I was in a great mood tonight as I made my way to the city. This was due to several reasons, first, that morning I was at a young evangelist conference, it is always great to be with other like-minded Christians. Second, I had the privilege of making known the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to all those who would listen.
Those things combined made me excited about the night. Also, the preaching tonight would all be focused around the one thing that had shaken the world, and that was the unexpected death of the pop superstar Michael Jackson, now while I am not a fan of his music, I myself was shocked at his death, it caught me unaware. My first thoughts upon hearing of his death was “I wonder if he trusted in Christ?” Maybe, you are reading this now, and you have never trusted in Christ for your salvation, if that is the case right now I would encourage you to turn from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ, as He died upon the cross for sinners and then rose again. He now offers you forgiveness of all your sins if you would come to Him.
It was great for the team to once again meet in King George Square, we use to meet all the time in the square, however, with the re-developments we have had to move to Ann Street. But from now on we are back in the heart of the city. We spent some time in prayer and then read the Bible together, it is always great to commit the outreach to Christ before we begin, as apart from Him we can do nothing.
As 9pm rolled around, we made our way to the Queen Street Mall, and began our set up process. I was to be the first preacher for the night, so I began to prepare for my message, my text for the night 1 Peter 1:24-25
“for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
I used the Michael Jackson death as the launch pad, but then spoke about the good news of death and sin being defeated by Jesus Christ. A few people stopped to listen, one young man began to heckle a bit. He was rather proud, but he soon saw the seriousness of things. After presenting the gospel to him I called this young man to decision, and his words were heart breaking “I choose to reject Christ!” Before he left I said to him, “Mate, remember this, on the day you regret your sins, know Christ can forgive you.”
I wrapped up the preaching shortly after that. Then it was time for Amy Barnard to get up and read the Scripture, but she did more than just that. She expounded on the verses and preached a gospel message from Genesis 3. It is encouraging for me to see her getting up to preach. She has grown dramatically over the past couple of years. It is my prayer that she will continue in this ministry. She is such a blessing to all those within Operation 513.
After Amy finished, it was time for her brother to get up and preach. Joel’s preaching is going well. He is becoming more confident in his preaching. Other preachers for the night included Ryan and Jeremy, both of whom did very well in dealing with hecklers and making known the glory of Christ.
During the preaching I was able to get a conversation with a young man who was walking down the Queen Street Mall wearing the classic Australian driza-bone jacket. Since I have one that is exactly the same I decided to grab this bloke for a discussion, it turned out that he was a bush boy and he was in the city for a night. He didn’t seem overly impressed with everything in the city, but he was happy to have someone to talk to, and since I lived in the bush for a time, I was able to relate to him. He had never heard the full gospel message before in his life, and he saw the serious nature of his sin and his need for the Saviour, he left me with a Bible a Gospel CD and then he promised he would think about our conversation. Please remember him in your prayers.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts and having one to one conversations with people. While it was a slower night due to the cold, it was a great night of ministry. To God be the Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Blake, Andre and I made our way down to Surfers Paradise on a day where it had been periodically raining throughout the morning. So once we arrived, there wasn't too many people about, even though it was the first day of school holidays. But it was clearing up, so we firstly prayed and read the Bible together, then Andre stood up to preach. He wasn't feeling well, but he knew that as soon as he started preaching, he would feel much better. So Andre faithfully proclaimed the good news of the gospel after speaking about how temporal this life is, evidenced again by the recent deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett just the day before. So he urged that those listening should think about where they will go for the Day of Judgment is definitely coming.
After Andre stood down, we decided to have a bite to eat because it still wasn't very busy on the esplande. After returning, the sun was out and so both Blake and I had a turn to preach. God graciously drew in a crowd to listen to the message being preached. Afterwards, we also spoke to many people - warning them of the coming judgment and how to be saved from the wrath of God by trusting that the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross paid for all their sins. Reactions varied, with some people blatently admitting they wanted to rather keep on sinning, while others were genuinely concerned and were very appreiative of the message. Please pray that God converts them.
To God be the glory!
This week I was working alone and so after beginning with prayer I began to tract the people passing through Barkers Pool. I was planning to preach tonight but God had other plans. Just as I was weighing up weather to preach now or a little later a conversation started that lasted the rest of the night. Two young men took tracts from me and then asked what they were.
