Tonight was Riverfire, the busiest night of the year in Brisbane city. Riverfire is basically half an hour of fireworks and a few planes flying over. We knew that people would be arriving in the city very early in the afternoon to get the best viewing spots, so we decided to start the outreach at 3pm. Warren and I got there at that time and started handing out tracts. There was already such a large amount of flow-through of traffic of people crossing the Brisbane River via the Victoria Bridge, that within an hour we had handed out at least a thousand tracts.
As the afternoon went on, they closed off the Victoria Bridge for cars, so that more pedestrians could cross the river. By this time, 5 or so other people had arrived to hand out tracts as well with me. And thankfully, they brought a box load of tracts to hand out, for there were by this time stacks of people about.
By the time 7:00pm rolled around, the fireworks started and Victoria Bridge was lined with people. We used this opportunity to have a bite to eat, and then we returned to our where we were once the fireworks ended. Once 7:30pm came, thousands of people were pouring across the Victoria Bridge to the city. So we all spread out, making sure we got a tract in the hands of most people going past us. We continued doing this till about 8:30pm, at which point we actually ran out of tracts. We had handed out over 10,000 tracts in just a few hours. But the outreach was not over yet, we still had over 3 hours to go.
After restocking with more tracts, we set-up the free Bibles table in our usual location in Queen St Mall at 9pm. I then got up to preach and almost immediately there were hecklers. I went through the 'Good person test' with a number of the hecklers in order to show them that they too don't actually deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's wrath in Hell. This lead onto the good news of Christ and His wonderful plan of salvation by dying on the cross to satisfy God's wrath in our place.
Andrew also had a preach and large crowds gathered as he preached of the great news of the gospel. Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, also returned and dialogued with Andrew for quite a while. Photos below:
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
On Friday night we were out with the Gospel and it was a wonderful night of evangelism. We had a few new faces join us and also some of the team were back from holiday and so forth. So it was great to be back out!
After praying for the night ahead we headed into the Square and set up for the evening. We had quite a few tracts and we also had some visual aids that Rowina has put together. These are really great and are sign boards that give questions for people passing, questions like: “Ask me what happens when we die.” The boards prompt many questions from people and are great for getting into conversation. We have people on the team who are confident enough to approach strangers in order to engage in conversation, but we also have some on the team that find this difficult so the boards are really great for them. This adds another dimension to what we are doing and along with open-air preaching it means that we are utilising another avenue to approach people with the Gospel. Below is a link to a brief video I made of the boards being used.
During my open-air preach I was heckled by quite a few people. One in particular was a man named John who admitted that he believed in a higher power but had question marks over who that higher power was. I reasoned with him concerning creation to show him that there is in fact a God who made this world, and I also reasoned with him regarding the conscience to show that he is accountable for his life and that when he stands before God one day he will need to give an account of his life. John listened and heard the Gospel and so we praise the Lord for bringing John to Leicester Square to hear the Gospel. This is not something we ought not to dismiss, John could so easily have gone anywhere that night but the Lord brought him to Leicester Square to hear the Gospel. Praise the Lord!
Audio of Rob Hughes preaching:
The night was a great night and we praise the Lord!
Soli Deo Gloria!!
After meeting at 7:30pm for prayer and Bible reading, we set up the free Bibles table at 9pm and prepared for a night of outreach. First up for the night we had Jeremy and Andre who took turns preaching. They both faithfully preached about the reality of the judgment to come, our sin, and the fact that one can be saved through the death of Jesus if they repent and trust alone in the Jesus' death for their salvation. There were a number of people that stopped to listen, and a few passes by that shouted out some comments, but there were not any loud vocal hecklers for an decent period of time.
