Capalaba Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Monday afternoon (except public holidays) at the bus station between the two shopping centres (next to Noeleen Street).
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
On Monday afternoon the sun was blazing making a number of the bus platforms warmer than normal. The team due to one conversation ended up spending an extra hour in the outreach. A man who had a Catholic background, hopped off the bus, was asked a question about eternity and said that he doesn't really like talking about it. One hour and twenty minutes later the conversation ended and he had been encouraged numerous times to turn from his self-reliance to trusting in Christ.
Due to the extended time, the team had over thirty gospel conversations during the afternoon! Praise God for allowing the freedom and openness for such a fruitful afternoon to occur. There were many conversations that took place and in the moment they can be extremely sad, for example one short conversation with an elderly SDA man. He was adamant that he must work for his salvation. He would say, "It is by grace alone but we have to earn that grace".
He probably won't survive to live in this world for another decade and if his pride remains in those short years, his eternity will be spent in hell.
It is conversations like this that are gut wrenching. He has every advantage to hear and understand God's offer of salvation. He has the Bible, in his own language. He has the ability to read and time on his hands and yet he prefers the false doctrine that enables him to have pride in his own achievements and abilities.
Despite this man's hard heart, we can know and rejoice that God isn't making mistakes. Whether this man remains proud until death and ends up in Hell, or God humbles him and leads him to Christ, the saviour of sinners, God is in charge and does not make mistakes. In our gospel proclamation, of course we want to see people come to a knowledge of the truth but we are called to be faithful in proclamation and nothing more.
There was a man Keiran who was spoken to, who once was a youth leader but had since rejected Christianity declaring he thinks he is a nephilim and has the ability to pay for his own sin. He says he is a spiritual health and wellness coach. Basically, he has foolishly rejected God as He has revealed Himself and then taken some parts from different sources and fashioned an idol out of his own ideas.
Another man Ray declared that we must simply have faith in faith. It was explained that it is the object of our faith that saves, not the faith itself. There are many faiths that are foolish. Many things people rely on and place their faith in, that cannot help. This was pointed out the Ray with some analogies and he was left to consider the only reliable object of faith, Jesus Christ.
Another lady Shirley declared a lot of different ideas, most important was the idea that God does not judge, He just forgives. This was pointed out as incoherent as to forgive someone requires you to judge what they've done as wrong. It was also pointed out that the one forgiving must take the hit. Shirley was a lady who was sure that she was a very good person and has lived a life very pleasing to God.
Another lady Linduca was adamant that she as a Buddhist was going to be fine. Even though in Buddhism one of the steps to enlightenment is to have no desires. The primary issue being, the desire to have no desires, is a desire. Linduca was shown the law of God, leading to a knowledge of sin and was left knowing the we can never be right before God on our own, only Christ can save a sinner.
Three others that heard the Gospel and responded positively were Brooke, Grant and Zane. They each did the good person test, saw their sin and the deserved punishment and heard God's offer of salvation. They were each encouraged to read their Bible and were left with a tract.
Please be praying for all those who heard the Gospel today. These numbers as well as many more. Please bring these men and women before God in prayer, asking Him to have His way with them, whether it be in changing their heart for His glory or hardening it for His glory. Please also be praying for the Lord of the harvest to send out more labourers, maybe even yourself!
What is the best way to avoid feeling stale and out of touch with evangelism? Evangelising! It might surprise you to know that even a single day between Saturday's outreach and Monday's outreach is enough to forget simple analogies and explanations. It is also enough time to forget how important it is to be patient and Christ-like whilst evangelising.
It makes sense that as Christian's we struggle to declare the Gospel to people, to find the words to say or the patience to share, if we only do it once a week, once a month or once a year. Thankfully Capalaba is a location that brings a very quick reminder that overcoming evangelism is not primarily about learning more apologetics or memorising answers but it is about trusting in God, relying on the Spirit, fearing God more than men and being motivated by God's great love for us, in Christ.
This Monday as usual was filled with humility, hostility and hope.
A surprising conversation early in the afternoon was had with Erica. She had just the night before stumbled across and watched a Joseph story.
