On Tuesday in Woodridge there were a range of team members out. Over the course of the afternoon eight members were out. This allowed for some great coverage around the local area. It was wonderful to see new members coming out as well as older ones returning! Praise God for raising up labourers!
An early conversation had on a walk around the block was had with Ali and Ahmed. They had a Muslim background but the topic didn't end up going into those details, which was good. The topic at hand was simply, "How can God be good and loving at the same time?" The discussion touched on our sin and that a good God must punish sin. Then it turned to how much sin and which sin God must punish and finally it turned to, How can God be good and punish sin, whilst still being gracious to sinners?
They had to leave soon after this but an encouraging discussion was opened up and these guys were challenged in their current beliefs, even without being explicit regarding their current understandings.
Another simple conversation was had with Jarrad and Chloe. They were out for an afternoon walk with their daughter and stopped to engage.
They engaged through a simple Gospel presentation, acknowledging that it made sense, answering questions when asked and in finale they were challenged to have a read of their Bibles, to seek out and understand who God is.
Please be praying for Ali and Ahmed, Jarrad and Chloe that God would use these simple conversations to lead them to a saving knowledge of Himself.
Another conversation was had with a lady named Tessi. She had a Catholic background and had some understanding of Christianity but the scariest part was that she wanted to provide some of the righteousness for her own salvation.
The Good News was explained to her that Jesus provides both the righteousness and the sacrifice required for us to be forgiven. She took a while to grasp this as it was explained in a range of different ways but by the end, using the simple wheelbarrow analogy, Tessi seemed to understand what was being explained.
Please be praying that she isn't just left in a place of comprehension rather that she will actually trust entirely upon what Jesus did to save her and as a result she will be a changed person!
Please be praying also for the other teams that head out during the week that they may be fruitful in their conversations. Please also pray that God would raise up labourers to join some other outreaches!
This afternoon at Capalaba there were five team members out! Praise God for raising up new labourers to come and declare His glorious Gospel!
A lengthy and early on conversation was had with a lady named Caitlin. She hadn't really thought about eternity much before and wasn't sure if there was one. She thought there may be a God but definitely not a judge.
After many questions were asked and she began sharing some things about the background to her beliefs she shared that she went to a Catholic, school and university. This was an opportunity taken to ask, "After all that study, what do you think the main point of Christianity is?"
She shared that it was all about living. Living properly and living well. That's all the Christianity teaches, how to live. Then she was asked, "If Christianity is just about living, what has Jesus got to do with it?" She responded, He is the role model, the one that shows us how to live.
It was pointed out that in one sense this is true but then she was asked, "If Christianity is just about living and Jesus is just the perfect role model, why did Jesus have to die?"
She wasn't sure. Then she asked, "What is Christianity about and why did Jesus have to die?"
From that point Christianity was explained to her step by step. She came to hear and understand that Jesus isn't just a role model but is the wrath-absorbing sacrifice for sinners.
She was a little surprised and asked a few follow up questions but for the first time in her life she understood the Bible, the Gospel and Christianity. She was encouraged to pick up a Bible and read it.
She also mentioned, that there are some Christians who do a "really bad job" of talking to people but noted that she really appreciated how the team spoke with her and was glad that she was able to have the conversation.
Please be praying for Caitlin, that the Holy Spirit will change her life, through the Gospel!
Another conversation was had with Sharon and Shae. They were asked, "What do you think happens after you die?" To which Sharon responded, "I am not interested in hearing about religion". It was pointed out that she was being asked a question, what did she think. This seemed to break down all the walls.
A lengthy and wonderful conversation ensued where Sharon and her daughter Shae heard a, question and answer, with explanations, summary of Christianity, who God is, what God Created us for, why sin is so bad, what the consequences are and what the only hope we have is.
Just as their bus was arriving the response to the Gospel was being explained, that Jesus commands us to turn from out sin, to Him. It was an exciting conversation from hostility to agreement and even a desire to hear and know more.
