All week I had been in bed ill with a head cold. Today was really the first full day I had out of bed in seven days, so I decided it would be wise to take it easy. So it was with that in mind that I thought it best not to preach at the Gold Coast, but rather to save my energy for Brisbane.
Upon arrival at the normal preaching point on the Gold Coast we saw that it was nearly empty, this hadn’t come as much of a surprise since it is now our winter and unusually it has been really cold for us. We decided that instead of preaching we would just do some one to one witnessing and hand out a few tracts.
I was able to get a conversation with two young men from the Sudan. They both claimed to be Christians, but thought that one became a Christian by birth, as a result they had no understanding of how to be saved or what the gospel message is. One of the young men was very interested, the other walked off to look at the “pretty girls”. I spoke to the other young man for a few minutes and I stressed the need of repentance to him, he seemed to have grasped it and he said he would definitely think on these things.
After speaking to the two guys I went back to handing out tracts to those who happened to chance by. While I was doing this a couple from Sydney took a tract and asked “What is it?” Since I was using our “Are You a Good Person?” comic, I simply mentioned that it was a comic that asked the biggest question we could ever face, ‘Are we good enough for heaven?” They both assured me that they were good enough, so I asked if I could quickly quiz them and see if they are good people by the God’s standard. After spending some time looking at the standard of God’s law, they realize they needed a Saviour, so I pointed them to Christ and showed them that He is the only hope for salvation.
While I was witnessing to the couple, Ryan stood up and began to preach. Nearly instantly he had a crowd of young blokes on bikes who decided to heckle, so Ryan did what he does best, he engaged them in conversation then gave them Christ.
The rest of the day was spent with Blake and Ryan preaching. It was a quiet day, yet it was still such a joy to get out and declare the good news of Christ Jesus coming into the world to save sinners.
Saturday - 13th June 2009 - Brisbane
After a great day on the Gold Coast I was really excited about going into the city to witness tonight. We all met as per usual at the point where we have team prayer and Bible reading. It was great that we were joined by a few new people tonight, and also it was great to have other friends return.
The plan of action for tonight was to have Andre and Joel open up the night with a song, they both prepared and decided to sing “And Now My Lifesong Sings” by Casting Crowns, they both did an incredible job. Once they finished singing, I stood up and began to preach, my text for the night was Ezekiel 18, my sermon “The Soul Who Sins”. For about twenty-five minutes I preached, there wasn’t any major heckling, I did however get to engage one man in the open air. He seemed quite open and even hung around after his friend left him. For the most part I found myself focusing on the loving kindness of God in my preaching, this of late has been something I find myself preaching more of, while I believe it is vital to preach about sin, I think it is more important to speak about God’s love and kindness towards sinners.
After the preaching finished there were many great one to one conversations to be had, every where you looked people were engaged in conversation with someone. Some of those who were being witnessed to at this stage of the night would remain to listen to the preaching for the rest of the night. People may say that street evangelism is ineffective, but I would disagree, in fact I would challenge anyone who is anti-street evangelism should actually give it a go and see what happens.
The rest of the night was spent with other members preaching. Joel Barnard got up and preached with passion, as did Nick and the other preachers. Towards the end of the night we were joined by our friendly homosexual atheist heckler named Riley. It is always a joy to have him come out and heckle us. He is actually quite a friendly bloke, and I reckon he enjoys the show. Please keep him in prayer.
To hear an audio of the Open Air preaching visit:
Well just to show that it is truly summer here in the UK, this Friday was an especially cold and wet night with a periodic howling wind to accompany the rain. There was much to be thankful to God about and many opportunities to shine the light of Christ in the darkness. Praise God that He gives us both the time and heart to go and proclaim the gospel, I know there were fifty or more excuses that sprang to mind why not to go tonight.
There were still plenty of people around in Sheffield tonight and the tracts were going out at in a constant stream the whole night through. Most people were unwilling to stop but most would take a tract as they went by.
One conversation I had tonight was with a homeless man that was begging in front of the corner store. I purchased him a meal because I don't believe that it is right or good to just to put money in the hand of a beggar, rather they need some real material needs met. After this we chatted for a while and I encouraged him to be serious about the faith he claimed to have while we talked, he is currently attending church but is not very consistent. It is always hard I find to talk with people in that sort of situation because their problems often overshadow everything else in life and they are unable to think clearly about eternal things. I left him with a tract and I pray that God would work to meet his spiritual needs and physical also.
Pray that God will move in this cold hearted and desperately indifferent city. To Him be praise for all that is done in Sheffield and all the world.
