Today Jim, Chris and I joined together to reach out to the people of Sheffield and met in Fargate. We prayed together and appealed to the Lord of the harvest that He would intervene in the lives of people to perhaps save a few from those who heard.
I stood up to preach first while Jim and Chris witnessed to those who were in the vicinity. I spoke on the wisdom of man and the folly of man being defined by Christ in their response to His words. While I struggled to get a response there were a few people who listened nearby and I pray that God would use the message to work in them, as He will.
Jim was next up and I have noticed that he is improving steadily in his preaching and becoming more bold and confident. It is fantastic to see God raising other workers up in this needy field of evangelism and I praise God for bringing along Jim, John and Chris.
At first while Jim was preaching there were only a couple of people listening. During this time I went to speak to a lady and her daughter about suffering and God, but was only able to give them a short explanation and a tract because I was interrupted. The interruption was in the form of a raging Mr Gnostic who was back for round two. I quickly went to support Jim who was holding his own against a positive whirlwind of shouting and incoherence. Mr Gnostic was shouting this time that Christians are nothing but a bunch of paedophiles that have concealed the truth that they can have power over people.
Jim did an excellent job of refuting this spurious assertion and repeatedly went to the word of God to show what Jesus said of Himself as recorded in the eyewitness accounts. All the noise gathered a large crowd and Jim took this as an opportunity to preach the gospel many more times. While he was doing this Chris and I were working the crowd to make sure as many people who left as possible could get tracts or speak to one of us.
The preaching went on for quite some time and in the end Jim had to stop only because of the time, I had to get back to work! Jim and Chris where still witnessing to two separate groups as I ran to get back to work.
Praise God that He answers prayers and brings in people to hear the gospel.
John joined me to witness in Sheffield this Saturday and while the day was quiet because of the long weekend there were still quite a few people around to speak with.
I was first up to speak and spoke from John the Baptist's announcement:
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (Joh 1:29b)
I spoke on the person of Jesus and who He is, not the carpenter of Nazareth, but rather God the Son come in the flesh and walking among us. Not many people stopped but I did get to speak with a Buddhist man at length, and urge him not to trust himself to the works based perfection that that religion seeks.
Afterwards I spoke with an older Christian gent who encouraged me in what John and I were doing. Christians, please if you ever see a street preacher, stop and encourage them, you have no idea how much it urges them on to greater works for our Lord!
John spoke next, though public speaking doesn't come naturally to him John faithfully preaches and I know that God uses his words to good effect. During the preaching he interacted with a group of young hecklers and also a Muslim man. While this was happening I was handing out tracts and so didn't get to hear much of what was said.
After a period of speaking to the Muslim man John stepped down to continue discussing things with him. Muhammad was a very open young Muslim and even though he was trying to point us back to the Qur'an as authority in matters of faith he was happy to discuss. John and I spoke with him for quite some time.
Among many things we discussed the outworking of the absence of mercy in Allah as seen in Qur'anic law. There are many controversial things demanded in sharia law such as amputation for theft and death for adultery, but the one thing that causes the most death and suffering in the Islamic world is the law regarding apostasy. Five of the five schools of Islamic law hold that a sane man (a male over 15 years) who leaves the Islamic faith for another is to be killed. Likewise four of the five schools hold this position for women who apostatise. As Barnabas fund (www.barnabasfund.co.uk) have show in their many reports, this has lead to innumerable people to be killed or persecuted around the entire world, even in supposedly "Christian" nations like the UK.
If I were a Muslim I would have immense difficulty with this reality and be forced to ask, "If this is the mercy of Allah shown in his law then what will he do to me when I appear before his judgement?". I urge all Muslims to consider that question carefully and consider the many ways you have broken the laws of God both within and without. There is no mercy in Allah for the above crimes why should there be any for you in your crimes?
But we didn't point this young man to Allah and the Qur'an but rather to the living God and the work of God in history to save men like him and us. The Qur'an demands Muslims to trust the Bible and so we urged him to read John 5:19-47 where all are commanded to honour the Son (Jesus) as they honour the Father.
