Christchurch (NZ) Team
Heads out on to the streets of Christchurch usually 6 days a week to various locations.
Including Fridays in Cathedral Square from 12:30pm and in Cashel Mall after that till 3:30pm. Also Sundays in Cashel Mall 1:30pm till 3:30pm.
The weekend saw two outreaches and a fellowship BBQ celebrating another summer of Gospel outreach for the Christchurch (NZ) team - Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday morning was foggy as a team of two set up a flip chart in Cathedral Square, but by the end of the outreach, in the early afternoon, the sun was shining.
The highlight conversation of the outreach was a follow up from the outreach the night before.
On the night prior, outside the bus exchange, a lively Gospel conversation occurred with some teens: three girls and three boys. Sadly, the kids were talking about the drugs they were planning on taking, and the girls were being rude and disruptive - while two of the boys were keen to engage with the discussion. I tried to keep the girls attention away, while Mike focused on sharing the Gospel with the boys.
Well, in the morning, four of those kids came walking through Cathedral Square - including all three of the girls. They looked very surprised to see me - as though I had been out all night and into the next day trying to talk to people about Jesus. The girls were a lot calmer now, and were open to engage sensibly. They had another opportunity to hear the Gospel; I was able to go through the flip chart with them. And it turns out one of those girls had been through the flip chart once before.
But, sadly, as far as I could tell, they were not willing to respond at this time. One of the girls even threw the tract I gave her in the bin. My heart goes out to them.
On Saturday evening, some of the team gathered for fellowship and an “end of the summer of outreach” celebration which, on top of all the weekly outreaches, included:
We are also celebrating the fact the two of the team are now being supported to spend more hours out on the streets each week. Many thanks to Operation 513 and Redemption Church Christchurch and all those giving through those organisations for allowing this to happen. May we continue to serve the Lord faithfully by bringing the Gospel to many, and by encouraging Christians to get involved. Thank you!
Sunday was very hot considering we will officially be in winter in a few days time. A team of five headed out.
For me the outreach started with a nice long chat with one of our hecklers (I’m going to stop calling him a heckler soon). I spent a lot of time listening to him talk, and hearing his bitterness and grudges towards hypocrites. I found myself wishing this man would come to Christ, and feeling completely powerless to do anything about it. The only thing I can do is share the Gospel. And so I decided to break into the conversation and ask him what the Gospel is (since he is such an expert on “Christians”). He didn’t know. And so, I proceeded to take him through it, as foolish as it seems. I know he has heard it plenty of times before: he has heard us preaching it many times. But he listened (with only a little mocking). I will continue to pray for this man.
By this time, the rest of the team had arrived. This was the third (or fourth?) time out for three of them - but sadly the last, as they are moving to another part of the country for work.
They have been a massive encouragement to me out on the streets. Chris was the shyest. But today I watched him refute a homosexual “minister” on the subject of "love and truth" and he did it in such a loving way. And then while that conversation was happening, another man walked through swearing at us and cursing God. But they took it so well. It’s so wonderful seeing them grow in confidence. It makes me wonder how many more Christians are out there that are letting their fears stop them from using their gifts to reach people for Christ. Be encouraged! Get involved! :)
May they continue reaching people with the Gospel in their new home town! :)
I will be taking a week off and getting some time for encouragement in God’s word at the Impact Bible Conference in the Hawke's Bay, so I won’t be Battle Logging till the week after. May you be blessed as you reach out to people with the Gospel wherever you are!
Unlike last week, Thursday was a nice day, so there was no interruption of the two outreaches in the afternoon: in the City and at the Eastgate bus stops.
As I arrive a little later than Andy for the City outreach, I often turn up with Andy already deep in a Gospel conversation. This day was no different (pictured).
We were in various spots in the City for this outreach: High Street, Cathedral Square, and at the corner of Cashel & Colombo - where I ended up having a wonderful conversation with a man who had recently converted to Bahá'í. While listening to this man, I also had the opportunity to explain the law and the Gospel. We parted with a hand shake.
We finished the City outreach with open air preaching in speaker’s corner. There weren’t many people about, but there were some who heard the Gospel. One of our hecklers was attracted, and came over to add his thoughts - but I can barely call him a heckler any more - we get on too well!