Please be praying for Sharon and Shae that God would use this simple conversation to change their lives! Praise God that He softens hearts, even allowing for conversations in otherwise challenging situations!
On Friday night at the Gold Coast, as usual many wonderful conversations were had. It is a real privilege to be able to go to locations that have hundreds of people around who aren't really in a hurry or a rush to be somewhere. This leads to a very fruitful time of Gospel conversations.
The reason there was no video this week is actually because the videographer ended up in two back to back conversations that lasted almost two and a half hours! Praise God for allowing lengthy and in depth conversations.
Some notable conversations were had with Aziz, Rohan and a pair David and Tiago.
Aziz was a well educated man that sadly was also very proud. He had many ideas about this world but at times was unwilling to even hear out and explanation because he had made assumptions before the answer was heard. This was a common occurrence. He heard many things that God had said, done or promised but Aziz would just continually brush things off, simply because he disagreed with them.
Many people have heard of the "elephant" explanation for knowing truth (see picture). Aziz kept assuming that somehow (even though he was limited by his humanity to only knowing a sliver of things that are true), that he somehow was the one standing back looking at all of the other people foolishly misunderstanding that it was obviously an elephant.
It was pointed out to Aziz on numerous occasions that his real problem wasn't intellectual, it was theological. He didn't want there to be a God because he wanted to be in charge. Aziz, heard the Gospel clearly on a number of occasions and was left to ponder God's command to repent and believe. He was also given a Bible which he said he would read.
Another conversation was had with Rohan that was quite similar. Except Rohan was a Baha'i. He was in the same boat. He would happily agree with most things said. But at the moment something was said that he disagreed with, he would declare that the Bible was false and unreliable. Rohan, had the delusion of grandeur. He was so sure, that he knew all that was true, despite many issues with his system being pointed out.
Sadly Rohan, left, too proud to admit that he was a sinner. To self-reliant to admit that he was rebellious against God and needed God to save him.
Please be praying that Rohan would read the tract and that God would turn his hard heart into a believing heart.
A final slightly challenging conversation was had with two young men who were tourists. English was their second language but the conversation flowed well. It was found out that David was a Christian, who knew the Gospel but the hard part was that this fellow made it a real challenge for his friend Tiago to hear the Gospel and to feel the sting.
At every turn David would interject almost spoiling the "surprise" for Tiago and even at moments he was trying to lessen the direct importance of the call to repent and believe (saying it was too strong, even though it was true). It wasn't that David disbelieved but he sincerely didn't want his friend to trust Jesus out of a fear of Hell, rather than a love for God.
Thankfully after a lengthy conversation the guys parted ways, Tiago being left to choose, salvation in Christ or damnation in self and David was encouraged to pray for him and to open up times to read the Bible together.
Please be praying for these two, that on the basis of a common salvation that could begin a friendship that would last an eternity.
This week was one like usual that was packed with hard, sad and tough conversations. Yet, at the same time filled with encouraging, exciting and glorious moments as God used the simple "prepared beforehand" obedience of His saints, to glorify His own name!
Hear Sarah share how despite some tough conversations she was able to declare God as Saviour to people tonight.
Hear Lee-Anne share about a conversation she had with two young ladies, that left them hearing the Gospel, understanding God's command to repent and believe but sadly also left them angry at God, that He would expect them to give up sin.
Hear Jo share about a man she offered a tract to that said, "I am only a Christian because of the work of Operation 513".
Praise God for His work in the lives of these people, whether preparing them for eternal death or eternal life. Praise God that He does not make mistakes in who he leads His sheep to speak with.
Please also be praying that those spoken to tonight would heed God's command to repent and believe!
On Thursday afternoon in Sunnybank the team was limited to undercover areas as the rain decided to stick around into the afternoon. This did also mean that people came to the team as they too desired shelter from the storm. This was the perfect opportunity to share with them the only shelter that can protect a person from God's wrath against sin.
