Special Outreaches (QLD, Australia)
Australia Day (26 January)
ANZAC Day (25 April)
Christmas Outreaches (December)
New Years Eve (31 December)
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
After months of planning and a lot of prayer the time had finally arrived for me to fly out to the United Kingdom. As I packed my bags and as I prepared to leave, there was a sense of sadness as I knew that I would be away for a couple of months. Which is something I am not overly keen on, however, my comfort and desires come second to that of preaching the gospel.
As I checked in for my flight I was delighted to find out that my flight was half empty, which meant that I would get to have a whole row to myself, which would make it easier for me to get some sleep. While waiting for departure I walked around Brisbane airport handing out a few tracts and wishing my fellow travellers a Happy Christmas, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to engage in any one to one conversations, but nevertheless I was still happy that people were taking gospel tracts.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Singapore
After a seven and a half hour flight we landed at Singapore airport, upon arrival we were told that we had forty-five minutes in which to stretch out legs before departing. As I walked out into the airport I was struck by how many Christmas decorations there were those who worked at the airport were extremely friendly and walked around greeting everyone with "Merry Christmas". This friendliness provided me with great opportunities to hand out tracts to all the security, police and cleaners at the airport. It was a real blessing to see all these people reading about the true message of Christmas on Christmas Day.
After forty-five minutes of handing out tracts I re-boarded my aircraft, I was once again disappointed that I didn't have a chance to get into any one to one conversations. As I sat down in my seat I prayed, "Lord, please let me get into a conversation about you. Amen." Then, within seconds of praying that prayer the young man who had been sitting behind me on the flight from Brisbane tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had gotten any sleep. I replied that I hadn't slept as yet, but was planning to sleep during the next leg of the flight. We chatted for a few minutes about general things, it turned out that this young man was going home to Bahrain to surprise his family for Christmas. He had been studying in Australia at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and now had finally gotten some time to go home. As we sat on the tarmac in Singapore I began to swing the conversation around to the spiritual realm. I found out the young man I was talking to was a Muslim, and that he was still very strict in his submission to the teachings of Islam.
Achmed told me about how in Islam he has to do the five pillars in order for Allah to consider him for Paradise. This was quite interesting, so I asked him about how did he know if he had done enough good in order to merit Paradise, he replied that he didn't know, but rather he had to trust that Allah was merciful. This then led me into a discussion about how a Just Judge must punish wrongdoing, and how no matter what we do we can not ever do enough good deeds to outweigh our bad. Achmed agreed with me, but then stated that he wasn't that bad, so he didn't have too much to worry about. This statement didn't surprise me, as it is very common for people to think that they aren't overly bad. In order to show Achmed that he was indeed a sinner in the sight of God I took him to the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. And as we sat in the aircraft that was preparing for take off I should him from the Law of God that he was a sinner. Achmed's mouth was stopped, he had nothing to say, he realized that his sin demanded punishment, and he realized that a Just Judge would never let him go free. Then, I spoke about how as a Christian I know that my sins are forgiven, and how I am assured of heaven. Achmed was hungry to find out how he to could also have assurance of forgiveness. So then, as the aeroplane began to lift off I spoke to Him about Christmas, and how God Himself came down in the form of a man in order to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I spoke to Achmed about the cross and about how even though we sinned against God, and how we all deserved to go to hell, God loves the world so much in that He sent Jesus to pay our fine if we would repent and trust in Him. Achmed was stunned, he had never heard that before, he was excited about the idea of assurance of salvation. As I wrapped up the conversation Achmed said, "You have given me much to think about, Thank you". Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to him.
The rest of the flight to Dubai was really quiet and I slept most of the way.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Dubai
I was awoken by the announcement that we were about to land in Dubai. Slowly waking up I looked out my window and saw below me lights everywhere, the cool thing was we were over the water, and all those lights were row upon rows of ships waiting to get into the Persian Gulf.