I always enjoy the Eastgate outreach, as tiring as it is with the constant conversation opportunities. It’s wonderful to be able to have many follow up conversations. There is one young man in particular that I’m meeting every outreach there like clockwork. Every time, I ask him if he has thought any more about the things we have discussed, and often have an opportunity to challenge him to respond to the Gospel.
This outreach I also had many opportunities to offer tracts to bus drivers as they were changing shifts. I was pleasantly surprised with the encouragement I got from two of them about what we are doing. Although one quickly skimmed the tract and handed it back - not interested.
Friday saw three outreaches.
The first was the Gospel + abortion outreach outside the hospital. This is the outreach I find the hardest because of all the outward opposition. This makes me think back to all the times I’ve found outreach to be difficult. I remember first setting up the flip chart in Cashel Mall (years ago) and being really nervous about what I was doing. I remember my first encounters with a difficult heckler - and not wanting to head out because of him. I remember how hard it was when I first started open air preaching. God has helped me through all those difficulties - and I’m stronger for it! So I have a confidence in God that He will help us in this new area of ministry.
Thankfully, this time, the outreach was relatively calm. There were four of us: two male, two female. A security guard did venture over at a distance. I gave him a smile and a wave. He acknowledged me and then moved off.
I think the initial adrenaline connected to this new outreach has burned off. I’m now preparing myself into a pace for a marathon in the fight to bring the Gospel to the issue of abortion.
The afternoon saw our second outreach of the day: in the City. There was a team of eight - including two from the OAC team.
We started with open air preaching in Cathedral Square, and then moved to Cashel Mall.
It was so encouraging to see a new team member so naturally starting conversations with strangers walking past (pictured). It was also a reminder of how good it is to have many different types of Christians out sharing (male/female, older/younger, etc) - as people seem more drawn and open to a conversation with some people rather than others.
One of those conversations ended with a tract being offered and accepted. The person receiving the tract opened their wallet to carefully put it in - and it was observed that they already had an Easter tract in their wallet! How encouraging. They were reminded to actually read those tracts!
The outreach was very eventful. There was another high school student climate change protest. Afterwards it lead to many wonderful conversations. The subject of climate change was used to start conversations, and students were asked how we would solve the problem. I would agree that there was no planet B, but I would then talk to them about the fact that there was no life B either - what happens after you die?
I’m out of time to talk in detail about some of the conversations had. But one young Muslim girl (pictured), who had been minutes away from the mosque on that fateful day, heard the law and the Gospel and asked wonderful questions confirming that she was understanding it. And another group of girls (pictured) stayed for a long chat. One in particular was very interested, and it turns out she had talked to me at the last climate change protest on the terrible day of the mosque shootings.
The day finished with the evening outreach into the city, with conversations: in Cathedral Square, outside the bus exchange and everywhere in between. Mike started a Gospel conversation with a group that he had stopped with the Intelligence Test tract (pictured). He ended up having an hour long conversation with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses - all the while his girlfriend, who claimed to be Christian, kept trying to drag him into a nightclub!
I thank God for all the wonderful opportunities to present His Gospel over these two days. May He be glorified.
Wednesday saw a busy day of outreach, including trying out a new location.
First up was some time spent in Cathedral Square. I had an interesting conversation with a young lady with a Christian background but who was now leaning more towards atheism.
I was curious as to what her understanding of Christianity was, so asked her what she thought was required to go to heaven. I wasn’t surprised when she described a requirement to be good enough.
So I had an opportunity to explain the grace of Christianity to her: the Gospel.
Her response was interesting. She said she didn’t really care. But I was able to gently explain that she did care: her life was precious to her. I challenged her if she would sell both of her eyes for ten million dollars - and she agreed she wouldn’t. If her eyes were precious to her, how much more was her soul.
I challenged her to respond to the Gospel.
After lunch, I moved to the hospital, and set up my flip chart on the footpath outside one of the entrances. I managed to hand out some tracts, and have one good conversation via the flip chart there.
But as I was walking from Cathedral Square to the hospital, I ended up passing by the law courts, and I realised that there were a decent amount of people walking past. So I decided to cut my hospital outreach short and try out that spot for outreach.
As I got there, there was a young man standing outside having a cigarette. I approached him, offering him an Eternity tract and managing to spark up a conversation. We were able to discuss the existence of God. But, sadly, as soon as he had finished his cigarette, he had to go back in - so I wasn’t able to share the Gospel. But I’m glad he took the tract.
