Yesterday, the focus of gospel ministry was in Riccarton. Riccarton is quite close to the mosque where many tragically died last Friday. :( I had the honor of talking to two people who were close enough to hear the gun shots. For one of them, it was the first time they had ventured out. I was able to explain about the justice of God, but also of the bad news of why we deserve justice as well. And then share about the hope of forgiveness only found in trusting Christ who took our justice upon the cross, and defeated death by rising again!
I also had a long conversation with a young man who was Eastern Orthodox. I don't get to talk to many people who are Eastern Orthodox, and he was very engaged in the conversation, so I asked him to explain why he would be going to heaven. This led to him explaining the basic tenants of what he believed. In return, I then shared the law and the gospel with him. And we then spent a long time discussing the differences.
The discussion ended up focusing on the contrast between faith and works. I talked about Ephesians 2, the whole beginning of this chapter is wonderful, but I'll quote from verse 8:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. We are not saved by our works; instead it is a gift. But once we are saved we will do the good works that God prepared us to do.
When the conversation finally ended, this guy gave me a hug. He obviously enjoyed the conversation. May he come to understand this amazing grace, and trust alone in Christ for his salvation.
Earlier in the day, I was letterbox dropping in the area, and I walked past two police officers. I had an opportunity to thank them for their service, esp. considering the tragedy of Friday. One of them took an Eternity tract from me.
Today I started with some letterbox dropping in a neighborhood close to where I live. But God gave me an opportunity to share the gospel one to one with a man outside his house. He said my meeting was timely, as he had just had his car stolen, had to move out of his house at short notice, and on top of that was struggling with processing the shootings on Friday. He seemed to understand and appreciate the brief gospel presentation I gave him and said he would read the tracts I had given him. I pleaded with him to think seriously about his sin, and then to repent and trust, alone, in Christ.
I then headed into the city for some flip charting. I ended up getting into some long gospel conversations there (the outreach went over by an hour). I spent a long time with one person in particular, who was very intelligent and who had a lot to say. I'm confident they understood the simple message of the gospel, yet they politely fought against it.
The Lord provided some wonderful opportunities for gospel conversation during a short one hour outreach outside the hospital. One man, after receiving an Eternity tract, came back to give it back. And I could see he was ready for a fight. I made it clear at the beginning that I wasn't there to spread hate, but hope. I then took the time to listen and resist the temptation to verbalise my disagreement with what he was saying, as I could see he was ready to go at any moment. To my surprise he stayed and I was able to continue listening to what he had to say. Slowly he warmed up, and allowed me some space to add my thoughts into the conversation. To my surprise, I ended up having the opportunity to briefly cover the main points of the gospel with him. He even ended up accepting back the tract he had returned to me. We parted ways with a hand shake! I thank God for allowing that conversation to turn around.
What a privilege and great responsibility my new job is! Please pray that I'll be able to continue being a faithful ambassador of Christ.
View previous Christchurch (NZ) report (17 March 2019)
Christchurch (NZ) Team
Tue 3:30pm - 5:30pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Fri 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (Bridge of Remembrance)
Sat 11am - 1pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Sun 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (corner of Colombo St and Cashel St).
Contact Glen Richards or Andy Barlow for more information.