Today we had on the team Bekk, Yarran, Dan, Rick and Glenda, Chris and Gary, and a few others from CWMF. It was great to have such a large team again. Since we had a decent sized team we split up, some of us went to different areas of Surfers Paradise for parts of the outreach. Bekk and I went down Cavill Mall, we didn't get very far before we were in a number of conversations.
One of the conversations we had was with a guy who was still very hung over from drinking the night before. He was telling us that the woman whom he has a child with broke up with him yesterday, and so he decided to drink his sorrows away. He said that he also spent $1200 at bars last night in buying drinks for strangers in order to try and find another woman whom would have sex with him, but to no avail. I asked whether he likes the way he feels now, being hung over for drinking so much. He said no. So Bekk asked, "If you recognise that the following day you'll have a headache and be depressed after getting drunk, why do it?" He didn't know, but did say that this morning in order to not start thinking of drinking again, he went to the local casino and spent $1000 on the pokies. But admitted that he'll most likely go out drinking again tonight.
I then asked him about whether he thought he was going to Heaven. He thought so, because he said he's a stand up guy. So I went through the commandments with him, showing him that he would be guilty on the Day of Judgement. After this he said, "I believe in mother nature." I asked him what he meant by that. He said, "Well it means that I can do whatever I want because I am god." I responded, "Really? Can you prove it? I would love to see you hover into the air and then start flying around." He obviously couldn't, but kept claiming that he could do anything - he even said he could get the numbers of all the girls walking past. I was thinking in my head, how come he couldn't get any girls' numbers last night if he really can do anything. I just kept warning him that there is a day of Judgement coming, that he isn't god, and he needs to repent and trust in Jesus to be forgiven. But he wasn't interested at all in conceding that he's not god.
Another conversation I had was with a guy from Belguim who said he was an atheist. I asked him how the universe came about, since he agreed that it had a beginning and that all things that have beginnings have causes/creators for them. He resorted to saying that the universe was self-caused. That means, he thinks the universe created itself. This viewpoint is clearly illogical, for it means that the universe would have to exist before it existed in order to make itself. But if it already exists, it doesn't need to make itself. And so therefore, it didn't make itself. To put it another way, how can something exist and not exist at the same time? It's impossible, for it violates the law of non-contradiction - that A cannot be A and not-A at the same time in the same relationship. I explained this to the man and he conceded this point, agreeing that there must be an external cause to the universe. But he would not allow the possibility of God being that cause.
At this time, Yarran had began preaching on the usual preaching block. After a short while, he had two hecklers in which he was engaging. Since these hecklers were very close, causing Yarran to not speak as loud, I indicated to Yarran that he should continue talking to them in a one-2-one conversation instead of in the open air. About a minute after this, two police officers (whom I had never seen before) looked like they were coming to speak to Yarran but since he was in conversation with the two individuals who were heckling, they waited around for a few minutes before wandering off. We haven't had any hinderance from the police in a long time, possibility these officers were just new ones to the Gold Coast region that didn't know that we do this each week and that the Gold Coast council have no problems in doing what we do. We don't know for sure whether they even wanted to talk to Yarran, for it seems they had a piece of paper with mug shots of people they were looking for.
Yarran and Dan (who joined the conversation) stayed talking to these two folk for about an hour and a half, well past when the outreach usually concludes. I thank God for raising up so many keen laborers who love sharing the gospel. To God be the glory!
Today it was just Bekk and I on the team, but not long after arriving a husband and wife who usually also hand out tracts on weekends at the coast met up with us. It's always great meet other people who have a great desire to share the great news of the gospel.
Soon after this, a local who has determined to try and engage us in conversation with him each week (so that we can't talk to others - but even in the conversation with him, he won't let us speak) arrived. He generally rails against doctors and the government. He was doing the same today, and as he was progressing in his monologue, he started swearing. So I pulled him up on that. He insisted that he didn't swear. But it was clear as day that he did. So I said, "Look if you can't even admit that you swore, I don't want to continue this conversation." As I was walking away, this person recognised that he had lost my attention. So he made a scene, and started shouting, "I am so low! I am not worthy. Can I kiss your feet? I have sinned against almighty God" in a very sarcastic and blasphemous way. I simply ignored him because I was already in another conversation by this stage. Thankfully the man left after that. A local soon after that came up and said, "Good thing you walked away, that guy is an idiot."
After a few further conversations I decided to start preaching. I began by speaking about a tourist who had died just two days earlier when they drowned at a beach nearby. Since where we preach is right in front of the beach, stories of drownings really do bring it home that death could happen to any single one of us at any time. I then talked about sin, the cross and what someone must do to be saved. After about 30 minutes of preaching, I stepped down.
As we were walking back to the car, we got into a conversation with two teenagers. As I gave one of them a tract, he replied, "I got one of these at Schoolies last year." So I then asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He said he didn't believe in Heaven or Hell, but he believed in God and that God was good. So I explained that how if God is good, He would make sure those people that do horrible atrocities would get punished one day. He agreed. So I said that that is why there must be a Hell - a place of punishment and a Heaven - a place of no punishment. He said, "Oh that makes sense".
