Woodridge Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Tuesday afternoon at the Woodridge train-bus interchange on Station Rd.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge there was a team of four out but that was enough to cover the area well but as they say, there is always room for more. The afternoon was then filled with many conversations, proclaiming Christ to the lost people of this world.
The first conversation was a good reminder that the gospel is central. There was a Muslim and Aboriginal who engaged and were shown their guilt through God's law. They were both shown God's existence with the building builder analogy but they tried over and over to try and change the topic every time the question was raised, So how can you be made right before God?
These guys tried to attack the reliability of the Bible. They tried to attack the actions of Christians in the past. They tried to attack Jesus' resurrection. They were constantly bought back to the real question at hand, how can a sinner be forgiven but all they had to offer was, "try and be better and hope that's enough". Sadly they were too proud and too unwilling to listen to hear what God has done to save sinners and as a result they walked away condemned without any hope of forgiveness.
Tina was approached a little while later. She had was from New Zealand and had some simple understanding but hadn't understood the gospel. She was taken through the law and the gospel and came to understand who Jesus was, why He had to die and how she can be forgiven. She was encouraged to read the gospel of John to know more about the Christ and to trust in Him.
A sad conversation following this was with a lady who at first said there was no God, then saw that there was one. Then was shown that she was guilty via God's law and tried to argue that she wasn't that bad and then when pointed to Christ as the only hope declared that she didn't need Jesus because she would save herself.
There were also two conversations with people who attend local churches and yet had no idea of the way to Heaven. One man walked past and he was asked, "What will happen to you after you die?" To which he responded that he was going to Heaven. When asked what was going to get him there he said, "My Church". He was challenged on that, "Churches don't get people into Heaven. What are you trusting in to pay for your sin so that you can go to Heaven?" He again responded, "My Church". He was challenged a third time but instead of answering he attacked the team, "I know who you guys are and what you preach is wrong". Sadly he didn't get to stop and chat to come and understand that the gospel is Jesus oriented, not church based.
This was followed by a lady who when asked the same question said, "Don't worry, I'm good, I go to ... Church". This was followed by asking, "So what are you trusting in to get you to Heaven?" to which she responded, "I'm not really sure". In the space of a few minutes, two church goers, both in their mid forties, who had been in the church for a while had no ability to share what they are trusting in to get them to Heaven.
It was a sad reminder that even in the churches we attend there are surely people who have attended for years who do not know how a sinner can be forgiven. Maybe make that your goal, not just to look out for new people when they arrive at your Church but start asking people some simple questions like, "Why do you think God should let you into Heaven?" or "How did you become a Christian?" and find out what they are trusting in to save them and maybe even help them understand the gospel for the first time!
Please also be praying for those who heard the gospel on Tuesday that God would be at work in their hearts that they would not forget the simple message of hope but rather trust in Christ, the savior of sinners!
Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge, was filled with many conversations. There were five team members out and a surprisingly hot sun and God was at work in the midst of it all.
The first conversation of the afternoon took place with Cheryl and her elderly mother and it was beautiful to see God's providence on display. Cheryl was interested to listen and was seeking to engage in the gospel conversation but her mother on the other hand was a lapsed JW who still believed their falsehoods. It was a struggle to get through the law and to the gospel as the mother kept trying to interrupt with different JW arguments about things. These were mostly palmed off and the tract to explaining the good news was taken. But it was getting harder and harder, then God in His providence sent the mother a phone call which took her attention for the next few minutes.
This enabled the daughter to hear in simplicity the desperate state humanity is in that each one of us deserve and eternity in Hell for our sin and therefore that the only thing that can solve this is if God Himself does something in order to save sinners. As she was hearing about what God had done her mother got off the phone and started interrupting again but it wasn't even thirty seconds before another phone call came in taking her away again.
In this moments that followed for the first time in her life Cheryl understood what repentance is, that it isn't "cleaning up your life", "stopping sinning" or "asking for forgiveness" but rather a simple change of mind about who God is and what sin is. It was pointed out that this repentance will always result in a changed life of actions but those actions aren't what saves us and nor is repentance. Rather, one is saved on the basis of accepting God's gift of salvation, through trusting that Jesus paid for their sin on the cross. Cheryl was speechless, she almost couldn't believe how simple and beautiful it was.
