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.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge train station the team had a wonderful afternoon. With a scattering of "simple" and straight forward Gospel conversations as well as some tougher ones.
One conversation was had with Genevieve, she is wheel-chair bound but has a very active mind. She declared that truth is relative, that you and I can believe opposite things and neither of us are wrong. It was empahsised that this most certainly is wrong. This was shown by tell her the no matter how hard one believed her name was Jeffery, she could run a 100m sprint in 9.8 seconds and she had recently given birth to octuplets, these things would always be wrong.
It was explained that the only we way can know about God is by what He has told us about Himself, rather than just guessing. She then went on to declare that no one can really know God because everything God has told humanity is "subject to interpretation". She declared that there were hundreds of different Bibles, all telling different stories.
Sadly the next few minutes before her bus arrived were spent talking about the authenticity and reliability of the Bible. On this day, a conversation about sin and the Gospel was not had. Please be praying that next week Genevieve is ready to hear of God's revelation about Himself and His plan to save sinful humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ.
A very straight-forward conversation was had with two young girls, they came up, asked to do the good person test and happily participated all the way through. The first girl was named Angel and the other Evie. They obviously had gone to Church as they had some simple understanding of the Gospel. They acknowledged they had broken God's laws and that they understood they needed the Saviour. Both girls took tracts and went on their way. It didn't seem to be a revolutionary conversation but it was another reminder of the Gospel.
A Third and lengthy conversation was had with Val. She was born Orthodox, went to "born again Christianity" and then after questioning the Trinity her whole life she ended up as a JW. In this very sad progression, Val missed the Gospel and has rejected God for who He has revealed Himself to be.
She had many common JW proof texts, one from Proverbs 8 about Jesus, another from Revelation 7 about the 144,000, a Psalm again trying to undermine Jesus' deity and on and on. Sadly, she was completely blinded to the testimony of God's Word.
In Revelation 7, when it talks about the 144,000 (verses 1-8), verse 9 then declares that the great multitude is there before John, at the same time. There is no separation between the 144,000 and the great multitude. The point in the passage is that the 144,000 are the great multitude. This is shown as they are the ones serving God around His throne (Check out Revelation 7:1-17 if you have a chance). It was also good to note, that in verse 10, God and the Lamb are being praise and verse 12 has glorious parallel, almost word for word of Revelation 5:12-13. A place in which the Lamb and He who sits on the throne are being worshiped together.
Sadly after a lengthy discussion of ignoring what the text clearly says, Val declared that she knew "too much Greek" and "too much truth" to believe what "born again" Christians believe.
She was left with one final point that Jesus 7 times in the Gospel of John claimed the name, "I AM", the very name that God had revealed Himself to Moses as in Exodus 3. She didn't believe this is who Jesus was claiming to be, or that this title had anything to do with the name, "Jehovah". She was challenged to go and search and find out the answer.
Please come before God, on behalf of a greatly deceived woman, Val, and plead with Him that He would show her who He is, in undeniable clarity, that she may come out of this false religion and find forgiveness and salvation in the eternally existent, second member of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.
This afternoon, the team was reminded that it was winter with a chilling breeze throughout the afternoon. Thankfully, there were a number of work arounds, allowing the flipcharts to still remain standing. Numerous people were able to engage with the Gospel through the charts.
One conversation was with Casic. He seemed uninterested to talk at first but then a few moments later returned and asked, "I have never understood what Jesus was dying for. What does is mean that Jesus died for our sins?"
In response, he was asked, "Who was punishing Jesus on the cross?". Casic thought it may have been humans. But didn't seem interested in the answer. He was jumping around, espousing his own ideas and asking questions, then answering them himself. It was a tough conversation and a very sad one.
This man who thought himself to be wise, admitted that he didn't read the Bible and had no desire to. Rather, he had fashioned a god from his own ideas and this is a heart-breaking reality that many people live with. They worship gods that are idolised versions of themselves.
Finally after a number of attempts to bring the discussion back to who was punishing Jesus on the cross, Casic relented and asked, "Who do you say it was?". In reality it doesn't matter what any Christian says it was, it is God who has told humanity and Isaiah 53:10 was quoted,
"Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."
At this, Casic, seemed uninterested. He declared that he didn't need a saviour and went on his way.
As many Christians experience in their own lives, the temptation toward think we are more loved by God, or in a better standing before God, when we do "good" works, is one that is regular and constant. We seem to have a pre-disposition to this, "self-righteous" attitude.
Sadly, Christians aren't the only ones that get sucked into this lie. It is rare to meet someone who doesn't think that God loves them, will let them into Heaven or will forgive them on the basis of how "good" they are. This is usually a major road block to understanding the Gospel. (This is also why the law of God, wielded by the Spirit of God is an important part of a persons conversion).
On three separate occasions, this afternoon, the team spoke to men, who were religious, professing to be Christians and yet when asked why God would let them into Heaven, foolishly declared that their church going, prayer, food van service, or general "goodness" was the reason God would let them in.
May we as Christians never fall into this trap of trying to justify ourselves by our works. May we be wary against this temptation and pride. May we be motivated by love, knowing that God has saved us despite all we have done and therefore be bold in sharing with other self-righteous sinners, that their only hope of being accepted by God is if they trust in Christ's sacrifice and Christ's righteousness.
Hear Matt explain the types of people the team usually encounter at Woodridge, and share of two conversations that he had with people. One with Alex, which was short and to the point and another with four youngsters and was filled with many questions and helpful explanations.