I didn’t set up my flip chart, as I just wanted to get a feel for the location. I was able to pass out some tracts, and have a brief chat with a gardner working outside.
I decided to finish the day by going back to Cathedral Square. And I got into a long conversation with a very polite atheist/agnostic (his words) who had a degree in philosophy.
He completely rejected the building = builder; creation = creator analogy. And I wasn’t making any progress on the intellectual front. So I decided to change tack and address his conscience. I asked him if he would allow me to explain Christianity to him - which he was open to. I was able to explain the seriousness of sin, via the law, and that hell was reasonable in light of that - but that’s as far as I got - he quickly changed the subject.
So a busy and tiring day of outreach. As always I leave the results in God’s hands.
There weren’t many people in Cathedral Square on Saturday, but I still had an eventful outreach. I really enjoy setting up my flip chart at the southern entrance and handing out tracts. It always surprises me who stops and wants to talk.
Sadly, the overwhelming memory from that outreach was some unexpected hostility. I had four young adults walk past, and they were looking at my flip chart with mild interest on their faces. So I asked them politely, “Good morning, would you like to try the good person test?”
The response made me inwardly flinch; using a nasty word I don’t want to write, I was told that they were not interested.
In my shock, I still decided I would be nice in return and wished them a “nice day”. To which I was told: “Go have an abortion”.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that the comment was connected to abortion, in light of the heightened tension around this issue in the world right now, and in light of our own local effort to stand against abortion.
In spite of this, I genuinely feel love for those young adults. Before I knew Christ - that was me.
We must continue to reach out with the love of Christ - as much as people will hate us for it. He is with us.
A team of five gathered for Sunday afternoon’s outreach on the corner of Cashel and Colombo.
And just as I was beginning to think that it would be a slow day, a Gospel conversation started with a young couple, and the outreach was eventful from then on.
I think the young couple clearly understood the law and Gospel presentation I gave. But sadly, it seemed like the cost of discipleship was too high.
Andy brought his young son out with him - who was delighted to break his previous tract record during the outreach: 11. Well done! :)
Friday dawned nice and clear. The day started with our, now regular, Gospel + abortion outreach outside the hospital. There was a team of six.
And, again, the Lord encouraged us. Before the outreach had even started, and as I was waiting for the others in the team to arrive, I was handing out “Life is Precious” tracts. I noticed two of the team approaching, but out of the corner of my eye a skateboard was coming my way. He went right past, so I handed him a tract. He stopped and wanted to know what it was. I had a decision to make: do I talk about abortion, or do I talk about the Gospel? I went with the Gospel. It’s only the Gospel that can change hearts (and remove blindness), and changed hearts will led to an end of the genocide of abortion.
And it was a wonderful Gospel conversation with a young man at a crossroads in his life and who needed a Gospel wake up call. He seemed deeply challenged and impacted.
And then the subject moved to abortion. And I was floored when he said his partner was considering an abortion at the moment! I handed him another tract and pleaded with him to give it to her, and that we would do anything to help, if it would mean they wouldn’t kill the child. I even offered to adopt.
I give glory to God for this wonderful opportunity and the encouragement it was. What we are doing seems so useless, and yet we are getting clear opportunities to not only reach people with the Gospel, but also reach people considering abortion and counselling them to not.
A wonderful photo of me shaking hands with this young man was taken.
And yet, there was much opposition during the outreach. One lady angrily “told me off” for giving a “Life is Precious” tract to a “pre teen”. Her concern for children was very ironic.
I was told, by a passerby, that what we were doing was harassment. Protesting with signs, politely handing out tracts, and dialoguing with people is not harassment.
We had a jogger go past and scream “my body, my choice”. Our bodies were given to us, by the God we know exists (yet suppress), and we know murder is wrong by our conscience (which means “with knowledge”).
The outreach ended with more encouragement. We had three very passionate girls approach the team to dialogue. Yes, it was a dialogue (two way) - even though there was much passion, and even tears, there was no shouting (see picture).
As hard as this outreach is, it must continue. We must do something. Praying for labourers to join us. Will you come and hold a sign and stand up for those that can’t?
As usual, we moved to Cathedral Square. We again had a wonderful opportunity for open air Gospel preaching. We then moved to Cashel Mall for our regular Friday afternoon outreach with a team of five.
