I was woken up by the sound of an alarm somewhere in my room, as the noise began to filter into my ears, a thought ran through my mind "Do I have to get up?" As I rolled over to try and find where my alarm was, I saw the clocked and realized that I had only had about four to five hours sleep. Instantly my brain began to create excuses on why I should stay tucked up in bed on this wet morning. But, my alarm was persistent, it kept on bellowing out its call to awake, so after finding the alarm I was finally awake enough to realize that I had to hurry, as I didn't have much time before I was due to leave for the Queensland Baptist Convention. Normally, I don't go to these kind of conventions, but today was the day in which Queensland Baptists were going to have a focus on evangelism, so it was good for me to attend.
The first speaker for the morning was Will Graham (Billy Graham's grandson), he spoke on "Integrity in the Pulpit" and I must admit it was a really good sermon, he focused on how as evangelists often times we can fall into temptation and sin, thus destroying our ministry, but more importantly when this happens we bring the name of Jesus Christ to shame.
After Will Graham finished speaking, to other guys spoke about evangelism. They said some interesting things, but I found myself disagreeing with the whole of focus of "socialize" someone into the Kingdom of God. After their session finished I was introduced to Will Graham by a senior Baptist evangelist. What struck me about meeting Will Graham was the fact that even though he was famous, he was a real humble and down to earth kind of guy. Which was really good to see, and when you spoke to him, you could tell that he was genuinely interested in what you had to say.
I had to leave the convention a little bit earlier, as I had to drive out west of Brisbane in order to pick up 1,000 tickets for the Will Graham evangelism rally that was being held that night. The plan was, that I pick up the tickets, then that afternoon I would go out into the Southbank parklands, and give away free tickets to those who were in the area, and as a result invite them to hear Will speak that night at the Brisbane convention centre.
At 3pm, it was raining, so Fitzy, Andre and I thought that it would be fairly hard to give away these 1,000 tickets due to the fact that no one hangs out in the parklands while it is raining. But, we headed over there anyway, and to our surprise we found the parklands to be jammed full of people. It turned out that there was a large "Save the Planet" festival going on, so we quickly began to hand out the tickets to those we encountered. Within 45 minutes all 1,000 tickets were gone, and many of those who took the tickets promised to come that night.
We then went back to the convention centre where we spent some time in prayer asking God to save souls tonight through the preaching of Will Graham. Since I was on the "people helper" (counsellor) group, I had to stay back till about 10pm in order to help out with those who responded to the gospel. But, before that we had to go once again through the training material to make sure that we were familiar with the material we would be giving to people. During this time, I once again go to see how humble Will Graham was, as while everyone was being instructed on what to do, he came into the back of the room and just listened. There was no "big" entrance like you see with many other preachers, but rather he just quietly stood at the back and listened. After awhile, he was called to the front, and then he thanked everyone for helping and prayed for us.
Since we were short on numbers for helpers, I assisted with ushering as well, and while I was doing that we noticed a good size group of young people come into the convention centre swearing like troopers. A few people around looked a bit shocked, but I was happy, and excited to see them. As they were a group that earlier that afternoon we had given free tickets to.
The night went well, and before the preaching there was some good music. Then it came time for Will to preach, he instantly connected with the crowd and then began to expound on the gospel of Christ. He spoke about how we as humans need to be in the Masters hands, and we need to be guided by Him, yet, the problem is that our sin has separated us from God. After this, Will then pointed people to the cross of Christ, and showed that it is only by Jesus that we can be forgiven.
At the call of salvation about 60 - 80 people responded. After I finished speaking to those I was designated to "counsel", Andre and I quickly left the convention centre and rushed to the Queen Street Mall to join the Operation 513 team.
As we entered the mall the first thing we noticed was that it wasn't busy, this was due to the rain, and as we began to walk down the mall, we heard the familiar sound of Andrew Hsu open air preaching. As usual Alex the Agnostic was there, then there were some other familiar faces in the crowd, Riley the Agnostic and also Josh the Atheist. Good to see the boys had come out even though it was raining.
After Andrew Hsu finished preaching it was decided that Andrew Caswell should preach, now Caswell and I are old mates, who have been working together for about four and a bit years. Yet, he is only new to open air preaching. He got up and brought the Word of God with a passion and a zeal, that I wish I could even have a small bit of. When Caswell spoke he spoke in away that you could tell that this Gospel was the power of God unto salvation!
While Caswell was preaching, I noticed this young bald man in the crowd going around to different people saying "Ask the preacher this question, he won't be able to answer". As I watched him do this, I noticed that those who would encourage to say something simply ignored him, and kept on listening. So, when the young man got close to me, I said "Why don't you ask the preacher that question?" He just looked at me, and seemed to be a bit embarrassed, so I said "Mate, I am a preacher, why don't you ask me the question, and I'll see if I can answer." The young man agreed, and his question related to ‘Who wrote the Bible & What about the Da Vinci Code?' I quickly answered his questions, and the whole time I was focused on getting to the gospel. So I asked him, "you have heard of Jesus, right?" He replied that he had, so then I asked, "do you understand why Jesus had to die on the cross?" The man said that he didn't. It turns out that this young man's name was Jacob, so I began to talk to Jacob about personal sin.
