On Thursday, as it was Anzac Day and a public holiday, instead of heading into Sunnybank during the afternoon, the team attended Brisbane City to speak to people at the march. Over the course of the morning almost five thousands tracts were handed out and many conversations were had!
As people flowed out of the train station and into the square, they each were offered a tract. As people walked along the sidewalks, people were offered a tract. It is wonderful that here in Australia, due to the great sacrifice of men and women we can be free to live in a democracy. This day of celebration and the sacrifice offered, though exceedingly costly and loving, doesn't compare to the work of God, not to save His friends but those who had declared themselves to be His enemies!
Whilst celebrating the great sacrifice of our soldiers, the team were able to declare the immeasurable sacrifice of our God and invite others to be beneficiaries of Christ's sacrifice, through faith!
An early conversation took place with a man who wanted to believe that God saves people, because of their good works. He professed to be a Christian but had a very muddled idea of salvation, declaring that good people in countries who had never heard of Christ will be accepted by God into Heaven. He was shown why that cannot work and was pointed to the gospel but he said he still disagreed. He was encouraged to read Romans to see what Paul has to say about salvation.
This was followed by a short conversation with Marilyn, who declared that we should all believe what we want to believe. She was warned that this was very unwise considering we all want to believe that which is easiest for us, or what we perceive to be most enjoyable, not that which is true. It was pointed out that this could leave her in a lot of trouble, in fact it would. She was briefly shown God's law and left with the guilt of her actions as her husband came back and they left.
Lastly was an exciting conversation with John, a Portuguese speaker who came to comprehend the gospel and said that this very day he would consider what Christ has done and start reading his Bible. He was also encouraged to head along to a local Church so that he may grow in understanding.
Please be praying for the many who received tracts and for those who heard the message of salvation, that God would use this simple message to bring them into His Kingdom!
And maybe even start planning to join the team next public holiday, that you may use the time God has given you to declare His glory among the nations!
On Wednesday in Brisbane City there was a smaller team out than usual. Some of the local workers couldn't make it down and a few others got held up from coming so with four members the team set out to have as many gospel conversations as possible, to lead people to understand who God is and what He has done!
An early conversation was with Josh. He stopped to chat and at first didn't seem super engaged but by the end of the conversation after seeing the seriousness of the discussion, came to understand that sinners can be forgiven by trusting in Christ, who paid the debt. He was able to repeat it back and said he would consider what was said.
Similarly Niza was able to understand the gospel and explain how someone can be forgiven. Niza said that she had never really thought about what comes after death before and for the first time in her life considered it. Further than that she came to understand the reality of God's goodness and judgement and that our only hope is found in Christ.
A third conversation very similar to the first two took place with Jasper, unlike the others at the end, whilst being able to articulate the good news of what Christ has done and how one can be forgiven he still wanted to hold onto the idea that it may not be true. He was left with a strong challenge to not just sit around, waiting to die to find out but to consider the claims of the Bible, to read it and come face to face with what it says.
Troy, the fourth conversation declared that he had complete knowledge of the Bible and knew what it was all about but his spoke greater than he could support and was shown to be making bold claims. He did no a little about the Bible and said he had done part of the theological degree but sadly Troy had no idea of the main message of the Bible, nor of how he could be forgiven of his sin. He had rejected God whole-scale for what he said were, "problems with the Bible".
As he was about to leave, in an attempt to get to the gospel, as he was trying to bring up as many arguments as possible, a short monologue was given explaining the story of the Bible, of God's creation, humanities foolish, pride-fueled rebellion and God's justice toward evil, yet God's gracious and kind promises that He would act to save the very ones who had scorned Him and mocked Him. This all finding its fulfillment in Christ, when God became man by adding humanity to his deity and then lived the life we failed to live, dying the death, paying the penalty we deserve and rising victoriously from the grave, so that those who trust in Him and what He has done can be made right on the basis of His perfect life and sacrificial death.
Troy seemed stumped, he was silenced and it seemed that never before had he heard such a straight forward explanation of the gospel, let alone the story of the Bible and he took a tract and headed off.
This was followed by a young French lady who despite evidence declared, "I do not want to believe that there is a God". She was warned strongly that willful ignorance will not go unpunished and that it will not take away guilt from the rest of her actions.
