Hobart Team (TAS)
Meets every Tuesday and Friday afternoon 12-5pm at the Elizabeth Street Mall.
Contact David Gee for more information.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been blessed in the mall by the local Korean Church coming to preach the gospel. It was wonderful to see Hana, a missionary from South Korea, preaching the gospel in multiple different languages. My heart thrilled to see so many people from China stopping when they heard the gospel in their heart language.
The first day that Hana came into the mall to speak, there was a number of us in the mall supporting her including her husband, son and her senior pastor and his wife. This group was fantastic because a crowd always attracts a crowd and people gathered to listen.
Of course, when this happens there is always counter moves by the enemy. Who should turn up in the midst of things, but Mr S. my old heckler and another repeat heckler. Mr S. immediately went on the attack with all sorts of slander and demands that I answer his questions. In one way I was pleased, he left the gospel preaching alone and targeted me (which I duly ignored). At the same time, it was very sad to see the hardening that has been taking place in Mr S.’s life. At one point the other heckler exposed herself at me and the other Christians present and Mr S. was not even troubled by this. It appears that despite years of hearing Christians proclaim the gospel he has only hardened his heart in rejection of God and embrace of sin. Please persist in praying for Mr S. he is lost in the darkness of sin.
Despite some small opposition there have been a number of great conversations happening also.
Mr SA – he was listening as I preached and came over to chat after Keiran approached him. His was a very sad story of alcoholism and estrangement from family. He had liked my bad jokes about the coming football grand finale, but as an atheist disagreed with the message of the gospel. He liked us as Christians and was happy for us to believe and speak on faith, but sadly believed he could not have faith in or help from God due to his demons and sin. We offered to pray with him but he would not let us. He left and we prayed for him afterwards and will continue to pray for him.
Miss S – she had stopped by another day while I preached and spoken at length with Keiran. She is a nurse in training and a Christian, and was very happy to see the gospel being proclaimed in the mall. Keiran had encouraged her to be faithful to God in her studies and work. She came after we finished talking to Mr SA, and was wanting us to pray for her to have greater faith. We talked about how powerful God is and Jesus who has her in His hand, and encouraged her to look at Him not at how small her faith might seem. We all prayed together that God would strengthen her faith in Him (and ours too!).
Mr T. – he had listened as I preached and came up to ask a number of questions. The biggest was “How do I reconcile the existence of evil and the goodness and power of God”? Five others gathered to listen to the discussion which lasted for almost an hour. There were many opportunities to point people to God and the Bible and provide good reasons to trust in Jesus. At all points Mr T. was very polite and the discussion went back and forth smoothly. It was a joy to share these things with people engaging openly with what the word says.
Praise God for all His goodness to us!
As the days in Hobart warm up people are becoming more likely to heckle the preaching in the mall. Praise God this brings people in to listen and the many good conversations have continued afterwards and there are many opportunities to share the gospel.
Recently there was a climate change protest/strike by students, unfortunately on this occasion there was much anger in the teens that gathered in the mall after the march. So many of these young people are fearful and confused by what is happening around them. Tragically they have been taught climate activism but also rejection of God who gives us the planet we call home and are commanded to care for. This overflowed in anger at the gospel being preached publicly.
One group of young men repeatedly swore at me as I preached and told me that no-one was listening. When this didn’t appear to be working, they began to make threats but thankfully left before anything happened. As this is so often is the case, anger is the go-to option for people who are badly scared. These young men were very scared of the future and climate threats and so their anger was natural. God save them and us all from wicked people who frighten children into protests to achieve what they can’t with normal persuasion.
As I continued preaching a young man who has stopped before to heckle came. My heart breaks for him, I continue to pray for him, he is lost in the darkness. He claims to be both a sociopath and an atheist. As had been the case last time he came to heckle again. He came trying to disprove God. He came with as many arguments as he could find. He came with pride like armour around his heart and mind. He came, unwilling to listen to any reason or persuasion to trust Christ, leaping on any excuse for unbelief. As I said, my heart breaks for him, I tried to move him to see all the evidence for God and Christ Jesus. I preached the gospel but I fear in vain, I just pray that God will soften his heart.
