On Wednesday in Brisbane city the team out to preach Christ and Him crucified to the lost and broken people of this world. The afternoon had some great reminders and was encouraging as well!
One conversation late in the afternoon was with Jemma. From first glance she seemed as though she would be hard to talk with but God in His grace allowed it to be one of the easiest and simplest conversations. Jemma had some Christian background but nothing major.
What was most surprising was not that Jemma used the word, "repent" when talking about how she should respond to the gospel but that she actually had a correct definition of the word! When asked, "What do you think that word means," she responded. "To have a change of mind about sin and then you will trust in Christ".
The reason this is so surprising is that the team a few months back realised that what Australian's mean when they say the word "repent" is usually, "be a good person, stop sinning and ask for forgiveness". Since the team has started asking people what they mean when they use the word, this is the first person to give an accurate definition. For this reason we have stopped using the word and instead started explaining the idea other ways.
This conversation with Jemma was incredible, she comprehended the gospel, she was able to get the checking questions right first time and she was challenged to count the cost and to trust in Christ this very day!
The conversation following this was with Arli, an Indonesian man. The conversation was harder, he struggled to comprehend the gospel as first and more work had to be done to lead him to comprehend what was being said but when he did understand and was able to explain the gospel simply back he declared that he didn't want to trust in Jesus. He said that he was happy living his own way and didn't need the saviour. It was sad to see someone understand the predicament they are in, the reality of judgement but willing to say that they love sin too much to trust in Christ.
There were many people who weren't able to stay for the gospel as they had to head back to work or off with friends. This included Shane an Irish guy who'd never thought about it before, Alamir a lapsed Muslim who had very little idea about Christianity, Tracey who had to head off with her brother before she heard the good news and Jason said he was just going to risk it on the day of judgement.
Lastly was an exciting conversation with Oli, a local homeless man. Usually those on the street aren't willing to chat but Oli was. By God's grace, even though there was a strong hint of alcohol on his breath he came to comprehend the gospel! He said, "I have spent so many years visiting different churches and being served by them but this is the first time I have understood what Christianity is about". What an exciting comment from Oli, praise God that he has now comprehended the gospel!
Please be praying for all those who heard the law and gospel today that God would use the guilt shown by the law and the forgiveness provided by the gospel to draw people unto Himself that they may come and trust in Christ for their salvation!
Please pray. Pray for labourers for the harvest and for God to use us for his glory: the salvation of the lost, and the saving of lives. As we were leaving our second Gospel + abortion outreach, we afresh had the realisation of how desperately we need God’s help in the battle to bring the Gospel to the lost. In our own effort, we won’t achieve anything.
As we turned up, again the media were outside the hospital. This time, sadly, it was because one of those injured in the mosque attack had died, bringing the toll to 51. And again, we had no idea this had happened, and we were not planning our outreach for media attention. But it was a poignant reminder of the sanctity of life. Murder is wrong, and there is hope in the Gospel of Jesus.
So, as planned, we pulled out our new signs, and took up our positions. There were four of us over the two hour outreach.
It again had a polarising effect: many in support, and many against. Tracts were accepted, and conversations were had. Andy had a wonderful opportunity for a follow up conversation from last week with someone who works in the hospital.
Today I was called judgemental, and a purveyor of hate speech, all this while holding the sign that says: “There is hope, we will help, talk to us.” Ironically, this came from people who were judging and hating me.
An hour and a half into the outreach, all of a sudden, security staff started to appear. There were at least six of them - it felt like they brought the army out (see pic). I was nervous and started praying. Finally, after they had all found positions, two of them approached from the side.
Thankfully, the spokesperson was great. We had a friendly chat, he confirmed we were fine doing what we were doing, as long as we didn’t block any paths.
Eventually, the security staff dispersed, but one stayed. At the end of the outreach, I thanked him for his protection - and he smiled.
But I think it shows that we are being noticed - which is encouraging. If so few can get a reaction, what would happen if more Christians started standing up and joining the line? In our weakness, God shows Himself strong.