This was unusual but it was a good opportunity to explain not just the Gospel by how the entire Bible speaks of God's sovereign plan to save the human race, through, the Son, Jesus Christ, for His own glory. Erica also heard the bad news of sin and the hope found in Christ alone for salvation.
She said that she would count the cost of trusting in Christ and took a tract. She also was encouraged to read her Bible!
A sad conversation was had with Jeff. He declared that he had tried all types of Christianity, Catholic, SDA and Mormon. This was really sad to hear because somehow in his searches, he had missed actual Christianity. Jeff had a number of arguments against God and also claimed that none of the groups had worked for him.
As the Gospel was explained Jeff was surprised and said that he had never heard it before but then he jumped to his own defense and said, "no Christian wants to help me, they just want to condemn me".
It was pointed out that in the very conversation he was making that claim, a team member was listening to him, was offering him hope and help and was encouraging him to trust entirely upon Jesus for salvation. Sadly the conversation was cut off there as his bus arrived. Please be praying that Jeff was impacted by the patience, remembers the Gospel and turns to God, not just to a set of rules and laws.
Another encouraging (and funny) conversation was had with Kiana and Deagon. Kiana was unchurched and had very little understanding of the Gospel and Deagon professed to be a Christian but didn't know the Gospel either. The conversation was quite straight forward, God as Creator, Judge and Saviour was presented and the two understood it. As the Gospel was explained the pair said they'd never heard it before. As the required response was shared Deagon said, "I already believe in Jesus". To which, without a moment's hesitation, Kiana responded, "Just because you say that you're a Christian and go to Church, doesn't mean you trust in Jesus!"
Ouch! All Deagon could do was try and defend himself but he knew she was right. Then moments later, Kiana who seemed to have comprehended the Gospel and its response, when asked, "When will you trust in Jesus?" said, "I think I will at sometime." She was then asked, "Why not now? If you don't want to trust in Him now..." Finishing the question she said "Why will I wanted to trust in Him later?"
It was clear Kiana understood what God required of her. Please be praying for Deagon that her question was used by the Spirit to cut him to the heart. Please be praying that Kiana takes the truth she has heard and turns to Jesus alone for her salvation!
A final sad conversation was had with Jake. He heard the Gospel and many different explanations and answers to his questions but sadly after all was said and done he declared, "I understand what you're saying but I don't want to trust in Jesus because I love marijuana too much".
Please be praying that God in his severe mercy, would do everything required to strip Jake's foolish reliance on drugs away, that he will be bought unto salvation.
This afternoon at Capalaba there were five team members out! Praise God for raising up new labourers to come and declare His glorious Gospel!
A lengthy and early on conversation was had with a lady named Caitlin. She hadn't really thought about eternity much before and wasn't sure if there was one. She thought there may be a God but definitely not a judge.
After many questions were asked and she began sharing some things about the background to her beliefs she shared that she went to a Catholic, school and university. This was an opportunity taken to ask, "After all that study, what do you think the main point of Christianity is?"
She shared that it was all about living. Living properly and living well. That's all the Christianity teaches, how to live. Then she was asked, "If Christianity is just about living, what has Jesus got to do with it?" She responded, He is the role model, the one that shows us how to live.
It was pointed out that in one sense this is true but then she was asked, "If Christianity is just about living and Jesus is just the perfect role model, why did Jesus have to die?"
She wasn't sure. Then she asked, "What is Christianity about and why did Jesus have to die?"
From that point Christianity was explained to her step by step. She came to hear and understand that Jesus isn't just a role model but is the wrath-absorbing sacrifice for sinners.
She was a little surprised and asked a few follow up questions but for the first time in her life she understood the Bible, the Gospel and Christianity. She was encouraged to pick up a Bible and read it.
She also mentioned, that there are some Christians who do a "really bad job" of talking to people but noted that she really appreciated how the team spoke with her and was glad that she was able to have the conversation.
Please be praying for Caitlin, that the Holy Spirit will change her life, through the Gospel!
Another conversation was had with Sharon and Shae. They were asked, "What do you think happens after you die?" To which Sharon responded, "I am not interested in hearing about religion". It was pointed out that she was being asked a question, what did she think. This seemed to break down all the walls.