Lastly was a brief conversation with Emma, who was a very good critic of people. She was accurate in noticing faults and flaws in humanity, religions and other world views but the irony was strong. The condemnation she poured out upon others, left her condemned. She criticised others for living however they wanted, despite later declaring that she lived her life trying her best to not hurt anyone else because she thought that was a good way to live. Sadly the conversation didn't last as she had to head off to work but Emma took a tract as well.
Please be praying for those who heard the gospel that they would take it to heart, not just remembering the truth of it all but personally trusting in what Christ has done for their forgiveness!
This afternoon the team met for an outreach at Bongaree Jetty. Two Bibles, a number of Gospels of John, and many Gospel tracts were given out. People seemed more receptive as the afternoon progressed. It was a really good afternoon and a great encouragement.
One gentleman, Blane, went through the Good Person flipchart and said that he had never heard the Gospel before. He was sincerely thankful for the conversation, and he took a Gospel of John which he promised to read that same night. He also committed to think seriously about what he had heard.
A woman stopped at the literature table and asked about the free Bibles. She wanted to know if she had to donate to get one. She seemed extremely surprised when she was assured they were completely free. She said she’d been wanting a Bible for a very long time, so she took one, after just checking again that she didn’t actually have to make a donation.
The children and young people again seemed to be very open and curious. Two boys heard the Gospel and then came over to the table for more literature. Three young ladies went through the Good Person flipchart. They were ‘absolutely good people’, but as they moved through the law, they realized their sinfulness. They thought that saying sorry was enough to get God’s forgiveness. As they moved through the Gospel, they heard that since God is a good judge, He cannot overlook or merely forgive sin; He must punish it. Jesus took that punishment upon His own shoulders, and we must repent and put our faith in Him to be saved. They were vaguely familiar with that message, since they attended a ‘Christian’ school, but today they received the full Gospel. Pray that God would move their hearts to see their own need of repentance and faith.
As we were packing up, a young girl named Ruby came up and looked at our literature table. One of the helpers engaged with her in a Gospel conversation. She seemed genuinely interested and listened intently. She took a Gospel tract and John’s Gospel home with her. Pray for her conversion.
Please be in prayer for all those who heard the Gospel this afternoon. Many were remembering the sacrifice of the ANZAC’s today. Please pray that their thoughts will be turned to the Ultimate Sacrifice who gave His life for our salvation. Pray that souls will be saved, and that God’s name will be glorified by the work that was done this afternoon at Bribie Island.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge the team of five took the time to preach Christ to those who are perishing. The afternoon was quieter than usual, most likely because of the threatening clouds but there was still enough foot traffic to be able to share the gospel with people continually over the afternoon.
It is always sad when the team runs into professing Christians who are trusting in their goodness to gain them entrance into Heaven. This was the case with Eileen who stopped by early in the afternoon. She was trying really hard to show that she was good enough to get into Heaven but was shown God's law clearly as well as a few other things the Bible has to say about human attempts at gaining God's favour. She was shown her inability and was pointed to Christ's ability to save. The gospel and its response was explained but she didn't seem to understand it and her bus arrived. She took a tract and was encouraged to read it.
Next was a conversation with Ally, who was surprisingly open. She had a few ideas of her own but admitted that it was mostly guesses and she really wasn't sure about it all. She was shown God's law and came to understand that sinners deserve Hell and as the questions about Easter weekend and its relevance to Christianity were raised her train arrived and she had to run off. She too took a tract.
An exciting conversation was had with Daniel who once was a JW and had left but for the first time came to understand the gospel and was challenged to trust Christ. He had struggled with religion ever since he had left the JW organisation but seemed positive towards the gospel and said he would have to consider it. The importance of not just putting it off was stressed as none of us know if we have tomorrow. Dan was able to explain back how someone can be forgiven and therefore was encouraged to think about it today.
Among other conversations there was a young man who understood the gospel already and had just recently moved to the area and was encouraged to find a local Church. There was a man who was interested in hearing the gospel so waited till the very last moment before running to his train and a young man who struggled to comprehend the gospel but was happy to take a tract.
The last conversation of the afternoon though was with Mediana. She thought she was good enough to get to Heaven but by the law saw that she had failed and saw the bad news that humanity deserves Hell. She said, "Oh that means we're all headed for Hell," with sadness on her face. The response was given, "Yes, we are. Do you know what God has done so that we don't have to go there?" She wasn't sure but her uber arrived so she had to run off but she took a tract and said she'd read it.
Please be praying for those who heard the bad or good news this afternoon that they would come to Christ, the gracious King, who offers forgiveness purchased by his own life!
