On Wednesday God provided a steady stream of rain keeping the conversations under the sheltered areas. What has been extremely exciting is that there are now six different Christians who work in nearby offices that are using their lunch break to share the Gospel. At first there was one man faithfully coming out (during his lunch hours) who ran into the team then committed to coming on Wednesday's specifically. Then a second man joined and now there are six.
This week four city-workers made it out. If you work in Brisbane City, may you be encouraged to join the team, or with these men as they head out at other times during the week.
One funny moment during a conversation was with a man named Christian. He said he was quite sure there was nothing after death because there was no God. When asked why he believed that he didn't give much of a reason just that he thought it was true. Then he was shown that creations need a creator. For example, a bus that drove past was pointed to and he was asked, "How do you know someone built that bus?", quickly he responded, "Because I can see it".
Next he was asked, "How do you know someone built that building?", again responding, "Because I can see it". Then he was asked, "How do you know someone built this world?", this time responding, "Because I can. Actually no, I don't believe there is a God". The simplicity of the explanation showed that it wasn't really an intellectual disagreement with the existence of God but a moral one. This moment was taken to point out to Christian that our real reason for the rejection of God is our love for sin and hatred of what is good, we want to be in charge.
He was shown his guilt through the law, the penalty it deserves and all the while David jumped between two arguments, "There is no God" and "I'm not really that bad". He was shown that neither of those two answers will be of any help on judgement day, just as they wouldn't help you get out of a speeding fine. As his bus arrived the predicament he was in was left before him and he headed off.
An interesting conversation was had with Carla who at first was saying things like, "This life is an illusion" all a product of our brains. This was addressed a number of times and she seemed to understand that couldn't be the case. But the most confusing thing she believed was that forgiveness is actually the acknowledgement that the someone hasn't actually done the wrong thing. She gave a number of examples from her own life.
What was so confusing is that she struggled to understand that forgiveness is only needed if someone has wronged you. What she was describing is denial. This was the link taken to show that what God does in regards to forgiveness is far better than pretending we're not guilty, He actually pays the debt we owe, so that the guilty can walk free on the basis of trust in Christ. She seemed to understand and it was actually exciting to see that she purposely missed two buses so that she could continue to talk.
Lastly Ben was engaged and he had many ideas but surprisingly with a simple apologetic about the Bible was so challenged that he went on and listened to the Gospel and responded positively. He didn't say that he would trust in Christ straight away but seemed visibly challenged upon hearing the Gospel.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel today, that God would continue to work in the hearts and minds of these people. Please also consider, if you work in Brisbane City, to come and join the team one Wednesday and help us share God's glorious gospel!
On Saturday 30th March, three of our team met up in Plymouth city Centre again which was a gloriously sunny day with masses of people doing their shopping and enjoying the weather.
My Auntie joined us for a while handing out tracts to passers by and encouraging them to read them, while the rest of us handed out tracts and tried to engage people in conversation. I had made a new good person flip chart to use when doing conversations with people and also when preaching, and the new resource seemed to attract peoples attention as they walked past and stopped to see what it was about. A family with a 10 year old boy stopped to do the intelligence test and they were the first people to try out the flip chart with, that seemed to go well. They already said they they went to a Church in Plymouth but that the flip chart made sense of piecing all of the bits of the message together so it could be easier understood.
I had read that morning that a car had been caught driving at 104mph in the city and had failed to stop when Police car was driving behind with lights on. This was a good link about Gods law in Romans 3, and while I preached Ed spoke with a man called Wesley who had several tattoos and some interesting questions such as how we know the Bible is true if just written by man? Ed spoke to him more and said he was a pleasant, open-minded agnostic who had listened to Muslims, JWs etc before and wanted to know why Christianity was the right religion to believe in. Ed gave him some tracts to read pointed him towards some Christianity explored groups that his church as doing in the future,
As I finished preaching, a group of teenagers came to do the intelligence test and see the flip chart. A couple of them said they were transgender and were called Teg and Elizabeth. After a bit of a conversation about transgender and homosexuality and sin, I said that their sexuality was not the main issue, but that they had sinned in lots of other ways too and so were still guilty before God because of lying/ stealing etc, but that any sin could be forgiven because of who Jesus was and what he had accomplished for us on the cross. After the group left, Teg came back and said thank you for the chat and that 'she' had been doing Philosophy in sixth form and was very interested in the topic and the Christian point of view.