A lengthy and wonderful conversation ensued where Sharon and her daughter Shae heard a, question and answer, with explanations, summary of Christianity, who God is, what God Created us for, why sin is so bad, what the consequences are and what the only hope we have is.
Just as their bus was arriving the response to the Gospel was being explained, that Jesus commands us to turn from out sin, to Him. It was an exciting conversation from hostility to agreement and even a desire to hear and know more.
Please be praying for Sharon and Shae that God would use this simple conversation to change their lives! Praise God that He softens hearts, even allowing for conversations in otherwise challenging situations!
When you consider places to evangelise, Capalaba might not have even crossed your mind but this is always an exciting location. One person will growl at you simply for asking them if you can talk to them about eternity. The person sitting next to them on the other hand, will probably have never heard the Gospel and will happily talk with you until their bus arrives.
Although it comes with extremes, it is a place where God is using the simple conversations the team has to change peoples hearts. On Monday, between two team members over three hours, more than thirty people heard the Gospel!
The afternoon started with a sad conversation, with a lady named Micah. She stated that she was going to Heaven because her father was a priest for fifty years. Then she said that she was very good. She said she'd never lied or stolen and had lived her whole life God's way.
Then when asked about God's command not to commit adultery the conversation changed, she went from declaring how good she was, to attacking God. She said, "How can God call adultery a sin, when the Bible says incest is good?"
It was explained that the Bible doesn't commend incest, rather in the law of Moses it is outlawed. But it was clear what was taking place, Micah wanted to think she was a good person but the topic of adultery was something she knew she was guilty of. She then went on to share that she may have had her daughter before she was married but that didn't make her a bad person.
It was pointed out that she was right, it wasn't the sexual immorality made her a sinner, rather she was a sinner and therefore she was sexually immoral. Sadly Micah used emotionally driven arguments against God in an attempt to numb her conscience.
The Gospel was explained quickly as her bus was arriving soon but she wasn't really interested in the saviour, rather she preferred to change the rules to suit herself and declare righteousness based on her own standards.
Please be praying for Micah that the Holy Spirit would convict her of sin, judgement and righteousness and that she would not be able to rest until she found forgiveness in Christ and His sacrifice.
Three conversations were had with five ladies. Tia and Caitlin, Taneesha and Charlie and Leah. All five heard of God's Holiness and His expectations of humanity. They heard of the wickedness and consequences of sin and were left with the offer of hope and Jesus' command to repent and believe.
All five said they would consider it and all five took tracts. Please be praying that this conversation is used by the Holy Spirit to transform their lives into ones of knowing God, being known by God and making God known.
This afternoon in Capalaba again God was gracious in keeping the rain away during the outreach. At the beginning of the outreach the team prayed that God would delay or fast track buses as He desired to bring about, lengthen or even shorten conversations as required.
Usually conversations at Capalaba last for less than fifteen minutes due to the bus schedule but the first conversation of the afternoon was with a man named Niel. This conversation lasted almost fifty minutes! It was a valuable conversation.
One of the crucial things that has been used recently in evangelism is explaining sin through the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. This is because most people know of the garden but very few know what the sin was or how they were tempted. When it is explained that Satan's temptation is simply that Adam and Eve can determine right and wrong for themselves, most people are shocked.
But with this basis and grounding, it can be referred to over and over as the root of all sin and every time someone says, "I would do it differently to God", it can be pointed out, that foolishness is in the very same vein as the sin that started this whole problem.
In the conversation with Niel, this was relied upon strongly and referred to often. Niel had many different objections, although none were the usual intellectual ones. Most were emotional, experiential or simply rebellious.
Over the course of this lengthy conversation Niel slowly went from being quite sure of his rejection of God to being quite open to considering what God has done to save sinners. With the Gospel emphasised a number of times and many theological topics covered, Niel finally said that he would consider reading the Bible and attending a local Church.
He didn't seem completely committed but at the same time his words weren't entirely empty either. Please be praying that this man who has said he is, "Waiting for God". Will be greatly moved by God and shall not be able to sleep another night until he is right with Him.
