Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 6)
Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 5)
Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 4)
Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 3)
Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 2)
Operation 513 Olympic Outreach Video Blog - (Day 1)
From Rob Hughes, London team leader, currently on mission with JeremiahCry Ministries in Glasgow, Scotland:
Yesterday was a real blessing witnessing with the team. It's truly wonderful to labour with so many faithful men of God in the proclamation of God's Word.
Here are some of the great conversations I had...
I spoke with a chap (David) who beats himself up over the wrong he has done in the past, and so he labours to "fix" the past through many good deeds. This is ultimately a self-righteous pursuit to justify oneself in the eyes of God.
I explained to him that forgiveness found in Christ sets us free. We are saved and transformed, the evidence of which is seen by the good deeds we perform. When we receive salvation our desires change. The born again man wants to perform deeds "...in keeping with repentance." It doesn't mean he never sins, however the new desires born in him propel him to exalt the Lord with his life.
R.C. Sproul explains it like this:
"We are covered in an alien righteousness, a righteousness that is not our own, but under that covering we are still inclined to break the law of God. Justification declares us righteous, it does not make us sinless.
We are granted citizenship in God’s kingdom based only on the righteousness of Christ, but good works are not an optional part of the Christian life. In fact, believers must do good, not to secure justification but to evidence their justification."
There is great freedom found in Christ. We do not live under a heavy burden with regards to living a godly life. As new born believers we do not live godly lives in order to receive favour with God, rather we live godly lives out of gratitude and praise to God because we have already received favour with Him.
This is why we read in Galatians 5:1: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
I explained this as best I could to David. He did listen and appeared to get what I was saying, although it seemed that he was more concerned with earning favour with God, instead of humbly receiving the grace that God offers. He left with a tract and a New Testament. Do pray for him.
Together with others on the team, I also spoke with two young men who had grown up Catholic. They appeared quite nominal and were very open to hear the gospel. As we shared with them it definitely appeared that the light came on. They really seemed excited to understand and know why the Son of God lived as a man and why He died on a cross for the sin of the world.
~ Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life, in order to be the perfection we can't be, and then He died on a cross to pay the penalty for the sins we have committed. As a result of what Jesus has done, when a man repents and trusts in Him, God treats that man as if he lived Christ's life, and He treats Christ as if He lived that man's life.
It was a blessed day indeed. Do pray for all those who heard the gospel.
The sun was out, and the weather was beautiful as we arrived in Sydney for a day of outreach. Since moving to Goulburn in April 2011, I’ve wanted to be able to do regular outreaches in Sydney, but so far with all my work in Goulburn I’ve found it rather hard to make the two hour journey to the Sydney CBD. But today the opportunity to preach Christ had finally arrived.
There were three of us who came out for the outreach this day, Peter Noble, Sean and myself. At 11:30am we met at the Town Hall and from there we began to minister. I must admit things were a bit different today, I have been on many outreaches, but what I saw today I’ve never seen done
before. Peter Noble had brought along a wheelie bin that he had modified to use as a portable sound system for his work as a Christian hip hop artist, now while that was fairly cool, what he did with it was excellent. Peter jumped on the mic and began to do some Christian rap on the streets of Sydney, and as he did this held tracts in his hands. Many people came up to him to take tracts, and many hung around to listen. During this time Sean and I were able to have some excellent conversations with the people who stopped to listen to the music.
I got to speak to one young lady from Sydney who had grown up in a “Christian” home, but that all changed she said when she discovered that she was a lesbian. She said when she came out as a lesbian her parents, family and friends all condemned her and had nothing to do with her. As a result she was hardened towards the Bible. The conversation I had with her started off by her coming to take a tract, then reading it, then she wanted to talk about how the Bible views women. We spoke for a bit about the Old Testament laws, and also about how the New Testament viewed women, she seemed very surprised to find that the Bible is not anti-woman, but rather, Christianity is the only religion that affirms a woman’s value. From this point we spoke about the issue of sin, and how all sin is a crime against God (even homosexuality). She was quite open at this point, so we continued to talk about the Gospel. But then the hurt of the past came up. She spoke about how all her “Christian” friends left her when she said she was a lesbian, and how no one would speak to her. In reply to this I took her to John 4 and spoke about the woman of Samaria and how she was a despised woman, an adulteress who no one liked, but then I showed her Jesus, sitting by the well talking to her, and revealing that He is the Saviour. I was able to show her from that Scripture that Jesus is a friend of sinners, and that He is able to save the vilest of criminals.