While this was happening the group of young men returned and surrounded me making threats and trying to disrupt the preaching. After a few short interactions it became clear that they were only seeking to “troll the preacher”. So, told them that I would preach over them if they were unwilling to be civil. As I continued preaching the police arrived and the young men quickly took off. Praise God He looks after me so often.
The rest of the afternoon was similarly tense with other teens likewise aggressive and threatening. It is tempting to think that all the outreach was a waste, casting pearls before swine. That would be forgetting to look around the people at the front of the crowd and see the large number of people listening behind them. There is always a double crowd in the mall. The questions and answers and heckles and responses and gospel preached goes through one ear and out the other of some hecklers, true, but it then hits the hearts and minds of more responsive people behind them! God’s Word never returns to Him without achieving His purpose in any situation. Praise Him there is always many who “overhear” the word preached or discussed.
It was good to be in the mall this afternoon in Hobart and even better to have other Christians join me in prayer for the city before we began the outreach. We prayed as we have so often that God would give us the right words to reach out to the people and that the Holy Spirit would act to prepare the hearts of the people for the word.
The afternoon went well with a number of regular visitors coming to talk. It was good to see Mr B again who stayed to listen for the whole time we were in the mall. He has been struggling for some time and while some things have improved in his difficult life, recent loss of his job is making things difficult for him. We prayed together for him at the end of the afternoon. Please pray that God will heal his wounds and give him a job to work in and most of all that God will grant him salvation.
Mr O. also dropped by with an interesting question; what does God think of street art? It seems that there is a new set of artworks (as distinct from graffiti) that have gone up in Hobart CBD. I responded that God obviously would be offended by blasphemous art of any kind, but otherwise the Bible does not give us any clear guidance regarding art. Art that draws us upward to consider the great things God has done and show the beauty of creation are obviously of greater worth than the doodles that are sometimes call “art” today. We chatted a little more and then Mr O. left with a wave and a smile.
During the preaching today Mr J. came and interacted with me for a long period. He disagrees with Christianity and the Bible’s teaching, but praise God he believes that we should be civil in disagreement and everyone is entitled to their own perspective. I was grateful that this young man understood one of the underpinning values of healthy society; the need to disagree without angst. If only some of his “elders and betters” could only learn this lesson!
I was discussing evolution when Mr J. came up and when I asked him what he thought of what I was saying he asked a question about God and suffering. How can a good God coexist with suffering? In particular he was thinking of the tragic loss of his Grandfather and the trauma of being threatened at gun point as a child. I discussed the paradox of God and suffering in two ways with Mr J. Firstly, I said that the question under the philosophical one is one of care: Does God care about our suffering? Does God just leave us to suffer or does he do something about it? To this I pointed to Jesus, the Son of God, God in flesh, who came to live, suffer, and die for the sake of sinful people. God cares about us, He cares about our suffering. So much so that he came to share in it and redeem us from it and from death. Secondly, I said that the philosophical question is one of evidence. Baldly put, is God even there? To this I pointed to the amazing world we live in and the mountains of evidence that points us to God being our maker and the sustainer of all life. No reasonable person could deny God has given us more than enough evidence.
At this we went to discuss evolution and the counter claims of that theory regarding fossils and change in animals and people. But the discussion didn’t last for long, there was something bigger that Mr J. wanted to discuss: What did I think of abortion? My initial response was that everything we know from ultrasound and intrauterine surgery indicates that the occupier of the womb is a living person with independent responses and desires. As such any living human person needs to be protected where-ever they are found. No argument can justify the premeditated taking of a human life because of the “right to choose” of another. Mr J. brought forward a number of normal objections that support the pro-choice perspective, for example; impact on the mother’s outlook on life, the mother not being ready, severely disabled children and threat to the life of the mother. Interestingly when pressed on these issues none of them stood up to the consideration of if it was ok then to take a human life.
We discussed for a long while and one particular point that appeared to move him was the consideration of if he as a man had a say in what happened to a baby carried by another. It was the consideration of impact on him as a family member. He would be mourning if he lost a sibling, niece or nephew, a child, or grandchild, because they were part of his family. In the same way any baby he sired would be his family when it was in the womb. Men should be intimately involved in the love, nurture, protection and support of their families. This is no different before they are born.
