The Lord blessed out time at the markets this week, personally I had gone through the flipchart with 5 individuals.. the first one was with a man that I came into contact just over a year ago his name was Collin, he was doing his fruit shopping at the time and saw that we had a free literature stand and wanted to stop for a chat.
Colin had a Roman Catholic background and seemed like at the time all he wanted to do was argue, he said he wasn't involved with any church at the time and was on the fence with much of what the bible teaches about Christ though still wanted to challenge our views from what he had learned from his time at the Roman Catholic church, I urged him that the only way that he could have his sins forgiven and to be made right with God was through the Lord Jesus Christ and that there is no other way, he rejected the gospel and we said our goodbyes...
I'm sad to say, but this time when I saw Colin he was there doing his own version of evangelism for a group called the FFWPU - Family Federation for World Peace and Unification NZ, I'd never heard of them before but later looked up their website and see that they're a front group for the Moonies, with the Lord's help I again shared the gospel with Colin, he seemed more attentive to listen this time, I'm thankful that the Lord gave me the opportunity to give an apologetic for the objections he had.
He was there with a large group and I got to meet with Kenji who is their national leader, Kenji himself came over and wanted to meet me, and because I had never heard of them before I asked questions as to what they believed it started to become confusing and I believe the more I asked him questions the more he seemed confused about his own beliefs, so I stopped to take him through the flip chart and things got a bit uncomfortable for him when I talked about judgment and the hell punishment we deserve and his body language began to shift away...by God's grace I was able to tell him of Christ who took the hell punishment on the cross for sinners. It felt as though we were finally getting somewhere but we were suddenly interrupted by other members of their group and all of a sudden Kenji seemed different as though to act the part of 'National Leader' in the presence of his people and ended the conversation. (Here he is talking to me picture in the white hat.)
Please pray for Colin, Kenji and the FFWPU, there were approx 12 of them that day.
Next I spoke with a young man named Isaiah, he was visiting up from Hamilton, walked past the flip chart stopped and smiled and continued to walk....I said "did you want to do the test?" he replied "no, i'm scared i'd fail" I said "everyone fails this test....I'll show why" he seemed curious so he turned around, we had a wonderful conversation going through the chart and sharing the gospel with him, he had somewhat of an understanding of the Bible but this was the first time he came to understand the gospel and what Christ did on the cross. I pleaded with him to get right with God and to trust in Christ for his salvation, before he left I read to him from the book of Isaiah 1:18. Please pray for this young man.
We praise our great God as others in our team also had conversations, some good some not so good, but none were a waste of time. What confidence the people of God ought to have when we truly believe that His Word does not return void but accomplishes that which He desires. There were hundreds of our Op513 tracts that went out on this day, it was a joy saying to people "Happy New Year, God bless you" and handing them one of our New Year tracts, or one of our "What will matter to you in 150 years time?" tracts.
Day 3 of the Summer Mission to Christchurch (NZ). Today I decided to do something different. I didn't take the chilly bin, and instead stuffed as many 180 DVDs - a powerful pro-life documentary, that also shares the vital gospel message - as I could into my bag and headed to the hospital. The road works between the main hospital complex, and the new building has been completed, and I wanted to find out if it would be a good spot for witnessing and a place to bring the gospel to the issue of abortion in Christchurch - something that happens right inside the hospital here.
There wasn't anywhere near as much foot traffic here as in the city, but I did manage to have some gospel conversations via the flip chart. And I was able to hand out all but 2 of the DVDs (I was also handing out tracts with a link to the movie for those that don't have a DVD player).
Many hospital staff went past looking at me with curiosity. I also had hospital security staff walk past, and they took copies of 180 (I've got nothing to hide). One of them even came back and asked for another, as he said he'd given his to his boss - and he wanted one for himself. I was able to take the opportunity to confirm if the spot I was standing on was public property, and if I was fine doing what I was doing. I got a green light.
We desperately want to see abortion - the murder of innocent babies - ended in our city, nation, and beyond! And some of us have been praying about what we can do. I know my effort seems feeble - but it's something. It's a start. If it's something that God wants to happen, may He bless it, by opening up opportunities for ministry. Please join us in prayer. And it all starts with the gospel of Jesus.