On Easter Monday a team of 32 people took their God given "day-off" to declare who God is and what He has done to the people gathered at the Redlands Easter Family Festival!
Some we spoke with professed a desire to trust in Christ, and so it was a day where our hearts were filled with rejoicing! If you're excited by this video, come along to an outreach this week: https://www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams/
This past Saturday night was wet and this caused the square to be far quieter than usual but God provided people to speak with quite consistently over the course of the night.
You can hear Andrew sharing about a conversation he had at the beginning of the night with a man who actually was living a few streets from where he did before he moved to Queensland a little over 12months ago. This meant he was easily about to recommend a local Church when this man responded positively.
Also find encouragement in a coversation Ryan had with a young man who had started going to Church and had done an introducing God course but thought that he was going to Heaven because of his Church attendance.
Please be praying for both of these conversations that God would draw these men unto Himself and cause them to walk in His ways!
The seagulls wanted hot cross buns... but they didn't get any! :) The Easter Monday outreach seemed to go well. Another 500 hot cross bun halves went out... plus the bread of life: Jesus - shared in Easter tracts.
I focused on flip chart conversations while other Christians watched to get a feel for sharing the Gospel on the streets.
I had two conversations, the first one was short, and allowed the Christians watching to get a good overview of a Gospel conversation. The second one was an epic! It tested my conversational and apologetic skills, while having to wrestle with illogical responses of a person resisting the obvious. It was a wonderful conversation that ended well, but that had drained all my energy.
A brief report from Andy revealed the other team had some good Gospel conversations as well.
Like on Saturday, I was very encouraged to see so many Christians getting involved. We even had a family we haven't met before come join us - so blessed!
Thanks to all involved - you did an awesome job! Keep it up :)
After some rest on Tuesday, Wednesday was the usual marathon of 7 hours of outreach, including letterbox dropping, an outreach to the city, and an outreach outside the hospital.
I was again blessed with follow up conversations.
One was with the young man I mentioned a month or so ago, whose baby daughter had major complications after birth. The good news, is his daughter is well! He showed me some pictures. He said he had read some of the Bible I had given him, starting at the spot I had suggested. And he took one of the tracts I was handing out today (Jesus Shows Us God).
But the highlight conversation was a follow up with a guy who revealed some more information about himself, which allowed me to minister more specifically to him. It turns out he had been involved with churches in the past, but had pulled away - seemingly due to something to do with suffering and why God allows it. He used an analogy where his daughter had a thorn in her finger causing her pain, and how cruel would he be as a father not to pull it out. He was clearly pointing at God being cruel for not dealing with the thorns in our sides. So I responded with scripture:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 ESV
But even though Paul understood why his thorn was not taken away. I explained that we don’t always get to know why God allows suffering to come our way. But that we need to trust Him no matter what, like: Job, Joseph, and Jesus. Like Job, our attitude should be:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21 ESV
In fact, believers are promised suffering:
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
He made reference to the murders in the Mosque a month ago. But I made it clear that God did not do the killing, but the man who did it was responsible. And God will ultimately give perfect justice (for all), but he is patiently holding off his justice so that people can receive mercy and grace.
We discussed other things as well. I was really blessed to be able to call him to repentance and faith once again. God willing, I’ll have more opportunities to talk to him.
On Good Friday the team, rejoicing in the gospel, took the opportunity to have an extended outreach on the Gold Coast. Instead of the usual three hours, it lasted over six!
During this time, many heard the gospel and God graciously drew some to Himself!
You can hear Jack share about the afternoon generally and an exciting conversation he had with a Chilean lady.
You can hear Matt rejoicing in a conversation he had with a young man named James, who came to understand the gospel!
And take some encouragement from Fynn as he shares a simple explanation as to why doing good deeds will not take away the history of one's sin!
On Thursday afternoon at Sunnybank the team were on fire! With twelve members coming out over the course of the afternoon, it was the equal biggest team at that location, even with a few regulars away! It is exciting to see God raising up labourers to preach His glorious gospel!
The first conversation of the afternoon was a funny one, a man named Zac who at first was a little hesitant began to talk. He said the issue was that he was sure that nothing in this world was black and white and therefore it can't be that simple. Ironically, as was pointed out, he was "black and white" about nothing being "black and white". He saw the law and was challenged by God's hatred of his sin but his bus arrived before the conversation could go too much further.
