It was another sunny day on the Gold Coast. There is something special about witnessing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Today we had a good size team on the Coast. Ryan and I were joined by the Barnard family. Today the majority of use were using the new Operation 513 comic tract. This tract worked really well on the Coast, no matter what age the person was the majority took the gospel message.
The we set up and began to preach, Ryan was the first preacher up and he did a great job, he spoke about the necessity of repentance for one to come to faith in Christ. It was a good message and a few people stopped to listen. During his time preaching a rather vocal group of females decided to open fire on him. He did a great job of using them to advance the gospel.
After Ryan had finished preaching, I began to preach. While I was speaking the same hecklers came back, and once again they decided to mock and make fun of the preaching, so I decided to go after them and use their mockery as a launch pad for the gospel. While I was dealing with the girls a man open fire on me and decided to hurl abuse. This continued till a non-Christian in the crowd turned and fired upon him. It is always good when the crowd shuts up the one causing the problems.
Once I had finished preaching Rick Barnard got up and preached about the reality of death and how we all need a Saviour. He did a good job considering he has only preached a few times. It is good to see him up there proclaiming the Word of God.
After a time of prayer and devotions at Café Nero we headed into Leicester Square. Once we had set up our table with tracts and Bibles, etc, Andrew got ready to preach. This is now the third time he has preached open-air and he is improving all the time. It's great to see him growing as an open-air preacher.
Andrew began to draw in a crowd and soon he had a few hecklers. One of his first hecklers was a chap named Matt. I was particularly interested at this point because Matt came to heckle me a little while back when I was preaching. At that time he was holding a large, thick philosophy text book in his hands. Needless to say it's quite clear where Matt is coming from and that he has a very philosophical worldview. He does agree with a sense of right and wrong but does not wish to submit to the standards of God, preferring to adhere to the standards of humanity. He also sees God as simply an "idea" in a mythological sense. Andrew reasoned with Matt that there is a God and that His standards stand. He made the world and therefore He makes the rules. After Andrew finished preaching he continued to talk one-to-one with Matt; do pray for him.
A little later Lizzie came to me and asked if I would come and speak with a middle-aged gentleman named Peter. Peter expressed how life had been for him in recent years and that he had personal loss. Here was a man struggling to find hope. Lizzie and I spoke to him of the hope that is in Christ and the peace that comes through knowing Him (Philippians 4:7). I stressed to him the importance of being reconciled to God, the most important being the forgiveness he so desperately needs, but also the hope and peace he will receive through knowing the God who made him. He listened attentively and told us that what he was hearing did make sense to him. I gave him my contact details and told him that he would be free to call me anytime. I got the sense he would not be comfortable giving me his details so I didn't ask. Unfortunately we had run out of Bibles and I also bemoaned the fact that we did not have any literature that is written specifically to bring comfort to those who are hurting. We gave him an in-depth gospel tract and I also gave him a booklet that has principles for growing Christians. It is also a gospel tract in that it has the gospel in the front and I told him that should he wish to surrender his life to Christ these principles would be very helpful for him. Do pray for him.
Not long after I stood up to preach. I had not planned on preaching as lately I have felt I needed to give my voice some rest. The preaching bug caught though so I preached a brief message. I pleaded with those who listened that if God was speaking to them, if He was drawing them, then they should throw themselves on the mercy of God. We must persuade men; we must call out to them with the love of God and help them to see how urgent it is for them to be saved.
We'd had a great night of ministry. Jannah and Petra were both beaming after they'd had a very encouraging conversation with two homosexual men. They had been quite reasonable and were open to hearing the gospel. It's important to remember that lying is as much a sin as is homosexuality. Too often Christians have very nearly attacked people for their sin of homosexuality and have not shown the love of Christ. We can confront people of their sin, but we must never cease to show the love of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Saturday, 25th April 2009
Today the nation stopped out of respect for all those men and women who have laid down their lives for the freedom we enjoy in this greatest nation in the World. Since it was ANZAC day, I thought it would be good to preach on an ANZAC related text.