On the previous day (Thursday), our first outreach started in the afternoon. But the weather was not cooperating. It was cold, windy and threatening rain while we were in the city, so we decided to head out to our new outreach location: Northlands Mall in Papanui.
We had good opportunities for Gospel conversations, that were started with tracts around the bus stops.
A highlight for me was a conversation that led into another conversation: I got chatting with an older man, who turned out to have a Roman Catholic background. I went through the law and Gospel with him, and then continued to chat until his friends arrived and they moved on down the road.
While I was talking with him, a younger lady had been listening, and when I approached her, she was keen to chat. And so I had the opportunity to go through the law and the Gospel with her also, until her bus came.
By this stage, the rain was coming down hard. Our fall back, in weather like this, is to go to the central bus exchange, which has a large roof that protects the side walk from rain.
But the weather was so terrible, we even abandoned that idea, and I went to my last resort in bad weather: letterbox dropping. I rugged up warm, and had no problem walking the pavements sowing seeds (see picture).
After a wonderful day off on Monday, it was back to work with outreaches in Riccarton on Tuesday, and in the City and outside the Hospital on Wednesday.
It was great being back in Riccarton, after being in Papanui last Tuesday instead. A reasonable amount of tracts were distributed. And three decent conversations were had - one of which was a highlight conversation of recent memory.
The conversation occurred near the end of the outreach, a guy walked past with the name of a local company I recognised printed on his top. This was a natural conversation starter and we talked briefly about people we both knew. The conversation quickly moved to what I was doing on the sidewalk, and into spiritual things. I ended up briefly sharing my testimony of how I became a Christian, and he became engrossed, as it seemed to parallel where he was at.
He went from saying he had a few minutes to chat, to being willing to sit down and discuss the Gospel at length. At the end of the conversation, he admitted he wasn’t convinced (yet), but I could tell our conversation was timely. He gladly took a gospel booklet, a tract, and details of how to get in contact if he wanted to. I was very encouraged by this conversation.
Wednesday started a little different to normal. I got to do some email evangelism. Let me explain. Earlier in the year, I had a wonderful conversation with a young man in Cathedral Square. At the end of that conversation, I gave him a tract, told him my name, and said that he could contact me through the web site, via email.
Well, this young man got back to me a few days latter! He had important questions - which I responded to. But, sadly, that was it. He never emailed back.
Well last Friday, I bumped into this guy again. I asked if he had received my email, and he said he hadn’t but that he still had questions. It turns out that my emails had been caught in his spam folder (I wonder why!), and we now have a good email connection.
So I started the day with responding to his questions. And he has responded already! I’m looking forward to being able to continue that conversation, he is even keen to catch up face to face again.
But the first proper outreach of the day was in Cathedral Square.
There was a girl sitting close to where I set up my flip chart, so I went over and offered her a tract. She wasn’t keen to chat, so I left her to read it.
Later, I moved down to the corner of Colombo Street and Cashel Mall, and lo and behold, this same young girl walks up and wants to talk. She could see that she had failed the good person test (what the tract was about) and wanted to discuss - which I was happy to do. She ended up taking a contact card for my local church!
After lunch, I moved to the Hospital, but it was a very slow, not many tracts were accepted, and I couldn’t get a conversation to start as much as I tried. I wonder if I was feeling apprehensive in light of the abortion outreaches we have started in this spot on Fridays?
So after an hour, I decided to head back into the city. Just as I moved off, Chris Harris (a retired NZ cricket player) came down the steps. I had an opportunity to interact with him briefly, and he accepted a Gospel tract. I was encouraged by that.
Back in the city for a final hour of outreach, I ended up having two conversations. One was a very encouraging follow up chat with the homeless guy I had spoken to on Saturday. The second was a long conversation with a young man I had known from church circles about ten years ago, but it didn’t seem like he was still involved with a local church. I did my best to encourage him with the Gospel.
I finished the day with some letterbox dropping. As I was walking down a lane, a man came out of his house and wanted to know what I was up to. This turned into a wonderful opportunity to sit down with him on his porch to discuss the Gospel!
As I’m writing this report, I’m realising how many wonderful opportunities I had to share Christ, in spite of what felt like two days of slow, hard Gospel work. As always, I leave the results with Him: all the glory is His.
Again the weekend saw two outreaches in the city.
On Saturday I was in Cathedral Square and I had two highlight conversations.
