Woodridge Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Tuesday afternoon at the Woodridge train-bus interchange on Station Rd.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
We had a great afternoon of evangelism in Woodridge yesterday. Sometimes you'll encounter people who profess to be Christian, and instead of just assuming it must be true, it's important to find out what they believe will save them.
One lengthy conversation we had yesterday was with a young man named Geoffrey. When I asked him why he will be let into Heaven, he quoted Ephesians 2:8-9. That was a great response and so I thought this man understands the gospel. But as I was talking further with him, he began to start saying that faith and good works bring salvation.
So I gave him an example, "Let's say you're walking home and you sin in some way and ten minutes later you die, would God let you into Heaven?" He replied, "Yes." "Why?, I asked. He said, "Because God will see that I have been faithful in my life."
So I spent some time explaining that that is not the gospel. It's not our faithfulness that saves us, but it's what Christ has done for us in dying for all our sins (our sins past, present and future) if we trust in Christ.
For there is a big difference between having faith in Christ and being faithful. If it's our faithfulness, then we would be saved by works, the very opposite message of Ephesians 2:8-9. Good works will simply naturally follow if we have faith in Christ.
It was great to see this man really thinking about what he was hearing and he said he would investigate whether what I said was true.
Please pray for all who heard the gospel yesterday or received a gospel tract. To God be all the glory!
We praise the Lord for the great outreach today in Woodridge. We had on the team a young man who got witnessed to last year at this location by someone on the team, and was today sharing that same good news of the gospel with whoever happened to be there. The gospel really is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes!
It was encouraging to see plenty of gospel tracts go out and that some really good conversations were had, including with a man named James. He had seen us before, but didn't have the opportunity to talk with us yet. He said he has always wanted to come back and chat with us - he just didn't know what day of the week we are usually there! He remarked that he was very happy that he came across us today.
We got to share the message of sin, the judgement, the cross, repentance and faith with him, and he was very receptive. He said he has trouble reading, and so we were able to tell him where he can get an audio Bible.
He was really overjoyed to hear that the Bible was something he could listen to, and was going to get an audio Bible as soon as he could. We were also able to refer him to a local church to start attending.
We sow the seed, God gives the increase. To God be all the glory!
Today the gospel went out in Woodridge. We had a small team, but still hundreds of gospel tracts were given out to people across the afternoon, including to a young lady named Tina.
Tina attends a local high school and she initially was asking, "What if you die and find out it's not true?" She was skeptical about God's existence. But I pointed her to the building across the road and said, "You know that building had a builder, don't you?" She said, "Yes".
I continued, "Exactly, even though you haven't seen the builder, you know that he exists. Same thing when you look at this universe. Since it had a beginning, it must have had a creator. Even though you haven't seen Him, you still know He exists."
She responded, "That makes perfect sense!" So I continued on to talking to her about the coming Judgement, about our sinfulness before God and how we deserve God's wrath since we have not lived perfectly, but then also about the good news of Jesus taking the punishment for our sin if we would repent and believe.
She was clearly processing in her head about what was being said and asked a few questions that she'd been wondering about. Please pray that God would draw her to Himself.
In the photo, team member Alan is witnessing using the Intelligence Test flip chart to some high schoolers, while the young man in the foreground is reading our Big Money gospel tract that the kids loved receiving today. They are available here: https://www.operation513.com/bigmoney
To God be the glory that His gospel went out!
Most Australians would self-identify as being Christians, however, the level of Biblical knowledge is extremely low. We saw that clearly displayed on Tuesday in Woodridge as many people who thought they were Believers actually had no knowledge of the gospel.
The day started off with four of us working to spread the good news of Jesus. It was wonderful to see so many people taking material from our free Bible and literature table. At one point I thought we were going to run out of booklets as people took resources. In particular in was encouraging to see people show an interest in the Scriptures. Many people gathered around asking for Bibles and also copies of the Gospels.
Today, I tried something different for Woodridge, I decided to set up the flip-chart to see if anyone would be interested in taking the "Good Person Test." To my surprise quite a number of people were keen to have a go, and many listened in to the conversation.
