On Monday afternoon the team headed out again for Schoolies at the Gold Coast. During the afternoons people are usually sober and therefore there are less people around and those who are around have a little more schedule in their plan. Thankfully that didn't stop numerous people from stopping to chat with the team.
A notable conversation was with a young man named Emerson. He had a range of questions about Christianity specifically. He mentioned that he thought it was okay to believe in God but not really follow or obey what God has said.
When asked, Emerson didn't know where he'd spend eternity and was a little worried about it. He then changed the topic and was asking about gay marriage and what Christians think about it. It was explained that God designed, life, sexuality and relationships and therefore knows how they should be best used leading to joy and happiness and equally the contexts in which they would be detrimental and damaging. We also explained that God in His love has revealed this to us so that we may live the beautiful life God designed for us.
We told him the implications of this truth don't just relate to sexuality but to all aspects of our life as humans. This means it is hateful to encourage anyone to live against God's design for us because it is to encourage someone to miss out on the beautiful life of intimacy God designed us for and to encourage someone to act in a way that offends God.
This is where it became relevant to Emerson, the team pointed out that he was doing the same thing. Emerson was missing out on God's good design because he thought he knew better. We pressed him a little and ultimately left him with two options. He could either continue to live in arrogant defiance against God, thinking he knew better and ultimately ending up in hell. Or he could surrender to the humble God who, in love, chose to suffer in his place, that he may have life.
Please pray that Emerson reflects on this truth and ultimately turns in total surrender to God!
Please also keep the team in prayer as this week is exhausting and takes a toll physically on the team.
On Monday night at the Gold Coast during Schoolies the team had many, many gospel conversations. The schoolies this year have basically been coming up and asking the team to tell them about the Gospel. It also seems that almost everyone we've spoken to has gone to a Catholic or Anglican school. This is sad because many of the school leavers have never heard a clear and simple presentation of the Gospel, despite attending a "Christian" school for 12 years.
Oppositely, it is an absolute pleasure to have an opportunity to preach God's message of salvation to these young men and women, so that they can know of God's work in salvation.
A stand out conversation was with three young men, Sebastian, Tano and Nick (who have sinced come back and chatted with the team a second time). These young men went through the flip chart presentation with one team member and then asked some questions to a few team members.
Tano and Nick weren't the main focus of the conversation on Monday night but did recieve the priority of attention on Tuesday. The challenge was put to Sebastian numerous times to count the cost of trusting in Jesus. He understood that God knows what is best for us. He acknowledged that he was living in a way that is contrary to God's design but Sebastian didn't really want to surrender to Jesus as Lord.
Please keep the team in prayer that we can continue to be fervent in our evangelism, actively seeking a new conversation whenever we have finished the prior one.
And please continue to lift up those we speak to before God, that He may grant them repentance and faith!
There were some unusually 'hard ones' today, e.g. one lady who claimed that she had proof for reincarnation but would not listen to a white person because they are the cause of all the world's problems! Another man who made outrageous claims of what he knew then explained that his tattoo had the Hebrew name of God, Allah. ( wrong!) Providentially his bus arrived and whisked him away.
Ryan asked one lady if she thought she would go to heaven. She said that she did not believe in heaven and all that. Hearing the builder analogy, she said that made sense. Then she adapted this new position: I choose not to believe. The conversation continued until she asked how can one know what hell is like. Explaining that Jesus (who made hell - Col. 1:15,16) had died and rose victorious from the grave on the third day, the conversation ended there as her bus arrived. Pray God stirs her spirit so she seeks the answers and the gospel that she so desperately needs.
Lee-Anne met Katy, a good person type Christian. Pray she receives the gospel message as explained to her.
Pray for Jemma, a young lady who is open to learning God's good news and has her own Bible. May she read a gospel account to confirm what has been explained to her and find new life to the full in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise Him from whom all blessings flow and thank Him for using His fallible servants for His glory. Our sovereign Lord God Almighty always has the last word!!!
The Gospel has continued to go forth in Tassie and there have been many instances of light shining through the darkness over the last couple of weeks. God is at work in Hobart and I have been eagerly watching other works that have continued in the north of Hobart and in Launceston. Praise God that He works to save souls!