Another conversation was had with a lady named Jordan. At first she said she was an atheist but more meant that she thought most (if not all) Christians were simply hypocrites. It was interesting that she raised that and for the first time a new method of evangelism was used, firstly asking what she thought the main point of Christianity is.
To which she boldly declared, "Love your neighbour as yourself". Then it was explained through three statement of Jesus, with discussion on each, what the Gospel really is. Jesus said, "You must be Holy as your Heavenly Father is Holy". He said, "The righteous will be resurrected unto eternal life and the unrighteous to eternal punishment" and He said, "I come not to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many".
With these three points discussed each in some level of depth, Jordan not only declared that we are all in trouble and no one deserves Heaven but upon understanding the penal substitutionary atonement of the cross said that she had her mind opened to what Christians really believed and said she was not as against it anymore.
This was encouraging, it was a small step and as she finished saying this her bus arrived (a few minutes late). Praise God for another moment of providence for the advancement of the Gospel.
Please also be praying that Jordan isn't satisfied with the new and small understanding of God and His Gospel but will desire to know God personally and intimately.
Finally a conversation was had with Bruce and Asian man who said he had received a tract last week at Sunnybank. Through the conversation the Gospel was explained a number of times until he understood it and upon understanding it he said, "I think I want to trust in Jesus now!" This was an exciting moment and when offered a local Church he said he would be keen to head along!
Praise God for using tracts and simple Gospel conversations to bring about regenerated hearts and saved souls.
Please be praying for those who were spoken to today, even for brief conversations. Please be praying that God would save many for His glory as a result of today's simple display of obedience.
Monday afternoon at Capalaba started with the threat of rain but thankfully none came. It was a slightly quieter week at the bus stop as it is school holidays at the moment but the team of four still found enough people to have conversations across the whole afternoon.
Two early conversations were had with Tyla and Kasey. Tyla hadn't thought much about life after death and interacted quite simply with the Gospel presentation. She heard of the problem of sin and its consequences. Then proposed a few ideas she thought could fix it. With a little more context and explanation, it was shown that for God to forgive, the debt must be paid.
Tyla then heard what Jesus has done, so that guilty sinners can be forgiven. She seemed interested and surprised but wasn't overly moved. The summons of the Gospel was presented to her, that God commands us to repent and believe and she was left to ponder her decision.
Similarly, Kasey heard the simple Gospel, some explanations for how we know God exists and then as her bus arrived she was left to ponder the question, "When will you trust in Jesus for your salvation?"
A final and lengthy conversation was had with some teenagers who hang around the area. They often cause mischief and act out but today some of them, over the course of an hour, gave their attention.
At first when there were eight of them, the conversation was a bit silly but as some got bored and walked off, two girls, Leila and Shakira stayed and engaged. They had many questions and ideas. They talked a lot about what they thought and raised objections to God.
As the conversation flowed much of the Bible's story was explained. How God had spoken and made this world, in an incredible display of power. How humanity, despite knowing who God is and how He created this world, in this foolish idolatry decided that they knew better than God and tried to domesticate and control God, trying to get Him to obey their desires or even completely rejecting Him all together.
These two girls, then were shown by the law, how far short we fall of God's standard and were left to dwell for some moments on the reality of Hell and where we deserve to go. They understood but at this stage it still seemed to be information rather than application.
With a simple Gospel explanation given and some more questions answered the girls took tracts and left, with a very clear choice to make, will I choose myself as lord and suffer God's wrath for my sin or will I surrender to Jesus as Lord and find salvation in His perfect life and sacrificial death?
They took tracts and headed on their way. Whilst this conversation went on a mother and her daughter listened in and afterwards mentioned that they were local Christians who had been greatly encouraged by the patience and kindness shown in sharing the Gospel and then said they wanted to try and share the Gospel themselves because of seeing it done.
Please be praying for Tyla, that she would be moved by God's love for her in the Gospel and will turn to find life in Christ. Please pray that Kasey will ponder God's call on her life, to give up idolatry and turn to Him. Please be praying that Shakira and Leila will heed the Gospel and turn from their sin.
Lastly please pray that Ann and Ruby, who heard the Gospel conversation would step out in reliance upon God to serve Him with their lives.