The first person I spoke to was a young man who is a Hindu. He had no concept of Christianity, but he had some wonderful questions. I was able to share the gospel with him, and then discuss the issue of their only being one God, and Jesus being the only way of salvation. For him, as a Hindu, he found this hard to believe, so he stated that all religions are true. From that point we were able to have a discussion around the law of noncontradiction and the Christian faith. At the end of our conversation he took a tract and said he'd look into Jesus more.
As soon as that conversation finished another young man approached me. He put out his hand to shake mine while saying, "God Bless You!" It turns out that he is from a local church, but sadly he was trusting in his own goodness to get him to Heaven. I explained the gospel to him, and by the end of the conversation he realised that salvation is only through trusting in Christ.
No sooner than that conversation had finished, a young and rough looking boy approached me. He had been listening into the conversations and had taken some literature from the table. This young man was ten years old, but he had some street smarts. He told me that he had never been the church, and he had never heard of Jesus before. We chatted for a few minutes, and he seemed to be amazed at the love of God towards sinful people. He took a Gospel of Luke and told me he would read it.
Towards the end of the day I was approached by two young high school boys who were clearly looking for a bit of a laugh. We had some fun with the flip-chart and I was able to connect with them. Things became rather serious when we started to talk about sin and how a good God must punish wrong doing. One of the boys knew of Jesus and His death, the other had never heard of it. At the end of the conversation both thanked us for sharing the gospel and they went on their way.
There is a massive need for gospel ministry in the open-air all-around Australia. People today don't seem interested in going to church so we must take the good news to them. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to make Christ known by all means everywhere.
Thank-you to all those who prayed for our Woodridge outreach on Tuesday. Even though our team was small the gospel went out, and we even saw a man profess faith in the Lord Jesus.
Right at the beginning of the day, I handed a tract to a young man who is in his twenties; he looked at the leaflet and asked, "What is this all about?" I replied, "Well, it asks the question, do you think you'll go to Heaven?" He looked up, and replied, "Whoa, that is a big question. I hope so!"
It turns out that this young man attends a church on the Gold Coast, but he wasn't sure on how to have his sins forgiven. He said he had been baptised, but was confused on if that would help him or not. We chatted about how baptism is not a means of salvation, but rather it is an act of obedience done by those who have trusted in Christ. We then went on to talk about how someone can be made right with God, and after hearing about sin, and the cross, this young man said, "That makes so much sense!"
I explained to him that salvation is freely offered to all those who would repent and trust in Christ, and that God is prepared to make all those who come to Jesus brand new. Upon hearing this, the man said, "Can I ask Jesus to forgive me right now?" Then, on the streets of Woodridge we bowed our heads and he prayed to the Lord Jesus.
Of course the question is now asked by many, "Was that young man saved?" My answer is, "I don't know. That's God's department." The man certainly professed faith, and the Lord may very well have saved him. Time will tell.
That young man has now been connected with a local church who will follow him up. I've already heard from them that he is keen to attend on Sunday and also to go along to an evangelistic Bible Study group. Please pray for him.
The rest of the day at Woodridge was spent handing out tracts, and engaging in a very lengthy discussion with a Seventh Day Adventist who wanted to argue about the nature of hell, the Sabbath and judgement. We answered his objections with the Scripture, but whenever we replied, he would quickly jump to another topic. Please pray the Lord would set him free from his legalism.
We praise God for the outreach in Woodridge this afternoon. God brought along extra labourers, which was especially needed as there were plenty of people around. One person on the team noted that his 100 tracts that he brought all went out in about 10 minutes.
After the steady stream of people subsided a bit, it allowed us to get into conversations with people waiting nearby, including with a young man named Abu.
He said he is a Muslim and was hoping his goodness would save him. We talked about the fact we have sinned and since God is a just God, He cannot ignore our sin. He began to understand that he deserves hell and thus why he needs forgiveness of his sins that only Jesus can provide. He said he wanted to place his faith in Jesus and turn from his sin.
I encouraged him to make sure he counts the cost of following Jesus first, but also gave him a gospel of John and recommended a local church. Please pray for Abu.
We sow the seed, God is in charge of the results. To God alone be all the glory!
It was great to see the gospel go out to many at Woodridge on Tuesday. We had good number of conversations about Christ, with even groups of people at a time.
