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 the team covered the area well and were able to engage with many people for the sake of the Gospel. Early on one couple walked past and took tracts. They were then asked, "Do you think you will read it tonight?", to which the guy responded, "Probably not". The girl was a little embarrassed by this answer.
The response was given, "Thanks for being honest, but please consider the seriousness of the message, you may never have another opportunity to hear how you can be made right with God. You may not have tomorrow."
To which the guy responded, "I am going to read it right now!"
One lady who spoke to the team early on was named Malvey. She had some understanding of the Gospel and happily listened. She didn't have any arguments and even asked a few questions and as her bus arrived took a tract and said she would consider what was said.
Another lady Carrie, said she had been looking for God and was attending a local church. She sadly still thought that it was her goodness that was getting her to Heaven and the conversation was cut just short of the final explanation of the Gospel, as her bus arrived. Please be praying that Carrie reads the tract and that there is a local member of the church she is attending that will be able to speak with her and share with her the truth of the Gospel.
A young man Taava, said he had spoken to the team before and said he was trusting in Jesus. He did seem to know the Gospel but he said he wasn't really reading his Bible. Taava was encouraged to consider that those who know the love God has for them in Christ Jesus, will want nothing more than to find out who God is. Please be praying that Taava is trusting in Jesus and is just yet to grow in his discipline and obedience to God.
A sad conversation was with Brad. He had gone to church for six years, around a decade earlier but had been seriously hurt by the Church, had since watched a movie about how the Bible is completely made up and as a result has completely rejected God. Brad's arguments were founded on nothing apart from what seemed to be emotional trauma from the past. A short conversation was had with him as he was encouraged to read the Bible.
It was clear from the things he was saying that he had never really read much of the Bible, especially not with the intention of understanding what the authors meant when they wrote it. Brad wasn't really interested in doing so but please pray that God would change his heart.
One final conversation was had with Dan and Candice. At first this couple said they were hoping for reincarnation but as they heard the Gospel they began asking questions, wanting to know more and even expressed that they were really grateful for the conversation.
The came to understand sin and the condemnation of the law. The understood why many lives couple be of no help because we can never live perfect on our own. They came to understand how pervasive sin is and why the world is as we see it today. They then were also pointed to the only solution, someone else taking the penalty for our actions, justifying us with their life and giving us a new heart with new desires.
Dan and Candice said it made a lot of sense. They had spoken to the team a number of times before but please be praying that today would be their day of salvation!
Please raise up before God the others who heard the Good News, those who took tracts and even those who were hostile to the Gospel. Please be praying that God would use any interaction to bring people to salvation!
Tuesday at Woodridge as always was filled with conversations as well as being an opportunity to hand out hundreds of tracts. The conversations were mixed as always with the ultimate shine through of each being that God alone can save. The same sentence can be shared with two people and polar opposite reactions will occur.
An early conversation was with a man who had traveled from Africa and had only been in Australia four months. There was a language barrier but from the conversation had it seemed as if he was trusting in his goodness to get him to Heaven. The gospel was explained a number of ways, with emphasis on the work of Christ as the only reason we are right before God. Even despite trying to explain it a number of ways he didn't seem to understand.
Please be praying for Ikalo that he would understand the tract as it explains it again and that he would seek God and find the truth of salvation in the Bible.
A conversation soon after this was had with a Muslim lady. The problem was, she was extremely proud. She wanted to declare all the things she thought and she knew and couldn't seem to understand despite speaking with two different team members that the conversation wasn't about 'discussing different ideas', rather it was about comparing what we think and how we live, to who God is and what He has said.
She had many ideas and many beliefs, one of the scariest was her belief that John 14:26 refers to Mohammad. She had no desire to actually read the verse, in English or Greek, all she wanted to do was use it for her own argument, completely stripped of its clearly intended meaning.
Please be praying for this lady, that she would consider the challenge she was given that the primary reason she wanted to reject Jesus was because she thought she was good enough to get to Heaven.
