (the proper response to salvation by faith).
I gave out tracts to the people at the bus shelter. One group that was there were from a local youth group and some of them wanted to know what the tracts were about. From this conversation I was able to present the gospel to a young man named Kevin. Kevin wanted to believe that God would just overlook his sin and let him into heaven even though Kevin knew he was guilty of breaking God's law. I showed Kevin that this wasn't what he really wanted at all. When asked if a good and merciful judge would punish a criminal that was truly sorry, Kevin said yes. He could see from this the natural corollary or follow-on, God is a good merciful and kind judge, but there will be only space for justice on the day of final Judgement. If we have broken the law of God there is no excuse for any of us and all have broken this law as Romans 3 says so clearly:
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.", "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin...... For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:9-23)
We know his guilt before God and the certainty of his death and the judgement to follow Kevin was shaken and I could see he was thinking very seriously. I told him the great news of what Jesus has done to save him from certain hell, holding up the great mercy of Christ in His life and death I urged him to look to Him and be saved. We pray that God would graciously bring him to faith and repentance; that this young soul would shine as a light in this world and would then after death stand in the presence of God to glorify the name above all names forever and ever.
Team Leader (Sheffied)
Regional Field Leader (Europe)
Soli Deo Gloria!
This week was cold and sullen in sheffield, and the people like the weather were likewise sullen and unresponsive. We began the day with Anna preaching in the centre of Fargate mall, a couple of people stopped to listen but by and large they just filed past. We pray that those who heard the message even in part would be convicted of their sin and like one fleeing the plague would flee to the saviour Christ Jesus.
We went from preaching to the peace gardens, we have had a good response from the goths in the past but we are now seeing a decided opposition to the gospel arising. Anna had a good long conversation with Preston, many times she gave him the gospel and we pray that he would repent and be saved. I gave out some tracts during this and offering some to scot and his siblings got a very abrupt refusal and “you have some new trash every week don't you?”. I challenged scot as to why he was so against the gospel, this spawned a conversation that went for some time.
As it began to rain we retreated to the millennium gardens and spoke more there. As we spoke others were asking questions and I tried to answer some of these objections and give a reasoned defence for our faith. Part-way through this a council officer came up and informed me that a complaint had been made (from one of the goths as it turned out), and that I could not preach in the gardens. I protested that I was not preaching but merely talking with people, but he demanded I leave. At this point one of the goths decided to gloat and accused me of lying about what I was doing. I left and we will be praying that God would work to bless those behind the opposition and would sovereignly draw them to Himself and save them.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
Please be in prayer for Godliness and wisdom for the authorities and that the opposition of the Goths would be overcome by the power of God conquering hearts and minds.
Saturday 1st March
This saturday we were joined by the newest member of our team and household, paddy the greyhound our new dog. It was a cold and blowy day but despite this there were a lot of people in Fargate doing their shopping.
Anna and I set up to preach in the center of the mall to preach and I got up and preached. Not many stopped to listen but God will do what He wills and we pray that His word would not return void, even when preached so poorly and weakly.
Moving slightly down the mall Anna got up to preach and using the light of the sun and the Light of the world to point to mankind's darkness she preached the word of God. A couple of young people stopped to heckle her and soon a small sized group were there and Anna gave a strong defence of the faith. Though they scoffed we pray that they would be impacted by the gospel and that the impact would shatter their hard hearts and open their closed minds to the truth. That God would save those He has chosen from before time, so they would glorify His name in heaven for all eternity.
Anna continued to preach and while few stopped we pray that there would be souls stopped in their march towards hell by the little they heard. While Anna preached Rob stopped to say hello to me, this is a young man that we have met many times over the last months. He has been recently doing an alpha course and told me today that he is going to be baptised, I encouraged him to take this step carefully and to seek to honour God in what he does. We continue to pray for him and may God draw him closer to Him!
Anna wrapped up and we began to give out tracts, this is always an interesting exercise and people respond in all sorts of ways. Most people are polite, some are dismissive, some are interested and the occasional person will get very upset at us (thankfully few do this). Today a group of young people coming through the mall wanted to know more about the smart cards and I was privilegded to tell Georgia and her friends of the great saviour that died that they may have life. Five of them listened intently for the whole time and another 6 or so listened to parts of the gospel. Praise God that He works opportunities like this into our lives that we can give Him glory and bear witness to His great works!
