The Essex team met at Brentwood High St ruins Saturday 29th. This weeks team included Mark, Ruth, Nina, Elyske, Ben and myself totaling 6 evangelists. The weather was quite rainy but we went out in obedience and faith praying God would bless our simple efforts.
Mark managed to have a few conversations in the rain and Ben and Elyske both handed multitude of tracts out. Nina and Ruth both shadowed me and we passed a number of tracts out to any and everybody who would brave the rain and take one. We decided to go into the Baytree shopping center to take a little shelter and see if we can pass some more tracts out.
On the way there I began a conversation with a gentleman named Richard. He said that his grandmother tried to "get some religion into him" as a young man, however he had a very willing ear to listen to all i had to say. We discussed the Law of God and its requirements for sinful man and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We further proceeded into proofs of Gods existence such as the cosmological argument and my favorite the transcendental argument as used by Van Till.
I encouraged him to read his Bible and think seriously about our conversation. I pray God will grow this seed of truth in his life. The Gospel was preached, the efforts were successful. SDG!
I woke up this morning, and I was for an unknown reason thinking that I would speak to some Jehovah's Witnesses today. Lo and behold, the very first people I talked to at the coast today were Jehovah's Witnesses. How the conversation started was like this: I handed them a tract and said that on the back it asks the question, "Do you think you will go to Heaven?". They replied, "No, Heaven is not for us." With this response, I thought they could either be atheists or JW's. I probed them further to discover what their beliefs were by asking, "Are you religious?" They responded in the affirmative, explaining that they follow Jehovah.
I asked them who they thought Jesus was. "God's son," they responded. I asked, "Is he Michael the Archangel?" They said, "We learned about this two weeks ago, yes he is." I asked them what Scripture backing them could muster to prove that one, but they couldn't point to any. So I then went to Hebrews 1 - the chapter where the writer to the Hebrews confronts this heresy square on by showing that the things that were spoken of Jesus were never ever said about an angel. I pointed specifically to verse 8 which is God speaking to Jesus calling Him God.
These two JW's did not have their New World Translations on them (they of course render it differently in their 'bible'), but they were content with me reading the verse from the King James. They had no idea how to respond to that verse. Instead they just kept stressing that they think we are all following the same God and believing in the same Jesus. I had to point out that we don't believe in the same Jesus. They were shocked to hear this. So I gave them an analogy: The Muslims say they believe in the same Jesus as Christians, yet they don't consider Jesus God's Son, but merely a prophet. They obviously don't believe in the same Jesus as Christians. They agreed. In the same way, the Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a Jesus who is not God, when basically the rest of Christendom does, so obviously we believe in a different Jesus to the Jehovah's Witnesses. They seemed to understand the point.
I then pointed out 2 John 9 to them. This verse talks about that if a person does not abide in the teaching of Christ (that includes who He really is), he does not have God the Father. So I stressed to them to make sure they check the Scriptures to see what it sees about Jesus. We then talked about how a person can be saved, and I shared with them that it is not by doing good works (door knocking, going to Church, baptism, etc) but only faith in Jesus' death on the cross.
We then had lunch together as a team. It was a great time of fellowship. There were about 10 of us on the team today, as quite a number from Christian Witness Fellowship came down to the coast today as well.
After lunch I got up to preach, and started off by mentioning the successful voyage of Jessica Watson around the globe. I pointed out that even though this is quite an achievement, and it has earned her lots of fame and money, the fame and money will not last. Within 500 years it is likely that no one will know about what happened on the 15th of May 2010.
Jessica Watson may be an easily recognisable name today in Australia, but ask someone a couple hundred years in the future, and you'll find it to be a very different story. What's more than the fame and money not lasting, it's that none of those things can stop man's worst enemy, death. So I then talked about how each one of us will have to face death one day and so we will all have to stand before God to give an account to God on how we have lived our life. No amount of money is large enough to bribe God. I then talked about how we have all sinned (lying, stealing, lusting, etc) and deserve Hell because of it. But Jesus came to die on the cross, satisfying God's justice on behalf of all those who would repent of their sins and trust in Christ's death alone as the reason they will go to Heaven.