So I went through the commandments to show him that he too was deserving of punishment because of his sins. "But if I do good things, doesn't that cover it up?" he said. I explained how justice doesn't work like that. He responded, "Then everyone will be going to Hell." I remarked that it is true every one deserves Hell, but God provided a way to be forgiven of our sins and that is by the death of Jesus. So I explained the gospel to him and told him that he needs to repent and believe to be saved. He said would seriously think about it. Please keep this guy in prayer.
We found that almost everyone was willing to take a tract today, and it was very easy to get into conversations. To God be the glory that the gospel still goes out abundantly even with few team members!
It’s hard to believe that is has been one month since last writing. Each week I sit down with the plan to type a report but normally church and ministry work take over. I do apologise to those who have been looking forward to the weekly reports. I will try to get this done more regularly. We have received an email from Alex the Atheist saying he misses his entertainment in reading the weekly reports. Well, we have had disappointments from Alex also, as the calibre of arguments coming from him for the atheistic front keep getting weaker and weaker, most time they are just this side of the outright absurd.
As the night of the first of May rolled around, I found myself quite tired, this was due to the fact that I had been out witnessing in Banyo for the church plant I pastor for the past two days, but it was good to have a change from the suburbs to the inner city. Dave Gee came to my place and from there we carpooled in. It was great sharing a ride with another believer, since we got to chat theology and apologetics. We were even able to predict the arguments that Alex and his atheist platoon would use later that night.
After a time of prayer and Bible reading, we made out way to the Queen Street Mall. Andre was the first preacher up and he did a splendid job. While Andre was preaching a man in a New South Wales state of origin jersey came up and tried to grab the Bible out of Andre’s hand, he then went to punch Andre in the stomach. I stepped in and told the bloke to clear off or we would get the police. After this God was kind to us and brought a good size crowd in to hear the gospel, but as usual the atheists showed up and tried to railroad the whole event in order to justify their sin.
Andre preached for awhile, then Ryan took over and began to deal with the atheists. We were surprised to see that there were less members of the Brisbane atheists out tonight, which in some ways was saddening, as I wanted to ask Steve the leader, why he never emailed me about a book that disproved his position on the Christian God. He did promise he would do it, but never did. I guess he wasn’t very open minded about the whole thing. Also, I was disappointed that another of the atheists did attend, he was a “former” Christian now an atheist. Last time I spoke to him, he said Richard Dawkin’s had convinced him, but he was unable to say what argument convinced him, or what disproved Christianity. Last time I spoke to him, he took a DVD looking at the other side of the debate, he left with a promise to watch it, but I have since found out that he binned it. Another atheist who is close minded and brain washed to his position. I just find it so hypocritical that they accuse Christians of not being free thinkers, yet they won’t ever look at opposing views.
Alex was running around yelling out abuse as he normally does, this time he seemed more hostile than usual and his arguments were worse than ever. This wasn’t just our opinion by Wayne the Agnostic stated this also.
At one point while Ryan was preaching, Alex was talking to a husband and wife about how the Bible was wrong. The lady said she was a Christian and the man said he was a Hindu. Alex was arguing that the Bible teaches that the world is flat. But, when challenged to present his evidence he tried to cite some Hebrew which actually disagrees with him. But being one who never lets facts get in the way of a good myth he pressed on. When challenged again on this issue, Alex quickly changed and tried to show that Behemoth of Job 40 actually shows the Bible in error. Sadly, his argument was all wrong from the beginning, first he misquoted the reference and then misquoted the verse. When he was challenged with this and shown to be in error did he concede? Not on your life!
Alex then started saying that the word “loins” when used of Behemoth only appeared in the NIV from 1978. He then maintained that before this time, it was in no Bible. However, if you would pick up a copy of the 1611 King James Version, you would see that the word “loins” appears in Job 40:16 when referencing Behemoth.
I confronted Alex with this argument, so he did what ever good atheist does when confront with facts, he walked away claiming victory. I’m sorry, but I was always led to believe that if you say something that is proven wrong, then you aren’t the victor, but rather you are the one in error. From this point on Alex became more hostile and angry. Next time he came up to me he shoved his finger into my chest a few times (I am sure he as a lawyer knows that constitutes assault). A few of those around later expressed concern that Alex may one day fly of the handle and hit people. I hope this isn’t the case.
Ryan was still preaching at this stage, and after failing to answer my questions Alex decided to heckle Ryan again. This time he said that Ryan could not argue science since he was not trained in science at university (for the record neither was Alex). When we called him out on his hypocrisy here, Alex said, “A scientist is one that uses scientific methods.” However, with that definition he shot himself in the foot, for he just allowed Ryan to argue science as a scientist.
At this stage the long hair atheist who is normally quite vile came running in. He said that we could not talk about science since we weren’t trained in it. But at that time Alex was talking about physics (which he was never trained in). So I asked him, “If one has to be trained in something to talk about it, then what right to they have to talk about theology and science, since they aren’t trained in it?” To which he replied, “This isn’t about me, don’t twist it!” Ahh…. Good to see the doubt standard of the atheists on display.
