This week Suhkraj and I worked the area of barkers pool together, beginning with a time of fellowship and prayer. We encouraged each other in the Lord and prayed that He would go with us as we witnessed and then went to it with tracts and tried to talk with people.
During this time I spoke to a very mixed up young man named Trevor who was a satanist and very openly homosexual. I began by asking him what he thought would happen to him after death and who Jesus was. This produced a string of rapid fire comments, not all of them clear or understandable, but the gist of it was that he believed that the antichrist would eventually conquer and that God hated him because he was a homosexual. I tried to speak with him about the foolishness of pinning your hopes on anyone other than Jesus and the great love God had already shown in sending Jesus to die in the place of sinners. This went down like a ton of bricks and after a bit of back and forward he left claiming that he would live on the seven hills in conquest over God (I believe that he was referring to Babylon the great in revelation but I am unsure). Please pray that this mixed up young man would be radically changed by God to repent of his sin and trust in Jesus and truly conquer.
We set up to preach and Suhkraj stood first to preach the eternally great news of Christ crucified and risen again. As always Suhkraj did a great job of preaching from where people are at, beginning with the economic down turn and using it as a springboard to our eternal hope and security that is found only in Christ. One man stopped to speak with Suhkraj but disappointingly he did not stay for long and typified the atheistic approach. He claimed that there is no God and that evolution has disproved God. When Suhkraj endeavoured to engage him on this he said that he wanted to believe there was a God but could (or would?) not. With this he walked off. Suhkraj also spoke with a young lady who was very quietly spoken for some time she would not listen either it seems but eventually walked off also and he continued to preach and then urging the people to turn from there sin stepped down.
I preached next and began with the great natural blessings we have from God but do not appreciate, such as the rain that so many grumble about in this country. I preached for some time and no-one stopped to speak to me, then Trevor the buhdist arrived. I don't think that he really want to interact but rather it was a bragging opportunity for him. Trevor claimed to have a PhD in religion and wanted to speak to me about the arguments regarding God rather than about God and his need of a saviour. Normally I would rejoice to speak with someone who understands something of the Christian faith but is not a believer. Trevor though was out to parade his knowledge and boast, because of this I would not engage him on that front, rather preaching a plain gospel and asking him what he made of Jesus and the resurrection from the dead. This didn't please Trevor at all and soon the protests came out, what about homosexuals and what you're saying is irrelevant anyway. He protested loudly but when I tried to engage him on those points he then quickly decided that I wasn't going to play ball his way and left.
The next person to stop was a middle aged man who was very drunk I think and said "bore me, come on bore me". So to bore him thoroughly I began to speak about evolution and how he was nothing but an accident, very tongue in cheek. This upset him thoroughly and he began to gesture angrily at me and I think he would have tried to do something if it wasn't for the policeman who stepped in and moved him on. Throughout the rest of the preaching no-one stopped to interact but I preached the gospel many times and then having urged the people towards their only hope I stepped down.
As it was now late Suhkraj and I prayed together for those we had spoken to and for those who had heard and then leaving all in the hands of God we went home.
But God was not finished with me for the night it seems. A young lady across the street having heard some of the preaching wanted to know more and as I passed a conversation started. I rejoiced to share the gospel with her and despite some protests about the justice of hell (which I hope I answered for her), she listened to all the gospel and gladly took the tract I left with her. I left for home rejoicing that the gospel had gone forth.
Once again I had the immense privilege of being able to go out and labour alongside my brothers and sisters in the field that is white for harvest. Tonight we had the added joy of having Forbes and Celeste join us from Adelaide, and also Heath from Western Australia. While we all came from different parts of the country, we all had one goal and one objective, and that was to make Christ known.
We weren’t at all surprised when we walked up the mall to see Alex with his iPod on, already warming up for the coming duel. Ryan rose to the challenge and immediately began to preach and actively engage Alex. Much like last week Alex would just hurl abuse, and not actually engage the argument, but God used this heckler for the advancement of His Gospel. While Alex may think he is shutting down the gospel, in actual fact he is making more people stop to hear the good news of Christ Jesus coming into the world to save sinners.
