Wow today we were amazed at seeing God’s Spirit working in a man walking past the table. He was at first looking away as if not interested, he even said no to us offering a tract as he got closer. Just about passed the table, suddenly he stopped and said “can I have a bible?” gob smacked we said "of course you can."
Then he was asked if he had read the bible before. He said a little, but a long time ago but didn’t understand it. We talked about the main point of the bible is so we can come know our creator God. His plan through Jesus, who is God, is to save us from our sins. There is bad news and good news. He was taken through the law and the Gospel was explained to him. We gave him a booklet of John also, as we were using the bridge analogy that is in the front of the booklet.
He was challenged to see his greatest need is Jesus. We got his name and hope to see him again soon. Please pray for J. Rick said the Lord must have said "wake up J!" We pray so.
We also had a couple who were on their way to spread the Gospel to a town 4 hours away. They said they were born again and believing in Jesus. They went past us twice but were in a rush. They were given a booklet and a few different tracts and they were encouraged to check out the ministry website and read some of the outreach blogs that endeavour to bless and equip other believers.
Always plenty of tracts given out, so much hope in the seed of the Gospel in written form. We are so thankful to our Lord for the work He is doing here in Warwick. It's been very dry here, we are in pretty severe drought and would appreciate prayer for rain but add that God’s will be done in it all as He is Sovereign over everything.
On Saturday afternoon, the team met on Bribie for a time of outreach. We were blessed to have four extra helpers, which was encouraging. It was a great privilege to have a pastor drive all the way down from Hervey Bay to share the Gospel, as well as another Christian who drove through 2 and 1/4 hours of heavy traffic to join us. The weather was on its best behaviour, there was a constant flow of people coming and going, and the general atmosphere seemed friendly and receptive. A large number of tracts went out, along with several Bibles and other literature. Many people stopped to talk and heard the Gospel. There were a large number of Christians who also passed us in the course of the afternoon and encouraged us in what we were doing, promised to pray for the outreach, or took tracts to distribute.
Mike engaged with two young atheists. In the course of the short discussion, they became very uncomfortable, but they left with Gospel tracts which speak of evolution vs. creation. Pray for their salvation.
One elderly lady said, "I followed Jesus once, but I don't don't anymore. I will pray to Him just before I die." Mike asked her if she knew when that would be, or if it could be tonight. She said she liked to be positive about such matters, but she did take a tract.
Pray too for a Christian lady we met who has been struggling with suffering in her life. She was looking for someone to reach out and care for her, someone to be there for her in her loneliness. She was encouraged to look to Jesus, to regularly study the words of Scripture, and to be faithful in her prayer life. She took some Christian literature and was put in contact with a local Christian who could mentor and pray for her.
One of the team members spoke to some teenagers about the Gospel, and they seemed fairly attentive. After the main group moved off however, Keeshi stayed behind and asked some more questions. Her two sisters had once been "bad girls," but since getting saved, they had completely changed. She said they had been praying for her, and she seemed to genuinely seeking the truth. She came to our literature table and took a Bible and a DVD, as well as other Gospel literature. Please be in prayer for this young girl's conversion.
Another team member was able to strike up a conversation with a gentleman who had previously refused a tract. He was able to plant some seeds in this man's heart, and we pray that God would bring them to fruition.
Overall, it was a great afternoon. The Word of God has gone out, and we now pray for fruit to come. Please be active in prayer for these souls, fervent in supplication, and if you can make it, we would love to have join us next month at the Bribie Island outreach.
It was good to get out again... there's still a lot I need to learn. I need to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible and other helpful resources such as 'The Christian in Complete Armour - William Gurnall.
Took the flip chart out to Caroline Bay (Timaru) to meet up with a few other like minded Christians. The others already had a few conversations with a few different people by the time I arrived. After the flip chart was setup I had a conversation with a 'Christian' who said it was a lousy method (flip chart); who did not agree with the direct approach of the good person test (Law and Gospel) and who seemed to deny original sin. I pointed to Psalm 51 'In sin did my mother conceive me'; he also tried to say that its not really breaking the law if no one sees you. He did seem to change his mind slightly when I gave a very basic illustration that if I stole my mother's purse and no one saw me, that it is still theft, whether anyone saw me or not. He was unable to tell me how or why to get saved if I were an unbeliever and favoured a more 'friendship-God-is-love' approach.