The constant challenge that is taught by outreach locations like Sunnybank is the importance of simple explanations and a serious commitment to strive to get to the gospel. In a scenario when you have less than ten minutes to take someone with little to no knowledge of Christianity to understand the essentials of the faith, it takes great discipline to not try and answer every question or objection raised but to be wise in what to say, what questions to ask and what to point out so that each person can understand what God has said is the way to Heaven.
Seneha, Kay, Rhianna and Charlotte all heard why we know there is a God, why that matters for people like us, the trouble our sin has placed us in and therefore that God will be our only hope. Sadly, as easy as it is as a Christian to articulate that, "Jesus has died to save sinners", people outside Christendom don't understand what that means or how it is good news. It isn't until time is taken to show what it all means that people come to comprehend the beauty of the gospel. Sadly in these four conversations, they each heard very briefly of the good news but had to hop on their respective buses with some sentences bouncing around in their head and a gospel tract.
Please be praying that those who heard part of the message would come to know what God has done, either by reading the tract and understanding it, talking to a Christian in their life or by reading a Bible and understanding what God has said! Praise God that although we may not get to complete our "plans" that He is in control of all!
Lastly was a conversation with an Asian gentleman named Johnson who was scared to mention that he was a Christian. When he finally did mention it, it was clear that he knew the gospel and was just ashamed of Christ. This was a different conversation than usual as he seemed even to be trusting in Christ but just had a moment when he failed to be a good witness. Johnson was encouraged that God is in control and that as Christians we should never be ashamed of who our God is. Rather, His love for us should leave us willing to suffer anything for His name's sake!
Please be praying that Johnson would consider the challenge he was given and that he would be willing to trust in Christ, not just for salvation but as in control and Lord over every scenario. Even more so, that he would be willing to speak openly of Christ of his own accord, not just when another asks! May you too be willing to do so as well!
On Wednesday in Brisbane City, in the lead up to Easter, there was a good sized team out, reminding people of the weekend that was coming and explaining why it is so central and crucially important for every person on the face of this planet.
The day had some exciting responses to the gospel but predominant theme was actually rebellion. Not just that people didn't want to talk or hear. But five people, came to understand the gospel and chose to defiantly reject Christ and His offer of forgiveness. In the theme of Easter, people were being incredulous. It wasn't that there was a lack of evidence, or not enough reason to believe, rather they had decided they did not want to believe.
First was with Margaret a Russian Orthodox, who saw that her goodness and attempts to honour God would not be enough on the day of judgement and that she would be found guilty. In response she asked what the solution was and when explained that it was that God purchases us from judgement by paying the debt Himself she was interested to hear more but when she heard that it was received by faith, not a result of works she rejected it. She said, she must do something to receive it.
Next was Kane. A simple gospel presentation was given and Kane was able to get the checking questions right. He understood what God has said in His word the Bible but at the end of it all Kane said, "I think I will just continue to trust myself". It was pointed out to Kane, the foolishness of his decision and he was strongly warned of the consequences of his choice, that he could be in Hell this very night. Interestingly during this conversation with Kane, two ladies sitting nearby who were at first listening into the conversation left in frustration because they didn't want to have to listen.
This was followed by a conversation with Jordan, who was harder at first than the previous two and was quite consistent in his attempts to escape God's judgement with his arguments. Later trying to justify his sin as not that bad. In the end he heard the gospel, he understood what God had said about sin and salvation and was able to comprehend it and repeat back the way of salvation but he declared that he would not believe.
The same thing happened with Ash a Nepalese man who had Buddhist leanings and saw how helpless he was in the system of Buddhism to deal with sin and guilt. In the end of it all though he declared that he really didn't want to have to live God's way, rather that he was content with his own ideas, his own standards and would continue living how he wanted to until he thought there was a need to change.
Lastly Simmo was in a similar boat. He was the hardest to keep on tract as he had many different ideas and arguments to try and distract from his guilt and God's offer of salvation but in the end despite him rejecting it he walked away knowing what God has done to save sinners and how he, a sinner, could be forgiven.
But after saying all this, today was not a failure. Not even because there were others who responded positively to the gospel but simply because God is in control. As the team we taught people who God is, what He has said about sin and the offer of forgiveness that He gives to those who will accept His terms of peace and God will do whatever He wills with this message that is now on their hearts. So may you pray for these five people that they will not continue to reject the gospel but they will dwell on the beauty of God's love and turn to Him for salvation, that this Easter they may be rejoicing in Him as their King!