An interesting conversation was also had with a young lady. She was a Muslim and was happy to talk and engage with the team. She took and tract and was asked a range of questions about what she believed and why she believed it. What was interesting was that a man named John who had been asked a question earlier was so angry that he actually came over, interrupted the conversation with the intention to have a go at the team member.
He asked a lot of questions in an accusing fashion but was actually stopped in his tracts quite quickly when he started asking about Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and the Catholic Church. His questions were met with very clear and simple answers, these people are charlatans, abusing the name of God for their own gain and they will suffer the eternal consequences from God for their wicked deception.
It seemed as if he was expecting them to be defended. This was the moment that was taken to point it back at him. It was stated that they aren't the only rebels against God, they aren't the only selfish people on the planet, in fact all of humanity is desperately wicked and has lived their entire lives in direct rebellion against God.
At this moment John's bus arrived and the Muslim lady was also hopping on the same bus. Please be praying that these two will be able to have future conversations with the team about God's offer of salvation.
A number of other conversations were had with various people who were recommended to head along to local churches or were simply challenged in their current incredulity toward God.
Please be praying for all those who heard the word of truth that they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday at Woodridge the team was out again and able to engage in conversation with a range of different people regarding their eternity.
As usual there were some specifically angry people who responded such even after a single question but on the other hand there were many people who were keen and interested to talk.
One other funny point was that the first couple who walked through in the afternoon took two "Good Person Test" tract. Where you are to place your thumb on the square for five seconds and if the square turns orange you're a good person. The point is that the square will never turn orange because no one is good. The couple then walked back past right at the end of the outreach and were asked, "Did you read the cards" and they responded, "We tried them and they didn't work!"
They were encouraged to read the back as they headed off. How common it is that almost every Australian thinks they are a good person. It is rare to find a realistic Australian who know they're not.
Please be praying that God has used this simple tract to open this couples mind to the truth, that they aren't good people headed for Heaven but bad people headed for Hell and that God alone can save them!
The team also have the privilege to speak with a Mauri guy. He professed that he went to church occasionally, read his bible sometimes but thought that he was trust in Jesus to pay for his sin and then trusting in himself to earn Heaven. Over the course of a number of Bible passages he came to understand that Jesus provides the sacrifice for sin and the righteousness so that all who trust in Him are justified in the sight of God!
This bought him joy and peace and he said it was the first time he had ever heard that! Please be praying for this man that on Tuesday he did for the first time understand the Good News, that He is made right entirely by what Christ has done! It was also explained that trusting in Christ will always result in a righteous life and good living (not entirely perfectly) but Christ regenerates and sends the Spirit that we can be able to and desire to honour Him.
Praise God for soft hearts and the work he does through the Gospel! Please be praying for this man, that he would swim in the Bible everyday, spending time in God's Word of Truth and grow in his knowledge and understanding of the Saviour.
The team on the other hand spoke with a man in a similar position named Josh, who was holding quite firmly to justification by baptism. A decent amount of time was spent engaging with the scriptures in the area of the role baptism plays in salvation and Josh said he would spend some time reading a few different passages and would come back and discuss it again the next week.
It was good that he was open to engage, willing to be challenged and serious about finding what the scriptures say but it was worrying that the place he is receiving teaching is strongly supporting the idea of baptismal regeneration.
Please be praying for Josh that he too would leave this current position of justification by works and trust in the work of Christ alone.
Tuesday afternoon in Woodridge was quieter than normal but with less constant foot traffic, there were actually many conversations. The team had around thirty conversations over the three hours.
There were a number of short and simple ones. Josh heard the bad news, that God created us to bring Him glory by obeying Him and we have all willfully rebelled in sin, leading us to deserve Hell eternally. Lawrence's sister was talking to another team member and while that went on he was taken through the flip chart, seeing how God's law condemned him and he too left before he could hear the Gospel. Omar heard of God as Creator, Judge and his bus arrived before he could hear the extent of God's offer of salvation.