I had a few minutes with a group of German tourists, who although pressed for time, did stay a while to chat, but when the conversation started to become serious (Law and Gospel and the consequences of breaking the one and neglecting the other) they excused themselves. Attached is a photo of a member from my church who had a good conversation with two girls, who also left with tracts.
It was a brief, but thought provoking outreach. Please pray for all who were spoken to. Psalm 67
As opposed to the last two Saturdays, today was a nice sunny day. Spring is definitely on the way! So I headed into Cathedral Square to set up my flip chart. I had about eight Gospel interactions. Some long, some short.
I had a good follow up conversation with a guy Daniel had talked to during last night's outreach. He is from the USA, and is heading down to Antarctica. He said he liked the tract he had received, and asked if I had any different ones - so I gave him one of each I had. Some good reading material for him while down on the ice!
Soon after that, I had two guys stop and instantly start talking about God’s love (in a very attacking kind of way - which put me on the back foot and made me very defensive). They had pigeon holed me as a “fundamentalist” that only talked about God’s wrath. It turns out they were Catholic. We spared for a while, before they disengaged. I got to talk about the love and wrath of God in balance with them. The tract I gave them was perfect for the discussion: Jesus shows us God. We parted on good terms.
Near the end of the outreach, I had a boy see “the good person test” and want to give it a try, he had his aunty with him. It can sometimes be awkward sharing with a child and parent. The parent often doesn’t like it when I hold up the law like a mirror to their child, who is always “good”. So I was very upfront with the aunty about what I was going to do. And I made it all the way through the law and Gospel presentation with them both with no problems. The aunty accepted a follow up tract too.
With the completion of this Battle Log, I’m officially on leave for a few days! Taking some much needed R&R with my family. I’m very grateful for rest, and looking forward to recharging the batteries before launching into another busy summer of outreach! Soli Deo Gloria! :)
Thursday and Friday saw five outreaches: Eastgate bus stops (team of two), Northlands bus stops (team of two), Gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch Hospital (team of five), Open air preaching in Cathedral Square & flip charting near the Bridge of Remembrance (team of ten), and finally the city evening outreach (team of two).
The highlight conversation at the bus stops was with a Muslim high school student who accepted a tract as she walked past and then became engaged in a discussion. The fulcrum of the debate was around how God can be both just and merciful. It was a passionate conversation. In the end she had to go, but she didn’t want to let the debate drop, and wanted to connect on social media so the conversation could continue. I ended up giving her my phone, and she emailed herself from it so she could reply at a later time. She couldn’t shake my hand, as they don’t do that in their culture (I’m slowly learning!) - but we parted on good terms.
I turned around and noticed another high school student (from a Catholic school) and offered him a tract, which he refused. I said, “I’ve just had a great chat with a Muslim, I’d love to talk to a Catholic now!” He smiled, and then he said something that really surprised me, he said, “I really appreciate the way you go about what you do.” He had obviously been taking notice of the conversation I had just been having! I thanked him, and admitted that it can sometimes be hard to maintain gentleness and respect when you are sharing a message that people don’t want to hear - but that it is vital to do so. I then offered him a tract again, and said, “are you sure you don’t want one?” He then said, “no, I already have two, I’ve picked them up around here - I like to talk about them with my RE teacher”. He then shocked me by asking if he could have my phone too, so he could email himself and get back to me! I was honoured to allow him to do so. How incredibly encouraging!
These conversations occurred on Thursday afternoon. As of now (Saturday morning), I’ve not heard from either of them yet - but I hope I do.
During the Gospel + abortion outreach we had a man in a wheelchair stop to talk with us and express his support. I quickly took the opportunity to swing the conversation to a Gospel one. They guy through he was a good person, so I took him through the law (the ten commandments) to allow him to test himself. I was then able to share the good news of the Gospel: Jesus. As soon as I’d finished, he said, “look at the time, I’ve got to get going”. I have no choice but to leave him in God’s hands after our very brief conversation.