However, we tried something new tonight, for the first time we decided to have Andre sing and Joel to play guitar. They sung the song “The End of the Beginning” which is basically a gospel message in song. I must admit I was very sceptical about it. I didn’t believe that singing would work in Brisbane city. But I was glad to be proven wrong. As Andre sung and Joel played a crowd began to gather. The crowd grew and grew during the song. Once the song finished it was immediately handed over to me for the preaching. To my surprise no one left the crowd, but rather as I preached the crowd grew even more.
My text for the night was John 15:13, I started off by talking abut how amazing it is that someone would die for their friends, but then swung it to show that it is even more incredible to die for your enemies. That was the launch pad to show that Christ died for sinners even though we were His enemies.
For twenty minutes the crowd built and no one heckled. It was silent as people just stood and listened to the gospel. As Andre later described it, all you could see was wave upon wave of conviction on the faces of those listening. Towards the end of my message a couple of hecklers arose, however, their arguments were very weak and only lasted a few seconds. Nothing could stop the message of the cross. While I am not one for feelings, there was a different atmosphere, you could feel the Spirit of God moving on the hearts of those around about. Afterwards I was told that there was many professions of faith that night on the street. To God Alone be the Glory!
After this Andrew Hsu got up to preach, and he did a great job of making the gospel known. A small crowd gathered to listen and a few people heckled. During this time there were many one to one conversations occurring and many gospel tracts going out. The night was shaping up to be a very blessed evening.
By the end of the night we were all on a high after seeing God move, it was such a humbling thing to realize that God used us as mere created being to share the gospel with people who then responded to the call of repentance.
May God be forever praised!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday 18th April 2009 - Brisbane
It had been a long stressful day. At the start of the day, while preparing to go out witnessing down the Gold Coast, my dad ended up having a heart attack. Which resulted in me getting the ambulance and then spending the day at the hospital.
That evening I went out on the streets of Brisbane, and as we were setting up the Bible table a young couple approached me and asked for a free Bible. Our policy is every person wanting a Bible gets a witnessed to also, so I began to talk to the couple about the central message of the Bible. It turns out that both of them were philosophy students at the local Roman Catholic University. They were both asking about Christ and how we have to somehow maintain salvation, so I spoke about the sacrifice of Christ being one for all time and for all sin. They seemed amazed, and then I explained to them how we cannot merit salvation. They both seemed really grateful at the end of our conversation.
Andrew Hsu was the first preacher up for the night, as he spoke he had a rowdy crowd. Including a woman who said she was a Catholic, she went after Andrew something fierce all the time pushing the demonic Roman doctrine of works based salvation. Hsusy kept countering from the Scripture showing that salvation is God’s free gift and not something we can earn.
After Hsusy finished preaching, Ryan got up and had a preach. There was a marked absence in the heckling tonight as Alex stayed true to his word and stayed away. Ryan, however, kept preaching. He presented a very strong, caring and loving gospel message to all who would stop and listen. It was great to watch people as they heard the good news of the gospel. Please pray that God would save souls.
At the end of the night I stood up to preach. By now the mall was near on empty. But when I began to speak two young women stopped to heckle. One of them decided to climb onto the box I was standing on and press herself against me. Instantly I raised my hands so all could see, as that way I couldn’t be accused of touching this woman. Her friend was a bit more open to the gospel so I targeted her with my presentation. After she realized her sin I started to talk about grace. It was at this time that her friend began to drag her away. It is interesting that the enemy will allow people to hear about judgment and sin. But never about the cure. However, by God’s grace the girl broke away from her friend and came back to hear the good news of Christ Jesus coming to save sinners.
The night was a lot slower than normal, yet the gospel still went out and people still heard about Christ. Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to those who heard the good news tonight.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday 11th April 2009
It was only me today at the Gold Coast, as the rest of the team were busy. But even so, the day was still marvellous! I had a stack of Big Money gospel tracts ready, and I was very interested to see how they would go. It was the start of school and university holidays, so I noticed that when I arrived it was really busy even though it had been raining.
