Brisbane Team (Night) (QLD)
Meets every Saturday night in King George Square 7-10pm.
Brisbane Team (Day) (QLD)
Meets Wednesday afternoons 1-5pm in King George Square (near Adelaide St crossing).
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
This is a different report to normal but it has been keeping me awake. Please take the time to read of this interaction with Isaiah and raise him up before God in prayer!
Tonight I spoke with a man named Isaiah. He is about my age and was out in the city with some girls.
He professed to have some Christian background but didn't really know the Gospel. Through the conversation I shared the Gospel with him but whilst doing so he mentioned that he used to "trust in Jesus" but had sort of lost faith.
I asked why and he said, "I am not really sure". I explained the Gospel again, stressed that God doesn't make mistakes and that me talking with him wasn't an accident.
Anyway, he went over to hang with the girls again as I spoke to another couple for a few minutes. When I finished talking to them I felt the need to speak to him again and I spoke quietly to him and said, "Am I right in thinking that the reason you lost faith wasn't because you didn't believe in God but rather because you loved sin more?"
He responded, "Yes you're right. How did you know? Did God tell you?" I said, not specifically about you but the Bible says that is why we reject God, exchanging Him for created things.
I read some verses from Isaiah 53 to him (as his name is Isaiah) and explained the cross again.
I challenged him strongly and seriously, yet gently and quietly to consider his choice wisely. "God offers you salvation, purchased by His own blood," I said. "You can be made right with God and be given a new heart, with new desires. God is better than this creation, he is better than money, better than alcohol, better than sex. To reject God is to reject the best thing and it will result in eternal Hell".
I strongly encouraged him to give up living his way this very night, to leave his friends and the girls he was with and to head home, fall on the floor and call out in repentance before God and trust entirely in Christ.
He heeded the seriousness of it. I don't know his decision tonight but can I ask that you pray for Isaiah that God would lead him to salvation.
It isn't often that I can't get a specific person out of my mind but in this case I desperately want Isaiah to know the salvation in Christ.
I finished with a line that I got from discussions at home group on Wednesday night, "God doesn't make mistakes, me talking to you today was not and accident. God is calling you, through my simple preaching, to leave your sin and turn to Christ. He may never call you again, this may be your last chance".
Please raise Isaiah up before God and plead with God to save this man who is chasing sin and missing out on the glory of the Saviour!
In Australia it has been noted that rarely do people outside the Church understand grace. It is rare to hear someone say after hearing the Gospel, "Ah that means I can sin all I want and God will let me into Heaven". Rather, a far more common response when asked to repeat how one is saved, goes like this, "So I have to believe in God and follow the ten commandments". Self-salvation is rampant among Australian's. Everyone thinks they're good and they will get to God by their actions.
This is very much the case amongst the churched people of Australia. Many people went to religious private school or attend church once or twice a year and on the basis of that, and the "really good" life they live, they think God will let them into Heaven.
This Wednesday in King George square was very much filled with conversations of that nature.
An early conversation was had with church-going Tom. He said it was his good works and church going that were going to get him to Heaven. He saw God's law and standard and saw that he was not good rather that he had failed desperately.
Then he was asked for the solution and declared, doing good works and trying harder. It was pointed out that future obedience doesn't pay for past disobedience. The Gospel was shared and Tom was surprised. He had never understood it before. Please be praying for Tom that he would as a result of this conversation seek not just to try harder, but to find salvation in Christ alone.
Soon after this conversation an older gentleman was engaged in conversation. He originally said that he didn't believe in God at all but soon declared that he had a long religious history and had just slowly over time stopped going to church. Through the conversation as he heard of the desperate state of the human heart he tried to argue again that it is all about trying to be good because we're not that bad. But when he heard of God's punishment, that sin deserves Hell, he got up and left very quickly.
This man knew that God was good and must punish sin and so he was attempting to "hide" from God. Please be praying that God leads him not just to hide but to run to God for salvation!
Three others in this, "I'm good" boat were Tatum, Ollie, Shona and Milano and Bryn. It is scary how rampant the works-righteousness belief is across Australians. It would be awesome if Australian Christians, one conversation at a time, could engage with their family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours sharing with them that Jesus' offer of salvation is not one based on our obedience but based on His! Choose one friend this week that you will purposely plan and pray about speaking to this week!
One other conversation was had with a lady that attends a local church and was really struggling with assurance. She wasn't sure that Jesus could love her because of all of her past sin. It was an encouraging conversation as she heard of the depths of God's love for her in Christ and was pointed to a few resources to grow in understanding of the height, breadth, depth and width of God's love for those in Christ Jesus.
