On Friday evening on the Gold Coast it was a very quiet night to begin with. The usual family foot traffic seemed to be taking a week off. But as God is sovereign, there were just enough people around for the team to have consistent conversations.
The evening began with a conversation with a Muslim man, who originally tried to argue that both Christians and Muslims worship the same god. This idea was challenged by asking, "How are your sins being paid for?" When he heard this, he didn't want to talk any longer.
Following this conversation, there was a discussion started with two young men. Sam and his friend. What was surprising was that Sam was willing to stay and chat, even despite his friend wanting to leave. What was interesting was that in the discussion Sam struggled to understand the Gospel. He was so familiar with the idea of being good to get to God, that it had never crossed his mind that it wasn't the way.
The Gospel was explained a number of different ways, with different analogies and after each time a checking question was asked to see if Sam had comprehended the Gospel but it didn't seem clear for Sam even by the end. Sam was glad for the conversation and was encouraged to read the tract. Please be praying for Sam that the Gospel did make sense and that he would come to trust in Jesus alone for salvation.
A positive conversation was with Isaac and Jin, they had never heard the Gospel before but came to understand it and were thankful for the chat.
A funny comment from another conversation was with two girls who mentioned that they had gotten the "finger print", Good Person tracts during Schoolies and that they didn't work. It was surprising to think that they were so sure of their goodness that they were certain that the tract was broken, rather than thinking the point may have been to point out that no one is good. These girls heard the law and the Gospel but weren't to interested in doing anything with it.
A short conversation was had with two young Greek orthodox men. They heard the law, saw their sin and were floundering about how to made right before God, when they called their uncle and father over. The uncle was a priest and these two men, blinded by their pride were unable to hear what God had said in His word about justification by faith alone. These men talked, with very little intention to listen. They were challenged on many points in scripture, to which they didn't have answers.
Sadly this ruined the opportunity that was had with their sons. The scariest part was that one of the men used Jesus' name as a curse word and it was at that moment the conversation came to a halt. It was pointed out that they had just blasphemed God and that they should open up the Bible and read Romans 3-5, before the night was out.
Briefly another conversation was had with Shaun who also couldn't comprehend the Gospel. Unlike Sam, this was because Shaun didn't want it. He liked morality and what Jordan Peterson has to say but on that basis was sure he was a good guy and therefore didn't want the Saviour. He went on to declare the he wanted to live life his own way and that was why he didn't believe. It was clearly and carefully pointed out to Shaun that he is on a path headed toward Hell and his only hope is to humble himself and trust in Christ.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel this week and for those who took tracts, that God may use this simple message to change people's lives, by the power of His Spirit.
Thursday: 2 outreaches: City; and another new outreach: Eastgate Bus Stops. It was great to have Graeme join me in the City, and Daniel at Eastgate. Hot day, over 30 degrees Celsius - but so worth being out!
At Eastgate, I was surprised at how easy it was to start conversations. I was in pretty much constant gospel conversations for the first hour and a half, before I had to force myself to take mini breaks to pace myself through the last hour and a half. It is a wonderful field for harvest in that sense, but in another there wasn't much spark or engagement from many that I talked to (that I could see). I will start praying for receptive hearts on this weekly outreach - will you join me in prayer?
Earlier, in the city, I had some long conversations.
1 was very special with 2 very young men dealing with some very severe "life wounds" (I don't want to give details for their privacy). They were drunk (and drinking), but very receptive to conversation. I did a lot of listening, and I did my best to share the gospel, but I kept getting cut off - but that's ok, as I'm confident I will see them again and be able to continue the conversation. My heart goes out to these guys! They are on my prayer list. I'm praying for gospel break though in their lives!
There was a lot of activity in the Square: university students on Orientation Week with trumpets, construction noise, people out giving free hugs(!? :) ) - so it was quite difficult to open air preach. But I tried anyway. I made it through the law and the gospel, but I was very aware of how ineffective it seemed. Yet I know God can use our efforts - as feeble as they are.
Please consider joining me, as feeble as we are - God can use us for His glory!
Today, Wednesday, 2 gospel outreaches: city in the morning, and a new outreach outside the hospital in the afternoon.
I was feeling really tired this morning. It can take a lot of energy to start conversations from cold - and then maintain them. So I needed to pace myself by planting my flip chart, and relying on tracts (and prayer) to allow conversations to come to me more naturally.
And I was incredibly encouraged with the first conversation.
When Andy Barlow and I were in Aussie last year, we had an opportunity to do some (intense) ministry outside an abortion clinic with Andrew & Tom from the Project 139 team. A guy turned up at the clinic with his girlfriend (not for an abortion) and he stayed to talk (argue) with all of us.
