This afternoon was filled with exciting conversations! May God be glorified for the conversations he bought along, the words he gave to speak and the changes that occurred in the hearts of those who heard the Word!
Right at the beginning of this afternoon's outreach a young man named Addison was engaged in a conversation. The conversation started with him rejecting God almost entirely and also going down a few other scary paths.
After almost ninety minutes and many questions being asked and answered, the Gospel being shared and his heart being softened Addison went from his defensive position against God to being interested in God, in the Bible and even excited at the idea of attending a local Church!
He even stated, "You are the first Christian that I have spoken to that is intelligent and able to explain what they believe. Everything you have said makes a lot of sense, I am glad you spoke to me today!"
After hearing the Good News of God's love for sinners, placed in its backdrop against the desperate state humans are in and what they deserve from God, Addison seemed moved and asked, "So is that it, what should I do now?"
Addison at the end said, "Thank you for being so kind, patient and willing to talk, I think you've changed my mind." What a glorious conversation! Please keep Addison in your prayers, that God may use this conversation to draw him to Himself!
On the back of that conversation another one was started with James, who said, "I have been thinking about this a lot lately and was thinking to myself, I should really learn more about Christianity!"
After a thirty minute conversation James not only was extremely grateful for the conversation but said he had a new found and exciting understanding of Christianity. It was stressed that simple information isn't enough but that Jesus commands us to, on the basis of this truth, to repent and believe in Him.
James too expressed an immense gratitude for the time taken to talk with him and said he would have to consider what was said as well!
Two brothers David and Matthew sat and listened, to the Gospel, as well as engaged and asked questions. These young men as well went from not really caring to being interested in talking. They didn't seem as outwardly moved as the other two but were at least happy to take tracts and consider what was said.
Another conversation was had with Thea, a young lady previously spoken to. She said she hadn't changed her opinion since last time but this time as Hell, Sin, Heaven and the Gospel was explained she seemed moved, differently to last time.
The previous conversation had been almost ninety minutes long and included her boyfriend doing most of the talking, this one on the other hand, was one on one and far shorter but seemed more impactful.
Lastly, Tiana was spoken to. Tiana had a lot of her own ideas and beliefs, most of which she had come to be her own thoughts and ideas but Tiana said two extremely encouraging comments in the conversation. Firstly, she said, "I normally wouldn't talk to my friends of family about this because it gets too heated, so I am really glad I was able to speak with you about it!"
Secondly she said, "I normally also get quite defensive and attacking in this sort of conversation but you have been really nice, so I am glad we got to speak about this".
This afternoon was one filled with excitement, great conversations and most importantly, the proclamation of the Gospel. Please be fervent over the next couple of days, lifting these men and women up to God in prayer, asking that He would be gracious and merciful in granting them each repentance that leads to life!
What a privilege it is to serve the living God!
The evangelism outreach in Timaru, New Zealand served a dual purpose. One was to engage in evangelism & the other was to explore where a gospel literature table & flip chart could be set up.
One person from my home church turned up, but unfortunately couldn’t stay long. The encouragement, though brief was nonetheless most welcome. A few more church members promised to come out in future; please pray they will be able to.
Tracting was a bit knit-one-skip one ito people taking tracts :) I’m used to big city (Auckland) foot traffic & still getting used to rural nature of Timaru ‘s foot traffic. Unfortunately no conversations, but it was good to get out :)
Looking to set up a flip chart & gospel literature table near the flower boxes & to the right of the park sign. Prayers appreciated for that as well - Thanks.
On Monday the team decided to use the "Queens Birthday" public holiday to publicly declare the King's death, burial and resurrection. Due to the relaxed nature of the day, many Gospel conversations were had.
One exciting conversation was had with an old friend, who was interested in asking some questions to understand what I believed as a Christian and why I lived as I did. It was encouraging to see an interest shown, not just in criticising but a willingness to listen and understand.
The questions began with why the team evangelises. It was explained that it is for three reasons, gratefulness to God, obedience to God and love for those who are perishing. Through a range of other questions, what Heaven and Hell was explained. Most importantly it was shared (although not in the greatest depth), that being a Christian is not about being a good person, so that God will love you. Rather it is about God loving and saving bad people, so that He may be glorified.
All in all, it was a worthwhile engagement and hopefully there will be more questions asked in the future.
Another more conventional conversation was had with Caitlin. She noted that she had never thought about God before and it hadn't really even crossed her mind. She did mention that she had been to a Catholic school but that was about the extent of her time.