There wasn't any time for checking questions to give her a deeper understanding of the gospel but it was amazing that God had opened her eyes to the truth despite many years of confusion from the contradictory and works based ideas she'd grown up in.
There were a range of other exciting conversations where people came to comprehend the gospel for the first time but one that was wonderful was with a lady named Moana. She had some Christianity in her background but had basically just lived as though she was in charge. She saw that God exists via the building's need a builder analogy. She saw that she was in trouble via God's law and Holy standard and therefore was taken through a simple explanation of why Christ alone and His sacrifice can save a sinner.
She was then shown that this gift of forgiveness, purchased by Christ is on offer and to those who trust in Him they will receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. In the next few minutes Moana came to comprehend that it was nothing to do with ones good works that saves a sinner but rather simply by trusting in Christ. She even came to understand that it isn't trusting in Jesus, then living a good life that makes someone right before God, rather that it is simply trusting in what Jesus did.
She then was able to understand that the changed life of good works that a Christian lives is a result of the salvation provided by Christ, not a requirement to receive it. At the moment Moana seemed to comprehend it all, her bus arrived. God had enabled her to come to a simple understanding of the essential truth of how someone is made right before God and what role our works play in that.
Please raise Cheryl and Moana up before God that they would not just comprehend the offer of forgiveness but that they would in whole-hearted surrender, trust in Christ for their forgiveness and be forever changed, wanting to know God, to be known by God and to make Him known!
On Tuesday at Woodridge a team of five made it out and God in His providence enabled many encouraging conversations to take place. Over the many conversations the team has had they have slowly become more efficient at articulating the gospel in a way that makes sense and is simple to understand. In each encounter the aim is not simply to get the gospel out of our mouths but to take the person being spoken to on a journey from where they currently are to a place where they understand what Jesus had to say. Although the team is not perfect it is very encouraging to see that more and more people, in the frame of a short conversation are understanding the gospel.
During the afternoon there were many conversations that took place but of the last five conversations (with seven people), five understood the gospel!
Firstly was a conversation with Nellem. He attends a local church around once a month with his family but thought it was goodness that gets someone into Heaven. Over the short conversation Nellem came to understand that anyone being judged on their life will not make it into Heaven as everyone is a sinner and God's entry requirement for Heaven is perfection. But Nellem then came to comprehend the simple gospel! He was able to not to copy back the phrase, "trust that Jesus has paid for you sin" but was able to answer questions that challenged his comprehension!
He was challenged to read John's gospel and to count the cost of trusting in Christ today!
Next was a short conversation with Brandi who did seem all with it and despite best efforts she didn't come to hear the gospel as she wanted to raise other topics. She was shown God's law and her guilt and was given a tract and encouraged to take a read as she ran off to the train.
Soon after Kiana was approached. From the way she was dressed it was assumed that she was a Muslim and it turns out that she isn't. Which was a good reminder not to assume. In the beginning of the conversation the law was briefly touched on but not as in depth as usual, which in some ways was a mistake but thankful God is gracious and there was a chance for her to be challenged by it at the end of the conversation.
Kiana was taken very smoothly through the gospel. Question by question, thought by thought she followed along, comprehending how it all fits together and at the end was able to answer checking questions correctly! She understood that one can be justified by faith in Christ alone! But when asked, "When will you trust in Jesus?" She answered, "I don't know if I need to, I'm not that bad," to which she was pointed out that we are that bad. She then said, "Well what have I done wrong?"
God's law was used to reveal sin and Kiana came to understand that today if she died and was given justice for how she'd lived she'd be sent to Hell for eternity but at the very same time, God's offer of forgiveness stands that she can receive through faith in Christ! She then popped out with a question about the deity of Christ which was partially answered but she had to leave before it could be fleshed out a little further.
Next Meredith was approached and she had a Christian background, in fact she'd attended a local Church for almost ten years and had little to no understanding of the gospel. But through the simple question and answer style communication for the first time Meredith comprehended the gospel of grace that sinners can be saved by faith in Christ alone and then out of gratefulness to God for saving them they will happily serve Him all their days!