A lengthier conversation was had with Al an Irish man who said he had left "Christianity" twenty years earlier as he was Irish. He had a strong Catholic background and shared that Catholicism didn't help his marriage, nor could it help the world as religion causes wars. It was explained that the reason we have no peace between countries, in cities, in workplaces or in our homes is because we have no peace in our hearts. It isn't religion that causes wars, it is the selfish intention of sin human beings who love themselves more than anything else.
It was explained that this causes major problems, firstly, God will not let the guilty go unpunished and secondly this causes everyone to be at enmity with others over their own pride and desires.
The Gospel was offered as the only solution, the one which can change desires and atone for sin but Al sadly wasn't really interested in God's solution. Although he had rejected the Catholic "gospel" that you can work yourself into righteousness, he had left the Catholic church but had declared that he would now work himself into righteousness. It was sad to hear and he was seriously offered the Gospel and given Jesus' command to repent and believe but sadly he was not willing to during the conversation.
Please be praying that he heeds the offer of salvation and surrenders to Christ in repentant faith.
Another exciting conversation was had with Grace. She had been attending a local Church but was sure that she needed to work for her righteousness. When the Gospel was explained as a free gift from God in which He pays for sin and provides the perfect righteousness Grace was overjoyed and said that today she would trust in Jesus alone for her forgiveness!
One final chat was had with two young men, Caden and Zac. They spoke to one team member for around thirty minutes and got quite upset because he wanted to keep explaining the Gospel but they wanted to espouse their own ideas. After they stormed off in a huff, another team member approached them and continued the conversation. It took time letting them speak and answering their objections but by the end, these two men said, "We have learnt more this afternoon about Christianity than we did in our entire childhoods growing up in a "Christian" home." That was encouraging.
They did also declare that they were unwilling to give up their lives of sin, for Jesus' offer of salvation at this point but they certainly seemed less resolute in that position by the end. Please be praying that God would use this conversation and the love and care shown to lead them away from lives of self-reliance to one of total surrender to Christ.
On Tuesday in Woodridge there were a range of team members out. Over the course of the afternoon eight members were out. This allowed for some great coverage around the local area. It was wonderful to see new members coming out as well as older ones returning! Praise God for raising up labourers!
An early conversation had on a walk around the block was had with Ali and Ahmed. They had a Muslim background but the topic didn't end up going into those details, which was good. The topic at hand was simply, "How can God be good and loving at the same time?" The discussion touched on our sin and that a good God must punish sin. Then it turned to how much sin and which sin God must punish and finally it turned to, How can God be good and punish sin, whilst still being gracious to sinners?
They had to leave soon after this but an encouraging discussion was opened up and these guys were challenged in their current beliefs, even without being explicit regarding their current understandings.
Another simple conversation was had with Jarrad and Chloe. They were out for an afternoon walk with their daughter and stopped to engage.
They engaged through a simple Gospel presentation, acknowledging that it made sense, answering questions when asked and in finale they were challenged to have a read of their Bibles, to seek out and understand who God is.
Please be praying for Ali and Ahmed, Jarrad and Chloe that God would use these simple conversations to lead them to a saving knowledge of Himself.
Another conversation was had with a lady named Tessi. She had a Catholic background and had some understanding of Christianity but the scariest part was that she wanted to provide some of the righteousness for her own salvation.
The Good News was explained to her that Jesus provides both the righteousness and the sacrifice required for us to be forgiven. She took a while to grasp this as it was explained in a range of different ways but by the end, using the simple wheelbarrow analogy, Tessi seemed to understand what was being explained.
Please be praying that she isn't just left in a place of comprehension rather that she will actually trust entirely upon what Jesus did to save her and as a result she will be a changed person!
Please be praying also for the other teams that head out during the week that they may be fruitful in their conversations. Please also pray that God would raise up labourers to join some other outreaches!
On Tuesday at Woodridge the afternoon was filled with conversations of many shapes and sizes. Along with the many cultures and people groups in Woodridge, come many religions and their attempts to make sinners right with God based on moral actions. This week the team had the chance to speak with Mormons, Muslims, JW's and a scattering of other beliefs as well.