When she heard this she said, “I like Jesus, He’s really good.” To which I replied, “No, you don’t like Jesus, as if you did, you’d do as He said.” This then led into a conversation about repentance, and how even though Jesus says the hard things, He says it out of love towards the lost. By the end of our conversation she was nodding in agreement with what I had said, and stated that she would read John’s Gospel. Please pray for her.
By now the rapping had finished, so we headed down to the Pitt Street Mall for some open air preaching. Peter Noble was the first man up, he preached on true Christianity and not just honouring God with your lips. As he preached a man came up to me all angry about the preaching. Turns out he was a local busker who hated what we were doing. He said that we weren’t allowed to preach here, and if we didn’t stop he’d call the police and rangers. I requested he do call the police as I knew we weren’t breaking the law. The man went off in a huff and then started calling people.
Peter Noble by now had finished preaching, so I stood up to preach. I spoke on “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” While I was preaching I noticed two police officers ride towards me on their bikes. They then stopped behind me and listened for a bit. I was later informed that a woman from a shop had also complained about the preaching and called the police, upon seeing them she rushed up to them, but the police told her that we weren’t breaking the law and thus we could continue.
After I finished preaching Sean got up and preached, and a few people stopped to listen.
Overall it was a great day of witnessing. Sydney is hard ground, but is in desperate need of the Gospel. Please pray for all those we spoke to today.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The Redlands Easter Festival is an event put on by a large group of Churches in Redland City. The organisers were expecting about 10,000 people to turn up, so we thought it was a great idea to share the gospel there to all those attending. So there were about twelve of us who turned up and after arriving at the festival, we went to sign in at the volunteer’s booth.
Operation 513 had set aside 2,500 Good Aussie gospel tracts for free use at this event. The organisers wanted us to hand out this tract because the theme of the festival this year was the Christian heritage of Australia. So the Good Aussie card suited very well.
The event did seem a little bit smaller than previous years, but there were still stacks of people there. So after signing in, we dispersed ourselves around the showgrounds handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations with people. During Easter time, it is really easy to hand out gospel tracts, for you simply need to say “Happy Easter” and then hold out the gospel tract to them and almost always the person will take it.
After a few hours, the proportion of people who had received a gospel tract was definitely increasing and so it was becoming a more common thing to hear from people that they already had one. But I found that this was a perfect opportunity to ask them whether they had read it. If they said yes, I could then ask them what they thought of it. If they said no, I would say, “Well it asks you on the back, ‘If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven?’ What do you think?” And that would lead into a gospel conversation.
The usual response to the question of whether the person I was speaking to thought they were going to Heaven was ‘Yes’, for they thought they were good people. People by nature love speaking about how good they are, but the Bible clearly says that no one is good in God’s sight (Rom. 3:10-12). So in order to show people that they are actually sinners in need of forgiveness, I used the method that the Apostle Paul used, I showed them God’s law and how they fared compared to it. “...through the law comes knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20.
The way I showed them God’s law was by, asking them how good they were, whether they had ever told a lie, ever stolen something, or ever used God’s name in vain. Everyone has committed basically all these laws, and so people usually won’t have a problem admitting that. I would then ask, “Well if those things are some of the standards in which God will judge you after you die, do you think you would innocent or guilty?” They’ll usually say ‘Guilty’. So I ask, “Therefore, do you deserve to go to Heaven or Hell?” This makes most people realise that they are in a very bad situation deserving of Hell, and so then I can talk about the good news of forgiveness.
Since it was an Easter festival, I could then ask them about what Easter is about. A great deal of people I spoke to actually had no idea what Easter is about. Some said, “Yeah I’ve always wondered what Good Friday is, other than being a public holiday.” I then shared about Jesus dying on the cross, taking the punishment that we deserve in Hell for our sins. But a person needs trust in Jesus’ death alone for their forgiveness (meaning, not a person’s good works or own goodness) and repent (hate sin and start turning from it), in order to be forgiven. I then shared the meaning of Easter Sunday – that Jesus rose from the dead three after he died.
In the evening, there was an AOG preacher on the main stage that was supposed to give the gospel talk. He started off on John 3:16 and talking about how popular it is to wear shirts that say John 3:16, but he suggested that many people don’t know what the verse says or means. So he read it out. But then he decided to focus on the ‘so loved’ part of the verse. He interpreted ‘so loved’ to mean ‘God loves you soooo much’ in the modern sense of using the word ‘so’. However, that is not what ‘so loved’ means. Instead it actually means ‘loved thusly’ or ‘loved in this way’. The ‘so loved’ in John 3:16 does not mean that God has such a great amount of love for the world, it is rather that God loved the world in this way that He sent His one and only Son... (you can even check it in the Greek - οὕτως)
So the whole main point of his message was completely faulty. He then spoke about how everyone has a desire to come to God. Where does the Bible say that? The Bible says otherwise, in that “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10). He then proceeded to have an altar call, calling people to come to the front and come back to God.
