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.
School holidays bring a different sprinkling of people to us, but God's good news is always the same. The ones we were speaking to who seemed more 'open' than others, heard the good news, then the bus would arrive. A few prayers please for these especially:
- Aden, had a Bible and had read half of Matthew but was not currently reading it. After breaking a finger, he had met a 'faith healer' who prayed for him. He said that the pain went away so he never went to a doctor. It was obvious that the bone had healed but not in its normal position. Pointing out the unique of Christianity by the fact of Jesus bodily resurrection, Ryan took him through the law and gospel. Aden then understood the gospel. Still thinking that he would commit to Jesus the next time he went to church, he was challenged to act now - one does not know how many are his 'length of days'. He was also challenged to read God's Word daily and get his spiritual food each day. He was also invited to join us at a local church we attend.
- Oscar, a young student who was unclear about spiritual matters. I took him through the questions he needs answers to if he could believe that 'God is' and that 'God has spoken = the Bible'. He gladly took a comic tract and seemed to likely start searching for God. If indeed the Father is drawing him, he will find the Saviour and new life in Christ.
God is good and His lovingkindness lasts forever.
- Dylan, with a spiritually mixed up father, hearing the gospel was a delight as we know the truth will set you free as you abide in it. He received a gospel of John. Pray the Lord opens his spiritual eyes so that he comes in repentance and faith in Christ alone to seek God's mercy;
- Ann, concerned for difference between her Bible and the Watchtower version. Explained how the Jehovah Witnesses call themselves Christians but are not (they worship another god, Gal. 1:8). Then we looked up 1 Jn. 5:1-13 and I challenged her to receive God's assurance based her trusting on the perfect object of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ;
- A person named Ryan thought the Bible might not be true. I related my wife's coming to faith from the same position of doubt. Going through the gospel he is now left to verify the Biblical facts from his own prayerful study and told that he needed to make a commitment that he would not renege on.
And some had never considered gospel truths:
- Ashley, very receptive to gospel. He received John's gospel to explore.
- Cam, gospel heard, "makes sense"; counting the cost
and whatever else He enabled team member Ryan to communicate in the ensuing hours.
What a joy and privilege to serve our great God. Oh, yes, there was the usual types who heard the reason to abandon their worldview but they preferred the life of sin. God, thankfully, has the last word in every witnessing encounter. Glory to Him alone!
In his meditation booklet on Ps. 51:7b, A. Murray gives us this personification, "... the law of God stands at the gate of heaven and guards the entrance to it. It lets no one in who is not "whiter than snow"."
Angelika, a young lady from Germany, joined us today for some more experiences on how we witness. We pray that she learns the things needed before she leaves in 2 days time.
Today, how to hand out a tract but not as planned: I drifted across the bus stop area to intercept a mother with her teenage son and a much younger child. As I neared them, I had to stop and 'blow' my nose. By the time I had finished, the mother had taken her youngest back to check the bus arrival time. So I sauntered over to the teen and asked him if he would like a tract (a Jesus one) for the family. He smiled and said yes. As I handed it over (he had never read the Bible) I had time to introduce him to the facts of eternal life or eternal death.
When his mother arrived, he showed her the tract and she muttered, "No! No!" He was still smiling so I left him with a challenge to check out the claims of Christ on his soul. God, our gracious sovereign God, countered my intentions which would not have gotten a tract into that teenager's hands. He did it by causing my nose to drip so we can praise Him for as Isaiah 55 says, His ways are not our ways and Jesus stated that in salvation,there is nothing impossible with God.
What else God achieved through His frail servants, we do not know but we can give Him all the glory because He alone is worthy to be praised.
Who did the Lord bring under the sound of His good news today at this bus stop? 2 examples:
- Jake had some unusual questions like"Why does the Bible state thieves should be stoned?" Stoning was God's commanded punishment for certain crimes under Israel's law when it was a theocracy. Stealing incurred a fine and restitution, not stoning. After answering some questions, Ryan was able to proceed with the law and gospel. At the conclusion, Jake said he had more important issues to consider. Ryan challenged him to make 'where he will spend eternity' his top priority - today. Pray Jake does consider his precarious position today.
- Hayley has a religious Mum but was not conversant with the Bible. She knew about the 10 commandments and after admitting her sin of lying said that God could not let her into His perfect heaven. After proceeding through the substitutionary work of Jesus, She was interested to know more. She said that she could read her mother's Bible. I suggested that she read John's gospel and ask God to show her who Jesus is.