The preaching in Cathedral Square was fascinating. The musician who plays loud music hadn’t arrived yet, and so we had a great opportunity to proclaim the Gospel in the open air without that distraction. Marty preached the Gospel, then I preached the Gospel, Marty again, and then to our surprise, the Wizard decided he would speak. After that, Ari, another wizard spoke as well. And then Andy got up to respond to Ari and proclaim the Gospel (pictured). By this stage, there were a fair few people hanging around to listen and engage. Tracts were distributed, and many spin off Gospel conversations occurred as well. It was a wonderful time of ministry.
Later in the afternoon, construction noise caused us to move from our usual flip charting spot on the corner of Colombo and Cashel, down to the Bridge of Remembrance. There I had two tiring Gospel conversations with people whose native language was not English. As I finished the first conversation, I moved straight into the second one because the guy was waiting to talk with me! He had received a tract from someone else on the team and wanted to discuss. He was from China, and he did want to practice his English, but was also very interested in the Bible. After working through the law and the Gospel with him, he said that this was the second time someone had explained it to him, the first time he 50% understood, he said he now 80% understood, and wanted to learn more. By this stage, Andy had joined the discussion, and he took over to try to get him to fully understand that we are justified by faith in Jesus (and not by works) and that he needed to do that (trust Jesus) today. Our new friend wants to learn more, and accepted a Bible, and an invite to come to church on Sunday (he lives close by, and received a card with directions - pictured).
I was very tired by the time the evening outreach started, and thankfully Daniel ended up fielding most of the Gospel conversations on this outreach. I was saying to Daniel that it can seem like there aren't many people around and that it will feel like it may be hard to start a conversation, but if we are patient, often wonderful conversations do occur. Sure enough, about ten minutes later, someone stopped and started talking with Daniel, and then five minutes later, a second guy stopped and joined in as well! Daniel spent about thirty minutes with both of them, where he was able to clearly share the Gospel! (pictured)
Tuesday saw a team of two in Riccarton, but before I arrived for the outreach, I needed to go to the bank. As part of the meeting, the banker asked me my occupation. This was a great opportunity to bring up spiritual things! So I explained that I was a Christian minister. Her response was to say, “oh, I’m an atheist”. So I responded with (I don’t know why), “there are no atheists”! To my surprise, she immediately responded with, “well, I do believe there is something there” - she back slid fast! It would have been easy for me to convert the conversation into a Gospel one, but I needed to get the appointment over so I could get to the outreach - and I was aware that she was currently working. So I offered her a tract, which she accepted, and she promised she would read it (pictured on her desk). I think she found me odd enough (my attitude towards money is probably different to what she is used to), that she even mentioned that she would discuss the tract with her workmates - I hope she does. Do you have tracts with you? Are you ready to share the Gospel when an opportunity arises? Check out the Operation 513 web stores to buy some. Many good Gospel conversations were had on the outreach, as per the pictures.
Wednesday saw me in the City and at Ara. One conversation from the days outreach was very special. A gang member became interested in the flip chart - then decided he didn’t want to go through it, but he accepted a tract as he left. I turned around, and to my surprise, two young ladies were sitting down waiting to talk to me. I recognised one of them - I have talked to some of her friends quite a few times since summer. These two girls clearly wanted to talk about spiritual things, and so I sat on the footpath in front of them and started answering their questions. We talked about how we know God exists, where morality comes from, why there is suffering, the seriousness of sin, the amazing grace of Jesus. We also sparred about abortion and homosexuality. At one point I said, “God will accept you just as you are…”, and then I got cut off with the response of, “no He won’t! He doesn't accept homosexuals as they are!” And then I finished off with “... but He won’t leave you as you are.” Both girls seemed impacted by the conversation, the one I hadn’t seen before, even looked like she was wiping away tears. I’m sure I could have convinced them to “pray a prayer”, and “accept Jesus into their heart”, and pick them up to bring them to church. But I was again reminded that I can’t save them with my convincing, passion, sincerity, or anything. Salvation is of the Lord. But I did plead with them multiple times to repent and trust in Christ - to accept the gift of grace, acknowledging the cost. They know how to contact me if they want to. I leave them in God’s hands, but I will be praying for them. Oh God, please save them, usher them into your kingdom - may you receive the reward of your suffering! (They are pictured walking away.)