The first was with a homeless guy who wanted to know what the flip chart was all about. He was very open to the law and Gospel presentation. I could see that he really wanted to change, but there were things in his life he didn’t feel he could clean up. He talked about trying and failing. I had a wonderful opportunity to explain what repentance and faith were. Because of what Christ had done on the cross, our sin debt is completely paid. We need to trust in Christ, and not our works for salvation: faith alone. I also explained that because it had all been done by Christ, repentance couldn’t mean: try. It is a change of heart, a change of mind from sin to God (including will and emotions) that, ultimately, only God can give us. I challenged him not to try harder, but to surrender to Christ: to repent and believe the Gospel.
The second conversation started in an interesting way. A group of people were walking past, and one of them turned back, curious about the flip chart. As he asked me questions, and I responded, the whole group of people stopped, and I had a mini open air going! Sadly, the group quickly lost interest, and they all moved on… except one.
A young lady with a child in a pram wanted to engage, and we had a great conversation. She seemed to know a lot about Christian things, and so I tested her by asking her why she would be going to heaven. I was amazed when she responded with “I wouldn’t deserve to be in heaven”. So I probed further by asking why she could, and she said: “because of what Jesus did for me on the cross”.
She seemed to believe, but sadly, it seems that she wasn’t willing to repent. As our discussion progressed, we touched on some subjects that triggered her to put her shields up.
But we parted ways on good terms, which is good because later she came back wanting a tract and to continue chatting for a little longer. She asked me if I gave away million dollar notes (which I did), because someone had given her one five years ago, and she still had it on her fridge today - that was very encouraging to hear! But a tract on the fridge is no good, if it’s not read and responded to.
Sunday saw rain, but it stayed away while we were out - and it wasn’t cold. A team of three had Gospel conversations in Cashel Mall and Cathedral Square.
Some of us had frustrating conversations, but some great ones were had as well.
I had three stand out conversations, one of which got started with: “excuse me, may I ask you a question, it’s a deep question”. It turned out that one of the couple was an atheist and the other a Christian. The Christian was keen to try the good person test, but the atheist wasn’t. But as the discussion continued, the atheist started to feel challenged, and some great dialogue was had. Both heard the law and Gospel, and were challenged to respond with repentance and faith (I had no idea where the Christian really stood).
The team enjoyed fellowship over coffee afterwards. And I’ll be enjoying a day off tomorrow. Praise God for rest.
On Thursday we had some light rain, but it did not impact ministry, actually there wasn’t really any period of down time for the four hours of outreach in the city and at Eastgate.
In the city, we decided to move from Cathedral Square to Cashel Mall, but on the way we got into a conversation with a young man who had seen our flip chart before and wanted to understand what we were all about. Due to the rain, Andy offered to buy him a drink, and so we were able to sit down at a table to discuss the Gospel in depth - it was a wonderful opportunity (incidentally, we saw him the next day to be able to continue the conversation, and it’s likely we will see him more often in the future).
As always, the Eastgate outreach was a busy time of ministry, having quick law and Gospel conversations with people, and also opportunities to follow up with people we have talked to before.
Friday dawned as a nice, sunny, hot, late autumns day. Today saw a marathon of eight hours stretched over three distinct outreaches, including people of all ages, experience levels, and from various local churches.
The first outreach was the Gospel + abortion outreach. 18 people (including 3 families) turned up to hold up signs outside the hospital, and to dialogue with people about the horror of abortion, and the hope found in the Gospel.
All eight of our signs were in action. And Andy was able to focus on conversations, having a very fruitful time of ministry.
As always, we got a mixture of very polarised responses.
Some great support, including a man who (if I heard him correctly) was shot in the recent mosque shooting! He gladly took a tract, and then came back wanting to take a photo with us (included in this report).
But there was the inevitable attacks. We were accused of child abuse (having our children involved) - which is ironic considering we are standing against the abuse and murder of children. We were told that we should be educating our children - which is exactly what we are doing, it’s called social studies.
We also had two instances where young women would yell at us. One claimed that we supported rape - which is ridiculous. We responded firmly, but gently in all cases.
Security were called out again, but soon left.
We have no idea what impact our feeble efforts are having. But in our weakness, we are doing what we can. Please join us in prayer that the Lord would use it to see abortion ended in our nation, and for the furtherance of the Gospel for his glory alone. If you live in Christchurch, please join us on this very important outreach.