I then got up to preach, and a guy named Lachie objected by saying there is no proof for God. So I reasoned with him, showing him that we know that things do not arise without a cause, he agreed with this point. I then moved onto my next premise, that we know the universe had a beginning. He agreed with this point also. "So therefore, the universe must have a cause for its beginning", I argued. It seemed to 'click' in his mind and so he said that he was now no longer an atheist. I then went through the commandments of God to see if he was a good person. He, like the rest of us, wasn't either. So I informed him that the punishment for sin is eternal torment in Hell. It's a bad place. But then I shared the great news of the cross and what someone must do to be saved. He said that he would definitely think this through, and count the cost of following Jesus. Please keep him in prayer.
After I got down from preaching, the two football matches that were on in the city seemed to have finished and so the Mall seemed to get quite a bit busier. Andrew got up to preach and a decent sized crowd gathered.
Many various people were witnessed to and lots of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory!
When I arrived at the coast, I saw some people from a local Church doing evangelism at Surfers Paradise, it sure is encouraging to see other people fulfilling the Great Commission as well. Not long after I arrived, Yarran and Daniel showed up, and after praying together we went straight into witnessing.
One of first conversations I had was with an elderly lady, and when I asked whether she thought she would go to Heaven, she responded, "No, I don't want to go to Heaven. I'm going to live on the Earth forever." By her response, I thought that she was most likely a Jehovah's Witness, for they teach Heaven is only for a select 144,000, and the rest of the JW's will simply live on the Earth forever. She was a JW, and had been one for a lot of her life. I asked her, "If you're going to be on the 'renewed' Earth forever and you sin, what will happen to you?" She said that she would be annihilated (as they don't believe in Hell). I asked, "Isn't that going to be a sad existence on the 'renewed' Earth, that you have to worry about not sinning or else you are out of there?" She didn't seem to want to admit that.
I chatted to her about many different topics, ranging from Salvation, Christology, Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I pointed out references to her like John 8:58 that prove the deity of Christ. I also pointed her to John 2:19-21, showing that Jesus did say he was going to bodily rise from the dead, while the Watchtower denies this. She did not know how to respond to the verses presented and then seemed to want to leave the conversation. So I stressed with her that she needs to really start thinking about these things and start reading what the Scriptures really say, and that if she does, she'll find out that the Watchtower is actually deceiving her.
I then got up to preach for a bit. There was one heckler who stayed for a short time who was trying to argue that he believes in Jesus, but said that we can't trust the Bible. So I asked him, "How then do we know anything about Jesus (except the cross), if not from the Bible?" He didn't seem to have an answer.
Near the end of the outreach, Yarran had a very good conversation with Grace and Eshore, who were both on holidays from Taiwan. They had never heard anything of the Christian message before. They seemed very interested and eager to learn more. So we gave them Bibles and encouraged them to read it and contact us if they have any questions. Please pray for them.
To God be the glory for another great day of evangelism!
On Friday night we met at our favourite café and enjoyed a time of fellowship and prayer together. We were small in number as many were still away due to summer breaks, etc. However, we had two new faces join us. Sarah and Nathan had joined me from my church, which was a real blessing to us. Both Nathan and Sarah are starting university soon so they will not be able to join us regularly, but hopefully we can see them join us again soon.
After setting up in the square I stood up to preach. I proclaimed the truth that the true living God reigns and that contrary to most people’s belief today, God is not dead. Many people in the UK today see God, or the idea of God, as being something redundant, i.e. dead. I proclaimed that God is very much alive and that He is very interested in our lives.
After I finished preaching we all got into conversation. I got talking with a young man who asked some very probing questions. Many of his questions were red herrings I believe, even though he stressed that his questions were things he genuinely wanted to know. He questioned why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son; and if God were to ask someone to do such a thing today how would we know if that person were hearing from God and was not mentally disturbed. I explained that Abraham knew God and knew His character and that he understood it to be a test from God. If I were to hear such a command today it would be important that I obey God in the same that Abraham did. Abraham did not need to go and tell anybody, he simply had to obey God and do what He asked.
Rowina had made up some signs that prompt the person passing to ask a question. Each sign has a different question on it, like: “As me what happens when a person dies?” They worked a real treat and we had some great conversation start from them. I wanted to grab some pics but forgot to bring my camera! Hopefully I’ll remember for next week. LOL!