Grace and Peace to you all in Christ, My friends, it has been some time since our last update; But the Lord's work has not been silent here, By His grace in the past few months God has blessed us here in Auckland at our outreaches, our usual times have been kept the same, with the added venue being the Mangere markets, which has been a great spot where there is much foot traffic during it's opening hours.
Last weekend we were back at Otara, there were 5 of us on this day, Alfie & Elsie, Joseph, Elijah and myself, it had been about a month since we had been there, and the Lord had blessed our time, we setup at our usual spot in the walkway with our literature stand and flip chart and it wasn't too long where I had a group of approx 8 youths who stopped to go through the chart, in the beginning we went through the first few pages but as we got more into it things began to get more serious as they realized that because of their sins God must be just and punish sin.
You see these were troubled youths, and so by God's grace we were able to talk through this area of the justice of God, of God being a good judge, relating this to the court system that we have here in this country which they seemed to know well, and that they were needing reconciliation and redemption through the Lord Jesus, that only the Judge could save them, Please pray for these young people. They along with many others took our Op513 tracts, Pastor Alfie and brother Elijah were on the other side of the shopping center where they had an opportunity to open air preach, Pastor Alfie was met with some opposition by an aggressive man who wanted to pay him 20 cents to stop but it was short lived and he was able to continue to preach, there was a good number of foot traffic there as well so please pray that the Lord would save and raise up more workers from this area who truly know the Lord.
We have a problem here in South Auckland, the problem is that we have too many church buildings with no Church inside. In the words of Paul Washer speaking of "American Christianity" - "They are not gospel hardened they are gospel ignorant" This is also true here. God have mercy on us.
What a glorious day our Lord gave to us in which we were enabled by Him to show something of our love for Him - 1 Jn. 5:3. How much more glorious will the recreation be, especially when we see Him as He is? - 1 Jn. 3:2
Ryan and Fynn manned the jetty while Railee and I did a tour around the point. We met a young family, Jesse and Christine and their first child, one gorgeous little bundle of joy. They showed some understanding of why God could forgive them but were not familiar with the imputed righteousness of Christ. How can so many protestant churches not teach the basic fact of how Jesus saves His people from their sins? - Mt. 1:21 How can anyone be truly assured if they do not realize the completeness of the Lord Jesus Christ's finished work.
We conversed with June but after 10 minutes or so, we had not apparently communicated. Her Watchtower training had her well and truly bamboozled. Please pray for her as she is very religious having journeyed through the Baptists, Mormons, etc., but her professed saviour is only a created being who has not the capacity to satisfy the infinitely holy God.
Meanwhile, among others, Ryan engaged a mature aged couple; the wife had been told that she had about 5 years of life ahead of her (barring a fatal accident or?). They both initially had been depending in their goodness to get into heaven. After hearing the bad and then the good news, she remained apparently unmoved while he said that he must consider God's message.
There was also a mature aged man who was going to heaven and jovially announced that he was perfect. After hearing God's Word, He came to state that he would have to go over these matters with a Christian friend. Pray he does. (I had thought that Ryan could not 'get through' to this man, but God showed me again how wrong I often am. The night sermon was based on 1 Sam. 16:7 - ouch! Time to repent again.)
Meanwhile, Fynn was approached by 2 young ladies, Ellie and Rita. One could give a biblical reason for the hope of glory that she had. After further conversations, they expressed interested in our Sunday night training in King George square.
As always, we went home rejoicing and praying that God would be pleased to use His word, particularly with regard to the tracts we handed out with little comment. To Him alone be the glory as He keeps on drawing His elect to His Son who welcomes all who come to Him - Jn. 6:37,44.
Saturday saw rain, just like last Saturday. So I decided to letterbox drop instead of the usual city outreach. And I’m so glad I did as God gave me a wonderful follow up opportunity. I was walking past a bus stop, and a young man was there who recognised me. Earlier in the year I had shared the Gospel with him via the flip chart outside the hospital. He had accepted a Bible from me then, and he said he had been reading it! (Although it was clear he has not repented yet.) At that moment, another guy arrived at the bus stop, so I had an opportunity to share the law and Gospel with them both before their bus arrived. (They are both pictured getting onto their bus.)