Our regular Friday afternoon outreach in the city was very busy. There were eight people involved (including two from the OAC team, and a newbie).
I had a wonderful opportunity to open air preach, as there were no buskers about. One of our very vocal hecklers was there, but he wasn’t able to stop the proclamation. Marty, from OAC, also preached (see picture with the wizard in the background).
The team then moved to Cashel Mall for a busy afternoon of ministry. It was nice to be able to enjoy a coffee together afterwards.
The marathon ended with a two and a half hour evening outreach, led by Mike. The food trucks in Cathedral Square draws people for conversations. And to finish the outreach, we did a circuit around the pubs and bars, providing opportunities for tract distribution and conversations.
As we were walking down Hereford Street, we started talking about ways to start conversations again, and I remembered the last evening outreach where I had used the question: “excuse me, may I ask you a question, it’s a deep question”. And so I suggested Mike try it this time.
We looked up, and two guys were walking toward us, and so Mike jumped in and said exactly that. They both stopped and one of them said: "sure, you have 22 seconds" (or something like that). So Mike asked “Will you go to heaven when you die?”, and then launched into a law presentation (see picture). The two guys became so engaged, that they forgot time and the conversation ended up going for 45 minutes! Praise God for that.
And praise God for all He is doing through all of you who head out, weak as you are, and share His precious Gospel. Be encouraged! Take the step, get involved: for the glory of God alone. :)
On Tuesday I normally go to Riccarton which is west of the City, but I decided to try a new outreach location: Northlands Mall in Papanui, which is north of the City.
I like routine, and so this broke it. I ended up feeling as nervous as I used to feel when I was first getting involved with street outreach. It’s good to feel that, as it gives me empathy for all you Christians who are just getting started! But I went out anyway. I consoled myself with the fact that I could just hand out tracts, which helps me with my nerves.
But as I walked down the street, towards the mall, and the bus stops, I was surprised at how many people there were. So I started saying “Hi” to people and working on getting a conversation started.
Admittedly, it was a bit awkward initially, but I was quickly into a Gospel conversation with a young man. It turns out he was heading to the doctors with heart concerns! So the conversation was timely. He was happy for me to walk with him, and I was able to share the law and Gospel - which he seemed to understand and appreciate it. I challenged him to respond to the Gospel.
The outreach then proceeded from conversation to conversation. Praise God, my nerves had evaporated. And I had “broken soil” at a new outreach location. It seems to be a wonderful location, with more bus stops than at Eastgate (east of the City). Please join me in praying for this new outreach location.
Wednesday was back to routine, with an outreach in Cathedral Square, and then to the Hospital for a regular (not abortion) outreach.
In Cathedral Square there were two stand out conversations.
The first was a brief chat with a Christian tourist. Very early on he said: “I try”. Instantly I had concern, and so I stopped him and explained that, for salvation, we don’t need to try. It is a completed work done by Jesus, on our behalf, on the cross. Salvation is a gift. He then mentioned something about “regret”. Which is great - we should all regret our sin. But regret, alone, does not remove our sin: we must place our faith in Jesus. Yet he still didn’t seem to grasp what I was saying until I explained a third time. He seemed to appreciate our chat and smiled as he left, after we shook hands. He gladly accepted a tract.
The second was a complete contrast. Firstly, the conversation went for an hour! But the key difference was that the guy I was talking to completely rejected salvation by faith alone, and insisted that works were required for salvation! He seemed to accept the Bible (including the OT, the Gospels, the general epistles, and Revelation), but he rejected the Pauline epistles! He insisted that repentance was required for salvation, and that it is a work. I agreed the repentance is required for salvation, but had the opportunity to explain that repentance is not a work at all, but a change of mind away from sin and to God that leads to obedience (works). We are saved by grace, through faith and not by works, but for works. This issue is critical to get right. If you think you need to do any works to be saved, then you can’t have your faith in Jesus alone to save you!
I ended up getting the guy to say something amazing. I asked if I needed to be circumcised to be saved, and he hedged. So I asked if I needed to keep all the food laws of the OT to be saved. He ended up admitting that we did need to do both! So I asked him, assuming I knew I was dying in a few day, what I needed to do to be saved. He seemed stuck and then said: “Well, I would recommend you give $1000 to the first charity you can think of - that should help”. I was shocked. This guy was trying to earn his way to heaven by his own effort. Something Jesus clearly explained that is Impossible to do (see Matthew 5:21-29 and Mark 10:17-31).
