As I was drawing near to the city, I noticed that there was again lots of dust in the air, similar to what we had just days earlier that was reported on the news. I knew that this would keep a number of people away from the city and so I expected a quiet night. But we had actually rather large team tonight with a few new team members. One of the new members was a guy called Paul Ross. He had written a book on the case against scepticism, and so I knew that he would be great value on the apologetical side of things.
After having a brief witnessing encounter with some people who were at the spot we normally meet at, we prayed, read a bit from the Bible and had great fellowship. At 9pm we made our way to Queen Street Mall and starting set-up the 'Free Bibles' table. The dust was very thick, but it was a little better in Queen Street Mall, but it did certainty make things a bit quieter in the mall.
Blake, Jeremy and I all took turns preaching, however because of the dust, there were no real hecklers and only a small number of people stopped to listen to the message that was being preached.
However, Alex (our regular agnostic heckler friend - although he claims to be an atheist) was in again. He had a rather long conversation with Paul Ross and had to concede a number of points. Alex admitted that he doesn't know for sure that God does not exist, even though he is the leader of the Brisbane Atheist group, and 'atheist' by definition is one who says there is no God. Paul said the conversation was beneficial and he hopes to continue to discuss with him further at a later stage. Please keep Alex in prayer. It's been over two years since we first met him and he has been coming into the city just to heckle us for nearly every week for that entire duration, so he knows the gospel but clearly hates it. Please pray that God will soften his heart and he might come to the knowledge of the truth.
Throughout the night, our larger-than-normal team was faithfully handing out gospel tracts to all those that were passing by and through the tracts, many one2one encounters started. Please pray that God may grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts tonight (1 Cor 3:7).
The only photos we have of tonight were taken right at the end of the night, as Peter Webber, our normal photographer, has been away for the past few weeks. Here they are:
To God be the glory!
PS: If you live nearby or are in the Brisbane area for a week, you are more than welcome to be part of this outreach. We meet in King George Square at 7:30pm for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Then we head to Queen Street Mall at 9pm and evangelise there till midnight.
I was joined by Rick, Glenda and Chris today at the Gold Coast. It was Chris' first time out on the streets with us, and she was very excited to be part of the team. After praying together, we started handing out tracts to everyone going past us.
I then got up to preach and after not long, there were a number of hecklers. Many were asking how can I believe in God. So I responded by pointing out that creation is absolute proof of the God, for we know that things don't come into being without a cause, and since the universe had a beginning, the universe must have had a cause as well. And that is what we define as God; God is the creator of the universe. A number of them understood this point and eventually agreed. By this time, a crowd of at least 50 people had gathered to listen to the discussion taking place.
I then had one young guy ask a number of questions that he had been pondering for a while, the first one being about how can an all-powerful God let suffering occur. After I responded to that question, he then asked about homosexuality. So I responded by saying that the Bible says any sort of sex outside of marriage is sin, heterosexual or homosexual. He then mentioned that he was a homosexual. So I explained that homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. Anybody can be forgiven of whatever they have done in life if they acknowledge firstly that they don't deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's punishment in Hell. Then they trust that Jesus came 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for all their sins. If they do truly have that faith, they will also repent - that is, hate sin and start turning from it.
At this point in time, a police officer came up and stood in the crowd and listened. I was hoping that he wouldn't stop us preaching. Rick later told me that someone had gone up to the officer while he was standing in the crowd and asked whether we had a permit to preach. But after a few minutes, the officer just walked away without touching us. Praise God! That was an answer to prayer, for as soon as he started walking away, I knew that the other members on the team would have been praying that the police officer wouldn't make us stop. And I found out later they were. God is so good! :)
After about an hour of preaching, I got down from the preaching spot and started chatting with those who had been listening and then had come up to me afterwards. At this point in time, the young guy who had asked a lot of the questions wanted to speak with me but I was in a conversation with some other people. So Glenda had conversation with him for about half an hour and was able to answer a lot of his questions.
After having a bite to eat, we returned to the esplanade and Rick got up to preach. The same young guy returned and asked Rick some more questions that he wanted to know the answers to. Rick was able to answer them and share the gospel with him again. Please pray that God will convert this young man.
