There were many people in Cashel Mall hunting Boxing Day sales. A team of three set up flip charts to have gospel conversations with any willing to stop.
For me, there were three highlight conversations.
The first came very early in the outreach. It was with a young couple: he was interested, she was not! But they stayed to go through my new flip chart. It turns out they both had Catholic schooling, so there was a focus on getting them to understand the grace of God through faith alone in Jesus' sacrifice for their sin.
I then had another follow up conversation with someone I’ve been talking to since the start of the year. This will have been about the 7th time we’ve spoken. They already understand the gospel, so I didn’t try to swing the conversation to spiritual things. But they eventually did. And we ended up talking for at least an hour. The focus of the conversation was on whether we are saved by faith alone. This person was arguing that it’s not faith alone, because they also have to turn away from sin. They wanted to know why I could sin and still be a Christian, where he couldn’t. The issue was that there is a particular sin this person wants to keep enjoying as well as accepting Christ. The answer is that, it’s about our attitude towards sin. Yes, sadly, Christians sin - but we hate it. Yes, we are saved only by our faith alone in Jesus payment of our sin on the cross - but faith is always connected to repentance.
It was at this point that I turned to the last page on the new flip chart. It has two pictures on it: a man wearing a backpack, and a picture looking out a plane window. This flip chart page is new to me - but this was the perfect time to use it! I literally pulled out my phone and read the description on how to use this page verbatim:
“This man carries his backpack with him everywhere, and has done so his whole life in fact. But one day he is on a plane and pilot announces that the plane is going to crash. Someone hands him a parachute to put on. Problem is, it won't go on with his backpack still on his back. So he needs to make the choice, does he take off the backpack and put on the parachute and be saved, or keep the backpack on, and reject the parachute and so die in the plane crash.
In the same way, with your Buddhism (or new age beliefs or particular sin you love), you may have been believing it your whole life. But now you have come to realise that it won't save you from the judgement to come, and instead you need to trust that Jesus died for your sin. But trusting that Jesus paid for your sin is incompatible with still believing in Buddhism which says you need to work your way to heaven.
So what are you going to do? Keep your Buddhism and therefore reject the free gift of forgiveness offered by Jesus, OR put away your Buddhism and trust only in Jesus to pay for your sins?”
It was timely! Their response to this was: “can I wear my backpack on my front, and put the parachute on my back?” But they understood the message. We parted ways with them still counting the cost of following Jesus. I will continue to pray for this person.
The last conversation was with a young man who had a Christian grandfather, but the family has drifted from church life. This guy figured he would be good enough to go to heaven, and so was shocked to learn that the standard of good was perfection. He was relieved to see the flip chart page which shows Jesus taking the fire ball (representing our sin) on his back. He came to understand how we can be forgiven, through faith in Jesus. He had good questions, which we spent time answering.
Very grateful for the opportunity to share the gospel on this Boxing Day! The results are in the hands of God. But thank you for continuing to pray for this ministry. And be encouraged to get involved! It’s a joy to be able to share this good news, we can’t keep it to ourselves. :)
Christchurch (NZ) Team
Heads out on to the streets of Christchurch usually 6 days a week to various locations.
Including Fridays in Cathedral Square from 12:30pm and in Cashel Mall after that till 3:30pm. Also Sundays in Cashel Mall 1:30pm till 3:30pm.