By now things must have gotten a bit hot for them, since they refused to engage Ryan’s arguments and they all walked off to go have a beer. This in an of itself is not unusual, but they normally return later in the night more vile than before. This time however, we didn’t see them again. Which is sad, since they still haven’t answered the questions before them, and screaming abuse doesn’t count as an answer.
The rest of the night went quite well, Ryan was able to expound the Gospel of Christ, as was Blake. They did a great job of explaining how despite all our sin, God is loving and kind in to send Christ to die on the cross for His people, but they didn’t finish there, they then went on to explain that Christ arose again and if you would repent and trust in Christ, you would not perish but have eternal life.
It was a good night, with much bad heckling. Please pray for the atheists.
Soli Deo Gloria!
For more photos from each outreach, view them on our Facebook page.
As I was leaving home, it looked like it was going to be a rainy day, as the sky was filled with clouds. But as I drove further to the coast, the clouds seemed to vanish and so by the time I arrived at Surfers Paradise, there wasn't a cloud in sight.
I was joined by Bekk, Rick, Glenda, and seven people from Christian Witness Fellowship. Everyone was very excited to be out on the streets again, and there were quite a lot of people about due to it being a long weekend. After prayer together, we began handing out tracts and starting conversations. Since we had a sizeable team, I sent a number of groups of two people down Cavill Mall to witness down there. As the flow through of people traffic through the usual area where we witness can be covered with about five people.
However after an hour, it started to rain even though it was still mostly sunny. So we decided to have lunch.
After lunch, we went back to the usual preaching area and I got into a conversation with a man who seemed very shy and timid. He said he attends Surf City Church and thought he was going to Heaven because he has lived very good life. So I asked him whether he had broken any of God's commandments. He had and so I explained that since God is just, He cannot let the guilty go unpunished. He understood this, but argued that his good works would cover the bad things he has done. So I compared what he said to a judge in a court room. A just judge cannot let a murderer to go free if he argues to him "I've helped the poor", or "I've worked for charities". This seemed to make sense in his mind. So I then went on to explaining the gospel and stressed that he needs to trust in the death of Jesus alone for His forgiveness. He said he would, and also start reading his bible.
After this I stepped up to preach, starting on how even though Australia is a free country because of the brave and honourable actions of the Anzac soldiers (Anzac Day is following day), most people in Australia are still in slavery. I then read from John 8:31-34 where Jesus explains that "the truth shall set you free". I said, "Jesus is saying here that a person who lives in a lifestyle of sin is a slave to sin. So even though you may live in Australia, a country free from oppressors or cruel dictators, in reality you are still in slavery if you are living in a sinful lifestyle" I then went from there to the commandments, that when we break the commandments it shows that we are sinners. The truth Jesus was talking about was the truth about Himself - that His death on the cross is the only way to be freed from being a slave to sin and to escape the wrath that our sins make us deserve. I encouraged every listening to repent and believe the gospel. After this I answered some of the questions that were raised by the crowd.
The rest of the team faithfully handed out lots of gospel tracts and many people were spoken to about the amazing message of the gospel. To God be the glory for another great day of witnessing!
Leicester Square in London continues to be our location of choice for sharing the Gospel with as many people as we can. Friday night was some night indeed. Arriving in the Square we opened in prayer and then set about getting ready.
As he has done in recent weeks Barney stood up to give a little intro before I stepped up to preach. As he was preaching some men in the crowd stopped to mock and sneer and poke fun at what Barney was saying. I was standing right next to them at the time and perhaps they were a little surprised when I stepped up to preach after Barney had finished. No sooner had I said a few words that one of the men who had mocked Barney starting to fly into a tirade of insults and abuse. He was incredibly rude and foul mouthed and was intent on doing nothing but attacking me and the message I was proclaiming. He could see that I had a Bible in my hand and began making wild accusations against the Bible, even though by that time I hadn’t even quoted a verse. It soon became very difficult to preach since he began to stir up the crowd against what I was saying, or at least was trying to say. It made me think of the book of Acts and the many times that the Jews stirred up the crowd against the apostles. This seemed no different. About twenty minutes in my Assistant Pastor, Stuart, arrived and his timing was impeccable. We were a bit thin on the ground and to have another man on the team was a great help. By this time I couldn’t continue preaching and so we all began to engage with people in one-to-one conversations.
