Ryan, Justin and I met this morning and after traveling to Nambour we set straight to prayer.
During the week, since our last outreach, we all received $550 fines in the mail, for preaching with an amplifier. Over the last few weeks we have been meeting in Nambour under the peaceful assembly act. This act allows anyone to hold a public meeting on public land. The act also provides provision for the use an amplifier, so we know we are acting lawfully. We of course have all opted to attend magistrates court instead of paying the fine.
So we set to prayer and prayed particularly for the council officers. We prayed that the Lord would give them an understanding of the local laws, and also that He would open their ears and soften their hearts to the gospel of our Lord and Saviour.
Following our time of prayer we took it in turns to preach and gave out tracts. Many people stopped to listen to the preaching and also to engage us in conversations. We met many who openly rejected Christ, but a few people today embraced the gospel and gave professions of faith. It always is a great privilege to see someone convicted by the Holy Spirit, to be repentant and to put their trust in Christ.
Ryan had an interesting conversation with a man claiming to be a Jehovah's witness. Ryan soon released that this man was not completely following the watchtowers teachings and set about answering his questions and exposing his lack of understanding with the bible, you could see the man was thinking and not just rejecting the scripture. He said he would read the Bible and think more about it. Please pray that he will come to realise the error of the false teaching he has received and come to repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as his only saviour.
I particularly was uplifted today by the amount of Christians that stopped to thank us for sharing the gospel and to encourage us to continue. We are often criticized for sharing our faith openly in public, so it’s always edifying to hear support from our brothers and sisters in Christ. May I encourage Christians everywhere to just give a simple word of encouragement to anyone who stands up to share their faith, as it does uplift spirits and lead us to praise God and thank Him for the privilege of sharing His glorious gospel.
As we approached lunch, we were approached by our local “regular” representative of the council, Matthew Bell. He started by quoting the bible, Romans 13:1-7, which we thought was an interesting approach and very unusual for him. We did explain we were happy to submit to the authorities as we were in fact acting lawfully and in compliance with the laws, however we could not submit to officers who were acting unlawfully by continually stopping a lawful public assembly. He offered us some forms to apply for a public assembly and stated they had never received our application forms. We happily showed him our proof of postage and delivery notifications regarding the said paperwork. He had already been to see the local police Senior Sergeant who had kindly told us he had received our applications a couple weeks previously. It seems that the council had lost our application forms. Thankfully Matthew was able to obtain copies from the very helpful senior sergeant at Nambour Police station and we explained we were happy for him to use those as originals under the circumstances. Many thanks to the senior officer at Nambour police station.
It now appears that Matthew and the council are happy we are acting under the peaceful assembly act, however he stated that they are still unhappy with our use of amplification and also our handing out of Christian gospel tracts. So it seems they don’t understand the application of this law either which again is no surprise. So we will continue to preach and hand out tracts and God willing we will see what happens next.
I think its so important to thank God for our religious freedoms in Australia. I have been preaching the gospel on the Sunshine Coast for some time now with no objections from Police or council, however since we have been preaching in Nambour we have encountered weekly opposition particularly from the local council office. One thing we must bare in mind is that we are not trying to be obstructive or to waste anybody's time. It is still a legal right in Australia for us to meet in public and to practice our religious and political freedoms. I personally feel as Christians we must stand to protect these freedoms as we are called to do so.
We are all commanded to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and this is of utmost importance, but we must also protect our religious freedoms or we will lose them. May I please ask you to pray for the Sunshine Coast team particularly at this time, please pray that we receive the grace, strength and the wisdom we need to serve our Lord and to bring glory to Him.