To God be the glory for another great day of outreach!
When I arrived at the city at 7:30pm, Warren was already at the meeting place. He then handed me two pamphlets that he had been given by some people standing outside of City Hall. I then had a brief read of the tracts and noticed on them that it said, "One must be baptised by full-immersion in order to be saved." So I went up to them and had a conversation with them about this erroneous doctrine of salvation by works. I asked them what Biblical support they have for requiring a person to be baptised to be saved. They tried pointing to Mark 16:16, where it says "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." So I pointed out to them that verses 9-16 are most likely not in the original manuscript of Mark as they are not in the earliest manuscript copies we have today. And secondly, the second part of that verse would indicate baptism is not a requirement: "but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
They then tried pointing to Peter's exhortation on the Day of Pentecost where he said, "Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38). I reminded them that any doctrine that we believe in shouldn't just be based off a single verse. They agreed with this, and so I asked them what other support do you have to support your idea that one must be baptised to be saved? They didn't have any. So I laid a case from the Bible where it talks time and time again about salvation being only by God's grace through faith and not of works. So even from the outset, since the rest of Scripture disagrees with Acts 2:38, the surface level interpretation of that verse must be incorrect. But if you look at the Greek, you'll find that that verse does not actually indicate salvation by water baptism (this is due to the shift from second person plural when mentioning repentance, to third person singular when mentioning baptism, back to second person plural again when mentioning the forgiveness of sins. Thus indicating that this verse is not saying that baptism is what makes a person have their sins forgiven).
At this point, one of the gentlemen that I was talking to conceded, "Well I don't believe someone needs to be baptised to be saved." But the other person rebutted what he was saying, by saying that it is still required.
They then went on to mention that speaking in tongues is also a requirement for salvation. For they said, that is the fool-proof way we can know someone has the Holy Spirit. So I asked, "Is it not easy to fake tongues? In fact, I know many atheists who have spoke in tongues, but clearly they do not have the Holy Spirit." I then turned to 1 Corinthians 12:30 where it says: "Do all speak with tongues?" - implying the answer no, the Greek makes this abundantly clear (question starts with: μὴ "no").
After talking with them for about an hour and a half, they finally resorted to saying, "I agree our beliefs are not Scriptural, but they are based on our experience and you can have this experience too..." The 'church' holding the rallies was 'The Revival Centre International', it's clearly a cult. So if you ever run into any one from that 'church', witness to them, they need the gospel.
At 9pm we started setting up the Bible table at our usual location in Queen Street Mall. Then Andrew and myself took turns having a preach, and a number of people listened and asked questions.
Reece Freeman also had a turn preaching. He had never done preaching in the open air before and was hesitant to do it at first, but he managed to muster up the courage to do it. He did very well, speaking of the reality of death, the coming judgment, our sin and the news of the cross. He pleaded with people to repent and trust in Christ's death alone for their salvation.
Many one2one conversations were also had this evening by all the members of the team. Often those that don't preach in the open-air don't get a mention in the report, but we have a number of faithful men and women who attend each week to witness to people one-on-one and hand out tracts. In fact, this evening, a father came with his son, Steven, to witness. His son is only twelve years old, and yet was very enthusiastic to hand out tracts throughout the night. He would make sure everyone walking up and down the mall got their hands on the tracts he was handing out. In fact, even by the end of the night when everyone was leaving, he wished he could stay to keep on doing it. Praise God for keenness of this young boy and the faithfulness of all the team members. Thank you each one of you for being part of the team.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
As I made my way down to the Gold Coast, I knew it would be busy at Surfers Paradise. For today was the start of school holidays, so this is when lots of people take the liberty to get away from home and go to the beach. Unfortunately, everyone else who usually takes part on the team was busy today and couldn't make it. Nevertheless, the gospel still needed to go out, and so I went.
So I stocked myself up with gospel tracts and when I arrived, I started handing out the gospel tracts I had. It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but after having a conversation with two young adults who were very proud of their sinful lifestyle and so did not want to trust in Christ, that really showed me the true depravity of man and that they really need the gospel, and so spurred me on to be more bold in sharing the gospel.