I had a few groups of hecklers, mostly young people, asking questions like, "Was Jesus married?", "How do we know the Bible is true?", etc. I responded to their questions, and then brought it back to the judgement to come and the cross.
The rest of the team did a wonderful job again today in all they did. In these reports, usually the many conversations they have and tracts they hand out don't really get a mention, as I simply don't hear about them often. But God knows about those conversations. And so please pray for the people that were spoke to, not only those mentioned in these reports, but even those that aren't. God knows who they are. I praise God for raising up more labours recently who are very eager in joining us at the Gold Coast.
To God be the glory!
Once more the team was in Leicester Square on a Friday night ready to share the Gospel. I was joined by Laurence, Andrew, Ingrid, Nathan, and Rebekka. It was only Nathan's second time and it was wonderful to have him back with us. He's keen to come again so praise the Lord. Rebekka has been coming out with us now for about 5 weeks and it's such a joy to have her with us. Being Swiss, English is of course not her native language, but she so loves coming out and talking with people about Jesus. It's great to see her enthusiasm regardless of the difficulties she faces.
Andrew preached first again and I'm encouraged by his consistency and his desire to proclaim the Gospel. Open-air preaching is not easy and it's also not for the faint of heart, it's wonderful seeing him up on that ladder proclaiming boldly the Word of God.
After Andrew I stood up to preach. It was a funny night in a way in that not many people stopped to listen. Yet some did and from the preaching a few conversations were had. Andrew got talking with a gentleman who claimed to have once been a Christian but was now a Muslim. He was quite knowledgeable regarding certain issues and was even familiar with Bart Ehrman, an apostate and liberal theologian, and James White, a Christian theologian and apologist. He debated with Andrew concerning the reliability of the Bible and brought up a number of objections. Andrew was able to correct him and point him to some of the overwhelming evidences that support the veracity of the Scriptures. He shared the Gospel with him and gave him some tracts, and it turns out that he so enjoyed the conversation that he wants to come back next week to talk with Andrew! Do pray that he will.
Below is an audio of my message:
At one point in the evening I had to look around to see where Rebekka was, we had become a little worried as none of us could see her, so I rang her mobile and it turned out she was not far away at all but was talking with one of the caricature artists against the railing. She told us that she'd had a good conversation with him and that there was an opportunity to talk with him again in the future. It was very encouraging to hear.
I had the opportunity to talk with two Catholic women. As is often the case they referred to themselves as Christians. I thought about how I could answer them as each time in a situation like this it does become a little tricky. So I asked them if they knew what it was that made Christianity unique apart from the other faiths in the world. What single word would describe this uniqueness? I was of course fishing and wanted to see if they had a handle on the message of Christianity. They referred to some elements of Christianity but they didn't give the answer I was looking for. The word of course is "grace." In Christianity salvation is a free gift and repentant faith in Christ is all that is required in order for a person to be justified in God's sight. Not so in Roman Catholicism. The Catholic order of salvation requires many religious duties that go beyond simply repenting and trusting in Christ. I shared the Gospel with them in detail and gave them each an in-depth Gospel tract. They did seem to appreciate what I had shared with them. It was clear that they were not practising Catholics but had simply grown up Catholic. I praised the Lord that they had now heard the true biblical Gospel, and it seemed quite apparent that this was the first time they had heard it.
I also had the opportunity to talk with a gentleman by the name of Tyen. He listened intently and seemed quite open to what I was saying. At one point he had to leave to go and meet up with some friends but later in the evening I had the opportunity to talk with him again. I do believe that he understood what I was saying and so please do pray that the Holy Spirit would use God's Word to open his eyes to the truth. I did take his email address and I have since contacted him, although as yet he has not replied, so do pray that he would.
Praise the Lord for all the opportunities He gave us.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Once again we faced the cold, oh joys of evangelism in winter. But, we had a big team and we were ready to reach as many as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My plan for the night was not to open air preach, my reasoning behind this was because for the past week I had been battling a cold. So I thought, I’ll just hand out tracts and talk to people.