As I walked through the Scripture, and showed Jacob that he was a sinner in the sight of God, you could see his face change from one of arrogance to one of concern. He had realized that he was indeed in trouble with a Holy God. By now his friends were trying to interrupt, but by God's grace I was able to present the full gospel to him. Jacob took a tract, and thanked me for telling him about salvation in Christ. Knowing that he still had questions I asked, "Now, what questions do you have in regards to Christianity?" Again, he brought up about the Bible, and this time also about the historical Jesus. So I answered his questions (something his friends didn't like), and as he left Jacob said, "that makes sense, thanks for that."
It is encounters like that with Jacob that make witnessing on the streets so worth while. It was such an encouraging encounter to see a young man come to an understand of forgiveness in Christ. Later on in the evening, Andre came up to me and told me that he had just seen Jacob and his friends talking about the encounter, his friends were trying to make him forget our conversation, but Jacob just kept saying "What if the preacher is right?" Please pray for Jacob.
After this, it was my turn to preach, so I began by reading out a passage of Scripture, then expounding on what it meant. I spoke about how God is loving towards sinful humanity, in that even though we don't deserve His mercy, God still shows grace towards us in that He sent Christ to pay the price for our sins if we would believe.
During the preaching I noticed that Jacob was back listening, pray that God's word will take root in his heart.
Alex as usual fired up his arguments, and as usual they were flawed to the highest degree. Each week he comes back, and tries to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but God's truth will not be stopped!
While preaching on sin, Riley called out "People only believe in sin, because of that book!" So I asked him about those other religions that don't believe in the Bible, and why is it that they have a knowledge of sin. His reply was to state that because they had religious writings, and only religious writings produced that knowledge. Since Riley studies anthropology, I asked him, "Is there any culture or any tribe of people, that do NOT have a knowledge of sin or God?" He replied that every single culture, and every tribe had that knowledge. So now I asked, "Do all those cultures have a book or writings to tell them about sin and God?" He replied that they did not. To which I said, "So the knowledge of God, and of sin is built in to every single person? We all know there is a God, and we all know about sin!" Riley agreed, and at this Alex started to argue with Riley.
God has given light to everyone, we all know that we do that which is wrong, we all know that we sin against God. Perhaps, you are reading this and you don't think you are a sinner in the sight of God, perhaps, you think that if there is a Heaven, then you are good enough to get there, well lets see:
Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Let's see if you are a good person by the Ten Commandments...Ever told a lie? The ninth commandment says, "You shall not lie." Ever stolen anything? Have you ever used God's name in vain? That's called Blasphemy. Have you looked with lust (sexual desire) at another person? Jesus said, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." How many times have you been guilty of any of these serious violations? You, like the rest of us are a slave to sin. God's word tells us that all liars, blasphemers, the sexually immoral, thieves, etc. will spend eternity in hell.
The Bible says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The reason we die physically is because of sin, and this is also the reason we deserve to go to hell for all eternity, because we have sinned against God.
But, God loves His people so much, He sent His son Jesus to suffer and die in the place of sinners just like you. Then He rose from the grave defeating death! You can't earn God's forgiveness; it is God's free gift. To be forgiven of you sin, you must repent (turn from your sin) and trust that Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners. Then three days later He was raised from the dead, defeating sin and death. The Bible says: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Soli Deo Gloria!
Also check out the latest Operation 513 - "The Appointed Time" broadcast: https://www.operation513.com/theappointedtime.php
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This was the first Friday that I went out in sheffield at night to witness to the lost. Getting into town arround 7pm I waited to see if any other labourers would join me this evening. Praying as I waited I thanked God for the great opportunities that He has given us this last year and for His many blessings.
At the end of the half hour I headed into town a little further to talk with people and search for a spot that would be suitable for a team to work of a Friday night ongoing. I gave out tracts as I went and checked out a few places in the clubbing/pub section of town. A few people accepted tracts and I was glad to see many of them reading them as they went and showing them to friends.
Cyril and Patrisha joined me part way into the night and after praying together we headed to west street to the heart of the clubbing area. We found a good spot next to the tram stop and gave tracts to all the passing people. On arrival Trish ran into an old friend that is on/off the streets continuously and so tried to encourage him for a period. Cyril and I were going back and forward trying to get tracts into the hands of as many people as we could. During this time I had a conversation with an Greek Orthodox girl and confronted her with the need to share the gospel with people. She listened and reluctantly agreed, I may be wrong but it seems that the Orthodox church has little interest in evangelism as a whole.
Cyril managed to get into a great conversation with a doorman to one of the resteraunts/clubs, he asked Cyril to come over and talk with him and his friends about the gospel! Cyril gave them all tracts and got the contact number of the man. We pray that God will use this conversation to bring this man to Him and save him from eternal death.
