Woodridge Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Tuesday afternoon at the Woodridge train-bus interchange on Station Rd.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
Tuesday we had some great gospel conversations with people at Woodridge (QLD, Australia).
One guy we witnessed to was named Em. He had been to church a number of times in his life and they had told him that to get to heaven, you need to cleanse yourself of all your sin by living righteously. Em admitted though he wasn't living God's way. So we talked about how we have all sinned and how even if we cease sinning, God cannot ignore the history of our sin.
We then went on to explain that Jesus came to pay for our sins and how we need to trust only in Him for our forgiveness. But Em didn't get it. So we explained the gospel another way to him, but he still didn't understand it. Since he had always been taught something different, grace was such a foreign concept to him. We had to explain the gospel some ten times before he said "I get it now!"
We encouraged him to repent and count the cost of following Jesus, but at the same time, not to delay. At the end of the conversation, Em said, "You know what, I was actually on my way to a party, but after this conversation, I am now just going to go home instead."
Glory to God that His word is so powerful!
We praise God for another good outreach in Woodridge. We talked to people from all different cultures and religions and shared with them the good news of Christ.
One conversation we had was with three Aussies who said they were Baha'i. They said that all the religions are true and that they believe in a progressive revelation, that is, God reveals more information over time. I said, we too believe in a progressive revelation (the Bible), in that the Old Testament came first and then the New Testament came later. But I asked them, "Does the new information that God reveals have to line up with the old?" They said it did.
And since they also agreed that Jesus was 100% accurate in everything he said, I pointed them to a number of passages in the Bible showing the exclusivity of Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). If Jesus says He is the way to Heaven and He is true, logically there can't be another way.
I said, "Let's say someone comes up to us and asks for the directions to Woodridge train station and one of us says, 'It's just there' (pointing to the station). But then another of us says, 'No it's 50 metres in the opposite direction. One of us is wrong, right?" They agreed. I continued, "So in the same way if Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven and other religions deny that or say something opposite, logically they all cannot be right at the same time."
I said, "Even though you like the idea that all religions are true, and you've been believing Bahaism for a long time, couldn't it be a possibility that your religion is wrong?" A couple of them were beginning to see that could be the case and one said, "I am going to have start reading the Bible for myself and learn more about Jesus." Since I had also spent a bit time explaining how forgiveness is only available through Jesus' death on the cross for us. Please pray for them.
To Glory alone be the glory!
It was a bit different today for our outreach in Woodridge. The council had removed almost all the fixed seating in the area, in order to stop certain people from spending their whole day sitting on the seats drunk, causing a nuisance to the community. This is really just a band-aid solution though, as we know that the true solution to the problem is the gospel of Christ.
But that infrastructure change didn't affect the witnessing at all today, as there were just as many people about. When the high school kids came by after school finished for the day, I noticed Alan got into an in-depth chat with a large group of them. So I came beside a couple of the guys who were on the fringe of the discussion and asked them about their thoughts on whether they would go to heaven.
One young man I chatted to was Arthur, he thought that God would let him into Heaven because he is a good man. It's amazing that no matter where people come from, we naturally think that we are good. So I talked with Arthur about the fact that we aren't good and took him through some of God's laws and how we have broken them. I explained the problem about God being good and therefore how we deserve His judgement, and also the good news about Jesus dying for our sins.
After explaining the message, I find it is very important to ask a checking question. Something like, "So to recap, what do you need to do to get to Heaven?" or "Do good deeds have anything to do with you going to Heaven?" The reason for this is people can often hear the gospel and nod in agreement but still not understand it. That is why getting them to explain it to you afterwards gives you an idea of whether they have got it or not.
For Arthur, he had come to understand it - that it was not of works but through faith in what Jesus has done that can save him. But when I asked him whether he thinks he is prepared to turn from his sin, he shook his head. He said, "My friends will bring me back to sin." I said, "Then it may mean getting new friends." For having peace with God is far more important than being liked by your friends. He saw that, and said he was going to have to count the cost. He didn't have a Bible and was happy to take a gospel of John. Please pray for Arthur.
We are simply unworthy servants doing our duty, God deserves all the praise!