Upon landing in Dubai I made my way through the security where sadly my watch got dropped and was smashed. Being hungry I made my way to the food court where I found a MacDonald's. As I sat in this foreign country I noticed that a young Asian man sitting next to me was reading a book, the book he was reading is called "The Shack". (For those who don't know, "The Shack" is a heretical book that teaches that God is a woman, Jesus is a bumbling middle eastern man, and that the Holy Spirit is an Asian. It also teaches the heresy of Modalism, which basically says that the Father is the Son etc. And denies the Trinity. Even though this book is heresy it is sold at Christian bookstores.) As I watched this man at the other table I thought perhaps he was a Christian, that had just bought the book since it is a ‘bestseller'. The man got up to leave his table so I called him over to me, and asked "Are you a Christian?" The man shook his head, "No, I'm not a Christian." So I asked about the book and it turns out that he had bought it at Dubai airport. Which shocked me as they won't allow Christianity to advance in that country, but they will allow a false Christian message to spread.
I was limited to what I could do in Dubai due to the fact that it is illegal to witness to a Muslim, and their was literally security everywhere. This place is so enslaved to Islam, and it will only be the light of the gospel that will set this nation free. We must pray for the middle east, we must beg of God to open doors to allow the gospel to be advanced in these countries.
Thursday, 25 December, 2008 - London
Finally after about 30 hours in transit I landed at London Gatwick airport. The first thing that struck me was the freezing cold weather. It was bitterly cold, but I was still excited to be here and was keen to get out and start witnessing. The airport was nearly empty know one was around. This was good in one sense as it meant I would clear border security really quickly, but it was also bad as it meant that I couldn't witness to anyone. However, I did manage to hand out a few tracts.
After waiting for awhile Peter Webber arrived to pick me up from the airport. It was good to be back with Peter, it is a real honour to work alongside him and to witness with him. Once he had picked me up we made our way across to London Heathrow airport to pick up Melissa and Fredee from the USA.
Once we met up as a team we caught a taxi to where we are staying in Tooting, and then we started to make arrangements about having dinner. Since it was Christmas day many places were closed, but we still found plenty of people out walking around the streets, so as we looked for somewhere to eat we handed out many tracts. The outreach was off to a great start.
Friday, 26 December 2008 - London
Today we decided to spend a bit of time resting from our journey and to also take in some of the sights in London. Of course all our sightseeing was accompanied by the handing out of tracts. When we arrived at Buckingham Palace we found out that it was a changing of the guard ceremony, which meant that there would be many people there. This was good as it meant that we would be able to hand out many tracts. We had a great time playing tourist and also witnessing to people.
In the evening we met up with the Operation 513- London team, and joined them for outreach in Leicester Square. It was going to be a hard night of preaching as there was a carnival set up in the middle of the square. This mad a lot of noise and made it hard to preach. After setting up for the night Rob Hughes preached first, he stood up and began to expound on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has really improved as a preacher and I was quite impressed with his preaching. He preached for about thirty minutes and a few people stopped to listen to him proclaim Christ crucified. One young man was really interested, so Rob dialogued with him, and afterwards I was able to give him a gospel of John.
Once Rob finished preaching it was my turn to get up and preach. Due to the cold my voice wasn't fully ready to preach so I was only able to last about twenty minutes, but during that time God was kind and He brought a few people in to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One thing I noticed about the night was how awesome the London team is, they work together well, and they are all passionate about the gospel. Rob Hughes has done a good job in building this team. And, it is an honour to serve alongside him.
The rest of the night for us was spent in handing out tracts and talking to people about how Christ can forgive all their sins if they would repent and trust in Him.