This last week I had the pleasure of meeting with a young guy who has come from a place of enmity to now wanting to know the word of God and eager to explore what relationship with God looks like. His hunger and insight were a great encouragement and I will be praying that it will continue over the coming years. Please pray that there are and will be many more like him who come seeking God, and that God will settle them into communities which will foster their growth in faith hope and love through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I also have had a recent increase in the number of Christians who are coming enquiring and encouraging us in the mall. The number of thumbs up has jumped in recent days, praise God! There also are all sorts of people who will stop to say a word or two of support. Thank you to all of you.
Danny and Karl and Daniel (a young Christian man from the peninsula) and I have been up to proclaim the way of eternal life and read the bible. As always, we are backed when we preach with the prayers and support of the wonderful Christian ladies who gather in the mall to intercede for the work. Praise God for workers in the harvest.
All of this is despite SSM continuing to be a cause of opposition down here in the Apple Isle. Problems from SSM supporters have increased, despite assurances that everything would be fine if Marriage “equality” was allowed. Given the behavior of SSM supporters during the postal vote, no-one should be surprising that issues have continued afterwards. These last couple of weeks have been a good lesson in what “tolerance” and “diversity” look like when it gets power. And it looks ugly!
Over the last two weeks the resounding chorus has been “you lost, so shut up!”. This has been underlined by many people emphasizing their desire to get rid of us using whatever means they can. I have been threatened by two different people. That they would use the anti-discrimination courts and/or the police to remove myself and the Christians with me by force. I have good reason to expect that these threats will be followed up in the future as I am “held responsible for your harm against the LGBTI community” and they make sure that the local council “don’t allow hateful creatures like them to be in a public place”.
And of course, in the midst of this chorus is the ongoing slander of Mr S. as he libels myself and the Christians who gather in the mall. One of Mr S.’s libels is the claim that I and the Christians with me are litigious. If that were the case, we all would have multiple cases against him and the SSM advocates he supports! The foul and blasphemous language alone would be a good basis for an antidiscrimination case! Thankfully God calls us to turn the other cheek and to pray and bless and do good to those who oppose us.
It is because of this chorus of opposition that we are now seeing a lot of thoughtful people beginning to distance themselves from Mr S. and the SSM advocates. They have seen, I hope, the Godly behavior of Christians in public not flinching from bringing the Gospel even when it comes at a cost. We pray every week that this contrast will draw many to Jesus and He will save them in His mercy and grace.
Please pray for the supporters of SSM and Mr S. that they will see the hateful manner in which they behave and be driven to the savior in repentance. Please also pray for the team down here that they will be loving and kind in the face of opposition and will firmly preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
May God Be Glorified in Hobart!
This year as usual the team has set up camp on the Gold Coast for the week of Schoolies. Throughout Sunday night there were some showers of rain but that didn't deter the schoolies in their celebrations of finishing high school.
Due to the limited number of things to do and the small area they are confined to, many of the schoolies are walking around bored with nothing better to do than find people to talk to.
As a result, the team had numerous Gospel conversations. Here are a number of stand outs:
A group of four young men were sitting down on the chair next to the team and were approached with the question, "What do you think will happen after you die?" Two of the young men, Jacob and Blake, engaged. Both initially just rejected God's existence but this seemed to just be a smoke screen as both very quickly acknowledged God's existence and were more than happy to begin to dialogue about where they will spend eternity.
After a lengthy discussion and a number of clear Gospel explanations Jacob who mentioned he sort of wanted to trust Jesus, the conversation was bought to a close with a pointed question, "Would you be willing to up give all the money you've spent, pleasure you're seeking and time you've set aside for this schoolies week and go home for the sake of Jesus Christ?". Or more simply, would you be willing to surrender to Jesus at the expense of giving up Schoolies. Jacob after a long pause said, "I don't think so, maybe after schoolies." He wasn't overly confident in his decision but he did stick to it for the remainder of the conversation.
Please pray that God changes Jacob's mind.
Another chat was with a young man named Joe. Joe knew God existed and wasn't sure where he'd spend eternity. After a simple talk about the sinfulness of humanity and the penalty this sin deserves Hell, Joe's demeanor began to change he began to seriously consider what was being said.
