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.
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.
This was a day with a few repeat encounters plus the new ones that God directed our paths to.
There is a small gang that Lee-Anne often speaks with and again today. Matt also had a chance to speak and one young guy said that he had been taught something today. Matt invited him to speak some more next week. Please pray that these young ones might see their hopeless position before God - in His perfect time.
Ryan met up with Byron who has had conversations with 2 other team members in the past. He could not remember what God required of him to let him into the kingdom of the Son He loves. Pray that Byron would see the urgency to repent. He was informed that he would know that his repentance is true because he would start to love what God loves and hate the sins he has been entangled in, Heb. 12:1.
Stephen showed up after being absent for a while. His Mum is in hospital and he does not expect her to leave alive.
On being asked if she was on the Lord's side, he could only say that she was a catholic. He still does not deal with his own sin and quickly turns the conversation away from himself, again and again as he has for a few years now. May the Holy spirit awaken his spirit to his desperate situation that he might flee to Christ alone to save him, Mt. 1:21.
Ryan was able to take three commuters sitting on the leeward side of a bench seat, through the flip chart presentation. One man whom he had spoken to before walked off after a while. Finally, there was an elderly lady left who had thought that it was a matter of her doing 'good' to get into heaven. She has gone home to 'dust off her Bible.' May God lead her in the everlasting Way.
How wonderful to see God working in different ways with different people. We can rejoice that all His dealings are righteous as He is and will be forever - our great and awesome God Almighty.
You can also hear a video update from this afternoon. Watch Ryan share about a conversation with Amy. She had three encounters with people asking her about where she will spend eternity in the last two days.
Hear Matt share about an exciting conversation with a young couple who were hanging around the "small gang" of youngsters.
This afternoon at Capalaba the team had the privilege of engaging with a host of different people. There were less people than usual but conversations weren't hard to find. This afternoon was filled with unusual conversations and these are usually sad. Uniqueness in a religious belief isn't good, because it means the belief differs from God's clear revelation.
The first was with a man named Keith. He proclaimed to be a spiritual man and "very intelligent". Keith believed that God existed but that all religions are wrong. He attacked the Bible as false because, "we weren't there, we can't know it is true" and declared that true spirituality is just being good and hoping that God accepts that.
Keith didn't understand the Gospel when the conversation first started but said he understood it at the end.
Sadly, he follow this acknowledgment with, "but it is wrong". He is a man, that is so desperately in love with himself and his own ideas and on this basis has rejected God's very clear revelation about Himself.
Please be praying that God would be gracious to Keith and lead him to repentance.
Another conversation was had with a man who asked, "What do you think Heaven is?"
When it was explained that Heaven is a place, enjoying God and His glory eternally the man scoffed in scorn. He declared loudly, "Who would want to go there, what an awful place. Heaven should be like this earth where we can live how we want and make our own choices".
Sadly this man, also claimed to be a believer in God. It was another scary conversation with a man deluded to think that Heaven would be a place where he could sin at will, without consequence.
Two other conversations were had with a young man named Callum and a Girl named Shania. Neither had much understanding of God except for the idea that He is love. Callum thought that God would just let anyone into Heaven and Shania thought that as long as you try hard God will accept you.
Callum lent towards a buddhist idea of karma and was hoping that God would give some small punishments in this life so he would be okay on judgement day. It was explained that there is no small sin and no small punishment for sin because there is no small God to sin against.
Sadly Callum didn't really think he was that bad, or was that worried by God's judgement but preferred to live his own way.
On the other hand Shania came to understand that God's love is far more than what we call love (having mushy feelings). She learnt that God's love is for the underserving, the guilty, vile and helpless. God had every right to punish us and instead, punished Himself, so that we could be forgiven.
Shania was taken back and had never heard of God's love in this way before. She said she wanted to know more.
Please be praying for Keith that God would humble him. For the other man, that he would come to a saving knowledge of God. For Callum that he would see his desperate need for the Saviour and for Shania that she would seek to know God more.
Please also pray for Caleb a young man who heard the bad news but whose bus arrived before he was able to hear the Gospel. Please be praying that the team could speak to him in the coming weeks.