Tonight we were out once more for the sake of the gospel. Meeting in Café Nero as per normal it was encouraging to have a good size team, as well as some new faces!! God is so good.
After a great time of fellowship, prayer and devotions we made our way into the square. There was some space between the artists along the railing. Our friend Mark was on one end and even though he is our chief antagonist it's been a while since we were near him so I decided to give it a go. Andrew was up to preach first and he did a good job. Nervousness is still quite evident when he preaches but we praise the Lord, he is still getting up there and proclaiming the gospel. He did not preach too long but I think this was because not much of a crowd stopped to listen. However some did and that is what is important.
Carl had brought an A-frame sign that allows verses to be tagged on. One in particular quotes Psalm 14:1, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Andrew had finished and I was getting ready to preach when a man walked past and gleefully cried out, "There is no God!" I quickly interjected and told him that it is only the fool who says that. I pointed to the sign as I said this. As it happened he had only seen the part that said, "There is no God." He became intrigued somewhat when I started speaking to him and so he and his partner stopped to listen. Our conversation started to centre on the issue of creation versus evolution and the available evidence we have. We wrangled here and there and Andrew came to support me, which was helpful. The man's mind was unfortunately made up; however they left with a tract and some food for thought. Please pray, we never know whether this will be the beginning of God's work for them both.
After I had preached we all got into one-to-one conversations. Because the square was quite filled with Christians (there were Christians from another ministry and our team was quite big too) I decided to split us up a bit and so I took four people with me and we headed a little out of the square, towards Piccadilly Circus. I approached a group of young teenagers and gave them all a million pound note tract. I was able to talk with them all for at least 30 minutes and it was quite something. They listened and I really challenged them to get right with God. Some of the girls in the group, in particular, were listening to all that I was saying. As I left I gave some of them a "This is a round TUIT" tract. This is really humorous and all you have to say is something like this: "Hey guys, get right with God, this is your eternal destiny we are talking about! Do you think you'll get around to it and some point??" If they say yes, or maybe, then say, "Well you don't need to get around to it; I've already got one for you." At this point you give them the "This is a round TUIT" tract. It get's a belly of laughs and humour is one of your greatest allies when you are out witnessing. Give it a try.
After we rejoined the rest of the team we all swopped stories and spoke about the objections and questions we'd had. There really is no better way to learn than being out on the street talking with people about the gospel. You will learn things you will never learn from a book or in a classroom. The classroom and books are always important, but nothing beats learning through doing.
It was particularly cold by the time we got ready to leave, even though it is now summer. Well, that's England for you!!
We'd had a good night.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
It was an interesting day of outreach at the University of Queensland today. One of the conversations I had was with a Frenchman who had been in Australia for only a week. He was a biologist trying to get into an internship at UQ. At first he denied existence of Heaven and Hell, and even God. So I briefly gave him some reasons as to why it is rational to believe in God. He then admitted there must be a God, but didn't think God would be good. So I argued that if there was no God, there shouldn't be any objective moral values. But since there is, therefore there must be a God that is good. He denied that there are any objective moral values; he said that there is nothing that is right or wrong. So I asked him that if he was in a country that said that murder was okay, would murder still be okay? He said, "Yes, for there is no intrinsic value in human life. I would probably even murder." I asked him, "If there was a person drowning in a pool, would you go save him?" He said, "No, why should I? We are all just animals."
This fellow believed in the theory of evolution. Evolution basically teaches that we are simply more evolved animals and thus we have no intrinsic value. At least this fellow was being honest and believed the logical conclusion to believing in evolution. I asked him, "Is there any purpose in life?" He answered, "No." So I asked, "Doesn't that belief lead you into depression?" He agreed.
Since this person didn't believe there is actually anything that is right or wrong (not even murder!), it was impossible for me to prove that God is good. So I made sure the guy understood that whether he believed in the Judgment or not, he will one day die and have to stand before God and give an account for how he has lived his life. He did mention that he wants to visit a Church sometime while he is in Australia. Please pray that God will convert this man.
Many other conversations were had, and even Juan and Rachel joined me for a little bit handing out some gospel tracts.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 6th June, 2009 - Brisbane
The sound of a car whizzing by brought me back to my senses. I was in Brisbane city and during the prayer meeting I found myself starting to fall asleep. My body was overcome with tiredness. It had been a big day. Preaching twice on the Gold Coast, engaging in blocking punches being thrown by a heckler had all taken its toll. But, the night was young, one battle finished another just about to begin.
