Sunday, 20 April 2008
Every part of me did not want to preach today. I freely admit that I was scared at the prospect of being arrested. But I also knew that we had to be faithful in preaching the gospel. Ryan and I were the only team members today, so we knew it was going to be some hard work.
Things got more interesting when we arrived to find that a big international surfing contest was underway right where we preach. At first I wanted to use that as an excuse for not preaching, since the noise would drown us out. But then God showed us His Sovereignty over all things!
A police sergeant walked past I thought I recognised him, so I said "G'day Sarge" he turned looked at me and said "You're Josh, right?" This was a shock, since a police officer knows my name. It was then that I recognised him, he was the police officer that arrested me last year on the Gold Coast for preaching. My first thought was "That's it! We aren't going to be allowed to witness." But the Sergeant was friendly, so I decided to ask him if we could preach. To my surprise he said "Go for it!" What a shock, the police that want to stop the Gospel gave us permission to preach it! To God be the Glory!
So we did just that, we began to preach. I was the first preacher up, and I began by speaking about the soldiers that died to give us the freedom we have in this land. It didn't take long before some hecklers opened up. First it was a bunch of British men, they were vile, and hated the gospel. Yet I loved to speak to them. Even though they were hard to preach to, I love dealing with those from the United Kingdom. We went back and forth on a few topics, and crowd began to grow rather big.
After dealing with them for a time, a ‘false convert' came up and began to heckle. I have dealt with this guy many times. So I opened up on him for not being a true Christian but rather one who lives in sin. This caused a few atheists to open fire, so I began to dialogue with them. They kept claiming that the Bible was full of errors and contradictions, so I handed them my Bible and asked them to find one. For the next twenty minutes the searched my Bible, then they pulled out a book by Christopher Hitchens, and searched it in the hope that they may find something to use against the Bible.
During this time I continued to preach and engage hecklers. The vileness of the crowd was sickening. While you come to expect it you never get used to it. A bunch of children were the worse. They were all around 7 or 8 and the language they were using would make you go into shock. They were cursing out God, and saying how they hated Jesus.
The crowd seemed to love them, so I used them as a launch pad into showing the depravity of man. They served as a perfect example on how we are sinners from childhood to adulthood.
By now my atheist hecklers had given up on the contradiction argument, and began to ask about homosexuality. The crowd caught there question, and people began to ask about it. So I answered it from the Bible, and provided the Scriptures that show it was wrong. I also stressed that God would judge the heterosexual as well for sinning, so they shouldn't think they are being picked on.
One young woman came up with a mouth full of curses, and then threw water over me. This started some in the crowd to throw stuff at me. One heckler threw a full bottle of water at my head, I was able to deflect it before it hit. Others just kept throwing random stuff, but if you ignore it they eventually stop.
I preached for about an hour, then stood down. Many in the crowd took tracts after the open air. But by far the coolest thing was this young woman approached me and said "Are you Josh?" I replied that I was, it turned out that her and I went to school together over ten years ago, and I haven't seen her since. It was an honour to be able to share the gospel with her!
Ryan then began to preach, and he got a few hecklers coming in who wanted to debate theology, and atheism. Ryan went to the apologetic realm and showed the existence of God. A few in the crowd loved this sort of discussion, and they wanted more. So Ryan kept on preaching the Gospel. After 45 minutes of back and forth he wrapped up, and we were able to hand out over 300 tracts in minutes to those leaving the surf competition.
Praise God for All He has Done!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.