Without lives being transformed by this message: of justice and grace there won't be lasting change. We can't just moralise our society; it needs Jesus - to see change now and for the hope of eternal life to come. May those considering abortion hear the gospel and turn away. May those who have had an abortion hear the gospel and know forgiveness in Jesus, through repentance and trust in him. Amen.
As I was standing on my spot outside the hospital, I noticed a couple had been sitting at one of the benches just down from me for a long time. So when I packed up, I decided to head down and offer them a DVD. They gladly took one, and a conversation started.
Sadly, one of them, who was dressed in a hospital gown, had just been informed that their cancer was inoperable! It was terminal. I expressed my deepest sympathy at this news. With the subject matter already on death, I shared the gospel - of the hope for eternal life. And gospel literature, with contact details, was given. With plenty of time to read and think, while in a hospital bed, may God lead this person (and their friend) to repentance and faith in Him. What a privilege to be able to share the gospel with them!
As the team seeks to use 2019 for God's glory and the proclamation of His name, the outreaches have continued. In some locations there are much larger crowds than usual and in others it is quieter. Gold Coast is the former. There are hundreds of people in the mall during the earlier parts of the outreach, as many families are around on holiday.
This past Friday, the team took the busyness as an opportunity to preach. Some serious messages were preached, with the warning that God has not promised to anyone that they would survive this year. But it wasn't death that should be feared, but the God who all will stand before in judgement after death.
The crowd then heard why this judge is to be feared, how guilty each one of us are and that the only solution to not spending eternity in Hell, is to find forgiveness purchased for sinners by Christ.
During the preaching, around ten New Testaments were taken off the table as people walked up and picked them up. Some came up despite the protests of their friends or family and others came up in small groups. It was unexpected but exciting to see people taking a copy of God's Word.
As usual a time of outreach is filled with a range of different people. Early on a Jewish man, who had rejected Judaism and had subscribed to spiritualism spoke with the team. Next an "atheist" who loved sin, hated God and had no arguments just assertions spoke with the team and an older man, who said, "I don't want to think about death or talk about religion" was left with the serious question, "Will God send you to Heaven or Hell when you die?"
Two encouraging conversations were had with Marcella and Emma.
Marcella is a native Spanish speaker and had a decent amount of understanding about God. Sadly though she had never heard the Gospel before. So, 2019 became the year when she first heard the Gospel and came to understand what God has done to save sinners.
Marcella, saw through the law, how short she fell of God's standard and then came to understand how Jesus' death can atone for the guilt and how we should respond to Jesus. Please be praying that Marcella would read the Bible she has at home and that God would use this conversation and His word to bring her to salvation!
The conversation with Emma was a little different. She at first said she didn't think the team would want to speak with her because she is an atheist. It turns out that she had very little reason for being atheistic, she just decided that is what she wanted. She also had experience in a Pentecostal church youth group, in which her criticism was, "it is just blind following". She recounted how they just would sing songs and jump up and down and it was all about emotional feelings and fitting in with the crowd. Sadly, in her years at youth group, she never came to understand the Gospel, nor did she hear much about Jesus.
Thankfully, God had bought her to Cavill Mall, at the right time, so she could hear the Gospel. Emma as she heard the simple apologetic for God's existence said it made sense. Then Emma saw herself in the mirror of God's law. She came to understand that she was desperately guilty.
When asked what the solution was, Emma didn't know and as usual said, "try to be good". Instead Emma got to hear what God has done to save those who are not good and who cannot be good. Emma heard the good news and in a final serious challenge it was explained that no one knows the time of their death. "We aren't promised tomorrow, let alone another year".
At this Emma broke down in tears, she recently had someone close to her die. Thankfully, Liam her boyfriend had just arrived and was able to comfort her but they were left with the seriousness of eternity and the only solution to judgement.
Please be praying for Emma and Liam, that they would heed God's command to repent and believe and would find freedom from sin, forgiveness of sin and a love for God!