Walking with Sam and his friend I asked them the question worth more than millions of pounds, will you go to heaven when you die? Both of them said immediately that they would not go to heaven, yet they laughed at the thought of going to hell eternally. We had walked by now up to the local skate park and they invited me to come and speak with their friends.
Going down to the park I handed tracts to all the youth that were there. Many of them saw that it was regarding God and promptly left, which left me with a group of about 5 or 6. We then had an extended discussion of the Christian world-view and what they believed and I presented the gospel to them. Some of them had some idea of what Christians believe but many of their ideas were a mix of Roman Catholicism, urban myths/heresy and the truth. We discussed many things but the conversation focused around a couple of major topics – Who is God, “God vs Science”, Heaven/Hell, Sin and the Gospel.
Throughout the conversation we kept moving towards an understanding that we all deserve hell but God gives grace to those who trust in Jesus. Unfortunately this is where one of the biggest misunderstandings for people arises. Most will say one of two things: No-one will get into heaven then (despair); or You mean then that Christians are so good that they don't deserve hell then (works righteousness). I tried my best to emphasise to them that no Christian deserves heaven but it is offered to all if you will repent and trust in Jesus. I think that they understood this and it gave me another chance to glorify the work of Jesus and point them to Him as their only hope.
After a period the conversation became somewhat silly with some of the less interested friends in the group coming to disrupt things. This was not a huge problem as I had already been able to share the good news with those who were listening.
At this point Sam came over and wanted to know if he would go to hell for his homosexual and premarital sexual acts. I began by asking if he was married, no. I then spoke to him and his friends at length about the fact that sex of any kind outside of marriage is abhorrent to God but they are the symptoms of a greater problem. Our hearts naturally hate God and we'd declare war on Him if we could. Again I pointed him to the only cure that is offered, the atoning death of Jesus Christ in our place.
At this point I was about to leave as quite a few of them were getting drunk and very rowdy, but praise God there was more to do yet. Calum came to give some of them a lift home for the night and I struck up a conversation with him. Initially he said that he didn't believe the bible or in Jesus or in God. So I asked what he did believe in, he was not sure. I gave him a short gospel presentation and asked if he'd read the bible and if he would read one if I gave it to him. He said he would and took one immediately.
Mark also arrived at this point and so I asked him what he believed. An elementalist was the reply, the belief that the world is made of conflicting elements and there is disharmony in the “equation” of the universe. He also believed that we need to work hard to improve our part of the “equation”, but equally that the universal “equation” would one day be rewritten.
We had a facinating discussion using this bridge of disharmony to look at the gospel. It went something like this: The disharmony comes from sin, rebellion from maker of the “equation” who made all things in harmony with each other. We cannot rewrite the “equation” because we are so flawed in our own “personal equation”. We need someone else to do it for us and harmony only comes when God intervenes and re-writes our equation for us through trusting in His work seen in Jesus Christ. This brings us into harmony with Him and the universe. One day soon the universal “equation” will be re-written, your choices determine if you will be a part of it or not. Only those fitted for it through Christ will be there, the rest go to the outer darkness and fire. Mark still wanted to rely on own efforts to change his life. So I warned him that choices determine where we end up and that he'd gone far but not far enough, he needed recreation not just reformation. I urged him to trust in Jesus's work for us and not rely on himself.
I said my good byes and left for home rejoicing.
I began tonight on my own but was shortly joined by Carl, we used tracts for a short period and then I set up to preach. There were people around and at the beginning of the preaching a small group of youth came up to listen to what I had to say but they left quickly on discovering it was “God stuff”. The rest of the preaching was relatively unprofitable with few people stopping to interact but I pray that the small amounts people heard would be used of God.
Suhkraj joined us after the preaching and we continued tracting the area and a couple of good one-to-one conversations came from the time. For quite some time I spoke with one of the local security guards and I noticed both Carl and Suhkraj in conversation with people also.
The security guard was unfortunately typical of most middle aged people in Britain. He believed he was a Christian and that he was trusting in Jesus for salvation. Unfortunately his life did not reflect that trust but rather reflected an almost casual indifference to God. He believed that his good deeds would merit him getting to heaven and almost despite this could not recall the last time when he'd read the bible or prayed when not in need to God. Because of his work there is no opportunity to attend church yet he was not seeking out the fellowship of believers in other ways. I urged him to focus on Jesus and Jesus alone for his salvation and if he would claim to be a Christian then to be more serious and diligent in his Christian walk.