One encouraging conversation was with a lady that had returned from the previous week to ask more questions. She had even gone along to a local Church the previous Sunday, as she was encouraged to. Praise God for the work He is doing in her life. May God be using these conversations and interactions to bring her to a knowledge of the truth.
As usual with the bus timetable many conversations are limited to ten or fifteen minutes. This was the case with the conversations had with John, Roy, and Shaun. They each heard of God as Creator and Judge. And were confronted by the expectations God has upon us and each were left to get on their bus as the question was posed, "How can a sinner who deserves God's judgement in Hell, be forgiven?". Each took a tract and said they would read it.
Please pray that they understood the clear explanation the tract gave and that it would lead them to trust in Jesus alone and to open their Bibles and start reading.
Another conversation was had with Latitia a young lady who goes to a local Church but didn't really understand the Gospel. She happily engaged, answered questions as best as she could and was slowly lead through the story of the Bible from front to back, so that she understood God's story of redemption. She said it was the first time she had heard it that way but was encouraged by it and was interested in knowing more. She too was encouraged to pick up her Bible and start reading it as well.
Please be praying for Latitia and her journey to knowing God. Please pray it is swift, so that even as she returns to Church this weekend, she desire to know God more.
This afternoon a team of 10, headed out to a local area in Brisbane with the new "Life is Precious" gospel tract to do a letter box drop.
The intention was that the people in the local community would be informed of who God is, the beauty and complexity that God created us with and the expectations from God, that come as a result of this design. The tract also seeks to explain how desperately we have failed God's standards and then points us to the only solution, that God himself became apart of this Creation, taking on human flesh, living sinlessly, dying sacrificially and rising victoriously!
Over the two hours, around 2,000 tracts were put in mail boxes. Please be praying that God uses these tracts to change families from just being a normal "Australian" household, to being a covenant family, adopted into God's family.
You can read the tract here.
On Wednesday in Brisbane City, the team was continuously swamped. Again, there were more people wanting to do flip charts, than there were flips charts, or people to man them! Although it is exciting that many people are wanting to engage in the Gospel and many more are hearing the Good News, the current limitation to the advancement of the Gospel in our Wednesday afternoons, is actually the amount of team members out. It is fitting to say, that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.
Would you consider joining the team on a Wednesday afternoon (1-5pm), to, in the power of the Spirit, equipped with the Gospel of grace, declare to the people of Brisbane city, one conversation at a time, who God is and what He has done?
Outside of the flip charts, there were also many other conversations. Two conversations happened back to back. Firstly, with Fraser a young man. He raised all sorts of objections to Christianity and his original main point was, "there is no evidence of God". The response to this, that often stumps people (and had Fraser floundering) is, "What are you expecting as evidence?" "What would have to have done, for you to know He exists?"
A few simple explanations were given for things we would expect if there was a Creator. For example, a finely tuned functioning world, intelligently designed animals and humans, a standard of right and wrong. Fraser then went on to try and give other explanations for these things. One at a time as his explanations were shown to have holes or issues it was made clear that it wasn't that these ideas and theories were more plausible or gave real answers, rather it became clear that they were being used as excuses and scape goats to try and avoid God and ultimately to try and avoid God's judgement.
It was pointed out that our rejection of God isn't intellectual, we don't reject God on the basis of external evidence, rather we try and use anything that seems mildly plausible to try and convince ourselves and justify to ourselves, our prior rejection of God.
Fraser, understood. It was even further stressed that we use intellect as a scape goat from God's wrath (avoiding God's existence and therefore avoiding God's wrath), where in reality, the only one who can protect us from God's wrath, is God Himself. The Gospel was present to Fraser, the truth was explained and he was left to choose, to continue to live his own way in God's world and incur the wrath or to turn to the save that has done everything required for sinners to be forgiven, we simply have to trust in Him.
Fraser said he would consider it and was thankful for the conversation.
