The weather in Hobart is turning cold and the leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter. Also, the foul festival, Dark Mofo is looming large in the minds of Tasmanians. Yet in the midst of the gathering darkness there are many opportunities God gives us to speak for Him in Hobart.
This week there where many chances to preach the Gospel and read His word at Speaker’s corner. Hopefully this was a God honoring contrast to the angry atheist who preached on Monday. He was urging people to be good to the poor (which we should), be kind to each other (which we should), and to join the revolution (which we…. wait, sorry what?). He was very angry and swearing about how the poor and outcast are treated. Every Christian gives hearty agreement to caring for the poor and outcast, God loves and gives dignity to all as His creatures, so we should too. Unfortunately, this atheist was also urging people to walk away from God and be part of an atheistic revolution of some kind.
No-one who has ever tried consistently to do good to people would say it is easy. And I would say from scripture that without the Spirit of God in us it is impossible to truly love and be kind. Unfortunately, this is far too common today, atheists assuming that the morality they have arrived in a vacuum or from themselves. Something there is no evidence for and plenty of evidence against. They want to urge the behavior which is good and at the self-same time argue to do away with the foundation for morality, a transcendent loving law giver.
I hope and pray that people would see the difference between the bad behavior and foul language of this and other atheists who frequent Speaker’s Corner; and the many different Christians who have come in love and spoken of God’s love.
I also had two good conversations this afternoon one with Mr D. and the other with a semi-regular visitor Mr F.
Mr D. came up and spoke to me after I finished preaching and asked me to speak about his mother. From the start it was clear that Mr D. was very drunk so I only hope and pray that some of what I said to him stayed with him. As we talked Mr D.’s very sad story came out. He’d lost his mother to a stroke or heart attack and then had the heart wrenching experience of losing his nephew to suicide and his brother also. He was very sad and very lonely and deeply missed his family. We prayed together and I asked that God would heal his wounds and give him peace. I then spoke with him about his drinking, urging him to give up the alcohol that was slowly but surely killing him. He was very concerned to honour his mother and so I encouraged him to give up the drink because his drunkenness dishonors his family, his mother and God. As he left, he thanked me and I pray that God will fill his soul with Christ’s love and save him.
Later in the day Mr F. walked by as I was handing out tracts. He and I have discussed many things over the years and I have always appreciated his keen mind, and the rapid-fire discussions we have had. Today we were speaking about freedom of speech and a comment about communism turned out discussion to the teachings of Marx. Mr F. and I discussed the different aspects of communism and the teachings of Marx for quite some time and challenged each other’s point of view. I certainly learnt something about communism and I hope that Mr F. went away with something to think on regarding Christ. As always it was good to talk with him and we shook hands and parted smiling.
These two conversations left me with the important lesson, compassionate listening is vital to sharing the gospel. Both these men are precious people made in the image of God and hearing what they have to say as well as sharing the message of the Gospel is important. Please pray for me and all those who share the gospel in Hobart, that we would be listening as well as we speak, and that we would speak only to the glory of God!
Praise His Name!
Hobart Team (TAS)
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