Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
On Friday evening on the Gold Coast it was a very quiet night to begin with. The usual family foot traffic seemed to be taking a week off. But as God is sovereign, there were just enough people around for the team to have consistent conversations.
The evening began with a conversation with a Muslim man, who originally tried to argue that both Christians and Muslims worship the same god. This idea was challenged by asking, "How are your sins being paid for?" When he heard this, he didn't want to talk any longer.
Following this conversation, there was a discussion started with two young men. Sam and his friend. What was surprising was that Sam was willing to stay and chat, even despite his friend wanting to leave. What was interesting was that in the discussion Sam struggled to understand the Gospel. He was so familiar with the idea of being good to get to God, that it had never crossed his mind that it wasn't the way.
The Gospel was explained a number of different ways, with different analogies and after each time a checking question was asked to see if Sam had comprehended the Gospel but it didn't seem clear for Sam even by the end. Sam was glad for the conversation and was encouraged to read the tract. Please be praying for Sam that the Gospel did make sense and that he would come to trust in Jesus alone for salvation.
A positive conversation was with Isaac and Jin, they had never heard the Gospel before but came to understand it and were thankful for the chat.
A funny comment from another conversation was with two girls who mentioned that they had gotten the "finger print", Good Person tracts during Schoolies and that they didn't work. It was surprising to think that they were so sure of their goodness that they were certain that the tract was broken, rather than thinking the point may have been to point out that no one is good. These girls heard the law and the Gospel but weren't to interested in doing anything with it.
A short conversation was had with two young Greek orthodox men. They heard the law, saw their sin and were floundering about how to made right before God, when they called their uncle and father over. The uncle was a priest and these two men, blinded by their pride were unable to hear what God had said in His word about justification by faith alone. These men talked, with very little intention to listen. They were challenged on many points in scripture, to which they didn't have answers.
Sadly this ruined the opportunity that was had with their sons. The scariest part was that one of the men used Jesus' name as a curse word and it was at that moment the conversation came to a halt. It was pointed out that they had just blasphemed God and that they should open up the Bible and read Romans 3-5, before the night was out.
Briefly another conversation was had with Shaun who also couldn't comprehend the Gospel. Unlike Sam, this was because Shaun didn't want it. He liked morality and what Jordan Peterson has to say but on that basis was sure he was a good guy and therefore didn't want the Saviour. He went on to declare the he wanted to live life his own way and that was why he didn't believe. It was clearly and carefully pointed out to Shaun that he is on a path headed toward Hell and his only hope is to humble himself and trust in Christ.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel this week and for those who took tracts, that God may use this simple message to change people's lives, by the power of His Spirit.
Tonight hear Matthew share that he has struggled to evangelise the longer he has been away from the team on the street. You can join in praising God that he was able to make it out tonight to practice and was also able to have some good conversations!
Hear Ryan share about an encouraging conversation he had with a Muslim couple, explaining to them why there must be a Saviour, for God to remain Just and Merciful.
Hear Craig sharing an encouragement about the many conversations he had and you can hear him even challenge you, to consider coming out for the name of God to be glorified!
As the team seeks to use 2019 for God's glory and the proclamation of His name, the outreaches have continued. In some locations there are much larger crowds than usual and in others it is quieter. Gold Coast is the former. There are hundreds of people in the mall during the earlier parts of the outreach, as many families are around on holiday.
This past Friday, the team took the busyness as an opportunity to preach. Some serious messages were preached, with the warning that God has not promised to anyone that they would survive this year. But it wasn't death that should be feared, but the God who all will stand before in judgement after death.
The crowd then heard why this judge is to be feared, how guilty each one of us are and that the only solution to not spending eternity in Hell, is to find forgiveness purchased for sinners by Christ.
During the preaching, around ten New Testaments were taken off the table as people walked up and picked them up. Some came up despite the protests of their friends or family and others came up in small groups. It was unexpected but exciting to see people taking a copy of God's Word.