So I end by asking you all, whom do you trust in? For it is written:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Saturday, 24 May, 2008
When we arrived in the city tonight Andre and I were met by the sight of thousands of Asian people walking around the CBD. This was odd, so we went about tracting people in the Queen Street Mall as fast as we could. We then headed across to King George Square, and once again we were met with the sight of many Asians in the square. Instantly, Andre and I reached for our tracts and headed into the crowd. It turns out that they had just finished a memorial service for those who died in the massive Chinese earthquake.
We then met up wit some of the team, and had a time of prayer, and Bible reading. I noticed that the team was down a bit on numbers tonight, so we began to pray that God would see fit to raise up more labourers for His harvest. As always, God is faithful, and He brought in more people to work with us on the streets.
I decided to preach first for the night, this is something I am not a big fan of doing. I would rather preach second and deal with hecklers, but tonight I thought for a nice change I would open up. It was good to see as we were setting up to preach, that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was hanging around, I think that he is a "Preacher Seeking Missile", as soon as we began to minister, he was right up there talking to people. While I was preaching I was heckled by a bunch of youth from a large church, who we ministered to last week. They were just as loud, and sinful as the week prior. After preaching for awhile, I stood down, and got the next preacher ready to go. It was a real quiet night, and it was hard to get hecklers. Even Alex wasn't heckling.
I noticed that there were a few young adults from church present, so I went across to greet them. Alex came across a few minutes later and began to heckle a bit in a one to one. So I engaged him in debate. A crowd gathered around to listen to us debate. The topic of discussion was over the historical Jesus. I produced the evidence of from secular history in regards to Jesus Christ living, and being crucified, and then I did an apologetic to prove that He rose from the grave. We then got on to the topic of atheism. It was an interesting discussion, and I truly think Alex is starting to soften to the Gospel.
During this time, Andre preached, and so did Kevin. By the time I finished talking to Alex, it was time for Hsusy to preach. He did a good job, and it is a real blessing to have him on the team. He does a fine job expounding the gospel, and dealing with hecklers.
One heckler, that kept attacking Hsusy was rather strange. No matter, what Hsusy said he would not listen, and he would just make up another argument. It was very clear that what the heckler was saying, was not built on fact, but rather on fantasy. He contended that Jesus Christ is actually from a pagan background, and that if you look at pagan religions there is a man called "Jesus". Hsusy, countered this claim, and the man didn't know what to do.
If one spends enough time on the street, you get to hear a lot of ‘odd' information. This man showed some of the ‘oddest'. He started to argue, that Jesus Christ did not exist till the eighteenth century, and that we did not have the Bible until the sixteenth century. Hsusy, took his argument apart piece by piece, and the man quickly turned, and ran away.
For the rest of the night we spent time doing one to ones, and also handing out tracts. Just before we left some homeless people approached us, and asked that we buy them dinner. Hsusy was quick to respond, and went and got them a hot meal.
Please keep Alex in prayer, and also Riley. Both of these young men argue for atheism, and are really regular heckles. Pray that God would grant them repentance, and bring them to the knowledge of the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Today was a wonderful day, in which the Lord Jesus decided to give us freedom from police interference from sharing the message of the bible in public. It was a nice break, and the day was quite an exciting one for open air preaching, with interested crowds.
Tara was the first girl to respond by God's grace, and God used Tara's conversation with me, to draw in a small crowd, which eventually dissipated to some degree, at the moment the gospel began to be shared. After a while, as Tara began to hear the ten commandments, she appeared to be a little nervous, possibly because her sin was exposed. If that was the case she was more concerned that human beings knew about her crime, than God knowing, who created her. Such is the state of the human heart, we all have it, it's desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Tara received a gospel tract, and shook my hand. She was a nice young girl, and I pray God converts her, before she gets too deeply immersed in the wicked ways of the world.
A little later, Keith Rochford, stepped up and as he was conversing with a man, the latter admitted to being an adulterer and a liar. As Keith began to expound on the reality of hell, giving references from the bible, a lady yelled out: "Isn't God forgiving?" Keith smiled, and deferred the question until the man seemed ready to hear the gospel.
Next Keith called out to another man who was present, and asked if he thought he was good, against the ten commandments. Not surprisingly he said, "Yes". Then, as the law was brought to his hearing, he said that he would be OK, because he went to a catholic school. Keith corrected his understanding.
Not a long while after, Keith began his short speech on the Evolution theory, Eugenics, and finally on Nazi Germany being the beginning of the logical conclusion of the Darwinian theory, in an largely unrestrained human being.