There were gospels of John handed out plus tracts of course. As I was leaving, I saw 7 skate boarders. 6 of them were being young guys and the 7th was listening intently as Ryan told him the good news.
Thanks for praying!
Glory be to God alone.
A young Samoan man, Tussi, who had recently moved here, but was not sure why he did so, had a long chat with Ryan and I joined in towards the end. He was a bit 'slow of understanding' because of a recent event in his life. He had a fair knowledge of salvation but had the common 'old nature' [false] idea that he would do his best and that would gain him entrance into heaven. Before his bus arrived he heard the message and we pray that God would complete the witness. We were able to correct a few of his erroneous views, e.g. someone had told him his past and his future via tarot cards. We pointed to the limited power of the false magicians who opposed Moses through whom God worked true miracles. Also that God's truth is unique and only He knows Tussi's future. How wonderful that he had arrived early so this long, cordial chat could take place!
Praise God for the work He does through his servants. What a privilege to serve the Almighty!
Pray for the Lord to draw Cody and Samantha to the Saviour. Initially he advocated reincarnation. Ryan asked him that if reincarnation was true, would not the population of the world be stable? For when someone dies, they go into a new body. However, the population is increasing rapidly these days. He conceded the point saying, "I have never realised that before. But that makes sense!"
Pointing to the Creator, and discussing how to get to heaven revealed that they were basically satisfied with their lives. Coming to the need for God to send us to hell because 'good enough' is not up to God's standard of righteousness, Cody exclaimed, "Surely not me!"
Proceeding to the gospel, they both gave a 'Wow' response. They had never heard salvation explained so clearly before (God's timing is always right). Challenged to count the cost as there is no quitting on Jesus, Cody said he was still in shock that that his belief in reincarnation had been obliterated and was now going to consider the claims of Christ. They were both happy to receive John's gospel and were asked to be like the Bereans, Acts 17 and check everything they hear with God's word.
Daniel described himself as a fencesitter. He had some objections to the Bible but could only remember that the planets, our solar system, were not described as created. The summary statement in Gen. 1:1 covers everything together and earth as separate because this is the focus that God desires to emphasize. He was invited to bring forward any further queries on the Bible at any time, either to one of us personally, or via the website. How the fact of eternity can be considered so lightly is always to be challenged. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and then comes judgment, = the verse before Heb. 9:28.
Praise God for enabling His servants and protecting them, and to Him alone belongs the glory.
God provided another day of challenges for us to call upon Him for wisdom & grace so that we may witness in a Christ-honoring manner. We had many polite conversations as the claims of Christ were presented and tracts were handed over:
- Beck, a churchgoer who gave a wrong answer to the question, "Why should God let you into heaven?" Then she said she believed the gospel as presented. Ryan pointed out her inconsistency and referred her to the study of Romans chapters 3-5 so that she might see the Biblical answer for herself.
- Jordan, who eventually said that because of his near death experience, he chose to believe in a goddess rather than the God of the Bible. Ryan pointed to the historical facts of Jesus life, death and resurrection and challenged Jordan to base his faith on a concrete objective Person rather than a subjective experience which might well have been an anesthetic-produced 'dream'.
- 4 young men who knew something of the gospel but were not letting it impact their lives (at least as far as they know -Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, Rom. 10:17)
- a Vegan who heard part of the message before his bus arrived (this is all God wanted him to hear at this time). He received an eternity tract and a "Story of Mr. Eternity" pamphlet. He also later returned to catch another bus and was spoken to further.
...and for these and others we look to God to do according to His good pleasure in each person He led us to converse with. We give Him all the glory for apart from Him enabling us, we can do no good thing.
What did our Lord have for us today? among others:
- encountered again, a young man who cannot read but had previously taken a gospel of John because he had someone who could read it to him. He had handed this copy to someone he said who needed it more than he did. His mother is getting him an audio Bible. Pray he hears the Good Shepherd speaking to him.
- a young procrastinating man who evaded me but Ryan did not know this and approached him after speaking to the man above. He said he would count he cost as he knew that he deserved hell for his sins but has a 'fatal attraction' for them. Pray the Lord gives him a stir.