I also spoke to two young Jewish men from Israel. This was really special and it was so wonderful to show them from the Scriptures that Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the Messiah. I read to them from Isaiah 53 and showed them from the Torah that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that was prophesied. They did show interest and I praise God for that because many Jews today are taught that Jesus is not the Messiah. We gave them both a Gospel of John and I really pray the Lord would lead them to read it.
Towards the end of the evening Sarah and I were talking with a fervent evolutionist. He used some very scientific terms and scientific language and I must admit it was difficult to keep up with him. I tried to keep things simple and spoke to him of the impossibility of life arising from inorganic chemicals, as well as the impossibility of complex and unique genetically coded creatures changing into something with a different genetic code. We ran out of time in the end but we did manage to swap details. Please pray for him, the Lord knows his name.
We’d had a good night. It was challenging at times but we need to be out there proclaiming the Gospel and making a defence for the existence of God. The Lord is mighty to save, but we must preach His Word. This is His command.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We started off with a smaller team tonight, consisting of only about 5 of us initially. But thankfully, more people arrived later in the night. After setting up the free Bibles table, Andre got up to preach. He faithfully preached about the reality of death, the judgment, our sin, the wonderful news of the cross, and what someone must do to be saved. There wasn't any hecklers that stuck around for any significant period of time during his preaching, but the message of the gospel went out and whenever that happens, it is always a success.
After this, I got up to preach. There were a few hecklers, mostly asking questions about the existence of God, and how we know the Bible is true. However, the hecklers didn't stay discussing with me for that long. I could tell that it definitely was quieter in the Mall this evening.
Straight after I got down from preaching, Jeremy got up and preached a quick gospel message, calling all those listening to repent and trust in the gospel.
To finish off the night, Andrew got up to preach. Fifteen minutes into his message, Alex (our regular non-theist friend) came in and started heckling Andrew. Alex seemed to have resorted to his old argument - the one where he argues that he thinks the sum of the mass of the universe equals zero, therefore the universe does not actually exist. He uses this to explain away the need for a cause of the universe, for he realises that a cause of the universe must exist if the universe exists and has a beginning. Please keep Alex in prayer, that God will open his eyes to the truth.
To God be the glory!
It was a warm day today and so it was very busy at Surfers Paradise. Daniel, Rick, Glenda, Amy and I were part of the team today. I got up to preach not long after midday, and within moments there was a loud vocal heckler objecting to what I was saying. He asked the question, "How do you know that Christianity is true?" I responded by giving some reasons about why we can know the resurrection of Jesus really did happen. The fellow argued that you cannot trust anything in the Bible because it is something written down. So I responded, "If you cannot trust anything written down, then you cannot know about pretty much anything that has happened in the past. For example, the main reason why we know that Alexander the Great conquered thousands of years ago is because of the historical documents written down about him. We know that there was a great fire in Rome in 70AD because of the historical documents written about it. In the same way, we can know that Jesus lived, died, and even rose from the dead because of the historical documents written about those events." The guy wasn't interested in listening however, but rather simply to keep repeating his own opinion. But God had found it fit to use this discussion that was going on to draw in a crowd of about 100 people, and there was a decent crowd for the whole hour and quarter that I preached.
When I was explaining the gospel message, so many of the people listening objected when I mentioned that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That same main vocal heckler that I was discussing with earlier said that I can't say that all other religions are wrong. So I asked him, "Are you saying that it is wrong for me to say that all other religions are wrong?" He said, "Yes!" So I pointed out that his own statement is self-refuting, for he is saying that it is wrong for me to say that someone else is wrong, yet he himself is telling me I am wrong. Basically, he's doing the very thing he's condemning me for doing. That's hypocrisy at its finest.
I explained to the crowd that I can say Jesus is the only way because in no other religion is there a Saviour, that is, one who can pay the penalty for our sins instead of us. For in Christ, God shows mercy towards us, but not by overlooking our sin, but rather by punishing Jesus for our sins and thus by that, He satisfies God's justice.