A couple of young men stopped me while giving out tracts and asked what it was about, I told them that it was a gospel tract. They then went on to say that this was a much nicer way of being approached evangelistically. They had been approached earlier on by a group of Somalian Muslims and told that if they didn't become Muslims and come to the mosque the next day they would find them and kill them (showing them a large knife while saying this). Evangelism by the sword is denied by many Muslims but this is a mild example of what happens in the world (for more information www.barnabusfund.com) and their on scriptures contradict them (Sura 9:5 among others). This opened them to hear about the God who loved them enough to come and die in the place of sinners (which they are) and save them eternally if they will trust in His redeeming work. It was a wonderful conversation and they all left with tracts and thanked me repeatedly for speaking with them. We pray for David, James and Chris that they would repent and trust in the saviour, that they would be saved from the true death of hell.
The night finished well with many people having taken tracts and good times of fellowship as we worked together. We have found a place in front of town hall where it will work to have a regular outreach so I was pleased to have found this also. God is so generous to us and gives far more than we could ask for, Praise His name and all His saints give Him glory for His great work in us and the world!
It was a grim looking day as Anna, Jim, John, Luke and I all headed over to Manchester for the latest of the Northern outreaches. The rain was coming down and the wind blowing cold. Despite this the fellowship was warm as we drove and continued that way for the day.
In Market street we set up and discovered to our frustration and dismay that the wind was just strong enough to pick up tracts and even bibles and scatter them over the street periodically. None the less we persisted with the bible table to give people opportunity to have the word of God for free. Geraldine (a manchester local) joined us and we prayed together and then began to tract the area.
Jim noticed a little further down the mall that there was a line of people gathered for a signing by "Jordan" (for those who don't know of her, she was a soft porn model for british tabliod magazines). Jim preached to the people gathered using as his theme the proverb "Beauty is fading and charm decieving..." and procede to speak on the process of aging and death. There were no hecklers that opposed him but people unable to leave as he spoke so he was brief and gave an excellent gospel presentation. Afterwards many people took tracts and some people nearby who also heard took them too.
Over the period of the day many tracts went out and it was encouraging to see people steadly taking them despite not wanting to stop and talk. John was keen to preach so he was next up and preached from beside the bible table to the passing crowd. John is a solid preacher and despite people not stopping to listen there were nearby store employees that came out to listen for a little. Next up was Dale who had joined us from Cumbria, he preached well and often referred to the bible to confirm the truth of his message. A couple of one to ones began while he preached but again few people stopped for long. It is encouraging when people do stop but we know that God will use to good effect whatever people hear as they pass.
During this time I noticed that Anna was speaking to a couple that had listened to the preaching. Anna was working hard with him and he was trying in every way he could to show that the law was not applicable to him. He even went as far as to say that for some people it could be ok to commit sexual acts with small children and rape also. It never ceases to amaze me how far the hard natural heart of man will go to justify it's rebellion.
I preached next and spoke on the thought that truth is only relative, most people walked by but a couple of young guys stopped to speak to me. While I was doing the good person test with them we were interupted by a very angry lady who told me to leave them alone and that I was wrong to speak to them about God's law. I said that they and she were free to go if they wanted and rebuked her for hypocritcally condemning me for being faithful to God's word. The young guys left and I continued to preach about the great news of God's salvation in Christ. The guys came back toward the end and though they didn't hear the full message they did take tracts and thank us.
Around this time there were a group of people show up, most of them were from a local evangelical church in manchester. They have been coming to market street for a long time now and hand out literature (mostly using material from J.C. Ryle). Overjoyed to see other evangelistically minded people the others in the team and I went and encouraged them. As it was getting towards lunch time we headed off for a bite to eat and a rest for a half hour.
When we came back from lunch we found another group of evangelists in the mall and setting up a little down from them we had a very productive time and many of us had great conversations with people.
We set the table up again and now there was a little more interest as a couple people came by to ask if they could have some literature. This produced a couple of good conversations and Jim spoke for almost an hour with one man. The young guy was a catholic and was open to speak about assurance of going to heaven and the sacremental system. He and Jim parted on good terms and hopefully many good seeds were planted. I also spoke at length with a couple of young girls and urged them also not to trust in anything they could do to be right with God, rathter to trust fully in Jesus Christ and what He has done.
A couple of Christian guys came up to the table and spoke to us and it turns out that their church in Stockport have been using the law and gospel approach as per Way of the Master as we do. We encouraged them as best we could and pray that God would give great fruit to their efforts. They likewise urged us on in our ministry and I for one was most encouraged.
Dale preached again during this time and did a great job succinctly giving a gospel message and preaching the great news of Christ crucified to redeem sinners. After he finished there were a group of people just loitering around the front of the table so I jumped up and preached to the gathered crowd. Hamish and his two friends quickly came over to speak with me and we had a great conversation going through the good person test and the gospel. They were very open to hear the gospel but despite having broken God's law they hoped they would get into heaven anyway. I reasoned with them that a human judge could never sweep crime ‘under the carpet' so why do they suddenly expect God to be able to do the same? I stood down to speak with them further but as I did so an atheist man interjected and in the strongest terms began to deny the existence of God. This would harden the hearts of the young men to the gospel so I placed aside speaking with them temporarily and debated with the atheist for a short period.