The first conversation of the afternoon was with a lady named Teagan. Teagan had some knowledge of God but was not sure she could trust Him. As the Gospel was shared and explanations were given of who God is and what He was done it was made clear that we can trust God, because of His past history of trustworthiness. We can also know that Jesus can save because He has already paid the penalty, suffering the Hell punishment we deserve on the cross and then victoriously rising from the grave.
Teagan said the conversation was helpful in her understanding why she could trust Jesus and she was encouraged to trust in Him and what He has done for her salvation. Please be praying that Teagan does this!
Another conversation was had with a young man who speaks with the team regularly. He has a SDA background and has no assurance of salvation because he believes that we must be sinlessly perfect to get to Heaven! Despite many explanations given and passages touched on Jeffery is adamant that his theology is correct, whilst at the same time not knowing if he will ever get to Heaven. This is a sad position for him to be in.
He was encouraged to read 2 Corinthians 5 and spend some time pondering what God has said about salvation through the Apostle Paul. Please be praying that God will work in his life, through the scriptures and lead him to an understanding of the fullness of the salvation that Christ has provided!
A lengthy conversation was had with the JW, Vas. She has spoken to the team on a number of occasions now and is extremely deep into the narrative the JW's sell. When she reads the Bible, she isn't interested in what the passage says, all she wants to do it read into the text things that she has been told are in it. This is a scary reality that she has been deceived into reading the Bible in a way that is desperately wrong based on a desire not to understand what the original authors meant but with the intention to read and alternative narrative into it.
This coming week the team will spend time with her in Romans 3-5 and ponder what the text says. Please be praying that this time will be fruitful, not with her trying to jump around outside the passage but that she will be lead to read the text and consider what point the Apostle Paul is making in the text.
Another final conversation was had with five highschoolers. Two were Muslim, One was an Agnostic and two claimed to be Christians. The team explained many things two these five and called them to give up their sin and turn to Christ. It was an interesting conversation as the two "Christian" girls made the conversation far harder with their arguments and their pride than did the other three.
Please be praying that these five would read the tracts they were given, consider the Gospel that was declared and turn from their sinful rebellion to the humble saviour!
As the team headed to Woodridge on Tuesday afternoon the sky threatened rain but thankfully none came. Despite this dreary weather, the team was on fire. Many Gospel conversations were had and hundreds of tracts were handed out.
Upon praying the team noticed that there were some Jehovah's Witnesses standing next to their stand around the corner. One member decided to head over and see if they would be willing to talk. Surprisingly, not only were they willing to talk but one of the two ladies, Val, had spoken to the team before.
The conversation lasted almost two hours. They seemed to have the desire to speak more than they desired to listen (which was a helpful observation and a good thing to ponder in how we evangelise). At three moments throughout the discussion they were silenced and left to ponder.
The first was when Val asserted that never in the Bible do we see Jesus being worshiped. "No one ever bows down and worships Jesus," she said. They were pointed to Revelation 5:11-14 and asked to read it out loud (even in their NWT).
Specifically verses 13-14,
"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped."
Upon reading, Elizabeth the other lady let out and audible gasp but Val declared, "It doesn't say they worshiped Jesus". Elizabeth responded, "Yes it does, read verse fourteen again". Val was silenced.
Neither of the ladies had much to say about this verse and after a few moments, it was pointed out that Jesus is being worshiped with the Father and the Bibles tells us that God never shares His glory with another. Sadly this point seemed to be brushed off as the conversation was whisked away to another topic.
Later in the conversation when asked, "How can a sinner be made right with God?" the ladies responded, "Through exercising faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus". It is hoped that you can see the issue with this sentence straight away. This is a trick that the Mormons, JW's and Catholics have used to essentially replaced faith with works.
If you were to read John 3:16 in the NWT (New World Translation), you would find that they have changed "believes" to "exercises faith".
The objection to this was raised by asking what the word ransom means. The ladies explained that it is the price you pay to have someone released from captivity. They were then asked, "Does the person who is captive earn their freedom?"