Shortly after a lady appeared, who was willing to take the good test. She was rather argumentative on each commandment. Amanda was her name. She didn't want a gospel tract. She sounded like she had heard the ten commandments before, and didn't like them. We all know, that thieves and murderer's don't like the law of the land, so we hope God gives her the grace to see her criminal activity for what it really is, before she passes from this world to the judgment throne of God.
Amanda left, but Riccardo (who had been listening), entered into conversation with Keith. He saw his crimes against God, but professed innocence. Riccardo knew of Jesus death, but professed "being good", was the way to be saved/forgiven. Keith preached the gospel to him, and showed that Christ was crucified for sinners (a substitutionary death), and raised the third day for their justification.
A group of lads in black came up, after that, and started to be foolish with Keith. One of the girls, had a pastor for a father. Keith walked one of the boys through the commandments. The daughter objected, "we all make mistakes! Are you going to hell, because of your mistakes?". Keith corrected her premise and understanding of the scriptures, and then turned to the boys, who kept swearing in front of ladies and children. He told them off sternly a number of times. These boys kept playing on Keith's words, and making fun of him. They all decided to leave, but the lad, which Keith was taking through the commandments, wanted to stay and listen some more.
The daughter who was attached to this young man, was professing to live with her boyfriend and be a christian at the same time. Keith launched into another brief sermon, on the hypocrisy of false professors who put Christ's name to shame. As the young people left, Keith preached the gospel home in their hearing. I believe the young man took a gospel tract from Keith.
I swapped with Keith, and by God's grace drew in another crowd, this time it was bigger than before, and the biggest social type crowd we have seen for a while. God orders these things for His own glory.
Sam a Muslim, who was quite self-righteous, but humorous caused me more than once to burst into laughter, for his jokes were quite funny. He tried to get off the charges of stealing and lying. He tried everything he could, but the Holy Spirit who was my safety net, did not allow his arguments to pass uncorrected. In fact his humorous arguments drew in more people, and gave me an opportunity to instruct the people who were listening, out of God's holy law.
Sam left after a while, he seemed frustrated, but pretended like he had won. It is childishness to trap someone for the sake of trapping them, and this I am not interested in. I was sorry to see him go, but I was told later that Keith has spoken to him before. So we might see Sam again in the near future, especially if God is drawing him to the Son of God for conversion.
Terry a middle aged aussie with no shirt, came in (he had been listening to Sam and me dialogue), and he also began to converse with me. I walked him through the law, but at the end he wanted to go. I don't blame him, when I first went through the ten commandments, I didn't like it either. Terry was persuaded by God's work in his heart, to stay and give me fifteen seconds, in which I presented the gospel. Terry thanked me and walked off, this time with the eternal gospel in his mind to think about. Terry seemed to have a softer heart than most middle-aged men I talk to. Please pray for all these people. I love the Gold Coast, and pray God would cleanse the whole place from crime, for the sake of His Son.
Keith Rochford preached us home with the gospel and a brief apologetics on religion versus Christianity.
An interesting note today, was that two police officers came over towards us and walked around where we preach, and both of them left without stopping us. I was quite happy, and pray God helps them to catch as many criminals as God is pleased to help them catch. They do a tough job, and we appreciate them for it.
David Strachnan joined us from Christ Community Church, and was a real pleasure, he is a nice young man studying at college. He had some good conversations with people around where we were preaching.
Snowy Barwick, filmed us again, which we were grateful for, and he had a good conversation with a young man immediately afterwards.
Thank God for you gentlemen.
May God get all the glory from His instruments, filled with His eternal mercy and blessing in Jesus Christ,
See you on the harvest fields, and please brothers and sisters, don't get sleepy when there is so much work to be done,
On Friday night the team came together once more for another weekend of ministry. Arriving at Leicester Square a little later than usual, myself and Philip were met by Carl, Virgil and Andrew. It wasn't until about 9:30pm that we had grouped together before praying for the evening. Due to the events of the previous Friday we debated amongst ourselves as to what would be the best location for us to use, that would be compliant for the authorities. We decided to stand against the railing, to the right of the artists. We concluded that there was sufficient space between them and us. We did not know how things would go, but we had prayed and were trusting in the Lord. Before stepping up to preach Phil pointed to the other side of the square where some form of entertainment had drawn in a large crowd. It was interesting to note that the police had not stepped in to break up the crowd like they had done with us.