Ultimately Mr J. left saying that we were unlikely to make him a Christian. I asked him to simple think on these things. I am happy to leave the rest to God, we cannot change people, but He is more than able to change human hearts and minds.
Praise God for all the wonderful opportunities He gives.
Some flowers will only grow in the most unlikely of places, the orchid is found growing in the smallest of niches with tiny amounts of soil on cliffs and tree limbs. Likewise, God gives us times when there is precious little happening (it seems) to produce some blessed opportunities that would not blossom in the busy “successful” times.
Winter is the slow period here in Hobart, many people finding shelter from the rain and cold indoors. They are not interested in conversations in the mall in the cold. Yet in the midst of the cold and the rain that comes and goes there has been a wonderful collection of conversations that we have been blessed with in the Mall! God is truly generous with His unworthy Tasmanian servants.
Over the last month there has been a wonderful collection of discussions
They approached me after preaching in the afternoon and wanted to talk. It quickly came out that while she was a devout Roman Catholic, he was an agnostic and leaned towards atheism. He was very keen to discuss things and wanted to discuss evidence for God or the lack there of. Our discussion was far ranging but I could see that he had a good understanding of Christian apologetics and many of the arguments I raised he had encountered before. We discussed science and history mostly but there was again and again a point that I reach with atheists and agnostics; skepticism is so strong that evidence doesn’t seem to move them. At this point I asked him “If these things are not convincing for you, what would it take to convince you?
His response was that he would need to see it himself or as it was ~2000 years ago, an eyewitness account that was trustworthily preserved giving extra-ordinary evidence that could only be explained by God acting in history. In all honesty I told him that that is roughly what most people need to be convinced too. From there I related the experiences of Lee Strobel, once also an atheist/agnostic and compelled to find out if there is truth to the claims of Christ. As I shared Lee’s story, I also recommended this extraordinary young man to get the book “The Case For Christ” and read it for himself. We parted ways but I hope to see him and his girlfriend again in the future to continue the discussion
While I was handing out tracts on a street corner Mr A stopped and encouraged me. He said that he had seen me preaching a Speaker’s corner many times and the hecklers who come. Mr A said to ignore the nay-sayers and hecklers, that they had no idea what they were talking about. I thanked him and asked about his story. He was a Christian of many years and a Physicist (which added weight to his comment about the lack of scientific knowledge of hecklers). He had come to Christ at university, having been confronted with an occultist who did things that where physically impossible before his eyes. This encounter with malignant spirituality had sent him on a search for God and ended with faith in Christ.
We spoke together of the craziness of the western world and the instability of the times and the wars and rumours of wars. We praised God that we have security in Him regardless of Australia’s sin and regardless of the warmongers of the world. We also talked about the many evidences for God that I have seen in biology and he has seen in physics. He encouraged me again to keep on with the work.
There have been many others over these last weeks and I often find myself unable to preach with all the enquirers, praise God for the winter months.
Praise God for all His grace!
Over the last two Fridays a group of Hobart locals and I have been witnessing at the mid-winter festival of Dark Mofo. There was so much to be grateful for in these last two weeks. Firstly, there is literally a boat load of spiritually seeking people who come to Hobart to attend the festival. Secondly, we have freedom to reach out on the streets of Hobart (despite what some of the security and Dark Mofo staff believe). Lastly and most importantly, God is moving His people to respond to the spiritual darkness this festival.
Over the course of the two weeks we have handed out many tracts, as always it is a joy to see people tucking them into pockets and bags or reading them to their friends as they walk. While there were less given out than in other years, I am sure God multiplies each tract’s impact many-fold. I have heard many times of people picking up tracts that other’s have dropped and reading them. Even so-called trash witnesses that Jesus saves!
Also there have been many people all over Hobart praying for our outreach. Thank you to all of you and your comments of support and encouragement. It means a lot to those who go to know you are on your knees before God on our behalf.
During the evenings there were a number of great conversations that happened. As in all things the Lord gives some people great gifts in certain areas. Both Karl and Gideon are people who can start a conversation within minutes of trying to hand out tracts. It seemed every time I turned around; they were deep in gospel conversation yet again!