What a change from 2 weeks ago. Then, most people appeared to be thinking of holidays. Today, it seemed to be that people were prepared to listen and engage quite openly. There were a couple of Asian lasses who got the good news from 2 separate teams and were thinking about this new (to them) offer of salvation. They had a Buddhist background. There were 2 Aussie lads, Kyle and Seb who had attended a R.C. educational institution but had no idea on how to get to heaven. By the end of the checking round, they understood God's offer. They parted with the gospel of John and our ongoing prayers. Similarly Johnny and Manny, 2 Sikh men parted with plenty to contemplate and check out.
There was an extended family of 5 Muslims who politely listened but after engaging for a while, the spokesman said they would stick with what they had been raised with. When they are alone, maybe the Good Shepherd may call one or more?
Likewise a Hindu family of 4 who never grasped the uniqueness of Jesus, nor the absolute righteousness that God requires but as they were parting stated that they (Hindus) had millions of saviors, so did not need Jesus!
We need to keep going out for, e.g. Col spoke to a man who had never heard.
As always, there was more but of the work that the Holy Spirit sovereignly does, we can only wait in patient hope. For now, let us pray and give God the glory, 1 Cor. 10:31.
Day 2 of the Summer Mission to Christchurch (NZ). Today ended up being a day of a few long conversations rather than many short ones. And only once did a conversation start via flip chart. Today the chilly bin of cold drinks was used to start conversations with people enjoying the hot sun while on holiday, or during a break from work.
The first conversation was with 2 work men on a break under the trees. Both were grateful for the free drink, and both thought they would go to heaven when they die. But after looking at 4 of the 10 commandments, they quickly realised that, if that was the standard God would use on judgment day, then they wouldn't be going to heaven. The good news of Jesus dying on the cross in payment for sin, and rising again giving us hope of eternal life was shared, with a call to repent and believe the gospel. This conversation had to go quickly as they were on a break, and we didn't want them stealing any of their employers time. ;)
We then moved on and had 2 (separate) conversations with young tourists from Austria, and Germany respectively. The Austrian, in particular, was keen to understand what we were saying, so the time was taken to explain the gospel and answer his questions. Initially he turned down the offer of a cold drink, but after the long chat, and since the sun was beating down hard now - he gratefully accepted.
The preaching in Cathedral Square attracted a new heckler today, which lead to a lengthy 1 to 1 discussion with her.
We then moved to Cashel Mall, where the team split up, and we ended up having separate conversations (walk up). Mine was with another German tourist, a very thoughtful young man who was challenged by the gospel presentation, and asked some wonderful questions afterwards. He had a real appreciation for the blessings of life, and seemed to be genuinely counting the cost of following Jesus. He gladly took a gospel booklet with his cold beverage and said he would read it.
A couple of other significant conversations were had today, but the 4 and half hours went quickly. It's not just about numbers, but about the quality of the conversations and making sure people understand what is being communicated. May gospel seed take root, for the glory of God alone.
The New Year has begun and the crowds that bring people to the shops in the Christmas period has gone back to a slower pace. This has been good in a way, as it gives a bit more time for conversation. Never ever think just because there are not many people around that it’s a negative.
Today seemed very quite but at the end of the day both Rick and myself were so thankful that God had prepared seeking hearts given to us by Him in a few of the conversations we had.
Praise God for R who I have spoken to in the past. He got to meet Rick and we were both able to spend time listening and chatting with him. Wow, it was wonderful as we could see how the Lord was showing him some very critical things in his heart. Checking to see if he truly is of the faith.
R is not able to read and much of his understanding is from his early years. There were a few things he shared with us that we were able to explain through God’s word what we are to obey in the call to salvation. We went through the flip chart and like we find in the majority of people, R said he was guilty but he thought he would be going to heaven, when asked why? he said that he was trying to do good works. He thought he wasn’t so bad. When we explained the Holiness of God and the wrath of God that we all deserve as we have all sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. R was wanting to listen, it was so great to see how God had his ears ready to hear more.