Please pray for all those who heard the message or took a gospel tract, including a man named James. As one of the team began speaking to him, he said right from the start that he thought he would go to hell, because he gets drunk and does all sorts of bad things. He already knew he wasn't good enough to be let into heaven.
I asked James if that concerns him, and he said it didn't because "I've got 60 more years to mend my ways." So I gave him an analogy of a courtroom with a criminal standing before a judge and the criminal says, "Judge, I did that crime, but I'm going to start mending my ways, so please let me go." I asked him whether that would work. He said, "Of course not." I said, "Same thing in the sight of God. Even if we mend our ways, it does not erase the history of our sins, since God is a just God."
This then led onto explaining the message of grace, which seemed to be such a foreign concept to him, and so it took quite a while before he understood it. I explained how our forgiveness is only by Jesus taking the punishment for our sins, thereby satisfying God's justice on our behalf, and how we need to repent and believe that Jesus has done that for us.
James said he's not prepared to turn from his sins because he loves them. I asked, "What good is enjoying the momentary pleasures of sin if you end up in a place of pain and suffering forever afterwards? It's like choosing to have a cup of pleasure in exchange for an ocean of pain. Is that worth it?" He said, "When you put it that way, no it doesn't. I am going to have to really think about this."
To God be the glory!
Thank-you to all those who prayed for Tuesday afternoon's outreach in Woodridge. A group of five of us were able to hand out many tracts and engage in some wonderful gospel conversations.
Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed that there has been an increase of people making their way to the Free Bible and Literature table. Today, a number of booklets and many New Testaments were taken. We pray that the Lord would use this simple form of witness to reach the community for Jesus.
It was a beautiful sunny and warm winters day in Woodridge Tuesday as we made our way out to share the gospel. Some of our regular team members were away, so I wasn't quite sure how many people would come along to the outreach, but we prayed and asked the Lord to bring workers. He answered this prayer with five of us coming together for the gospel.
Upon arrival I set up the Free Bible and Literature Table and began to hand out tracts. There seemed to be a real openness amongst the people today. Many tracts were taken (in fact we ran out of tracts) and people were constantly requesting resources from the table.
During the outreach I was able to speak to a group of young people who showed some interest in the Christian faith. It turns out that all of them went to church, but sadly they had no concept of the gospel. They all believed that to go to Heaven you had to be perfect, and since they weren't, then they knew they wouldn't go there. It was wonderful to be able to explain to them that salvation is by grace alone.
Below is a link to the audio of that conversation. I hope it encourages you in your walk - www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo
With school being back from holidays, Woodridge was back to its usual busier state yesterday during our weekly Tuesday outreach. Alan had brought along his flip-chart that has some intelligence test questions on it.
The kids loved it. It's a great tool to show that even though we think we know the answer, we can get it wrong. So it's helpful to show the skeptical out there that even though think they know they're right about God not existing, how do they know they're not wrong?
Yesterday we also got to speak to quite a number of people about the gospel, including a young guy named Theo. We have been witnessing to him for a number of years now. He goes to a Seventh Day Adventist church, but the last time we spoke to him he was very adamant in thinking that we are saved by faith and works.
But when we spoke to him yesterday, he acknowledged that he was wrong about works saving him, and instead he says it is by faith in Christ. So we asked him whether he is 100% certain he is going to heaven and he said he isn't. He said that it's because he needs to make himself worthy enough to have assurance of salvation, and then even went on to admit that no one can ever be sure they are saved.
We pointed out that he's going straight back to salvation by works there. Our salvation isn't dependent on our own worthiness, because if that was the case, we would have no chance of being saved at all. We reminded Theo of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. That man had murdered people and yet in the minutes or hours before he died, he trusted in Jesus and said to Jesus "Remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus said to him, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."
Quite often people who have grown up in the Seventh Day Adventist church confuse the distinction between faith and works. We reminded Theo that it is by grace through faith alone that we saved, nothing of our own efforts or law keeping, because Jesus has died for our past, present and even future sin. And if we are saved, it will show itself by our works.
Theo very much appreciated the chat and is keen to keep talking about it next time. Please pray for him. To God be the glory!