Saturday, 27 December 2008 - London
Today we had the privilege of working alongside Rob again, this time we preached in Tooting, which isn't far from Rob's church - Trinity Road Chapel. Once we had set up Rob began to preach the gospel. Once again he did a brilliant job, as he preached we handed out tracts and were able to get into some great discussions. While Rob was preaching Peter took a few photos, but since we were outside of an underground station this brought the attention of the police. The UK police are very wary of photos being taken of public transport due to all the terrorism that is going on. Peter explained what he was doing to the police officer. While Peter was talking this man approached us and said, "This guy is having a laugh isn't he?" I replied that he was preaching the gospel, at that the man we ballistic. It turns out he is a British solider just returned from Afghanistan and he was furious that people could preach when he didn't have the freedom to stand up and abuse Islam. He was so mad that the police officer called for back up, and the man began to make threats of physical violence towards Rob.
The man moved on after ranting for awhile. We continued to minister in Tooting. After Rob finished preaching it was my turn to preach, so I spoke about being slaves to sin, and about how we are all bound in sin. A few people stopped to listen, and as I preached I noticed a few Muslims were listening to the Gospel. While it was a slower day it is my prayer that God will save all those who heard the gospel.
After I finished preaching I noticed two Mormon elders walking by, since I have done a lot of apologetics with the Latter Day Saints I decided to stop them and have a discussion. We spoke for some time in regards to salvation. The LDS teaches that you can earn salvation, and that we are only saved by God's grace after all that which we can do. This of course is opposite to what the Bible says, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is 100% of God's grace and not of any thing we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Mormon elders became uncomfortable and wanted to leave, so I pointed them to the gospel, and we parted ways. Although they did promise to call and arrange a time to have lunch.
Sunday, 28 December, 2008 - London
This morning we went to church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which is the church that Charles Spurgeon was the pastor of. It was a good service, the pastor preached good a message.
After the service we went over to the famed Hyde Park, not to preach but rather to witness and to talk watch the going on of speakers corner. As we entered the park I noticed a Christian preacher with a few atheists opening fire on him. He seemed to be a bit lost on how to answer them, so I asked him permission if I could engage the atheist, the preacher gave permission so I engaged in an apologetic showing that atheism is incorrect. The atheists seemed stunned, as one of them later told me they very rarely have preachers engage their arguments. During our discussion a palaeontologist from the USA decided to jump in to disprove Christianity. She used the argument that Dinosaurs disprove the Bible, this is a very bad argument and it actually shows that those who argue it haven't studied the Bible. I took her to the book of Job, to chapter 40 and showed her of Behemoth. I described the beast mentioned in Scripture, then asked her, "Could you explain to me how a man from thousands of years ago could see and describe something that apparently died out millions of years before?" She went silent, and wasn't sure how to answer. But, then he husband jumped in with an answer, "Well, he probably found a fossil. That is how he knew what it looked like!" At that the Palaeontologist jumped in again agreeing with her husband. The atheists in the crowd grew in excitement at this statement. Their answer wasn't a surprise to me, and in fact I actually had expected it. That is why I didn't fully describe the beast in Job 40. I said to them, "Sorry, I didn't fully describe Behemoth, the author says that this beast ate grass as an ox. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but you cannot determine from a fossil that something eats as an ox." The palaeontologist, her husband and the atheists fell silent. I continued, "So, the question still stands, how did the author describe this beast which he had seen if it had died out millions of years earlier?"
Their answer was to turn and walk away without saying a word. Many of the atheists wouldn't engage in discussion after that, but a few of them came up and said I had won their respect. Once the atheists fell silent the preacher once again opened up on the gospel.
The thing about Hyde Park is that you can go from one debate to another. Today I had to deal with Atheists, False Christians, and Muslims. The Islamic invasion is in full swing in the UK, these guys in Hyde Park were militant in their attacking of Christianity. The thing is they all use the same arguments, and none of them will listen to the answers you give. The arguments they used were fairly basic, but they were never willing to listen to the counter view points.
During the time in Hyde Park many of the Muslims threatened to kill me, beat me up, and even cut of certain parts of my antimony. Overall it was a good day in Hyde Park, we got to have many great discussions about the gospel.