The first preacher up for the night was Alex, as he preached three teenage girls began to heckle. But they were poor hecklers, they would just talk about random things, not engage the preacher and generally just be a nuisance. Alex engaged them on a one to one basis while Ryan took over the preaching.
As Ryan preached, Wayne began to heckle. As usual the arguments of Wayne were built of a false understanding of Christianity. He quite regularly tries to argue, but the problem is he doesn’t understand the reformed evangelical position.
Once Ryan finished preaching Alex got back up and preached some more. He did a good job in engaging with people and presenting Jesus Christ. One thing I love about the preaching of Alex is that he will engage in apologetics and also the gospel. This proves to be very fruitful in the open air.
After Alex finished preaching, Blake jumped up and began to thunder out the Gospel. A few people stopped to listen as for about 40 minutes he expounded on who Christ is and what He has done.
By the time he stood down, it was about 11:20pm, so John got up to preach. Wayne circled in and began to heckle. At some points it appeared as if John was about to be swamped, so I tagged in and began to engage Wayne.
Wayne was taking issue with the doctrine of original sin, so I began to explain the biblical position on human depravity, at this some hecklers who had been hanging out all night began to fire. One of them was a young man in really tight red jeans and the other was a young woman who claimed to be a nurse. The one claiming to be a nurse became very hostile and was threatening to hit me, it took a few of her friends to physically drag her away from me. Red pants continued his heckling, but couldn’t answer the gospel.
By now we were pushing midnight so I wrapped up and then engaged in one to one. The first person I spoke to was a solider, and it turns out he is a pastors son. He admitted that he was running and needed to come back to the truth. I spoke to him for some time and left him with a gospel tract.
Please pray for him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
A nice western breeze was blowing as we prepared for our weekly outreach. The city seemed fairly busy, which was kind of surprising since it was a fairly cold night. We met as per usual and we had a time of team prayer and bible reading. When 9pm rolled around we found ourselves setting up in the Queen Street Mall.
As I looked around at the team, I couldn’t help but notice that we were a few preachers short tonight. My mind was telling me that there was no way in which only 3 of us could preach the full three hours in the cold. But, we trusted that God would work despite the shortage of workers.
Ryan Hemelaar was the first man up for the night, and I was a bit surprised when he only preached for about 20 to 30 minutes. Normally he is much longer, but obviously God only willed for him to preach that long.
During his time of preaching he was able to deal with some interesting heckles and each time he was able to swing the questions back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After Ryan finished preaching it was my turn to preach. I began by dealing with the issue of death and why we die. Very quickly I had some hecklers.
One of the hecklers was a really scruffy looking man and his wife. There issue was one of murder and abortion. As they heckled they soon began to ask about if abortion was a sin or not. I answered them that it was, but they didn’t like that. For the next two hours they stood and argued over the issue of baby murder.
During this time others hecklers arose, but the main reoccurring issue was that of abortion. Eventually for some reason homosexuality arose, and the ones that heckled me on it were claiming to be gay Christians. I pointed out from the Scripture that it was impossible to be gay and saved at the same time. But they didn’t care, and they openly said they didn’t believe the Bible (more fruits of them not being Christians).
At the end of the night there were many gospel conversations going on. God had been kind in bringing in a decent size crowd for the preaching.
As I finished preaching I found myself still in conversation with the woman who had admitted to 5 abortions. She then got really hostile and was threatening to attack the team. Her husband was furious and was saying how he was going to punch me out. It was at this we called the police, the couple soon left.
Please pray for him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
It was another beautiful day at the Gold Coast and I was excited to be joined by Bekk, Yarran, Blake, Matt, Ryan, Dez and his wife. Also two Christian people from Norway met up with us, liked what we were doing and so stuck around for the entire outreach handing out tracts with us.