Well, this morning, in Christchurch, NZ - this same guy and his girlfriend walked past and recognized me from the previous encounter. They were very keen for a chat (he approached me), and wanted me to explain the flip chart to them. (Always my pleasure!) I think the guy was quite impacted by meeting me again. He has had a 2nd opportunity to hear the gospel - he may not get another, today is the day of salvation. May they trust in Christ.
Later, I preached in the Square before taking a break for lunch and then heading to the Hospital.
I was a bit concerned that this new outreach would be slow, but I was pleasantly surprised by all the gospel conversations I managed to have.
The stand out conversation was with a hospital worker who had seen me standing on the sidewalk from within the orange hospital building (see pic), and took the time to come down and find out what I was doing. It turned out she was a Christian, and she gave me some wonderful encouragement and feedback. I'm looking forward to coming back to this spot next week.
I appreciate all the prayer, support and those that are making time to join me. Thank you so much. SDG
Tuesday outreach involved trying a new location: Riccarton Road. It turned out to be a decent spot. I was there in the afternoon, and there were plenty of high school students open to a gospel chat. In 1 conversation I had 6 students gathered around the flip chart. One of them said he thinks about death every night (not in a suicidal way, but in a "I don't want to die" way) - he accepted a gospel booklet from me.
Earlier in the day, I was in the central city and it was wonderful to have Graeme serving our Lord along side me.
I had a really difficult conversation today. It was with someone who had been to Bible College and was working in Christian ministry, but who had seen the flip chart (the law and the gospel) before but wasn't a fan, as it made people feel bad. We had quite a long discussion, and the subject swung to homosexuality - another area where we disagreed.
I became concerned that this person didn't understand the gospel, and didn't have their trust in the finished work of Jesus upon the cross for their salvation. Out of my love for them, I raised this concern. And it didn't go well. They stayed to discuss, but they eventually said that they felt judged, and started crying - leaving in that state.
I felt stink. My prayer is that this person wouldn't harden their heart and become bitter, but that this would lead to soul searching and new life in Christ.
I've been working the conversation through my mind, looking for ways I could have done better. Oh, how I want to represent God correctly. I know how short I fall - and this motivates me to study more. I am open to correction and reproof.
Some of you may know this person. Some of you might agree with them over me on this. I understand that. And as much as I want to be liked by people, and please them, I must be faithful to the truth of scripture. I must fear God over men.
In gentleness, and as best as I can, I will be honest with you.
It was a quiet day but we are not discouraged at all. We never gauge God’s work on numbers, even if we don’t see any conversions we know every time we faithfully share the Gospel message it is His work in hearts to save anyone.
We who are His workmanship are merely workers, spreading the seed of the good news of salvation through Jesus alone. The truth lands on hard soil hearts, rocky ground hearts, thorny hearts and good soil hearts. We can not see anyone's heart. The Gospel is needed for all, no matter the age or soil type. We are called by God to share the good news of Jesus to all people. 10 out of 10 people need Jesus. Faith comes by hearing and the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
As Christians we still need the Gospel, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus it is the gift of God not of any works we do. The promise from God is to complete the work He has begun in us, it is a sure thing that God keeps His promises. Growing and learning and being made more like Jesus through His Spirit. His Word is truth and where else is there to go for greater depth as we read and live His ways, but to the love He has shown by dying on the cross to pay for hell punishment we all deserve because of our sin. Thank You Jesus. Jesus has defeated sin and death, by dying and rising again to life, this shows us His power and authority.
Encouraging others to read and study God’s Word and find a good church are all what we encourage people to do as it is needed to be in His Word and around God’s people to grow and flee from sinful desires, and to know more of our saviour there is greater joy in our growth. So the ministry has a part also to encourage, equip and build up believers, to help us to grow in many ways, as well as the ministry being for those who are not yet believers and even to those who will not believe. It is all God's gracious love to call all to come to repentance and faith in Jesus alone to be saved to the Glory of God.
Two pocket New Testament Bibles and reading bible handout with tracts were given to S who was in a wheelchair she requested for her grandchildren. S told Rick and I she has been brought up in a Brethren Church we gave her tracts and shared the Gospel and reminded her the fact on salvation being all the work of Jesus and not anything we can do to be saved. S loved hearing the gospel which is a good sign but as said we can not see hearts. So pray for S and her grandchildren to have the saving work of God done in their hearts. Also pray for her carer L who heard the Gospel while with S.
Two Christians we have had the privilege to get to know, stopped for a time to chat, we share in the love for Jesus and pray for each other.