But this didn't stop her from hearing the Gospel. She was on her lunch break, so was limited in time but she happily engaged as she ate her sandwiches. The building builder analogy was given, she said this made sense. God's purpose in Creation was explained and how it is God's purpose for us, that we have willfully rebelled against and how God will hold us accountable for our actions.
She said this made sense and actually displayed worry on her face that she was not right with God but if she stood before Him that very night, she would be in trouble. Caitlin then asked how that she could be made right with God. The Gospel was explained, including the simple analogies clarifying repentance and faith and Caitlin said she would think about it as she finished her shift that afternoon.
It was a very similar conversation with Declan. He had never thought about it and with the same simple Gospel presentation he engaged, was willing to listen and said he too would consider what God has said.
A more lengthy conversation was had with Rose, a Catholic from Asia. Usually in a conversation with Catholics, the Gospel presentation is given then questions at the end are sustained. On this occasion it seemed right to come from the Old Testament to the New to consider and explain the differences between the two.
Rose was asked what she thought saved people in the Old Testament. She shared that it was their good works, adherence to the law and subsequently sacrifices to pay for sins. It was pointed out that there is no sacrifice in all of the Old Testament that a Jew could do to pay for sin. Not one. There is no sacrifice that a Jew could do that could cover over a lie, theft, adultery. Except for "The Day of Atonement", which was a one a year sacrifice, for the entirety of the sins of Israel.
God in His mercy, had provided a "covering" (you can read Leviticus 16 for details) but this sacrifice, of a single goat, very clearly to everyone didn't cover for Israel's sin. As Hebrews points out, the blood of bulls and goats cannot atone for one single sin.
Rose was asked what she thought was meant by Jesus when He said He came not to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them. She said that Jesus is simply the Messiah as promised by the Old Testament. It was explained that although that is definitely a part of what Jesus fulfilled, He was far more than that. The conversation was then taken to Leviticus 16, via Exodus, then to Hebrews 1. It was explained that in the design of the Tabernacle there was one piece of furniture missing. There were altars, candles, tables... but there was nothing on which to sit down. Why? Because the work of making atonement was never complete. The work of a priest was never done. Sin was not atoned for.
Then Hebrews was pointed out, that Jesus our Great High Priest and Atoning Sacrifice, "after making purification for sins, He sat down. For the first time in all of human history, a Priest sat down. The work of purification was finished!
This lengthy explanation took a little while for Rose to understand, with some other simple explanations she came to understand but still wasn't quite sure how it was relevant. Two final stresses were made about the word ransom. That it is the faithfulness of the one paying the ransom that saves, rather than the one being ransomed.
She had also mentioned that we make "reparation" or small atonements before God by denying ourselves in small ways (like not eating chocolate for a week or the like). It was really emphasised that Jesus' is the "atoning sacrifice".
Rose said she now understood the opposite nature of the protestant understand of the Gospel and what the Catholics teach. She was left to consider, which one accurately represented the Bible and was called to turn from trusting in herself, to surrendering to Christ.
Please be praying for the first two who asked questions, that the answers given would lead to more questions and a desire for God. Please pray that Caitlin and Declan will come to a saving knowledge of the truth, from this first occasion of hearing the Gospel. Please pray that Rose would intellectually understand the Gospel and desire to study God's Word seeking in it to find God's promises of salvation and then turn in reliance upon Christ.
On Friday night at the Gold Coast there was a large team out (even despite some regulars missing). This team even included TWO first timers, who had been saved and baptised in the last month!
Next week this could be you! What is stopping you from joining a local team?
Hear Dan share about the encouragement he has had from studying the Bible to be able to better answer questions.
Hear another team member share about his first ever Gospel conversation!
Hear Mark share about a man named Noah, who he shared the Gospel with.
Please be praying for those who were spoken to and even consider asking God to give you the boldness to join the team sometime! Even that it would become part of your regular week.
This evening was the Riverfire outreach, combined with the usual Saturday night in King George Square. In the first four hours of the afternoon over 10,000 tracts were handed out!
Many more over the course of the day were engaged in Gospel conversations.
Hear Natalie share about a conversation she had with a group of teenagers who started asking her questions after she handed them all tracts.
Hear Matt share about a conversation he had with two men who were interested in the flip chart.
Hear Fynn share about a conversation he had with a Chinese girl after he handed her a tract.