One of the conversations I had was with a man in his thirties who had no belief in God or the afterlife. His job was to put up signs. After showing him some reasons about why we can know there is a God, I knew that he wasn't open to the things of God. So I asked him whether he thought there was any ultimate meaning in life. He responded by saying, "No, we're here to just enjoy ourselves." So I asked, "For what purpose though? Those good memories you might have in your brain are simply going to disappear once you die. So living to enjoy your life is meaningless too." He answered, "I guess so, but that is alright." I said, "Is that not depressing? For just say you had the job of hanging up this one sign that no one ever saw every single day because every night it would fall down again. And that is all you did; it would take you the whole day to do it. After a number of months or even weeks of doing this one job every single day, you would be so frustrated and annoyed. For what you have been spending your days doing has had absolutely no meaning, it has had no lasting impact on anything. You would undoubtedly quit that job because it is completely meaningless. So in the same way why would you be content with knowing that no matter what you will do in this life, it has no lasting impact; it serves no purpose?" At this point I think the man understood frivolousness of his position, but for the purpose of his pride he didn't want to admit it.
After this we went to have lunch and had a great time of fellowship with one another. Once returning to our usual spot, I got up to preach. I started on Luke 12:15 - Jesus' warning against coveteousness and his statement that a person's life does not exist in the abundance of his possessions. For just in the news the past week or so, the stock markets across the world had had a massive downturn. Billions of dollars was wiped off the markets in a single day. I spoke about this and spoke about how so many people put all their trust in money for their security. So many live their lives with the main aim of trying to get more and more money. To get a bigger house. Or to get another car. Or to get a bigger share portfolio. But none of these things can stop death. And so after this I read the parable of the man who had such a great crop one year he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones, but that very night his life was taken from him. He thought he was secure; he had lots of food to eat for years to come, but he died suddenly. So I spoke about how our trust should be in God because there is a coming judgment. Then I went through the commandments to show that we're all sinners deserving of God's wrath. Then I spoke about Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of those who would believe.
After I got down from the preaching block, the other Ryan got up to preach. It was his first time doing it and he did a very good job. He had a few people heckle him as well and so he was able to answer their questions. Another first time preacher was up after Ryan, and this time it was Matt. He too did an execellent job in proclaiming sin, Christ's death and resurrection, repentance and faith. And Yarran did a great job concluding the preaching for the day.
To God be the glory for another wonderful day of outreach!
The Essex OP513 team was on Brentwood High St this Saturday, lead by Andrew Noble and accompanied by Ruth Weil. We were quite thin on the ground this week but the weather was sunny which was a big change to previous weeks, so I was hoping folks would be more comfortable to stop and chat.
Ruth and I had our first conversation with a young man named David. He classified himself as a "spiritualist" and believed all paths lead to "God". We chatted about the nature of truth, the claims of Jesus according to scripture and his accountability before God in breaking the moral law.
We also spoke to two separate groups of young boys who found the million pound notes fascinating. Even at such a young age the understanding of morality and accountability was prevalent. One of the boys took a gospel of John and then every other boy wanted one! They even thanked us for explaining what the Bible says regarding sin, death and righteousness.
Many tracts were passed out to the public and we pray that God will bless those that read them and grant them salvation! SDG!
The team was back out on Friday evening armed with the Word of God and the strength of the Lord. After meeting for a time of fellowship, devotions and prayer in our favourite cafe we headed into the square. Straight away we noticed that there were some festivities happening and it soon became clear that it was a celebration of Buddha’s birthday. I found this to be particularly interesting.
Andrew stood up first to preach. It’s really great to see him preaching with such boldness and confidence, and with a deep burden on his heart to see people saved. He’s still growing as a preacher but through the Lord’s help I think he’s doing a great job.
I stood up to preach next. Depending on crowd interaction I decided not to preach for too long in one sitting, but instead decided to preach a second time later on. I think this gives the rest of the team a bit more opportunity to get into one-to-one conversations. As it happened I didn’t preach for a second time, as I was engaged in a number of conversations, but I think it’s a good way to go and it’s something I will implement again next week.