Sunday 2nd March
This Sunday Dale from Workington came to Sheffield and we had the great encouragement of witnessing to our town with this brother from up north. Again we went to our regular point of preaching and set up to preach the good news to the lost.
Dale was first to preach and I planned that he and Anna would preach and not myself as I was not feeling up to it that day. This I have discovered from others often means that you will end up preaching none the less, I only pray that it is not pride but rather the Spirit’s prompting that causes such things.
Dale’s preaching is very sound and solidly founded on Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and in the time that I’ve known him his becoming increasingly bold for the Lord. This faithful brother in Christ stood and preached the gospel as he has done in his own town of Workington for a long time now. During the preaching a crowd gathered and Dale was doing excellently to field questions and answer objections. During this Dale graciously tagged me in to chat to one of the hecklers about creation and so I gave a short apologetic on the existence of God and the biblical account of our origins. I closed by urging people to look to the saviour and consider Him.
During the the preaching Anna had gotten into a discussion with Jamie and so while Anna went through the law and the grace of God with him Dale and I distributed tracts. Jamie is very hard of heart and it was very hard work to witness to him, pray for him, that his blindness will be removed and he will see his spiritual poverty and need for a saviour.
While I was tracting two girls took tracts and wanted to know what the good person test cards were about so we went through the good person test together. What followed amazed me, they were: humbled by the law, frightened by hell (as all should be really), shocked at the great sacrifice of Christ, and said there was no reason to stop them trusting in Christ. I encouraged them both to pray and seek God in repentance and trust. They left with tracts and went off (only to stop and play with Paddy :)).
Anna also preached today and again proclaimed the gospel well. Anna has been preaching for increasing periods of time and her voice is becoming much stronger. More importantly as she has developed as a preacher Anna has never strayed in her focus on God's word and the gospel of Christ crucified for sinners.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)
After Anna finished and we had a short chat with a local rastafarian we headed home and to church. Dale had decided to head back to Workington and so left us for home also.
What a weekend, Glory to God in the Highest!
We found Fargate full of people when we arrived this week to witness to Christ, again some sort of carnival was happening. We bumped in to Cedric, a lovely faithful witness who is out working the streets of Sheffield more often than not and a great encouragement to us. This 86 year old gent was out witnessing for the first time this week, it had taken a severe bout of illness and a couple of days in bed to stop him from coming out! May we be like Ced in our old age, even in our current age!
After a period handing out tracts in Fargate we headed up to the peace gardens to witness to the Goths and emos who gather there. This week we spoke with Sid, Olivia, Sophy, Tamara and friends, pray for them as they hear the gospel week after week that God would free them from their slavery to sin.
As we were headed back to Fargate we spoke for a long period to a group of young girls who proved that there is no age limit on hardness of heart and willful unbelief in the face of evidence. These girls believe that there is no God and despite the moral, teleological, historical and logical evidences that we put forward they ended our discussion with them saying there was no God and that we had given no proof of Him. Yet it is written:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:1b-4a)
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. (Psalms 53:1b-6)
We went down to the mall and preached there of God's greatness and our great sinfulness and the great and only saviour Jesus Christ. At the end of the preaching Aaron and his girlfriend stopped and Aaron who we had spoken to before invited his girlfriend to do the good person test. While Anna was talking with her, Aaron spoke to me and I again gave the gospel to him and showed him his great sin. Aaron's friends arrived shortly and again the pattern repeated itself. Please pray for Aaron, Lamhal, Danni and their friends that God would work the miracle of new life in these who are spiritually dead.
In town we met up with Dale and Allan from up north and David (a local of Manchester). The main area we focused on was Market Street where there is a constant flow of traffic throughout the day. We began with tracting the people passing through the tram stop area at the top of Market Street, there were many tracts going out but not as easily as in Newcastle. A couple of one-to-ones were happening but as they finished we moved down the mall to preach in the central section where would be able to reach as many people as possible.