Right at the end of the day we had the opportunity to talk with an elderly couple. The man told us he doesn’t believe in any of the Bible and he said to me “You haven’t been getting many strikes have you”. Well that was the start to explaining who God is and we can’t save. He told us he doesn’t believe in God. Rick explained the building and builder analogy but he was telling us he won’t believe but we said that God can change his unbelief.
We used the law and he admitted to breaking some of them, we shared that if you break the law here on earth the consequences are you will have a fine and it needs to be paid for. As we shared the message of hell punishment and asked him to consider that if it were true how important this news is about Jesus. We talked about conscience and creation some more.
I also explained about a blind man headed towards a cliff, I asked him if that were Rick would he call out to him. J said “Yes of course, he might be of some use.” So that was a building block to share how much God cares for him to be saved and God is using Rick and myself to call out to him to believe and hear his call to be saved from hell punishment. Rick had a chat with J’s wife and said she believes what we were saying is true. They both have tracts. Pray as they read the tracts God’s Spirit will do all the work needed in this couple.
Thank you for your prayers and may God be glorified in all the work he gives us to do.
Because the comission from Jesus doesn't end until we die, the team had some spare time on their way back to Australia, at the stop-over in Singapore. This meant, it was time to find some people to tell about Jesus!
You can hear Ryan share about a conversation he had with a young lady that ended up saying that she wanted to trust in Christ. But he goes onto encourage you, in how you can use your time for God's Kingdom!
You can also hear Matt share about a Polish couple who heard the Gospel. Originally the man was proclaiming to be agnostic and the woman too good for a saviour but by they end they were both greatly impacted by the Gospel, understood it and said they would have to seriously think about it.
Who might you have an opportunity to speak of Christ to this day?
On Thursday at Sunnybank the team had the wonderful opportunity to witness to locals. What made it even more exciting than usual was that twelve local Christians came out to share the Gospel! What a joy it is to see local Christians seeking to share the Gospel with the people God has placed around them!
An early conversation was had with Sonu a young lady who at first said she had never willingly done anything wrong. In response to this she was shown God's law and very quickly she came to understand that she had done many things that God must punish. She had seen her guilt. In God's timing, that was all she got to hear in person as she was given a tract as her bus arrived.
This conversation was soon followed by a catholic lady. This conversation was far harder. The catholic lady wasn't hearing the Gospel. She heard the law but when she heard the Gospel it was as if it was going through a translator. She could not comprehend that what was being explained to her was justification by faith. What was so unusual, was that she wasn't arguing against it, it was just that she couldn't understand that was being explained.
She was so caught up in her works based salvation that the Gospel was not even computing. She too took a tract. Please pray that God would use this silent evangelist to explain the gospel to her and that she may come to trust in Christ alone for her salvation.
Another conversation was with Astrey. This lady began by sharing that she didn't really believe anything. She said she had Hindu parents but wasn't really fussed about it all and therefore had no real beliefs. What was unsurprising but interesting was that she then vehemently argued that God doesn't exist, that if He does exist He isn't good, that she isn't bad, that the Bible isn't reliable, that Jesus didn't rise from the death and a few other things.
She seemed to push back at every point of the discussion, after declaring that she didn't believe anything, it instead became clear that she would believe anything that enabled her to hold onto the idea that she could live how she wanted and that there is no judgement. This was sad to see but after hearing the law and the Gospel, despite many side-tracks she took a tract. Sadly there was no time for checking questions to see if she had understood.
Please be praying that she would come to understand the Gospel and would see the foolishness of pursuing sin.
Lastly was a conversation with Kevin. He had no push backs. He said and understood what was being said and often would ask a question that followed or show that he was understanding by repeating what was said back in a different way.
Kevin saw that God must have created this world. He saw that God had expectations of His creation and that we as a part of this world would be held accountable to God. He then saw how he had failed God's standards and had willfully rebelled and saw that sin deserves Hell. When he was asked, "How can you sin be forgiven so you can go to Heaven?" his bus arrived and he took a tract.
Please be praying that he would read it and come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
You can also take this opportunity to praise God for his wonderful salvation, provided through feeble humans. Please also prayerfully consider how you can share God's Gospel with someone this week!
In this outreach report, from the final day in Myanmar you can hear Glen share a testimony about a man and his response to the Gospel.
This man knew little about Christianity and was very interested to know what God had said and how he could be made right before God. He also struggled with the idea of it being a free gift and was unsure how to trust God.
Thankfully through the conversation and the work of the local translator this man came to understand much of Christianity but was also reminded that the Gospel message is very simple. He left with some resources and a contact number for a local pastor.