Ryan engaged the crowd, and used their questions as a jumping off point to swing into the message about the cross of Christ. While Ryan was preaching a bunch of hecklers climbed up behind him and began to yell, I was able to engage one of them in a conversation and it soon became clear that he loved his sin and he hated the light of the Gospel.
The crowds were a decent size tonight, and many conversations were going on. As the night wore on I preached, and once again had to engage the irrational arguments that come from the atheist camp. It is sometimes hard to deal with Alex since his arguments are stupid at best, but I must remember that my objections to Christ were also stupid, but He saved me, and there is still hope for Alex.
At the end of the night Forbes got up and preached. He has a great voice, and he did an awesome job of preaching Christ on the streets in Brisbane city. All in all it was a great night of outreach. Many people got to hear the gospel, and many tracts were handed out.
To God Be the Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!
By God's grace and great favour we continue to head into London each week to minister the gospel in Leicester Square. In recent weeks we have had some fantastic conversations with people and have seen many Bibles, tracts and DVD's distributed into the hands of men and women who do not know the Lord. On a very encouraging note we have seen someone attend our church after he stopped to listen to the gospel being preached and then spent some time talking with us afterwards. His name is Yang and he is from China. He is working in the UK and has been here less than six months. When we got talking with him he told us that he knew of Christianity but that he had no idea what it was all about. He was intrigued enough by the message to stop and listen, which was really something. Here was a man who had never heard the gospel before in his life and had never step foot in a church. When he attended my church he was quite surprised to learn that very few people in this country attend church, due to such a widespread lack of belief in God, as well as a failure to see the relevance of attending church. Yang is very much intrigued by western culture and so his desire to find out more about Christianity is driven by that. It may be that the Lord uses this cultural curiosity to expose him to the truth that has been blinded from him. Whatever the Lord chooses to do, it is my hearts desire that he would come to a saving knowledge of the truth. He has said that he would like to attend church again and he plans on coming to us again next Sunday. Do pray for him.
On Friday night we headed into London minus a stepladder. I had left it on the train the week before and only realised what I had done so when I was halfway down the road on the walk home. I have not had the opportunity to purchase another one just yet and so we spent our evening speaking with people one-to-one. Jannah spent some time talking with a group of young Muslim men. She admits that she finds Muslim's to be quite difficult to talk to, largely due to their unreasonable behaviour. Often they will ask you a question without giving you the opportunity to answer. It is true that they wish to convert us, as we do them, however Islam is a religion that produces an aggressive and militant people. Jannah is experiencing that in many of her conversations that she is having when talking with Muslim's. Even so, she knows that there are some Muslim's who will genuinely stop to listen and such was the case on Friday night. I was encouraged to hear from Jannah that she had been able to proclaim the gospel to those who did stop to listen.
Ben was able to talk with some young men as well. Although they listened to the gospel they were very indifferent to its message. This can be very discouraging, but we have to keep on sharing the message and trust the Lord that He will cause the seed that is sown to germinate and bring life. I told Ben not to be discouraged. We must simply do our best to drive home the seriousness of the message to those who would dismiss it, and then we must trust the Holy Spirit to open the eyes that are blind.
I had a very encouraging conversation with a young man named Edward. A friend was also with him; however her name has slipped my mind. I find this always to be frustrating but I can pray for them both knowing that the Lord knows exactly who they are. Both Edward and his friend stood to listen for at least half an hour as I shared the gospel with them. I could see I had their whole attention and they appeared to understand that if they were to die in their sins, apart from Christ, they would go to hell (John 8:24). At the end of the conversation I implored them to think carefully about this. They said that they would and Edward took the time to thank me for sharing with them. My heart really went out to them and nothing would please me more than to see them in heaven one day. Do pray for them.