But at no time in his message had he spoken about sin or the fact that we deserve punishment for our sin. Neither did he even speak about Heaven or repentance or that salvation is by grace through faith. He had simply talked about the sheer amount of love God has for everyone and that’s why a person should come back to God. So I knew that basically anyone coming forward could simply not be genuine, since the gospel had not been preached.
There were about 15 people who came forward, and there were a few counsellors going up to them giving them things. So Lindsay and I went to the front and got into a few conversations with a number of those came to the front and shared the gospel with them.
One conversation I had was with I think one of the counsellors, he said he had been saved 8 months. I asked him why he is going to Heaven. He said it is because he has changed his life and is not doing as much sin anymore. But I pointed out to him that changing your life doesn’t forgive your sin, because even if you never sinned again, you still would have the past history of all your sin that God cannot simply overlook. He understood this and said, “Yeah that’s true, I don’t know how I’m going to get forgiveness then.” So I shared the message of Christ’s death on the cross taking the wrath of God that we deserve for our sins if we repent and believe, and it was like something clicked in his mind. He said, “That makes sense, it’s because of Jesus death that I can be forgiven.” He was very appreciative of the chat; I pray that he is genuine.
During this, fireworks began going off, which marked the close of the festival. After they finished the rest of the team made sure to hand out tracts to everyone leaving, while I continued to have chats with those who came to the front.
The festival was good overall in the sense that it was good opportunity to witness to lots of people, both professing non-Christians and also those who attend Church but don’t truly believe. But the ‘gospel’ presentation given by the AOG pastor, Steve Kennedy was absolutely atrocious. The organisers need to seriously rethink who they get to give the gospel talk. The preacher they had last year was actually quite decent. I am not sure why they would scrape so low this year.
Please pray for the thousands of people who received gospel tracts that they would read them and that God would grant these people repentance and faith.
To God be the glory!
Tuesday, 25th August 2009 - Riverside, California
We have been in the USA for two days now, and during that time we have been recovering from jetlag and also playing tourist. Yesterday, we were able to see the sights around Santa Monica and also Hollywood. But, from today the outreach began.
The alarm sounded way to early, it was about 5am as I rolled out of bed and wondered what I was doing up. I quickly downed some breakfast, then Heath and I ran out the door to meet with Warren. The plan for the morning was to go to the courthouse and do some open air ministry.
We arrived at the courthouse at around 6:30am, and after some time of prayer and Bible reading we prepared to minister. Somehow I ended up being nominated to open air preach first. This was the first time I have ever open air preached at a courthouse, since in Australia most people go into the court building and don’t hand around outside.
The open air sermon went well, while I was preaching a Jehovah Witness began to hand out Watchtower magazines, so I made mention to this. The man was not amused, but I could not tolerate the fact that he was willingly deceiving many with a false gospel.
After the open air, I handed out a few tracts, but noticed that the Jehovah Witness was still spreading his cultic lies. So I followed him around and when he handed out literature I would speak to the person who received it. I would inform the person that the JW’s deny that Jesus is God and that He arose bodily from the dead. Many of the people who had taken Watchtowers either returned them or placed them in the bin.
Eventually the JW turned and threatened to sue me for slander. I informed him that it was only slander if what I was saying was false. I was kind of surprised, I had only been in the land of lawsuits for two days, and already someone wanted to take me to court. This should be an exciting couple of months.
To view the video of my open air check out:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z60ovB-IxZ4
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY3-tlgUC6w
Wednesday, 26th August 2009 - Riverside, California
Once again the alarm sounded early, and just like the day previous we headed out to the Riverside Courthouse. Jeff picked us up at 6:30am and by 7am we were at the courthouse meeting with the evangelism team.
It was good to meet some new brothers and it was an honour to labour along side of them. Once again, I was nominated to preach. As I preached the gospel the crowd listened, one lady liked the preaching so much she started to dance and say “Praise Jesus”. After the open air the majority of people took gospel tracts. And, much like the day before our friendly JW was there, although today he didn’t engage us.
Once we finished the ministry at the courthouse, we went and had breakfast together as a team, then we headed off to preach elsewhere. This time, we went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to open air. There was about 150 people lined up, so I began by preaching a message of Hope from John 3:16. The crowd fell silent as they listened to the gospel being preached. Much like the courthouse the majority took tracts afterwards.