Monday, 29 December 2008 - London
The began fairly early today, the plan was to head into Covent Gardens and there do some outreach, however, when we arrived we found it nearly impossible to hand out tracts as many people were there handing out many different leaflets for shows and clubs. With this in mind we decided to change locations, and head to Leicester Square. Upon arriving in the square we found it to be jam packed with people, so we broke up into two groups and began to hand out tracts to as many people as possible.
While Peter and I were handing out tracts thins man in a wheelchair stopped to talk, so I knelt down on the cold pavement beside him and began to share the gospel with him. This man turned out to be a Roman Catholic who believed he had never sinned. So I explained to him that we all have sinned, and the man seemed to grasp it. But he continued to trust in his good works. I begged of him to trust in Christ alone for salvation, but sadly the man was blinded by the lies of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that one can merit salvation by doing good deeds. It is always heart breaking when this happens, as it just shows how people would rather trust in self than God.
Later in the afternoon we were joined by Carl, who is a preacher with Operation 513 - London, he took us down to Piccadilly Circus to do preaching. It was quite a good place to preach, we set up under the Eros statue. First to preach was Carl, he did quite a good job of making the gospel of Christ known. He presented to all those who would listen why they needed a Saviour, then he showed them that Christ was that Saviour.
After Carl finished preaching, I began to preach also. I spoke about how the year was nearly over, and how in the course of the year we suffer many hardships. I also pointed out that over the course of the year we may have had someone close to us die. This then launched me into talking about how we all die one day, and one day we will all give an account for all our sins. A few people stopped to listen including a group of young males, I engaged the males in discussion, one of them seemed rather open so I took him through the gospel and explained to him the need of the Saviour.
The crowd was listening as I explained how each and everyone of us has sinned, and how we all need Jesus Christ to save us. Afterwards quite a few people took tracts. May God be glorified in the saving of their souls.
Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 - London
Today we once again returned to Piccadilly Circus. While Peter and Melissa stayed there to witness Fredee and I had to make our way down to Oxford Street. This turned out to be a very good opportunity to hand out tracts and witness to people. So many people in London are open to taking tracts, and even though this city is big and is renowned for being anti-Christian, I have found most people that I have spoken to, to be very open and friendly in regards to the gospel.
After spending some time around Oxford Street, Fredee and I headed back to Picadilly Circus, and there we re-joined the rest of the team. Once again we continued to hand out tracts and witness to many people.
Later this afternoon we had to head back down Oxford Street, since it was peak hour we decided to position ourselves either side of the footpath, since we were using million pound note tracts, I began to call out to the people walking past, "Free Million Pound Notes! Get one for New Years!" So many people swarmed around us trying to grab a tract. People from different cultures, religions, and social status all wanted one of these tracts. May God get the glory in bring these people unto Himself.
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 - London
The last day of 2008. Today we decided not to do anything during the day since we planned to be out in London witnessing at the New Year Eve celebrations. We arrived at Trafalgar Square at just after 6:30pm, since it was freeing cold we found a café to get something warm to eat. We then went out into the cold and began to witness and hand out tracts.
Melissa and I were down on a busy intersection and in no time at all we had been able to hand out thousands of tracts. The other guys throughout the square were also experiencing similar things. At one stage we were worried that we would not have enough tracts to survive the night.
Also, during this time of witnessing many one to one conversations occurred. Peter was able to talk to a group of Muslims, and Rob had several really good conversations with people who were really open to the gospel message.
At midnight we stopped to watch the fireworks of London, then the mad dash occurred as thousands of people tried to get home via the underground and buses.
The night, while it had no preaching, and only a few one to ones was a very good night. Approximately 5,000 tracts were handed out during the course of the night, which was fairly good.
One year ends, and a new one begins.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sun, sand, surf and sin... that is what makes up the Gold Coast each year when the Indy carnival roles into town. For the past few years I have gone down to witness on the Gold Coast during this time, and have found it to be a good place to tell of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
While the atmosphere is talk and the hearts of men evil, I have found that the light of the gospel shines all the brighter when surrounded by the love of sin. This year people were upset on the Gold Coast, for a tradition has been that women would flash their breasts at people, however, the government has cracked down on this and made it illegal. Many people at Indy were upset that they wouldn't get their yearly dose of lust.