Praise God that the gospel went out today in Woodridge. We had seven of us on the team across the afternoon, and together we handed out hundreds of gospel tracts. The wonderful thing about tracts is that they speak even when we are asleep. Plus they can be taken home to influence even a whole household, and then be passed on to others!
This afternoon at Woodridge we had several really good gospel conversations. One thing I love about evangelising at Woodridge is that it's such a multicultural place with dozens of different nationalities of people living there. That means without us having to travel to each of the countries where these people are from, they have come to us! And this afternoon we got to talk to a young man named Chekole from Ethiopia.
When we asked him about whether he will go to heaven when he dies, he wasn't sure. But he was open to listening to the message and asked a few questions. After explaining the good news of Christ to him, he asked for a Bible in English that he could take home and read. So we gave him one.
Praise be to our God who is calling a people for Himself from all the nations!
It was another fruitful outreach today in Woodridge. It is great seeing people come to grasp the gospel for the first time.
Today, I asked a young man named Fire what he thinks will get him to Heaven. He didn't want to answer the question right away, but asked me to ask his friend the question instead. His friend thought that he would be let into Heaven because he has tried his best.
So I talked about sin and how we fall short of God's perfect standard and therefore our own goodness would never save us. I explained how Jesus died to take our sins, but Fire's friend didn't understand it at first.
So I then placed a pile of gospel tracts on my hand and said "Let's say these tracts represent all the sins you've done. God sees you, He sees your sin." I then pointed to my other hand, "This is Jesus' record, He is perfect. And 2000 years ago he took our sin from us and died for them, and He then gave us His perfection." While I said this, I transferred the tracts to my other hand.
Then it clicked in the mind of the friend, he came to understand what Jesus did on the cross for him and how he needs to respond in repentance and faith. It was so exciting to see this.
I then turned back to Fire and asked him what he thought would save him. He explained how he used to trust in Christ alone for his salvation and nothing of his own efforts, but he said he has now outgrown the need for the Bible. He said he has been influenced by an African preacher who says that he has learned about God more when he gave up reading the Bible, and unfortunately Fire has followed suit.
Fire said he hears from God in his own mind, and so he said, "What will save me? I used to trust in Christ's righteousness and sacrifice on the cross to save me, but now believe I will be saved simply because I exist." This unfortunately is what occurs when a person gives up on the sufficiency of the Word of God.
Please pray for Fire, and also for his friend who has come to grasp the gospel. To God be the glory!
Today at Woodridge the gospel went out. In fact, two of the people on the team thought they had enough gospel tracts with them, but both ran out! One commented, "There is no other place where people take tracts as readily as here in Woodridge."
We had many good gospel conversations. One conversation in particular we had was with a high school student named Abid, whose family moved to Australia from Libya 15 years ago. He was a Muslim, but he was very open to hearing about Jesus.
As we were talking, he was beginning to see how he needs a perfect substitute to take the punishment for his sin - that being Jesus. And when he heard that Jesus said that He was God, it really shocked him. But he saw that it was more important to please God than just continue believing what his family had always taught him. He said he wanted to trust in Jesus today.
Abid was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray for him.
It was also good today to see someone who we have witnessed to before and given a Bible to, who is now going to a church in the area and a mid-week Bible study.
Praise God that He uses our simple words in His mission and for His glory!
We had a good outreach in Woodridge on Tuesday afternoon. There were four of us on the team, and many tracts were handed out...not just in English. Since Woodridge is very multicultural place, we had with us tracts in a dozen or so languages.
One person we spoke to was Samson. He had just recently been chosen to be in the Broncos development program. Even though he used to go to church, rugby training was now the focus of his life. He thought God would let him into heaven because everything in his life is going really good right now.
After hearing the gospel and the cost of discipleship - that Jesus can't just be an add-on to our life, He should be the centre - he said he can't trust in Christ yet. He said he now realises that if he died right now he would be going to hell. For he saw sport as his idol, but he wanted to keep it that way until he was older.
After speaking with him further and challenging him, he was happy for us to pray for him. Please pray that God will really convict Samson of his sin and draw him to Himself.