Justice was explained using the earthly courtroom analogy and how there needs to be a payment of the fine in breaking the law, that just saying I won’t do it again doesn’t make what was done go away. But just like in a earthly courtroom when you are guilty the law requires the penalty to be fully made so justice is upheld. Our earthly court is only an example of the perfect courtroom where there is perfect justice and judgment.
God’s courtroom is so much higher and on judgment day, we all will face God. We need to know there is none of us who are good, no not one, we all have broken God’s Holy laws as we check ourselves by the ten commandments, we know we are guilty, the Bible, God’s Word, declares the penalty for sin is death, not only physical death but even worse, it is spiritual, the penalty for sin is punishment in a place called Hell for eternity.
That’s bad news, But God has given good news and provided a way we can have our fine paid, that is through God’s one and only Son Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life He never sinned, Jesus came to die in our place to pay the penalty for all those who will believe upon Him and trust in His righteousness, in His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus paid it all. We broke the law, Jesus paid our fine. He defeated sin and death and offers us Eternal life as we come to Him with a humble heart and put out trust in Him.
God promises to give us Grace and a new heart that is repentant of our unbelief, self reliance and good works. His covering of righteousness makes us justified, God gives us Eternal Life and we can enter heaven. Not because we deserve it but because of mercy and grace given by God through Jesus our Saviour and Lord.
God receives all that are His and all the Glory is His. No one can boast, it is all His work and He deserves all Glory and Honour our love for Jesus is to worship Him and follow Him with grateful hearts. As we spoke all these truths to R we trust God in his life and we pray he be saved and have a desire to know His Saviour. We showed R how to download audio Bible and we had him listen on my phone to the book of John, all of Chapter 3, he was listening intently. He asked us about a Bible on CD, if he can buy it. We told him we would look into it for him. He said he will be back for the information next week or the week after. We urged him not to put off salvation. As we don’t know the day we die and we need to make that the first step with God.
S was another conversation that was very good. Hopefully we will get to talk with him again as he was meeting his wife and had to go. Pray for H who we have talked with before, he thinks he is ok but he is trusting in works as the way he will get to heaven and doesn’t seem to have conviction of sin or desire for God. We took him through the law and the Gospel and he has a tract again, only God can do the work we know.
Praise our wonderful God for another great day sharing the Gospel.
Every year, the Christchurch team organise a short term mission trip to... Christchurch! It means money can be saved on travel, we can sleep in our own bed, and we don't have to adjust to a new climate, culture, and time zone, but we still get the benefit of giving glory to God by bringing the good news of Jesus to the lost. Today was day 1 of the mission. Tracts were distributed, conversations were had, people heard the gospel by way of open air preaching, and soft drinks were given away.
Today was about continuing conversations that were started on the New Year's Eve outreach. Of 2 young men the team had a long conversation with prior, 1 of them walked past with his girlfriend. He was identified by name, and so stopped. This led to a great follow up conversation starting with his thoughts about what was discussed the first time. Eventually evolution was put forward as the excuse this young couple were using to suppress the truth of God. This was addressed, after re-covering the subjects of the serious nature of sin, and the good news of Jesus. They were asked to consider the cost, repent and trust in Jesus before it's too late.
Another young man, first encountered on New Year's Eve, has been encountered at least 2 more times since then. And every time, I'd say hello, using his name, as he walked past. Today he was sitting with 2 friends in Cashel Mall. I approached, and he was happy to see me. They were grateful to receive a free cold drink to enjoy, and were very open to a gospel conversation - via flip chart. It was a wonderful conversation, as they seemed very open to the message of the gospel. I hope to see these young men again.
Earlier, I preached in Cathedral Square. To draw a crowd, I used trivia questions giving away free drinks as prizes. It was wonderful seeing people gather and get involved. I then offered $5 (to buy a coffee from the local vendor) to the person who could pass the good person test, based off the ten commandments. Sadly, once people realised I was a Christian, they started to disperse and I couldn't convince anyone to try for the fiver. But I still took the opportunity to proclaim the serious nature of sin, and what Jesus has done to defeat death and bring us hope. Some stayed to listen. But please pray that we would become more effective in sharing the gospel.