During my message I spoke of the fact that there have been many great men through the years and many have accomplished great feats in the eyes of the world. People have been influenced by world leaders, particularly regarding world religions. However, they are all dead. Buddha himself is dead, but Jesus Christ is not dead. He has risen and is alive for evermore, and in Jesus Christ is there freedom from sin and death for all who trust in Him.
After I finished preaching I was pleased to see that the team was involved in conversation with people who had stopped to listen to the preaching. I managed to have a number of conversations throughout the evening.
I spoke with a man named Derek, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. He professed to be a believer so I asked him a few questions regarding his conversion. I asked him if he was saved because of something he has done or because of something God has done for him. I was hoping to hear the latter, but instead he answered with the former. This of course concerned me so I shared the Gospel with him and stressed that salvation is by grace alone and that no amount of good works can save us. I had only a brief time with him but my prayer is that the Lord will impress upon his heart the truth of the Gospel. Do pray for him.
Next I spoke with a young woman from Egypt. She expressed a religious disposition and I surmised that she was Muslim, and although I did not ask her this she told me that she was. As we were talking she mentioned that we were not very different and that Christianity and Islam are very similar. I agreed with her that there are some similarities but I also stressed that there are some fundamental differences. As an example I told her that in Islam a person can earn salvation, whereas according to the Bible it is impossible to earn salvation. This really surprised her and she said that she had never heard this before. As I began to explain to her why this is the case her friends arrived. My window of opportunity had closed, as they all had movie tickets to see a film and needed to head off. I gave them all an in-depth Gospel tract and so do pray with me that they would read it and think upon its message.
Afterwards I spoke with Mohammed, a Muslim gentleman who comes to Leicester Square often to engage in conversation with us. Barney had already been speaking with him and I also noticed that he had a friend with him. We got talking and during our conversation I had to answer a number of false claims that are often made by Muslims. One in particular concerned the notion that the Bible speaks of the coming of Mohammed, who Muslims believe to be the last prophet sent by God. The proof text given for this was Deuteronomy 18:15 which reads: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.” Here in this context Moses is talking of a future prophet, and although the identity of this prophet is not confirmed in this verse, later we read in Acts that he is aligned with the Messiah, that is, Jesus Christ (see Acts 3:22-24; 7:37). This verse is most definitely not speaking of Mohammed.
Later on I got to talk with two young men that believe in evolution. We spoke at length about natural selection and I stressed to them that natural selection is incapable of increasing or providing new information for the genome of a cell, which is what is necessary for evolution to be true. We got only so far in our conversation and as time was getting on I asked if they would like to continue the conversation through email. They agreed and so do pray that I would be able to continue to reason with them concerning the truth of God’s Word.
We all had some great opportunities and so praise the Lord for a good night.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tonight was a great night of ministry. Meeting at Cafe Nero before heading into the square we enjoyed a blessed time of fellowship and prayer. Barney spoke with us about the importance of standing biblically on the issue of homosexuality. There is a good reason for this.
Recently, a good friend of mine and fellow open-air preacher, Dale McAlpine, was arrested while preaching in his home town of Workington. It involved speaking about homosexuality and the charge was that he had caused harassment, alarm and distress, which falls under section 5 of the public order act. A person is guilty of this offence if he:
(a) Uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) Displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
Having spoken to Dale, clearly these charges are completely fabricated and untrue. While he was preaching from a ladder Dale did not mention the sin of homosexual practise at all. He was approached by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), who told him that if he said homosexual conduct was “sinful” it would be a crime. Dale correctly responded by stating to the PCSO that it is not a crime to describe homosexual practise as a “sin.” Police officers arrived later on the scene and Dale was arrested.
Dale is due to stand trial, yet we are confident that he will be found innocent of all charges. He is currently being represented by The Christian Institute. A trial date has yet to be set. You can visit www.christian.org.uk to learn of any new developments.
Barney gave us a good summary of how we ought to defend our position should any of us be pulled up by the police:
1) The Bible teaches that God loves sinners (Mark 2:17).