As usual a time of outreach is filled with a range of different people. Early on a Jewish man, who had rejected Judaism and had subscribed to spiritualism spoke with the team. Next an "atheist" who loved sin, hated God and had no arguments just assertions spoke with the team and an older man, who said, "I don't want to think about death or talk about religion" was left with the serious question, "Will God send you to Heaven or Hell when you die?"
Two encouraging conversations were had with Marcella and Emma.
Marcella is a native Spanish speaker and had a decent amount of understanding about God. Sadly though she had never heard the Gospel before. So, 2019 became the year when she first heard the Gospel and came to understand what God has done to save sinners.
Marcella, saw through the law, how short she fell of God's standard and then came to understand how Jesus' death can atone for the guilt and how we should respond to Jesus. Please be praying that Marcella would read the Bible she has at home and that God would use this conversation and His word to bring her to salvation!
The conversation with Emma was a little different. She at first said she didn't think the team would want to speak with her because she is an atheist. It turns out that she had very little reason for being atheistic, she just decided that is what she wanted. She also had experience in a Pentecostal church youth group, in which her criticism was, "it is just blind following". She recounted how they just would sing songs and jump up and down and it was all about emotional feelings and fitting in with the crowd. Sadly, in her years at youth group, she never came to understand the Gospel, nor did she hear much about Jesus.
Thankfully, God had bought her to Cavill Mall, at the right time, so she could hear the Gospel. Emma as she heard the simple apologetic for God's existence said it made sense. Then Emma saw herself in the mirror of God's law. She came to understand that she was desperately guilty.
When asked what the solution was, Emma didn't know and as usual said, "try to be good". Instead Emma got to hear what God has done to save those who are not good and who cannot be good. Emma heard the good news and in a final serious challenge it was explained that no one knows the time of their death. "We aren't promised tomorrow, let alone another year".
At this Emma broke down in tears, she recently had someone close to her die. Thankfully, Liam her boyfriend had just arrived and was able to comfort her but they were left with the seriousness of eternity and the only solution to judgement.
Please be praying for Emma and Liam, that they would heed God's command to repent and believe and would find freedom from sin, forgiveness of sin and a love for God!
On Friday evening in Cavill Mall the team engaged with many people, despite the wet weather. Due to the rain the team moved around a bit for shelter, at the same rejoicing that they had found shelter in Christ, from the storm of God's wrath.
An early conversation in the evening was had with an almost unbelievably proud man. When you read of the Pharisees in the Bible you can often think they only lived in the time of the Jesus but there are people like that today. Whilst a conversation was going on with another person, this man standing nearby seemed to be trying to gain some attention his way. When the previous conversation finished he was offered a tract and it came with the question, "Will God let you into Heaven when you die?"
This man, absolutely dripping with pride asked, "Do you know who I am?" The answer was given, "Nope, no idea". He responded and said, "I am a deacon, do you know what that is?" The response was given, "Yes, supposedly a humble servant of God". It was at this moment it was explicitly clear that this was a self-righteous man. He was asked the question, "Why should God let you into Heaven on judgement day?"
Without even a moments hesitation he strongly, yet utterly foolishly declared, "My good works". With all the sincerity and sadness this man was told, "Then you have utterly no hope as you currently stand of entering Heaven, God requires perfection and you are a proud man. God will oppose the proud and give grace to the humble, your only hope is to come to the humble God who punished Himself to save wicked men like yourself".
This man sought to try and justify himself but was left no opportunity as he was left with those words ringing in his ears. Please raise him up in prayer that God would strike this mans pride, cut him to the hear, show him how incredibly foolish he is to hope in Himself and to lead him to Christ, the saviour of once proud sinners.
A number of rather encouraging conversations also occurred. One with Latrel and Jaiah and another with Conrad and a final with Jamie.
The first with Latrel and Jaiah was interesting. Latrel the young man was very disinterested. He was playing on his phone with no real desire to listen.
It was sad and despite being really challenged on this a number of times in the conversation Latrel paid very little attention and tried to drag Jaiah away, ultimately succeeding.