Laurie had a long conversation with a man called Nick who was a young professing atheist, and Ed with an older man called Bill who had been listening.
Again it was a lovely day with many people to talk to, and hopefully next weekend we will be out again with Simon, Della, George and Harry back which will be great.
Saturday saw our second to last special outreach of the summer: The Oxford A&P Show.
It was wonderful to, again, have many of the newbies who were involved with the Malvern A&P Show the previous Saturday. It is wonderful to see them continuing to get involved with sharing the precious message of Jesus and growing in their confidence, in spite of some difficult conversations!
The site was very busy. We had four flip charts set up, and an “observation test” sketch board (it has the same questions as the “intelligence test” tract). Often multiple Gospel conversations were on the go!
Some of the conversations were with people we had talked to previous years, and so there was some good opportunities for follow up and to go over the Gospel again with them.
And some of the team had exciting conversations with open hearted people!
The highlight conversation for me was with two teenage girls. It was late in the afternoon, and I was tired by this stage, and so my presentation was more mechanical than I like. But one of them seemed especially concerned about her standing before a Holy God after I had shared the law with them. I then moved to the Good News, and to my joy, I saw tears form in her eyes. She seemed to be understanding the grace of Jesus taking the punishment for her sin and rising again defeating death!
I offered her a Gospel booklet, which she took. And after a little more conversation, I asked if she would like a Bible - which she keenly accepted along with a local church contact card. My heart was warmed by this conversation. And I leave her in Gods hands.
There was nothing dynamic or special about my presentation, the Holy Spirit only uses the Gospel message as the power for salvation. Every Christian can share the simple Gospel message. I encourage you to get involved!
Sunday saw our regular afternoon outreach to Cashel Mall.
It was fascinating to see Muslims from the UK out sharing their message with people as well. They had a literature table set up, and plenty of people seemed to be taking interest.
We approached them to talk… And they certainly like to do that!
The guy I talked to liked to say things in Arabic and then interpret them for me. I could be wrong, but it felt like he was showing off. I hope I never come across like this when I’m sharing the Gospel of Jesus with people! It’s only the Gospel message that God uses to save, not my ability to appear intelligent!
I did manage to share the law and Gospel with this guy. As soon I as I started to take him through the law he said “Oh, that’s Ray”. He had obviously heard of Ray Comfort - and didn’t think very highly of him! But I persisted in taking him through the law and Gospel presentation - which he allowed me to do.
The team set up flip charts on the corner of Cashel and Colombo and, unlike last Sunday, we had many Gospel conversations with people.
I thank the Lord for the opportunities He provided to be an ambassador for him, weak as we are. May He be glorified as we worship Him in our obedience.
On Thursday we had two outreaches: City & Eastgate.
Before getting to Cathedral Square, I encountered the same young man I had shared with exactly one week earlier, so I had an opportunity to follow up and reiterate the Gospel message with him.
It had been a while since I had last preached in the open air. And today felt like the right time to get back into it.
Our two main hecklers were down a bit from speakers corner, and I expected them to come down and start sharing their thoughts - but they didn’t. Fine with me.
I proclaimed the law and the Gospel using the recent shootings as a springboard and a focus on anger being murder of the heart meaning we all need justice and the grace only provided by Jesus on the cross.
One of the hecklers did come over as I was nearing the finish of my message. I completely ignored him, and to my surprise he ran out of steam quickly and left in disgust.
The Eastgate bus stop was as good as ever, with a steady stream of Gospel conversations occurring.
Friday saw Andy get back on the box, after he was attacked 2 weeks prior, before the team moved to Cashel Mall for 1 to 1 Gospel conversations and tract distribution.