After stepping down from the preaching box, I was greeted by an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. He was absolutely delighted to hear the Word of God being preached in the open air, that he even shouted us all lunch.
After lunch we continued handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to various people. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of outreach!
After hearing some great teaching during the past two days, at a conference with Phil Johnson and James White on the Atonement, I was ready to hit the streets and start witnessing. On the team tonight we had close to 30 people, as there were a number of people from out of state who had come to Brisbane for the conference.
I got up to preach first and started talking about the reality that death comes to everyone - both rich and poor, young and old - and so because of that, where one spends eternity is of utmost importance. But not long after beginning, a number of Muslim guys stopped to listen. I then started a dialogue with them in the open air to see whether they thought they were going to Heaven. They said they didn't know, as they said it's dependent on whether they've done enough good works. So I went through some of the Ten Commandments with them and showed them that they aren't good people in the sight of God. I then shared the news of the cross with them; that they can be forgiven of all their sins by repenting and trusting in the death of Jesus alone for their salvation.
The gentlemen responded by saying that Jesus didn't actually die, but rather Allah only made it appear to everyone living at the time that he died. The guys didn't seem to mind that if this was true, Allah would necessarily have to be a deceiver. So I pointed out to them the logical conclusions for believing that Allah is deceiver, and that is that they cannot know that the Qur'an or anything that Allah has revealed was not given simply in order to deceive them. At this they didn't know how to respond, but instead tried changing the topic of conversation.
After discussing a number of things with them, I quoted a verse in the Qur'an that mentions that there should be no compulsion in religion (2:256). They agreed that these verses are true. But then I asked them, "Is somebody free to leave the Islamic faith?" They responded, "No, if a person leaves Islam, they deserve to die." How is Islam then a religion of peace? So I used that to show another inconsistency within the Islamic faith, that on the surface level Islam may look peaceful and open, but there is actually no freedom, for a person will be put to death if they leave Islam.
To further support my case, I pulled out my Qur'an and went to the 9th Surah and the 29th verse and read it out, saying, "Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (9:29, Yusuf Ali translation)
The Muslims guys tried to say that that verse simply refers to self-defense. I responded by saying that no where in the verse itself or in the context would allow anyone to reasonably make that case. I then read out verse 5 of the same Surah, which says: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."(9:5. Yusuf Ali translation)
I made the point that to "lie in wait" in order to slay the Pagan is definitely not self-defense. But if a person "repents, and establishes regular prayers and practises regular charity" Muslims are commanded to spare them. That basically means, slay the unbeliever and even lie in wait for them, unless they become a Muslim. By that, it is clear that there is definitely compulsion in religion, commanded by the Qur'an. The Muslims guys agreed that the 9th Surah was one of the last revealed to Muhammad and therefore, one of the most important. However, they couldn't disagree with what the Qur'an clearly teaches.
At one stage of the discussion, the Muslims tried to argue that Islam is true because it is the religion that is currently growing the fastest. I responded by saying, "That may be true, but that is simply because of the high birth rate of Muslim families compared to non-Muslim families, and also the fact that people are forced to remain to be a Muslim. But more importantly, the more popular a belief is does not make it any more true. Almost everyone thought the world was flat a couple hundred years ago, but just because that was a popular belief did not make it any more true."
The discussion in the open air with Muslims lasted for about an hour and a half, and they had the gospel presented to them numerous times. During the discussion, a rather large crowd had gathered to listen in on our discussion.
About half way into our outreach, Alex (our regular non-theist heckler) had arrived and brought in about 10 of his 'athiest' buddies to heckle and discuss with us. So after the Muslim fellows left, Alex and I had a bit of a debate on the existence of God in the open air, and then the topic diverged onto Evolution.
David Gee, the former leader of the Sheffield evangelism team, was on the team this evening and had been discussing with Alex over the past year or so via the Apologetics Blog, specifically focussing on the topic of Evolution. So I tagged David Gee in, and he got up on the soap box and discussed with Alex and a number of the other Atheists on this topic. He made sure the gospel was preached as well.