Please pray for all those who heard the gospel today, may God save them.
To view a video of the open air at the DMV click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjTUJP9VfW0
Friday, 28th August 2009 - Hollywood & Glendale, California
Warnings were issued to us today as we prepared to head out witnessing. After two days of evangelism training at the Ambassadors Academy the team was ready to hit the streets and do some ministry. The only problem was that we had a severe weather warning in place. The temperature in the LA region has soared over the past few days, and as a result many bush fires were burning on the mountains around the city.
With the sun being high and hot we boarded our bus for the ride to Hollywood, only to be greeted with something no one wants to encounter on a hot day. It turns out that on the way to the Academy to pick us up the air conditioner on the bus had died, thus leaving the bus a big hot tin can.
But, this was just the beginning of what would be a hard day of hot battles. When we arrived at Hollywood the heat was oppressive. Within minutes people were downing bottles of water and grabbing more bottles for reserve. While we were setting up the four different preaching locations I noticed a young man wearing a sandwich board. This was no surprise to me as I had been warned this “preacher” would be present. While, I admire this man’s zeal I find myself abhorring his theology, the reason is because he denies original sin and believes in open theism (which teachers God does not know the future). These heresies have placed him outside the bounds of Christianity, yet, he is still out on the streets in the heat preaching that you must stop sinning and that Christians are perfect and never sin.
Myself and Paul Kaiser wandered up and down the famed Hollywood Boulevard handing out tracts and talking to people. However, we thought it would be good to grab some lunch before any preaching. The cool air of MacDonald’s was nice and while we sat eating our “healthy” lunch, I was able to start a conversation with two young men opposite. One of them had just gotten out of rehab, the other was a professing Christian. He seemed to have a few theological questions, so I let Paul deal with him, while I spoke to the non-Christian. For about ten minutes we shared the gospel in MacDonald’s. After I finished witnessing I noticed that the guy I was speaking to had no food on his table, so I went and bought him some lunch. He seemed genuinely touched and he took a few different tracts after this. We saw both men again throughout the day and they waved every time they saw us. Please pray that God would grant them repentance and faith.
After lunch I was able to preach outside of the Hollywood Metro station. While I was preaching I was able to get one man to engage me in conversation. This young man was interested in bragging about his sin openly, when I confronted him about his sin, his pride swelled, he loved his sin and bragged about it. He left before I was able to give him grace, but there were a couple of people sitting around listening. Please pray for all those who heard.
The rest of the day at Hollywood was spent with me handing out tracts and talking to people one to one. I have found it very hard to hand out tracts on Hollywood Boulevard, I think this is due to the fact that there are many people out there handing out literature and selling goods.
As the temperature dropped and the sun lowered in the sky, we were herded onto a bus for the ride to Glendale for an evening of witnessing. After a nice dinner with EZ, we did some outreach near the cinema. I was walking around taking photos when I heard security challenging one of our preachers. The preacher was on public property preaching to a crowd also on public property. The security guard came out of private property and demanded the preacher stop. This young security guard dripped with arrogance and was mocking towards Christianity. He would laugh and scoff at what the preacher said, this earned him a stiff rebuke from my brother. The security guards grin soon faded when faced with the reality of judgment day.
This was just the first round of the fight for the night. Within a minute another security guard was taking on another preacher. This time I spoke to the security guard so the preacher could continue. Te security guard informed me that it was illegal to preach the gospel where we were. I asked him if it was public property, he said that it was. So I asked what part of preaching was illegal and didn’t we have first amendment right to preach? He refused to speak and just said, “I’m calling the police!”
The police soon arrived and they informed security that we had legal right to preach and that security had no authority to stop us. This seemed to anger the guard, so they started a new tactic to disrupt the preaching. By now there were about four guards standing around and they began by encouraging young men to start dancing in front of the crowd to disrupt the preaching. I began to take photos of what the security guard was doing, at the same time I was very careful not to cross onto private property to get the shots. While I was taking a photo the head security guard walked up behind me and said, “Thanks for that, now I can have you arrested!” He then called the police. The police arrived and they stated that once again we were doing nothing wrong and therefore couldn’t be arrested. Once again the security had lost the battle to stop the preaching of the gospel.
I spent the rest of the evening walking around and handing out gospel tracts. It was a good night of witnessing and many people got to hear the good news of salvation.