I was also blessed with some good conversations over the two nights, two of them particularly stand out to me:
Two young guys: They stopped to ask “what’s this?” when I handed them a “You may not have tomorrow” tract. I explained that it was talking about life after death and God and Jesus. Still not satisfied they wanted to know more so we began to talk through the good person test. One of them said he was a good guy, the other said he was a bad guy and had done evil things. I took them through the law of God to show them what God thinks of their deeds (and mine). All of us had failed to keep God’s law in regard to lies, blasphemy and hatred (which is murder in God’s eyes).
I asked them what would that mean for them if they were to die? They said it would mean hell for them both. At this I encouraged them to consider what Jesus said about hell, the darkness, in the fire, alone, surrounded by the screams and moans of others under judgement. All this was made to seem imminent indeed with the belches of fire from the iron pyramids standing in the dark behind us at the festival entrance. I then walked them through what Jesus has done on the cross and the free offer of salvation for all who trust in Him. Each of them took a tract and I hope that I’ll see them around in Hobart again. Please God, save them from hell and death!
Mr A. : We had a long conversation started with the simple question, “I’m a Christian, but what do you think comes after this life?”. Mr A. shared his perspective on the Bible, God and Jesus. Many of the things he said we differed on but one thing there was quite clear agreement in in our discussion: God is real and there is no excuse that will do away with that reality. I enjoyed talking with Mr A and there were both serious and light hearted moments in the mix. We both share a delight in both Tolkien’s and CS Lewis’s fantasies. Towards the end of the discussion Mr A. commented that the Bible should be more frequently presented in the way that those authors wrote about Biblical truth. There is a lot of truth in that and I pray that God will use those authors to the salvation of Mr A and the many others like him!
And so, in the midst of the darkness, fire, weirdness, and perversity of Dark Mofo there were many things to be grateful for. I pray that some of those that walked away into the night were walking towards the light as God draws them to faith in Christ.
Praise to the Father of lights from whom all blessings flow!
Over the next two weeks there will be a team heading out into Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival with the Gospel. We will be preaching, handing out literature and engaging with the spiritual seekers that frequent the festival.
Please be in prayer for us during this time, it is a celebration of all that is dark and there is much of the demonic that is explicitly invited into its festivities.
Any Gospel minded Christians who are Hobart locals (or not so local) and keen to join the outreach please contact me via the website.
The cold weather has continued this last couple of weeks and while it means that some people stay away (mercifully it seems that we have warm weather opponents down here), there have been some great discussions and debates.
Time and again I am struck by the reality that appearances can be deceiving. I am often surprised by the people that respond to the outreach in Hobart CBD. Some that are very young will ably argue their case with grace and wisdom, whilst others who are twice their age and their so-called elders and betters cannot even manage rational discussion for 5 minutes. But likewise, there is zeal and passion to spare in some folks much older than I, when it is hard to get much more than a “meh” out of some 25-year-olds. People that look rough around the edges and very belligerent walk close by to murmur “keep preaching brother”, yet someone in a high-priced suit will spew foul language and threaten violence if the Gospel is preached any longer.
God is good and patient with me as always and continues to teach me to take people as they are and behave not based on how they appear. And likewise, He is teaching me to pray for people consistently, I have watched numerous blessed examples of people changed by the Gospel from violently opposed to loving and following the savior.
Some of the discussions we have had this last week:
Mr C. is a Buddhist and looking to go to Nepal to meditate, study and seek enlightenment for the next couple of months. He and I have discussed issues of faith and particularly the Bible many times before. It was good to see him again and have a chance to speak with him again. We both talked about the perspective of our respective faiths and there was a little debating back and forth. At the end I wished him a safe journey and hope that he is found by Christ on his journey of discovery.
Miss M. grew up in a theologically liberal Church and we talked for more than an hour about what the Bible has to say, what my Church teaches, what her family’s Church taught and what each represents. It was wonderful to be able to talk at length with someone who was obviously thinking deeply about these things. I encouraged her into the three most important Christian disciplines: Prayer, Bible study, and attending a faithful Church.