If you are a Christian, PLEASE join us! Required ability: standing with a sign. This is something that families can get involved with. The more sign holders we have, the more other Christians will be able to talk to people about the Gospel - our only hope for ending abortion.
After the Gospel + abortion outreach, we moved into the City for flip charting, and tract distribution.
And on the previous day, Thursday, we held our regular City and Eastgate outreaches.
I’m out of time to write about some of the interactions of those outreaches, but we encountered some strong opposition (see picture of man pointing), talked to a rugby player from South Africa, and (as always) had wonderful conversations at Eastgate: the highlights of which included multiple people realising that good works were not the way of salvation, but instead it's grace, through faith in Jesus. And I had a wonderful follow up conversation with a guy I had talked to for “about an hour outside the hospital” (which I can’t remember) - praise God that people continue to be reached with the Gospel multiple times.
As always, may God be glorified through our feeble efforts! Thanks to all who are supporting us. I really mean it: thank you!
Tuesday saw outreach resume in the Riccarton area & Wednesday saw outreach in the township just north of Christchurch called Kaiapoi for the first time.
The Riccarton outreach was dominated by one conversation that went for about an hour. It was with an Italian man who I would describe as... passionate! Although it was a good and friendly conversation, multiple times I had to clarify that I wasn’t there for an argument, and to ask him to calm down.
He was very linguistically focused (knowing 4 languages) and would want to discuss the meaning of certain words in the Old Testament of the Bible to try to prove certain points that I wasn’t too clear of. I would listen for good periods, and then try to steer the conversation back to the simplicity of the law and the Gospel. But he would listen for a while, and then pull the conversation back down a rabbit trail.
In the end, I never really got a chance to talk about the Gospel (sadly, he wasn’t interested).
As is often the case, his concern was with why God (whom he didn’t deny) allows suffering. It seemed that a lot of his logic came from “new atheists” like Dawkins.
As we were not making any progress in the conversation, multiple times I tried to disengage and wish him a good day. But he didn’t want to let it go for some reason. At one point he said: “I answered all your questions, and now I want you to answer my question!” Even after explaining that he was under no obligation to answer my questions, he insisted on staying and talking. There were times when I just didn’t have good answers on hand. And so I would be honest and just say so.
Eventually he did disengage, and oddly he apologised. We parted on good terms.
Wednesday’s focus was on four hours of door to door knocking in Kaiapoi. It was a wonderful time of ministry with some excellent Gospel conversations.
The stand out conversation was with a lady with a young family. Initially, when we first knocked in the morning, she wasn’t able to talk, but she said we could come back - saying the afternoon would be fine. And so after lunch we went back, and she welcomed us in for a chat.
We were able to share the law and the Gospel in some depth, asking checking questions multiple times. There was no visible sign of contrition, but seemed interested in what we were talking about. She gladly took a Bible and other literature.
A teenage son, who was home sick, also heard the Gospel and I had an opportunity to ask if he understood what was discussed, by giving him a checking question. He answered well by saying: “I need to trust in Jesus to go to heaven” - I was encouraged.
We asked the mother what her partner though about spiritual things. And she said he was very open, and that they would often talk about them. We asked her to discuss these things with her partner and gave her contact details if they wanted to discuss further.
She thanked us for our time, and we thanked her for hers.
Another wonderful conversation was with two contractors on a break, sitting in their van, waiting for concrete to dry. They were originally from the Philippines and were happy to chat with us. After hearing the Gospel, they also gladly took Bibles and other Gospel literature.
Many other good Gospel conversations were had. Something that interested me was that none of the people we talked to while door knocking denied the existence of God. There is much opportunity to discuss the Gospel. Please join me in praying that the Holy Spirit would use the plowing of hearts (by the law), and the seed (the Gospel) sown today, to bring fruit for His glory.