So after parking my car I headed to Cavill Avenue. On the way as I was giving out some gospel tracts, I had good conversation with an American guy aged in his twenties about whether he thought he was going to Heaven. He wasn't sure, so I told him that I'll give him a quick test to see if he was a good person. After admitting to breaking most of the commandments, the fellow recognised his own sin. So he asked, "Then is everyone going to Hell?" This is where I could present the amazing news of the gospel, how a wretched sinner can be justified in the sight of God through the sinless death of Jesus. The man understood the message, and said he would definitely think about this.
Once at Cavill Mall, I saw that there was heaps of people about, so I positioned myself in the centre of mall and started tracting everyone. The gospel tracts went out incredibly fast. Everyone seem to love the big money and almost every second person would come back asking for more for their friends or family. The tracts even work well around Asians, as generally most Asains don't like receiving something on the street, but the Big Money they all loved. So thousands of gospel tracts went out, and many seeds of the gospel were sown today.
Week of E - Report by Josh Williamson and Ryan Hemelaar Monday, 13th April 2009 - Gold Coast
Easter Monday holiday, and once again the cloud cover came in and rain was threatening. Today we started our first ever “Week of E” which will run each school holidays, what we do is go to the one spot and for each day in the holidays we will preach and witness on that one spot for a week.
Today the team was made up of Ryan, Andre, Joel, Amy and myself. My voice was sore from preaching on Saturday night and also preaching at Rosalie Baptist Church on Sunday morning, so I planned not to preach.
Andre stood up the preach first, and all I can say is WOW! It was the best sermon I have ever heard him preach. For about twenty minutes he expounded on what the Gospel is. And he had a crowd for the whole time, the crowd was made up of mostly middle age to older people all who stood and just listened.
Afterwards both Ryan and I ended up preaching, and during our short three hours on the Gold Coast we were able to distribute thousands of tracts and have many one to ones. The week is shaping up to be exciting.
Tuesday 14th April 2009 - Gold Coast
Josh had a Church meeting today, but I still made my way to the coast. I was able to have many great conversations with people and hand out stacks of gospel tracts. A guy called Dave, who is part of Open Air Campaigners, joined me later in the afternoon and he set up a flip chart to share the gospel with people. Quite a few people stopped to hear and see the gospel message being presented by him.
During this time, I had a rather in-depth conversation with a Sikh fellow. He wanted to go to Heaven, but after bringing him through the commandments, he realised he didn't deserve to go there. So I explained that he must repent of his sin and trust that they only reason he'll go to Heaven is because of Jesus' death. After asking him when will he do that, he said he believes in Jesus, but also every other religion as being correct as well. That is one of the fundamental beliefs of the Sikh religion, they must believe that all other religions are true as well. But I explained to him that it is impossible for someone to truely believe that every religion is correct. He asked why. So I explained that since Jesus said He is the only way to get to Heaven, Jesus was saying that every other religion is false. So therefore, if someone wants to believe that Christianity is true, they must also believe that every other religion is not the way to Heaven. The fellow understood that, but said, "My scriptures say that I'm not allowed to convert to other religions" - which is rather ironic, because if all religions are true, there shouldn't be a problem in converting to another "true" religion. So I explained to the man that since the Sikh Scriptures are logically inconsistent (in saying that all religions are true), there is no point holding to something that is plain wrong. Please pray that God will convert this man from his work-righteous religious system.
Wednesday, 15th April 2009 - Gold Coast
I was running a bit late, so I arranged to meet Ryan down the Coast today. As I arrived and began to walk to Cavil Avenue I heard a yell from a passing car, it turned out the Joel, Glenda and Amy Barnard had all come down the Coast as well. So we met up and made our way to the beach front for some witnessing.
One the walk in we were able to hand out many tracts and engage in some great conversations.
Upon arriving on the beach front we had a quick lunch then Ryan began to preach. He did a great job in expounding the gospel and telling people how they can come to know Christ. Afterwards we were able to hand out many tracts again and also talk to people one to one.
At the end of the day when leaving something awesome happened. On Saturday, I was handing out gospel tracts and one of the Metre Maids came over to say that I was doing a very good job and asked what Church I go to. She then asked, "Do you think it is inappropriate for me to be wearing what I'm wearing." I said that the Bible does say that you should not cause another person to stumble into sin. She then asked a couple of other Bible related questions, like "What do you think will happen in the end times?", etc.