The conversations remained heated as there were many people in the crowd that had become part of the “anger mob.” We all did our best to be gentle, but also firm. I per-sonally had to defend my ground quite strongly and when someone squares right up to you, you can’t help wondering what his next reaction is going to be. There were police in the Square, which is normal, but I don’t think these chaps cared much about that. It was St. Georges Day as well, which is England’s National Day. Friday nights always re-sult in alcohol consumption, but I think this night meant an even greater amount. I think this added to the fire. It struck me that I wasn’t scared at all. I certainly don’t say that to boast, but it is something I can honestly say. I had guys around me that were anything but peaceable, yet I had a sure confidence that God was with me and that should I take a beating then so be it. This was front line Gospel work and when we engage the world with the Gospel we shouldn’t be surprised when we meet with hostility. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
As the evening progressed we all started to get the upper hand in our conversations, in the sense that we were able to diffuse the situation as we spoke calmly and firmly with people. I was called all things under the sun for believing that there is a God but I re-sponded by showing them how foolish they were for believing that blind chance some-how engineered the universe we live. They didn’t like it when I called them foolish but I think they were started to see that we had some backbone and that we did have an-swers to the accusations they mounting against us. Towards the end of the evening I got talking with a chap called Neil. He came up to me and said that he was part of the crowd that mocked and laughed at me in the beginning, but actually he really respected me for standing up and making a stand for what I believed in. He had grown up Catholic and had a lot of questions he wanted to ask. As we were talking his friend came up and started to be a real obstacle to our conversation. I have seen this so many times before. You will get one person who is genuinely interested but a friend they are with serves to be nothing more than a hindrance. What was quite interesting to see though was Neil coming against his friend, pleading with him to let me speak. At one point he said to his friend something very true: “If there is no God, why do we have good and evil, right and wrong? Where did that even come from?” I stood there marvelling. Here was a chap who wasn’t born-again, yet he could reason rationally enough to make this conclusion. I continued to talk with Neil for some time. He had many questions so I took his email address and said that I would contact him so that we could continue our conversation. I have since done so but he has not yet emailed me back, do pray that he would so that I can continue sharing with him God’s truth.
It was certainly some night. I can say on a personal level this is probably the most an-ger and hatred I have ever experienced towards the preaching of the Gospel. Yet we rejoice! Jesus said: "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Soli Deo Gloria!!
I arrived at the usual meeting spot at Surfers Paradise just a a few minutes late, and Dan Carkeet was already there. After a short time in prayer, we started handing out tracts.
One of the first people I chatted to was a young Jewish man. When I asked him the question whether he thought he was going to go to Heaven, he said,"Do murderers go to Heaven?" I responded by saying that they can if they repent and trust in Jesus. He then went on to explain that he was an Israeli who had been in the army for 3 years. He said that he didn't believe in Heaven and Hell, instead he mentioned that he believed in karma - if you do good, you will receive good in this life. And if you do bad, you'll receive bad in this life. When I asked him why he believed that, he said he thought it was just a good principle.
So I responded by saying, "But it seems karma does not really happen in the real world. For there are many people who do horrible atrocities and yet they don't get caught and they don't seem to receive bad things." He acknowledged this point and so I asked, "Do you believe God is good?" He responded in the affirmative. "Therefore, God must punish those people who do wrong. This doesn't seem to happen in this life for everyone. And so this punishment must happen after we die. This place is what we call Hell. But there also must be a place of no punishment, where God rewards the faithful. This is what we call Heaven." He agreed, and so I asked him whether he had done any bad, and pointed him to the commandments. He recognised his guilt and his deserving of punishment.
I then asked this Jewish man what Yom Kippur was all about. He said that they celebrate on that day. I asked him what were the origins of it. He explained, "It was the day of atonement, when a lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the nation for that year. The lamb had to be without blemish. We don't sacrifice a lamb anymore though." When I asked him how then his sins can be taken care of, he said that he had no idea. So then I talked about Jesus, that He was the lamb of God who died to take away the sins of His people. Jesus was sinless; no fault could be found in Him. He died, but then conquered death by rising from the dead. I then explained to this man that he must repent and trust only in Christ's death for His forgiveness. He had never heard of why Christians follow Jesus, and he said he now finally understood. He said he would think about it and at some stage get around to reading the New Testament.
Soon after this, I sat down next to a middle aged man holding a surf board, enjoying the midday sun. His name was Jason. I had chatted to him last week about the gospel (not the Jason I mentioned in last week's report). It was good to see him and I was glad I had the opportunity to witness to him again. He wasn't worried about the Day of Judgement coming, because even though he recognised he had done wrong, he thought God would understand that he had learnt from his mistakes. He was saying that that is the way people learn. I tried reasoning with him, saying, "It is obviously better to know the right thing to do in the first place without making those mistakes. So it leaves us without excuse on Judgement Day. A murderer wouldn't be let free if he tried arguing to a judge that he has learnt not to murder now since he murdered that last guy." I then went on to explaining the cross and repentance and faith. After this I asked the man whether he had read much of the Bible before. He hadn't. So I challenged him to read it, and he understood that it is foolish to reject Jesus without first understanding what he said and did.
Snowy also joined us a little bit later on. Lots of tracts were handed out and many conversations had. Dan commented that he was excited that in the conversations he had with people today, he thought he was really making progress. The people were open to hearing about the cross of Christ and really thinking about eternal things. Praise God for the encouragements He gives us at times.
To God be the glory!
As I was driving down to the coast, it was overcast and it looked like it might rain. But as I arrived, it had become a perfect day without a cloud in sight. I was excited to be out on the streets again this week (after having a break for Easter) and I knew the team would be of a decent size again today. Rick, Glenda, and about 6 people from Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship joined us again this week. I thank God for raising up more labourers who are keen to proclaim the gospel at the Gold Coast.