The three of us joined together to pray and after some fellowship together left for home. A quieter night, but may God use it powerfully. Amen.
Saturday, June 20th, 2009 - Brisbane
The city was abuzz with people tonight, which is always good and considering the slow day we had on the Gold Coast it was going to be a nice change. Louise and I met up with the rest of the team in our usual spot for a time of prayer and bible reading.
At 9pm we started our weekly ministry in Brisbane city. Sadly I was on high alert since we had credible threats come in from a person who had stated they would come attack the females of the team and rape them. So my night was spent making sure people were safe and keeping my eyes open for this guy.
Andrew Hsu was the first preacher up, he preached for some time and did some good preaching when engaging hecklers. The night was quiet so it was fairly hard to get a crowd and also to get good hecklers, but never-the-less he was able to bring the gospel to those who would stop and listen.
The Queen Street Mall in Brisbane is a great location for evangelism, there are so many people milling about and many want to talk about spiritual things, this was evidenced by that fact that the Buddhist had a large jade buddha set up in Brisbane square. It was saddening for us as Christians to see such an idol in our city, but at the same time we were able to use that idol as a springboard for the gospel proclamation.
The night seemed to be going slow tonight, that was until the guy making the threats showed up and began to walk pass and glaring at the members of the team. During this stage Ryan, and Jeremy were able to preach. It is so good to have these two go after each other since they both have a different style of preaching. Ryan’s style is similar to mine, in that he will bounce off the crowd and dialogue with those listening, whereas Jeremy is a stand and preach it kind of guy. These two styles work great together, and when running off each other more people get to hear the gospel.
Overall the night was slow, even though Alex the Agnostic was present, but the gospel went forth and God got the glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, June 20th, 2009 - Gold Coast
Ryan, Blake, Joel, Louise and I all arrived at Surfers Paradise for a day of witnessing. As we walked along the beach front we saw something no street evangelist wants to see, and that is the sight of empty paths, empty malls, empty roads. This sort of environment is not good for street preaching, so we split up and went to different locations in order to hand out tracts and witness one to one.
While handing out tracts I was able to catch a couple of good conversations, however, it was very hard to get people to stay and listen, this I presume was due to the weather and also to the fact that the area was nearly devoid of people.
After an hour or so of handing out tracts Ryan and Blake returned. We then decided to open air preach. Joel was the first open air preacher for the day, and as he preached a crowd gathered around Ryan, so Ryan began to engage them in a one to group while Joel preached. When Joel finished preaching, Ryan got up and continued to preach to the crowd that was made up of mostly young people.
During this time I was able to engage a young man in discussion, he was putting on a big front to show off to his mates, but as we spoke about the reality of hell and how kind God is to send a Saviour he changed and became more open to the gospel. I pleaded with him to be reconciled to God, he left saying he would think about it. Please keep this young man in prayer. May God grant him repentance and faith.
Shortly after Ryan finished preaching, I got up and began to preach. But within about 5 minutes of starting the heavens opened and the rain came. Thus sending the last few people away. So I wrapped up the open air and we made our way towards the car.
Even though it was a short day it was a good day of witnessing to people on the Gold Coast.
This Friday was very quiet despite a warm night and daylight stretching out until after 9.30pm. I was expecting crowds of people to be out on the town enjoying the brief spat of warmer weather. Not only was the night quiet but also the people were not interested in talk or tracts for the most part.
I worked up and down Barkers pool for a while handing out tracts and getting very little interest which is uncommon for a Friday night. Having done this for a period I stood to preach. I was very nervous as I was on my own, it is something that I find regularly, without the encouragement of others there is a real battle that takes place to get up and preach the gospel. If you are a part of an evangelism team, try to encourage the person who is going to preach next or offer to pray with them. There were a couple of heckles from people passing but most would not stop to engage with me. I stepped down after preaching the gospel to all in ear shot, urging them to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation.