Lastly three workers, Fitu, Mark and Levi came out of the train station and were stopped with the question, "What do you think will happen to you after you die?" with a mixture of responses, the law was used to reveal sin, the gospel was preached as the solution for sinners and when the checking questions were asked Fitu was on the money, he understood the gospel straight away! Mark was a bit slower but seemed to also understand and Levi struggled a bit. The guys ended up having to leave without too much discussion after that but Fitu continued the conversation with them as they left.
What a wonderful day of outreach where many people were spoken to and by God's mercy came to understand how someone can be made right before God. Please be praying for those who now understand the gospel that they will come to trust in Christ and receive forgiveness of sin and will as a result start attending a local church, reading their Bible and telling others of this kind Saviour!
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge the team of five took the time to preach Christ to those who are perishing. The afternoon was quieter than usual, most likely because of the threatening clouds but there was still enough foot traffic to be able to share the gospel with people continually over the afternoon.
It is always sad when the team runs into professing Christians who are trusting in their goodness to gain them entrance into Heaven. This was the case with Eileen who stopped by early in the afternoon. She was trying really hard to show that she was good enough to get into Heaven but was shown God's law clearly as well as a few other things the Bible has to say about human attempts at gaining God's favour. She was shown her inability and was pointed to Christ's ability to save. The gospel and its response was explained but she didn't seem to understand it and her bus arrived. She took a tract and was encouraged to read it.
Next was a conversation with Ally, who was surprisingly open. She had a few ideas of her own but admitted that it was mostly guesses and she really wasn't sure about it all. She was shown God's law and came to understand that sinners deserve Hell and as the questions about Easter weekend and its relevance to Christianity were raised her train arrived and she had to run off. She too took a tract.
An exciting conversation was had with Daniel who once was a JW and had left but for the first time came to understand the gospel and was challenged to trust Christ. He had struggled with religion ever since he had left the JW organisation but seemed positive towards the gospel and said he would have to consider it. The importance of not just putting it off was stressed as none of us know if we have tomorrow. Dan was able to explain back how someone can be forgiven and therefore was encouraged to think about it today.
Among other conversations there was a young man who understood the gospel already and had just recently moved to the area and was encouraged to find a local Church. There was a man who was interested in hearing the gospel so waited till the very last moment before running to his train and a young man who struggled to comprehend the gospel but was happy to take a tract.
The last conversation of the afternoon though was with Mediana. She thought she was good enough to get to Heaven but by the law saw that she had failed and saw the bad news that humanity deserves Hell. She said, "Oh that means we're all headed for Hell," with sadness on her face. The response was given, "Yes, we are. Do you know what God has done so that we don't have to go there?" She wasn't sure but her uber arrived so she had to run off but she took a tract and said she'd read it.
Please be praying for those who heard the bad or good news this afternoon that they would come to Christ, the gracious King, who offers forgiveness purchased by his own life!
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge there was a team of six out again! Praise God for raising up labourers! What a privilege it is to serve God alongside other men and women of the faith as they declare the glories of the gospel to the lost of this world.
The conversations on Tuesday were normal, "Woodridge", with many people of mixed religions. Firstly was with Diana, a lady who once was a Christian but left it because she didn't know much about it and said she was now Buddhist because it sounded cool and she liked it. It turns out that she really didn't know much about Buddhism either but simply wanted to come back to this world and have another go at life because life is fun. She was shown how we know God exists and therefore that Buddhism cannot be the way and as she was shown the law her bus arrived. She took a tract and was encouraged to read it.
Next was a conversation with Liam and Bella, a young couple who were kissing just before they were approached but ironically when asked if they'd ever lusted later at first they said no. Before their bus arrived, these two who at first said they didn't think there was a God, came to acknowledge that there must be one and then after seeing his law saw their guilt. When being posed with the question, "How can your sin be forgiven?" their bus arrived and they were very briefly shown that goodness doesn't take away badness, rather someone must pay. They took tracts and were encouraged to read them.