Saturday, 29th August 2009 - Huntington Beach, California
The second and final day of outreach had arrived. It would be sad to leave these men and women who had become my brothers and sisters in arms over the past week. But, we all must have one last push, then continue on in the battle elsewhere. The weather today was nice, much cooler than what it was yesterday. We hit the streets at around 10am and began to evangelise the Huntington Pier. Upon arrival we were met by the sight of a “street screecher” who had a massive banner that did nothing but cause offence. Now, I believe the gospel will bring offence, however, this sign had nothing of the gospel on it. Therefore it was the word of man that caused the problems. If I must offend someone, then I would rather have the everlasting gospel do it, rather than my own stupidity.
I walked down under the pier and it was then that I saw a man carrying a dog. He was moving rapidly towards one of the Academy preachers. As he came near me I heard him mumbling about shutting him down. Since the person who was preaching was new to open air evangelism, I decided to engage dog man in conversation. He stopped and began by telling me that he was a Christian, yet he refused to go to church since they were all wrong, except for him. My initial thought was “cult”, and that proved to be true. He started his tirade on how the church got it wrong, since Jesus had returned in 70 AD, and that we didn’t believe in the Bible. He then began to espouse the teaching that hell was not a real literal place. I engaged him in apologetics for some time, the whole time thinking I must keep him busy and away from the preacher. I figured if I tie him up for a while then the preaching of the gospel can continue. After about 40 minutes of dealing with this man I handed him over to a friend of mine, who engaged him for another length of time.
During my break I went off with the other Australian’s to get some lunch. When we returned the preaching was still going, but everyone was excited since Ray Comfort was soon to preach. Ray arrived and began to preach. It was then that I noticed that Dog boy was in the crowd. So I encouraged him to heckle Ray. The man was gladly prepared to heckle and Ray was happy to have a heckler.
While Ray was preaching I headed down to the bottom of the pier with a few other Academy preachers, there we set up a new preaching point and began to preach. First up was Ephraim who proclaimed Christ to all who would listen. Then I preached. While I was preaching I had a couple of hecklers. Soon into my open air I could feel my voice going, so I tagged in Jeff Robbins. This preaching continued for some time, then finally it came time for Heath Pithouse to preach. As he preached God brought a crowd in, and that crowd was polite and full of hecklers. For twenty minutes Heath did a marvellous job of proclaiming the gospel to them.
At the end of the day, we headed back to the Academy for the final night of testimony and fellowship.
Praise God for all He has done.
Wednesday, 2nd September 2009 - Riverside & Beaumont, California
A bright and early start, we had to be over to Riverside by 7am. The plan was to meet up with Jeff Robbins and his team and the courthouse, then we needed to rush back to Beaumont, since we were invited to come and speak to the fourth grade at the local public school.
At 7am we began the outreach with the team, they were surprised to see us, but it was great to join forces once again. I was the third preacher up and was able to proclaim the gospel to all those in the line. It was great to have people respond so positively to the gospel of Christ. Sadly the Jehovah Witness was still there deceiving the people. But the truth went out.
After a quick breakfast we drove back to get ready to speak at the local school. We were asked to come and talk about Australia and also about us being missionaries. I was a bit nervous since I was not sure what the rules were in relation to speaking about God in the school system. While we were talking a child asked the question, “What is a missionary and what do they do?” This was a great opening, since now I had to explain the message of Christ. For the next few minutes I explained the Christian message from creation through to redemption. The whole class sat and listened as I explained the need of the Saviour and how we must repent and trust in Christ.
At the end of the class we were able to leave some Australian Big Money tracts for the kids, all 40 students took the gospel home with them that day. Praise God for some great opportunities to preach Christ!
Thursday, 3rd September 2009 - Venice Beach
We had an early start today as we needed to drive some three hours to visit Phil Johnson of Grace to You. We spent about an hour with him, and after that we decided to head to Venice Beach for some outreach. It was a bit of a culture shock for Joel Barnard as he had never seen the strangeness that is Venice.
We handed out a few tracts and there were quite a few people who seemed hostile to the gospel. I did manage to get in a conversation with one man who believed in many roads to God, but though Jesus was the best way for him. He was hard to witness to, but I pray the gospel will cut through the darkness and bring him to Christ.
It wasn’t that long till we had to go, the reason for leaving so early was because I was due to do a radio interview with Ambassador Alliance radio. The purpose of the interview was to talk about the Academy training and also with the state of evangelism in Australia. The interview went for about 20 minutes, then at the end the team decided to start the three hour journey home.
On the way home we stopped at In n Out burger for dinner. After I finished my meal, I decided to speak to all the people eating their burgers outside. I started by telling them about how on the bottom of their drink cups there is a bible verse. This made them all look under the cups and read “John 3:16”. That was my launch pad, I spoke about the love of God and how He is so kind to us, yet we rebel against Him. After preaching the gospel, the people applauded and all took tracts. Please pray that God would save the listeners.