I continued to tract the area for the next half hour and was then planning to go home. As I was leaving I spotted a group of young ladies and was prompted by the Lord to go and speak to them rather than going home immediately. Reluctantly I went (having fallen into the trap of thinking in human terms, i.e. that no-one would respond tonight) and spoke to them giving all of them tracts and asking them if they would get into heaven. From here God generously gave my doubtful heart yet another lesson in trust and faith. The conversation lasted an hour, with the four girls of 15 or 16 listening intently as I spoke of the gospel and all that God has given us to support faith. Naturally speaking there is no logical reason why four 16 year-old's would listen to someone talk about God for an hour on a Friday night. But God was working to soften their hearts and as we spoke my heart was thrilled and refreshed in seeing such openness. I ended our discussion by urging them to trust in Jesus and read the bibles they all had. I left them and headed for my car praising God and praying that He would save them bringing them to a loving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
Having an unexpected morning free I went into Sheffield to share the Gospel with anyone I could. It was a nice morning and refreshing to start the day with witnessing to our Lord's great works.
With only a few people around at first I began by handing out tracts to everyone I could. After a short period of this I noticed a familiar face coming down Fargate towards me. It was a young man that I have witnessed to multiple times both in Fargate and the Peace Gardens. He is normally with his friends but today was on his own. We discussed regular things of life for a little and then I swung to the question that really matters. Have you considered Jesus and accepted him as your Lord and saviour?
No was the short answer, but there are many excuses and distractions that were a part of that response. Without his friends distracting him now I was able to speak at length with him about what a rejection of Jesus' loving work to save sinners means. Very quickly this young man assented that hell was reasonable and just and that he did deserve hell for rejecting God. So I asked what would stop him trusting in Jesus. When it really boiled down to it the only thing that stopped him from being a Christian was the response of his friends.
I walked him through the many responses they could have from lynching him to rejection to ridicule to nothing at all. In all these I endeavoured to show this young man that what he would lose is far less than what He would give. Even if he was to die for his faith as a Christian, even then the promise that God would let us share in Jesus' triumph over death means he would win. I urged him not only to consider this but also the fact that what he was afraid of losing was short lived and what he would gain as a Christian was eternal. After talking through these things he said really there was nothing of substance to keep him from becoming a Christian but was still undecided. I suggested he think on it for a short while and come back and pray with me if he wanted to repent and turn to Jesus. He did not return but I know that God's word does not return void and I hope and pray that God will use today's conversation to save this young man.
I stood to preach next under the trees of Fargate, I began intending to speak to the love of God and the hate of man. But I was interrupted by Danny and his girlfriend who heckled as they walked past, so I engaged them asking Danny if he was a good person. We went through the good person test and while on some points Danny said that he'd never committed certain sins by the end of the test he like me came out condemned by the law. The worst sin (and the least acknowledged by most people) is rejection of God's right to rule our lives and affections. Gloriously Danny saw this and I believe understood that this was hell deserving and justly so. I rejoiced in my heart to be able to tell this young man the great news that Jesus died to save him from his plight if only he will trust in him.
As a side thought after hearing the gospel he commented that wont heaven be somewhat boring? I am always surprised how many people have bought into the lie that life with God is flat and boring and that heaven will stretch this out eternally. It is a lie, the truth is that salvation and Christian life is a glorious thing filled with satisfaction in this life and the life to come. On a simple level the Christian enjoys all the good things of this life increasingly as they grow, because God redeems our hearts and minds and we can rejoice in pleasures untainted by sin! On the greater level we go through difficulty to prepare us for the glory of the coming life, loosening our grip on this world. I gave Danny a tract as he left and urged him to repent and trust in Jesus.
I preached for a period after this on God's love towards us and the rejection of mankind of that love. I showed that the sins of people are symptoms of our rejection of who God is (reflected in His law). I urged people to repent and turn to the only saviour in the world who can be trusted, Jesus Christ the risen Lord. There were some people who stopped to listen and the occasional muttered heckle as people passed but no-one interacting with me. I was happy to see that some of the regulars from the phone shop came out for their cigarette break and listened a while. Closing with a call to repent and trust in God's love shown fully and finally in Jesus Christ I stepped down.
There were a couple of Mormon's in Fargate this morning and as one had been listening for a short period during the preaching I approached them. I got into a conversation with one of the younger men and we discussed who Jesus was for a short period until the other elder who had been with me during the preaching cam over. The conversation then continued between the two of us and the younger man just listened. We spoke of the common points between Christianity and Mormonism and the contrasts. This spun off a discussion of the trustworthiness of Joseph Smith in light of the book of Abraham which has been shown to be deceitfully translated (if you could use the word). If one of his works was a work of fiction and deceit then how can the other books of "holy writ" that he received then be trustworthy?