Jaiah on the other hand listened. She heard the law, saw her sin and came to understand that sinners deserve Hell. She then asked, "How can I be forgiven?". It was a privilege to share and Gospel and she was encouraged, as John 3:16 stated, to believe and Jaiah said she wanted to, tonight. It was at this moment Latrel tried to pull her away and succeeded.
It was a sad moment but the team member then prayed that God would use someone to share the call to repent, the seriousness of counting the cost and how her life would change. That prayer was answered moments later when another team member further up the sidewalk stopped the pair again and was able to explain all of those things. Even more encouraging was the fact that when asked, "If you were to stand before God and He was to ask, 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' what would you say?" and Jaiah responded, "Because I have trusted in Jesus".
Jaiah heard the other half of the Gospel's call on her life and was seriously left to count the cost! Praise God for answered prayer!
Next conversation was had with Conrad. He took had friends that tried to drag him away and they ultimately left in frustration. During this time, Conrad remained resistant to their calls to leave and stayed for a lengthy conversation. He had Catholic background and through the conversation was able to grasp and Gospel and this Christmas was encouraged to read the Gospel of John and to seriously consider what Christ came to do, to save sinners.
Conrad said he would.
Lastly was a conversation with a lady named Jamie. She walked past early in the night and was challenged with the question, "Will God let you into Heaven when you die?". Later in the evening, she was standing around the team and was engaged in conversation. At first she expressed that she didn't think that was a great question. In response it was posed again and she engaged with it this time.
As a result she heard the bad news of sin, that she deserved Hell and the good news that God can take that penalty so that she can be right with Him. Jamie didn't seem anywhere near as upset by the end and actually responded with gratitude for the discussion.
Please be praying for the many who heard the Gospel, were challenged by its truth and were encouraged this Christmas to give up thinking it is all about them but to come and bow before this Saviour in a manger.
It has been a while since the team has gotten a video encouragement up but in this video you can hear some testimonies from an outreach in early December last year.
Daniel, gives the encouragement that there are many people to share the Gospel with and specfically shares about a conversation that he had, where it seemed as if God had been preparing this young man to hear.
Over the course of eight minutes, Daniel was able to share the Gospel clearly to this man.
Next Tim, who was just travelling through, decided to stop for a few hours before continuing on home and as a result God used him to share the Gospel with a range of people, specfically you can hear about a conversation he had with a man named Hero.
Please be praying for these two conversations as well the team as they endeavour to share God's glorious Gospel with the lost day after day.
And consider Daniel's final encouragement, to join us in this Mission, to be ambassador's for Christ, to this lost and perishing world.
On Friday at the Gold Coast the team was able to head out and engage in conversation with the last of the NSW Schoolies as they weren't quite finished their week. This enabled for lots of conversations as the teenagers are usually more open to talk, often because they love their own opinions more. Thankfully, as is clearly the case for all the Christians on the globe, God can overcome the most proud of sinners. He can change the hardest heart and make it new.
An older man early on stopped to talk about the way to Heaven. He first declared he was a really good guy and that God would let him in. Then when Jesus was quoted, regarding the perfection God requires he said, "I am gay, so it doesn't matter how good I am". It was quickly explained that his biggest problem was not his homosexuality, rather, his entire life, just as everyone else's has been an exercise in sinful self-indulgence against God.
Our biggest problem is that God must punish sin, all sin and rebels will not escape the judgement. It was also explained that God has made a way for sinners to be saved, so that all who trust in Him can be forgiven on the basis of His sacrifice for sin.
Sadly this man, heard all this and said he wasn't interested in talking anymore. It was almost as if, he wasn't interested in the Gospel, he just wanted a "fight" and when he didn't get one, he left.
Soon after this a couple Jerry and Elise walked past, when asked, "Will God let you into Heaven when you die?" they said, "We were just discussing this today and concluded that there is nothing after death".