Sunday saw a team of four head to the city in nice weather. There were a lot of people around. We hadn’t even finished setting up a flip chart, when two young men came up keen to give it a try! (pictured).
While that was happening, I had a follow up opportunity with a man who one of the team had talked to on Friday night. He is currently doing a Christianity Explored course. After sharing the law and the Gospel with him again, he confirmed that he understood it, but needed proof that it was true. I explained that he actually already knew God exists, and showed him how he knew it (as per Romans 1). I followed this up by giving him the tract: “How we know God exists and why it matters”. It turns out he has read Mark, Matthew, and John in the Bible, and that he is about to start Romans! Perfect timing.
Another flip chart conversation got started with two guys, but one of them wasn’t interested and walked on a bit to wait. So I decided to go over and engage him. I told him I was a Christian and what I was doing, but it was clear he wasn’t interested. I respected that, so moved the discussion to other things (where he was from, etc). To my surprise, he then switched the conversation back to spiritual things - he wanted to hear what I had to say! So I had the privilege to share the law and the Gospel with him after all.
A fairly busy outreach continued from there. At one point, three girls went through - one being pushed in a shopping cart! Not something you see every day. So I approached them and asked if they were keen to try the good person test - they were! (pictured). The heard the law and the Gospel, but sadly, they clearly rejected it.
We finished the outreach with open air preaching in Cathedral Square. As I was preaching, two guys holding hands walked over. They sat down a slight distance away. When I asked if anyone had told a lie, one of them responded with “yes”. I continued going through the law, with the guy engaging. But then they got cold feet and started to walk away. So I stopped preaching to go and talk to them (pictured). They said they were homosexuals right off the bat. I had an opportunity to continue talking to them about the Gospel (as I would with anyone else). They were very resistant but they took tracts before leaving… a few minutes later they came back, and I offered them a booklet called: God and Sexuality, by Ray Comfort. They accepted it. I was able to finish sharing the Gospel in the open air as well.
A very busy and encouraging outreach. Thank you for your prayers and support! :)
It is a tale of two outreaches, last time we were in Redcliffe it was hard and hostile, but today it was vastly different; today, people were friendly with many good conversations taking place. It is amazing what much prayer can do; after my last report I received messages from Christians worldwide saying they were praying for the gospel work in Redcliffe, those prayers were answered today.
We arrived at our outreach location at 11am. The ‘cold’ Brisbane winter was but a memory as the thermometer showed 27’C (81’F) on this winter’s day. The Operation 513 team was small today, but we rejoice in the fact that several labourers showed up to make much of Jesus Christ.
As usual we began by setting up our Free Bible table, then we started to hand out gospel tracts. Soon Col had a conversation underway with a Roman Catholic atheist (I’ll let you try to understand out how that works!), this man was angry at Rome due to all of her scandals and abuses. Col agree with him that Rome was wrong, then he brought the conversation around to the gospel. The man listened, and engaged as Col shared of the love of Jesus.
While this was happening, I offered a tract to an elderly man named Frank. Frank took the tract and said, “What is this all about?” I replied, “It asks if we will go to Heaven one day. What do you think?” Frank smiled and said, “Of course I’ll go to Heaven; everyone does!” I asked Frank if sinful people went to Heaven when they died and if men such as Hitler went to Heaven. Frank replied by saying that since God is forgiving, everyone gets to go to Heaven.
Frank was a really friendly man, so we chatted about the justice and holiness of God. I explained that the Bible says that no one deserves Heaven, but rather we all deserve Hell because of our sin. I then went on to explain that God has shown great love towards His elect by sending Jesus to pay the penalty for their sin, and that it is only by trusting in the Lord who died and rose again, that we could be forgiven. Frank listened, but said, “Yes, but Jesus will forgive everyone.” I then told Frank a story; I said, “Frank, imagine someone you love dearly was brutally murdered. The Police caught the murderer, then took him to court. Once in court, the Magistrate that was hearing the case said, ‘Mr. Murderer, I am a good, loving and forgiving judge. I am going to let you go this time.’ Frank, would that judge be good?” Frank thought deeply, “No, that wouldn’t be good or just” was his reply.