Friday, 4th September 2009 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Today we thought it would be a good idea to get up early and drive for 4 hours across the desert of California and Nevada. After a few minutes of this we had re-considered the wisdom of such a move. But, we pressed on and after a long drive we arrived in sin city.
We met up with my friend Doug Koch and some members of his team for lunch, then that afternoon we went back to Doug’s place. Since it was a long weekend here in the US Doug and his family were going away. So he gave us access to his house and told us where we could attend a local outreach that night.
After dinner we headed out to begin witnessing on the Vegas strip. We were able to hand out thousands of tracts in such a short period of time. During the night I managed to get into 4 conversations. All of them with Australians who were in Vegas for holidays. It is always good to speak to my fellow country men, but it is even greater to tell them of the Christ who can save them.
We stayed in the one spot for a few hours, but then decided to go play tourist for a little bit. As we walked along the strip people kept trying to hand us pornographic cards. Since all of those handing out cards were Mexicans I grabbed my Spanish tracts and began to hand them out. Every single porn hander outer took a tract. It was so sad to see them out on the streets doing this. One of them told me it was the only job he could get, so he had to do it in order to feed his family. But the most shocking was a woman in her mid seventies standing on the street corner handing out porn flyers.
At around midnight we made our way back to the house, it was so sad to see the depths of sin that many people swam in. But what was sadder was that there wasn’t many Christians out there telling people the good news.
Monday, 7th September 2009 - Hermosa Beach, California
Everything in Southern California seems to be at least a two hour drive away! No matter where we are going or what we are doing it always seems to be the same time away. Today we had a two hour drive from where we were staying to join up with Steve Sanchez and his team at the Hermosa Beach festival. His church had arranged for a booth to be set up in the area. They were conducting intelligence tests and good person tests for all those who would stop and talk.
After arriving we grabbed some tracts and headed to the main entrance, there we handed out thousands of tracts to those entering the festival. During this time of tracting the heat was increasing. It turned out to be one of the hottest days we had experienced in California. This of course limited the amount of people who wanted to stand and talk, but we did manage to have a few good conversations.
Towards the end of the day, we were able to start open air preaching. Before I started I spoke to a security guard and asked him where would be best. He pointed me to a location right near a bus stop. This worked well since there was a very long line of people at the bus stop. So I stepped back and began to share the gospel with them. Most people listened and smiled as a preached, at the end the vast majority took gospel tracts and thanked us for taking the time to share the good news with them.
After we started preaching Steve brought a few guys up to preach also, now we had the area well and truly covered. We took turns preaching the gospel. At the end of the day I decided it would be good to preach once more (also add Steve’s pushing). So I stepped up and began to speak to the line. It was then that an angry lady began to heckle, she started to scream that she was a public figure and couldn’t be filmed. She was rather angry and foul. So I ignored her and continued to preach. During this time another man came and began yelling at me to stop preaching, I ignored him, so he came closer and yelled again. This resulted in a person from the crowd yelling at the heckler, he called out “This is America! He can preach here!” Well by now the crowds attention was on the preaching, this then brought a security guard down. He came and told me I couldn’t preach, I ignored him as well and stepped around him. The reason I stepped around him is because I had permission to be there plus security have no authority to stop the preaching.
Steve Sanchez caught the “Aussie Two-Step” (as he calls it) on tape, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tPShIgNhJI
Well that ended our day and our outreach in California for now. Praise God for all the opportunities we had.
Wednesday 9th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
What a change! From the deserts of California to the beautiful green environment of Georgia. Also, what a change in people. People in the south seem to be a lot more friendly than those we encountered on the West Coast.
Today’s plan was to join up with Todd Friel and gang at Wretched Radio. We met at the studio then headed out to Georgia Tech for a “Witness Wednesday”. We arrived at the Campus and began to witness to people. The only catch it was to be on the radio, this of course made things a bit more nerve racking. Todd would walk up to people and say “Have you spoken to an Australian? No, here’s one!” Then the conversation would begin.
My first conversation was with a Lutheran minister who was very biblical. It was encouraging to meet someone who actually knew and preached the gospel. After this discussion I got to speak to a Hindu man. It was a good conversation, and I stressed to him the importance of their only being one God and one way to know that God.
After this we lost Todd, he walked one way, we walked the other. About an hour later we found him again. But, during this time we kept witnessing. Once again I got to speak to a Hindu man and also a Muslim man. The Hindu didn’t get it, he agreed with me throughout the presentation but then at the end he said, “I believe in Jesus with the other gods.” So once again I had to explain it to him.