After we prayed for awhile and then read the Bible together, we made our way to the Queen Street Mall. Part of me was looking forward to preaching, another part would have loved the night off. We set up and Ryan began the night by preaching. He had been preaching for a few minutes when the heavens opened up and it began to rain. We quickly scrambled to pack down the Bible table and also we placed a tarp over the team bags so that there would be no damage.
Ryan kept preaching, even though it was raining. One of our regular hecklers (Wayne) brought in his family tonight. It must have been a good family night out as they seemed to enjoy heckling Ryan as he preached.
While this was all going on I noticed one young man walk past who we have dealt with in the past. This man is a professing Christian, however, he is now back on drugs and is making many threats to females, including females in the Brisbane team. I approached him to speak to him and straight away I saw that he was off his face. He began to ramble about how he had just beaten up his father, mother and little brother. Since I have dealt with him in the past I tried to help him. But he wasn’t interested. A bit later on he returned and the team was able to buy him a meal and minister to him.
In the past I have spoken to his pastor about him, and I gave his pastor my word that if he comes to the team I will tell him to leave before calling the police. Tonight we let him stay with us as long as he behaved. However, his good behaviour didn’t last long. While I was witnessing to young lady who had been listening to Ryan preach, this guy walked in and abused her. He also threatened rape and physical violence. This young lady ran away and I was not happy. I order him to leave or I would call the police. The man left, only to return later on.
Later in the evening I noticed that he had returned so I approached him and once again told him to leave or I would be forced to call police. He refused to leave, so I asked him again. This time he got up to leave and as he did he put his cigarette out on my chest. This resulted in Queensland Police being called. The man ran when police arrived and after a short chase involving about twenty police they caught him and placed him in lock up.
It is so sad to see this guy back on the drugs and it was hard for me to call the police on him. But hopefully he will learn that there must be a punishment for his crime and also that Christ can forgive whatever crime has been committed against God.
During this time there was quite a large crowd listening to Ryan preach and for the whole night the preacher had a crowd listening to the gospel. Ryan started to preach at 9:15pm and at 11:45pm he finally stood down. After that there were plenty of one to one conversations.
The night was hard, but many people heard the gospel. May God save sinners in this city!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday - 6th June, 2009 - Gold Coast
150 years ago the State of Queensland was officially established, before that time it had been under the administration from the colony of New South Wales. Throughout the state today there were many celebrations and the weather for these celebrations was ideal. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear skies and mild temperature. While people in the state celebrated we made our way down to Surfers Paradise for our weekly outreach.
We arrived at lunch time, so we quickly ate a meal, spent some time in prayer and Bible reading then we began to witness for Christ. Many tracts were going out and many people were interested in talking to us. Ryan as usual was locked in a one to one conversation with an elderly gentleman, while Blake and Joel handed out tracts to the many people walking along the beach front.
I was to be the first preacher up for the day. Personally I don’t like being the first preacher, but sometimes it has to be done. So as I began to prepare I realized that I couldn’t think of what to preach on. Now, I knew that it would be a gospel message, but how was I to start? As I thought about the message I was about to give I remember a conversation I had a few days earlier with a friend about slavery, this was to be my starting point. Physical slavery in the world today and also spiritual slavery in the world.
I used John 8 as my text and pointed out that Jesus said we are all enslaved to sin when we commit sin. A few people gathered around to listen, but for the Gold Coast it was a really small crowd. But, God is glorified when His word goes forth, so I took heart and continued to preach about Christ and how He came in love to save a people unto Himself. The message went for about twenty minutes and afterwards there were many great conversations with people in regards to the gospel. One Christian gentleman came up to me and offered words of encouragement, then also stressed that we need to do an appeal for physical healing. I thanked him for his words, but would not issue a call for healing.
Blake was the next preacher up and shortly after beginning a man walked past screaming abuse. The man wasn’t like every other pedestrians, they all walked on the footpath, this man walked on the road with the traffic. We ignored him and Blake kept on preaching. None of us really thought much about this man, but in a few minutes he had our full attention.
For a second my attention was away from the preacher and when I looked back at Blake preaching I saw the same yelling man standing next to him. This time the man did more than just yell, he began to punch and attack Blake. Immediately I yelled for the man to back off and I advanced towards him. The man did as I expected and he ran away. This however was not the end.