The day ended with our evening outreach where Andy had a wonderful opportunity to speak with 3 Muslim men for nearly an hour.
And I had a wonderful conversation with a young man on his way to the bus exchange. He didn’t have a Christian background, but he had obviously been wrestling with the important questions of life and was very receptive to the Gospel presentation, gladly accepting literature.
A wonderful two days of Gospel ministry. What a privilege to be a part of the Kingdom of God, and then have the honour to be an ambassador of Jesus! I can't think of a better job to have! Your prayer for the work in Christchurch is much appreciated.
I lost my first attempted report so here is what I can remember!
Ezra 1:5, Pray that God would use Natalie's challenge to Anne-Marie to be an active witness to her as yet unconverted husband Simon: to stir up or awaken her spirit to live for Christ. As he had been walking to King Island for his first time, Natalie was able to witness to him and he had been receptive. His wife caught up with them later which was when Natalie could chat to her alone.
Another first time trekker to King Island was Frank, a Buddhist. He had been wanting to speak with a Christian for quite a while (WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS???). Grace was able to chat freely with him and now we need to plead for his reconciliation to God, please.
A young duo, Dylan and Ebony plus young child, have heard and been challenged to consider their urgent need for Christ.
There were 2 rude interruptions to 'flip chart' chats. This is not that usual at Wello Pt. Ask God to keep His servants gospel focussed and compassionate towards the 'wise worldlings' - 1 Cor. 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach,to save those who believe.
We thank Him for the privilege of serving Him in this small way. To Him alone be all praise and glory forever.
The Essex Team for Operation 513 was in Stratford this afternoon. It was heaving with people. The intensity of sound and the number of people was a bit overwhelming. As opposed to other Saturdays, amplification was allowed.
It began nicely with Jaden taking a tract from me as soon as I got there. The only tract that was taken was the £1,000,000 pound question tract.
Jacob had numerous conversations with the people passing through the Meridian Square. In the background, Adeboye was preaching very lively and in a compelling manner. He acted out the Gospel as well. Maybe a new George Whitefield? Maybe the authorities allowed amplified preaching after the story of Pastor Olu being arrested and de-arrested a few weeks ago. A Christian rap group performed to advertise for an outreach show to address knife-crime in London.
I had extended an conversation with Abdul, who was handing out his literature. He took a tract from me "Jesus and the Quran". Sunni Abdul went through the usual objections to Christianity with me. Jesus never said that he was God, etc. I pointed out that Jesus allowed others to worship him as God, but I didn't get very far. One comment, however, that seemed to stick was about sin. Abdul assured me that Muslims are very concerned about sin and always do more good than bad. I objected that describes every other religion. Christianity, on the other hand, trusts in Christ's perfect work on the cross for reconciliation with God. Abdul has Joseph Gudel's Jesus and the Quran in his hand. I hope that he reads it.
I also spoke for a long time with Vitaly, the Ukrainian JW. Vitaly wondered why William Wilburforce was on the £1,000,000 pound tract. I explained why. His grandparents survived the Holodomor and I found some sympathy with him by speaking about history with him. I went from history to telling him how Solzhenitsyn became a Christian through the witness of Boris Kornfeld. I mentioned Acts 5 to defend tha the Holy Spirit is a person. I argued from Hebrews 1:3 that Christ is the radiance of God's glory and the express image of his being.
At the end, Jacob and I spoke to James from the rap outreach. They were hosting a live youth drama that evening to address the situation on London's streets. North-East London is one of the hot spots for trouble. Jacob called it a great day for outreach. To God be the glory.
Thursday Afternoon at Sunnybank had a smaller team than usual as some of the members are away for various reasons, so there were only six people out. Thankfully the team were still able to have many conversations and to share with people what God has done to save sinners.
The afternoon started with a bit of rain, keeping the day cool and some good conversations were had under cover. Sheema is an Indian lady and had some very weird views, she wanted to hold onto the idea of karma, that Heaven and Hell are actually in this world. She was shown a range of reasons as to why these things can't be true and was pointed to God's law to show our guilt.