Ryan, Kyosti and I arrived at Surfers Paradise at 5pm, after meeting up with Josh Mitchell, David and Warren we headed out to hand out tracts and talk to people. It was very easy to hand out tracts here, many people took them and many stopped to talk some more about what was written on the back.
At 7:30pm the Indy Street parade started, this parade is billed as a family event however, it is nothing more than a flesh-fest. But, there was one interesting float in the parade, one of the lead floats was done up in an Indian theme and on the back of the float there were people pretending to be different Hindu deities, I wounder how Gold City Council explains that since they have made a push to stop Christian open air preachers.
As I saw what was going on with the parade and on the Gold Coast in general, I really began to understand how Paul must have felt when he entered Athens all those years ago (see Acts 17:16). This city was dedicated to the worship of flesh and materialism. Everywhere we looked people were talking about sex, or pretending to do sexual actions on people. I even saw a bunch of young men grab some random woman and start to feel her up, instead of this woman screaming for help she laughed and encouraged them.
This is a city that has thrown off any Christian values and have turned instead to following the course of this world, and as a city it enjoys the pleasure of sin for a season, but I cannot help but wonder, how long will God put up wit this? How long will God's wrath build upon this nation before He unleashes His judgment? We deserve the wrath of God now, but in His mercy He is holding back.
Throughout the night we were able to witness to many people, and thousands of gospel tracts were handed out. One witnessing encounter really stands out to me. As we were restocking ourselves with more tracts, I noticed a group of young islander men standing under the Surfers Paradise sign. So I walked over to them, and gave them all a tract, then I asked them this question, "If you were to die tonight, what would your last words be?"
The men stopped and thought about the question, one of them said "I love you" but the other said, "It would be God forgive me". I asked him why he would ask God to forgive him, and the man said because he had done much wrong in his life.
This then led into a witnessing conversation, I spoke to the man named John while his friends listened. We walked through the Law of God, and I showed him that God demands perfection, but we aren't perfect. I then showed how we have fallen very short of the standard that God has placed upon us. Once John realised his sin, and his need to be saved, I pointed him to the cross of Christ, and showed John that God became a man to suffered and die for sinners just like him. John and his friends couldn't move, they stood and listened to every word that was said. After this I described how Jesus is no longer dead, but rather God raised Him from the dead, and now we can be forgiven if we would repent and trust in Christ.
Upon hearing this John said, "I have been to church but never heard this, wow, God is coming after me tonight!" I then went into explaining how we must receive Christ by faith, and if we reject the free gift of salvation then we will damned to hell for all eternity.
I then left John with this verse: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36). After reading that verse to him, I asked "Are you prepared to go home tonight, lay your head on your pillow knowing that God's wrath is upon you?" John went pale and said, "No, I am not prepared to do that, I need forgiveness, I need Jesus to save me!" He then grabbed my hands and as he shook in fear he said, "Please pray for me, I don't want to go to hell, I need Jesus to save me." So there on the street corner I prayed that God would grant John salvation, as I said "amen" one of Johns friends grabbed me and begged me to pray for him as well. So once again I was praying that God would grant salvation to this young man.
All the group took tracts, and before I left I had the privilege of being able to pray for four of the group and also at their request pray for their unsaved relatives. Before I left, I must have been hugged upwards of ten times, these young men were really thankful to hear the good news, so once again I reminded them to repent and trust in Christ alone. As they walked off they all waved and called out "Thank you!"
It is such a joy to see a Sovereign God awaken sinners, I can only pray that God will grant those young men repentance, and I ask that you as you read this will stop and pray for them.
The rest of the evening was spent handing out tracts and talking to people. As a group we were able to have some great conversations. About two hours later after witnessing to John and his friends, I ran into them in Cavil Ave. John came running across the street grabbed me in a hug and said, "All I have to do is repent and trust in Christ, right?" I explained that all he has to do, is turn from his sin, and trust that Jesus died and rose again for his sin. John once again thanked me and left.