Mr Blue Coat came up whilst I was preaching and began to debate the Bible and science. There were many points back and forth; during the debate I attempted to show that atheists just like Christians believe the following: the universe was created from nothing (big bang), life’s beginnings are an inexplicable miracle (abiogenesis), that there is structure and purpose in the world, and that there is morality and dignity inherent in all people. Having shown this (only in part I’m sure) I then pointed out that having no cause for any of these makes atheism a much less rational and more credulous option than Christianity that has a transcendent supernatural moral personal cause for all this. I urged him to consider these things and the almost shocking lack of support for atheism. I urged Mr Blue Coat and the others who had gathered to listen to put their trust in Jesus Christ who orders all of life and transforms our search for meaning, origin, and destiny.
Mr C. came after I had finished preaching and asked a perennial question, why do you do this? It is a question that I have answered before. It leads me to think of the thousands running headlong into hell, of the debauched dancing in the darkness as the demons gather, of the thoughtless sleeping as their spiritual house burns around them, of the rebels raging against the only one who truly loves, of sinners with soul cancer and no knowledge of the cure.
I think of these and the fact that many of them would never darken the door of a church. Then I ask, how can you not speak the gospel every chance you get?
Praise to Jesus Christ our Saviour who calls us out of darkness!
The weather in Hobart is turning cold and the leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter. Also, the foul festival, Dark Mofo is looming large in the minds of Tasmanians. Yet in the midst of the gathering darkness there are many opportunities God gives us to speak for Him in Hobart.
This week there where many chances to preach the Gospel and read His word at Speaker’s corner. Hopefully this was a God honoring contrast to the angry atheist who preached on Monday. He was urging people to be good to the poor (which we should), be kind to each other (which we should), and to join the revolution (which we…. wait, sorry what?). He was very angry and swearing about how the poor and outcast are treated. Every Christian gives hearty agreement to caring for the poor and outcast, God loves and gives dignity to all as His creatures, so we should too. Unfortunately, this atheist was also urging people to walk away from God and be part of an atheistic revolution of some kind.
No-one who has ever tried consistently to do good to people would say it is easy. And I would say from scripture that without the Spirit of God in us it is impossible to truly love and be kind. Unfortunately, this is far too common today, atheists assuming that the morality they have arrived in a vacuum or from themselves. Something there is no evidence for and plenty of evidence against. They want to urge the behavior which is good and at the self-same time argue to do away with the foundation for morality, a transcendent loving law giver.
I hope and pray that people would see the difference between the bad behavior and foul language of this and other atheists who frequent Speaker’s Corner; and the many different Christians who have come in love and spoken of God’s love.
I also had two good conversations this afternoon one with Mr D. and the other with a semi-regular visitor Mr F.
Mr D. came up and spoke to me after I finished preaching and asked me to speak about his mother. From the start it was clear that Mr D. was very drunk so I only hope and pray that some of what I said to him stayed with him. As we talked Mr D.’s very sad story came out. He’d lost his mother to a stroke or heart attack and then had the heart wrenching experience of losing his nephew to suicide and his brother also. He was very sad and very lonely and deeply missed his family. We prayed together and I asked that God would heal his wounds and give him peace. I then spoke with him about his drinking, urging him to give up the alcohol that was slowly but surely killing him. He was very concerned to honour his mother and so I encouraged him to give up the drink because his drunkenness dishonors his family, his mother and God. As he left, he thanked me and I pray that God will fill his soul with Christ’s love and save him.
Later in the day Mr F. walked by as I was handing out tracts. He and I have discussed many things over the years and I have always appreciated his keen mind, and the rapid-fire discussions we have had. Today we were speaking about freedom of speech and a comment about communism turned out discussion to the teachings of Marx. Mr F. and I discussed the different aspects of communism and the teachings of Marx for quite some time and challenged each other’s point of view. I certainly learnt something about communism and I hope that Mr F. went away with something to think on regarding Christ. As always it was good to talk with him and we shook hands and parted smiling.
These two conversations left me with the important lesson, compassionate listening is vital to sharing the gospel. Both these men are precious people made in the image of God and hearing what they have to say as well as sharing the message of the Gospel is important. Please pray for me and all those who share the gospel in Hobart, that we would be listening as well as we speak, and that we would speak only to the glory of God!