There was a guy named Jason in his early twenties who walked by and Rick tried offering him a tract. He rejected it, saying that he was closed to anything to do with Christianity. Later on, I offered him a tract (not knowing Rick had already tried to). He briefly looked at it, asking what it was and then gave it back, saying he wasn’t interested. So I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He said, “We cannot know where we will end up.” He then expressed his doubts about what is really true regarding religion and eternity, and asked why he should believe what Jesus said. So I explained that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is an absolute verification of His claims, and then gave some reasons why we can trust the gospel accounts when it records his resurrection. Such as, embarrassing facts, the origin of the disciples’ belief in the resurrection, multiple attestations - all providing evidence to think that the historical documents written by the gospel authors were actually accurate (see this post on the Apologetics Blog for more information). They seemed to make sense in his mind.
After talking to him for about half an hour, I challenged him to read the Bible. As he had never really read much of it. So I challenged him to read it first before dismissing it. He agreed to this, and then was willing to take a tract and read it. So I thanked him and he started to walk off. But this guy saw Rick, and Rick was in another conversation at the time. But he said, “Sorry to interrupt you, but I have got to say I’ve changed my mind. I am now open to this stuff; I will now read my Bible. This is truly from my heart.” Praise God that he can change even the most hard-hearted person and make him to be open to the gospel.
After having a bit to eat, we returned to our usual spot and I got up to preach. I started by reading the parable of the rich man who built bigger barns to store all his crops, and used it to show that so many people in society just live their life striving to achieve a certain status in society, or to own a certain amount of cars or houses, or to acquire a certain amount of university degrees. But what use is all that at death? I then went onto explain that there is a day of judgement coming where how we have lived will be seen and judged by God, and since we’ve all fallen short of His standard, we need forgiveness. And that forgiveness is only through the death of Jesus.
A bunch of Middle Easterns had been listening for a little bit and then one of them decided to ask a question, “If faith saves, why not simply go living in sin?” So I explained repentance, the natural thing that will follow the genuine faith that a person has in Jesus. She then asked, “If praying and other good things do not get a person to Heaven, why do them?” I talked about how the gratitude we have for Jesus for what Jesus has done for us and the love we now have for him will make us want to do good things. But it’s not like those good things will save us at all.
Another guy piped up asking, “How many Bibles do you have?” This seems to be a usual Muslim argument, but one simply based on ignorance. So I asked him, “Do you read Greek or Hebrew?” He said, “No”. I continued, “Well they were the languages that the Bible was written in, and since most people no longer know those languages, there has to be translation committees who translate the text from the original languages to the languages of today. Since there is not always a word that is exactly equivalent in our languages to the original languages, decisions need to made how they will translate it. People have differing opinions about this and that is why there are quite a lot of different English Bibles. No English Bible is actually inspired of God, only the original manuscripts were, but if you examine the English Bibles you can see that they all agree with each other pretty much everywhere in the meaning of the text.”
The Muslim fellow recognised he was way out of his depth, and so he asked another question, “Name one of the author’s of the Bible” So I answered, “The Apostle Paul”. He then asked, “What was Paul’s last name?” By this question he thought he had found the absolute shut down argument against Christianity, and he began celebrating. So I responded, “Last names did not come about till around the middle ages.” The crowd was utterly confused at this Muslim man, for they had no idea how that argument at all was any good at refuting Christianity. The man soon after walked off.
A bunch of young ladies came in right in front of me and after a while, one of them gave a thumbs up to me. So I asked her, “Are you a Christian?” She said, “No.” So I then went through with the ladies the good person test, seeing if they have lived up to God’s standards. Like the rest of humanity, they hadn’t. So I then warned them that their sins make them deserve eternal Hell, but there is a Saviour Jesus Christ. A number of them seemed very convicted by what they heard, please pray that God will draw them to Himself.
I praise God for the faithfulness of the rest of the team, who spread many seeds of the gospel today, in both tracts and speech. Please pray that God will give those seeds growth.
To God be the glory!
As I arrived to our usual witnessing area in Surfers Paradise, Rick and Glenda were already there busily handing out tracts. They had arrived about an hour early, as they had to leave the outreach earlier than usual. It is really great to see them both so keen for witnessing that they do it even before the rest of the team arrives.
Today was a unique day, as just recently a local Church had finished their evangelism training programme, and so they wanted to all hit the streets together and put what they had learnt into practice. So there were about fourteen of them, making today's team definitely larger than usual.
Before those guys arrived, Rick and Glenda had gotten into a conversation with two Mormon ladies from New Zealand. Rick called me over after a number of minutes asking if it says anywhere in the Bible that we were all pre-existing, as this Mormon lady was claiming the Bible did say it. I told her that in the beginning was just God, and He made everything (Gen. 1:1).
I then tried directing the conversation to talking about salvation, and how she thinks a person is saved. She said that if a person doesn't get all their sins worked off in this life by doing good, they can be worked off after they die. I was happy to hear a Mormon actually admit that their doctrine of salvation is actually work-righteousness, for so often they like to claim it's all by grace, yet in actuality they believe in salvation by works.