After stepping up to preach I drew in a reasonable size crowd. There has been much in the news lately concerning the events in China and Burma. The question of why there is suffering in the world is a common objection that is often thrown at Christianity, so I decided to begin by talking about why we have suffering in the world. I explained that suffering and sin cannot be separated; it is because sin has come into the world that we have disease and suffering and crime, etc. I must admit that the crowd I had was fairly placid compared to recent weeks. After opening up the law of God to make clear the standard of God's justice I did a call out to a man named Julio. I asked him if he would be deserving of heaven or hell, after being found guilty of breaking God's law. I reasoned with him that if God's standards are higher than human standards would it not make sense that God must punish sin, especially when you consider that according to our own laws, a guilty criminal would not be allowed to go free. I never really got a straight answer from him and it was made a little trickier when his friend George also added his comments. They were trying to say that you cannot compare our justice system with that of God's justice system, but I explained that it is only because we are created in the image of God that we have laws in the first place. Our sense of morality comes from God. I continued to explain why we are all deserving of God's punishment and that without a Saviour there is no hope for anybody. This allowed me to explain why Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, since a substitute for our sins can be found no where else, except in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Towards the end of my preach, I spoke of the certainty of death and that we must consider the value of our soul in preparation of where we will spend eternity. At this point a man cried out, "I'm a sinner! I love death!" To this I replied, "Does that mean you would like to die right now?" I never heard another word out of him after that. After coming down from my ladder I was pleased to see that the team were all involved in one-to-one conversations. We continued to speak to the people who had gathered and spent the rest of the evening handing out tracts and talking with people. We were very grateful to the Lord that He had used us once more to preach to the people gathered at Leicester Square.
Saturday morning came around and it was back to Tooting Broadway. We arrived at 11:30am and opened in prayer. I decided to have the team spend a good half hour or so doing one-to-one's before I got up to preach. The team consisted of Philip, Antonio, Andrew, Joanna, Joe and myself. I did a bit of filming as well as they all set about handing out tracts and talking with the people. I continue to be greatly encouraged by Antonio. Still a young Christian, it was awesome to see him engaging with people in a one-to-one conversation. It was also wonderful to have Joe join us, who is from Nigeria and is often back there due to business. Below is an interview I did with Andrew after a one-to-one conversation that he had with a young couple.
Editor's Note: The analogies used in this video,
are credited to the Way of the Master Ministry
As time went on I decided to step up to preach. A number of people stopped and then moved on, only for others to then take their place. This is quite common for Tooting Broadway. As a busy intersection it is harder to get a crowd but many people are coming and going and so they do get to hear the Word of God as they go their way. I noticed as I was preaching that there were a few listening quite attentively. Speaking with them afterwards I noticed that they were Christians. It was encouraging speaking with them and I could see that they too had been encouraged. Part of this ministry is to also motivate and inspire other Christians to step out and take the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world.
Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with another great weekend of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!
There were five of us today as we met together to evangelise at the Redcliffe Jetty. Firstly we prayed and then started our voyage down the jetty. We gave tracts to everyone we met which lead into longer one2one conversations.
There was one older couple who actually asked Ralph to come over to have a chat with them about religious topics. They were self-proclaimed 'atheists', so Ralph showed them why there must be a God from causality and design. After the conversation was over, the couple was keen to continue the conversation at a later stage, so Ralph mentioned that we have a Skypecast every Sunday evening (9pm-12am) where he can dialogue with them about this subject further.
Meanwhile, I was having a chat with a another lady with some new-age spiritual beliefs. She said that there is no Hell, only different levels of Heaven. I asked her where she was getting her information from, and she said, "her feelings". So I pointed out that feelings are just subjective experiences and someone can have the same type of feelings but result in a totally different belief. So I presented a positive case for the doctrine of Hell, however she did not like hearing that she would be going there. But instead of turning to Christ after hearing the gospel, she just said, "No, I just don't believe there is a Hell" and she didn't want to chat any further.
To God be the glory that His Word went out in the City of Redcliffe today. Please pray to the Lord of the harvest to draw the people we witnessed to today to Himself.