Please be praying for these conversations, the many others spoken to and the thousands who read parts of the tract they were given.
Please pray that God would use whatever means He desires, from the small display of faithfulness, to bring about the salvation of many souls!
On Wednesday afternoon in King George Square, the team was surrounded by hundreds of people. Not only was it school holidays but there was also a fundraiser for strawberry farmers in Australia and hundreds of people were queuing up for strawberry ice cream. This also meant that there were hundreds of people to talk to and as a result many conversations were had.
As usual a number of people were approached and asked what they think will happen after they die and then were happy to engage. The first was Strayan, an Indian man who had a lot of thoughts and ideas but upon hearing of God's Holiness, our sin and what Jesus did to save sinners he declined trusting in Jesus because he liked living his own way. This was a scary moment, he had intellectually understood the Gospel but was willing to trade God's offer of salvation for maybe 50 more years of unsatisfying autonomy.
The authority of God and the foolish decision to live as His enemy was reiterated and Strayan was left to ponder. Please be praying for him, that this position of hostility to God will not be final for him.
Another conversation was started with Will and his girlfriend Alex. Will was happy to engage and interacted as God's creation, the garden of Eden, the fall and sin were explained. Alex on the other hand was squirmish and not interested. Will asked one final question about forgiveness and it was explained that forgiveness requires someone to take the penalty. Therefore, for God to forgive someone must suffer the Hell punishment.
Sadly at the moment they left but please be praying that Will heeds to message and wants to know more.
Another conversation was had with Kit. It is often a temptation to make choices about who to approach based on how it's assumed they will respond. But in this scenario that assumption was cast aside and a conversation was started. Kit was asked, "What do you think will happen after you die?" to which she responded, "I am not sure I don't really think about it." then she left it a few moments and said, "Actually that's a lie, I am extremely depressed and think about it ALL the time!" This honestly opened into a ninety minute conversation that lead to Kit having a good understanding of Christianity, especially the Gospel.
Many topics were covered and discussed and the whole time Kit was very respectful and thoughtful in her responses and questions. It was one of the best conversations of late. It was a real privilege to share the Gospel with her.
Across many simple apologetics and explanations of what Christians believe and why they believe it, the conversation ended up being centered primarily around the Gospel. When Kit understood that Christianity wasn't about trying to be good following a long list of rules, rather about being saved by the good God, despite our willful breaking of the laws she said, "Oh wow, I didn't realise that it what Christians believed! That is so different to other religions!"
A few other simple answers about the reliability of the Bible and trustworthiness of the scriptures was given but it kept coming back to the Gospel. The finale came in a final explanation of how glorious God's love is, as displayed in the Gospel.
In summary, "The very God against whom we rebelled and had made ourselves enemies. The very God who should have punished us in Hell eternally, came into this world. The Son, became part of His creation, lived as a man and yet was without sin. Then went to the cross, bearing the full fury and wrath of the Father, the full Hell punishment we deserve and rose victoriously from the grave, so that He may be glorified in saving sinners like us. That is how with all honesty and truth, it can be shared with you, that God loves you and has done everything required for you to know Him."
Kit who seemed to have been holding back and not really wanting to admit more about the Gospel message than, "it makes sense" was silenced. It seemed as though she was seriously considering the Gospel's command to repent and believe.
Please be praying for her, that this message will not just be information stored in her brain but that this conversation will be the very thing that God uses to bring her to salvation! May God be glorified in the saving of His elect!
Another conversation was had with Jack a young man who used to attend a local Church. Jack said that after high school he had just stopped going to Church. Sadly, Jack's understanding of the Gospel was also one of works. A simple Gospel presentation was given and Jack was surprised. He said it made sense and was confused as to why he'd never realised before.
Jack seemed outwardly moved by the Gospel but also God's very strong and clear command that we must repent or perish. A number of warnings about putting of repenting and putting ones faith in Jesus today were given. Jack heeded the warnings and was encouraged to read his Bible that day, while he had breath in his lungs.
Please be praying that Jack would be cut to the heart and want to know nothing more than God and His salvation. Please be praying that Jack will find a local Church to attend and will have a life changed by the work of the Holy Spirit!
Thank you for your prayers and we ask you that continue to lift up those heading out, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged by the Spirit and would be bold witnesses for Christ.
Monday afternoon at Capalaba started with the threat of rain but thankfully none came. It was a slightly quieter week at the bus stop as it is school holidays at the moment but the team of four still found enough people to have conversations across the whole afternoon.