Thankfully this opened a discussion about God the Creator who showed His existence by making a world and then by doing things in it, that only God can do. After a few simple apologetics, the Gospel was explained. Starting with the bad news of sin and finishing with the command from Jesus to repent or perish.
This couple, was left with an understanding of the Gospel and were challenged to count the cost and to turn and trust in Christ alone for salvation.
One lengthy and sanctifying conversation was had with three young men Jayden, Denver and Reese. What made it hard was that Jasper, a drunk guy, was constantly interrupting, not listening and being quite rude with his talk. But despite this, over the course of forty minutes, Jayden, Denver and Reese listened. At first Reese didn't believe in God and the other two thought their goodness would get them to Heaven.
The conversation was lead from Creation, through the fall, the failure of humanity, the judgement of God and yet God's ultimate prophesy and promise that He would come to save sinners. These young men heard what God had done to save sinners, were given the tightrope analogy and were left with the very serious question, "When will you trust in Christ?", knowing full well that they have no idea how much longer their lives in this world will last.
These boys were thankful for the conversation and they headed off, each taking a tract.
Please be praying that God would use this moment, the final night of their schoolies week, to be a transforming day. That they no longer would be considering themselves as "good people" but by the blood of Christ, "God's people".
Lastly and quite humourously a conversation was had with a man named Nati. He spoke with the team quickly as his friends were talking to another team member. He shared about how he thought all religions were the same and therefore you could choose any.
Some simple explanations were given about the differences, primarily stressing the difference in the way to Heaven. All other religions leave its adherents with a law to follow, that can only ultimately condemn. Where as Christianity is about God saving sinners from the curse of the law. At this point, Nati's friends were leaving so he had to head off.
The team member went to give him a tract and realised there were none left in his pocket. So he said to Nati, I shall walk with you quickly, I am sure there is a tract on the ground in good condition for you here somewhere. Sure enough, less than ten steps later, sitting on the ground, under a seat was the, "Which one is right?" tract. The tract specifically designed to explain why only in Christ can a sinner be saved. It was a precious display of God's providential sovereignty.
Please be praying for those spoken to this Friday, that they would heed to Gospel's call on their life. Please pray that God will soften hard hearts and make enemies into friends.
Sometimes an evening of outreach is just a breeze of excitement, glorying in the Gospel and conversations. Today was one of those days. Between 7pm and 10:45 there was hardly a moment's break.
As has been mentioned recently, almost everyone in Australia tries to avoid God's judgement in one of two ways, convincing themselves they're not guilty, by either trying to fool themselves into thinking they're "not that bad" or by trying to assure themselves that there is no Judge. This is regular and usual and the people spoken to tonight displayed this. Often people use a mixture of the two. They will start by declaring that God exists and they think they're good then soon they will say, "I don't think God exists" or "the Bible is made up".
It is evident from conversation after conversation that people have a willful and purposeful bent against God. It isn't that they have believed something that answer all their problems, rather they will believe to or argue for anything that on the surface seems like it could help them convince themselves (and others) that they're not guilty or God doesn't exist.
Two people Wolfgang (German) and Levi declared in their brief interactions that they were going to Heaven because they were good people. Both took tracts and heard that God will hold them not to their ideas of God but rather, His perfect standard and therefore, their only hope was that God would save them.
Caleb, Matthew, Robert, John, George, Jesse and Carl all declared at first that they did not think there was a God. Throughout a range of different explanations given one that was used (yet to be given a name) is based upon pointing out the body at a funeral. (It is made personal by asking if they've even been to a funeral and taken a look in the casket). It is pointed out that the body in there is not the person. Rather, everything that makes up that person is gone, their intelligence, sense of humour, style of laugh, idiosyncrasies. They have gone somewhere else, whilst their body remains to be buried.
They were then asked, "Where did they go?" This was then bought back personal with a few pieces of information, "God, the Creator of this world declares that after death comes a day of judgement, the righteous are resurrected to eternal life and the unrighteous to eternal punishment". A person's soul (ultimately in their resurrection body) will be in one of two eternal locations.