This past weekend we were once more back on the street to proclaim the gospel. We arrived at Tooting Broadway a little before 7:30 pm and set about handing out tracts. I did not intend on preaching as I knew I would be preaching later at Leicester Square and also the following morning at Tooting Broadway. We spent about forty minutes or so handing out tracts and talking to people. I managed to talk with three young teenage girls who stopped to talk when I handed them each a million pound note gospel tract.
As we got talking I shared the gospel with them as I would any other. However, it became apparent that they were Christians and that they were on the way to a prayer meeting! I don't make it a habit of not trusting in people but I have seen all too often how quickly someone can say they are a Christian when in reality that is not the case. I asked them if they spoke to their friends about Jesus and they said that they did. I emphasised to them the importance of speaking about sin, righteousness and judgement and that the gospel makes it clear we are to repent of our sin and turn in faith towards the Lord. They seemed a little surprised by this and as I continued to share with them the essentials of true biblical evangelism I could see that they had not received solid teaching concerning the gospel. This is so typical of churches today.
Before they left they each received an in-depth gospel tract. I handed to the girl who had been the most responsive a Ten Commandment coin gospel tract, which has the Ten Commandments on one side and the gospel on the other, and told her to use it to start a conversation with one of her friends. She seemed quite excited by this. Just then their bus arrived and so we said our goodbyes. I received a hug for my efforts but the greatest reward will be to see them all in heaven one day. Please pray that will be the case.
We arrived at Leicester Square at about 8:40 pm. Carl was there to meet us; he's been a real blessing. We had a new face join us as well. My friend Dale from Workington had contacted me earlier in the week to put me in contact with Virgil, a friend of his now living in London. After some brief introductions we made our way over to where we had preached the previous Friday. The artists that line the railing had again said they preferred we did not preach in their "spot." Carl was first up to preach and he preached for about 15 minutes. He is still developing as an open-air preacher and I am sure that the Lord will use him as he continues to step out and preach. He does not use a loud voice when he preaches but he still attracts listeners and a few hecklers too! I have learnt that you learn the most through doing. After he finished I stepped up to preach. It was not long before a sizeable crowd formed. My first heckler was a man named Richard. When he heard me speak of intelligent design and how it proves there is an intelligent Creator, he scoffed. He worked up the crowd to say that the amazing complexity of the human body is not evidence of an awesome Creator. The people cheered in his favour, however it was not long before he had moved on and the people were still standing there listening. A question was asked concerning the crusades, during which time many "Christians" did terrible things in the name of Christianity. I told the crowd that a true Christian is known by his/her fruit and that if someone claims to be a Christian then his/her life must be in accord with what the Bible says. I was really encouraged as I could see this impacted the people's understanding of what a true Christian is.
It wasn't long after this that I was heckled by some young girls who insisted that there was no evidence for God. They were quite forceful in their arguments and appeared even angry. I found out later when talking with the others that they'd had a Christian background and that they had been let down by God in some way. This is tragic. It is quite likely that they came to Christ expecting a bed of roses only to find that this is not the case. This is the terrible result of modern evangelism that seeks to water down the message in such a way that you no longer hear words like sin, righteousness and judgment. The call to repent is rarely heard these days, instead we are told to simply "ask Jesus into our heart." Christ came preaching repentance. So did John the Baptist. So did the apostle Paul. Study church history and you will see it there too. Much of the church today seems to have discovered some new way to preach the gospel. Yet in the book of Galatians we read, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-9).