We had a great evening. Closing in prayer we thanked the Lord for all the opportunities He gave us. As we make ourselves available to Him the Lord will open up opportunities for us. We must preach the word, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), for the Lord Himself has appointed us to make His name known.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Going to our regular preaching spot at the top of Barkers pool I was met by Gemma and Carl who had said they would join me for the night's outreach. We began the night with prayer and then went to it with tracts for all the people flowing past as they went to their night's revelling.
Quickly two conversations started and I was engrossed with Conrad and his friend and likewise Carl and Gemma with another guy. Conrad stopped to ask me about the birth to death tracts that I was handing out so I spoke with them about the certainty that there is life after death. It was one of those rare conversations where I could speak and they would listen and could end with the gospel. I spoke of the evidences that Christ rose from the bible itself, from the historical context of the new testament, from the historical recordings of other historians. At the end Conrad and his friend had to go but not before I could urge them to consider Christ's words that "None come to the father but through me" and to look to Christ for salvation from God's just condemnation of sin.
Carl and Gemma it seems had a harder conversation and the young man they were speaking to left after many justifications and evasions. They were faithful to bring him the truth and having done that we leave the rest to God's hand, praise Him that He breaks even the hardest of hearts.
I set up to preach from what is now our preaching post (or information board as it would otherwise be). Shortly after I began a heckler popped up and the ensuing debate (if it could be called that) continued for the next 45 minutes. The young man who never gave his name was an atheist and loudly proclaimed that there is no God - I responded that he had just claimed absolute knowledge with that statement putting himself in the position of God and contradicting himself. Not only that but the atheistic claim that there is no God is immensely arrogant, claiming not just to know better than the theists but to know all things.
I proceeded to argue that there is a God and He is knowable, generally from the things that are made but also as personally revealed in history through the bible and the person of Jesus Christ. To this he responded with what seems to be the atheist's holy trinity, evolutionary science, historical uncertainty and misinformation, and finally personal scepticism and scorn. The debate as such went back and forth and I offered the many evidences and arguments that meet with those assertions. Unfortunately he kept going to scorn and scepticism and seemed to think that closed the matter. So in response I said that he had only given me his opinion, this was most offensive to him but he could/would not give any support to his comments. He stormed off and I continued to preach the gospel.
A couple of other people stopped to talk and I tried to present the gospel to them having failed with the first hard hearted young man. Likewise they were not interested but would scoff and laugh only. When they left I stepped down and having defended but not really been able to present the gospel - a hard night in a hard hearted city.
We spent some time praying that God would use our work and then headed home giving out tracts to the opera crowd as they came from city hall as we went.
Praise God for even the hard nights, there is a time for everything under the sun, and God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
This is mainly a photo report. We had six people on the Gold Coast team this week. Josh Williamson, Joel Barnard and I took turns preaching at Surfers Paradise, while the rest of the team handed out tracts and talked to people. Even though it was cloudy for parts of the afternoon, various people stopped to hear the preaching and many good one2one conversations were had. Praise the Lord!
It was a with some nervousness that I made my way to Brisbane city tonight, after last weeks confrontation with members of the Brisbane City Council I was wondering what would happen this week. Also, it was the night for all the St. Patrick Day parties, and for us that means the second hardest and second most violent night on the streets.
As I walked through the Queen Street Mall I was surrounded by a sea of green and many people were already stumbling around drunk. I looked at my watch and saw it was only 7:15pm. The night was young, yet people were already drinking in sin like water, or in their case like booze.
We met as per usual on the far side of King George Square for a time of Bible reading and team prayer. Then after that we spent some time in fellowship.
As 9pm rolled around we were in the Queen Street Mall setting up for the night, tonight we did hit one major crisis, and that was that we actually ran out of all Bibles, New Testaments and Gospels of John’s, but this was a great problem, as anyone who wants one must be witnessed to one to one first.