Then it is pointed out that, 153,000 people woke up this morning not knowing that today would be their last day on earth and there are people right at this very moment breathing their last breath. The only breath we know is for sure is the one currently in our lungs, we aren't promised even one more. Specifically in the case of this discussion with Jesse and Carl this was followed up with the question, "If this was the last breath you ever breathed and you died and stood before God, where would He send you, Heaven or Hell?"
This took the foolishness of their past comments and bought the conversation to a crucial point. They both admitted that they would be headed for Hell. By God's kindness they had been bought their to hear God's offer of salvation and they did. They left with this thought, "God doesn't make mistakes, it was not an accident for you to be hear today or for this conversation to happen. You have been offered salvation in Jesus Christ and you should considered it deeply because God may never give you another chance to hear it. So please, whilst there is breath in your lungs and it is on your mind, call out to God and trust in Him that you may be saved".
A Brazilian couple Tassia and Glauco spoke with the team as well and seemed to be arguing that we get to Heaven by trusting Jesus and doing good works. A conversation was had with them and they said they would be interested in attending a local Church. Please be praying that God would use the body of Christ to lead them to the freedom of the Gospel.
Please also pray for Ashley who was very adamant that baptism was essential for salvation. He was given a lot to think about, was encouraged to consider the scriptures and left contact details so that he could talk with the team further.
Please be praying for those spoken to tonight that God would use these simple conversations and tracts to lead His sheep to repentance.
Please also consider, being motivated by the Gospel and empowered by the Spirit, joining the team so that you too may be able to bring God glory through telling people who He is, what He has done and what He has promised!
On Friday night in Cavill Mall on the Gold Coast the team were able to engage many people in conversations and able to share God's Good News.
One early and exciting conversation was had with Sydney. He had a Catholic background and was a native french speaker. Through the discourse of the conversation Sydney heard what God declares about Himself, that He is holy, righteous and good and therefore cannot let the guilty go unpunished. He acknowledged that this made sense and then was shown the problem with Catholicism. It can never hold God as holy, righteous or good, if God lets people into Heaven based in any part on their actions, because all actions that originate from humans are polluted in some part by sin. Only the righteousness that God gives to humans is pleasing to Himself.
Then the idea of imputation and justification were explained so that Sydney came to understand "The Great Exchange", that Christ takes our sin, suffering the Hell punishment we deserve and gives us His righteousness, that we can be made right before God! This is the heart of the Gospel and the greatest news a sinner can hear, that God has done everything required for us to be with Him eternally.
Sydney said it all made sense and agreed that God probably bought him all the way to Australia just to hear the Gospel. He said he would have a read of his Bible as well.
An extremely sad conversation was had with Ali. At first Ali's friends did not want him to speak to the team but Ali stopped. He shared that he is a Muslim and then over the course of the next ninety minutes Ali proceeded to do what seemed like willful misunderstanding. Ali had been taught things about Christianity by his local Muslim leaders and was not really listening to what was being said.
Eight times, using different analogies and examples, it was explain why God, if He really is God, must do everything for His own glory and why He, if He is good and loving, must create humanity to find their greatest satisfaction in Him. Sadly despite the explanations Ali was adamant that if God created us to worship Him, "He must be needy". This was a conversation, if there ever was one that confirmed that spiritual blindness.
Often conversations are with people that can understand the Gospel and Christianity and yet are just willfully rebellious. In Ali's case it seemed rather that he was just so blind and unwilling to understand what was being said.
In finale, even after hearing the Gospel and God's offer of salvation Ali declared, "The only reason we do anything good and worship God is so that He will give us what we desire". Ali had fundamentally misunderstood God's holiness, authority and purpose. It was ultimately in acknowledgement of God's sovereign plan choosing to save some and not others, that Ali was left with a Gospel tract, encouraged to read the Bible and the team has and will continue to pray that God would bring a hard-hearted, spiritually blind man, Ali, to salvation so that He may be glorified.