As I was answering their questions and objections a man dressed in civilian clothing approached me and showed me his badge. It was clear he was a police officer. He wanted a word with me and so I stepped down from my ladder to talk with him. His objection to what we were doing centred on the fact that we had accumulated quite a large crowd (to my knowledge probably the biggest I have had so far) and since Leicester Square is a "hotspot" for pick-pocketing crime it makes their job harder to have to deal with a crowd of this size. He also mentioned that we were blocking the thoroughfare with the crowd that we had gathered. I asked him if there was not some other place that we could go and he said no. He was making it appear that he was trying to be helpful but in reality he wanted us gone. I found out later that Leicester Square is his spot and so clearly it was more a case that we were an inconvenience than anything else. He did not say that we were breaking the law and actually said he was not telling us to move but was rather asking us to do so. I had with me an article written by The Christian Institute, which details the law related to street evangelism. I regret that I did not use this to my advantage. I must admit that my experience with the police is not that great and so I was rather accommodating to their wishes. I did protest, but thinking back on it now I could have defended our position much more strongly. The issue that concerned me the most was that it seemed to be coming across that we would not be allowed back to Leicester Square ever again. This is something I am in the process of looking into. I have contacted The Christian Institute, who are helping me in this regard. This Friday we will be trying a different venue, but only because we want to clarify the legalities and the rights that we have. I had been preaching for about 27 minutes before I was stopped so I praise God for the time that He gave us. It was just passed 10:30pm when we were stopped and as we leave around 11:00 pm anyway we decided to spend the next half hour or so handing out tracts and talking with people. The events with the police had shaken us up a little and we were not quite ourselves afterwards. This was somewhat new territory for us and one which we knew would come eventually. We need to learn from this so that we will handle it better in the future. Please pray that the Lord would help us and that He would give us much wisdom.
Saturday came around and it was back to Tooting Broadway. Antonio met myself and Phil at 11:30 am and not long after Barney (another member from my church) joined us as well. We began by handing out gospel tracts and speaking with people first. I approached a young girl who had dyed pink hair as well as a great amount of makeup on. As we got talking she mentioned that she was homosexual. Her name is Kitty and she is just 16. She was quite willing to talk and said that she enjoyed conversations regarding God and life after death. She mentioned that she did not see her homosexuality as a sin and that she was simply born that way. This can be a challenging objection to have to deal with. We need to emphasise that God has created both male and female and that the Bible does not allow for homosexuality. This can be a sensitive topic and we need to be careful when talking with people who are engaged in this kind of sin. This does not mean that we agree with them that their homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible clearly says it is very much a sin in God's eyes. However, so is lying, theft, blasphemy and idolatry. I spoke to her of how we can know that there is a God, that the Bible is a true and trustworthy book (click on this link to see why) and that if the Bible is indeed true then we all have to give an account of ourselves before Him one day. I was able to share the gospel with her and leave her with a couple of tracts. Please pray for her. Another chap I got to speak with was Zeff. It was not a long chat but I was able to share the whole counsel of God with him. He thanked me but I sensed that he was simply being polite. I stressed to him the importance of thinking through what I had said. He left with a gospel tract and so do pray for him.
After we had all handed out a good number of tracts and spoken with quite a few people I stood up to preach open-air. Some people did stop to listen; this prompted Barney to whizz about handing out tracts to them. Towards the end of my message I was approached by a man named Keith. He began by heckling me and speaking against the veracity of Scripture as well as the Christian faith itself. After a little while I came down off my ladder and spoke with him in a more personal way. It turned out that he does believe in God and it was clear that he is searching. He told me that he was an alcoholic and that he struggled to give it up in his own strength. He asked God to help but the help never seemed to come. I had a real heart for this guy. I told him that in our own strength we will fail but if we put our trust in Christ we can overcome.
I shared the complete gospel with him and urged him to turn from his own strength. He still seemed convinced that he could save himself if he just tried hard enough. I helped him to understand that salvation is a free gift. If we try and "buy" the gift then it is no longer a gift. When we try and earn our salvation we are in affect trying to buy the free gift that God offers to all who repent of their sin and trust in Him alone. This really helped Keith and he appeared most grateful as he left. I invited him to church and he said that he would come, unfortunately he did not come that Sunday and so it is my hope and prayer that I will see him again, hopefully at church! Praise God, we'd had another great weekend of ministry!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ali, Dan, Ralph, and I (Ryan) met up at the start of the Redcliffe jetty at 2pm, ready to do some evangelising. Firstly we prayed, and then Dan informed me that there was a Kite Festival on at another part of Redcliffe. So we decided that we would first tract all the people on the jetty, and then move to that area afterwards.
So we walked down the jetty giving out big money out and Dan struck a conversation with some people sitting on a bench at the end of the jetty, Ralph had a chat with some Catholic people, and I got into a conversation with some ladies who had some very new age beliefs. They would say, "Heaven and Hell is within you" and by doing some special thing within yourself, you can have the happiness of Heaven now.