Please be praying for this man, that God would work in his heart and use this lengthy and valuable conversation to bring about his salvation!
Also be encouraged by John, that God isn't just using the Gospel to save people in Myanmar but you can glorify God and be apart of His work of salvation by sharing the Gospel in the place you call home!
On Tuesday at Woodridge it was a hot afternoon. The Australian sun made it very warm out and as a result there were even less people around than normal.
The first conversation was had with Matt, a man who had little religious background and listened to a quick presentation of the law and Gospel before he had to run off to his train.
Soon after a lady named Herodia stopped by to talk. She said she wasn't sinful and was confused as to why people thought she was. Then she also admitted that she had sinned and didn't seem to comprehend the Gospel as it was explained.
Caleb said his whole family is Christian but he had absolutely no idea of the Gospel. He then heard through the law and the Gospel and was seriously challenged to consider what God has said.
A young french lady named Anna said she was very good. She was taken through the law but instead of acknowledging her failure to keep it instead she was trying to say that the she had done weren't wrong. Sadly her bus arrived before the conversation could progress any further but it was sad to see her denial.
Mirachi another young lady said she had spoken to a team member before but when asked what she was trusting in to get her to Heaven she said her own intuition and efforts. She then heard the law and the Gospel and was challenged to take God at his word and to count the cost of trusting Christ.
The last conversation of the afternoon was a very encouraging one. A father and son, who were not from Australia were pausing to have a smoke break before hopping on their train. The father spoke very little English but the son spoke it quite well.
So through the entire Gospel conversation the son would hear the question and then translate for his father then give both his and his fathers answer in response. Through this means they both heard the Gospel just in time for their train.
They also took tracts and were encouraged to read them.
Please keep those spoken to in your prayers. Please pray for Matt that he will heed the Gospel. For Caleb that he wouldn't be apathetic to God any longer. For Anna that she would be convicted of her sin. For Mirachi that she would realise that God is trying to get her attention and for Amin and Pierre that they would heed the Gospel that they heard and read the tracts that they may together be saved.
At Capalaba on Monday the team had many conversations but also a very eventful afternoon.
An early conversation was had with John a walking contradiction. John declared that if God exists he is definitely going to Hell but then went on to explain that he had never done anything wrong in his life. Which was then followed by an explanation that he has just lived his entire life however he wanted and no one will hold him accountable nor change his mind.
John heard God's law, saw his sin but palmed it off as unimportant. Sadly due to John's lack of care regarding the law, it seemed vain to share with him the Gospel. So he was left strongly with the condemnation that sin brings.
Following this conversation, Luke and Seisha a young couple waiting at the bus stop were spoken to. During the conversation Luke shared he went to Citipointe youth group and Church but sadly didn't know the Gospel. He had some notions of Jesus' sacrifice but couldn't quite work out why Jesus had to die and how we are saved by it.
During the conversation Luke was showing signs of not being physically okay and was momentarily lapsing and unable to respond. This got worse very quickly and so the conversation was cut short as an Ambulance was called.
Later in the afternoon this opened up a brief conversation with Luke's mother but sadly she wasn't too interested in speaking. She did mention that she may go to church with her son sometime though.
The afternoon also held a range of other conversations.
Nikita heard the bad news and an introduction to the Gospel before her bus arrived and took a tract saying she would read it.
Sorem and Lissa also saw their sinfulness and were pointed quickly to Christ as the solution when their bus arrived.
Philip and Liam were in the same boat. They were less interested but will still happy to talk until their bus arrived.
The last two conversations though were quite interesting.
First was with a man named Phil, who believed in God just didn't think he could be saved because he thought he was too sinful. Paul was encouraged to hear about the extent of Christ's salvation and that he could make the foulest of sinners clean. Paul was encouraged to read Romans 1-5.
Last conversation was with a man named Nero. Who said he was a good guy who didn't do wrong things. Then when asked if he had ever lied he went on to mention that he had to lie for his job. This was surprising, at first he was good, then he basically admitted that he was paid to tell lies.
He went on to hear the desperate wickedness of his sin and its consequences and how seriously God takes sin. He then was asked if he had any idea of the solution and said he didn't know but mentioned that he had felt really guilty about his job and had thought about leaving it.
He then heard the Gospel and was given a picture tract to really illustrate what Christ has done and how we should respond.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel, that they would be challenge and come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Please also be praying for those who took tracts.
Please pray more specifically for Luke and his family and for Nero.
Please pray that Luke's condition would improve but also that the serious health problems he had will lead his family to seriously consider their own mortality and therefore their eternity.
Please pray that Nero would heed the seriousness of his sin and therefore come to total surrender and trust in Christ for his forgiveness.