I had a chat with a fellow, aged around his thirties, I noticed he was holding a book about crop circles and other mystical things. So I struck up a conversation with him, asking him where he thinks he'll spend eternity. He then proceeded to talk about how he accepts Jesus, but not the Bible. When I asked him how then we know about Jesus, he said that it's simply through mystical means. He thought that we all came from aliens and that the Bible came from them as well. I managed to share the gospel with him, however he was very hard-hearted and said that he didn't need the salvation of Jesus. Please pray for this man as he is cleverly deceived by some sort of paganism.
After talking with some more people and handing out lots of tracts, I got up to preach. I preached about how people love holidays, a time to get away and relax. However, holidays are also a time when many people ignore God and ignore the most important question in life, that is, "Where will they spend eternity?" But you see, more people die on the roads during holiday periods than when people are not on holidays. That is why it is crucial to think where you are going to go after you die, even though you may be holidays. I then proceeded to share about the sinfulness of man, the coming judgment and the great news of the cross.
By this stage, a crowd of about 75 had gathered and there were a number of hecklers. One of the most vocal hecklers was objecting to the exclusivity of Christ; he did not seem to understand how Jesus could say that He is the only way. So I explained the difference between the two different religions in the world (for there are only two), the religion of 'do' and the religion of 'done'. In the category of 'do' is every other religion besides Christianity, for they say you get to Heaven by doing a certain amount of good things. However we know that no just judge could let a criminal go simply because he may have done a certain amount of good things in his life. Thus every other religion's gods must be unjust, yet all say their god is just. However, that is contradiction, therefore meaning that their religions are not true all the time.
I then explained that in the category of 'done' is Christianity alone. For we cannot do anything to get to Heaven. Instead, God provides the way of salvation by the death of Jesus paying for all our sins. So we simply need to trust that He has done that for us to be forgiven. And if someone has that trust in Jesus, they will also repent of their sins.
There were many other questions presented by all those that heckled, but most importantly, the gospel was preached. And so for that, I say: To God be the glory!!
Tonight was Riverfire, the busiest night of the year in Brisbane city. Riverfire is basically half an hour of fireworks and a few planes flying over. We knew that people would be arriving in the city very early in the afternoon to get the best viewing spots, so we decided to start the outreach at 3pm. Warren and I got there at that time and started handing out tracts. There was already such a large amount of flow-through of traffic of people crossing the Brisbane River via the Victoria Bridge, that within an hour we had handed out at least a thousand tracts.
As the afternoon went on, they closed off the Victoria Bridge for cars, so that more pedestrians could cross the river. By this time, 5 or so other people had arrived to hand out tracts as well with me. And thankfully, they brought a box load of tracts to hand out, for there were by this time stacks of people about.
By the time 7:00pm rolled around, the fireworks started and Victoria Bridge was lined with people. We used this opportunity to have a bite to eat, and then we returned to our where we were once the fireworks ended. Once 7:30pm came, thousands of people were pouring across the Victoria Bridge to the city. So we all spread out, making sure we got a tract in the hands of most people going past us. We continued doing this till about 8:30pm, at which point we actually ran out of tracts. We had handed out over 10,000 tracts in just a few hours. But the outreach was not over yet, we still had over 3 hours to go.
After restocking with more tracts, we set-up the free Bibles table in our usual location in Queen St Mall at 9pm. I then got up to preach and almost immediately there were hecklers. I went through the 'Good person test' with a number of the hecklers in order to show them that they too don't actually deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's wrath in Hell. This lead onto the good news of Christ and His wonderful plan of salvation by dying on the cross to satisfy God's wrath in our place.
Andrew also had a preach and large crowds gathered as he preached of the great news of the gospel. Alex, our regular agnostic heckler, also returned and dialogued with Andrew for quite a while. Photos below:
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
On Friday night we were out with the Gospel and it was a wonderful night of evangelism. We had a few new faces join us and also some of the team were back from holiday and so forth. So it was great to be back out!