He had no interest in the gospel or anything to do with God but only to assert the atheistic perspective. This is increasingly the case with atheists we encounter at the moment, militant atheism is here to stay it seems. Praise God that there is also so much material available now to show that the faith of the atheist is misplaced. Evolutionary science is increasingly an embarrassment to those who propound it, atheism as a philosophy has an equally embarrassing history, and at it's heart atheism is based on an assumption of absolute knowledge (impossible from a human stand point).
Hamish and his friends were still standing close by as Mr Atheist left and the discussion had an impact on them if not on him. They were more than happy to hear what I had to say after watching the conversation. Praise God that He gives a way into every heart for His word. I gave them the gospel message and urged them to read the bibles they had at home. They took tracts and thanked us as they left.
The rest of the team where still in one to one conversations when it came time to leave and it was a pity to leave such a fruitful field of work. All in all it was a wonderful day's work for the Lord, praise His name and may many be drawn to Jesus as we hold Him both dear and high.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Once again I was blessed with the privilege of being able to head out to the Queen Street Mall to tell people about the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Tonight, I was expecting a smaller team, but, even though the numbers may have been few we could still reach out to those who are dead in sin.
We followed the usual pattern of things, prayer, bible reading and then some fellowship before the outreach. It was good to have Peter rejoin us after he had been away on holidays for a couple of weeks. While we were having a time of fellowship we spotted a sign in the bus shelter that was advertising some breath mints with the slogan "Sins, why stop at seven?" This is really saddening to see that our culture is prepared to live in open rebellion towards their Creator, but what is even worse is that many Christians do not do anything about it. As Christians we have the words of eternal life, not only does the gospel of Jesus Christ save people from hell and the wrath of God, but it also transforms a society. Many Christians will whinge and complain about the fact that society is going downhill fast, yet many of those same Christians will never do anything about it. If you want to see society changed, if you want to see people saved, then be obedient to the Scripture and go into all the world and preach the gospel.
Tonight was also a sad night, as I found out that our Jewish friend who has been coming for the last six weeks to listen was moving up to Northern Queensland, so there will be no more discussions over Jesus being the Messiah. Please pray for this man has he has heard the gospel many times. Pray that God will grant Him repentance and lead him to the knowledge of the truth.
Ralph was the first preacher up for the night, and nearly immediately a man named Wayne began to heckle. Now Wayne was a "backslider" he grew up in the church, and even asked Jesus into his heart. The problem is that now he is an agnostic, and he clearly hates the gospel of Jesus Christ. While Ralph was reasoning with him, two people from the crowd decided to jump into the discussion and try to prove the truth of Christianity. The problem was, that they were using arguments like these, "We know Christianity is real, as the blessed virgin appeared in South America and told us!" This was a first time I have actually heard Roman Catholics come to the debate and try to prove the case from the demonic apparitions.
Ralph tagged me in, and my first job was to wrestle control of the discussion away from what the Roman Catholics were preaching, and bring it back to the Biblical gospel. So I directed a question towards the spokesmen of the Catholics, and asked him how to get to heaven. His reply was "By grace through faith, and good works!" Now, for starters it isn't grace when works are involved, so I asked him "What if the Bible said, works cannot save, what would you do?" Then I proceeded to read out Ephesians 2:8-9.
At this Wayne jumped in and started to argue, that one is only a Christian because they are born in a Christian country. So I went through an apologetic about how people from many non-Christian countries become Christians, and how I was born in this nation, but wasn't a Christian.
There were many opportunities to preach the gospel, as I spoke and engaged with Wayne the crowd grew. Every now and then Alex the agnostic would jump in and say something, but as per usual it was most irrational, and faulty logic on display. It appears that Alex each week only comes out to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Realistically he only argues each week so that he can hopefully appease his conscience and continue to live in a life of sin.
The preaching went for about 90 minutes, and in that time we got to cover a range of topics from homosexuality, right through to evolution and post-modern thought. During the preaching a young English man from the West Midlands, stopped and yelled "I heard you down the Gold Coast" then proceeded to yell abuse about how he hates Christianity.
A few more Englishmen began to yell out as well, one from London, and another guy from West Midlands began to join in. The first Englishman, then decided to get a cup full of lemonade (or at least I hope it was lemonade), and run up from behind then pour it all over my head while preaching. The other two Englishmen didn't do anything like that, except they did argue post-modernism.
Once again this presented an opportunity for the gospel to go out, and many people got to hear of Salvation in Jesus Christ.
The night finished with Andre preaching the gospel, and expounding once again how we can be forgiven of sins.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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Tonight, I was really excited about the prospect of being bale to go into Brisbane city and make Christ known. The more I think about the great news of the gospel, the more I long to tell people of Jesus Christ, while this mindset may result in many people mocking or scorning, I really couldn't care less. Those who mock (some of them being readers) can go on and keep mocking, but I will keep telling you of the love of Christ, and how He can forgive all your sins, if you would repent and trust in Him.