On Tuesday at Woodridge a team of five made it out and God in His providence enabled many encouraging conversations to take place. Over the many conversations the team has had they have slowly become more efficient at articulating the gospel in a way that makes sense and is simple to understand. In each encounter the aim is not simply to get the gospel out of our mouths but to take the person being spoken to on a journey from where they currently are to a place where they understand what Jesus had to say. Although the team is not perfect it is very encouraging to see that more and more people, in the frame of a short conversation are understanding the gospel.
During the afternoon there were many conversations that took place but of the last five conversations (with seven people), five understood the gospel!
Firstly was a conversation with Nellem. He attends a local church around once a month with his family but thought it was goodness that gets someone into Heaven. Over the short conversation Nellem came to understand that anyone being judged on their life will not make it into Heaven as everyone is a sinner and God's entry requirement for Heaven is perfection. But Nellem then came to comprehend the simple gospel! He was able to not to copy back the phrase, "trust that Jesus has paid for you sin" but was able to answer questions that challenged his comprehension!
He was challenged to read John's gospel and to count the cost of trusting in Christ today!
Next was a short conversation with Brandi who did seem all with it and despite best efforts she didn't come to hear the gospel as she wanted to raise other topics. She was shown God's law and her guilt and was given a tract and encouraged to take a read as she ran off to the train.
Soon after Kiana was approached. From the way she was dressed it was assumed that she was a Muslim and it turns out that she isn't. Which was a good reminder not to assume. In the beginning of the conversation the law was briefly touched on but not as in depth as usual, which in some ways was a mistake but thankful God is gracious and there was a chance for her to be challenged by it at the end of the conversation.
Kiana was taken very smoothly through the gospel. Question by question, thought by thought she followed along, comprehending how it all fits together and at the end was able to answer checking questions correctly! She understood that one can be justified by faith in Christ alone! But when asked, "When will you trust in Jesus?" She answered, "I don't know if I need to, I'm not that bad," to which she was pointed out that we are that bad. She then said, "Well what have I done wrong?"
God's law was used to reveal sin and Kiana came to understand that today if she died and was given justice for how she'd lived she'd be sent to Hell for eternity but at the very same time, God's offer of forgiveness stands that she can receive through faith in Christ! She then popped out with a question about the deity of Christ which was partially answered but she had to leave before it could be fleshed out a little further.
Next Meredith was approached and she had a Christian background, in fact she'd attended a local Church for almost ten years and had little to no understanding of the gospel. But through the simple question and answer style communication for the first time Meredith comprehended the gospel of grace that sinners can be saved by faith in Christ alone and then out of gratefulness to God for saving them they will happily serve Him all their days!
Lastly three workers, Fitu, Mark and Levi came out of the train station and were stopped with the question, "What do you think will happen to you after you die?" with a mixture of responses, the law was used to reveal sin, the gospel was preached as the solution for sinners and when the checking questions were asked Fitu was on the money, he understood the gospel straight away! Mark was a bit slower but seemed to also understand and Levi struggled a bit. The guys ended up having to leave without too much discussion after that but Fitu continued the conversation with them as they left.
What a wonderful day of outreach where many people were spoken to and by God's mercy came to understand how someone can be made right before God. Please be praying for those who now understand the gospel that they will come to trust in Christ and receive forgiveness of sin and will as a result start attending a local church, reading their Bible and telling others of this kind Saviour!
On Saturday night in Brisbane City, as with every other day of the year God in His providence provided those he wanted the team to speak with. Evangelism is hard work. It isn't that articulating the gospel is a feat that is overly strenuous (though some gospel conversations take more effort than others), it is that investing in and caring about someone's eternity takes effort. It makes a lot of sense that Christ needed time alone with the Father and often retreated to have quiet time, compassion for the lost takes energy.
This evening was filled with fewer conversations than normal but these were conversations that were invested in strongly. It wasn't that lengthy apologetics took place, or all the questions raised were flawlessly answered but that whilst attempting to lead those spoken to, toward an understanding of the gospel, a great burden was carried knowing the reality of their eternity without Christ.