We finished up at Georgia Tech, then Todd announced that we would be going downtown to do some preaching for Wretched TV, I thought that was great until Todd said I was the preacher and I would be on TV. Instantly the nerves hit, I didn’t want to be preaching on TV, but Todd insisted.
It was annoying preaching with microphones clipped on me and also cameras pointed at me. Before I knew what was happening Todd was introducing me to the camera then it was time to preach. So I stepped up and began to preach my stalker sermon. Those in the park quieted down to listen. Many sat and listened and others stopped walking to hear the good news. I built the sermon through the stalker and then into death and eternity. Once I had explained sin I was able to share the good news. By now I had a group of people at the back of the crowd singing out praises of “AMEN!” It was like preaching in a lively church. I wrapped my message up and then caught my breath. While I was sitting after the sermon a man walked up to me and said he had been listening. His words were “As you preached my heart said ‘This is true!’” Then and there in the middle of downtown Atlanta this man bowed his head and begged God for mercy. A few minutes later another man who was listening bowed his head and prayed with Joel, also asking god to save him.
It was incredible and humbling to see. God had used a simple open air sermon to bring two of his people to Himself. To God be the Glory! This provided a great ending to the day, everyone left praising God.
To hear the Witness Wednesday radio show: http://q1rf1q.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pnQor-NAU10pQkkTlbouw8PbldN4KesVW8ZGZYiC6kfxFb_l3DSNGuk5PJBV1ZenXC0ZFtd2v88hlqlngzxw-5Q/WR2009-0916-Hr1.mp3?download
Thursday, 10th September 2009 - Stone Mountain, Georgia
We were asked to join up with a local team today at a flower festival in the Stone Mountain national park. Upon arrival we soon found the team that was outside of the main gate, they were preaching and handing out tracts. So we also joined in with the handing out of tracts and one to one witnessing. Many great conversations were to be had. The one that really stands out to me was during the lunch break. While I was getting some lunch I noticed this old man and his wife, both of them would have 70 + but their age wasn’t what caught my attention, but rather it was the fact they were in Mormon garb. Both of them were missionaries. My first thought was “Sweet, if he is still a missionary at this age he must be a really solid Mormon!” With that in mind I approached him thinking that a good apologetic discussion would follow. However I was soon disappointed, it turns out he just began his mission and he didn’t know Mormon doctrine overly well.
We went back and forth a bit over the nature of salvation and how one can come to know Christ. He maintained that we had to work, and I pointed him to the Bible which said we had to trust in Christ alone. Then he managed to jump onto the fact that there are many gods, so I showed him Isaiah 44:8. At this his wife decided it was time for them to leave, so she took him away. As he left he refused to swap emails to continue the discussion, the man was so deceived by the satanic cult of Mormonism. Please pray for him.
That night we met up with some of the guys from Deeper, the plan was to head out to Georgia Tech to do some evangelism at the football game. When we arrived we began to hand out tracts and Marcus open air preached. The police soon came over and stated that we couldn’t open air preach on public property. We spent some time trying to reason with the officer but he wasn’t interested. He also refused to say what law we were breaking. The interesting thing is he stated that if we continued to preach he would see that we were all arrested. However, after awhile he allowed us to continue ministry on the other side of the road.
When the game ended Heath and I took up positions at the main exit and handed out hundreds of tracts as people left the game. I was expecting to see many on the ground, but was surprised to see only one or two left on the ground. May God use this simple little outreach to save those who would be saved. I also did a quick message to those who were waiting to see the players after the match.
To see me preaching check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J71OE65Zd3g
Friday, 11th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
Well today was the first day of Deeper Conference. It was good to catch up with some old mates and make some new ones. While the whole day was spent in conference we did get to see some evangelism over dinner. While we were eating dinner Cameron Buettel and I were able to get into a conversation with the manager of Chick-fil-a, we told him why we were here and how we are about preaching the Gospel. Then in jest Heath said, “Someone could stand up in here now and preach!” To which the manager replied, “I would have no problems with that.” That shocked us, but now the question arose, should we preach in a crowded fast food restaurant? We didn’t have to wait long for the answer for a person at another table heard the conversation, so she stood up and preached. People who were eating fell silent as they listened to the gospel, everyone seemed to enjoy the message except for one man who began to yell back at the preacher, he claimed no one wanted to hear the message, so I called back to him, “I do, so be quiet!” He quieted down the message continued. It was quite encouraging to see the gospel preached in a public place like this. To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 12th September 2009 - Atlanta, Georgia
Today was the last day of conference, but tonight was “The 500” outreach. The outreach’s goal is to get 500 people on the streets sharing the gospel in one night. This year I was approached to co-lead a team. The team I was assigned were sent to the Four-Corners of Atlanta. This was a good place for one to one, but a bad place for open air. Also, the problem we had was the fact that we had 30+ people in a small zone. But somehow we managed to have a good night of outreach.