It was a very friendly conversation, but at the end, I had to call this guy to repentance (ironically). He was wrongly trusting in his works to save him, which would lead him to damnation. I told him he needed to change his mind and only trust in Christ to save him: to accept the gift by faith.
He lives out of town, but I made sure he knew how to get in touch if he wanted to discuss further. I hope to hear from him.
The Hospital outreach was surprisingly active, with some really good Gospel conversations: including a man who regularly went to the mosque to pray - but had not been there on that fateful day.
Later, while I was talking with someone else, suddenly an angry lady broke into the conversation. She was angry that I was outside the hospital doing what I was doing. She stormed off before I could really interact, but she made it clear she had called security.
Sure enough, a security guard came past five minutes later. He walked up the steps and watched me for a minute (I know because the person I was talking to told me) - but they left me alone. I’m on the sidewalk, which is public property, and I have every right to be there and talk to people about my religious convictions.
Yet, the intensity of her anger unsettled me. I need to get used to this, our next abortion outreach will be Friday morning…
As always, your prayer and support is much appreciated. All this work would not be able to happen without it. It is truly amazing what God is doing in getting regular outreaches established in Christchurch. Thank you!
The weekend saw two outreaches for the Christchurch (NZ) team, both in the city: Cathedral Square on Saturday, and Cashel Mall + Preaching in Cathedral Square on Sunday.
I thought Saturday’s outreach was going to be quiet, but as I patiently handed out tracts, God saw fit to bring Gospel conversations.
I had a fascinating conversation with two guys. One who needed an emphasis on grace, and the other needing an emphasis on the law. Both of them gave facial expressions at different times that showed they were listening and understanding, but, sadly, both seemed to reject the Gospel.
The first guy clearly stated that he deserved hell for what he had done and expressed a hopelessness. He seemed to struggle as I explained grace: that Jesus had died for the worst of sinners. But he soon recovered his composure and raised his mask and defences, and started talking crazy stuff.
The second guy looked into the distance as I explained the law to him. His self righteousness was being challenged: he admitted he would be guilty and deserved hell, and so I turned the corner and started to explain the Gospel of Jesus, and then he raised his mask and defences by cutting me off. He didn’t want to hear it. He then started talking about Islam - he was obviously recently listening to it’s teaching.
For both of them, I could see that I wouldn’t be able to convince them. So I patiently listened to them till they decided to move on.
But there is still hope for both of them!
I also had some very encouraging conversations with Catholics.
One was with a guy I had had a long talk to outside the hospital about a month ago. It was great to see him again and have the opportunity to call him to faith alone in Christ alone again.
The second was very providential. On Thursday Andy & I were debating whether someone claiming to be a Catholic could be saved. I was on the side of no, because a “born again Catholic” who believed in justification by grace alone through faith alone would need to move out of the Catholic church which does not teach that.
Well, God sent along a man and his wife, to challenge me! The man was very keen to chat, and claimed to be a Catholic who emphatically stood against Catholic doctrine in claiming to believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone! It turns out he doesn’t attend mass too often, and he does have some contact with a local church. We had a great chat, but I did call him away from Rome completely and to commit to a sound local church.
The Sunday outreach saw a team of 8.
The family of three again joined us for the second time. And today one of them gave out their first Gospel tracts with some polite interaction! He was very encouraged. I captured the moment in one of the photos.
At one point all three flip charts had Gospel conversations running - very encouraging.
And I had a wonderful opportunity while I was taking a photo of two of those conversations. A young man (you can see his knee in the photo) walked over and stood there with an expression on his face that said: “please talk to me about the Gospel”. I gladly obliged! :)
It turns out this man had a Catholic school background, and had a school friend who had suddenly become a Christian. It’s obvious he had been watching the change in his friend and wanted to understand it. I had a wonderful time discussing the law and the Gospel with him.
It was clear he was understanding grace as he made the comment: “so I can just keep sinning and do what I want”. No, if we have received God’s grace, our life will change and we will no longer want to sin, even though we will. And I was able to continue discussing the concepts with him.
He seemed appreciative, and took a tract. I hope he discusses the Gospel conversation further with his friend.
We finished the outreach with preaching in Cathedral Square.
All glory to God!