Please be praying that she would be strengthened and encouraged by this understanding of God's love for her and would be motivated by it to want to share it with others!
On Wednesday afternoon right as the outreach was coming to a close, the Lord Mayor, who the team had spoken with before was heading by.
One team member briefly asked him a question, "Do you think God will let you into Heaven when you die?" To which he responded, "I certainly hope so!"
After he had finished speaking with someone else, another team member who had spoken to him two years earlier was able to re-engage with him.
When asked what he was trusting in to get him to Heaven, he responded, "being a good citizen and believing". He briefly heard that God requires perfection and therefore was encouraged to read the tract and hear what God did so that sinners could be forgiven.
Please also be praying for our Lord Mayor, that God would bring him to repentance and a saving knowledge of the truth!
The primary reason that Christians think that all non-Christians are hostile and vehemently against talking about the Gospel is because the only people Christians have to engage with are the ones hostile enough to raise it themselves.
Oppositely, when we as Christians start to raise the topic of eternity, we will find out how open most people really are. This shows itself in different ways at different outreaches. In Brisbane city some of the team members use the flip charts on the footpath. Others sit down next to people and ask simple questions such as, "Where do you think you will go after you die?" This sitting down method, has around a fifty percent success rate. One in two people will be happy to talk. Most of those who cannot aren't hostile they just are busy or otherwise occupied.
As you are about to be encouraged in some conversations from this past Wednesday, ponder this, How could you implement this simple question and strategy to engage with people in your life, for the sake of the Gospel?
If you are worried about what to say next, you're more than welcome to join a local team and stand next to someone else, listening to what they have to say and how they negotiate a Gospel conversation.
Wednesday was filled with conversations but for the sake of time here are five people to specifically be praying for.
An early conversation was had with Paula. She had a Catholic background and had "worshiped" the Catholic way, doing all the right things for years. A few weeks earlier her mother (another devout Catholic) had died and as a result she had completely rejected God. She was angry with Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. Please be praying that God would use the simple conversation had to leave Paula away from her self-righteous hatred of God, to a total surrender and trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Following from that conversation was one with two tourist, Dani and Alexis (male). These two started out saying they didn't think there was a God but ended up hearing the Gospel and saying that it made sense.
Interestingly, as is often pointed out in these battle log reports, most people's problem with Christianity is not found in the intellectual arguments they make. This was the case with Dani and Alexis. They argued for evolution (against Creation). They argued for the corruption of the Bible (against its truthfulness). They argued for the non-existence of miracles (rather than their existence) and they argued against God's law (trying to replace it with their own). On each occasion and in the final summary it was explicitly stated that, it isn't that their main problem was Creation, the Bible, Miracles or God's law rather it was the God of Creation, the God of the Bible, the God of Miracles and the God who gives the law.
They didn't want God and so they were "hell-bent" on using anything they could muster up to try and convince themselves that He didn't exist and therefore wouldn't judge them for their sin. Sadly they were seeking to try and avoid their guilt by pretending they weren't guilty, rather than coming in repentant faith to the one who can actually remove the guilt and save a sinner.
Please be praying that these two will give up their sinful self-love and turn to the sinless, selfless Saviour.
An exciting conversation was had with Shaun. He had almost no Christian understanding, except for Jesus' name. He heard the Gospel simply and clearly. He said he understood it and at the end he even said he would consider it. He took a Gospel of John. Please be praying for Shaun, that he would consider who Jesus is and what He has done and therefore turn from sin, to Christ in total surrender.
There is also a man named Darren who has been quite against talking (this isn't uncommon for middle aged men). A few comments and questions have been exchanged but sadly Darren is currently closed off to even discussing further than his desire to "not think about death". Please be praying that God would bring along an opportunity, for a friend, relative or even the team to be able to speak with Darren, to share with him the words of eternal life.
Lastly, the team spoke with a lady named Tristana. She was broken. Due to a string of recent tragedies, he life was in shambles and she had nowhere to turn. She also didn't understand sin and its consequences or the cross of Christ and its victories. The Gospel was explained to her, a tract was given and the team prayed that God would use this scenario to lead Tristana to seeking and knowing God. as C.S. Lewis wisely said, "Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world".
Even if you don't feel like coming out, due to tiredness, guilt or even fear. God uses the simple step of faithfulness to bring about His good purposes!
Hear Finn share about a conversation he had with two atheists.
Hear Allan share about how he uses the intelligence test flip chart to lead people to the Gospel and about a specific conversation he tonight.
Hear Bek share how althought she wasn't feel great about coming out, God used her to share the Gospel with a number of people!
Would you too consider joining the team sometime?