A lengthier conversation took place with Damo who at first was an atheist but it wasn't long until he rejected that, saw that there was a God and therefore was seeing what God had said. He understood his guilt and that he deserved Hell but even after eight times explaining the gospel in different ways he could not grasp the simple message that to be forgiven one must simply trust in Jesus. He seemed to struggle so much. It wasn't even that he was still trying (like most people) to say, "trust Jesus and do good works", he just didn't seem to grasp how Jesus' death could atone for sin.
There was a level of struggle because of drug use but he didn't seem all that out of it. He did take a tract though, may God use this to cause him to understand the Gospel!
Please be praying for Diana that she would see the folly of chasing things that make her feel nice, rather than that which is true. Please pray for Liam and Bella that they would seek to know how Jesus' death on that cross can make sinners right before God and please pray for Damo that God would enable him to comprehend the gospel and that he would come to trust in Christ alone for for forgiveness!
On Tuesday at Woodridge again there was a team of seven out! What a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with those who were in and around the area. During the afternoon with a range of conversations there were two moments of great excitement as God was at work.
The first was with a lady named Kelly. She had grown up going to sunday school and had a little understanding of Christianity but sadly didn't know the Gospel and hadn't been to church in a very long time. But through the conversation it came out that during a hard time in the last year her friend had given her a Bible and sometimes she would open up to some passages here and there and said they made her feel nice. This opportunity was taken to point out that although she may be feeling subjective feelings of happiness, the Bible currently should leave her in great fear.
The law was shown revealing her sin and God's promises of judgement against the wicked were explained. She was shown that as she currently stands, the Bible should simply be reminding her that judgment is coming but that there is also hope. Then this true hope was explained that God purchases sinners from Hell by His work on the cross. She offered the salvation that Christ has purchased and she seemed to understand the simplicity of the gospel and the beauty of the cross and was encouraged to consider it.
Before any checking questions could be asked her bus arrived and so she was encouraged to read John's gospel from front to back over the next few days to see who this Jesus is more clearly!
Another conversation was with Evelyn. She again was very open to hear and saw her sin and the judgement it deserves. She was intently listening and engaging and knew that as she currently stood she was in trouble. Then for the first time in her life Evelyn understood the gospel! She saw what Christ had done and how it was the offer of salvation to those who believe and Evelyn was moved! Tears were streaming down her face in response to the gospel!
She heard of the response that we as Christian's should have to this gospel, that we will turn from our sin and serve God because of the salvation he has provided us. Evelyn was overjoyed at the offer of forgiveness and was thankful for the conversation. She was recommended to a local Church and said she would think about going this week!
Please be praying for these two women that God would use the conversations they had to draw them unto Himself, that they may know joy, peace and forgiveness for the first time in their lives! Please also pray that they will begin to attend a local Church and will grow in depth and understanding.
What a wonderful God we serve, may each of us be able to rejoice in the glory of God and declare to others what He has done!
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge, the afternoon was mostly under cloud cover, which kept the temperatures down and made for a good atmosphere. It also seemed though that there were fewer people around than usual but God still provided conversations for the seven team members that made it out.
There were a few conversations of note but a main one was a display of God's providence. As you may have read, last week during the outreach there was a major disruption to the outreach, around around 3pm a young man, on the run from the police climbed onto the roof the the train station and stopped all trains North and Southbound for two hours. The reason this was a problem for the team was that conversations were hard to have as every time something unfolded on the roof the crowds of people, waiting for their train and watching would make noises distracting from the conversation.
Worse yet, when he first climbed up there four team members were in conversations which were bought to a halt by the distraction. This is where the story attaches to this week. One team member was speaking to Zelena. But the conversation was looking to be a slow one, at first she wasn't that keen to talk and she had brought the conversation to point where it was going to be a long process to get to the Gospel. But God in His perfect timing knew what was best. He stopped the conversation before it really began and instead said, "wait".
This week around halfway through the outreach, this young lady was walking through with her boyfriend, Rifkey and saw the flip chart and his attention was drawn. Zelena wanted to head off but his interest kept her. Over the next fifteen minutes a simple and clear Gospel presentation was given. Zelena actually enabled the conversation to flow by understanding the pictures straight away. And that caused Rifkey to follow along. During this time two other guys came to listen. As the law was shown, the guilt was revealed and the penalty explained Zelena had to run off quickly. But Rifkey stayed.