On the Tuesday, I ran into them again on the street and was able to present the law and the full gospel to both of the girls that were on duty. One of them was really interested in the message, but the other not as much. However the following day, I returned and asked them if they thought about the message I told them the previous day. They said they had and they both wanted me to pray with them to receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. So I did. Then they informed me that it was one of the girls' last day on the job and she'd be moving back to the Whit Sundays. Praise God she was able to hear the gospel before she left the Gold Coast! The other girl said that she would now also be having a change of career as well. To God be the glory!
Thursday, 16th April 2009 - Gold Coast
Ryan and I were the only ones who could make it to the Coast today, but we were both fairly excited about the ministry opportunities that would present themselves. We followed the usual practice of tracting everyone up on our walk in, this in turn then produced one to one conversations. That is something I really love about the Gold Coast, it is extremely easy to get a conversation with someone.
After a quick lunch I decided it would be a good time to preach. So I stood up and spoke about how Australians like a week off, then I swung it around to why we have Easter off and what its significance is.
A crowd gathered and I had three really rowdy young people all of whom attend “Christian” school start to heckle me. There heckles were basic at best. “There is no god” was their cry, but they weren’t open to being shown otherwise. Although towards the end one of them had changed, he was listening. Please pray that God would convert him.
The crowds stayed around for about an hour, God was kind enough to allow His word to go out, and many people heard the good news of salvation.
Friday, 17th April 2009 - Gold Coast
The final day of the Week of E. Again it was just Ryan and I that went out, but once again God blessed the ministry. We both preached today and both of us had fairly good size crowds stop and listen to the gospel. It was also very good to actually see some people who had come to the last 2 -3 days of preaching. While Ryan was preaching there were a few of the normal heckles like “Prove God exists” etc. Ryan dealt with them and then proceeded to preach Jesus Christ.
After Ryan finished it was my turn to preach. I started by using Amos 4:12 and asking people are they prepared to meet God. A few young ladies stopped to listen so I engaged the most vocal one of them. She was very hostile to the things of God, but she brought a crowd in. She kept asking questions like “What about homosexuals, does God love them?” I kept bringing back her questions to the fact that Jesus was a friend of sinners and He loves sinners. But that doesn’t mean they can stay in sin.
At the end the majority of the crowd took tracts. Please pray for all those who heard the gospel this week. May God save them for His Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 11th April 2009 - Brisbane
The Easter weekend was here, it is that time of the year when the churches all fill up on the Friday and Sunday, but then remain empty until Christmas. It is that special season when people all serve God with their lips, but in reality their hearts are far from Him. Yet, into this religious season we find ourselves being the busiest in comparison to any other season.
It has been drizzling rain all day so I expected a slower night in the city. For a city that is still officially in drought it is amazing how much rain we have been getting over the past few days and weeks. While some ministries refuse to work during the rain we have found that we get some of our best conversations happen when people are all taking shelter from the water.
The mall was near on deserted when we arrived at 9pm, and I must admit it was a bit discouraging, but as I looked up and down the mall I noticed a man dressed in a black leather jacket walking towards us. This man is familiar to us, he was no other than the “famed” Brisbane Atheist Alex. Once he was on the scene we knew it would be a night of ridiculous arguments from the atheist camp, but it would also serve to bring in the crowds to hear the gospel.
It was good to have my evangelist mentor from the “Young Evangelist Mentoring Group” to come out on the streets tonight. As I was setting up I noticed Graham Sercombe standing undercover talking to a young man about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Andre was the first preacher up for the night, his preaching has improved dramatically. His messages drip with theology and he presents it in a way that the common man can grasp and understand. He is also getting louder as a preacher which is really good. While Andre was preaching a group of Samoans surrounded him and began to speak really loud, to top it off Alex was walking back and forth screaming obscenities. Since Andre was being drowned out I moved in next to the Samoans and engaged them in a one to one conversation. Slowly I moved them out of the face of the preacher and began to reason with them. Like most Samoans they were religious but they hadn’t any idea when it came to knowing Christ personally. So I began to explain to them the gospel. One of the boys became distracted and walked off, but the other remained and listened. He was really open to the Good News about Jesus. It was then that I noticed that Graham had come alongside the other guy and was now engaging him in conversation. The group all took in-depth gospel tracts and a Gospel of John each. It was really encouraging to see these young men grasp the truth of the Scripture. Graham even got to pray for one of them.