Praise His Name!
It has been a hard couple of weeks in Hobart. As many of you may know Tasmania is very keen on LGBTI issues and there is a lot of zeal for all things LGBTI. Since it is election time and since the advent of the Israel Folau witch hunt people have become quite sensitive. Israel is an object lesson for anyone who considers anti-discrimination law benign and modern “inclusion” policies as a protection for all. In the same way, my experiences here in Hobart are a parable of what is coming on our nation.
In this last two weeks I have been assaulted, spat at, physically intimidated, threatened, screamed at, and given a death threat. If you missed that read it again and reflect on this, the people who did this claim to represent “love is love”, “inclusion”, “diversity”, “tolerance” and “equality”. Yes, these things were all done by people identifying as LGBTI or an LGBTI supporter.
My aim, as all my brothers and sisters in Operation 513, is to share the gospel. That is why we go out to the streets week after week. I do not hate or particularly target any one group, rather I speak to the issues of the day and seek to use them to turn people to Jesus in faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to unsaved sinners and when it is preached there is a (sometimes violent) rejection that naturally comes to the fallen human heart. We all accept that there are people who will oppose the gospel being preached, Satan hates this work so no surprise. But our Lord told us to follow Him and go preach the gospel, after we have counted the cost.
So, in the midst of all the good things that are happening in Hobart I would ask you please dear reader to pray for safety and grace from God to face these hard things with calm and joy in our hearts.
And there are many good things happening in Hobart! God is good and there have been many wonderful opportunities and blessings. Not least of these I am not injured and the police intervened to limit one of the incidents. Praise God for that!
On Friday this week I was getting set up and noticed a group of young women loitering around the area looking at me frequently. Looking at their climate signs I could see that they were part of the strike for climate change movement, so I began to read from Genesis and speak of the need to care for the world that God had given us and each other. I pointed out that we fail in obeying God’s commands now just like our first parents Adam and Eve. We do not love God as God, nor our neighbours as ourselves, nor care for and keep the world as we should.
These discussions were welcomed by the young women but a couple of them were busting to ask a question: “What does God think of lesbians?”. To answer I took them to three parts of God’s word. Firstly, Genesis teaches that all women area made to reflect the image of God, therefore lesbians too are precious feminine image bearers. Secondly, the Law of God teaches that all sex outside of faithful heterosexual marriage is sinful and deserving of death and hell, lesbians therefore by their sinful actions are under God’s judgement. Lastly, the whole of the new testament teaches that all types of sinful people can be saved from judgement through repentance and faith in Jesus, lesbians then can be saved through faith in Jesus.
So, to summarise; lesbians are precious people made in God’s image, they are marred by sin and under God’s judgement, yet they are able to be saved through repentant faith in Jesus Christ.
This discussion then led to a long discussion with these and a whole series of other teens around many different questions. The questions were many and varied including: How can we know the Bible is trustworthy? What about Dinosaurs? Are you saying atheists can’t be moral? What about dating of fossils – they’re older than the timeline of Bible? Historical sources can’t be trusted, can they? What about climate change?
Through all these things I tried to give both gospel and answers. Answers to questions are good and they may help people accept the gospel. Ultimately though, it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation for all who believe.
Later in the day I was preaching on the offensiveness of the gospel of salvation and our need to be disturbed, shaken awake, and shown our spiritual danger. During this a young lady came up who wanted to speak to me. She believed that she was a homosexual transgender man, and due to the things I have said in the past she apparently felt “rage” whenever she saw me. She believed that I should not be allowed to speak as I do and say the things I do because they are so hurtful and discriminatory. She was happy in her identity and did not want me to disturb her comfort in this regard.
I responded that I dearly wanted her and all people to be disturbed and change their identification and who they naturally are. We are all people who naturally do what is morally wrong and have frequent cause for regret due to the things we do (me also!). Our consciences and God’s law tell us that we desperately need change, that there is eternal consequences if we don’t, yet we lack the desire and/or power to do so. God offers to come and change us through Jesus Christ, first to declare us not guilty before Him by grace through faith, then to make us holy through His Holy Spirit, then to take us to heaven to be permanently free of the disease of sin which is our natural birthright.