The first conversation was with two young men who came up to the table being silly and mocking and they asked for a Bible but they ended up walking away with far more than they had bargained for, they left with the gospel. These two young men were being silly but their silliness was cut short as they heard the seriousness of their sin, their current eternal destination and the only offer of hope. They ended up leaving quite abruptly but not before they had heard what God had done to save sinners.
Next was a conversation with two men, one of whom was headed for prison in three days. Sadly though, these men in their pride were opposed to God's gospel. They were unwilling to hear of what Christ has done, they simply wanted to try and justify themselves by pretending they weren't guilty, arguing that there was no God, followed by arguing that they weren't that bad. What was so sad was that these two men didn't have a good reason to reject the gospel. They didn't know it, they didn't have information that disproved it, they simply were to hard hearted, too much in love with sin to acknowledge that they had a problem.
The last two conversations of the evening were very different though. Eban and Eugene were chatting to another team member, trying to argue about the origin of the universe and how it couldn't be created by God, when they posed an idea that he wasn't sure how to answer. But rest assured there is a very simple answer to proclaimed "intellectual" arguments against the existence of God, the law. A quick segway was given, "That's an interesting question you raise but let me ask you, do you think you've ever told a lie before?" following into a straight forward gospel presentation, where many questions were asked leading Eban and Eugene to not raise another single objection against Christianity but instead ended up seriously pondering the good news of what Christ has done. It was beautiful to watch God's law at work, it truly did silence their mouths and enable the gospel to do its work.
Lastly was a conversation with Paul and Mary, Germans who had a church background but were living however they wanted, were trusting in their goodness to get them to Heaven and actually were more hoping for reincarnation. Paul and Mary were shown God's law and very quickly realised the seriousness of the conversation. The saw the penalty they deserved and how grave their position was. And with some helpful questions, simple analogies and patience, they came to comprehend the simple gospel of justification by faith alone that will be followed by obedience to God.
They were thankful for the discussion and said that for the first time in a long time light had been shed on this important issue in their lives. They were encouraged to open up their Bibles and to read the Gospel of John and to consider what had been said that they may trust in God for salvation!
Praise God that He continues to use those who were once His enemies to be the proclaimers of His grace and that He delights to display His wisdom through the foolish gospel! Please be praying that God may be gracious to those who heard His law or gospel tonight!
On Friday at the Gold Coast the team as usual headed out to declare God's glory and offer of forgiveness to the nations. But not always does this happen. For some on the team the evening was filled with great conversations, many people hearing and responding positively but for others it was a long hard outreach trying to find someone who was willing to hear.
The evening started with a man who declared that he wasn't sinful and very quickly was shown that was a lie through the law of God. He also declared that God would never punish people and that Hell doesn't exist. He made a point of declaring that he knew God intimately and would definitely be in Heaven and had been saved by Jesus but when asked what Jesus had saved him from he said, "Nothing". Which he was then asked, "So why did you need to be saved?"
It turns out he had been influenced by JW's and had believed much of what they taught and sadly had the pride to declare that he knew everything about God. He was unwilling to read the Bible and ultimately did not want to to hear what God had done to save sinners. He ended up marching off declaring, "You can't tell people that they are on their way to Hell, I could have you arrested right now!"
Next was a conversation with an unbelievably proud man. The other team member that spoke with him was exceedingly patient. This man who declare loudly and forcefully things that he was sure of only to inaccurately represent the truth on almost every occasion. He began by declaring that there is no God and had no great reason for it other than the fact that he didn't want there to be a God. He was asked some questions on that before being asked, "Do you think you're a good person?" to which he declared, "Yes, I am". Then he went on to declare that he was not only good by human standards, by this worlds standards but he declared that he knew if God existed he should let him into Heaven and oppositely if God was to judge him and send him to Hell, "F Him".