A conversation that backed straight off that one was with Emma. There were five highschoolers behind Fraser who had been listened, so when he left, the same question was posed to them, "What do you think will happen after you die?"
Four of the group weren't really interested and just day dreamed, made silly comments and ended up leaving. Where as Emma was interested and stayed and talked for almost sixty minutes. It was an encouraging conversation in which Emma came to understand the Christian message, the glory of the Gospel and the call it has on her life, to turn from sin, to Jesus.
She too was encouraged to consider what Christ commanded and was encouraged to pick up her Bible at home and start reading.
Please be praying for Fraser and Emma that they will each heed Christ's command and rely upon Christ's salvation.
On Tuesday at Woodridge the afternoon was filled with conversations of many shapes and sizes. Along with the many cultures and people groups in Woodridge, come many religions and their attempts to make sinners right with God based on moral actions. This week the team had the chance to speak with Mormons, Muslims, JW's and a scattering of other beliefs as well.
The first conversation of the afternoon was with a lady named Teagan. Teagan had some knowledge of God but was not sure she could trust Him. As the Gospel was shared and explanations were given of who God is and what He was done it was made clear that we can trust God, because of His past history of trustworthiness. We can also know that Jesus can save because He has already paid the penalty, suffering the Hell punishment we deserve on the cross and then victoriously rising from the grave.
Teagan said the conversation was helpful in her understanding why she could trust Jesus and she was encouraged to trust in Him and what He has done for her salvation. Please be praying that Teagan does this!
Another conversation was had with a young man who speaks with the team regularly. He has a SDA background and has no assurance of salvation because he believes that we must be sinlessly perfect to get to Heaven! Despite many explanations given and passages touched on Jeffery is adamant that his theology is correct, whilst at the same time not knowing if he will ever get to Heaven. This is a sad position for him to be in.
He was encouraged to read 2 Corinthians 5 and spend some time pondering what God has said about salvation through the Apostle Paul. Please be praying that God will work in his life, through the scriptures and lead him to an understanding of the fullness of the salvation that Christ has provided!
A lengthy conversation was had with the JW, Vas. She has spoken to the team on a number of occasions now and is extremely deep into the narrative the JW's sell. When she reads the Bible, she isn't interested in what the passage says, all she wants to do it read into the text things that she has been told are in it. This is a scary reality that she has been deceived into reading the Bible in a way that is desperately wrong based on a desire not to understand what the original authors meant but with the intention to read and alternative narrative into it.
This coming week the team will spend time with her in Romans 3-5 and ponder what the text says. Please be praying that this time will be fruitful, not with her trying to jump around outside the passage but that she will be lead to read the text and consider what point the Apostle Paul is making in the text.
Another final conversation was had with five highschoolers. Two were Muslim, One was an Agnostic and two claimed to be Christians. The team explained many things two these five and called them to give up their sin and turn to Christ. It was an interesting conversation as the two "Christian" girls made the conversation far harder with their arguments and their pride than did the other three.
Please be praying that these five would read the tracts they were given, consider the Gospel that was declared and turn from their sinful rebellion to the humble saviour!
When you consider places to evangelise, Capalaba might not have even crossed your mind but this is always an exciting location. One person will growl at you simply for asking them if you can talk to them about eternity. The person sitting next to them on the other hand, will probably have never heard the Gospel and will happily talk with you until their bus arrives.
Although it comes with extremes, it is a place where God is using the simple conversations the team has to change peoples hearts. On Monday, between two team members over three hours, more than thirty people heard the Gospel!
The afternoon started with a sad conversation, with a lady named Micah. She stated that she was going to Heaven because her father was a priest for fifty years. Then she said that she was very good. She said she'd never lied or stolen and had lived her whole life God's way.
Then when asked about God's command not to commit adultery the conversation changed, she went from declaring how good she was, to attacking God. She said, "How can God call adultery a sin, when the Bible says incest is good?"
