Thank you for your prayers for today's outreach in Brisbane city. We had a variety of different conversations, from those who say "that's just true for you", to others who said they want to keep on living in sin, and then also to others who went away from the conversation seriously considering the claims of Christ and are going to start reading the Bible for themselves.
And it is wonderful to know that God is in charge of the results. So even if a person's initial reaction to the message of the gospel was negative, he or she might be the very person who can't focus on anything else until they too have placed their faith in Christ.
God also sent across our path today a few Christians who were able to encourage us in our endeavours to reach the lost. Please pray for all those who received the hundreds of tracts that went out today and for those who we got to speak to. To God be the glory!
On Saturday evening the Brisbane evangelism team took up a slightly different location on the edge of King George Square. This location usually has a decent amount of foot traffic and as a result numerous conversations were had.
Two stand out conversations were with a Jewish man named Jacob and a younger man who was seeking for truth, named Alex.
Jacob, who is a Jewish scholar and teacher professed that he was saving himself. He said that humans weren't sinners, we were just people who needed to be taught what was right and that we made mistakes occasionally. When the Old Testament was quoted as saying the direct opposite to this, Jacob's argument was that these passages were being misunderstood but he wasn't interested in engaging with the text.
The conversation stretched on for over two hours and he was quite angry. For a man who proclaimed to know God intimately and to even be one with YHWH Himself, Jacob was incredibly rude. He swore many times, called team members various names and sadly his hostility during the night didn't turn to humility. Jacob was given repeated clear explanations of God's promised to send a Messiah to save the guilty but Jacob didn't want Jesus. At one moment he said, "If Jesus was to come here now, He would be bowing down to me."
We pray that you feel the weight of Jacob's deception and feel compelled to pray, to earnestly and reguarly ask God to change Jacob's heart, that He may have true abundant life and forgiveness of His sin.
The second and more exciting conversation was with a man named Alex. He mentioned that his friend has recently become a Christian (saved out of an addiction to Marijuana) and that as a result he had been searching for the truth. Alex quickly followed up, that he wasn't sure what to believe because there were so many opinions and ideas. The bad news, of human sinfulness and the good news that God came to save sinners, was shared with Alex and he was very open.
When asked, "What is stopping you from believing in Jesus?" He paused and said, "I'm not sure if there is anything". Alex then downloaded a Bible app on his phone and was encouraged to read the Gospel of Mark.
Please be praying for these two men and for the others who heard God's message of salvation. Please also ask God to grant the team boldness that we may continue to be empowered by God's Spirit, motivated by God's love to preach God's Gospel!
On Wednesday, the team headed into Brisbane city for an outreach, and we were blessed to be joined by three new labourers on holidays from Germany. Once they arrived, they said that they were terrified. But I encouraged them by saying that that fear will drive you to prayer to ask God for help, for courage and for strength.
And it was so great to see that it wasn't long before they were handing out gospel tracts to whoever walked by and even got into some gospel conversations.
Over the course of the afternoon well over 500 tracts were handed out. One conversation we had was with a young man named John who was very receptive as he heard the gospel and said, "Today I want to trust in Jesus."
After talking further, I asked him if he has a Bible at home and he said, "No, but I am sure I can get one somewhere." I then gave him one and he was very thankful. I encouraged him to find a good local church, and gave him some tips on how to do that.
To God be all the glory!
Hundreds of gospel tracts went out to people in Brisbane city today. We had 4 people on the team and had some really fruitful conversations.
One person we spoke with was named Kiowin. He was an Aussie bloke who said that he didn't think he would go to heaven because he wasn't brought up believing that, but he said that he was on the fence about whether God exists or not. After showing him how things made have a maker, so therefore the universe must have had a creator, he said, "That makes sense".
So we talked about the coming judgement and how we have sinned and fallen short of God's standards. Therefore we need someone who is perfect who can our punishment for us - Jesus.