2) The Bible teaches that homosexual practise is sinful (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
3) The Bible teaches that everyone who repents from their life of sin and turns to follow Jesus will be saved from the eternal punishment they deserve (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
After we headed into the square we quickly got ready and then Andrew stood up to preach. It was great to have him back with us after he had recently gone back to Australia to visit with his family. After preaching a solid message on the Gospel and the importance of turning to Christ, I stood up to preach.
I asked people where their hope resides. Recently the U.K. had a General Election and people are looking to a new government to bring us out of the many problems that the country is facing. But ultimately our hope needs to be in God and not man. The Bible says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8). During my message I was able to engage with a young man named Aiden and I took him through the good person test and into the Gospel. He seemed to listen with a keen interest.
After I had finished preaching we all got busy talking with people one-to-one and handing out Gospel tracts. I got talking with a young man named Constantine. He is from Greece and grew up Greek Orthodox. Our conversation became quite philosophical and we spent some time wrangling over the issue of morality and how we can make sense of the belief that says there is no God even though we have an absolute morality in this world. Where did this absolute morality come from and why is it that universally we know things to be wrong at a fundamental moral level if there is no ultimate standard that tells us what is right and what is wrong? We are all moral agents and so for sure there is a Moral Law Giver.
Towards the end of the evening Aiden and his friend Frank came up to me just to say thanks for my message and that it was certainly going to make them think. We gave them all some in-depth Gospel tracts and that told them to really think upon the things they had heard. Do pray for them.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I was running late to the city tonight. The day had been made up of a church outreach and then sermon writing. So I found myself having to arrive in the city at 9pm. As I made my way to the city I felt strangely ill and even vomited a couple of times. I dismissed it as merely being tired and I once again focused on the outreach at hand.
The team arrived in the Queen Street Mall at the same time I did and we began to get ready for a good night of outreach. Blake was the first preacher up for the night and he did a good job on expounding the truth of the Gospel.
After Blake finished preaching I decided I should get up. I began on preaching on the frailty of human life and how we aren’t assured of tomorrow. Within seconds of beginning I had one woman begin to scream abuse. She then turned and tried to pull her pants down to flash us, but her partner dragged her away. It looked like we were in for an interesting night.
Shortly after this 5 young Muslim men began to stop and heckle. They were making the standard claims that there is only one version of the Koran and that the Bible has been changed. I quickly dealt with their objections and turned to the Gospel. After I explained salvation, they began to disagree saying that Jesus was never crucified (as the Koran teaches). I challenged them on the truthfulness of the Koran and they were adamant that Jesus never died, but rather Allah made someone appear as Jesus on the cross. To which I pointed out that Allah had deceived people, they readily agreed, then I made this statement which set them off, “If Allah deceived people then, doesn’t that make Allah a deceiver and one not to be trusted? If Allah deceived people then, how do you know you aren’t being deceived now?”
At that they went off onto to dogma and refused to engage in any more discussions. But hecklers beget hecklers and more arose to the challenge. This time the heckling gallery was made up of atheists / agnostics and a woman who claimed to be a Christian from an Assembly of God church. The atheists made the same claims as usual without any backing and many of them tried to attack the Scripture, but often times they actually didn’t know the very thing they were attacking. These hecklers did however produce some of the largest crowds we have seen for some time.
For about 90 minutes I preached and engaged the hecklers, then at the end I tagged Ryan in who continued with the discussion.
Ryan went on a preached for a while, and did a good job as usual. But, I must admit I didn’t pay overly much attention to him, since by now I was feeling fairly ill again and in need of a break.
As midnight rolled around I found myself feeling very ill and then Mr. Crazy Professing Christian entered in. He had been there all night but now he was engaging the hecklers. The problem is he wasn’t being biblical or factual, but rather he was making up arguments that were easily refuted. I challenged him on it and he refused to acknowledge anything I said, just kept saying, “I can say the same to you”. Those watching concluded that he was crazy and didn’t represent Christianity.
After this I headed home for a rest and also to continue the church work. All in all it was a great night. With many hearing the Gospel. SDG!
Soli Deo Gloria!