It was explained that the Bible doesn't commend incest, rather in the law of Moses it is outlawed. But it was clear what was taking place, Micah wanted to think she was a good person but the topic of adultery was something she knew she was guilty of. She then went on to share that she may have had her daughter before she was married but that didn't make her a bad person.
It was pointed out that she was right, it wasn't the sexual immorality made her a sinner, rather she was a sinner and therefore she was sexually immoral. Sadly Micah used emotionally driven arguments against God in an attempt to numb her conscience.
The Gospel was explained quickly as her bus was arriving soon but she wasn't really interested in the saviour, rather she preferred to change the rules to suit herself and declare righteousness based on her own standards.
Please be praying for Micah that the Holy Spirit would convict her of sin, judgement and righteousness and that she would not be able to rest until she found forgiveness in Christ and His sacrifice.
Three conversations were had with five ladies. Tia and Caitlin, Taneesha and Charlie and Leah. All five heard of God's Holiness and His expectations of humanity. They heard of the wickedness and consequences of sin and were left with the offer of hope and Jesus' command to repent and believe.
All five said they would consider it and all five took tracts. Please be praying that this conversation is used by the Holy Spirit to transform their lives into ones of knowing God, being known by God and making God known.
As the outreach began at Sunnybank yesterday, the worst of the rain ceased. Which allowed for the team to spread out as they usually do. The afternoon was filled with a range of conversations some were short and simple, others lengthy and encouraging, a few that were heart breaking and one particularly hostile one that ended surprisingly well.
There were three men, Saleh, Wayne and Jack, who all heard about why we can know there is a God and why that is a problem for us and sadly each had to leave before the conversation progressed too far. Please be praying that these men, heed the seriousness of the problem and don't just leave it there but seek out in God's Word the solution.
One longer conversation was had with Christany, she had a lutheran past but had left school and decided that she preferred "science" more. The conversation touched on God's Creation, God's purpose for humanity, our desperate state of rebellion and the question was posed, "What is the solution? How can a sinner be forgiven?"
Sadly even despite a lengthier conversation, her bus still arrived before it could progress further. She did not that she appreciated the conversation and would have to think more about the topic.
Lastly a conversation that was saddening and encouraging at the same was with a man who has come past before and was equally angry. Without going into all the details, he was very angry that people could be on the streets promoting and talking to the public about God.
He had a lot of arguments against Christianity, from the evils in the Church, to the age of the Bible and even was angry about hypocrisy in the Church. After some diagnostic questions, this man declared that there is no God "because there is no evidence". When provided with evidence, he declared that it wasn't good enough.
After some more questions, despite his anger it was pointed out that his arguments against God weren't based on intellect. It wasn't that he learnt things that had changed his mind about God, rather they were emotional, he was angry with God and therefore didn't want Him to exist.
He didn't disagree with this statement but kept on his attack. At one point he called the council (same as last time) to get us removed but during the conversation quietly walked off as he was told we were allowed to be there.
After talking to another guy, with a great desire to see this man come to a knowledge of the truth, he was carefully and gently approached again. He was asked, "What do you think the team comes here for? What do you think the purpose of Christianity is?"
As usual he was sure that it was all about trying to force people to live a certain way and follow rules so that God would "love" them. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely confused as the Gospel was explained, not as rules to follow to get forgiven but rather a gift of salvation for the guilty.
This was fleshed out a little for him and he was taken a back but still trying to be frustrated. Lastly just before his bus arrived he asked, "Well if you're already saved, what are you doing out here sharing with other people?"
To which the response was given, "We come out here, willing to be mocked, scorned, disrespected by people, in the hope that they will hear and understand God's offer of salvation and message of hope, because your eternity is far more important to me that my dignity".
This man was so confused, all he could do was make mocking noises as he hopped on his bus. Please be praying that this man's understanding of the Gospel and understanding that we care about him and his eternity would cause him to turn from his hatred toward God but rather that he would respond in repentance and faith.
Please be praying for all those spoken to, that they would heed God's command to turn from sin, to Him!