- a lady encouraged us by letting us know that when she saw what was going on, she got busy at the throne of grace. This is tremendously encouraging and she herself needs prayer as she invites overseas student home for a meal and then tells them how Jesus has saved her from her sins, then asks them what their religion has to get them to heaven. Pray without ceasing.
To God be the glory. We thank Him for the privilege and pleasure of serving Him.
"Lest we forget" - as we thank God for the blood-bought freedom we continue to enjoy now, we need to think often of the ultimate redemption, as members of "... the church of God which obtained with His own blood.", Acts 20:28.
How precious is this! David who is illiterate was taken through the gospel twice until he grasped the message. Then Ryan gave him a gospel of John as David said he would have it read to him. Please, pray.
A few samples of what some careless types 'believe':
- a man who claimed he did not believe in anything, but then admitted he believed his parents existed. He later retracted this statement and blamed God for all the world's troubles. How inconsistent!
- a young couple: he did not care and she had a 'higher power' she followed and had ideas like the gospel accounts were written by His disciples about 300 years after Jesus death. Perhaps a seed was planted before the guy lost his cool and the conversation had to be terminated so that Ryan could walk...
...around to the other side of the bus seats where he met a man he had witnessed to, together with his girlfriend, a few months ago. She has started reading the Bible but he needed to hear the gospel again. He concluded that he was not ready for Jesus yet; he had more sinning to do. He was challenged.
- a young man Kyle who had studied Buddhism since 14 years old but who felt an urgency to attend church last weekend, and did. He has since read Genesis. Good long conversation going through law ( he admitted he was a liar, same as everyone else, and I added the first 3 commandments to his list of sins as he had ignored God for years) and gospel which he is now going to check out from the Bible alone. He knows the need for his all-in commitment to the Lord. Please pray that as he continues to seek God ( because of Jn. 6:37) he will pray for the Holy spirit to teach him the truth!
- three young guys who heard God's good news in spite of their avowed love for drugs.
There is always more and let us be thankful that for each one who is eventually a recipient of God's gift of eternal life through "...repentance from dead works...", Heb. 6:1, and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ alone; this is "...to the praise of His glory," Eph. 1:14
By His grace, another day of witnessing of our God who is great without/beyond/above measure, Ps. 145:3. How did He answer our prayers this day?
- a young lady, Maddy, whose grandparents are Christians has now reached the point where she needs to count the cost and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as her Redeemer. May God deal with her in mercy if it so pleases Him.
- a Chinese teen boy was given a tract and taken through the bus/builder analogy, then through to the consequences of Adam's sin before his bus arrived. May God stir his spirit to become a seeker after Truth.
- an older man who was so inconsistent that he did not even realize his view of reincarnation was internally flawed. May he be challenged by the truth of God's good news and forsake in true repentance his self-love.
- 2 teen boys that I gave tracts to and began to converse with until Jamie, a professed atheist, took out his phone and rang someone. I left them with a challenge. Soon thereafter, Ryan met them and took Jamie through the builer/building analogy that he admitted made sense but then wanted to still call himself an atheist. Ryan used the analogy that if one did not believe in gravity but one day went to a science class where he saw an experiment showing gravity had a repeatable effect and he became convinced that gravity was real, he would have stop to saying he was an unbeliever in gravity. Likewise he should not call himself an atheist any more. Going through the law and the gospel, Sam who had thought that he was good now understands he is not good enough to get into heaven. May they both hear more of the truth that they desperately need to trust themselves to for the remission of their sins and the gift of eternal life - with the God of all grace! Hallelujah.
- a young lass, Ruby who initially believed in some impersonal higher power who cares for us. We started from the agreed position that if there is a God, then we cannot treat Him like a scientific experiment Then while we are flesh and blood and have no knowledge of what a spirit can or cannot do, from His Self revelation we learn that He is a Spirit, tri-Personal, and Jesus is God in the flesh so that he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father. I concentrated on the pure selflessness of Jesus coming and dying in the place of His people while we were still God's enemies and how as a Christian one can begin to learn how to live for God's glory, in part, by becoming more selfless in loving our wife or husband, as the case may be. We parted amicably with my expressed wish to her that she would come to know God and how delightful it is to know and love Him - 1 Jn. 4:7!
Without your prayers, how could we continue to tell out the wonders of His good news. Thank you. Grace be with you each and every one.