When asked how this could be solved. Joe had a few ideas but none of them were a solution. After a quick discussion the team just shared with him, the greatest news, that even though we have no hope in ourselves to remove our sin, the Holy God of this universe, acting in love, took the penalty for our sin Himself so that we could be reunited with Him. He did all this so we could be freed from the power and penalty of sin. At the end of the conversation Joe said he would definitely consider surrendering to Jesus.
We encouraged Joe to read the Gideons Bible in his hotel room and to come back tonight to speak with us again! Please pray that God will renovate His heart!
Please be praying as the team heads out this next week.
A day of some good introductory chats and some regulars saying they did not want to hear the gospel again. Pray that those introduced to the good news would check it out further. Pray also that God may be merciful to those objectors and give them a desire to seek Him.
Of particular interest;
- Colin, claimed to be a Christian who was 60% of the way there. This was explained as he has given up adultery and is now fighting some physical addictions. He goes to a 'church' that cannot help him! He listened to the gospel and Lee-Anne urged him to get urgent in trusting Christ alone to save him (he had responded well to the Blondin illustration).
- - Sarah, went through creation to the gospel and chatted about her and her partner's last 12 months. Explained that the Bible portrays even 'heroes of the faith' as true to live = imperfect in this life but looking forward to Christ's return to complete what He merited on behalf of His people in His first coming. So she can expect some Christians to be less mature than others. She had already encountered a few judgmental ones. Stating she would read the gospel of John, I gave her one and explained how it emphasizes the deity of Christ and why that is essential.
--- a week-old visitor from Turkey; this man respected all religions. Briefly Lee-Anne indicated that he needed to trust Christ alone. He was given a comic tract that he said he would get someone to explain to him.
Thanks for praying and all praise to our faithful triune God for enabling His servants to get His good news out to more people.
It was a wet Friday night at the Gold Coast as we began our outreach there, and it continued raining on and off throughout the night. Despite all the rain, we had 17 labourers be part of the team.
As soon as the rain stopped, the team started handing out gospel tracts and were engrossed in various conversations. There was one man who refused to take the tract and said, "I don't mean any disrespect but this is not for me. I used to be a Catholic but now I am an agnostic/atheist and I don't believe in all these things anymore." We asked him whether he believes that there is a creator and his answer was "yes". He seemed quite confused about his own beliefs.
Even though he initially rejected the gospel tract, he looked like he was quite open to having this conversation. After talking for a bit, we found out that his unbelief in God had been a result of him being sick and tired of performing rituals and religion during his days in Catholic church. So we began to share the gospel with him and stressed on the fact that, in order to go to heaven, he needs to repent and trust in Christ alone. No amount of good works or performing any sorts of rituals will get him to heaven. He looked very thoughtful.
Towards the end of the conversation, he said that his wife often reads Bible. Not long after, his wife who was at the shops came to join us. She had lots of questions from the Old Testament as she was taking things out of context and was questioning God's authority. We tried answering all her questions. Then just before leaving, the husband asked what church do we go to. So we happily handed him a gospel tract that had a local church address on the back of the tract.
Towards the end of the night, when the team was just about to leave, one of the team members started sharing the gospel with a group of Muslim men. We thank God for this team member who could fluently speak Arabic language. The group of men were listening attentively to the gospel being preached.
God is definitely at work. Please continue to pray for all the souls that have heard the gospel. Pray for the team and for gospel to go forth until every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10,11). Amen.
"Best night of outreach in 6 months!"
Watch this video update from our Melbourne team who went into Bourke Street Mall last night to share the good news of Jesus.
For more info about this and other evangelism teams, go to: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
Thanks for praying for this outreach.
- Pray for Allan, an elderly man who used to do door-to-door witnessing for Jesus for 10 years until his wife became very violent towards him because she hates God. At one stage he was chased by his wife with a gun. So unfortunately he stopped his Christian endeavors and gave up on the faith, and as a result his wife calmed down towards him because he no longer was in the faith. He needs strength and boldness from the Lord to get back to where he was. Pray for this, and for his protection.
- Jai, had previous trouble with the judicial system and did not like the idea of being in trouble with God. He has heard the good news now. He is encouraged to read the Bible that he already has and count the cost of following Jesus.