Once the gospel was explained to him and he was also encouraged to count the cost of following Jesus, I asked, "So when will you come to trust in Jesus?" He said, "I will really need to consider this." He didn't have a Bible at home, so I gave him a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray that he comes to saving faith.
God is in control and He is building His church even in Australia. To Him be all the glory!
It was a beautiful Spring day as we made our way to King George Square in Brisbane. As usual there were crowds of people sitting around or moving from place to place.
I began to hand out tracts and almost instantly I had a lady stop to talk. This lady is from Eastern Europe and believed that she knew God as she is a good person. We chatted about how there is none good, but she kept insisting that she was. I then asked her, "If you can get to Heaven by being good, then why did Jesus have to die?"
The lady looked at me and said, "He died for our sins." I quickly replied, "Does that mean you have sinned?" It was at that moment the penny dropped. She realised that she wasn't a good person and needed forgiveness. I urged her to trust in Christ, to which she said she would. Please pray for her.
After this I had another conversation, this time with a man who thought he was right with God because of laminin (which makes the shape of a cross). No matter what I said he kept falling back onto the superstitious nonsense that these laminin crosses would somehow save him. Please pray he'll see the truth.
The rest of our time was spent handing out tracts and sharing with people. Over the course of three hours we handed out over 500 tracts.
May the Lord Jesus save sinners!
Many of the usual Brisbane City team members are off on a short term mission in another country and as a result the team was expecting to be smaller on Saturday night. To our great surprise, a whole twelve members made it out and many gospel conversations were had!
Two exciting chats came from eight teenage boys who were walking past. Two team members engaged with them, splitting them into two groups of four.
After not very long, only one young man was left talking to each team member and the rest were waiting in a group. The first young man was named Jack and the other Jacob. The conversation will Jack began a little shaky. He started by being silly.
Jack seemed not too interested by the way he was engaging to begin with but by the end it was clear that Jack wasn't just playing around, His eternity was at stake it was obviously important to him.
What seemed different was that his questions unlike the "usual" mocker or joker, seemed to have much deeper roots than just a desire to ask hard questions.
Jack originally asked about other religions and whether or not they would be going to Heaven. He was given the answer that, everyone is a rebel against God's and hasn't been saved by Jesus Christ will have the same fate, Hell. He pryed a bit deeper, so what about the Jews and the Muslims? And again the Gospel was stressed, salvation is only found in Jesus Christ, He is the ONLY hope.
Jack then moved through a range of other topics. Each answer played its part in filling out the picture of God's ABSOLUTE sovereignty, the problem of sin, caused by human pride and selfishness, the fallen state of humanity and this world. Throughout the discussion regarding each an every topic raised another piece about what God has revealed about Himself and humanity.
This left Jack to his final question, what about people that die from cancer? Tell me everything Christians think about that? Why do people get cancer?
The response was simple, cancer only exists as a product of human rebellion. It is only because this world is fallen that cancer exists. People can get cancer for a range of reasons, for Christians, God uses suffering to bring about their likeness to Jesus Christ, teaching them to trust God more fully (Romans 8:28-29). For non-Christians cancer may be a product of God's judgement (but one should be very hesitate to declare such) or more likely it could be God's call to show people that they aren't in control and call them to turn to Him.
The conversation seemed to be coming to a natural end, with one final reminder of the Gospel. One last question was posed to Jack, "What is stopping you from trusting in Jesus now?"
It was at this moment Jack opened up, he finally felt safe enough to share, "My father died from cancer four months ago and it has put my life on hold. I am sort of waiting to try and sort it all out before I consider God. What do you think about that?"
For a moment, the conversation was halted by the weight of the event that had occured but this answer was given, "God is active in the work of restoring this world and the people in it from the effects of sin. He is the only one who can mend our sin and its effects. He also is the only one that can give real hope of a better future. To say that you can sort out this issue then turn to God is to both, reject the best helper you can have and also to arrogantly declare that you think you're better than God at fixing the effects of sin.
Jack paused and in light of all the conversation that had occured, he said, "I understand". He and his friends hung around for another few minutes or so and he was incredibly greatful in his affections and comments about the conversation that had taken place.