By now Ryan was up preaching and Alex was still in there heckling. He stood before Ryan with his iPod on yelling abuse. This continued for some time. Alex would put an argument up but before Ryan could answer he would put his ear piece back in. The back and forth continued for some time. Finally two members from the Queensland Police Service who were walking past tapped Alex on the shoulder and told him to be quiet or move on. This stopped Alex in his tracks, he didn’t yell anything more for the rest of the night. Ryan continued to preach a good size crowd gathered around to hear the Gospel.
By now the night was getting on, and since I had been sick all week with a head cold I thought it would be wise to only preach a short 10 - 20 minute message. God however had other plans. As I began to preach a few people stopped including one man who was a Roman Catholic. He engaged me about how God is all forgiving, I showed him from the Bible that God is not all forgiving, but He will forgive on the basis of what Christ has done.
For forty five minutes I reasoned with this man and preached the Gospel of Christ. Afterwards there were many conversations about the gospel. May people get saved for His Glory!
Saturday, 4th April 2009
The first outreach of the month, I am constantly amazed at how quick the year has gone. And, as I look back over the past few months I cannot help but stop and stand in amazement at how good God is, and how much He has blessed us as a ministry.
Tonight was no different, God once again showed us how awesome He is and how He is the Sovereign One when it comes to the salvation of souls.
From the start of the night things went really well. While Rodney and I were setting up the Bible table these two Islanders stopped and asked if they could have a Bible. So I struck up a conversation with them. Both of them professed to be Christian, so I asked, “Really, how do you become a Christian?” They looked a bit puzzled by the question, and it was clear that they had never thought about it. Then one of them replied, “We are Christians because my parents are Christian, and so are my grandparents.” This was interesting, they were viewing Christianity as nothing more than something that gets passed down the line. So, I asked these two blokes a question, “Are you parents married?” “Yes” they both replied, “Ah.. So you two must also be married right?” They replied they weren’t married, so I pressed it. “Surely since your parents are married, that must mean that you are also married? Isn’t one considered married because their parents are married?” One of them then said, “No, you have to make a choice to be married, you can inherit it.” From there I was able to point out that just like you don’t inherit marriage, you cannot inherit Christianity. Since they wanted a Bible, we gave them both a Gospel of John, then I got them to open it to John 3:3, this was the jumping off point to show them that while they may have been born in a religious home, they needed to be born again. The two young men listened intently to the gospel, and at the end they both shook my hand and thanked me for taking the time to witness to them. Please pray that God would cause them to be born again.
During this time Ryan was preaching and during his message this young man walked up to him and said, “Do you remember me?” Ryan looked at the man, and couldn’t remember him. But then the man said this, “Last year you witnessed to me at Gold Coast Schoolies, as a result of that conversation I have since been converted!” That statement put the whole team on a high, God was so kind to show just a little bit of fruit from the ministry.
Later in the evening when it came time to preach I was still encouraged by the conversion of that young man. While I was preaching God was kind once again, He brought a young Irish man in to heckle. Sean was a friendly guy and was quite open to the gospel. Once the gospel had been presented to him, Alex entered in for his weekly argument. His statements are now reaching the absurd. He is a classic fulfilment of Psalm 14:1. Please pray for both Sean and Alex.
The night in general was AWESOME! God is so great. To Him be all Praise!
Soli Deo Gloria!
The team met as usual at our now local cafe for a time of fellowship, coffee, devotions and prayer. This has become an important time for us as we prepare for an evening of ministry.