After praying for the night ahead we headed into the Square and set up for the evening. We had quite a few tracts and we also had some visual aids that Rowina has put together. These are really great and are sign boards that give questions for people passing, questions like: “Ask me what happens when we die.” The boards prompt many questions from people and are great for getting into conversation. We have people on the team who are confident enough to approach strangers in order to engage in conversation, but we also have some on the team that find this difficult so the boards are really great for them. This adds another dimension to what we are doing and along with open-air preaching it means that we are utilising another avenue to approach people with the Gospel. Below is a link to a brief video I made of the boards being used.
During my open-air preach I was heckled by quite a few people. One in particular was a man named John who admitted that he believed in a higher power but had question marks over who that higher power was. I reasoned with him concerning creation to show him that there is in fact a God who made this world, and I also reasoned with him regarding the conscience to show that he is accountable for his life and that when he stands before God one day he will need to give an account of his life. John listened and heard the Gospel and so we praise the Lord for bringing John to Leicester Square to hear the Gospel. This is not something we ought not to dismiss, John could so easily have gone anywhere that night but the Lord brought him to Leicester Square to hear the Gospel. Praise the Lord!
Audio of Rob Hughes preaching:
The night was a great night and we praise the Lord!
Soli Deo Gloria!!
After meeting at 7:30pm for prayer and Bible reading, we set up the free Bibles table at 9pm and prepared for a night of outreach. First up for the night we had Jeremy and Andre who took turns preaching. They both faithfully preached about the reality of the judgment to come, our sin, and the fact that one can be saved through the death of Jesus if they repent and trust alone in the Jesus' death for their salvation. There were a number of people that stopped to listen, and a few passes by that shouted out some comments, but there were not any loud vocal hecklers for an decent period of time.
I then got up to preach, and a guy named Lachie objected by saying there is no proof for God. So I reasoned with him, showing him that we know that things do not arise without a cause, he agreed with this point. I then moved onto my next premise, that we know the universe had a beginning. He agreed with this point also. "So therefore, the universe must have a cause for its beginning", I argued. It seemed to 'click' in his mind and so he said that he was now no longer an atheist. I then went through the commandments of God to see if he was a good person. He, like the rest of us, wasn't either. So I informed him that the punishment for sin is eternal torment in Hell. It's a bad place. But then I shared the great news of the cross and what someone must do to be saved. He said that he would definitely think this through, and count the cost of following Jesus. Please keep him in prayer.
After I got down from preaching, the two football matches that were on in the city seemed to have finished and so the Mall seemed to get quite a bit busier. Andrew got up to preach and a decent sized crowd gathered.
Many various people were witnessed to and lots of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory!
When I arrived at the coast, I saw some people from a local Church doing evangelism at Surfers Paradise, it sure is encouraging to see other people fulfilling the Great Commission as well. Not long after I arrived, Yarran and Daniel showed up, and after praying together we went straight into witnessing.
One of first conversations I had was with an elderly lady, and when I asked whether she thought she would go to Heaven, she responded, "No, I don't want to go to Heaven. I'm going to live on the Earth forever." By her response, I thought that she was most likely a Jehovah's Witness, for they teach Heaven is only for a select 144,000, and the rest of the JW's will simply live on the Earth forever. She was a JW, and had been one for a lot of her life. I asked her, "If you're going to be on the 'renewed' Earth forever and you sin, what will happen to you?" She said that she would be annihilated (as they don't believe in Hell). I asked, "Isn't that going to be a sad existence on the 'renewed' Earth, that you have to worry about not sinning or else you are out of there?" She didn't seem to want to admit that.
I chatted to her about many different topics, ranging from Salvation, Christology, Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I pointed out references to her like John 8:58 that prove the deity of Christ. I also pointed her to John 2:19-21, showing that Jesus did say he was going to bodily rise from the dead, while the Watchtower denies this. She did not know how to respond to the verses presented and then seemed to want to leave the conversation. So I stressed with her that she needs to really start thinking about these things and start reading what the Scriptures really say, and that if she does, she'll find out that the Watchtower is actually deceiving her.