Please be praying that God is merciful to this man, despite his desperate idolatry and pride.
Finally though as the team headed over for a quick meal before heading home, a man named Peter was engaged. He had some JW beliefs but for the first time in his life heard the Gospel! He said it made sense and wrote down Romans 3-5 so that he would spend some time reading it in the next few days. Praise God that some are open and willing to hear the truth, whilst others are hard and unwilling.
Please pray that Peter would be lead to salvation through the reading of Romans, that he would understand that we are justified by faith in Christ's work alone!
On Friday night at Surfers Paradise, the team showed up and had the wonderful opportunity to declare God's glorious gospel!
Hear John share about an encouragement, that he was able to hand out many tracts due to the crowds and even have a few short conversations. He was continuing in simple obedience knowing that God's Word does not return void.
He mentioned another brief interaction as well, where two young men were offered tracts, one angrily rejected and the other happily accepted, then engaged in a Gospel conversation. It is moments like this that show us God is working in hearts, despite those around us.
Hear Matt also share about an encouraging conversation had with two young men, Tommy and Jarrad.
Please be praying for the tracts that went out that God would use them as He sees fit. Please be praying for the conversations had that God would bring salvation to people through them, leading them to a knowledge of the truth and bringing them out to return to declare the gospel to others!
On Friday night at the Gold Coast, as usual many wonderful conversations were had. It is a real privilege to be able to go to locations that have hundreds of people around who aren't really in a hurry or a rush to be somewhere. This leads to a very fruitful time of Gospel conversations.
The reason there was no video this week is actually because the videographer ended up in two back to back conversations that lasted almost two and a half hours! Praise God for allowing lengthy and in depth conversations.
Some notable conversations were had with Aziz, Rohan and a pair David and Tiago.
Aziz was a well educated man that sadly was also very proud. He had many ideas about this world but at times was unwilling to even hear out and explanation because he had made assumptions before the answer was heard. This was a common occurrence. He heard many things that God had said, done or promised but Aziz would just continually brush things off, simply because he disagreed with them.
Many people have heard of the "elephant" explanation for knowing truth (see picture). Aziz kept assuming that somehow (even though he was limited by his humanity to only knowing a sliver of things that are true), that he somehow was the one standing back looking at all of the other people foolishly misunderstanding that it was obviously an elephant.
It was pointed out to Aziz on numerous occasions that his real problem wasn't intellectual, it was theological. He didn't want there to be a God because he wanted to be in charge. Aziz, heard the Gospel clearly on a number of occasions and was left to ponder God's command to repent and believe. He was also given a Bible which he said he would read.
Another conversation was had with Rohan that was quite similar. Except Rohan was a Baha'i. He was in the same boat. He would happily agree with most things said. But at the moment something was said that he disagreed with, he would declare that the Bible was false and unreliable. Rohan, had the delusion of grandeur. He was so sure, that he knew all that was true, despite many issues with his system being pointed out.
Sadly Rohan, left, too proud to admit that he was a sinner. To self-reliant to admit that he was rebellious against God and needed God to save him.
Please be praying that Rohan would read the tract and that God would turn his hard heart into a believing heart.
A final slightly challenging conversation was had with two young men who were tourists. English was their second language but the conversation flowed well. It was found out that David was a Christian, who knew the Gospel but the hard part was that this fellow made it a real challenge for his friend Tiago to hear the Gospel and to feel the sting.
At every turn David would interject almost spoiling the "surprise" for Tiago and even at moments he was trying to lessen the direct importance of the call to repent and believe (saying it was too strong, even though it was true). It wasn't that David disbelieved but he sincerely didn't want his friend to trust Jesus out of a fear of Hell, rather than a love for God.
Thankfully after a lengthy conversation the guys parted ways, Tiago being left to choose, salvation in Christ or damnation in self and David was encouraged to pray for him and to open up times to read the Bible together.
Please be praying for these two, that on the basis of a common salvation that could begin a friendship that would last an eternity.