The Lord had some prepared to be challenged in various ways today. An Indian lass who works locally, read the tract thoroughly before we had a brief chat before her bus arrived. She was agreeing that God is perfect and we cannot meet His standard. I was able to introduce the substitutionary work of Jesus on behalf of His people but the rest is in the Lord's hand. Thankfully He always has the final word.
There were a few chats with people that other team members had met before. They seemed to be hardened to the point where I challenged them to seek out God in His word.
There was a man passing by as he pushed his wheelie-walker and wanted to know what the tract was about. His face light up when he heard it was God's good news. Pray that those sitting would be stirred up as they saw his appreciation.
A day for scattering seeds in some small way.
When our great God does His work, who can foresee what the eternal ramifications will be. Thanks for the privilege of serving. To you alone is the glory and thank you for those who pray - not forgetting the team in Myanmar!
We had a shorter-than-usual time at the bus stop today due to the departure later tonight of the team to Myanmar.
There were only a few conversations to commit to prayer:
- Ryan had an 'indifferent' mature age man who admitted the Builder/building analogy made sense. He heard the good news. He seemed to be uninterested in taking it to heart. Pray God stirs/awakens him up to his dire situation.
- My wife was praying that the Lord would grant encouragement today. Meet Charlotte from the Belgian Congo. She very succinctly & correctly answered the diagnostic question, "If you died today, why would God let you into His heaven?" I gave a little summary about how science has shown that there is no reasonable possibility for a starting point, i.e. a cell randomly forming (protein + dna) and so macro-evolution is a dud theory. She replied with a demolishing of the Big Bang theory. After swapping some details of what we believed the Bible taught, we prayed as a brother and a sister-in-Christ. We went on our way rejoicing. Thanks for praying.
May God do His sovereign work through our efforts and the tracts. To Him alone be glory and praise.
This afternoon there was some cloud cover at Capalaba which kept the afternoon fairly cool. It seemed to keep the bus stop quieter than usual but thankfully there were still enough people around to speak with.
One conversation was had with a lady named Elise. She had spoken to the team before and had been left to consider the Gospel. Sadly she hadn't surrender to Christ and therefore had chosen to reject it (by her passivity). She was once again reminded of the Gospel's summons, calling her to turn in surrender and faith to Christ. The wrath and love of God was re-iterated and she was one again encouraged to heed God's call on her life.
Another conversation was had with Emily. She was a few years out of school but said that she stopped believing in God after school. This information was referred to a number of times to help her realise that her disbelief in God wasn't intellectual but theological.
She acknowledged that if God was to judge her by the Ten Commandments she would be guilty and deserve Hell. She even noted that no one would deserve Heaven. When asked how a sinner could be forgiven, she wasn't really sure. The Gospel was explained a number of times until she understood that it was a gift, that God gave to the undeserving not the worthy.
When asked when she would trust in Jesus she said she didn't really want to and reiterated that she didn't believe in Him. She was asked, "Which came first, you living your own way or you rejecting God's existence?" She responded, "I have lived my own way my whole life and I didn't reject God's existence until after I left school."
It was pointed out that this therefore is the order in which the events occurred, it wasn't that she disbelieved in God and then decided she could live her own way, rather, her desire to live sinfully came long before she tried to justify her rebellion through rejecting God's existence. She seemed to agree with this and was left with a final reminder and challenge that our only hope for forgiveness, salvation and right-relationship with God, is to turn in repentance and faith to Jesus.
A final conversation was had with three high school boys, Toby, Andy and Cain. Toby was distracted and quite uninterested, preferring to play on his phone rather than listening. Andy, was trying to argue about any and everything to try and defend his rejection of God and Toby was quietly but attentively listening.
The conversation was a simple and straight forward Gospel conversation, God created us, we rebelled against Him and His law (with specific examples), God hates sinners and cannot let the guilty go unpunished. Yet, God in history has stepped in so humanity can be forgiven. He came, lived perfectly, died sacrificially and rose victoriously so that all who surrender to Him may have life.