When I described that the God of the Bible has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness, the ladies said, "No, my god would never judge. We are the only ones that judge." When I asked them how they came to this conclusion, they responded, "Because that's the feeling I'm getting; that's my experience." I pointed out to her that I've talked to other people who have said they too have these types of feelings, but their 'god' is totally different to their's. So then, how do we know which one is right? Well that is why we need to refer to something objective, and that is what the Bible has revealed about who God is.
After these conversations were had, we drove down to the kite festival and there were many people there. So we used this opportunity to give out tracts and chat to people about the judgment to come, leading onto the gospel.
Overall, it was a chilly, but good day where many seeds of the gospel were sown.
This Saturday Anna and I headed into Fargate together to bear witness to Christ. We shared a time of prayer first and then began by handing out tracts, while we were doing this I bumped into Ian, whom I had spoken with recently, whilst preaching. Ian had been hoping to see us again soon, and was (contrary to what some Christians believe) glad of the opportunity to speak with us further about the things of God.
Ian and I discussed some of the ins and outs of the Christian life and again I was impressed by his desire to find answers. He left with a smile, after shaking my hand and thanking me for sharing the gospel of Christ Jesus with him again.
We headed up the mall and set up in the centre to preach. I got up to preach while Anna and Paddy were doing good work, witnessing one-to-one and handing out tracts. Today appeared to be a day of hecklers and objections and the first up was Andrew. Andrew did part of the good person test with me, he began to object when I said to him that God would one day judge all he did and thought. At this point Sam chimed in also and basically just gave the assertion that God could not judge him because he didn't like it.
I tried to answer both Sam and Andrew and show that God is the judge over all of us by right because he has made us and gives us life. If someone makes a vase of clay they have the right to treasure or destroy it because they made the vase and thus it belongs to them. Likewise it is written that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and because of this God as our maker has the right to determine what rules will govern our existence. This was answered with another assertion (which is impossible to defend), "There is no God" and "You can't prove God exists". So we discussed the evidence that comes from design and the order of our world that positively screams, "God has made the universe".
The next heckler to step up to the plate was an atheist man who was determined to pin the cause of suffering in the world, on God. I tried to answer this age-old question in a reasonable fashion, but the interruptions were coming hard and fast. And he insisted that his assertion was right. After struggling backwards and forwards for some time on this topic, it finally became clear what he wanted to say. In essence his claim was that because God made us and is in absolute control of everything. He is responsible for our sin. This claim holds about as much water as a sieve, and is addressed far more ably than I, by many authors (e.g. J Blanchard in ‘Is God Past His Sell by Date?' and ‘Does God believe in Atheists?').
The bible teaches that first and foremost we are all responsible for our sin before God:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Secondly the Bible also teaches as this man rightly pointed out, God is sovereign and in absolute control of the world. Does this then mean that God is really at fault for our sin and we are off the hook? NO! While the two concepts appear to be in contradiction, to the mind of fallen and weak men and women, it is not the case. These concepts are taught as equally true, God is absolutely in control, but we are also are absolutely guilty of treason and rebellion against God. And as the letter to the Romans puts so clearly:
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
There were many other questions and different reactions to my answers varying between open hostility and accusations through to thoughtful nods and affirmations. Let them think what they will of me, I AM worthy of contempt (and eternal hell), but for my glorious saviour.
We pray O God that you will continue to work through your Spirit whenever the gospel is proclaimed, convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment. Save the people of our town and rise in your might to defend your people. May all be to your glory O God both now and forever where your people will join in singing around your throne:
"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
The young man mocked the preacher, as he kicked his legs out from the concrete pillar he was sitting on. His youthful voice sang out foolish questions, and challenged the authority of God's Word openly. Behind him a young lady from South America, was trying to hold back the tears, as the gospel of Jesus Christ was shared with the crowd.
A little later on, as the preacher counselled the young lady, two police officers approached. The young girl had tears pouring down her face. The preacher was asked for his identification, and then he was ordered to leave the area for twenty-four hours.
The young lady was not seen again, but God is sovereign and will complete his purposes, at his will.
Earlier on, the preacher was greeted by an old family friend, Mr. Victor Barwick. This gentleman, assisted the gospel proclamation, and encouraged the preacher.
Shortly, the gospel was being shared with many who had never understood the gospel correctly.