The penny seemed to have dropped for Frank at that moment, the gospel made sense; then he asked, “What church do you belong to?” I replied by saying I am a Pastor of a Baptist Church. Frank smiled at this and said, “I’m a Baptist too! I went to a Baptist Church in Sydney before moving here.” Truly it is a wicked thing for a man to sit in Church for many years yet never hear the gospel of salvation. Frank took some gospel booklets; then I asked him, “Do you have a Bible?” Frank said he has never owned a Bible or read one. We offered him a large print edition, which he very gladly took. He held the Bible in his hand as if it was a precious treasure. He looked at it, then said, “I really appreciate this. No one has given me a Bible before.” He then asked if I wanted to go the RSL to have a beer with him, and asked if I could recommend a local church. I helped him with the church, but I decline the generous offer of a beer.
As Frank walked off, I was reminded that we regularly can have people in our churches that are unsaved. As Ministers of the Gospel, we need to ensure that the message of God’s holiness, justice and grace is always central in our preaching. May we never have people like Frank who regularly sit in our pews who haven’t heard or understand the gospel; we must make sure they know.
Towards the end of the outreach, Col managed to get into a conversation with a friendly young couple. The gentleman was making a few arguments as to why he didn’t believe in Christianity, and why he didn’t attend church. After awhile, I somehow ended up in that conversation. The young man made a few arguments that weren’t historically correct, so I pointed out that his position was not built upon fact. He quickly conceded that point, then went back to arguing against church attendance. I listened for awhile, then it became clear why his argument was being made. This young man had grown up as a Jehovah’s Witnesses, he had always been told that if you want to please God then you must work hard and attend meetings. I explained to this couple that attending church did not make one a Christian anymore than going to Subway made you a footlong. They laughed, and agreed.
Now the conversation was off and running. The young man said, “I don’t want to offend you, but I think all religions are true, and they all teach the same thing,” he went on, “For instance, Subway doesn’t give everyone the same sub, they cater for different tastes, that is what religion is like, they cater for different tastes, but they all believe the same thing.” I replied by, “Look, I don’t want to be rude, but that statement you just made tells me that you don’t know much about all the different religions.” The man laughed and assured me he wasn’t offended. I went on, “Subway does cater for different tastes, but everything is still going to get a sub of some description; there is always going to be that core ingredient. The problem with your analogy is that the other religions don’t even have the sub in the first place; they are giving people that which isn’t bread and won’t give life.”
From there I gave him a few illustrations from Hinduism and Islam showing that what they teach is vastly different to Christianity. The young couple agreed, then said, “We want a religion that is all about loving each other, caring for people, and loving God.” I said, “That is what Christianity is. Jesus said love God and love your neighbour. What you want is what Jesus calls us to do.” I then said, “But think about it, Jesus said we should love each other, but we don’t. He said we should love God, but we fail at that point also,” they nodded in agreement, I went on, “We all break the loving standard, we all do wrong, the Bible calls this sin. That is why we need Jesus. He came and showed true love when He died on the cross for sinners, then rose again. He shows love when He calls on us to repent and trust in Him, and He shows love when He forgives all the sins of those who believe.”
Upon hearing this they both smiled and said, “That makes sense.” The young man then said, “I am so glad you guys are here. I can approach you and ask questions. It is great that you are here to help me understand about God.” He then went on with a few more questions relating to the Trinity, same-sex “marriage,” and the authority of Scripture. With each answer that was given the couple kept saying, “That makes sense!”
At the end of the conversation, this couple took several gospel booklets, shook our hands, then said, “Thank you so much for being out here today. I am so glad you guys are here!”
As this couple left I was reminded that even though we can face hardship in gospel ministry, there are still people out there who are open to hearing of Christian things. We must press on; we must remain faithful; we must keep making much of the Lord Jesus.
Please pray for all those we encountered today. May the Father draw them all to Christ.