I turned and put my backpack on the ground and as I turned again the man was once again approaching. This time he was yelling, “I am going to break your neck!” He was anger, his eyes full of hatred. He came charging in, so I told Blake to keep preaching. I lined up the man as he came running in, my job was to make sure he brought no harm to the preacher. The man began to dance around me yelling he was going to take me out, I called for Ryan to run and get police. Jaime was now also involved, he was apart of the blocking team. The violent man was now entangled with Jaime, so I began to preach to the crowd about how as Christians we are to love our enemies as Christ loved those who He came to save. People listened and they saw the difference between light and darkness.
As I preached the man screamed more and made more threats. He then came running up beside me and started to throw punches at my head. I was able to block all his punches and continue to preach. All up he threw around 10 - 15 punches, and by God’s grace I was able to stop them all. It would have been easy to get angry and fight back, but all I felt for the man was sorrow. Then we heard a sound approaching that made the heckler turn and flee. That sound was the wail of sirens as a patrol car sped to the incident. The police pulled up with lights flashing and then took off after the man who had attacked us. We later found out that the police actually lost him and couldn’t find the man. However, they kept an eye on us for the rest of the day. As they drove by or walked past they would give a friendly wave and keep on going. This is a marked difference from just a few months ago when they were trying to arrest us for preaching.
After this Ryan preached and so did Joel. Many people were interested in talking and we were able to have many great conversations. People seemed grateful to hear the good news, and many wanted more information. I have found that whenever the enemy advances God moves in a mightier way.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday - May 30th, 2009
Another night, another chance to preach the same old gospel that has been proclaimed for the past 2000 years. And, once again we had the privilege of seeing God work in peoples hearts and bring them to Christ. As usual we met for prayer and bible reading before actually commencing the outreach. Tonight, we were joined by many new faces and also we had Andrew Walkington from Melbourne come into Brisbane to join us for the outreach.
We had a good time of fellowship at the start of the night, but at 9pm we made our way to the preaching spot in the Queen Street mall. The first preacher for night was Joel Barnard. He was very nervous at the idea of being the first preacher up, but it is great training for him. After watching him preach over the past couple of months I think in many cases he sells himself short. He is a really decent preacher and given time he will develop into one on fire open air evangelist.
After Joel finished his open air preaching it was my turn to preach. Tonight I preached my classic open air message “The Stalker” it had been awhile since I preached it in Brisbane, so I dusted it off to use once again. Not long into the opening analogy I had a few hecklers yelling random things out and then a group of young blokes came and stood right in front of me. They looked at me then looked at the crowd, it was show time. The boys began to jump around, dance, throw balls and just put on a show. It was hard to regain control during this time, but I used much of what they did to the advantage of the gospel. Finally towards the end one of the boys named Conner asked a few questions, this was the opening I had been looking for. I answered his questions and then presented Christ to him. He like all the other young blokes rejected Christ and continued with their jeering. However, later on in the night I noticed all the young blokes were in one to one conversations with members of the team.
After finishing up my message I was a fair bit discouraged as it was a hard open air, but then I was informed that a man had a approached the Bible table and was asking more about he could become a Christian. Andre was able to minister to this man who was covered in tattoos and had his hair in a Mohawk. It served to remind me that the power is not in the preacher, nor is it in the how the atmosphere is during the open air, but rather the power is from the Holy Spirit who convicts the hearers of sin, righteousness and judgement.
Ryan was soon up on the box to preach for the night, as he preached and made known the mysteries of the Gospel, God brought a crowd in to hear about how they can have sins forgiven. Ryan did a wonderful job in preaching Christ and Him crucified. People stopped to listen as Ryan expounded on how to become a Christian. During his preaching he had a few hecklers and around the outside of the crowd there were many people locked in one to one conversations.
During his sermon I was called to an area behind the preacher. A man had come forward to speak to one of the team earlier in the night and he now wanted to put his trust in Jesus Christ to save him. I explained the gospel once again to this man and stressed the cost of following Christ. The man acknowledge it and said that he wanted to pray to receive Christ right there on the streets. So with Ryan in the background preaching, and a crowd listening to the preacher, we bowed our heads and prayed for this man. After the man prayed to receive Christ he looked up and said “A burden has been lifted from me! I have been forgiven!” We were able to give this man some follow up material and gave him the details of a local church. After seeing a person trust in Christ I was excited and pumped for the rest of the night. I later found out that the man who had trusted in Christ actually had been at the preaching a few weeks earlier and was heckling and mocking the gospel.