Open air mission is a group that have been preaching in the streets of England for some time and they were preaching in the mall as we passed through. While some of the team continued to tract the area some of us stopped and encouraged them in their work and gathered around to hear the gospel preached. Along with these men we also saw a few men from the local Brethren church also preaching later in the day. God be praised that in this land there is a tradition of street preachers and that there are people still willing to risk public scorn for the honour God gives. Pray that the other street preachers of Britain would be bold in their proclamation and faithful to the word of God.
Dale preached a little further down the mall and did an excellent job of dealing with his heckler and not distracted at all proceeded to preach the gospel to all in earshot. Those who heard included two young emos that David spoke with, after their discussion these two young men took tracts and one of them a bible promising to read it. Also there were two charity workers who spoke with Kevin and myself, Natasha spoke with me and was visibly shaken by the prospect of hell and judgement, she took a tract and promised me that she would read the bible she had at home and seek the Lord.
We escaped the cold wind of the mall to get some lunch and warm up in a local book shop/cafe. Kevin took us after lunch to see P52, the oldest known fragment of the new testament extant. I was utterly flabbergasted to see such a thing, God is so amazing in the way that He gives proof after proof to doubtful and sinful mankind and we largely ignore them.
Kevin was the first preacher up after lunch and again I had the privilege of listening as the gospel of my Lord sounded forth to the world that needs it so badly (especially me). After this Josh was to preach and then last of all I would, God had other plans. As Josh preached a few people gathered and listened and some came and went at first but soon there was a large crowd of 50 or more people standing and listening to the gospel. I watched from the back of the crowd the numbers swell further as one heckler then 3 and 4 hecklers at once began to yell questions. As the preaching continued I ran out of one type of tracks and began with another and by the end was wondering if I would have enough! Josh fielded questions from atheists, Muslims, drunks, quasi-scientists, and Jews. Praise God that his voice held for the hour and a half of preaching, praise God that so many gathered to hear of the saviour! May they take the gospel of the saviour with them and cleave to Him only.
The preaching was not without opposition though, a complaint was made during it that Josh was preaching an anti-Semitic message. The council officers that came to check the complaint not only didn't find anything that was a problem with the preaching but they also took tracts! May God draw them to salvation.
The other consequence was that a couple of Christians came to listen and were greatly encouraged. We were able to encourage them further and give them information on how to witness biblically. If you are wanting to know more yourself check www.operation513.com.
We ended the day on this high note and went home rejoicing in the great work of the Lord and the great saviour we trust in. Pray that this would be only the smallest of beginnings in the work of the Lord in our time, pray earnestly that the Lord of the harvest would raise up labourers, pray that the great name of God would be glorified!
Soli Deo Gloria!
With a carload of evangelists I drove the up the scenic A1 to Newcastle, with me was Josh, Peter and John (a sheffield mate from our church). We went first to meet Jim Mcmaster of Living Waters Europe (the Godly man who supplies our tracts) and a couple of other local evangelists.
At the Living Waters office we met Allan, Dale and Joyce who live in northern England who had come to join our micro-outreach. After a short time of fellowship and stocking up on tracts we headed to witness in the center of town. In town it appears that there are a network of pedestrianised streets that are constantly busy and also the monument, a large column that acts as a loitering area especially on saturday and sunday.
Today our focus was to be the main mall rather than the monument as the mall was full of people. When we had gotten into town we set about tracting the constant stream of people, as we did so many one-to-ones where happening. I almost immediately had a group of college age girls ask what the tracts were about, from this a 30 minute conversation followed in which they heard both the law and the gospel given as clearly as I could. As always there were objections and I answered from God's word as best I could but it became clear that while they were concerned about sin and it's consequences they were clinging to it. They left for college and I pray that they have time to read the tracts I gave them and that God would do a work of regeneration in them. The conversations were going on all around me as I saw the team at work, the Jordies were very friendly when compared to Londoners.
First up to preach today was Dale who witnesses in Workington and Carlisle, he is relatively new to open air preaching but despite this did a solid job of preaching the gospel of hope. Peter and I also preached and though the interactions with people were few there were some who stayed to listened to what was said and wanted to talk to team members afterwards.