The first preacher up for the night was Kevin Bessent, he started off by talking about “RIP - Where Will You Go?” Not long into his preaching a crowd had gathered, so he engaged them with the question of his sermon. Also circling at this time was our “friendly” neighbourhood atheist, who was turned rather mean and nasty of late. Alex, was throwing his comments in, but Kev avoided them and stuck to the Gospel. Alex yelled a little louder, again nothing in reply from Kevin. So in the end Alex just simply walked off, but returned a few minutes later with two atheist friends in support.
One of the atheists flew off the handle as soon as he came within ear-shot of Kevin. He ran into the group and started to yell obscenities, this is always a sign of a man who has no argument. If they have to fall back onto abuse then you can rest assured that they have nothing of substance to add to the discussion. This one atheist was becoming rather hostile, and members of the team thought he would become violent. So I circled in near him, and waited till he started to yell, then I direct challenged his question. He turned from yelling at Kevin to yelling at me. This freed up Kev to continue to preach the gospel to the crowd.
The man continued to yell at me until I stuck my hand out and said, “My name is Josh, what’s yours?” He was shocked but it calmed him down. He shook my hand and we continued our discussion in a civil tone. The man was hurt in the past by religion, and he was looking for anyway in which he could get the gospel derailed. Within minutes of the discussion starting he had backslid to an agnostic, and a few minutes later he believed in God. Now, we had a foundation to work with in order to make Christ known. So for the next forty or so minutes I shared the gospel with him and answered his questions. In the end he took an in-depth gospel tract, and as he left he thanked me for taking the time to talk to him. One less atheist in the world, and one more person who heard the good news of Jesus Christ.
During this time I was impressed to see so many people in the team out witnessing and handing out tracts. Every time I turned around there was one of the Operation 513 team witnessing to someone. It was so encouraging to see the Gospel marching forth. Even though the atheists had come into stop it, the Gospel cannot and will not be stopped until such time as God says “Game Over!”
Andrew Hsu was the next preacher up for the night. He did a good job as usual, while he was preaching he had a bunch of drunk Irish hecklers come in and start to make threats of physical violence. One of them shoved Andrew, and then started to say that he would take the stool Andrew was standing on and then smash his head in. I considered the threats as credible, so I got one of the team members to go and get the police. The police arrived and issued move on orders to the drunk Irish. They all left, one of them still breathing threats.
Toward the end of the night, Ryan got up the preach. He tried to engage Alex and his atheist cohort but they don’t really like to take on someone who actually can show from logic, philosophy etc. that there is a God. Ryan made known the truth of Scripture, and presented the Gospel to any who would stop to listen.
Alex was being his normal self, and was becoming rather angry and screaming abuse. Rick challenged him on this. Alex just ignored him, but about thirty minutes later, he stormed up to Rick pointed out him and started screaming at him. Once again it shows a man who’s arguments lack substance. In my view, I think Alex is much like Germany in 1944 - 45, in that they knew they were beaten, but they held on fighting out of pride, because they are too stubborn to surrender. Alex is the same, he is out of arguments, and he knows that God is real, but he loves his sin too much to surrender.
I would ask all of those reading, right now to stop and pray for the conversion of Alex. May God grant him repentance and faith.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, March 8, 2009
The night was fairly warm and the humidity was high. Just normal Brisbane weather, but even though it is fairly uncomfortable weather, we still went out to witness in the Queen Street Mall.
As I was walking though the mall, I thought it would be good to hand out a few tracts, and as I did so I heard the call of “Mr. Williamson!” I turned around found myself face to face with the head of Queen Street mall management. He stated that I was not allowed to hand out tracts as it was violation of local law. So I asked him what law I had broken. He quoted it to me. Later however, when we looked it up we found that no such law existed.
We met as usual, and it was good to have a brother from Houston, Texas join us for the nights outreach. The team spent some time in prayer and Bible reading before we headed up to the mall.
Ryan was the first preacher up for the night, as usual he did a good job. Especially when the atheists opened fire on him. While preaching he also got to engage a few other hecklers and present a very clear gospel message.