So I pointed Scriptures to her, such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Galatians 2:16 which both talk about salvation not being by our works. Instead of addressing those Scriptures, she diverted the conversation by asking, "What is the work of God?" I then said, "Jesus Himself was asked that very question, and so let's take a look at what He said." I then turned to John 6:28-29 - 'Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”'
She, first of all, had a problem with the Bible we were using, because it was a New King James at the time, and not the King James. So I said, "Here, I have the King James Version right here on my phone." I then read it out to her. She followed along and said, "No keep reading" So I did.
"So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”"
At that, she exclaimed, "See! It mentioned 'work' three times in that passage. We are saved by our works!" She was fully serious, and so it was hard to hold back the laughter. I tried explaining to her that even though it says 'work' in that passage, it doesn't talk at all about working for our salvation. In fact, it pretty clearly states the opposite, Jesus was exhorting them to 'believe in him whom he has sent.' Faith not works.
I challenged her whether she could really know that she was going to go to Heaven and whether she believed in and followed the real Jesus. She then stated, "Of course I do, the Church that I go to is called, 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints'! So I definitely follow Jesus." I had to be to the point with her, and so I said, "Look, by what you've been saying, believing you are saved by your works and so on, shows that you aren't actually a Christian. And the reason I am telling you this is because I don't want you to get the surprise of your life when on Judgement Day God would have to say to you 'Depart from me I knew you.'" I then turned to the passage in Matthew 7 where Jesus said this and read it out to her. I explained that the people Jesus would reject are those who proclaim to have done many good works, but those works did not save them. But she rebutted, "This can't be the Bible, for there are no summaries at the start of the chapter telling us what the chapter means!"
She continued, "Both Revelation and Matthew so clearly teach salvation by works." We asked where abouts exactly, but she couldn't point to any verses. So we explained the real way a person is saved to her, not by their works, but by grace through faith alone, because of Christ's death alone. She wasn't very open and had taken offence that we would even think that she was not a Christian. She kept stating that she was born a Christian because her parents are. Rick responded, "If I was born in MacDonald's, it wouldn't make me a hamburger." After a bit further discussion, she said that she didn't want to talk about it anymore, and so we thanked her for her time and said goodbye.
By this time, the Church group had since arrived and were already handing out tracts. They all seemed very keen, which was awesome to see! They were all anxiously waiting to see someone preach in the open air, as most of them had seen Ray Comfort do it on DVDs, but they wanted to see it done in real life. So after not too long, I got up on the council provided preaching block and told a true story about a man who drove the wrong way up the freeway in Sydney for 50km without realising it. I used that story to show that even though many people think they're heading in the right direction, heading for Heaven, it could be that they are mistaken. They don't realise they're heading in the wrong direction. This story is an interesting one, and so it attracted a crowd, but I didn't do any call outs to try and get hecklers because I didn't know who was part of the Church group and who wasn't. So I preached the awesome news of the gospel, calling everyone who was listening to repent and believe.
I then noticed one particular fellow who was listening intently, so I called out to him, asking, "Do you think you'll go to Heaven?" He thought so because he was stand-up bloke. So I went through the commandments, showing him that in fact we are all sinners deserving of God's judgement forever. This seemed to concern him, so I told him that there is a Saviour, Jesus Christ, and that His death can atone for all of this fellow's sins. When I share the gospel with a person, I always try and see if they actually understand what the gospel is at the end of it. So I commonly ask, "If God was to ask you the question, 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' What would you now say?" This guy didn't get it at first, so I explained the gospel again to him and it seemed to click.
However at this point, a very loud women started to heckle. She started complaining about how bad the Church is, that all Christians are bad people and God doesn't care about the world. She explained that she had tried going to some Church's for help, but they didn't help her. She asked why God would let her be in an abusive relationship and not do something about it. So I responded by saying, "God will definitely make sure all the injustices that people commit in the world will be dealt with one day. And God has given us governments to maintain justice in society in the meantime. Governments are instituted by God and we are to obey them." At this point, a regular heckler piped up talking about how rubbish governments are. Not to let the discussion go off the topic at hand, I told the regular heckler to wait his turn. I then addressed the lady again, explaining that not everyone who says they are a Christian is actually one. And even though a person might have bad experiences with Christians, that is not a rational reason to dismiss Jesus. She explained that she had been living on the streets for a number of weeks due to her abusive husband. At this point, a person part of the group from the Church went up to her and gave her $40. She was ecstatic and very appreciative of the generous gesture.
Since the lady had been very loud and vocal, it had caused a sizeable crowd to gather. So I made sure to preach the gospel to everyone listening, as the lady didn't seem interested in talking any further at this point.