In God's timing this was just what was required. Rifkey then heard the Gospel, what God has done to save sinners. But upon the first checking question he'd still misunderstood it. Then Zelena returned with another guy named Harry. Now there were five listening and for the group the Gospel was shown again. "The only way we can pay for our sin is to go to Hell. The only hope we have is if someone else takes the penalty we deserve, which is what Christ has done for those who believe in Him," it was explained.
The parachute example was given, to explain what it means to trust and believe and then the check question was asked, "If today you acknowledged that you're sinful, that you deserve Hell but trusted that Jesus paid for your sin but you sinned once more on your way home and then died a few minutes later, would God send you to Heaven or Hell?"
Zelena instantly said Hell but before giving the right answer Harry and Rifkey were asked and they both said Heaven. When asked to explain why they basically said in unison, "Because we weren't trusting in our goodness were had trusted in Jesus to pay for our sin". Praise God! It was a moment of rejoicing. Suddenly all three understood the Gospel.
This is where it took a direct turn, the question was posed, "So when will you trust in Jesus". They each gave different answers, which were challenged or encouraged and they were left with tracts and with the encouragement, "It would be wonderful to hear next time we see you that you have trusted in Jesus alone for your salvation!"
The whole scenario was a work of God's providence. The cutting off of the previous weeks conversation, so that the Gospel would be clear in a short and simple way. The desire from Rifkey to do the flip chart. The timing during this conversation enabling Rifkey to hear the Gospel twice so that he could understand it. That all three came to grasp the Gospel and understand how someone can be made right before God.
It was a conversation of rejoicing. Please be praying for these three that God would use this conversation to bring them into His Kingdom, that they would come to want more of Christ than anything else! Praise God for the working of His sovereign will!
This afternoon at Woodridge there was a great distraction that bought many people to the area, stopped trains running but also kept conversations short as many people wanted to see what was taking place.
As the afternoon began, conversations went ahead as normal and the team were excited to see a number of people responding positively to the Gospel. An early conversation was with Marley, who had quite messed up ideas due to years of drug use and the irony of some of the things she said was plain.
She argued that people get what they deserve, that the world the way it is and the things we receive in this world are because of the way that we act. Then later she went on to argue that she doesn't deserve her life the way it is.
By the end of the conversation she saw the universal guilt of humanity, the penalty our sin deserves and the only hope for us, Jesus Christ's perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. She was also recommended to a local Church in her area!
An interesting conversation later was with Joanne. As the conversation first started her partner didn't want to listen and she kept encouraging him to. Sadly as the law was used to reveal sin he got frustrated and left. Joanne on the other hand came to understand the Gospel. She had been to Church a number of times but never understood the Gospel. Thankfully she was on the ball. She was asking good questions, understandings things and following up with responses that made sense.
It was very encouraging to see. She too was recommended to a Church. Please be praying for these two that God would use these two conversations to draw these ladies to Himself. That they would come to trust in the great God who provides salvation to the lost!
One other conversation that took place late in the afternoon was with a young man who once went to Church and said that one day he would "repent" and that God would let him into Heaven. When asked what he meant by "repent" he talked about changing his life and trying to live the right way. It was pointed out that this is not repentance, rather repentance is simply a change of mind about sin, which will result in trusting in Christ and what He alone has done to save, which together will lead to a life lived for God, not for sin.
It was important to point out that it is trusting in Christ that saves and the resultant turning from sin is just that, a natural response to salvation, rather than a requirement to be saved. He was challenged to consider it seriously because none of us know when we will die and stand before God. He didn't seem overly moved but was left with the strong warning that unless one trusts in Christ, they will pay for their own sin in Hell.
On Tuesday at Woodridge, there were a team of six out during the afternoon's outreach. Praise God for raising up labourers and allowing more people to hear the Gospel! The afternoon was filled with some exciting conversations!