On Wednesday afternoon summer had officially arrived, with a warm temperature of thirty two degrees. The heat thankfully didn't deter people from King George square! There were still many people around hiding in the small patches of shade, enjoying the afternoon.
One early conversation was with a man named Kendall. He shared a range of different things about his beliefs but as the conversation went on it was sad to hear that he didn't want God purely because he wanted to live his own way. He didn't want there to be someone that was in charge. He just wanted to live his own way. It was pointed out that desiring there to be no God, especially when there is one, is not a good idea.
The bad news was emphasised, the good news was offered and Kendall was left to choose, himself and hell, or Christ and salvation.
A conversation was with Kate. This was a lengthier conversation but one very worthwhile. Kate joined into a conversation with a young man sitting beside her.
He wasn't really interested and she gladly joined in. Kate said she had a science background and therefore disbelieved in God. A decent amount of time was spent discussing evolutionary theory and the leaps it makes from that which has been observed. Then it was pointed out that the reason these leaps are made, despite there being no evidence for them in over two hundreds years, was that people want there to be no God.
Sinful rebels will adopt anything in an attempt to numb their conscience to God's existence and the impending judgement. Whether it be a religion that convinces someone that they can be right with God just by being good, a belief system that says God doesn't care about sin or agnosticism and atheism which attempts to avoid God by declaring that they don't think He exists (therefore intellectually avoiding His judgement).
This was pointed out to Kate who acknowledged the criticism. At one point in the conversation she even said, "I don't want their to be anyone higher. We should all be equal there should be no authority in the universe, we should all be able to live however we desire". Kate was reminded of what Satan's temptation to Adam and Eve in the garden was and she did acknowledge the similarity. Humanity wants to be their own god.
As the conversation continued other topics were discussed but some decent time was spent explaining while the world is broken as can be observed and that the only solution to human sin is God's offer of salvation, purchased with His own life, for His own name's sake!
Kate said the Christian message made sense of this world from the fall to salvation. She acknowledged that it covered all bases and said she appreciated the conversation and would consider it more. She was left to not just think about Christianity but challenged to surrender to Jesus, trusting in Him alone for her salvation.
One final encouraging conversation was with Rui. He had a Catholic background and as a result had no understanding of the Gospel. The Gospel was explained in simplicity and Rui was surprised, say He had never heard it before.
It was pointed out the Rui, (that was only in Brisbane for one day) that maybe God had bought him all the way to Australia, to Brisbane, just so he could hear God's offer of salvation for sinners.
Please be praying for Kendall, Kate and Rui that God would use this simple conversations to be the moments that set them on an eternal journey of seeking, knowing and trusting in God!
This week was one like usual that was packed with hard, sad and tough conversations. Yet, at the same time filled with encouraging, exciting and glorious moments as God used the simple "prepared beforehand" obedience of His saints, to glorify His own name!
Hear Sarah share how despite some tough conversations she was able to declare God as Saviour to people tonight.
Hear Lee-Anne share about a conversation she had with two young ladies, that left them hearing the Gospel, understanding God's command to repent and believe but sadly also left them angry at God, that He would expect them to give up sin.
Hear Jo share about a man she offered a tract to that said, "I am only a Christian because of the work of Operation 513".
Praise God for His work in the lives of these people, whether preparing them for eternal death or eternal life. Praise God that He does not make mistakes in who he leads His sheep to speak with.
Please also be praying that those spoken to tonight would heed God's command to repent and believe!
On Wednesday in Brisbane City, the team was continuously swamped. Again, there were more people wanting to do flip charts, than there were flips charts, or people to man them! Although it is exciting that many people are wanting to engage in the Gospel and many more are hearing the Good News, the current limitation to the advancement of the Gospel in our Wednesday afternoons, is actually the amount of team members out. It is fitting to say, that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.
Would you consider joining the team on a Wednesday afternoon (1-5pm), to, in the power of the Spirit, equipped with the Gospel of grace, declare to the people of Brisbane city, one conversation at a time, who God is and what He has done?
Outside of the flip charts, there were also many other conversations. Two conversations happened back to back. Firstly, with Fraser a young man. He raised all sorts of objections to Christianity and his original main point was, "there is no evidence of God". The response to this, that often stumps people (and had Fraser floundering) is, "What are you expecting as evidence?" "What would have to have done, for you to know He exists?"
A few simple explanations were given for things we would expect if there was a Creator. For example, a finely tuned functioning world, intelligently designed animals and humans, a standard of right and wrong. Fraser then went on to try and give other explanations for these things. One at a time as his explanations were shown to have holes or issues it was made clear that it wasn't that these ideas and theories were more plausible or gave real answers, rather it became clear that they were being used as excuses and scape goats to try and avoid God and ultimately to try and avoid God's judgement.
