We found Fargate full of people when we arrived this week to witness to Christ, again some sort of carnival was happening. We bumped in to Cedric, a lovely faithful witness who is out working the streets of Sheffield more often than not and a great encouragement to us. This 86 year old gent was out witnessing for the first time this week, it had taken a severe bout of illness and a couple of days in bed to stop him from coming out! May we be like Ced in our old age, even in our current age!
After a period handing out tracts in Fargate we headed up to the peace gardens to witness to the Goths and emos who gather there. This week we spoke with Sid, Olivia, Sophy, Tamara and friends, pray for them as they hear the gospel week after week that God would free them from their slavery to sin.
As we were headed back to Fargate we spoke for a long period to a group of young girls who proved that there is no age limit on hardness of heart and willful unbelief in the face of evidence. These girls believe that there is no God and despite the moral, teleological, historical and logical evidences that we put forward they ended our discussion with them saying there was no God and that we had given no proof of Him. Yet it is written:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:1b-4a)
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. (Psalms 53:1b-6)
We went down to the mall and preached there of God's greatness and our great sinfulness and the great and only saviour Jesus Christ. At the end of the preaching Aaron and his girlfriend stopped and Aaron who we had spoken to before invited his girlfriend to do the good person test. While Anna was talking with her, Aaron spoke to me and I again gave the gospel to him and showed him his great sin. Aaron's friends arrived shortly and again the pattern repeated itself. Please pray for Aaron, Lamhal, Danni and their friends that God would work the miracle of new life in these who are spiritually dead.
In town we met up with Dale and Allan from up north and David (a local of Manchester). The main area we focused on was Market Street where there is a constant flow of traffic throughout the day. We began with tracting the people passing through the tram stop area at the top of Market Street, there were many tracts going out but not as easily as in Newcastle. A couple of one-to-ones were happening but as they finished we moved down the mall to preach in the central section where would be able to reach as many people as possible.
Open air mission is a group that have been preaching in the streets of England for some time and they were preaching in the mall as we passed through. While some of the team continued to tract the area some of us stopped and encouraged them in their work and gathered around to hear the gospel preached. Along with these men we also saw a few men from the local Brethren church also preaching later in the day. God be praised that in this land there is a tradition of street preachers and that there are people still willing to risk public scorn for the honour God gives. Pray that the other street preachers of Britain would be bold in their proclamation and faithful to the word of God.
Dale preached a little further down the mall and did an excellent job of dealing with his heckler and not distracted at all proceeded to preach the gospel to all in earshot. Those who heard included two young emos that David spoke with, after their discussion these two young men took tracts and one of them a bible promising to read it. Also there were two charity workers who spoke with Kevin and myself, Natasha spoke with me and was visibly shaken by the prospect of hell and judgement, she took a tract and promised me that she would read the bible she had at home and seek the Lord.
We escaped the cold wind of the mall to get some lunch and warm up in a local book shop/cafe. Kevin took us after lunch to see P52, the oldest known fragment of the new testament extant. I was utterly flabbergasted to see such a thing, God is so amazing in the way that He gives proof after proof to doubtful and sinful mankind and we largely ignore them.
Kevin was the first preacher up after lunch and again I had the privilege of listening as the gospel of my Lord sounded forth to the world that needs it so badly (especially me). After this Josh was to preach and then last of all I would, God had other plans. As Josh preached a few people gathered and listened and some came and went at first but soon there was a large crowd of 50 or more people standing and listening to the gospel. I watched from the back of the crowd the numbers swell further as one heckler then 3 and 4 hecklers at once began to yell questions. As the preaching continued I ran out of one type of tracks and began with another and by the end was wondering if I would have enough! Josh fielded questions from atheists, Muslims, drunks, quasi-scientists, and Jews. Praise God that his voice held for the hour and a half of preaching, praise God that so many gathered to hear of the saviour! May they take the gospel of the saviour with them and cleave to Him only.
The preaching was not without opposition though, a complaint was made during it that Josh was preaching an anti-Semitic message. The council officers that came to check the complaint not only didn't find anything that was a problem with the preaching but they also took tracts! May God draw them to salvation.
The other consequence was that a couple of Christians came to listen and were greatly encouraged. We were able to encourage them further and give them information on how to witness biblically. If you are wanting to know more yourself check www.operation513.com.
We ended the day on this high note and went home rejoicing in the great work of the Lord and the great saviour we trust in. Pray that this would be only the smallest of beginnings in the work of the Lord in our time, pray earnestly that the Lord of the harvest would raise up labourers, pray that the great name of God would be glorified!
Soli Deo Gloria!