Two early conversations were had with Tyla and Kasey. Tyla hadn't thought much about life after death and interacted quite simply with the Gospel presentation. She heard of the problem of sin and its consequences. Then proposed a few ideas she thought could fix it. With a little more context and explanation, it was shown that for God to forgive, the debt must be paid.
Tyla then heard what Jesus has done, so that guilty sinners can be forgiven. She seemed interested and surprised but wasn't overly moved. The summons of the Gospel was presented to her, that God commands us to repent and believe and she was left to ponder her decision.
Similarly, Kasey heard the simple Gospel, some explanations for how we know God exists and then as her bus arrived she was left to ponder the question, "When will you trust in Jesus for your salvation?"
A final and lengthy conversation was had with some teenagers who hang around the area. They often cause mischief and act out but today some of them, over the course of an hour, gave their attention.
At first when there were eight of them, the conversation was a bit silly but as some got bored and walked off, two girls, Leila and Shakira stayed and engaged. They had many questions and ideas. They talked a lot about what they thought and raised objections to God.
As the conversation flowed much of the Bible's story was explained. How God had spoken and made this world, in an incredible display of power. How humanity, despite knowing who God is and how He created this world, in this foolish idolatry decided that they knew better than God and tried to domesticate and control God, trying to get Him to obey their desires or even completely rejecting Him all together.
These two girls, then were shown by the law, how far short we fall of God's standard and were left to dwell for some moments on the reality of Hell and where we deserve to go. They understood but at this stage it still seemed to be information rather than application.
With a simple Gospel explanation given and some more questions answered the girls took tracts and left, with a very clear choice to make, will I choose myself as lord and suffer God's wrath for my sin or will I surrender to Jesus as Lord and find salvation in His perfect life and sacrificial death?
They took tracts and headed on their way. Whilst this conversation went on a mother and her daughter listened in and afterwards mentioned that they were local Christians who had been greatly encouraged by the patience and kindness shown in sharing the Gospel and then said they wanted to try and share the Gospel themselves because of seeing it done.
Please be praying for Tyla, that she would be moved by God's love for her in the Gospel and will turn to find life in Christ. Please pray that Kasey will ponder God's call on her life, to give up idolatry and turn to Him. Please be praying that Shakira and Leila will heed the Gospel and turn from their sin.
Lastly please pray that Ann and Ruby, who heard the Gospel conversation would step out in reliance upon God to serve Him with their lives.
As the team headed to Woodridge on Tuesday afternoon the sky threatened rain but thankfully none came. Despite this dreary weather, the team was on fire. Many Gospel conversations were had and hundreds of tracts were handed out.
Upon praying the team noticed that there were some Jehovah's Witnesses standing next to their stand around the corner. One member decided to head over and see if they would be willing to talk. Surprisingly, not only were they willing to talk but one of the two ladies, Val, had spoken to the team before.
The conversation lasted almost two hours. They seemed to have the desire to speak more than they desired to listen (which was a helpful observation and a good thing to ponder in how we evangelise). At three moments throughout the discussion they were silenced and left to ponder.
The first was when Val asserted that never in the Bible do we see Jesus being worshiped. "No one ever bows down and worships Jesus," she said. They were pointed to Revelation 5:11-14 and asked to read it out loud (even in their NWT).
Specifically verses 13-14,
"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped."
Upon reading, Elizabeth the other lady let out and audible gasp but Val declared, "It doesn't say they worshiped Jesus". Elizabeth responded, "Yes it does, read verse fourteen again". Val was silenced.
Neither of the ladies had much to say about this verse and after a few moments, it was pointed out that Jesus is being worshiped with the Father and the Bibles tells us that God never shares His glory with another. Sadly this point seemed to be brushed off as the conversation was whisked away to another topic.
Later in the conversation when asked, "How can a sinner be made right with God?" the ladies responded, "Through exercising faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus". It is hoped that you can see the issue with this sentence straight away. This is a trick that the Mormons, JW's and Catholics have used to essentially replaced faith with works.
If you were to read John 3:16 in the NWT (New World Translation), you would find that they have changed "believes" to "exercises faith".
The objection to this was raised by asking what the word ransom means. The ladies explained that it is the price you pay to have someone released from captivity. They were then asked, "Does the person who is captive earn their freedom?"
This was swiftly answered with, "No, of course not!"