The night was fairly quiet, it was good to see Alex was back, however, he had changed. He has turned into a rather mean atheist, he is constantly swearing and in general being rather aggressive. This is different from the Alex before Christmas.
During the night quite a few good one to ones happened. Rodney was able to get into a great conversation with a young man who had been heckling. Also, the night had its hostilities. A bunch of islanders were wanting to fight the atheists in order to make them “believe in God”. For most of the night, I found myself trying to get them to calm down.
Towards the end of the night I got up to preach, and I spoke about the economic down turn. This brought Alex in for a confrontation. As per usual his arguments were off the wall and he made no sense.
Overall the night was fairly good. Many tracts went out and people got to hear the gospel.
This week it was just the Lord and I to witness together to the great and glorious things that He has done. Thank you to all who have supported me in prayer this week, your support and loving appeals for my work to God.
I began in prayer as I drove to central Sheffield and pleaded with God for the city until reaching Barker's Pool, the large square in front of city hall. I handed out tracts for 20 minutes until I was sure that no-one was going to join me at the last minute. During this time I spoke with Simon Peter regarding the faith he had been taught but had since neglected. Simon was out for a night of lust and endulging the passion of his eyes. I spoke with him at length regarding God, His righteousness justice and salvation of hell deserving sinners. Simon listened and was very easy going but at the same time was utterly uninterested in changing his ways so warning him one final time and giving him some tracts to think on we parted ways. I pray that you would save this young man Lord God and turn him from sin and destruction to love You and follow closely Jesus Christ, the way the truth and the life.
I set up to preach and preached on the most "unlucky" theory ever to cross the mind of sinful man, naturalistic evolution. I preached for some time and no-one was stopping so I urged the passing crowd to consider their maker and his just condemnation of our sin. I pleaded that they would not continue to walk towards the abyss of eternity in hell under His judgement and wrath. Just as I was considering packing in the preaching (sore voice) a group of young sceptics arrived and a rapid fire debate ensued.
These young men hold that evolution is true and that Charles Darwin was a genius of the highest rank. I engaged them on the theory of evolution and tried to answer their questions. Space does not allow to discuss all that was said but the debate went along these lines.
The sceptics asked if I believe evolution to be true, I replied no that the theory was flawed. What about the mountains of evidence they asked, I replied by asking for an example of a transitional form, no answer. I said that the presence of impossible forms mean that evolution likewise is impossible. Partially described why birds are an example of impossible forms, was interrupted by shouts of this is possible by slow mutations, I retorted that it doesn't matter how small the change made to the lungs the new species would still die and not breed. But what about all the fossils they asked, excellent evidence of a catastrophic worldwide flood I replied. Couldn't it be evolution's evidence also they asked, not according the the gas diffusion dating of the rocks at the bottom of the geological column (approx 6000-10000yrs worth of helium in precambrian zircons) and not according to the fragmented evolutionary "tree" which looks more like a bunch of twigs!
This discussion went on in this vein for some time and part of the group left and only Dave and Antony remained to talk. These two fellows were willing to listen and so I urged them to consider what God has done and the gospel of salvation through Christ Jesus my Lord. They stayed for a while and were very thoughtful when they left. Pray that God will change their hearts and save them.
As my throat was sore and the night was wearing on I left for home and bed, tired but thankful of the opportunity our Lord gave me tonight.
Jim and I met at the top of barkers pool for witnessing this week and spent some time catching up as we'd not seen each other for some time. It is so good to have genuine fellowship sharing what is happening with each other's lives.
We prayed also and then I set up to preach as Jim was going to have to leave early in the night. Tonight my passage that I spoke from was Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 and expounding Solomon's thoughts on the meaninglessness of life I spoke on the life that most live in the world. Most in this world focus their energy on getting one of three things really: money, pleasure, or power/reputation. The heart of my message was that these things will ultimately fail to satisfy us and will pall long before the death which cuts them short. The heart of man will never be satisfied with the blind and deaf idols of this world and as Augustine said so rightly "we are restless until our hearts find their rest in Him".