With a carload of evangelists I drove the up the scenic A1 to Newcastle, with me was Josh, Peter and John (a sheffield mate from our church). We went first to meet Jim Mcmaster of Living Waters Europe (the Godly man who supplies our tracts) and a couple of other local evangelists.
At the Living Waters office we met Allan, Dale and Joyce who live in northern England who had come to join our micro-outreach. After a short time of fellowship and stocking up on tracts we headed to witness in the center of town. In town it appears that there are a network of pedestrianised streets that are constantly busy and also the monument, a large column that acts as a loitering area especially on saturday and sunday.
Today our focus was to be the main mall rather than the monument as the mall was full of people. When we had gotten into town we set about tracting the constant stream of people, as we did so many one-to-ones where happening. I almost immediately had a group of college age girls ask what the tracts were about, from this a 30 minute conversation followed in which they heard both the law and the gospel given as clearly as I could. As always there were objections and I answered from God's word as best I could but it became clear that while they were concerned about sin and it's consequences they were clinging to it. They left for college and I pray that they have time to read the tracts I gave them and that God would do a work of regeneration in them. The conversations were going on all around me as I saw the team at work, the Jordies were very friendly when compared to Londoners.
First up to preach today was Dale who witnesses in Workington and Carlisle, he is relatively new to open air preaching but despite this did a solid job of preaching the gospel of hope. Peter and I also preached and though the interactions with people were few there were some who stayed to listened to what was said and wanted to talk to team members afterwards.
After a lunch break in the much appreciated warmth of a fast food joint we went at it again and it was amazing to see how many tracts were given out in such a short time. God be praised that He opened the way for the gospel to get into these people's hands!
Josh preached nearby a British army recruitment stand and a reasonable sized crowd gathered to hear him speak. While Josh preached I gave one of the local touters a tract and then was occupied reasoning with this nominal Catholic about his faith and his need for a saviour not the good works that he was currently trusting. We parted on good terms and he promised me that he would consider carefully what we had talked about. As I came back to listening to the gospel again Josh was just closing and as the one-to-ones started with the crowd I chatted with Josh. To my alarm he told me that he was tasting blood in his mouth as he finished preaching! I told him that he must rest his voice for the next couple of days, otherwise there might be permanent damage done.
John was next up to preach and did a fantastic job presenting the gospel loud and clear. Towards the end there were two hecklers that started to have a go at him, one denouncing him and Christianity and the other demanding proof for God. John tagged me into the preaching and I called out Nathe', to discuss with him the proofs for God and the bible being his word. This did not satisfy Nathe' and so a discussion of evil and God's ability to do any thing about it followed. A crowd gathered to hear this appologetic discussion and so I tried to give the gospel as part of the discussion. It became clear that Nathe' loved his sin and that was why he would not and could not even acknowledge God. In the end I pointed him to the saviour and pleaded with him to flee from the wrath of God, otherwise the consequence of his personal evils would be God's condemnation of him. I stepped down to speak with him further after encouraging the crowd to speak with the team. While this was going on Josh had grabbed the other heckler and engaged her also endeavoured to answer her questions and give her the gospel again. The rest of the team where all hard at it in one-to-one's and some great conversations were happening.
As it was now getting colder (it was already freezing!!) we headed home giving out tracts as we went. Praise God that He got the gospel into so many hands today and pray that He would work to convert the souls of the Jordies that received it.
Saturday 26th The Trip Home
On saturday we headed north by train and it was a welcome break to be able to stop for a period and read or just chat and joke about nothing much. On the way home the train was delayed and we changed at Derby, a minor frustration that bore an interesting fruit.
Charlotte had been on the same train as us and struck up a conversation with us as we changed. She continued to chat with Anna and I as we got on the next train and so Anna took the opportunity to ask what her religious background was. Charlotte came from a catholic background and had left that due to the hypocrisy that she saw and what she saw as unjust judgement of people. She now was of no fixed faith and took a little from everyone of them to suit her desires. Anna asked her if she would mind if she (who was also from a catholic background but Christian) could explain to her what the bible says. Charlotte accepted and so Anna showed her that the only one who has a right to judge the sins of the world is God and from this opened up the law of God and its demands on us all. It was clear to me that Charlotte could see her sin was an offence to God but she continued to listen and Anna then pointed her to the only hope which is the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God at sin. Anna told her also of our hope with God in Jesus who rose again and lives standing to be our advocate in heaven. At this Charlotte abruptly left and we prayed and continue to pray that she would be saved in and through Jesus.
We got back home safely with our two guests, a big thank you to all those who were involved in the London outreach. God bless you and make you fruitful in the work He gives you.