After preaching for about 45 minutes, I stepped down and had a conversation with a person who had been listening near my feet. I asked him what he believed. He explained that he knew every religion was wrong, especially Christianity. He claimed this because he said Christianity had been copied from other belief systems. So I asked him, "Even if that was so, does that prove that the beliefs of Christianity are wrong?" His face changed, and he seemed to realise the flaw of his thinking. I continued, "Furthermore, similarities between two books does not necessitate copying. Moreover, in actuality there aren't really many similarities at all!" He resorted to saying, "Well I still do kinda believe in God" I was able to briefly share the gospel with him, but he wasn't very open.
At this point, we all had lunch as a team. The team did an excellent job today, handing out lots of tracts and many conversations were had too. There were so many of us, that we had to split up and go to different locations. That's a great problem to have!
To God be the glory!
It is a strange and hard thing to pick up the pen (so to speak) and start writing again. In the months since my last report I have found myself being overrun with work. For those that don’t know, I have been appointed as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church and that has consumed much of my time. But, each week I have been going out as usual and witnessing, the only difference is I haven’t had much time to sit down and write a report. God willing this will change and once again we will be able to bring you a weekly update.
The Easter weekend was a busy one, by the time Saturday night had rolled around, I had already preached 3 pulpit sermons and had 2 more to go. Since I was away preaching at a conference on “Preaching the Gospel in a Post-Christian Era” I found myself arriving late to Brisbane. I was very thankful to have David Gee cover for me and my lateness.
The city seemed to be rather busy when I arrived, this was to be expected since after all it was the long weekend for Easter. When I arrived the team was just handing out tracts and talking to people, but that soon changed. The box went down and up jumped Alex to preach the Gospel for the first time this night.
As Alex was preaching some really drunk hecklers, who lacked much intelligence began to hurl abuse. One of them used the fact that Alex wore glasses as a proof that God didn’t exist. Their arguments were so far beyond ignorant that much of what they said didn’t need a reply. After Alex dealt with them for about 30 minutes he tagged me in. Now I had the joy of dealing with these hecklers, with a voice that had been strained already.
For the next thirty minutes I dealt with their arguments and eventually a good size crowd gathered. I began to bounce of their heckles and use their views to show why the Gospel of Christ was true. Some more hecklers arrived on the scene who were nothing short of foul, but nevertheless we pushed on.
At the end of thirty minutes my voice was sore, so I tagged Dave in who then proceeded to engage the crowd with the Good news concerning Jesus Christ.
It was then that an interesting thing happened, we had a young atheist who was in the crowd actually start defending us. He began to make arguments that disproved his own world view. This interjection came as a shock to us and also to the hecklers.
While he was doing this, one not very lady like female began to grab Bibles and throw them in the bin. When I approached her and asked her not to do it, she in defiance threw more in there. I informed her that if she continued I would be forced to contact the police. She was rather brazen and said she didn’t care. What she didn’t realize was at that moment two plain clothes officers were walking up behind her. The police pulled her aside and told her to leave the mall, she wasn’t so tough now.
I spent the rest of the night talking to people and handing out tracts. Our friendly atheist was still defending us and hanging around. So a few of us got to talk to him about the Gospel.
As the night came to an end we had one atheist heckler who was going after Dave. His arguments were basic and we were able to answer him. After Dave stood down, the atheist continued to heckle, so I stepped in and showed that from his own arguments he was wrong. The man didn’t like that too much, so he changed tact. But his arguments kept destroying his own position. It was at that moment the fight erupted. It wasn’t a fight between him and us, but it was between him and a homosexual man. This man stopped and walked up to the atheist grabbed in a hug and then kissed him. The atheist responded in self defence and head-butted the guy. We quickly jumped in the middle and split up the warring groups. The police eventually arrived and the homosexual group legged it.
What a way to spend Easter Saturday, who knows what next week has in store.
Thursday, 31st December 2009
“I’m a Doctor in Physics and a Satanist! I hate your God, He isn’t real! Christianity is false!” These were but a few of the heckles that were thrown at me as I preached in King George Square. It is New Years Eve, so we decided to have a special outreach and to commence the night by preaching in the new square. I started off by using an amplifier, which aided my voice greatly, as it covered the whole square and many people were able to hear. The only thing was that this increased preaching volume also drew in people who wanted to destroy the source of this new found volume.
The one heckler who claimed to be a scientist initially tried to break the cord that connected the microphone to the amp. But that failed, so he tried to argue science with me. It soon became very clear that he had no idea what he was on about. When he was challenged in this area he quickly hid behind his Satanist card. When I began to quote the Satanic Bible and address the errors in it, he decided he had enough and legged it across the street.
By now I was preaching without an amplifier, this wasn’t too good since I strained my voice by switching between the two modes of delivery. After I finished preaching, I had a break as I could feel my voice beginning to hurt. During this time Ryan and David went about handing out tracts to the many hundreds of people in the Square for some ball.
As the night progressed we went about our regular preaching routine. We had a few open air preachers up through out the night, and as we evangelised we had the honour of handing out thousands of tracts to the people of Brisbane city. Also, during this time we found it possible to have many great conversations, as people were interested in talking about many issues. This we have found to be the trend over the past few years. Every new years eve seems to provide a time for people to reflect and talk about things done and their plan for the future.