Please keep Jack in your prayers, God is in the business of saving sinners, even those whose life has been overcome with the grief of a lost loved one.
Please pray for the many other people that were engaged with from Rick a man who was scared of eternity, Paul a works righteousness Jew and Chris who wasn't very serious about eternal matters.
We headed into Brisbane city last night to share the good news of Christ. A real highlight was to see many team members who often struggle to engage in conversations, talking with people for extended periods of time about who God is and what He has done to save sinners!
One specific conversation was with Yuri and Michael, these two professed to be agnostic and atheistic but neither of them were that by study, rather had just ended up there as a product of upbringing and society.
Yuri seemed very interested to hear and understand, asking many questions about Christianity. When the selfishness of the human heart was raised, Michael was in complete agreement. He openly admitted that he is desperately selfish and that it is an issue. Yuri on the other hand was less willing to admit that but later in the conversation was explaining to Michael that the Christian scriptures are true history and some of the best records of history known to man.
It was very interesting to see the different areas they both had of disagreement with the truth. What was so surprising was how interested they were. The conversation took over an hour and it turned out they were actually going to be late to a birthday party and were still keen to talk about God.
By the end, they understood how Jesus saves, that Jesus takes the penalty for sin and offers His perfection to all those who acknowledge they are sinners and turn and trust in Him. This was probably the most surprising part of the conversation for Yuri and Michael, as they had some Catholic background and believed it was all about being good.
Please pray that this young couple (and the others who heard the gospel last night) will understand the good news, repent and believe.
Finally, please consider stepping out of your comfort zone to join us in this exciting ministry of proclaiming Christ. Outreach details here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
On Saturday night, as soon as we arrived in Brisbane city and began setting up the free Bibles table, a man came over and asked what the table was all about. He said that he goes to the Revival Centres Church. I had spoken to people from that church before and I knew that they were a cult in that they have departed from standard Christian teaching.
So I asked him what he believes a person must do to be saved. He said that full immersion in water (baptism) is absolutely necessary for someone to get their sins forgiven, and that a person then must speak in tongues.
I decided to point him to Ephesians 2:8-9 which describes that salvation is a free gift which is received by grace through faith alone - not based on any works. And if we add any works as a requirement in order to be saved, it would mean we are trying to earn our forgiveness.
I also explained how in Galatians 1, the Apostle Paul says that if anyone preaches to you another gospel, let that person be eternal condemned. And why did he say that? Because there were some people in that church teaching that a person must believe in Christ and be circumcised to be saved, and Paul says that that is a false gospel. In the same way, if a person teaches that a person must be baptised to be saved, that is a false gospel which will not save anyone.
This man admitted, "I have never really read the Bible much before", even though he has been in this 'church' for some 30 years. He said, "But my feelings tell me that what they are teaching is true". I cautioned him about how feelings are never the test for truth, as they can change based on whether we are healthy or sick, hungry or full, and instead we should check everything with the Bible to know whether it is true or not.
He agreed, and was thankful for the chat and said he would read the passages I recommended for him to read, including Romans 3 to 5 where Paul thoroughly explains how we are justified by faith alone and not by any works.
The rest of the night, there were further encouragements, with God bringing in 4 new labourers on the team. We had about 12 of us altogether, and the team mentioned that they had some fruitful conversations.
God is always so kind, to Him be the glory!
It was a beautiful and hot Brisbane day as we headed out to share the gospel in King George Square. We had a team of 7 and our mission was to make the most of the public holiday in order to proclaim Christ.
One early conversation was with an atheistic Muslim (I'll just let that sink in for a moment). This man argued that there is no God, and that Jesus didn't die on the cross... BUT... Allah will judge me and the Quran is true (try to work that out). It was clear that this Muslim man had researched his arguments, and he tried to make a case for the corruption of the Bible. I countered his claims by appealing to history, and even to Islamic theology. He seemed to be a bit shocked as I explained my case, and then presented the gospel to him. Yet, despite all that the man walked off saying Allah will judge me.