This was swiftly answered with, "No, of course not!"
Somehow they were blind to their inconsistency. It was asked differently, "Is it the faithfulness of the one paying the ransom or the one in captivity that releases them?"
Which was responded to quickly and clearly, "The one paying the ransom".
This time the penny dropped. "But we have to do something. We must show our faith and be obedient," Elizabeth stated.
It was pointed out that this directly contradicts what God teaches about salvation. It was shown through Ephesians 2:8-10 that it is God who prepares the good works for us, not things we come up with on our own. It was also shown, through the flow of the passage that the good works take place after receiving salvation.
Sadly again these ladies could not acknowledge God's clearly articulated Word. They were adamant that they MUST provide some sort of righteousness.
Lastly, these ladies when asked, "Who was punishing Jesus on the cross?" asserted that it was the devil. With a few questions regarding why the devil would punish sin and an explanation and quotation of the "cup of wrath" Jesus drank the ladies seemed to agree. With one final quotation of Isaiah 53's explanation that it was the "Lord who laid on Him..." and "it was the Lord's will to crush Him", they agreed.
The saddest part was that they didn't seem to understand why. The suffering of Jesus made no sense to them.
As the conversation drew to a close the Gospel's beauty was re-iterated, that it was God reconciling sinners to Himself, for His own glory and the call God gives us, to repent and believe, was left ringing in their ears.
Please be praying for Val and Elizabeth, that they would have to ponder over and over the questions they could not answer. Please be praying that this wondering leads them not to reject God altogether, rather to turn to the resurrection Lord, Jesus and to trust in Him alone for salvation.
As the afternoon was drawing to a close, another brief conversation was had, with three young men, hanging around the train station. Eddie, Utah and Teague listened to the Gospel, engage in discussion and raised a few questions. Sadly when first asked when they would believe they implied it would happen right on their death bed.
When asked why they were going to leave it, they mentioned because they wanted to keep living their own way now. It was pointed out that there was no guarantee they would ever want to turn in the future, if they didn't want to now.
Counting the cost and heeding God's command was emphasised strongly to these young men and many strong comments were made about the foolishness of rejecting God's offer of salvation. They seemed to understand.
Please be praying that these three young men, wouldn't just remember the conversation but on the basis of the discussion would turn to Jesus Christ in total surrender!
This afternoon at Woodridge was filled with some scattered showers and some Gospel conversations. As usual at Woodridge, there was the opportunity to converse with people we had chatted to before, as well as new people.
One repeat conversation was had with Afful. He had heard the Gospel a few weeks prior and had been challenged to make a decision. He was left to decide whether he would turn to Christ or continue in rebellion. Sadly Afful has still not turned to Christ. Again this afternoon the Gospel was reiterated and the importance of finding salvation in Christ was stressed.
He was left again, with an encouragement to read his Bible and to turn to Jesus. Please be praying that he does this!
Another conversation was had with a young man named Jake. He had a Christian background and had some Gospel understanding but his primary issue was that he just was non-commital. He sort of liked the idea but was more interested in living his own way and doing his own things.
This was another sad conversation as it shows the scary reality that you can grow up in the Church, understand the Gospel and yet be completely unchanged by it! May we never get so complacent that we forget the importance and seriousness of the Gospel.
A final and very exciting conversation was had with Aaron. Three years ago, on this day, a conversation was had with Aaron. It was on similar topics and had similar themes. Today, the Gospel was clearly shared with Aaron and he listened and understood. The importance of it being a gift to the underserving was stressed a number of times and Aaron said he understood.
Then some simple explanations and answers were given to a range of questions that he had. Some regarding events in the Bible, or things that he had misunderstood from the Bible. Others regarding why evolution is faulty and cannot explain life and a range of other things. It was an exciting conversation as Aaron understood and was left to ponder the challenged, "When will I turn and trust in Jesus?"
He is in contact with the team and will interact via email with any more questions. The first email was sent this afternoon to touch base and send some preliminary Creation resources.
