Battle Log

Sunday 19 February 2023

Posted by Posted 19 February 2023, 2:11 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

A wonderful week of gospel outreach. (But then, every week is a wonderful week of gospel outreach!)  It wasn’t a usual week, because on Saturday I ran some evangelism training sessions and, from my perspective, it went really well!  Thank you for praying for this.

But before mentioning how that went, I want to talk about Tuesday’s outreach in Riccarton.  Roger was with me, as usual.  It was an incredibly busy outreach.  Pretty much non stop gospel conversations for over 2 hours.  I set up my flip chart, and prayed, and before long I had 7 university students go past and I was into my first chat.  The larger the group, the harder it can be to hold all their attention.  And this was certainly true for this group.  They were all in different places.  Some of the guys were quite interested in the conversation, but one of the girls, in particular, was quite resistant.  She ended up leaving, which caused some of the others to leave, and then the guys had to go too.  They left with tracts.

But as soon as they walked off, a guy went past who I was able to stop and engage in conversation.  And it was like that for the rest of the outreach.

A lady went past and she said, “Are you Mormon?”  No.  “JW?”  No.  “Oh” she says, “then what are you?”.  We fell into a good conversation.  But it was a difficult one, because I had to be gentle in trying to untie some of the really bad theology she was holding on to.  It was an extreme form of pentecostalism / charasmania.  Where she believed God was giving her and her husband visions that clearly contradicted scripture.  And, unfortunately, this was impacting her soteriology in a subtle way: she was trusting in her ability to deal with generational sin and ask for forgiveness.  She talked about having “enough” faith for salvation: that’s works in disguise!  Anyway, her husband had had visions of a military build up in NZ, and that there would be some kind of coup and all Christians would be rounded up and killed.  And so her husband was preparing to flee to the bush.  I was able to gently work with her to the point where she understood that these “visions” might not be from God.  But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make much progress in working on her soteriology.  There were other issues as well, and I would have loved to have more time with her.

While I was talking to her, I had 2 groups of people go to the flip chart and start looking at it.  With the 2nd group, she encouraged me to go and talk to them.  I thought I would do that, hoping she would stay and listen too, and get a chance to hear the gospel.  She stayed for a while, but then had to go before I got to the gospel. ????

So many other interesting gospel interactions throughout the outreach.  And I just don’t have time to talk about them.  But I will mention that a young lady, who I have shared the gospel with before, came over to say hi.  Sadly, she didn’t remember the gospel (to my grief), and the guy that was with her hadn’t heard it.  So I shared it.  And I got a touch emotional.  I was pleading with them to respond to the gospel today.  I’ve talked to people on the streets who I now know have died.  We don’t know when we will die.  There is urgency!

I’m heading to the Philippines for an evangelism trip very soon.  And in last week's report I mentioned a conversation I was able to have with a young Filipino girl.  Well, what’s interesting was that exactly one week later, on Friday, I was able to have another great gospel chat with a young Filipino guy!  It just goes to prove that we don’t need to travel on expensive trips to bring the gospel to the nations these days!  And yet, I want to take every opportunity to encourage the church, worldwide, to rise up where they are at and bring the gospel to their community!  May God bless our (feeble) efforts for his glory.

Like the girl from the previous week, the guy was a church goer.  He said he needs to 'follow the word of God' to get to heaven.  So, I took him through the law. When I asked how he could remove his hell punishment, he said 'repent'.  I asked him what that meant, and he said, "ask for forgiveness".  I explained why that wouldn't help him and proceeded to share the gospel - finally he started mentioning Jesus as the reason for salvation. He agreed that if he had died before our conversation he would go to hell.  And so I called him to repent!  Trust only in Christ as the reason he is saved.  His 2 mates didn't want to talk to me, they were waiting down a bit.  So I gave him 3 tracts.

Please be praying for this young man, and for the young lady from the previous week.  And please be praying for the upcoming evangelism trip to the Philippines (28th Feb till 10th Mar): That the church will be encouraged.  That the church would have a backbone, and stand up and proclaim the gospel.  In the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.  Pray for the team, that there would be no sickness that would hinder us; that we would be able to resist the many opportunities that there will be for unnecessary division among us.  Pray that this trip would have a lasting effect on the lives of many.  That we would be like fearless warriors, our swords reflecting the glory of God!

So, the evangelism training seemed to go well.  A week ago, there was only 1 person registered, and I was going to cancel it, but we ended up with about 15 people there!  ‘We’ being Andy and I.  It was wonderful being able to take them through the biblical basis for how to do evangelism, deal with too difficult, but common issues: evil and suffering, and sexuality and then finally go over the specifics of the evangelism method we use.

Many of the attendees came to the optional street outreach afterwards.  I had a great flipchart conversation with 3 young ladies while many of the attendees were watching, it was almost a mirror conversation to the role play I had done earlier, and so it was encouraging that they could see the theory being put into action!

It was a very busy outreach as well (cruise ship was in port).  I had so many gospel opportunities.  For the next training, I need to arrange to have more experienced Christians with me to pair up with the trainees.  A good problem to have!

I had opportunities to continue getting to know some of the Hara Khrisian’s that I interact with, which was a great encouragement to me.  (I’m out of time to give details.)

Finally, Sunday’s outreach proceeded as normal.  It was hot, and there were not as many people out.  I had 2 great conversations.  The first was with some climate change activists.  And then lastly, with a guy who identified as trans - this was a long chat.  Initially, he cut to the chase, and wanted to know what I thought of trans people.  I refused to answer without giving context to my answer: how do we know what is right and wrong?  He was deeply resistant, but I was able to show how we know God is real, who God is, what God’s law is, and about the incredible mercy of God.  I was then able to cycle back and explain why homosexuality is a sin: because God makes the rules.  He said the Bible was wrong.  So I asked him on what basis he was judging the Bible.  His answer: himself.  That’s shorthand for, I love my sin, and I want to be god and make my own rules.  Idolatry.  He was really unhappy with me by this point, he wouldn’t shake my hand.  But I made it clear that I cared for him, and that I wanted him to know God’s mercy before he walked off.  We can’t compromise the truth, but we need to do that with gentleness and respect.  I’m making enemies.  But if I’m trying to please man, I’m not a servant of Christ (see Galatians 1:10)

View previous Christchurch (NZ) report (14 February 2023)


Christchurch (NZ) Team

Weekly outreaches:
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.