Heading into the square I got ready to preach open-air. This afternoon I popped into Homebase and bought a new stepladder and it was great to get back up again to preach. During the first half of my message only a few people stopped to listen, which is fine. Whoever the Lord chooses to bring in is all in His hands. However, things were about to change…
A large group of young people walking past decided that my preaching warranted some investigation and so they strode up to me, all the while throwing questions and various taunts. They were all quite young, probably around 15 o 16 years of age. They were also fairly drunk, some more than others. I stayed standing on my ladder and engaged them in debate, but when they came up close and surrounded me I stood down. This is something that can be very frustrating and difficult to handle. It would be far better if they would stand back and “be the crowd.” However this happens from time to time and as yet, apart from firmly asking them to stand back, I have yet to find a working solution.
A young girl, who was not fully drunk but clearly had been drinking, approached me and said that she had been blessed by some Christians the week before and that she was now a Christian. I asked her what had happened and she told me that that she had been led to “say a prayer” and that upon doing so she was now a Christian. Two emotions arose in me as she told me this: anger and sadness. I was angry because it was very obvious that the gospel had not been properly and clearly communicated to her. She was not able to tell me what it meant to be born-again, or even that a person needed to born-again. She did not know what repentance meant. The way she conducted herself and the speech coming out of her mouth was almost clear evidence to me that she was not saved. Yet she had been told that she was. This happens so many, many times in the church today. The heresy known as antinomianism has taken the form of “easy-believism”, this idea that it is easy to become a Christian. It is not easy; it is in fact very hard to become a Christian. This is because a person must be prepared to surrender their entire life, they must be willing to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Christ. (Luke 9:23) As John MacArthur has said many times, it is hard to believe. I would encourage you to watch a video where Kirk Cameron interviews John MacArthur about this very issue. Click on part 1 and part 2 to view.
I was angry because it is not our job as Christians to dumb down the message or make it more palatable. By removing those parts that are hard to say we in effect change the message. When we remove the offence from the gospel then we have removed the gospel. So I was angry and of course I was also sad. Here was a girl who had been told she was now a Christian. Here’s my question: how is that love? How is it love to lead a person into a false sense of security only to see them die and go to hell? This is something that needs to change in the body of Christ today. We must preach the true biblical gospel, or we should rather not preach at all. So I would ask you to pray for her. Her name is Mary. Just so you know, I share with her the truth of the gospel, although she was pulled away by her friends before I could finish. She did take an in-depth gospel tract and also a Bible, which she had asked for. Do pray for her.
I also spoke with a young man named Billy. He was not quite sober himself, but he listened to me and said that I made a lot of sense. He was not prepared to surrender to Christ there and then but he sure was made to think. I am always amazed at how simple the gospel is when it is communicated rightly. It may be an offence to many, however it is not difficult to grasp. Christ Jesus came to this earth to save sinners. The good news of the Gospel is that the Son of God has substituted Himself in our place, has incurred God’s wrath for our sin, so that we might go free. It is indeed a simple message, but a message that is most profound and most life changing. Nothing will ever come close to it. Many tracts and Bibles were given away and we had some great conversations. I did preach a second time and got in a conversation with a woman who believed in evolution. She was simply aghast when I told that evolution was an embarrassment to true science and was completely erroneous. I rebutted her arguments and told her that there is indeed a God who made this world, One who will judge both the living and the dead. On that day we must all be ready. (Hebrews 9:28)
Soli Deo Gloria!!
After spending the afternoon on the Gold Coast we headed to Brisbane for our weekly outreach. Tonight was to be a busy night since it was “Earth Hour”, which is an event where people turn off their lights for one hour to save the environment. Upon arriving in the city we found it abuzz with people there to party for the earth. Which I found rather amusing, since they are trying to lower carbon emissions by throwing a party. Maybe I missed something in “Save the Environment 101”.
The preaching had a delayed start tonight since we had to wait for the Brisbane Council party to die down. This eventually finished at 9:30pm so we began to preach from then. Ryan got up and preached, and as usual Alex was there to greet Ryan with verbal abuse. His arguments have now been reduced to one word answers, which show that he has no arguments and has no hope in his atheistic ideals.
Andre got up an preached after this, I am finding myself more and more impressed with the preaching of Andre. He has really grown in the past year, and he is becoming a rather competent preacher.