It was pointed out that justice requires a penalty not just a consequence. She was shown God's goodness and how this means sin cannot go unpunished and therefore all of humanity is in trouble, unless God has done something to satisfy His justice. Thankfully God has and this was shown to Sheema briefly as her bus arrived.
Next was a conversation with Brad. It was a sad conversation as Brad who had grown up in the Church said that he was a good guy and therefore he was pretty sure he would be in Heaven. He was shown God's law and saw his guilt but still held onto the idea that he was good enough. Then Jesus' words were quoted to him, "You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" and he still was unwilling to admit that he was not worthy of Heaven, even when Jesus had been so explicit.
He was left with the ringing reminder that all are guilty and was given a tract as his bus arrived.
One of the last conversation of the afternoon was with a lady named Sarah. It lasted for almost an hour, as Sarah listened, pondered, asked questions and displayed interest. Sarah raised an objection early that was touched on but not fully expounded until late in the conversation. What was wonderful was that Sarah's objections, unlike many other peoples were not simply, "I am trying to convince myself this isn't true by using any argument I can think of", rather she was engaging and had some questions about how it could all work.
The tell tale sign of the genuineness of her questions was that she understood and accepted the answers because they made sense, even if the pain was still real. The most exciting part of the conversation, after she had understood the Gospel and how it will change ones life she said, "I'm really thankful that we've had this conversation and now I am just considering if I can trust in Jesus because I wouldn't want to say that I do, without really meaning it or being willing to follow through".
Sarah had preempted and was "counting the cost" before she was even challenged to. She was encouraged to read John's Gospel and to consider attending a local Church. Please be praying for Sarah that she would seriously consider God's offer of salvation and that she would trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of her sins!
Please also raise Sheema and Brad up in prayer that God would use the challenges given to them to lead them to want to know Him! And please pray that they would speak to friends/family in their life who are Christians about this topic!
Today saw outreaches into the City and outside the Hospital.
At the hospital, God blessed me with two very special opportunities to share the Gospel.
The first was with a young lady who came from the USA and whose school, there, had had a mass shooting! So she has now lived in two cities where mass shootings have occured. :( I shared the Gospel with her, explaining the hope for eternal life found only in Jesus.
And then a young man came out of the hospital, on to the foot path where I was, so he could smoke a cigarette. I said hello and a conversation started. And it turns out that this man lost two people in the terrible shootings one and a half weeks ago - one of whom was his younger brother. He said he lived in Christchurch for 15 years, but now lived in Australia, but if he had been in Christchurch, he probably would have been in the mosque too.
I had a wonderful opportunity to share my sympathy and compassion to this young man, and to all those that were grieving the loss of loved ones. I then had an opportunity to talk about the justice of God, but how we required justice too but that Jesus was the only hope for forgiveness. He said we were brothers. But I said we weren’t, but that we were neighbours. And because I loved him as a neighbour, I wanted him to know of Christ. He said we were brothers through Adam. And I conceded that. (But Adam brought sin and death into the world, and Jesus, the second Adam, atoned for sin, and defeated death - we weren’t brothers in Christ.) Our time to talk was brief. As soon as he had finished his cigarette, he had to go back into the hospital. We parted ways with a hand shake, and he took a Gospel tract from me. But I thank God for the brief opportunity.
I’m still praying for my Muslim neighbours in Christchurch. That they would continue to receive support, and be able to grieve. But that they would ultimately get to hear the amazing good news of forgiveness of sin, only found in Jesus Christ.
In the city (Cathedral Square), I was pleasantly surprised to see a man with a scale model of Noah’s ark set up! Plenty of people were showing interest, which was very encouraging (see picture). When I got a chance, I introduced myself, and we briefly chatted and exchanged contact details.
I then moved to a spot where I could do some flip charting. Two conversations in particular stood out from my time there.
The last was with a young man who couldn’t stand still! But was very engaged in the conversation. He said he was in a car accident recently, so what I was saying was pertinent. He had time on his hands, and so I offered him a Bible and Gospel booklet to read, which he gladly received, along with a challenge to repent and trust in Christ today - as he didn’t know if he would get another day.