- Marina, a young Muslim woman who had been raised in a Christian home ihn South Sudan. She had had questions that her church did not answer. She had read the Bible and asked God to reveal Himself to her. She said that we worshiped the same God.
After a long chat showing the uniqueness of the triune God, the 2 natures in Christ, and justification by faith alone vs. her own stated 'works' view, she cordially responded that she still believed He was the same God in Islam and Christianity. As we parted, I suggested that maybe God was answering her prayers of a few years ago with what she had heard today. May God stir her to question her present faith stance.
Again we thank God for the pleasure of serving Him and give Him all the glory for the results.
Several baby plovers greeted us on our arrival at Wellington Point. We invited 2 passer-bys to view them and 2 tracts went out. Then Glenda, from the Warwick crew, joined with us to make a team of 7. Praying, we went forth and among the prayer points:
- About 16 young Asians were in one rotunda and one had a t-shirt marked, 'anti-anti-social club'. Entering their midst and mentioning that shirt's message soon led to tracts being handed to each one. These were read and they indicated that they wished to resume their social activities without the team. Asking for a little time to explain the message to one interested lady, they all ended up hearing the law and gospel. May our Lord be pleased to grant repentance and faith as He sovereignly has purposed.
- Shaun's room-mate had recently encouraged him to read the O.T. After some apologetics and presenting the law and gospel, Shaun said that he needed to read the Bible before making any commitment. Ryan suggested that his love for sin was his real reason to delay; to which Shaun agreed. Ryan urged him to read Genesis then the N. T. Pray that Shaun gets an urgency to respond to the gospel. As we all know, eternity may be the next breathe away!
-- An Asian couple with a SDA friend who had been encouraging this couple to become Christians were still unconverted but had received a Bible. Taking them through the law and gospel, they indicated that they were living for now. They were warned that this is a most foolish attitude to have.
- A mature age man who had been in the Presbyterian church in the 1970s but he said that they never majored on Jesus so he left. He was pleased to hear that that is not the case today. He was further impressed with the fact that a Presbyterian (within Operation 513) was on the 'street' witnessing for the glory of God. He reads his Bible daily but was encouraged to rejoin a fellowship. (Each Christian is united to Christ and to every other member of that body = we need fellowship...)
As always, there was more so join with us in praising our Lord God Almighty for His work of saving His people and let us continue to give Him all glory.
The Lord's work keeps His people prayerful for we know that we need to be fueled by grace. There was a 22 year old man, Braden who was on a 10 minute smoke break. He thought that Lee-Anne had already spoken to him before. She hadn't but then seized the moment and after conversing a while, Braden stated that this had to be a God-appointment.
Last Saturday, his sister had asked him to come to church but he declined. Now, going through the law, the court room analogy then the gospel, Braden listened carefully. He heard the evidence for the reliability of the Bible, received a gospel of John and after expressing his thanks, returned to work. He has the 'way to heaven' tract. Please pray that God grants him the gift of saving faith and its attendant blessings.
Ryan had a chat with Ramia, a teenager, who had been raised Roman Catholic Being taken through the law and gospel, Ramia exclaimed that he should respond to the gospel today. He was challenged to count the cost and start regularly using the means of grace. Pray the Good Shepherd speaks to him.
He also met a young lass who claimed to follow satan's bible. She lives for today to please herself. She said that there has to be a god if one believes in satan. For her, hell was a temporary something or other. She freely admitted to breaking the commandments of God but tried to justify her sins by saying that the bible has been altered and is full of terrible deeds done by believers. Ryan countered her statements. She changed her mind about the Bible, but then, her bus arrived. Pray that God sends more of His messengers to complete the gospel presentation to her.
I had a long chat with Fabian, from P.N.G. His professed faith in Christ was reinforced as he talked about his daily walk with the Lord using God's means of grace. He stated that life without God was meaningless. How true! The sad thing was that he had met very few Christians on our streets since he arrived in Australia. Rom. 1:16,17!!!!!!!
Again we give God all the glory for the above and other events of this time serving Him. How privileged we are to be used of Him as we are in our many faults. Maranatha!