I then got up to preach for a bit. There was one heckler who stayed for a short time who was trying to argue that he believes in Jesus, but said that we can't trust the Bible. So I asked him, "How then do we know anything about Jesus (except the cross), if not from the Bible?" He didn't seem to have an answer.
Near the end of the outreach, Yarran had a very good conversation with Grace and Eshore, who were both on holidays from Taiwan. They had never heard anything of the Christian message before. They seemed very interested and eager to learn more. So we gave them Bibles and encouraged them to read it and contact us if they have any questions. Please pray for them.
To God be the glory for another great day of evangelism!
On Friday night we met at our favourite café and enjoyed a time of fellowship and prayer together. We were small in number as many were still away due to summer breaks, etc. However, we had two new faces join us. Sarah and Nathan had joined me from my church, which was a real blessing to us. Both Nathan and Sarah are starting university soon so they will not be able to join us regularly, but hopefully we can see them join us again soon.
After setting up in the square I stood up to preach. I proclaimed the truth that the true living God reigns and that contrary to most people’s belief today, God is not dead. Many people in the UK today see God, or the idea of God, as being something redundant, i.e. dead. I proclaimed that God is very much alive and that He is very interested in our lives.
After I finished preaching we all got into conversation. I got talking with a young man who asked some very probing questions. Many of his questions were red herrings I believe, even though he stressed that his questions were things he genuinely wanted to know. He questioned why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son; and if God were to ask someone to do such a thing today how would we know if that person were hearing from God and was not mentally disturbed. I explained that Abraham knew God and knew His character and that he understood it to be a test from God. If I were to hear such a command today it would be important that I obey God in the same that Abraham did. Abraham did not need to go and tell anybody, he simply had to obey God and do what He asked.
Rowina had made up some signs that prompt the person passing to ask a question. Each sign has a different question on it, like: “As me what happens when a person dies?” They worked a real treat and we had some great conversation start from them. I wanted to grab some pics but forgot to bring my camera! Hopefully I’ll remember for next week. LOL!
I also spoke to two young Jewish men from Israel. This was really special and it was so wonderful to show them from the Scriptures that Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the Messiah. I read to them from Isaiah 53 and showed them from the Torah that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that was prophesied. They did show interest and I praise God for that because many Jews today are taught that Jesus is not the Messiah. We gave them both a Gospel of John and I really pray the Lord would lead them to read it.
Towards the end of the evening Sarah and I were talking with a fervent evolutionist. He used some very scientific terms and scientific language and I must admit it was difficult to keep up with him. I tried to keep things simple and spoke to him of the impossibility of life arising from inorganic chemicals, as well as the impossibility of complex and unique genetically coded creatures changing into something with a different genetic code. We ran out of time in the end but we did manage to swap details. Please pray for him, the Lord knows his name.
We’d had a good night. It was challenging at times but we need to be out there proclaiming the Gospel and making a defence for the existence of God. The Lord is mighty to save, but we must preach His Word. This is His command.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We started off with a smaller team tonight, consisting of only about 5 of us initially. But thankfully, more people arrived later in the night. After setting up the free Bibles table, Andre got up to preach. He faithfully preached about the reality of death, the judgment, our sin, the wonderful news of the cross, and what someone must do to be saved. There wasn't any hecklers that stuck around for any significant period of time during his preaching, but the message of the gospel went out and whenever that happens, it is always a success.
After this, I got up to preach. There were a few hecklers, mostly asking questions about the existence of God, and how we know the Bible is true. However, the hecklers didn't stay discussing with me for that long. I could tell that it definitely was quieter in the Mall this evening.
Straight after I got down from preaching, Jeremy got up and preached a quick gospel message, calling all those listening to repent and trust in the gospel.
To finish off the night, Andrew got up to preach. Fifteen minutes into his message, Alex (our regular non-theist friend) came in and started heckling Andrew. Alex seemed to have resorted to his old argument - the one where he argues that he thinks the sum of the mass of the universe equals zero, therefore the universe does not actually exist. He uses this to explain away the need for a cause of the universe, for he realises that a cause of the universe must exist if the universe exists and has a beginning. Please keep Alex in prayer, that God will open his eyes to the truth.
To God be the glory!