Please be praying for Jake that he will heed the Gospel's call that he would turn and repent of his sin, finding salvation in Christ. Please praise God for the work he has done in Aaron's life up until this point and please be praying that this conversation will be a turning point where he decides to seek to understand God's Word and what God has said, rather than trying to work out this world by his own rationalisation.
This afternoon at Woodridge the team was made up of six! A significant team and this enabled the opportunity to engage with a larger amount of people.
Some notable conversations included, one with "Bob", a Mormon. Who declared that he was getting to Heaven by his own goodness. Then as the conversation progressed back tracked on that statement and tried to justify just how it worked. The worry was, that he wasn't really sure but wasn't really interested in anything other than his "church" taught. Even when faced with scriptures like Titus 3 and Romans 3, he basically ignored the scripture and declared that it didn't matter.
It was an incredibly sad conversation as a man who really didn't know God or what God has said, declared that he didn't care about it despite trying to hold to the religiousity of Mormonism.
At the end of it all, when asked what his name was, after talking about lying being sin, "Bob" was very quick to declare that was his real name, even though his mate gave away that it wasn't.
Another conversation was had with Saeed. This man is a regular. He is a Muslim but also says he likes the idea of Christianity. He said he was pretty sure they both believed basically the same thing and that even though there were slight differences they were both right. When the numerous differences and basically polar opposite nature was explained, even then Saeed clung to his hope that on the day of judgement God would think he was pretty good and let him in.
He even said, when I stand before God I will argue with him and tell him that I didn't know. To which he was given the answer, firstly, there will be no arguing with God, you will be on your face in dread and secondly, you do know, here we stand to declare to you clearly and simply who God has revealed Himself to be and what He has done and said about the only way to Heaven. Ignorance will never be an excuse on judgement day.
Despite two sad conversations a man named Dylan came past. He spent a lot of the time espousing his own ideas and declaring what he thought but on the end of it all, after some simple Gospel interaction he professed a desire to head along to a Church. A few were recommended in his area, it is our prayer that he goes along and is changed by the work of the Spirit through the preaching of the Word.
Please keep "Bob" and Saeed in prayer also, that they will give up their apathy toward God's serious and important revelation and that they will understand their desperate brokenness, their current eternal destination and call out to God for salvation!
This afternoon at Woodridge the team had an encouraging afternoon. They had the ability to speak to a range of different people. Some recaps on past conversations and also many who had never heard before.
On young man named Renata, listened the the Gospel. He didn't seem too attentive at first but began to listen as the conversation flowed. He engaged well regarding God's design and creation, how God has loved us and how we have rejected Hod through our use of His gifts.
He interacted as God's hatred toward us and our sin was shared and then was offered God's solution of love. That God offered salvation to guilty sinners. He didn't make much more of a response than saying, "Thank you for changing my mind". But he headed off to the bus.
Please be praying the Renata dwells on God's love displayed in the cross and comes to a saving knowledge of the truth.
A short conversation was had with Saheed, a young man who only engaged quickly before his bus came but shared about he was torn about what to believe between Christianity and Islam and said he agreed with parts of both. It was pointed out that we don't get to make our own way to God but our only hope is to come to God on His terms.
Please be praying that this conversation can be continued with Saheed next week.
A lengthy conversation was had with a local worker Margaret. She declared that there was no God and that this world is merely a product of chance. She was very strong and adamant in that, ever despite the watch and watchmaker analogy and many other simple explanations about this complexity and clear design of this universe.
It was pointed out the first thing in her beliefs was that she wanted to live her own way and from that followed her disbelief in God and subsequent attempt to use science to justify her rejection of God. Margaret didn't disagree but she wasn't willing to lay down her tight hold on autonomy.
The Gospel was explained a number of times and she seemed to understand, even asking, "What would my life look like if I did believe in what you were saying?"
Please be praying that Margaret in all of her defiance will desire desperately to know the Saviour!
Lastly, in video form you can hear of a conversation Ryan and Matt had with a man named Patrick, who originally professed to be an atheist but in the end was interested in coming along to Church.