Shortly after this, I looked up and saw a man standing near us wearing a bright orange shirt, and holding up a sign. The sign promised that the end of the world was coming on 23 September 2017. I engaged him in conversation, and asked him how did he know that he was correct. The man replied by saying he learnt it from an American TV preacher, and that Revelation confirmed all this. We chatted for sometime, and the man conceded that he may be wrong, but at least people are repenting at the thought of judgement.
I stressed to this man the importance of being truthful in all our evangelism, as if we lie to people then they won't blame us, but rather they will blaspheme God (Romans 2) and not believe the Bible. No matter what I said, he kept saying that people needed to be warned about the coming rapture, microchips and the beginning of judgement on 21 August, and the final judgement on 23 September. He moved on after our discussion which was a blessing.
We get to see some really strange things on the street. Not only did we have a man declaring the end of the world, we then had two Christians stop who wanted to argue. One of them was wearing a hat saying, "The Earth is Flat!" Guess what he wanted to talk about! It turns out that these two young men were dispensational, conspiracy theorist, flat-earth believers. Everything was a grand scam to deceive the masses. Science, dinosaurs, people who believed the world is a sphere etc. were all considered 'friends of the world.' I tried to reason with them, and stressed to them the gospel.
They eventually admitted that those who hold to a round earth can be saved, and that salvation isn't by believing in a flat earth. It was clear they were looking to argue, so I bid them a good day and continued witnessing. It was shaping up to be an 'interesting' afternoon.
Finally, I had a heartbreaking conversation with an elderly man named Ken. This conversation was started by a lady named Ivy who attends the same church as I do. Ken is eighty years old, and a bit of a larrikin. He was a pleasure to speak to, but his rejection of Christ was truly sad. We presented the gospel to him, but he kept finding some excuse to reject Jesus. We shared with him plainly and encouraged him to read the Bible. He did agree to go home and read Isaiah 53. Please pray the Lord would speak to Him.
Even though conversations with people like Ken can be heart breaking, I take hope from the promise of Jesus in John 10:27-28, when Christ says that those who are sheep will hear His voice, and be given eternal life. I cannot save anyone, but I witness with the confidence that those whom Jesus calls sheep will come to faith.
Please pray for everyone we met today. May Christ bring many into His Kingdom. SDG!
Tonight the team had the privilege of serving their Saviour in bearing witness to Him in Queen St Mall, Brisbane.
The team interacted with quite a number of other Christians who were meandering through the mall on their Saturday night. It was a real encouragement to the team to have these Christians encourage them to press on and many of them said they were keen to consider sharing the gospel with people as they returned to their homes.
One person on the team got up to preach with the sketchboard and spoke about how humanity in an attempt to find true freedom, rejected the freedom they were given and replaced it with the illusion that we are in control. It was explained that this rejection of God and His design for us, earned us Hell but that God in His immense love, gave up His freedom and willingly became a servant, to suffer a cross kind of death, that we could have freedom from sin and judgement.
When the sermonette had finished a young man named Alex from the United Kingdom, who was in Brisbane for 1 day, came up to a team member to discuss about the Bible.
Alex had grown up in a Christian home, had studied Theology and Philosophy but as a result sat in the unknown. He wasn't sure he could trust the Bible and yet couldn't really argue against it.
He had many ideas and thoughts and a whole host of questions. As the conversation drew to a close Alex seemed less against God and more willing to submit to God's truth. So we suggested a local Church he could attend that was only 200m away from where he was staying the night. While explaining the service times, the pastor of that very church walked by.
The pastor and Alex were introduced to each other, which seems like God's sense of humour played out in providence. This was quite an exciting moment and the conversation continued a little after that.
Please pray that Alex would attend church tomorrow and that God by His Spirit will speak through His exposition of the Word, the very words of God, that Alex may for the first time understand the gospel and come to a surrendered faith in Christ. Please pray also for the many other people who the team had the pleasure to speak with about Christ and His saving work!