Many one2one conversations were had all throughout the night by everyone on the team, and many gospel tracts went out as well. Praise God, and please keep in prayer all who heard the gospel tonight.
It was a smaller team today, consisting of just Jamie and I. Craig Ireland also came down and witnessed for part of the afternoon with us. I did a bit of open air preaching and there were a few hecklers, but they didn't stay long enough to have a meaningful dialogue.
After preaching, a couple guys who I had witnessed to before asked me to come unto the beach to witness to their mate. So I went there and explained the message of sin, the judgment, and the cross to them all. During this discussion with them, two people sitting not far from us seemed to be listening and one interjected that she thought God was not a God that would judge people. She thought she was a good person and definitely deserved Heaven. So I quoted some Scriptures to her about how God is a judge and that we are not good people. But it was obvious that she didn't want to conform her beliefs to the Word of God, and instead had portrayed a god in the image that she wanted him to be. As the group got larger, I was able to share the gospel with the new participants, and since the different groups of people on the beach seemed to be sitting very close to one another, I could see two other people not far from us that were intently listening as well.
The original people I was talking to openly admitted that they would rather keep going in their lifestyle of sin, rather than repent and trust in Christ. They had all sorts of questions about Christianity, and so the conversation with them lasted over an hour. Please pray that God draws them unto Himself.
Many other conversations were had and a lot of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of witnessing!
Once we arrived at Surfers Paradise, Blake and I spent a bit of time reading through 2 Corinthians 5 which talks about how God has entrusted to us this awesome message of reconciliation through Christ, and that He asks us to make this known everywhere. After being encouraged by that we prayed together, and then ran into a fellow brother in the Lord. It was Craig Ireland, and he was faithfully handing out gospel tracts throughout the day, praise the Lord!
I was the first to get up and preach. And immediately as soon as I had said only basically one word, a guy sitting on a seat about 30 metres from me yelled out something about Jesus. So I dialogued with him in the open-air. He was very resistant to anything pertaining to God, but God still saw fit to use him to draw in a crowd to hear the Word being preached. This lead into a number of other hecklers piping in with their questions or objections.
One heckler was a Muslim bloke who was arguing that the Bible did not exist only 700AD. So I responded, "The Dead Sea Scrolls clearly refute that assertion, as they date back to about 300BC and contain every book of the Old Testament bar Esther. Plus we have thousands of manuscript copies of the New Testament, many dating back to prior-700AD. Moreover," I argued, "Your statement is simply not compatible with the Qur'an, as the Qur'an states that the Bible is a prior revelation, yet it came into being at about 650AD. So if your statement is correct, that would mean that the Qur'an came before the Bible, which would contradict what the Qur'an says." At this the gentlemen saw the error, but wasn't open-minded enough to continue the dialogue. I made sure that I preached the gospel over and over again, calling everyone to repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation.
After preaching for just over an hour, I stepped down and three guys in their twenties came up to me and thanked me for the message. They said that they aren't religious, but the fact that I was willing to get up there and talk about my faith even when objections came was a testament to them that this must be something pretty important. So they said they would now definitely think about the message they heard, and I was also able to have further discussion with them about the gospel. After this, we stopped to have a bit of lunch, and after that Blake got up to preach. He faithfully proclaimed about the coming judgment, sin, the cross, and what a person must do to be saved (repent and trust in Jesus).
During this time, I chatted to various people one2one. One of the conversations I had was with two young ladies. They thought they were good enough to get to Heaven on their own, so I show them from the Scriptures that no one is good enough on their own. They understood that and so I explained the cross and that they must repent and trust in Christ's death alone to be saved. They were very open to the gospel and were very keen to repent and trust in Christ. So I continued to chat with them more about the Christian faith and the cost of discipleship. Please keep these girls in prayer.
Overall, another great day! To God alone be the glory!