Please also pray for Hakim, a Muslim young man from Uzbekistan. He came to realise the only way his sin debt can be paid for is by a sinless substitute taking his hell punishment for him. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray that God will save him.
To God be the glory!
The Way to Heaven tract we were using is available here.
It was another fruitful outreach on Tuesday at Woodridge. I was wondering who we would have on the team as most of the regulars were unable to make it today. I thought it would just be me.
But praise be to God, before 2pm rolled around I got a phone call from Jeorge, who has evangelised with us before but hasn't been out for several months, saying he is coming to be part of the team at Woodridge and he is bringing six or so people from his church! God really answers prayer!
Many of these people he brought along hadn't ever evangelised before. It is great to see God raising up new labourers and sending them out into His harvest field.
The police were positioned near where we were evangelising for a lot of the afternoon, keeping the area safer. It was great even hearing from the officers that they appreciate what we do.
There were plenty of good conversations that were had throughout the afternoon. Just to mention one - please pray for Lilliana and Anna, who attend a catholic school. They thought that trying to do good was going to save them, and so I explained how that wouldn't work because doing good doesn't cover the bad we have done, and Jesus said "you must be perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
As I was explaining how forgiveness is only available by having someone else who can take our punishment for us (that is Jesus), I noticed Anna was quite distracted and looking around the place. But at the same time I saw Lilliana very intently listening and you could tell she was beginning to grasp the gospel.
It is interesting to see in some ways the two different kinds of soils Jesus spoke about in one of His parables, in the one conversation. Please pray for them both as they have heard the truth and now have to consider how they will respond to it.
We sow the seed and leave the results up to God. To God alone be the glory!
There was a heavy Police presence in Woodridge yesterday, which was quite good as it made the area much more peaceful. Sadly, when the Police aren't around there is normally quite a bit of violence, abuse and public drunkenness.
The Police seem to be a bit of a 'band-aid' solution to the problem. However, it must be noted that real community change will not come from laws and legislation, but rather it will only come when Christ is submitted to as Lord.
Our desire for Woodridge is to see Jesus lifted high, and the community transformed by the Gospel. To help achieve these ends we engage in literature distribution and personal witness. Our Free Bible table had a bit of interest yesterday.
I was able to speak to one lady and her son who had just arrived from somewhere in Africa. They were professing Believers, but didn't know where to go to church. I was able to point them to a solid Baptist church just around the corner from where they were living.
During this time, other members of the team were also engaging in conversations with people. One of our team members had a chat to a Muslim girl who had many questions and seemed to be quite interested in Christianity.
One of the wonderful things about ministering in Woodridge is that we often get to see the same people over and over again. Each week we get to build on the foundation which was previously laid. Yesterday, we saw people that we've spoken to in the past, and again we were able to point them to Jesus.
Please pray that the Lord Jesus will rule and reign over this community.
It was a windy, yet, productive outreach in Woodridge today. We arrived at just after 2pm and began by setting up the "Free Bible and Literature Table." We then proceeded to hand out tracts and talk to people. At one point the Police came by; they were quite friendly and chatted to us. They even helped us pick up all our resources when a strong gust of wind flipped our table.
I was able to chat to one man whom we've spoken to several times before. He was looking for any excuse to justify his unbelief. We chatted for sometime, and he admitted that he was more concerned about his children and his children's children than he was about his own soul.
I quoted to him from Deuteronomy 6 about the responsibilities of parents. I stressed to him that if he was truly concerned about his children then he would be seeking to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. He admitted that this was true.
After talking to him, I was able to chat to a man who had just finished talking to Mako. This man wanted to know how he could be sure that God exists. I pointed out to him that he already knew that God exists (Romans 1) and then proceeded to use the cosmological argument to confirm this knowledge. The many very readily agreed that God does exist.
During this time, Ryan and Pastor Luther were talking to two people from Iran. Both of them have arrived in this country as refugees. It was great to have a local Pastor with us as we ministered, as he was able to get their contact details and will be meeting with them tomorrow.
It was great to get back out to share the Gospel in Woodridge. Please pray that the light would dispel the darkness in this community.