It was pointed out that our rejection of God isn't intellectual, we don't reject God on the basis of external evidence, rather we try and use anything that seems mildly plausible to try and convince ourselves and justify to ourselves, our prior rejection of God.
Fraser, understood. It was even further stressed that we use intellect as a scape goat from God's wrath (avoiding God's existence and therefore avoiding God's wrath), where in reality, the only one who can protect us from God's wrath, is God Himself. The Gospel was present to Fraser, the truth was explained and he was left to choose, to continue to live his own way in God's world and incur the wrath or to turn to the save that has done everything required for sinners to be forgiven, we simply have to trust in Him.
Fraser said he would consider it and was thankful for the conversation.
A conversation that backed straight off that one was with Emma. There were five highschoolers behind Fraser who had been listened, so when he left, the same question was posed to them, "What do you think will happen after you die?"
Four of the group weren't really interested and just day dreamed, made silly comments and ended up leaving. Where as Emma was interested and stayed and talked for almost sixty minutes. It was an encouraging conversation in which Emma came to understand the Christian message, the glory of the Gospel and the call it has on her life, to turn from sin, to Jesus.
She too was encouraged to consider what Christ commanded and was encouraged to pick up her Bible at home and start reading.
Please be praying for Fraser and Emma that they will each heed Christ's command and rely upon Christ's salvation.
This afternoon the team took three flip charts onto the streets of Brisbane city. Even whilst stationed in the same location, at one moment, a fourth was required! Thankfully there was a mini flipchart that was able to be used. If there was any better display of how effective the flipcharts are, have a look at the photo. Four conversations taking place, within five metres, each using a flip chart to share the Gospel! (If you want to use a flipchart for your Gospel witness they can be purchased here).
The first conversation of the afternoon was had with Bastion and Damian, two tourists. Damian professed to be a Christian but knew nothing of the Gospel and Bastion thought that there was no God. After the simply "buildings need a builder" analogy and a run through of the flip chart, both men were left to ponder the question, "When will you turn from sin, to Jesus, for your salvation?"
Throughout the scattering of conversations across the afternoon there were a few other stand outs. A surprising one was with a man named Cameron, from Scotland. He said he had never thought about God or eternity (which was a surprise, considering he is from Scotland, the home of Presbyterianism).
He wasn't against the idea of God and after a simple ten minute Gospel presentation he said he would have to consider Jesus' command to repent and believe. He did have to leave but he noted that he was thankful that the Gospel had been shared and that he was offered salvation.
Please be praying that the offer is not just acknowledged but also accepted.
Another conversation was with Alex and Olivia. This was a fairly standard, "I don't believe in God" conversation. It started with many arguments, many attempts to use different smoke-screens to avoid God's Holiness and judgement but as the conversation went on, Alex, who was originally the one raising the most objections was silenced.
This occurred as it was pointed out consistently throughout the conversation that the real reason we reject God, isn't intellectual or theological. Instead, we reject God because God's existence means that there is a day of judgement coming, a day on which all of humanity, if judged by their actions will stand eternally condemned.
Alex, didn't have an argument against this, he simply would pause as the criticism was let hang. Olivia on the other hand had many more direct questions about Christianity. As the conversation drew to a close and the Gospel was re-emphasised they could hardly believe the dramatic change that Christianity has in someone's life.
It was a real eye opener for them to hear that as Christian's we will love and forgive others even despite the wrongs they do to us because we have been loved and forgiven infinitely more than we will ever be asked love or forgive.
Please be praying that this discussion would leave them not just in "awe" of Christians rather, in awe of the God and Saviour of said Christians.
Another beautiful conversation was had with two men who were openly homosexual. The best part about this conversation with Peter and PJ was that it was not even raised in the conversation as a reason to disbelieve in God. Rather throughout the entire conversation there was a solemn and serious consideration of what God had said to His creation.
The conversation lasted almost forty five minutes and at the end, PJ said he wasn't sure if he wanted to trust in God because it wasn't "that appealing". The beauty and glory of the Gospel was explained, the cost and choice was set before Him and PJ was challenged to not just understand the Gospel but to turn from His life of rebellion to the Saviour.
Peter on the other hand had stressed that he wasn't sure if God really cared because of the life of suffering he had. It was explained that although we suffer in this life, whether it be in small amounts or large, there is a very real sense in which we deserve it. (It was explained that we don't suffer in this life based on how much we've sinned, rather that the suffering we deserve is the eternal wrath of God in Hell). But that God most certainly wasn't absent in suffering because He had taken His own "medicine", He had come, as the only innocent one and suffered the full fury and wrath we deserve.