After a lunch break in the much appreciated warmth of a fast food joint we went at it again and it was amazing to see how many tracts were given out in such a short time. God be praised that He opened the way for the gospel to get into these people's hands!
Josh preached nearby a British army recruitment stand and a reasonable sized crowd gathered to hear him speak. While Josh preached I gave one of the local touters a tract and then was occupied reasoning with this nominal Catholic about his faith and his need for a saviour not the good works that he was currently trusting. We parted on good terms and he promised me that he would consider carefully what we had talked about. As I came back to listening to the gospel again Josh was just closing and as the one-to-ones started with the crowd I chatted with Josh. To my alarm he told me that he was tasting blood in his mouth as he finished preaching! I told him that he must rest his voice for the next couple of days, otherwise there might be permanent damage done.
John was next up to preach and did a fantastic job presenting the gospel loud and clear. Towards the end there were two hecklers that started to have a go at him, one denouncing him and Christianity and the other demanding proof for God. John tagged me into the preaching and I called out Nathe', to discuss with him the proofs for God and the bible being his word. This did not satisfy Nathe' and so a discussion of evil and God's ability to do any thing about it followed. A crowd gathered to hear this appologetic discussion and so I tried to give the gospel as part of the discussion. It became clear that Nathe' loved his sin and that was why he would not and could not even acknowledge God. In the end I pointed him to the saviour and pleaded with him to flee from the wrath of God, otherwise the consequence of his personal evils would be God's condemnation of him. I stepped down to speak with him further after encouraging the crowd to speak with the team. While this was going on Josh had grabbed the other heckler and engaged her also endeavoured to answer her questions and give her the gospel again. The rest of the team where all hard at it in one-to-one's and some great conversations were happening.
As it was now getting colder (it was already freezing!!) we headed home giving out tracts as we went. Praise God that He got the gospel into so many hands today and pray that He would work to convert the souls of the Jordies that received it.
Saturday 26th The Trip Home
On saturday we headed north by train and it was a welcome break to be able to stop for a period and read or just chat and joke about nothing much. On the way home the train was delayed and we changed at Derby, a minor frustration that bore an interesting fruit.
Charlotte had been on the same train as us and struck up a conversation with us as we changed. She continued to chat with Anna and I as we got on the next train and so Anna took the opportunity to ask what her religious background was. Charlotte came from a catholic background and had left that due to the hypocrisy that she saw and what she saw as unjust judgement of people. She now was of no fixed faith and took a little from everyone of them to suit her desires. Anna asked her if she would mind if she (who was also from a catholic background but Christian) could explain to her what the bible says. Charlotte accepted and so Anna showed her that the only one who has a right to judge the sins of the world is God and from this opened up the law of God and its demands on us all. It was clear to me that Charlotte could see her sin was an offence to God but she continued to listen and Anna then pointed her to the only hope which is the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God at sin. Anna told her also of our hope with God in Jesus who rose again and lives standing to be our advocate in heaven. At this Charlotte abruptly left and we prayed and continue to pray that she would be saved in and through Jesus.
We got back home safely with our two guests, a big thank you to all those who were involved in the London outreach. God bless you and make you fruitful in the work He gives you.
God gave us grace and courage to witness. Mekail joined us for support. Chris from Chester was out preaching. Praise God for his labour in the harvest. May the Word go out in truth and fullness with boldness. May the Holy Spirit convict of sin, righteousness and judgement, granting faith and repentance.
It was cold, rainy and windy. We gave out tracts and David preached. An older gentleman stopped to heckle, he holds himself to be a christian yet calls Jesus a liar, believes that the bible has many errors, and says that everyone will go to heaven.
Stopping this converation I began to talk with a group of four young people, Tivin was happy to do the good person test. We discussed his position before God and I had the glorious opportunity of sharing the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection. He confessed that he needs to be saved and that he wanted to trust in Jesus. I encouraged him to trully repent and have faith, then to go on to live a life that honours his Lord.
I wrapped up and we finished at that point and headed for home. May God get the glory of saved souls. May He draw many to him.