This afternoon in Woodridge there were a number of exciting conversations. Among a mixture of usual Gospel conversations with local muslims, islanders and other school kids, one team member had the chance to speak with a man who had recently become a Christian simply by reading His Bible and another spoke with a man that he had shared the Gospel with on Saturday night in Brisbane city!
The team had just finished praying to start the outreach when an interaction started with a man named Ben. This man had become a Christian, by reading his bible, just over a month earlier. He had been convicted of his sin and turned to Jesus. He hadn't yet joined a local church but will be in the Brisbane area for another three weeks. We recommended a Church for him to attend. It was exciting to hear of God working through His Word!
Another conversation was with a man named Cameron. This young man had spoken to the team on Saturday night. On Saturday he had mocked the Gospel a little but had interacted through an entire Gospel presentation. He also had asked some good questions. This afternoon it was a little different, he remembered most of what was discussed but had to rush off to catch a train. Cameron was reminded once again the importance of surrendering to Jesus.
An opportunity also arose to speak with two "trouble makers" named Jack and Hollex. They were being silly and carrying on but also held some respect for the Gospel. They listened intently at times and seemed to understand the Gospel. Occasionally, they would get distracted and start laughing about something they had said but would regain composure and continue on the discussion.
Hollex was more honest about his life, acknowledging that his sin wasn't satisfying. He even said the life he lived was definitely not the one God wanted him to.
Jack, seemed shocked by the honesty but was trying to make out that he was "satisfied and happy" with his life. He soon admitted that it was pretty tough.
A range of different topics were discussed, these included, who God is, His plan for our lives, failure to obey God's expectations means we miss out on the beautiful life we were designed for and incur God's wrath and finally and most importantly that Jesus comes as a sinless sacrifice, to redeem us from sin and its consequences.
Please be praying for Ben, Cameron, Hollex and Jack that they may ponder the things they heard today and to live lives of repentant trust in Jesus Christ.
On a cooler and quieter afternoon at Woodridge on Tuesday, the team had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a range of people.
One such conversation was with a man named Ezra. He had a lot of ideas about who God is and what he has done, many of which came from different religious groups he'd spoken to in the past.
Ezra acknowledged that God exists but his main problem was that God was all about His own glory. Ezra couldn't comprehend that God could be loving and yet desire us to serve Him. Even when it was was explained that we were designed to find our greatest joy and fulfillment in this.
This conversation went on for a few minutes but sadly Ezra didn't get to hear the fullness of hope that there is for humanity, offered on the basis of Jesus' wrath absorbing sacrifice. He did take a tract though!
Please be praying for those who heard the Good News and took tracts, that they may turn in surrender to Christ as Lord.
This afternoon at the Woodridge outreach the team handed out many tracts and were able to engage with a range of different people from regarding God's offer of salvation for sinners.
One scary conversation was with a man named Jason. He readily admitted that sin deserves Hell. That we have all sinned. That no one deserves Heaven and that the only way to be saved is to trust that Jesus paid for our sin.
It isn't often that people know the Gospel but this was a specifically sadinstance as Jason then went on when asked to say that he hadn't trusted in Jesus.
When questioned as to why he simply stated, "I want to live my own way". It was stressed, to him, how utterly foolish it is, to know of ones own sin, it's consequences and what God has done to save sinners and then to reject it simply because, "I wanna do it my way".
Jason headed off to catch his train but please be praying that God uses this conversation and reminder of the Gospel to bring him out of darkness into light.
Another chat was had with Lionel, he had Christian parents but was the complete opposite to Jason. He had very little understanding of the Gospel.
Today he heard of God's Holiness and hatred for sin. He heard how deeply sin stains us all and heard of the depths of God's Love, that God has acted in history, taking the full fury and wrath for sin, so that those who turn in surrender to Him will have life.
Please keep Jason and Lionel in prayer that the Holy Spirit would change their hearts, that they may know God.
Please also be praying for the many other people who heard the Gospel or took tracts this afternoon, that God may use each one as He has planned.
This afternoon five team members made it out to Woodridge Station to bring the Gospel to bear on the ears of the people travelling through.
It was a very busy afternoon to begin with, as over 300 tracts were handed out, but the foot traffic slowed down as the usual school traffic left.
One conversation was had with a man named Dustin. He professed that religion wasn't really his thing and he was happy to live his life how he wanted, without needing to think about God. Dustin sort of rejected the idea of God but was quick to acknowledge that God must exist, because the universe does (because every house needs a builder and he himself is a builder).
Dustin ultimately heard the problem of sin, the desperate situation it leaves us in and that hope is only found in Jesus Christ's perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious ressurection. Sadly Dustin still didn't really want to surrender to God because he was pretty happy living according to his own standard.
Please be praying that Dustin will not be able to stop thinking about the conversation and will come to trust in Jesus as His Lord and Saviour.
Another brief chat was had with Hayden. In the past he had been a drug user but proudly professed that he had been clean for 2 months. It was good to rejoice with him in this but as the conversation turned to the Gospel, it was clear that he had very little understanding of who God is. Thankfully, he was open to hearing what God had revealed about Himself.
Some simple explanations were given about God's perfect standard and the punishment for sin. At this Hayden seemed to understand the dire position all of humanity was in.
As his train arrived, a simple and clear Gospel presentation was given and Hayden left with a tract in hand.
Please be praying that this message may take root in his heart and that he too may be forgiven of sin and reunited with God, through the work of Christ!
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