God isn't just a passive observer rather and active participant in the salvation of sinners, going so far as to become apart of His creation, suffering His own eternal wrath for the very ones who had rebelled against Him. He is the actively involved, loving and merciful God.
The final conversation of the afternoon came with just fifteen minutes left. It was prayed that God would use this conversation specifically so that one whom He had chosen would hear the Gospel.
With around one hundred people in King George square at any moment and no prompting from God was given, a man who was wearing a Richmond hat was approached (on that basis) and was asked what he thought would happen after he died.
This man, Gary, went on to explain his beliefs and ideas and throughout the conversation and all the while hearing God's standards, God's authority and God's offer of salvation.
During the conversation Gary went on to mention that over the past few days he had been considering ending his own life and had prayed to God that he would send someone to share hope with him. This was a moment of real excitement.
The problem of sin was presented, that Gospel was explained. Gary's questions were answered and Gary was left with the commands of Jesus, to repent and believe and that doing so will result in, "life in His name".
Please be praying for Gary, that he will turn from his attempts to find satisfaction in this the fleeting things of this life. Please be praying that Gary would come to no longer trust in himself but to rely entirely upon Jesus for saving!
Thank you for your continued prayer support. Please also prayerfully consider joining the team at any spare moment, that you too may be able to proclaim the Glories of God to the sinners of your local area!
This past Saturday the city was hit with scattered showers over the outreach but as usual the rain doesn't stop the Gospel from going forth.
Hear Trinity, a new team member, share about one of the exciting conversations she had, with a man who knew very little about God.
Hear Andrew share about a conversation he had with a young lady who goes to Church but was unsure of the Gospel.
And hear Ryan praising God for the work He did in the heart of a young man who heard the Gospel at the Riverfire outreach and came back for more!
This afternoon was filled with exciting conversations! May God be glorified for the conversations he bought along, the words he gave to speak and the changes that occurred in the hearts of those who heard the Word!
Right at the beginning of this afternoon's outreach a young man named Addison was engaged in a conversation. The conversation started with him rejecting God almost entirely and also going down a few other scary paths.
After almost ninety minutes and many questions being asked and answered, the Gospel being shared and his heart being softened Addison went from his defensive position against God to being interested in God, in the Bible and even excited at the idea of attending a local Church!
He even stated, "You are the first Christian that I have spoken to that is intelligent and able to explain what they believe. Everything you have said makes a lot of sense, I am glad you spoke to me today!"
After hearing the Good News of God's love for sinners, placed in its backdrop against the desperate state humans are in and what they deserve from God, Addison seemed moved and asked, "So is that it, what should I do now?"
Addison at the end said, "Thank you for being so kind, patient and willing to talk, I think you've changed my mind." What a glorious conversation! Please keep Addison in your prayers, that God may use this conversation to draw him to Himself!
On the back of that conversation another one was started with James, who said, "I have been thinking about this a lot lately and was thinking to myself, I should really learn more about Christianity!"
After a thirty minute conversation James not only was extremely grateful for the conversation but said he had a new found and exciting understanding of Christianity. It was stressed that simple information isn't enough but that Jesus commands us to, on the basis of this truth, to repent and believe in Him.
James too expressed an immense gratitude for the time taken to talk with him and said he would have to consider what was said as well!
Two brothers David and Matthew sat and listened, to the Gospel, as well as engaged and asked questions. These young men as well went from not really caring to being interested in talking. They didn't seem as outwardly moved as the other two but were at least happy to take tracts and consider what was said.
Another conversation was had with Thea, a young lady previously spoken to. She said she hadn't changed her opinion since last time but this time as Hell, Sin, Heaven and the Gospel was explained she seemed moved, differently to last time.
The previous conversation had been almost ninety minutes long and included her boyfriend doing most of the talking, this one on the other hand, was one on one and far shorter but seemed more impactful.
Lastly, Tiana was spoken to. Tiana had a lot of her own ideas and beliefs, most of which she had come to be her own thoughts and ideas but Tiana said two extremely encouraging comments in the conversation. Firstly, she said, "I normally wouldn't talk to my friends of family about this because it gets too heated, so I am really glad I was able to speak with you about it!"
Secondly she said, "I normally also get quite defensive and attacking in this sort of conversation but you have been really nice, so I am glad we got to speak about this".
This afternoon was one filled with excitement, great conversations and most importantly, the proclamation of the Gospel. Please be fervent over the next couple of days, lifting these men and women up to God in prayer, asking that He would be gracious and merciful in granting them each repentance that leads to life!
What a privilege it is to serve the living God!