This morning was spent at the new evangelist mentoring program that Graham Sercombe has started, this mentor program that has started appears to be a very good thing, as it will result in more people who have the gift of an evangelist being trained and equipped for the work of the ministry. As I left this mornings meeting I was very encouraged to share my faith, it is always good to have likeminded brothers and sisters to share our evangelistic passion with.
We had a good number of people come out onto the streets of Brisbane this evening with the whole intention of making Christ known. It is such an honour that I get to serve alongside these people who are far more gifted and I. It is a real encouragement to see my Christian family out there telling people that Christ can forgive them because of the cross.
The first preacher up for the night was Andre, he started off by talking about the economy and how it is going down the drain. From there he swung into the gospel, and pointed to those who would stop and listen, that even though they had sinned against God, and even though they deserve the wrath of God, Christ Jesus would forgive them if they would repent and trust in Him.
Right after Andre finished preaching, Ralph jumped up and once again began to expound on the free gift of salvation that is only found in Christ Jesus. During this time I was able to grab a couple of guys and have a conversation with them. By far one the best ways to get a one to one is to simply hang around with an open air preacher. As, when they preach you can talk to those who go to walk away, and often times they are ready to discuss what they just heard.
The night was going fairly well, people were taking gospel tracts, and many one to ones were occurring. By now the mall had become a bit more busy, and as Kevin got up to preach, some hecklers moved in for some close heckling.
A man named Anthony came in and began to open fire on Kevin, about coveting an x-box game. From there this man went on rant after rant after rant. He spoke about how people should care for the poor, and how mankind in naturally good. He then went on to talk about how God is Love, therefore we should all live the way we want to. The problem was that this man was a professing Christian. Kevin tried to deal with him, but Anthony wouldn't let Kev get a word in. As the man ranted the crowd grew, and as it grew more people got tracts and go the chance to hear the gospel.
Kevin tagged me in, so I now had the "fun" of trying to deal with Anthony, initially it looked like we had him under control, when he agreed to let me speak for one minute, and then he would speak for one minute. So we got Alex the Agnostic to time us. Things ran fair smoothly except Anthony interrupted me while I was speaking. But, then things change when it was his turn to speak, he spoke for one minute, for two minutes, and every time I told him times up, he would simply yell "SHUT UP!"
During this time he kept saying that God is love, and everyone is good and kind. Then just to prove the point some random guy walked up and kicked over our flip chart (very loving of him).
When, I finally got to speak again, I was able to talk about the depravity of man. This really upset Antony as he didn't believe himself to be a sinner, nor was anyone else in the world. The more I spoke about sin, the more upset he became, the more I spoke about God's judgment the more hostile he grew. Anthony started to yell at me, asking why I would say such things, and my reply was because I love him, and those listening that I would tell them the truth.
The back and forth with Antony went back and forth, eventually he left hurling abuse (again showing how caring he was). I then tagged Kevin back in. Kev finished the night off by preaching the gospel once again.
Overall it was a good night, and many people got to hear of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!
This Saturday I was joined by Mekial and Dawn for outreach in Sheffield. It was unseasonably clear and warm this afternoon and so we had large crowds in Sheffield.
We began the day by handing out tracts in Fargate while I looked for a suitable place to preach from. While we were handing out tracts I noticed that Mekial is quite adept at starting conversations. His background in sales has made him very able to speak to people, I was overjoyed to see him using this skill to God's glory.
I set up to preach and the others gathered around to support me as I preached. Those of you who witness on the streets, never forget how this small thing can lend courage to those who open air preach. It is an intimidating business sometimes and I for one have many times been encouraged by the presence of other Christians when I've preached.
Today I began with the comparison between relativism in reality to what is reasonable. I spoke about Joe Blogs who believed that whatever truth he held was true for him literally. From this somewhat rediculous example I turned to the fact that there is moral as well as practical absolutes in this world. While speaking on this Mona, a polite muslim woman came to ask about what Christians believe. At this I tried my best to give a summary of what Christians believe and called her to look to Jesus Christ as her saviour, while she remained unconvinced she listened and took a tract towards the end of the discussion.
I finished preaching and packed up and the three of us headed around to the peace gardens to speak with people there. Having gotten there we ran into a Christian hip hop band that was endevouring to talk with people there. Two of the young men I had spoken to in the past and given some literature to to encourage them. They are currently planning to do street outreach in the local townships around Sheffield. I encouraged them and we pray that they would glorify God in their work and that God would use them gloriously to the salvation of souls.
While Mekial and Dawn were hard at it witnessing to all sorts of people I ran into Amy and her friends who I've spoken to several times. I spoke at length again to Amy and showed her that it will be right for God to judge all sin and evil deeds. She seemed quite affected and I pleaded with her to look to the only saviour. We pray that God would save some of these precious young people, they are largely lost in sin and disapation.