To round out these good things, I had a great discussion with Mr L and his friend. He has been coming to listen for a period and has even stood up for me a couple of times when others are being quite unfair in debate. He is an agnostic and very open to hearing other perspectives. Because of this he is very keen to see more public discussions occur in the mall and thanked me for the Christian manner that I have behaved in the past. Please God impact these young men for Christ through what they hear. I encouraged Mr L to consider some of the evidence for God that is easily available for those that are willing to look. We shook hands and parted ways smiling.
So, in the midst of difficulties there is always good things that the Lord is doing.
Oh Lord God almighty, please keep our eyes on you in trying times, be our comfort and our joy. Amen!
My Church here in Hobart is moving buildings (please pray that we will find somewhere soon) and the office has also been moved. This has meant a loss of the Bible table and preaching crate for the mall temporarily as we reorganize things. And so there has had to be a change to the outreach in the Hobart mall.
I have spent the last couple of days preaching and reading through the Bible many times through the afternoon and then afterwards speaking to those who gathered. It has been an invigorating change but challenging too. Please pray that God will allow me to speak without too much wear and tear on my voice.
Today I began by reading from Luke 11: 1-26. At the end of this I reflected on the truth of Jesus’s words when it comes to nations. Truly the evil that Christianity drives out returns manifold when Christianity is removed from a nation.
Many of the good things we currently enjoy in Australia (a desire for equality of races and sexes, the rule of law, fair work laws, the value of life, the rights of the weak and poor etc.) have come from our Christian heritage. (On this issue a book worth reading is “The Book That Made Your World” by Vishal Mangalwadi.) Secular activists in Australia are determined to dismantle Christianity, or if that is not possible, then to marginalize Christians so far that they are force into a closet. In this they hope to get the fruit of Christianity without the God that gives the fruit or His people who produce it. If the secularists succeed, we are sure to face the return of many dark, destructive and perverse things from the pagan past as we see the loss of Christian influence.
I finished by appealing to people to come in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ. During this there were multiple people who gathered to listen.
After a short break I read from Romans 1-3, at the end of the passage I was interrupted by heckler who claimed that there is no evidence for God. We discussed back and forth for a period and despite being given multiple evidences he scoffed and deigned the existence of God again. He also protested that there is injustice on God’s part because of suffering if God is real. This is a difficult question for the Christian, why is suffering part of our good God’s plans for the world? But even more difficult is the position of the atheist (like the heckler). For if atheism is true then the universe is indifferent and those who suffer will never see justice, and we are left with an intolerable world that our hearts and minds revolt at. In every way I would rather live with the paradox of our good God and the presence of suffering than give in for a second to the sterile injustice of the atheistic understanding of the universe.
After this discussion I was encouraged by a young Christian couple who were enthused by street preaching in Hobart. Also, Ms M. also stopped by for a short chat it was good to see her again after some time away. Her girlfriend was away today but hopefully they both will be back again soon to chat and hear the gospel as they have in the past.
At the end of the day I read from Genesis 1-3 and was planning to preach further from there but again was stopped by a heckler. This man was more agnostic than atheistic but also felt that God and the Bible were not really trustworthy. One of his reasons was that there is no mention in the Bible of Australia and the animals of Australia. There are many things not mentioned in the Bible, as a book mainly focused on God’s dealings with Israel this should not surprise us. As systematic theologians say – whatever the Bible says it speaks with absolute authority, but it does not speak of all things. I spoke with him for some time but at the end he left saying that God would have to accept him anyway because he was a good man.
This became a springboard to the gospel and I then preached on the need to be made right in Jesus through faith rather than walking the road of self-sufficiency and pride. I shared the great need that we all have to be forgiven and the great weight of our sin and the even greater savior who waits to make us clean if we come to him in faith.
Afterwards there were some Christian young ladies who came to thank me for speaking, one of them said she could not do what I do. I said “me too!”, no-one is able to do the work of outreach alone, this work is God’s work and all credit for it goes to Him.
Praise God for His awesome grace and kindness to us!