The night was becoming more and more lively, people were stopping to listen and to abuse. A few times I thought there would be a fight but each time it died down. That was until the end of the night. Andrew Hsu was preaching and Alex was going ballistic. While that was going on a drunk man kept shoving Andrew so I stepped in and told him not to touch the preacher. The drunk turned to me and said “Do you want to fight me?” With that the man swung a right hook and punched me in the side of the head. It wasn’t that hard of punch, but the man kept advancing. Alex jumped in the middle and tried to talk the man down. At the same time team members went to get the police. The drunk was very proud of what he had done till he saw the police coming for him, he quickly apologized and asked me not to press charges. The police let him go on the condition that he does not return to the Queen street mall that night.
A lively day had a lively ending, but all in all God got the glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sound of the rain greeted me this morning as I awoke, normally if it is raining it isn’t worth going down the Gold Coast to witness as no one is around. But, it was decided that we would still head out, trusting that God would provide opportunities for us to witness.
As Ryan, Joel and I drove to the Gold Coast we once again were greeted by more rain, and the clouds on the horizon promised more rain to come. We started to re-consider if it was wise us going out witnessing today, however, we pushed on. We were joined by Andre and Tamara also, so we had a good size team today on the Coast, all we needed now was a break in the weather.
When we finally arrived at the beach the weather had changed, it was now fine and sunny. Every now and then there would be a sun shower but nothing much. Ryan immediately began to hand out the new Operation 513 Big Money tract, and it was great to see so many people going out of their way just to ask for this tract. Before the day was out we will have gone through thousands of this tract.
The first preacher up for the day was Ryan. The crowds were a bit slow today. He preached and a few people stopped to listen. It was around this time that we were joined by our brother Heath from Western Australia. Ryan preached and explained the gospel to those who would listen, but we put it down to the weather to explain why things were so slow.
After Ryan finished preaching it was time for Andre to preach. He like Ryan began to expound on the law of God to show people that we have all sinned. Once the fact of sin had been established he then moved on to explaining why Christ came. The crowds once again were small, but we rejoiced in the fact that the gospel was preached.
Later in the afternoon it fell to me to preach, personally I didn’t want to preach. I looked around and saw that there were very few people on the beach front and now the wind had picked up so it would make it hard to preach. All these excuses ran through my mind. As I planned not to preach a thought ran through my mind “Did you not pray that God would bring in a crowd?” That was true, we pray that each week. We ask that God will bring a crowd not us. So if that is our prayer, then shouldn’t I preach? As I stood to preach I breathed out a silent prayer, “God, these are your people, bring them in to hear your Gospel.” With that I began to preach, a few people stopped to listen, but not many seemed interested. For about twenty minutes I preached but very few stopped. There was this one young man who had been listening for the whole time so I decided to do a call out on him.
I looked at the young man standing to my right and said, “Mate, if you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?” The man hadn’t expected the question, so he replied “I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell.” Within seconds of the discussion beginning a crowd began to form. For the next hour Andrew (the heckler) and I went back and forth in regards to the gospel. He would pose a question and I would try my hardest to answer.
God was using Andrew and his heckling to bring a crowd in to hear the good news of salvation. Towards the end of the discussion the crowd began to get rather vocal, cheering when a question was answered and clapping at good comments. These all served to bring in more people. The very last thing Andrew declared to the crowd and I was this, “I am glad my sin killed Jesus! I am happy I killed Him!” The crowd fell silent, it was such a shocking statement that even the listeners didn’t know what to say. My heart broke for Andrew so I pleaded with him to be reconciled unto God. Then I turned to the crowd and pointed out we were the sinners that cried “Crucify Him” when Jesus faced Pilate. But, even thought we did that, we are still the ones for whom Christ cried “Father forgive them!” I went over the gospel once more with the crowd, then wrapped it up. Many of those in the crowd took tracts. Please pray for Andrew and also for the crowd, that God may save them!
The rest of the day was spent in one to one witnessing and also tract work. Many people got to hear the Gospel today, and once again I learnt the lesson that I am to trust in God more fully when I evangelize.