It was good to be in the mall this afternoon in Hobart and even better to have other Christians join me in prayer for the city before we began the outreach. We prayed as we have so often that God would give us the right words to reach out to the people and that the Holy Spirit would act to prepare the hearts of the people for the word.
The afternoon went well with a number of regular visitors coming to talk. It was good to see Mr B again who stayed to listen for the whole time we were in the mall. He has been struggling for some time and while some things have improved in his difficult life, recent loss of his job is making things difficult for him. We prayed together for him at the end of the afternoon. Please pray that God will heal his wounds and give him a job to work in and most of all that God will grant him salvation.
Mr O. also dropped by with an interesting question; what does God think of street art? It seems that there is a new set of artworks (as distinct from graffiti) that have gone up in Hobart CBD. I responded that God obviously would be offended by blasphemous art of any kind, but otherwise the Bible does not give us any clear guidance regarding art. Art that draws us upward to consider the great things God has done and show the beauty of creation are obviously of greater worth than the doodles that are sometimes call “art” today. We chatted a little more and then Mr O. left with a wave and a smile.
During the preaching today Mr J. came and interacted with me for a long period. He disagrees with Christianity and the Bible’s teaching, but praise God he believes that we should be civil in disagreement and everyone is entitled to their own perspective. I was grateful that this young man understood one of the underpinning values of healthy society; the need to disagree without angst. If only some of his “elders and betters” could only learn this lesson!
I was discussing evolution when Mr J. came up and when I asked him what he thought of what I was saying he asked a question about God and suffering. How can a good God coexist with suffering? In particular he was thinking of the tragic loss of his Grandfather and the trauma of being threatened at gun point as a child. I discussed the paradox of God and suffering in two ways with Mr J. Firstly, I said that the question under the philosophical one is one of care: Does God care about our suffering? Does God just leave us to suffer or does he do something about it? To this I pointed to Jesus, the Son of God, God in flesh, who came to live, suffer, and die for the sake of sinful people. God cares about us, He cares about our suffering. So much so that he came to share in it and redeem us from it and from death. Secondly, I said that the philosophical question is one of evidence. Baldly put, is God even there? To this I pointed to the amazing world we live in and the mountains of evidence that points us to God being our maker and the sustainer of all life. No reasonable person could deny God has given us more than enough evidence.
At this we went to discuss evolution and the counter claims of that theory regarding fossils and change in animals and people. But the discussion didn’t last for long, there was something bigger that Mr J. wanted to discuss: What did I think of abortion? My initial response was that everything we know from ultrasound and intrauterine surgery indicates that the occupier of the womb is a living person with independent responses and desires. As such any living human person needs to be protected where-ever they are found. No argument can justify the premeditated taking of a human life because of the “right to choose” of another. Mr J. brought forward a number of normal objections that support the pro-choice perspective, for example; impact on the mother’s outlook on life, the mother not being ready, severely disabled children and threat to the life of the mother. Interestingly when pressed on these issues none of them stood up to the consideration of if it was ok then to take a human life.
We discussed for a long while and one particular point that appeared to move him was the consideration of if he as a man had a say in what happened to a baby carried by another. It was the consideration of impact on him as a family member. He would be mourning if he lost a sibling, niece or nephew, a child, or grandchild, because they were part of his family. In the same way any baby he sired would be his family when it was in the womb. Men should be intimately involved in the love, nurture, protection and support of their families. This is no different before they are born.
Ultimately Mr J. left saying that we were unlikely to make him a Christian. I asked him to simple think on these things. I am happy to leave the rest to God, we cannot change people, but He is more than able to change human hearts and minds.
Praise God for all the wonderful opportunities He gives.
Hobart Team (TAS)
Meets every Tuesday and Friday afternoon 12-5pm at the Elizabeth Street Mall.
Contact David Gee for more information.