At the end of the night I also found out that there was another person who had broken down during the preaching and placed faith in Christ. God has been moving in Brisbane city, He is doing many wonderful works and deeds. Please continue to pray for us as we reach out to the lost in this city.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The team today consisted of Blake, Jeremy and I. There was not a cloud in the sky and so there was quite a lot of people about. After some prayer together, I stood up to preach. There was a number of people that heckled me, most of them being atheists. So I addressed their common questions, like: "How do we know there is a God?", "How do we know the Bible is true?" The hecklers were constant, as well as the crowd, so I preached for about two hours as there wasn't really anytime before that at which I could say "That's all, folks." :)
During the time I was preaching, I saw two police officers walk towards the esplanade. Once on the esplanade, they then walked the opposite direction to where I was. But suddenly, they turned around and started walking towards me. I thought that they're going to tell me to move along, like they attempted to do two weeks prior (but couldn't). But instead they just walked past me. Praise God!
I had one heckler who at various stages seemed to change his beliefs. If I remember correctly, at one point he was proclaiming to be an atheist. But when he came up to me afterwards, he said he was a Christian. He was from Canada and admitted that in the last 4 years he had been running away from God. But recently he had religious experience and he said he's back in step with God. When I asked what the experience was, he said that he had received new revelation from God and apparently God said that everyone is a child of God. So I responded by saying that the Bible contradicts that - it says that if you're a Christian, you are a child of God; but if you are not a Christian, you're a child of the devil (1 John 3:10). He didn't like hearing that. But I tried emphasising with him that the Bible is the final authority of truth - for it is the word of God. I also made sure I explained the gospel to him.
Meanwhile, a fellow from New Zealand, whom I have witnessed to a number of times before, was chatting to Blake. He lost his Passport and had been sleeping on the beach for a number of months now. Blake bought him lunch and was able to share the gospel with him again. The guy is very inquizitive about Christian topics, but please pray God will convert him.
After I preached, Jeremy got up and gave a clear presentation of the judgment to come, sin, the cross, and what someone must do to be saved.
The gospel was preached and many gospel tracts went out, so that means the day was a great success!
To God be the glory!
It would appear to an observer that Wednesday is the day Sheffield's different evangelists gather in Fargate to talk and evangelise as one. It would be wonderful if this was the case in the future but for now it is an informal arrangement that has fortuitously come together. This week Andy, John, Clive, Cedric and I all witnessed together for the afternoon and many good conversations were happening throughout.
We began by tracting the local crowds that push through Sheffield city centre every day in their various pursuits. Not many people were stopping but lots of tracts were going out, it is so good to see the gospel seed spread far and wide. After a short period of this I got the urge to preach but just as I was beginning a brass band began to play 20 meters away down the mall. Completely drowned out and unwilling to waste my voice I headed up Fargate a short distance and then began again.
I preached today on 1 Cor 6:9-11 and who it is that will inherit the kingdom of God. Beginning with this list of various moral failures (that heartbreakingly are not uncommon in the UK), I urged people to examine their consciences and think soberly about the judgement to come. Then with joy I pointed to the hope that is in Jesus Christ if only people will trust in Him and stop relying on themselves. A couple of people stopped to listen and I was glad to see many one-to-one conversations starting afterwards.
Before Andy got up to speak I had a good conversation with a group of youth and was able to tell them not only a little of why I believe the bible to be true but also that we need a saviour and pointed them to Jesus. At this their attention waned but one girl appeared to have listened and I pray that God will open her heart.
Andy spoke next and did an excellent job clearly portraying the three major questions we have (Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going to?), and the answer man and God give to them. I didn't get to hear much of his preaching though because I spoke for the next 30-40 minutes with a young man I believe called Steven (God knows him even if I got the name wrong). We spoke about why the bible is true and there must be a God. Steven responded that evolution and changes in the bible discredit the message of the bible and that he was a Buddhist anyway. We discussed Buddhism at length and I reflected to him that much of Buddhism is built upon a contradiction at the start. If Buddha had truly achieved the state of enlightenment and gotten rid of all desire, why then did he desire to share his enlightenment and make disciples to follow after him? This coupled with Buddha's indefensible abandonment of his family to follow a self focused goal makes Buddhism a system that I could never follow even if I was not Christ's. Steven and I talked for some time and I was able to present Christ to him as the best model to follow and the only saviour from our deserved condemnation before God.
Steven had also experienced much hurt from friends and now felt very suspicious of others, and hearing what he'd been through I couldn't help but sympathise. But after talking together he left smiling and saying that he was glad to have spoken with someone who he could relate to, I pray that God will use this conversation to break down some of his distrust of others and of Jesus.
John preached next and made a solid call to Godly grief and repentance towards God and a trust in Jesus only. From this a couple more one-to-ones arose but my time was up for the afternoon so I headed home.
Praise God for all His work in Sheffield!