I spent most of the night walking around to the different people encouraging them in the outreach and helping them wherever I could. It was great to see so many people out witnessing. At the end of the night we started to walk back to the car, but then we saw a heart breaking scene. Along the road there were many churches and in the door ways of all these churches one could see piles of blankets, but under these blankets were homeless people. I couldn’t help but question why the churches weren’t open and helping these people. The church is in a prime position to minister, yet for some unholy reason the church was not doing its role. Such opportunities to minister, yet no one was prepared to get out of their comfort zone and help those who are down and out. This failure to help the poor is a sinful stain on the church and something must be done. We need to balance our evangelism with social work, they work hand in hand for the glory of God, so get out there and do both!!
Monday, 14th September 2009 - Athens, Georgia
Today was our first day of outreach into the Athens region, it was good for Heath and I to join up with Terry Berg. The plan for the day was to go to the University of Georgia and share the good news. We arrived there at about 9am and immediately we noticed many students hanging around, so we quickly began to hand out tracts.
It soon became clear that we did not have enough tracts for the outreach, anything we had was handed out, then we would scramble to search out packs to see if we had any other gospel tracts. What ever we had people would take and read. It was good to see so many tracts going out and it was even greater to see many of the students stop and read those tracts. During the time of tract work, we were all able to engage in conversations with people. I had this one young lady grill me over theology, she wanted to know what I believed and why I believed it. Always good to open up the Bible and share theology with people who are interested.
After the lunch the heat was getting too much, by now I was dehydrated and in need of a rest, so we headed back to the house to get some rest. It was a great day, many got to hear the gospel. Pray God would save them.
Friday, 18th September 2009 - Charlotte, North Carolina
For the past few days Heath and I had been students at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. It was a great school, we learnt some great skills in regards to evangelism and during the course we were able to make some connections. One of those contacts was with a lecturer at the school, Dr. Alex McFarland.
Alex’s was there lecturing on apologetics and the gospel, this is his area of ministry since he is an apologist and also heads up Southern Evangelical Seminary. After speaking to him at the school he invited both Heath and I down to his seminary to be interviewed on his nation wide radio show. We agreed to the interview on the condition we got to share the gospel. This was quickly agreed to.
The interview went for an hour and it was very enjoyable. At the end of the show I got to present Christ to all the listeners. Praise God for His faithfulness in allowing his Word to go forth.
To listen to the interview check out: http://www.truthtalklive.com/2009/09/18/apologetics-down-under/ (Under video / podcast)
Friday, 25th September 2009 - Columbia, South Carolina
For the past week, I had been confined to barracks due to the fact that I had been running a fever and have been sick. It was great to be in Augusta with the Long family as they made sure I was rested and got better.
Today, I was feeling much better, so I was able to go out on outreach. We joined up with Gary Perez and his team as they drove to Columbia, South Carolina to preach on the campus. The campus didn’t seem very open to the gospel, but we were able to minister to many people via one to ones, tracts and open air preaching. At the end of the day I preached a quick message, while I expounded on the hope that is found only in Christ a man walked past and started to yell out “OBAMA! OBAMA!” I ignored him as I wasn’t making a political speech. After I finished my message the heckler walked past again and this time called me a “---- redneck!” Next thing we know the police were there and we believe he called them on us. It didn’t bother us overly since we had finished the preaching for the day and were heading home.
It was a good day, may God get the glory!
Saturday, 26th September 2009 - Augusta, Georgia
Early start, way to early! It was around 5:30am when we awoke and got ready for the outreach which was due to begin at 7am. The problem was that today was cold and wet, which made it so hard for us to want to get out of bed. But, we managed to somehow get up and make our way to the local DMV for some ministry. The rain actually kept many people away, but still a small few got the hear the gospel.
After the preaching of the morning, we went to the local flea market to set up a booth for another outreach. As before the rain had kept many people away, but God was at work in the heart of at least one man. While I was handing out tracts this one man stopped to talk, it turns out he had never heard of Jesus Christ and what He had done. So I was able to explain the gospel to him and then call him to repentance and faith. He looked at me and then asked, “Can I ask God to forgive me now?” Then and there we bowed our heads and this man confessed his sins to God and begged for the forgiveness of Christ. Praise God for His faithfulness in the saving of souls!