Likewise we discussed the contrast between works and faith and their place in a believers life. The Mormon faith asserts that we are saved by faith but also by works and that if our works are not sufficient then we could still lose our salvation. This is in direct contradiction of Eph 2: and Gal 2: and the numerous other passages of the bible that assert that we are saved by faith and grace and not works. The bible also teaches that we will do good works, but that these will be a direct consequence of our salvation, not that our works save us. It is the work and worth of Jesus alone that saves us. The whole conversation was very congenial but we did not come to any agreement, this is often the way but I pray that God would work in them to change their minds to see the truth.
What a great day! Praise God!
All week I had been in bed ill with a head cold. Today was really the first full day I had out of bed in seven days, so I decided it would be wise to take it easy. So it was with that in mind that I thought it best not to preach at the Gold Coast, but rather to save my energy for Brisbane.
Upon arrival at the normal preaching point on the Gold Coast we saw that it was nearly empty, this hadn’t come as much of a surprise since it is now our winter and unusually it has been really cold for us. We decided that instead of preaching we would just do some one to one witnessing and hand out a few tracts.
I was able to get a conversation with two young men from the Sudan. They both claimed to be Christians, but thought that one became a Christian by birth, as a result they had no understanding of how to be saved or what the gospel message is. One of the young men was very interested, the other walked off to look at the “pretty girls”. I spoke to the other young man for a few minutes and I stressed the need of repentance to him, he seemed to have grasped it and he said he would definitely think on these things.
After speaking to the two guys I went back to handing out tracts to those who happened to chance by. While I was doing this a couple from Sydney took a tract and asked “What is it?” Since I was using our “Are You a Good Person?” comic, I simply mentioned that it was a comic that asked the biggest question we could ever face, ‘Are we good enough for heaven?” They both assured me that they were good enough, so I asked if I could quickly quiz them and see if they are good people by the God’s standard. After spending some time looking at the standard of God’s law, they realize they needed a Saviour, so I pointed them to Christ and showed them that He is the only hope for salvation.
While I was witnessing to the couple, Ryan stood up and began to preach. Nearly instantly he had a crowd of young blokes on bikes who decided to heckle, so Ryan did what he does best, he engaged them in conversation then gave them Christ.
The rest of the day was spent with Blake and Ryan preaching. It was a quiet day, yet it was still such a joy to get out and declare the good news of Christ Jesus coming into the world to save sinners.
Saturday - 13th June 2009 - Brisbane
After a great day on the Gold Coast I was really excited about going into the city to witness tonight. We all met as per usual at the point where we have team prayer and Bible reading. It was great that we were joined by a few new people tonight, and also it was great to have other friends return.
The plan of action for tonight was to have Andre and Joel open up the night with a song, they both prepared and decided to sing “And Now My Lifesong Sings” by Casting Crowns, they both did an incredible job. Once they finished singing, I stood up and began to preach, my text for the night was Ezekiel 18, my sermon “The Soul Who Sins”. For about twenty-five minutes I preached, there wasn’t any major heckling, I did however get to engage one man in the open air. He seemed quite open and even hung around after his friend left him. For the most part I found myself focusing on the loving kindness of God in my preaching, this of late has been something I find myself preaching more of, while I believe it is vital to preach about sin, I think it is more important to speak about God’s love and kindness towards sinners.
After the preaching finished there were many great one to one conversations to be had, every where you looked people were engaged in conversation with someone. Some of those who were being witnessed to at this stage of the night would remain to listen to the preaching for the rest of the night. People may say that street evangelism is ineffective, but I would disagree, in fact I would challenge anyone who is anti-street evangelism should actually give it a go and see what happens.
The rest of the night was spent with other members preaching. Joel Barnard got up and preached with passion, as did Nick and the other preachers. Towards the end of the night we were joined by our friendly homosexual atheist heckler named Riley. It is always a joy to have him come out and heckle us. He is actually quite a friendly bloke, and I reckon he enjoys the show. Please keep him in prayer.
To hear an audio of the Open Air preaching visit: