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Brisbane Team (Night) (QLD)

Meets every Saturday night in King George Square 7-10pm.

King George Square

Brisbane Team (Day) (QLD)

Meets Wednesday afternoons 1-5pm in King George Square (near Adelaide St crossing).

Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.

Saturday 25 April 2009

Posted by Posted 5 May 2009, 11:50 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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 18 April 2009

Posted by Posted 29 April 2009, 11:52 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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 11 April 2009

Posted by Posted 21 April 2009, 5:14 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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 4 April 2009

Posted by Posted 13 April 2009, 5:17 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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!

Saturday 28 March 2009

Posted by Posted 7 April 2009, 9:27 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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!

Saturday 21 March 2009

Posted by Posted 30 March 2009, 7:36 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

Andre and the Bible tableOnce 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!

Ryan preaching with many people heckling

Ryan preaching with more people heckling and listening

Ryan Hemelaar preaching the Bible Forbes preaching

Kyosti witnessing

Rachel and Andre witnessing

Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday 14 March 2009

Posted by Posted 21 March 2009, 1:06 AM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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!

Sunday 8 March 2009

Posted by Posted 16 March 2009, 8:10 PM by Josh Williamson. Permalink

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.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Posted by Posted 1 March 2009, 3:16 PM by Ryan Hemelaar. Permalink

Ryan Hemelaar preaching open airRyan Hemelaar responding to heckles questionsJoel Barnard preaching open air with his parents listening on the phoneJosh Williamson getting hugged by a hecklerOnce 7:30pm rolled around, we all met near City Hall for a time of reading the Word, prayer and fellowship with one another. At 9pm we made our way to Queen Street Mall and set up the free Bible table. We had a reasonably large sized team again tonight of about 16 people.

I stood up to preach first and started off talking about the wickedness of the human heart (Jer. 17:9). I pointed out that the Bible says that there is no one good, no not one (Rom. 3:12). And because we are not good people, we deserve the wrath of God. At this stage there was a group of teenagers that came up rather close to me, so I asked them whether they thought they would go to Heaven when they died. One of the people in the group was a girl who was really drunk, and who decided to hug me and then lift up her shirt. During this I kept trying to engage with the rest of the group, and asked whether they had broken any of God's commandments. Once they realised that they deserved to be punished by God because He is just, they didn't want to hear about what they can do to be saved. For it was clear they had a hatred towards God, so I didn't cast the pearls of the gospel before swine (Matt. 7:6).

After they had moved along, I proceeded to give the good news of the gospel to the crowd that had gathered. I explained that Jesus can be their substitute instead of them and thus satisfy God's wrath, if they repent and trust in His death alone to save them on the Day of Judgment. At this stage, one fellow yelled out to me saying that the Bible has been changed. So I asked him what evidence he had for that assertion. He openly admitted he had none. So I responded by saying that he then cannot legitimately make that assertion, as it is the same as if I said to him, "Look, the book you really like has been changed" without me providing any evidence to back it up. He understood my point and didn't want to heckle any further.

Joel Barnard preaching open airKevin preaching open airThe next preacher up was Joel Barnard. Recently, God has given him a great desire to share the gospel and tonight he was keen for some open air preaching. It was his first time and he did a wonderful job. A number of people commented that it seemed as though he was an old timer. During his preaching, Josh Williamson called up Joel's parents so that they could hear Joel's first open-air sermon. They really liked it as well.

After Joel got down, Kevin got up to preach. It was good hearing Kevin preach again, as it had been quite a few weeks since he has had the chance to come out on the streets to witness with us.

After Kevin preached, Dave Strachan had the itch to preach the Word as well, so he also proclaimed the law (to bring the knowledge of sin), the Judgment to come, the cross, and what we must do to be saved.

This week Josh Williamson joined us here in Brisbane again, after he had just returned from spending 8 weeks in the UK for evangelism. He was the next person to stand up and preach, and it was good to hear his booming voice again. Quite a number of people stopped to find out what he was talking about, while some asked him various questions, and others decided to come up and hug him.

Overall, the night was a great success, because God's Word was clearly proclaimed in Brisbane city. During the whole night, many gospel tracts went out and many good one2one witnessing encounters were had.

If you live in the Brisbane area, I really encourage you to come out on the streets with us and fulfil the Great Commission. We meet for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship every Saturday night at 7:30pm at the Ann Street side of City Hall. Then at 9pm we evangelise near Copenhagen's ice cream in Queen Street Mall. If you are wanting more information, please contact us.

To God be the glory!

Rachel witnessing

Saturday 14 February 2009

Posted by Posted 22 February 2009, 10:10 PM by Andrew Hsu. Permalink

Andrew Walkington witnessingIt’s Valentine ’s Day, the mall is filled with couples celebrating their togetherness, they are playing music normally too sickening sweet for regular consumption and the decors are fluffy and pink... what better setting to talk to people about the universal value of love and tolerance...

Too bad we are out preaching the Biblical Gospel.

Kyosti witnessingOur fair sized team assembled at our usual spot for prayer and scripture reading, after that we make our way into our preaching spot in the Queen Street Mall. We had a rare guest joining us this night: Andrew Walkington from Sydney has abandoned his love wife forsook temporal earthly pleasures and came out on a fine Saturday evening to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Andre also showed up as well so we have a good number of preachers for the night. We set up the Free Bible table, the security camera rolling, and we are good to go.