Later, our resident atheistic heckler turned up. I knew he was going to give my Noah’s ark model friend some grief - and so he did (see picture). I continue to pray for our heckling friend.
Tuesday saw our regular Riccarton Road outreach. The foot traffic is always light at this location, but I’m often having good conversations with people anyway. And this was no exception: 3 outstanding Gospel conversations occurred.
The first was with a high school student who was well versed in evolutionary science. I refused to let this become a distraction from a clear presentation of the Gospel. I did this by saying I could prove that God exists in 30 seconds. This got his attention, and I proceeded to use Romans 1:18 - 20 to show how he knew God existed, with the assistance of the "building means builder; creation means creator" analogy. I then moved to conscience (which means: with knowledge) as how we absolutely knew right from wrong. He was interested enough to then do the good person test via flip chart and so heard a thorough Gospel presentation. He was obviously challenged by it, and started asking good questions. Eventually we got back to the issue of evolution, which is important, and I’m happy to discuss. But sadly he refused any literature, insisting that he was right.
The last was with two young men. They were willing to do the good person test, but didn’t seem too interested. I asked a checking question at the end to see if they understood the way to salvation, completely expecting them to get it wrong. But to my surprise, they got it right. It just goes to show that we don't know what's going on in the heart / mind of people. I think one of those guys was actually very interested in what I was saying.
I continue to thank God for enabling me to be out sharing the Gospel as I am, and I thank all you who are supporting me in this.
This afternoon at Woodridge there was a great distraction that bought many people to the area, stopped trains running but also kept conversations short as many people wanted to see what was taking place.
As the afternoon began, conversations went ahead as normal and the team were excited to see a number of people responding positively to the Gospel. An early conversation was with Marley, who had quite messed up ideas due to years of drug use and the irony of some of the things she said was plain.
She argued that people get what they deserve, that the world the way it is and the things we receive in this world are because of the way that we act. Then later she went on to argue that she doesn't deserve her life the way it is.
By the end of the conversation she saw the universal guilt of humanity, the penalty our sin deserves and the only hope for us, Jesus Christ's perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. She was also recommended to a local Church in her area!
An interesting conversation later was with Joanne. As the conversation first started her partner didn't want to listen and she kept encouraging him to. Sadly as the law was used to reveal sin he got frustrated and left. Joanne on the other hand came to understand the Gospel. She had been to Church a number of times but never understood the Gospel. Thankfully she was on the ball. She was asking good questions, understandings things and following up with responses that made sense.
It was very encouraging to see. She too was recommended to a Church. Please be praying for these two that God would use these two conversations to draw these ladies to Himself. That they would come to trust in the great God who provides salvation to the lost!
One other conversation that took place late in the afternoon was with a young man who once went to Church and said that one day he would "repent" and that God would let him into Heaven. When asked what he meant by "repent" he talked about changing his life and trying to live the right way. It was pointed out that this is not repentance, rather repentance is simply a change of mind about sin, which will result in trusting in Christ and what He alone has done to save, which together will lead to a life lived for God, not for sin.
It was important to point out that it is trusting in Christ that saves and the resultant turning from sin is just that, a natural response to salvation, rather than a requirement to be saved. He was challenged to consider it seriously because none of us know when we will die and stand before God. He didn't seem overly moved but was left with the strong warning that unless one trusts in Christ, they will pay for their own sin in Hell.
If you're confused or scared about what to say in evangelism, you don't need to be afraid. You don't need to rely on yourself or your own strength, you have the Holy Spirit.
You also don't need to try and learn alone, there are many other Christians who are willing to show you how to evangelise, stand alongside you as you seek to share and give you simple tips and encouragements for future conversations.
We can work together, with each other, to reach the lost in this world with the Gospel.
Take a few minutes, hear some encouraging stories from a recent outreach of team members being able to encourage and equip those who are newer to evangelism in how it can be done!
Come join us next Saturday, 7-10pm in King George Square, you'll be glad you did!