If you want to know why it was that the people stayed to hear the gospel, then you must first hear this audio:
Click on the picture to load..
The young people, who stayed to hear the gospel, began to ask questions. The preacher did his best, to understand the questions and answer them from the scriptures.
One young woman asked: "Where do babies come from, if it's wrong to lust?"
A simple answer prompted a stunned silence from the crowd of young to middle-aged people.
What happens, when you go with some boy or some girl, because you want to take them to bed? Is that a good basis to build a relationship upon? What happens when he likes another girl more than you, won't he leave you for her? What happens when you get old, and he sees some young attractive girl? Where is your relationship now?
Friendship is the basis of a good relationship, no matter what happens you will love your partner. When a girl comes along, he won't leave you, because the relationship isn't built upon lust.
Then the marriage bed is a precious thing, and one enjoyed by a couple determined to stay together, not matter what the personal cost. If he loses a leg, you will stay by him. If your face gets melted off, he won't leave you, because he loves you.
Time and again, the Lord Jesus brought different people to the preacher. It is a pleasure to serve him.
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things:
to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Saturday, 17 May, 2008
Tonight I decided to field test Ryan as the team leader. Over the past few weeks we have been working on training him up as a leader, and he has shown some good growth. So tonight was the night in which we would put his training and leadership to the test.
As Ryan went about organising the team, I had a chance to stand off to the side and hand out tracts, and talk to people. The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, while he was preaching I got into a conversation with a man who claimed to have a Christian background but would not reveal exactly what that background was.
We spoke for some time in regards to the teachings of Jesus and the use of parables, the whole time I was watching him, and listening very carefully to his arguments. The case that put forward was consistent with the common arguments presented by the Seventh Day Adventists. So I asked him if he was a Seventh Day Adventist, he looked stunned and refused to answer. We then entered into the discussion in regards to what happens when someone dies. We both agreed on the basics, that is we die once, and then after that we are judged. However, the man stated that we enter into ‘soul sleep', that is once we die, we stay in the ground until such a time that Jesus returns. To this I decided to take him to the Bible:
"Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
Paul in this passage indicates that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. The man looked at me and said "Yes, I agree with that, however, there is a long period of time between dying and being with the Lord." This was a classic case of eisegesis. So I called him out on that and pointed out the text doesn't say that, but rather he is forcing his presupposition into the text. The man maintained that he was not, so I asked again, how he got that from the verse. He did not answer that question, but then changed gears and started to ask me about the doctrine of hell. This worked well with what we were talking with as I then turned him to Luke 16 to illustrate about two people who had died and were immediately in a place where they were conscious of their surrounding, thus, destroying the case for ‘soul sleep'. But as with most cults, and with those who twist scripture, he had an answer. His reply was to allegorize the text, and then turn into a parable.
The parable argument for Luke 16 is rather weak, since the account that Jesus is talking about doesn't follow the structure of other parables, since Jesus mentions that ‘there was a certain man' and then gives specific names. This does not follow the pattern of parables. The story is supposed to be interpreted literally. The man refused to listen, and said he would like to debate some more. Threw the week he sent me and email, in which he was rather arrogant, and wanted to fight over the issue. Something, I haven't the time to engage in.
After this I was able to hand out a few more tracts, and engage in some good one to one discussions. It was now that I noted that Alex (Mr. Dawkins Man) was back, he has been coming back on a weekly basis for months now. I always look forward to talking to him, as he is good to draw a crowd, and his arguments are rather weak. But, I want all those reading this report to stop right now, and pray that God will convert Alex.
Ryan preached for a bit, and he finished up around 11pm. It was then that I decided to step up the preach. I really didn't feel like it, since I had next to no sleep. But as I preached God was gracious to draw a small crowd in. He brought a bunch of young people, who all at once began to heckle. Yet, claimed to be Christian. They all counted their Christianity on the fact that they attend a large church called Citipointe COC, they said they went there for the games, and had been assured by the leaders that they were Christians. That church has a reputation of being a false convert factory, that waters down the gospel to the point where there is no ‘good news' left in it. We got to have a good witness to the youth, and they all took tracts at the end. Please pray for their conversion.
The night ended with a lot of one to one conversations. May God be praised for allowing His Word to go out!
Soli Deo Gloria!