At the end of the afternoon I spoke with Dawn to Ollie and tried to reason with him about the reality of God. The conversation went very well but we had to leave and things ended on an interesting point:
Ollie : What do you think man's purpose is then?
Me : To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Ollie : We don't do that though.
Me: Yes, that's why we need a saviour!
Heading into London we were encouraged to know that we would be blessed with a new face for the evening. James Paice, pastor and friend, came along to join us and it was wonderful to have him with us. We arrived at 8:30pm and immediately set about preparing ourselves for the evening.
After opening in prayer I stood up to preach. We were able to bring in a crowd quite quickly. It wasn't long before I drew in some hecklers, who of course voiced their views, many of which dealt with the idea that there is no God and therefore religion serves no purpose. As I was refuting their claims a couple of police officers approached me and asked if they could have a word. I was told that this was not the place to be preaching open air as the crowd that would form would ultimately be deemed an obstruction of a right of way. If you have been to Leicester Square you will know how wide the promenade is where we meet to minister. I explained this to the officer and also mentioned that we had been preaching in the same spot for over six months. However he remained resolute and it seemed that he was not going to change his mind. It was surprising then when he turned to me said that he would give me ten minutes to speak. This then changed to fifteen minutes, which then changed a third time when he said that both him and his partner would be moving on to another location and that I should be finished when they returned in half an hour. This seemed fine with me and so I stood back up on my stepladder and told the crowd that I had been told by the police that I could speak for thirty minutes.
In terms of what the officer told me with regards to the obstruction of a right of way, consider the following, taken from a document by a solicitor to the Open Air Mission in April 2007. Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 relates to permanent or semi-permanent obstruction of a right of way. It enables the Council to take action to assert and protect the rights of the p ublic to the use and enjoyment of any highway for which they are the Highway Authority. Section 137 of the Act governs the offence of obstruction of the Highway. A highway obstruction has been defined by the courts as ‘something which permanently or temporarily removes the whole or part of the highway from the public's use altogether'. As this would cover stopping to talk to a friend, no obstruction is committed where there is lawful authority or excuse. This is commonly understood to mean that the reasonableness of the obstruction must be taken into account. Under Section 149(1) of the Act a Council would need to identify that a nuisance is being caused, then require removal of the nuisance by notice, and can apply to the Magistrates Court for removal and disposal order if the person fails to remove the nuisance. Under Section 149(2), immediate action can be taken when there are reasonable grounds to consider a danger is being caused, subsequently the obstruction can be removed forthwith. However it must be clear that there is a clear danger in view
In light of this it would be appear that the officer who spoke with me was not acting in accordance fully within the boundaries of these Acts. While I have no problem with them telling us what we should be doing and what we shouldn't be doing, ultimately it is not their job to restrict us from doing something simply on the basis of what could ensue should we do it.
As I carried on preaching I got into a dialogue with a man named Frank. I reasoned with him concerning the existence of God, the fact that God is ultimately in charge, and that one day He is going to judge this world in righteousness. Some of his counter points centred on the notion that Christians themselves have proven to be hypocritical of their own beliefs in the things they have done. The issue of the Crusades came up. I asked him if he had heard the expression, "Tarred with the same brush." I could see that this caused him to stop and think for a second. The point I was trying to make was that you cannot refute the teaching of Jesus simply because men and women who claim to be His followers act in a way that is contrary to His teaching. Consider two men. One is your close friend and the other is his close friend (a man you do not know). If this man were to act unjustly towards you, would it be right for you to blame your close friend? Of course not. In the same way, to use the actions of so-called followers of Christ to dismiss Christ and His teaching is to act unjustly and unfairly towards Christ. The issue that needs to be addressed is whether or not a person is acting accordance with His teaching. Jesus made it clear that you will know a Christian by his or her fruit (Matthew 7:15-17).
After I finished preaching the team immediately got involved in speaking with people one-to-one. This is the great advantage of open air preaching. If, as a Christian, you are in a crowd when someone is preaching open air, all you need to do after the preaching has finished is to approach someone you noticed had been listening and ask, "Hi there, what are your thoughts on what you just heard?" Before you know it you are in a one-to-one conversation, giving you the opportunity to share the gospel. (See below. The tracts and Bibles we put out always get snapped up!)
I had the opportunity to get into a conversation with two young men, a man named Michael, and his friend Rom. The issue with both these young men was that they were not willing to accept that to have a creation you must have a Creator. They believe that we can attribute this world to an "accident." We spoke for quite some time; however its focus centred on the existence of God more than anything else. Both presented themselves as proud of heart and so I did not labour to open up the grace of Christ to them, as I felt it would result in them trampling underfoot the good news that it could save them. Still, earlier they had both taken in-depth gospel tracts from the table that we put out, so my prayer is that through what they heard the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts to bring to them acknowledge the God who made them and that they desperately need His forgiveness.