Toby was keen to live in sin and wasn't even the slightest bit interested in turning to Christ. Cain, thought only really bad people went to Hell and only really good go to Heaven, the rest just die. Andy thought anything that he could to try and disagree with the Gospel, even if it didn't make sense. The three took tracts and were strongly encouraged to turn from their sinful self-reliance and to find forgiveness in Christ.
Please be praying for Elise, that she would not put off trusting Christ any longer. Please pray for Emily, that she would heed the warnings and find her greatest satisfaction in Christ, rather than the pursuit of the things in this world. Finally, please be praying for Andy that God would humble him, Toby that he would be given a hatred of sin and Cain that he would turn to Christ for salvation.
This afternoon at Capalaba was as usual a mixture between exciting conversations and hardened hearts.
To start the afternoon off, Paula engaged in a discussion. She didn't really think there was a God but liked the idea of reincarnation. When Buddhism was explained she was actually surprised by what they believe. Then some simple ground work was done regarding this universe. The building, builder analogy was given and the explanation of God as the giver of life and all good gifts was talked through.
Paula understood and agreed and was happily engaging. She then heard of the problem, that we have taken the things God has given us and used and abused them for ourselves, our ideas, our intentions and this is called sin. We have used our intellgence and our mouth to lie, our body to steal or be sexually immoral, we have abused others and used alcohol and sex to indulge ourselves rather than to rejoice in and serve God. The just penalty we deserve for this rebellion is Hell, the removal of all the gifts under the judgement and punishment of God's wrath.
This all made sense but at this moment Paula's bus arrived! She was given a quick encouragement to read the tract to find out about God's Saviour as she stepped onto her bus.
Another conversation was had with Ali, a Muslim. The team had spoken to him before, he was able to partially articulate the Gospel but was adamant in trying to declare that Christians and Muslims believe the same thing. It was stressed and explained that they are polar opposites. Muslims believe that it is by their good works and effort that they get to Heaven, that therefore in Heaven they are being rewarded and God is serving them. Where as God has declared that He is a just God and therefore the only way a sinner can be forgiven and made righteous is if Jesus provides His perfect life as a sacrifice for us. Therefore, those who get to Heaven, do it only by the work of Jesus and are in Heaven praising and worshipping God for who He is.
They are opposites in almost every way. Sadly Ali's bus arrived but please be praying that God would use this new understanding to begin Ali on the track to life!
A shorter conversation was had with Michelle a Catholic, who didn't really know what Heaven was and wasn't sure she was getting there. The same explanation was given to her as was given to Ali about the opposite nature of Heaven and Salvation. She understood and said she would consider it. Her bus arrived as well and she took a tract as she left.
Finally and most saddening of all was a talk with a very intelligent man who knew an awful lot about the Bible and theology but had one great big blind spot. He argued about the Sabbath, trying to downplay Christ's claim to have "fulfilled" the Law and the Prophets. He spent most of the time while waiting on this issue trying to explain how most Christians had perverted the truth and had "moved" the Sabbath to a Sunday. Even when it was explained that the Sabbath wasn't moved, it was fulfilled in Christ, as our sabbath rest and the Christians simply chose to worship Christ on the first day of the week, this man couldn't understand.
Disappointingly, the Gospel was mostly forgotten in this conversation and with a few moments left before the bus arrived, it was asked, "What do you think is getting you to Heaven?" with which he responded, trust in Jesus' sacrifice and my obedience to him. OH NO! This was a scary moment, a man who on many points of theology and history had great understanding and knowledge had stepped outside orthodoxy with one simple but catacalysmic issue, he thought his entrance into Heaven was based on Christ plus his own works.
With seconds left as the bus pulled up, he was pleaded with to give up this self-righteous, semi-pelagian view and to trust in the Messiah alone to save him. But this man was adamant that he and a very select few of others really believed the truth. It was a sad moment, as this man hopped on the bus and left.
Please be praying for Paula that her understanding of sin and rebellion against God would lead her to find out who Christ is. Please be praying that Ali would for the first time understand why Christians believe what they believe, and turn to Christ for salvation. Please be praying that Michelle will consider the Gospel proclaimed to her and find salvation in Christ.
Lastly please be praying for this very lost man, who for all his intelligence, intellect, arugments and knowledge has completely missed the simple Gospel's message of grace alone.