Andre stepped up to preach first. He preached a very timely message of God’s love set against the backdrop of the wrath of God. While it is more desirable to focus on God’s love in sharing  the Gospel, without the knowledge of God’s wrath against our sin His love makes no sense to the sinner. While Andre preaches the regular crowd shuffled in: Alex along with a few other familiar faces started to heckle the preacher. We were hoping that being Valentine’s Day they will take a break, nope, Alex “the friendly neighbourhood Atheist” remains consistent. Have to give it to him; he is a lot more regular in fighting against the Gospel than most Christian fighting for the Gospel.  (The above statement is designed to inflict guilt to the guilty.)

Andrew Walkington preachingAndrew Walkington is the next preacher up. He preached for twenty minutes the straight Gospel and ignored the hecklers. I am the next preacher up, since Andre and Andrew both fulfilled their duties without any incidence, I was hoping my time on the soapbox would be relatively peaceful as well. It took ten seconds for my hope to be completely dashed.

One of the issues I was hoping to avoid is the whole Victoria bushfire that is going on down south. Many people have lost their lives (209 last counted) and countless thousands have lost their homes, processions and livelihood. The Bible says that “we weep with those who weep” and the study of theology and having propositional answers to the question of evil and suffering is not a licence for us to be emotionally detached from the suffering of fellow human beings.  While I am confident the Biblical answer of a sovereign God exacting both providence and judgement in this sinful world is the only way the problem of suffering can be satisfactorily answered, emotions runs hot over this issue right now, and I don’t think such answers, while true, is helpful.

Andrew Hsu preachingThe gentleman raised the question over the bushfire is someone I dealt with a couple of weeks ago. I still don’t know his name because he refused to give it to me and he, for a lack of a better description, really doesn’t like me. Alex and I can have a civil conversation after the night is through; this man on the other hand, is very unpleasant to deal with.

The question this man raised is aimed at what we have been preaching: that God has the right to exact judgement upon sinners whether in this life or the next, and according to the Bible, there is no such thing as “innocent people.” Not happy with that theological titbit, he asked the question to this effect: “What about those people who perished in the bush fire, what have they done to deserve having such tragedy befall them.” Of course, the problem here is that he assumes the position that men is inherently good and no one deserves to have bad stuff happen to them, while the Bible assumes the opposite, human beings are not good, and the question is not so much why bad thing happen to good people but why do God allow the “rain to fall upon the just, as well as the unjust. “ Why is God so patient with the wickedness of the world? Why does he show love to those who do not love Him?

Rick witnessingI tried to answer the question as straightforwardly as I can, knowing there isn’t much chance that my answer is going to be received with joy and gladness. As I try to explain the Bible calls people to repentance in the face of tragedy such as the Victorian Bushfire in light of the frailty of our lives and the reality of suffering attest to the fallen condition of this world. It was not long before the men start to twist my words and try to incite the crowd. Not surprisingly I was accused of being hateful towards my fellowmen as I would not affirm the general goodness of men and the crowd gets into overdrive. It is apparent that part of the heckling crowd is no longer being reasonable and I started to ignore their antics. They “borrowed” two milk crates and tried to up stage the preaching. A couple of them started to throw profanity and insults my way. A couple of young lady decided to empty two cups of soft drinks on my pants and shoes. The man who raised the Bushfire problem decided to bring out his “question to end all questions”, directed at me, he asked: “If God exists, why are you so fat?” Incidentally, that’s the first question he ever asked me when I first met him weeks ago. Hmmm... can’t you feel the love tonight?

Andre and Rachel witnessingMeanwhile I was addressing another group of people, a young Canadian lad and two girls in their late teens who were disgusted by the uncivilized behaviour of the others, and we were able to have a reasonable discussion about the Gospel. The two young ladies had previous experiences with Christianity but were very confused with what we are preaching as they have never had the Gospel explained to them before. I took them through the Law of God so that they have an understanding of the rightness of God’s judgement upon the world and then explain the death of Christ in satisfying the justice of God on the cross and therefore making us right with God. They thanked me for being honest with them, they said that they understood what I explained, I told them I would pray for them and they went on their way.

The young man from Canada on the other hand is an ardent atheist. However, he is very pleasant to talk to, frustrating but pleasant. Our conversation went well pass mid night. Not surprisingly he remains an ardent atheist at the end of the night but I was able to show him the reasonable arguments for Christianity. I don’t believe that men and women can be reasoned into the Kingdom but it is crucial to present Christianity as true and present the faith as reasonable. This young men and his friend both came from Christian families, both of them now rebelled against the faith of their fathers largely because Christianity was presented to them as being “just-so”. No one gave them the reason for believing, instead they were told to “just believe” and asking too many questions is a sign of unbelief. As this young man and I said good bye I couldn’t help but think how many sceptics we meet on Saturday nights are produced by churches and Christians who never explained the reason for their faith, Christian faith is based upon the solid rock of truth, and the Bible instils no virtue for blind faith.

I was told at the end of the night there were many great Gospel conversations. We packed up and left the mall, a chaotic but fruitful night. May the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering.

Andrew Hsu preaching

Alex heckling Andrew Hsu's preaching

Andrew Hsu responding to hecklers questions

Andrew Hsu responding to hecklers

Soli Deo Gloria.

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