Moving on I noticed that Carl had been speaking with Frank, one of my hecklers I had engaged with when I had been preaching. It was very interesting in that he was willing to discuss and talk with us. As we carried on speaking to him we noticed that his tone changed and that he began to use language that showed he admitted there could indeed be a God. When he had first introduced himself in the crowd he mentioned that he was an agnostic. This led me to asking whether he knew everything. He admitted that he did not. I then asked him to imagine that he knew one percent of everything (which is still a great deal). Would it be possible in the ninety-nine percent he did not know for there to be ample evidence that God did in fact exist. This is why God does not believe in atheists. You cannot, by definition, be an atheist. To be an atheist you would need to have all knowledge. Someone who professes to be an atheist is in fact an agnostic. They simply do not know whether God exists (although I would maintain that they do know, they are simply restricted by their sinful nature to admit that they do). We had a good conversation with him and encouraged him to think through what we had shared with him. Below is a picture of Carl and Frank together.
It had been a good evening. The two police officers who had spoken to me earlier arrived not long before we left and so we were all greatly encouraged that the Lord had provided us with the opportunity to declare His gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We arrived at Gold Coast about 2:30 pm, and it was busy. A man came asking for a light, and seeing a Bible, asked if we were doorknockers. A beautiful day, and plenty of lost souls. As we prayed for the Lord to help us, a fight started, and people gathered to watch.
I spoke to a man from Brisbane who was enjoying his day. He claimed goodness, but upon being challenged, said God would forgive. After sharing the Gospel, he said that Christians he knew thought that they had a licence to sin, and didn't understand the need for repentance.
As he left two young men took his seat, and I offered them tracts. They said they were good, but one refused to take the good person test. His mate tried to talk him into it, but then took it himself. He was found guilty, and without hope, and seemed unaware of the good news
I spoke with a new born Christian lady, who said about the importance of the manifestations of the Spirit. When I challenged the lack of total healing by the power of God, she said that the people healed lacked faith or stopped believing, and were thus left in their state of illness or injury. When our Lord healed, He made people whole. When challenged about evangelizing in the street, she said it wasn't her thing. This attitude has led to the famine in our land, not for bread or water, but hearing the word of the Lord. If we appreciate our salvation, we must surely want to tell others of the grace of God.
I spoke with two catholic men who fled their country in fear for their lives. Claimed repentance, and faith in Christ. They were happy to see us preaching, and have been disappointed by the general apathy of people in our country towards God.
Driving into Brisbane city, I could not fail to notice the long line of dark storm clouds coming in from the west. Every now and then the dark line of clouds would be illuminated with flashes of lighting. This storm front was a blessing, as it would keep the crowd numbers down tonight. Which was good for us, as we only had a small team out in the Queen street mall.
As I arrived in the mall the heavens opened up and the rain began to fall, so I quickly made my way across to King George Square to meet up with the other members of the team. Once at the square we had a problem as there wasn’t anywhere to take shelter from the rain, so eventually we made our way to the other side of city hall, and there we used a bus shelter to give us some cover from the rain.
Tonight we only had two preachers, Andrew Hsu and myself. Both of us weren’t really excited about preaching the whole night, so we split up the shifts. While we were setting up for the night a group of young ladies came up to me, and asked if I would be preaching tonight, as they had come to listen. I replied I would be preaching later, but not just now. The young ladies stayed around, and as soon as Andrew got up to preach they came in to listen.
While Andrew was explaining the gospel to them, I was locked in conversation with the boyfriends of these young ladies. Most of them were rather abusive of the gospel, but one young man was paying real close attention, and kept asking about how he could be forgiven. This young man listened to every word, and at the end he took a gospel of John, and an in-depth tract. The interesting thing is the fact that during the conversation, his friends kept trying to drag him away with the enticement of going to a strip club. However, this young man refused and was more interested to hear of sins forgiven.
During the time Andrew preached there were a small number of people stopping to listen. However, there were no hecklers, and as you watched the people who listened you could see that they were hanging on every word. It was a really good gospel sermon, no one objected, people just stood in silence and listened. After Andrew finished preaching we handed out some in-depth tracts, and the vast majority of those listening took this tract. Please pray that God would save these people.
After Andrew finished preaching, I prepared to get up and start to preach. Tonight was I was going to talk about “Preparing for Eternity”. As before with Andrew people stopped but no one heckled, in fact they just stood and listened to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However, half way through my message when I was talking about how our sin has separated us from God, a police wagon drove into the middle of the crowd, and the officers inside rolled down the windows. I was expecting the officer to say something immediately, but they didn’t. They just sat there for a few minutes listening, then a young constable told me to step down and come to the window. I did this, and at the same time told Andrew to start preaching, the police officer said “NO!” To Andrew getting up, so I went over to the police wagon to hear what the officer had to say. The young constable said to me “What you are doing is disorderly conduct! People can hear you throughout the mall, you must stop this!” I refused stating that Brisbane City had given us a permit to preach, and that it was a local law issue, which legally is out of his jurisdiction. The constable then stated that if I kept on doing it, I would be arrested for disorderly conduct. So, I looked at the constable and said, “I have been preaching here for three years, and now you want to arrest me for this? Then constable you had better get you hand cuffs out as I am not stopping!” The constable looked a little stunned, and pointed out that he could arrest me, once again I said to him, “well, you had better arrest me then.” The officer seemed to be a bit unsure about what to do, and stated that he wasn’t against preaching, just didn’t want it to be loud so people could hear it. So I told him that I would be a little bit quieter, but not much. At this they drove away and left me to the preaching.