An early one was with a young man named Matthew, who knew of Christianity but didn't know the Gospel. He said he hoped he was going to Heaven because of all the good things he has done and because he has tried not to do the wrong things. He was shown that this couldn't be the case, firstly because he had done many wrong things and secondly because good deeds don't remove the history of sin. He understood this and realised the trouble he is in. Then he heard the Gospel and understood it! He said he will have to consider it and took a tract as he hopped on his bus!
Next a conversation with a Muslim lady took place. She was very humble and listened. She would share what she was taught and engage with the challenges placed before her. As the conversation continued she agreed with the criticisms of the proposed method of salvation in Islam.
She saw that it was without justice, that is painted God as a liar and made the promise of Heaven one of selfish gain and full of sin. Instead she was shown that through the Gospel, God is just, sin is punished as God promised and yet the guilty can be pardoned at the expense of Christ. Therefore, Heaven isn't a "reward" for the righteous, allowing them to indulge all their desires but it is a gift for the guilty, with the ultimate gift being with God Himself.
The conversation covered much more but Helua was challenged by what she heard, took a tract and she too said she would consider what was said.
Thirdly there was a conversation with Jay. He at first was hesitant to talk and said, "Are you just trying to get me to come to your Church?" to which the answer was given, "Unless you live in the same suburb, I will probably recommend you to another one. This seemed to appease his fear and what followed was a forty five minute conversation which focused on the Gospel and how a sinner can be made right before God all the while addressing different side questions that were raised.
It was a glorious conversation where God took someone who at first seemed hard and had turned down conversations in previous weeks and instead open his eyes to the truth and beauty of the Gospel!
Thank you for your prayers for the team, week after week! Please keep Matthew, Helua and Jay in your prayers and raise up the team for the next outreach, that God would bring along prepared hearts for them to speak with!
In Woodridge on Tuesday it was a scorcher at almost 40 degrees but God's word continued to go out!
The first conversation of the afternoon was with a young lady named Hannah. She was asked what she thought happened after she died and said there was nothing. When asked why she believed that she had no reason. She was shown the building builder analogy saw where it was going and realised that it made sense. It was pointed out that the reason people don't want to believe in God is because are trying to avoid the guilt of their sin by saying there is no judge. As the conversation just began her bus arrived to "save" her from having to think too hard about eternity.
Soon a young man named Andrew tried to justify his sin by saying that if he was god he would have designed a world in which everyone could do what they liked. It was pointed out how utterly foolish that idea is because even with the limited freedom people have in this world, it is an absolute mess. He was shown that our selfishness that drives our actions is very much the problem and that more freedom will not remove that. He too then had to hop on the bus.
Next two guys were walking past reading a tract and one said, "I only like Satan". They were asked if they really meant that and jokingly said yes and then were asked why they would back the losing team. Jesus has already risen, Satan is defeated. Then getting a bit more serious when asked if they would go to Heaven or Hell after they died they both said Heaven.
When asked what they were trusting in their said their own goodness. They were asked if they had ever told a lie and said, "Of course, who hasn't". But it was pointed out that God's standard is perfection and even their lying will disallow them from getting into Heaven. At this their bus arrived as well and they headed off with their tracts in hand. Please be praying for these men that they would be serious about considering eternity because their current paths are heading toward and eternity of Hell.
There were two other ladies, Lee-Anne and Stacey who heard the Gospel and both were able to respond back with the correct message after hearing the Gospel. Lee-Anne didn't seem very moved but did seem to have understood. Stacey on the other hand said she would have to search it out herself as she didn't often listen to what people had said and believe it straight away. Thankfully though they were both good conversations where the Gospel was shared, the seriousness was made known and both were left with a decision to make.
Another short conversation was with a lady named Aaliyah on her way home from Tafe. She said she didn't know if there was a God but was happy to be challenged, saw that buildings have builders and in the same way, even if we don't know who built this world, someone must have because it has a beginning. As it was being pointed out why this matters her bus arrived and she took a tract, mentioning that it would be good to chat more next time.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel today, those who even heard a little bit about how we know God exists and keep those who will hear in the coming days in your prayers. Also please pray for those who rejected an opportunity to hear the Gospel, there were three men today who were uninterested in talking about God, some to the point of walking away as they were first asked.
May God glorify Himself by bringing many to salvation!