Finally, we met a lady who watched one of the flip chart presentations. Initially, I thought she was going to get angry at us telling people about sin, but to my surprise she encouraged us! A Christian from a local Baptist church, she said she would be keen to join us, and took my email address. May she get in touch, and get involved, for the glory of God. How about you?
Please continue to pray for the Christchurch Summer Mission! And join us if you can :)
Today I set up my flip chart in Cashel Mall, and then walked down a bit to meet team members coming to join me. We turned around to head back to the chart, and a small group of people had already gathered around it! 1 of the team took the initiative and jumped in and a gospel conversation was away - as easy as that.
We had a new team member today, so a 2nd chart was set up on the other side of the mall and a quick demonstration on how to use it started. But then we noticed a guy watching us, so we invited him over and a real flip chart gospel conversation occurred! Nothing better than a live demonstration :)
Gospel conversations were started - with and without the flip chart. There was even an opportunity to pull out a Bible and have a discussion around the correct meaning of a verse.
Tomorrow, the yearly summer mission will start - a 2 week short term mission to... Christchurch! We have a chilly bin, ice, and cans of drink ready to give away and as a conversation starter. Please keep the Christchurch team in your prayers over the coming 2 weeks of outreach. Regular reports will be posted.
This is the first week of my break from work (they close for two weeks) so I was able to join my wife an hour earlier for our usual Friday outreach in Warwick. The streets were a little bit quieter but busy enough to have a few conversations and hand out some tracts.
M is a young man who has received a few Gospel tracts before from Glenda so when she saw him coming she asked me to engage him in a chat. I said g’day and asked him if he had read any of the tracts he had previously received, he said yes and still has them at home. I asked, "What did you think of them?" He said they were alright but didn't’t seam too fazed about them, so I stressed the point about all being guilty and took him through the law and judgment and the eternality of our hell punishment but all to no avail. Sadly, he just had no care about the future and was hard to get much out of him, he just said its not for me. We said to please look into these things for no one knows how long we have on this earth, any of us might not see tomorrow. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken him to the truth of the gospel.
We were able to hand out a bible and a couple of books of John to a family from out of town and plant a few seeds. It’s great to see someone desiring to have the word of God and what a blessing to have these resources to give away free of charge.
We handed a tract to a couple who came back and wanted to ask us a few things about what they read and we said "no, we’re too busy" (only kidding) we said "fire away!". They had questions about the law and especially about the Sabbath so we quickly ascertained that they were from the Adventist movement and had quite a lengthy discussion about scripture and Ellen G. White’s teachings. They asked if they could meet us next week and further discuss our differences. Please pray that God would prepare their heart to receive the good news of salvation through Grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for all our sins - past, present and future. Please pray that our Lord would speak the Gospel truth through us which is His power unto salvation.
There were many people out in central Christchurch sharing their beliefs today. Some out of their passion: those protesting the department store selling fur. Some, maybe, out of fear (earning salvation?) and obligation: various religious groups. And it struck me: 1) they wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't worthwhile, and 2) there is nothing more worthwhile than sharing the gospel - not out of fear or obligation - but out of genuine love for the one who has saved us from sin and hell: Jesus; and who has asked us to go because of His great love for the lost.
Regular gospel outreaches are being established in Christchurch - 6 days a week, if you know the love and grace of Jesus, why don't you come and get involved? Get in touch!
Every outreach this week, God has provided more than 1 labourer, but I thought I was going to be on my own today, until I came across Garry (pictured). Garry is a guy who attends a local church and we have gotten to know over the years as he is often out on the streets of central Christchurch. Yet he has never actually joined us in outreach. Well today was the day, and he plucked up his courage and asked for a few tracts to hand out.
It was wonderful watching him step past his fears, and politely ask people if they would like a tract. Of the 12 people who went past him, 3 took one. Praise God. May those 3 people read those tracts and hear of the glorious good news of Christ and come to repentance and faith in Him. Maybe it's time for you to step past your fears and get involved? Have a few hours spare? There will be no obligation or pressure to do anything you are not ready for: get involved - Jesus is so worthy! :)