After this I finished preaching then Andrew started again. By now we had hecklers and a good size crowd had gathered. After awhile, Hsusy tagged me and I began to deal with more hecklers, including the fame Alex the Agnostic.
Overall it was a good night, and many people got to hear of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Full report with pictures: https://www.operation513.com
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Report by Dave Strachan, Photos / Edited by Josh Mitchell
Josh Mitchell, Snowy and I had the pleasure of driving from Brisbane down to Surfers Paradise together. We picked up Snowy on the way. This helps save on fuel...and having more company is a bonus as well. We arrived at Surfers in a little over an hour. Parking was rather difficult today, as the beach seemed to be the place where everyone wanted to be. It's starting to get really warm now that summer is fast approaching. As we walked along the boardwalk, looking out along the beach we could see people everywhere.
We soon arrived at the Cavill Avenue beachfront. We met Tim and some of his friends from Helensvale Baptist there and we prayed with them. I put on heaps of sunscreen - I do prefer coming home coloured white rather than red. I then set up my camera and tripod. Josh was first to get up and preach. He then tagged Snowy up to preach and swapped with me to man the Camera himself so that I could preach when Snowy tagged me up. This was my third time ever preaching. Once again I read Romans 1:16-5:21. I think that the three of us had two turns each to preach.
It appeared that Snowy had two big fans when he was preaching. Two young ladies were interacting with him for quite a while. Snowy went through some of the ten commandments with them, but they did not appear to show any shame over their sin, but rather, they gloried in it. They thanked us and left, saying how they were going to go and "lust some guys".
Given that Josh wasn't feeling very well, it was a gracious gift from God that Josh was given the ability to preach his heart out really well for a long time to finish off. Josh went through the ten commandments with two or three very young women. They appeared to have gotten really embarrassed when Josh asked them if they had kept the commandment not to commit adultery and then told them how Jesus raised the bar of sexual purity such that to look at a person with lust makes you as guilty in God's eyes as having had sex with someone who is not your spouse (Matthew 5:28). They giggled together for a bit and then left rather quickly.
For the last 10 minutes or so that Josh was preaching, some professing Muslims started making quite a scene. They were laughing, yelling out, and making fun of Josh seemingly every way they could. While, over and over, they kept demanding that Josh show them respect, ironically they showed extreme disrespect to Josh. Some of the Australians watching on in the crowd were utterly appalled at their behavior. Josh's patience and love in trying to engage them with the truth was amazing. He also got to preach the Gospel to quite a number of people who had come to watch what was going on. After Josh had finished preaching we handed out Gospel tracts to everyone who was there. Josh talked some more with the Muslims who became increasingly hostile. When one of them struck Josh's book out of his hand, he called Snowy and myself saying that it was time to leave - so we left together.
Later that night I was hanging out with some of my housemates and we reflected briefly on the topic of death. Lachlan mentioned that when a Christian who we know dies we often mourn - but also rest in the fact that they have a certain hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was then very sobering, especially for myself, to consider those who die and are not Christians, those who do not believe in Jesus and follow Him and live for His cause. According to God's Word, they will perish (John 3:16) in eternal hell forever.
John Piper Writes...
'The Dreadful, Terrifying Portrait of Hell in Scripture
It is a profound and dreadful reality. To speak of it lightly, or not to speak of it at all, or to speak of it in a way that changes suffering into feeling nothing, simply proves that we do not grasp its horror. I know of no one who has overstated the terrors of hell. We can scarcely surpass the horrid images Jesus used. "Weeping and gnashing of teeth,"4 "their worm shall not die" (Mark 9:48); "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:43); "eternal fire" (Matthew 25:41); "the hell of fire" (Matthew 18:9); "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46); "anguish in the flame" (Luke 16:24). The point of all these is that we are meant to shudder. We are meant to tremble and feel dread. We are meant to recoil from the reality. Not by denying it but by fleeing from it into the arms of Jesus, who died to save us from it.
Revelation 14:11 is probably the most graphic New Testament statement of the eternal suffering of the unrepentant. "The smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night." Torment forever and ever. The endless suffering of unrepentant sinners is a reality taught in Scripture'
One of the main reasons that I go out each week is to Glorify God by faithfully echoing Jesus' own warnings about hell, and urging people to put their trust and hope in Jesus and cry out to Him alone for mercy, that they may escape God's wrath and gain eternal life both with and through our great Savior, Jesus Christ, who was raised mightily from the dead (Acts 2:24), who ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51-53) and whose 'throne... is forever and ever'(Hebrews 1:8).