As the new year was coming in people began to celebrate. Then about 30 minutes after midnight the crowds began to leave. So we formed a preaching line and began to share the gospel to the thousands of people in the mall. The basis of a preaching line is this, in a fast moving crowd, you may only have 30 seconds to a minute to preach, so we line up about 8 different preachers and each preacher does a one minute gospel. Then the next preacher takes over. This line just keep going around and around until everyone is exhausted. Which in our case proved to be about 1:30am.
Overall it was a great night and we had an awesome time proclaiming Christ as one year ended and a new one begins.
Saturday, 2nd January 2010
My voice was still hurting from the other night and I was still physically exhausted from the really late night of Thursday, but once again we headed into the Queen Street Mall to proclaim the gospel.
It came as no surprise to us, when we saw that the city was nearly empty. People had spent all their money and were partied out after the New Year celebration. There were however, a few people in the city, so we continued our ministry of tracts, one to one and open air preaching.
The crowds were very minimal during the preaching and not many tracts were able to go out. But those who heard the gospel were worth it. At around 11pm we stopped the preaching and just focused on handing out tracts and one to one for the rest of the evening. In this time we did get to have some great conversations.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 9th January 2010
The city was a little bit more busy tonight. It seemed that the Christmas / New Years slump was over and people had gotten back into their weekly parties and drunkenness.
The first preacher up for the night was a new guy to the Brisbane team. For the past few weeks he had been ministering with our Gold Coast ministry, but had never been into Brisbane. He had stated that he wanted to preach, so we decided to let him go first, since it was the safest time of the night for a new preacher.
John preached for about 20 minutes and did an alright job. He presented Christ and explained to anyone who would give him an ear about how salvation is found in Jesus alone.
After John finished preaching, I stood up and preached on Jesus having the power to lay down His life and to pick it up again. And, I explored the concept of resurrection in today’s society. It didn’t take long before I had one heckler who claimed to know it all. This young boy of about 16 decided to stop and heckle, his arguments bordered on the absurd and it showed that he had never really given thought to why he was an atheist.
I engaged with Jay the atheist until Erin the friendly heckler came along. Erin was a polite young lady who raised her hand to ask me a question. She had given thought to her objections and I must confess I really did enjoy engaging with her. It is rare that we encounter a sceptic who can reason and debate without crossing the line into personal attacks. The crowd grew as we discussed Christianity in the open air. This crowd in turn drew in more people to listen and to heckle. Eventually we ended up on the topic of homosexuality. And it was at this point an aboriginal transvestite began to heckle me. He (although dressed as a she) started to talk about how he was abused as a child and how that action made him gay. This is one of the hardest things to deal with in the open air, an abused child. I assured him that he had not committed any sin when he was abused, and that God was going to judge the abuser. But, I also had to explain that sin is a choice and his homosexuality was a choice that he had made.
Well, the idea that he had chosen to be gay set him off, he began to scream abuse at me and say that God would never judge him for being gay. I opened the Scriptures in reply and showed him what God’s word said. For about an hour and a half we went back and forth on sin and the gospel. Most people were polite, although the aboriginal man was getting rather emotional.
At the end of the open air, I spoke to the aboriginal man (named Kelly, but later revealed his male name is James). We were able to sit down and talk about different issues. It was then that I asked him straight, “Be honest with me, do you like being gay?” His head dropped and he said, “No, I hate it! I want to one day get married and have children.” Rodney and I spent a further 30 minutes with James talking, then he said these words, “You guys are speaking the truth, I want to know Christ. I need to turn from this lifestyle!” With that we all got on our knees in the Queen Street Mall, then James called upon God for mercy.
That was an awesome way to finish the night. Please keep James in prayer, pray that God would save him and that God would be glorified in his life.
Saturday, 16th January 2010
Blake stood up to preach, the first time since he had returned from being overseas on mission trip. It was good to have him back on the box proclaiming the gospel to all who would listen. While Blake was preaching a young drunk professing Pentecostal named Josh came up to us to talk. I have spoken to him many times before and spent hours with him sharing the Scriptures to him. He was claiming to be a Christian, but at the same time he was swearing, drinking, cursing and his own words, committed rape and armed robbery. But, he was convinced he was saved. This stemmed from the faulty theology that said that one only has to say a quick prayer and you are saved.
Some of the guys dealt with him for awhile and then after Blake finished preaching, Ryan began to preach. Things got interesting around this time. I was talking to a young lady, who was from the USA. She had a Southern Baptist background but was now an atheist. Her main argument against God was the existence of hell and how he treats homosexuals. While, I was talking to her a fight erupted behind me, as I turned all I saw was this one young British man being thrown onto the Bible table. I quickly jumped in the way of the big fella who wanted to smack his head in and Kyosti got the British guy out of there.
Both of the fighters hung around heckling for a while, but Ryan was quick to answer their objections. I went back to witnessing to the American girl.
For two hours Ryan preached and taught the Scripture, many people stopped to listen and many took tracts. It was a good night, but at the same time it was hard. Please pray for all those who heard the gospel. That God may save them!
Soli Deo Gloria!