Somehow they were blind to their inconsistency. It was asked differently, "Is it the faithfulness of the one paying the ransom or the one in captivity that releases them?"
Which was responded to quickly and clearly, "The one paying the ransom".
This time the penny dropped. "But we have to do something. We must show our faith and be obedient," Elizabeth stated.
It was pointed out that this directly contradicts what God teaches about salvation. It was shown through Ephesians 2:8-10 that it is God who prepares the good works for us, not things we come up with on our own. It was also shown, through the flow of the passage that the good works take place after receiving salvation.
Sadly again these ladies could not acknowledge God's clearly articulated Word. They were adamant that they MUST provide some sort of righteousness.
Lastly, these ladies when asked, "Who was punishing Jesus on the cross?" asserted that it was the devil. With a few questions regarding why the devil would punish sin and an explanation and quotation of the "cup of wrath" Jesus drank the ladies seemed to agree. With one final quotation of Isaiah 53's explanation that it was the "Lord who laid on Him..." and "it was the Lord's will to crush Him", they agreed.
The saddest part was that they didn't seem to understand why. The suffering of Jesus made no sense to them.
As the conversation drew to a close the Gospel's beauty was re-iterated, that it was God reconciling sinners to Himself, for His own glory and the call God gives us, to repent and believe, was left ringing in their ears.
Please be praying for Val and Elizabeth, that they would have to ponder over and over the questions they could not answer. Please be praying that this wondering leads them not to reject God altogether, rather to turn to the resurrection Lord, Jesus and to trust in Him alone for salvation.
As the afternoon was drawing to a close, another brief conversation was had, with three young men, hanging around the train station. Eddie, Utah and Teague listened to the Gospel, engage in discussion and raised a few questions. Sadly when first asked when they would believe they implied it would happen right on their death bed.
When asked why they were going to leave it, they mentioned because they wanted to keep living their own way now. It was pointed out that there was no guarantee they would ever want to turn in the future, if they didn't want to now.
Counting the cost and heeding God's command was emphasised strongly to these young men and many strong comments were made about the foolishness of rejecting God's offer of salvation. They seemed to understand.
Please be praying that these three young men, wouldn't just remember the conversation but on the basis of the discussion would turn to Jesus Christ in total surrender!
I used the flip chart to present the law and Gospel on Tuesday for the first time and it was very effective.
A young man named N seemed interested until his girlfriend pulled him away, pray he will remember the Gospel message.
J a believer was appreciative to the reminder of the Gospel it was a joy to hear of her love for Jesus.
Another young man A responded well to the flip chart message seemed humble, he displayed appreciation towards Jesus taking the wrath of God upon himself to rescue sinners, pray his love for Jesus will be deeper and he will have a a hunger for God's Word also if not already saved that he be saved.
J an older catholic man was taken through the law, he said he had never lied or stolen, looked with lust, and he said his anger was justified for different reasons. Pray for him to admit sin as he was proud in heart. He took a tract and I showed him the picture of Mr nice guy's face and explained we need to be humble to appreciate God's kindness to save sinners.
J & J were on a break from work, they both were paying good attention to the flip chart and answering the question with humble hearts J said he is a Christian Ja a good friend of J, excepted a booklet of John and said he will look into the salvation message and said he would ask J for help reading the Bible.
D a young truckie went from disbelief to being open enough to receive a God of wonders dvd about creation with Scriptures and teaching on salvation by good Godly teachers and said he would watch it and also said his mum would like it too he was thankful to receive it!!! He also took a Gospel tract.
Pray for S who has heard the message of salvation a few times and is open, she received a Bible a few weeks ago and has various tracts to read. Praise God for the help she has received from a local Christian Community Centre, she met with me after I finished the outreach and it was God's Hand that orchestrated all her needs as she is new to Warwick. Pray for her salvation and L her son.
Pray for the organisations that help needy people and that they will hear the Gospel in their work. It was great to work together in the advancement of God's Kingdom.
Was a great day and past 2 Tuesdays very fruitful. Thanks for praying also pray for others who have had tracts and seeds planted.
The team have had many wonderful conversations over the course of the 9 days in Myanmar. These have happened at the most unexpected times. As well as at times when they are hoping for them. God has placed us in many situations we didn't expect to be in.
Hear Harry praising God for a conversation with a woman who was reading a tract, under shelter in the pouring rain and how he went over to explain it to her.
Hear Glen share about overcoming his fear of airplane evangelism and how he was able to share the Gospel with a rich business man!