This man was unapologetically arrogant. This was gently but directly pointed out late in the conversation. He was shown that his problem wasn't really the evidence around God but from the things he was saying, he had a serious problem with God. He wanted to be in charge and because God exists he couldn't be, so he had done everything in his power to try and convince himself that he really was allowed to live however he wanted. He too left, despite best efforts before he could hear the gospel.
Next came Shane and his son, who followed suit. Their guilt was shown by God's law and they were left guilty but they tried everything they could to avoid God's justice by back flipping between declaring that they weren't that bad or that God doesn't exist.
This pattern followed the rest of the evening, for another thirteen people. The night was filled with seventeen people who heard God's law, saw the guilt and when they realised what they deserved was Hell, didn't want to know the solution but as quick as possible seemed to "run" away. It was almost unbelievable that so many were in the same boat.
Thankfully, even on a night this one, God is in control and His word does not return void! May God use the guilt revealed by His law to bring these people to trust in Him alone, finding a full and free pardon from their sin in Christ!
The afternoon was at Capalaba was filled with encouragement! Not only did a new team member come along to preach God's glorious gospel but the outreach featured many positive responses to the gospel! As usual some people were closed off whilst others were open to hear but through it all God in his providence enabled His word to go forth and it will not return without accomplishing what He has sent it out to do!
The second conversation of the afternoon took place with Georgia who at first said she didn't really believe in Hell but that she thought everyone went to Heaven. It didn't take long going through God's law and God's goodness for her to see that Hell must exist and even worse, that every human being deserves to be sent there. She came to understand the trouble we are in and then for the first time in her life she came to comprehend what Christ has done to save sinners and how a simple response of faith is all that is required to be made right before God!
Georgia even said, "All of these years in the Church I have heard many things but this is the first time I have understood how simple it is to be forgiven by God!" When asked later about when she would trust in Christ she said, "On my death bed", to which she was challenged with two thoughts, firstly that none of us are guaranteed a moment before death to trust in Christ and secondly she was asked this question, "If you don't want to trust in Christ now, who says you will want to trust in Him then?"
Georgia was challenged by this, was encouraged with what the Christian life will look like and that it will cost her things and at the end of the conversation she said she would consider it and that should would trust Christ today! Praise God for the clarity of the gospel and please bring Georgia before Him that He would graciously draw her to Himself!
There were also two exciting conversations that took place with elderly ladies. For the record, usually older people in general are hardened too the gospel. Either because they've grown up in Church and think they know it already or they've lived in rebellion against God their whole lives and aren't willing to change now. But in these two cases the opposite was true, both women were happy to talk and were challenged by the gospel.
First was a lady who had previously spoken to some other Christian's but didn't know the gospel. She through the conversation saw her sin, the penalty sin deserves and the desperate situation that leaves us in. Then she heard of God's forgiveness, that He pays the debt we owe so that we can be forgiven and she came to understand that this forgiveness is offered as a gift, not on the basis of merit, so that all who trust Christ receive the gift of forgiveness. She seemed to understand how simply it was received and was thankful for the chat. A checking question, to make sure she understood the gospel was asked but she didn't get a chance to answer as her bus arrived. She did take a tract though!
Next was a conversation with Lynn who had spoken briefly to the team a fortnight ago but today heard the gospel fresh. She came to understand the bad news and what Christ has done to save sinners but not the response of faith to receive it, as her bus arrived as well. Thankfully she was open and happy to chat and even said, "I shall see you in two weeks"! Lynn was for the first time in her life piecing together all of the things she had heard in Sunday School all those years earlier.
Please be praying for these three women that today would be the day of salvation where they would come to know God intimately as their Lord and Saviour and that for the first time they would trust in Him and what He has done to save them!
Praise God that the gospel is so simple and so free, so that all who come to Him in faith may be forgiven!
Thanks for your partnership in the gospel through your praying for God to be glorified as His gospel in taken outside the 'safe' domain of the church building. His work reflects His perfect unchanging character and what will the Day of Judgment reveal to those that we have been able to communicate the Way of salvation to?