While many people stopped to scoff and then pass there was a group of young men that passed by and stopped to talk with me at length. Martin and his three friends were catholic and Muslim (two of each), I began by talking with Martin and we did the good test but Martin still thought he was going to heaven. He thought that he would be justified by his good works and also by the fact that God is merciful, I answered this with the justice of God revealed failingly in the justice of man. Good deeds don't release the criminal from punishment in a human court, likewise God the good judge of all the world will make sure that justice is done.
There followed a series of almost standard questions that non-Christians ask and so we discussed the existence of God, the validity of the bible and in the case of the Muslim folk the qu'ran and Muhammad. Very briefly I gave them an apologetic on each and then it was time for them to leave. They left thanking us for talking with them and I made sure there were tracts in every hand.
Shortly following this Andy and Tom and Co all rolled up and wanted to know what the noise was all about. I asked Andy if he was good enough to get into heaven and from there we discussed the law of God and the gospel. They listened while I spoke and asked questions, it is a rare privilege to have two groups that will allow you to answer questions and speak to them without interrupting and trying to talk over you. Praise God not that they didn't interrupt me but rather that they listened to the gospel! They left with tracts in hand and smiles on faces.
With this I handed out a couple more tracts and then left for the night, rejoicing that these had heard the gospel and praying God would use tonight to good ends.
The sun was shining and it was rather busy at Surfers Paradise as Joel and I walked up through Cavill Mall. As we waited for others to arrive, we continued handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to people. I had quite a few good conversations with people, one was with two teenage boys who after going through some of the 10 commandments with them, realised that they deserved Hell. So I explained the cross and what they must do to be saved, however they said they would rather have more fun now than repenting and putting their faith in Jesus.
So I gave them an analogy to think about. I said, "Imagine if you were in a house and you noticed it caught on fire. You either have the choice of running out the house and avoiding the pain of getting burnt and dying, or you could just keep sitting there, saying, "I'm having too much fun in the house to escape the flames" I asked them what would they do. They said that obviously they would run out of the house. So I pointed out that regarding life, they are in the same predicament. For the flames of Hell are coming closer and closer to them, for the amount of time they have left living on this Earth is getting less and less. So they have the choice of saying, "I'm just going to enjoy life and then receive the eternal torment in the flames of Hell", or escaping the flames by turning to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. That is, not trusting in anything good they've done to get them to Heaven, but instead putting their full trust in Jesus' death to save them on the Day of Judgment. The boys then understood the importance of the decision they have to make. Please pray that God will draw them unto Himself.
Once Andre arrived, we had a time of prayer and then I stood up to preach. Almost immediately a bunch of teenagers jumped out of the bushes and started to listen and heckle. I went through the good person test with them (using God's law), in order to bring the knowledge of sin. During this time, a rather large crowd had gathered to hear the dialogue taking place. I explained the cross and the resurrection to the crowd, pleading with them to turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
One of the teenagers called out by saying that the Bible is all a fairy tale. So I asked him, "Point to one thing in the Bible that is a fairy tale". He responded by saying, "In the book of Genesis, it talks about a man that has a Lion's head. That's clearly a fairy tale". I pointed out that nowhere in Genesis does it talk about such a man. He insisted, so I said, "Here is my Bible, please look it up and show it to me." He admitted He didn't know where it was and conceded the point.
After preaching the gospel numerous times, I stepped down from the preaching spot and Andre got up to preach. He talked about the judgment that will come to all after death, and God's standard in which He'll judge them. And because of our sin, we all deserve Hell. He then went on to explain that that is the precise reason why Jesus died, to save His people from the consequences of their sin.
After Andre got down, Jamie joined us for the remainder of the outreach and we all continued witnessing one2one with people and handing out gospel tracts. Both Joel and I ran out of gospel tracts by the end of it, but Andre had some spare, which was good.
Many seeds of the gospel were planted today. To God be the glory!