- Ryan was able to speak to a family of 3 from a Russian church background. Mum knew that Jesus had died for her many sins. Daughter had to be escorted through the gospel a few times until the light dawned that she had not been relying on Christ's perfect atoning life, death and resurrection alone to save her. Like many in the churches she had added her imperfect work into her (wrong) understanding. Now she has grasped the gospel. She has the challenge,along with her mother, to help their father to grasp the truth and 'love it so as to be saved', cf. 2 Thess. 2:10!
- Lee-Anne & Railee met some breakaways from the L.D.S. Eventually, the gospel was heard by them.They were challenged to trust the Bible alone as God's revelation, i.e. absolute truth.
There were 3 completed flip chart presentations:
-Indonesian Presbyterians, Joung, the husband not present. His wife Yohannaa and 12 year old son were referred to a church where the pastor is an Indonesian-speaker.
- a husband who quickly disengaged while his wife was going to consider her need to trust in Christ alone.
- Gareth and Sasha who happily engaged and now thinking the gospel over.
God led us to converse with these, and more. He has the last word. He is perfectly righteous. We praise Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the one true God and give all glory to Him.
At Warwick this week we handed out Anzac tracts and had a few conversations. It was very busy because of the Polo Cross Event running all week so many people received tracts.
Rick spoke with a man who thought he was just going into the ground when he dies and he wants to just enjoy what time he has left in this life. After being challenged about the amazing design in creation and our bodies specifically the eye how complex it is in design and how that could just happen without a designer. Rick took R through the law and brought the Gospel to him. He walked away with saying he was thankful for the discussion and would think about what was said. He took a tract with him.
A couple on scooters stopped and I got to speak with the lady and Rick started a conversation with her husband. S was declaring her faith in Jesus and had the Gospel message and was full of thankfulness for Jesus. She was given contact details to a Church close to her as she has not been attending a Church for some time and said she would like to go. Her husband L didn't know the way to heaven and thought his goodness would probably get him there. Rick made sure he understood sin by taking him through some of the commandments to show our guilt and the great need to have our sins forgiven. The Gospel was shared and we pray for this couple, especially for L that he receive the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus.
I got to share the message with a young teenager who didn't know any commandments but said he puts God first every day. After going through the law with him he did admit he was guilty but said his good out weighed his bad. So then it was explained that any good we do doesn't cancel out the bad things we do and we still have broken God's law. There needs to be payment for sins as justice must be upheld and God is a perfect judge. I used the 'Are you a good person' tract to talk about the courtroom analogy. Hell punishment was explained and that we all deserve Gods punishment. Also I shared how Mr nice guy on the front of the tract has a smile on his face, but by the end of the good person test his face is looking very different as he sees that there is no one good enough to enter heaven.
This is how we need to be to understand our greatest need for what God has done to provide a way of escape. God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life in our place. I explained and asked C questions about the Easter message and he did answer a few things correctly. Pray that the Gospel will open C heart to salvation and God's Spirit do the work needed in his life.
Thank you so much for praying.
All Glory to God!
London Marathon outreach April 28: I went down to the mile 15 point of the London Marathon at Limehouse Station to hand out tracts and preach (non-amplified). Many young and old alike came to cheer on their friends and relatives. The crowd was young and trendy, but there was a good mix of all groups. Everyone was following their favorite runner with an App that tracked their progress. One man said that he was scientist and I was wasting my time. I argued back about science not being possible without God. It went a bit back and forth before he turned away when his friends showed up.
Interestingly, I could hand out many £1,000,000 notes to young people from the other major religion. Rashid kindly posed for me for one photo. I got there early to catch the professional ladies running past, but I didn't wait for Mo Farah and co. My only photo of the marathon comes from the platform at Limehouse. I definitely wish to get an outreach team together next year for the London Marathon. I'm close to a city of 10 million with thousands gathering on the weekends for any number of events. I look forward to Bill Adams in June for the Cricket world championships.