Praise God for His loving kindness and salvation!
It was a grim looking day as Anna, Jim, John, Luke and I all headed over to Manchester for the latest of the Northern outreaches. The rain was coming down and the wind blowing cold. Despite this the fellowship was warm as we drove and continued that way for the day.
In Market street we set up and discovered to our frustration and dismay that the wind was just strong enough to pick up tracts and even bibles and scatter them over the street periodically. None the less we persisted with the bible table to give people opportunity to have the word of God for free. Geraldine (a manchester local) joined us and we prayed together and then began to tract the area.
Jim noticed a little further down the mall that there was a line of people gathered for a signing by "Jordan" (for those who don't know of her, she was a soft porn model for british tabliod magazines). Jim preached to the people gathered using as his theme the proverb "Beauty is fading and charm decieving..." and procede to speak on the process of aging and death. There were no hecklers that opposed him but people unable to leave as he spoke so he was brief and gave an excellent gospel presentation. Afterwards many people took tracts and some people nearby who also heard took them too.
Over the period of the day many tracts went out and it was encouraging to see people steadly taking them despite not wanting to stop and talk. John was keen to preach so he was next up and preached from beside the bible table to the passing crowd. John is a solid preacher and despite people not stopping to listen there were nearby store employees that came out to listen for a little. Next up was Dale who had joined us from Cumbria, he preached well and often referred to the bible to confirm the truth of his message. A couple of one to ones began while he preached but again few people stopped for long. It is encouraging when people do stop but we know that God will use to good effect whatever people hear as they pass.
During this time I noticed that Anna was speaking to a couple that had listened to the preaching. Anna was working hard with him and he was trying in every way he could to show that the law was not applicable to him. He even went as far as to say that for some people it could be ok to commit sexual acts with small children and rape also. It never ceases to amaze me how far the hard natural heart of man will go to justify it's rebellion.
I preached next and spoke on the thought that truth is only relative, most people walked by but a couple of young guys stopped to speak to me. While I was doing the good person test with them we were interupted by a very angry lady who told me to leave them alone and that I was wrong to speak to them about God's law. I said that they and she were free to go if they wanted and rebuked her for hypocritcally condemning me for being faithful to God's word. The young guys left and I continued to preach about the great news of God's salvation in Christ. The guys came back toward the end and though they didn't hear the full message they did take tracts and thank us.
Around this time there were a group of people show up, most of them were from a local evangelical church in manchester. They have been coming to market street for a long time now and hand out literature (mostly using material from J.C. Ryle). Overjoyed to see other evangelistically minded people the others in the team and I went and encouraged them. As it was getting towards lunch time we headed off for a bite to eat and a rest for a half hour.
When we came back from lunch we found another group of evangelists in the mall and setting up a little down from them we had a very productive time and many of us had great conversations with people.
We set the table up again and now there was a little more interest as a couple people came by to ask if they could have some literature. This produced a couple of good conversations and Jim spoke for almost an hour with one man. The young guy was a catholic and was open to speak about assurance of going to heaven and the sacremental system. He and Jim parted on good terms and hopefully many good seeds were planted. I also spoke at length with a couple of young girls and urged them also not to trust in anything they could do to be right with God, rathter to trust fully in Jesus Christ and what He has done.
A couple of Christian guys came up to the table and spoke to us and it turns out that their church in Stockport have been using the law and gospel approach as per Way of the Master as we do. We encouraged them as best we could and pray that God would give great fruit to their efforts. They likewise urged us on in our ministry and I for one was most encouraged.
Dale preached again during this time and did a great job succinctly giving a gospel message and preaching the great news of Christ crucified to redeem sinners. After he finished there were a group of people just loitering around the front of the table so I jumped up and preached to the gathered crowd. Hamish and his two friends quickly came over to speak with me and we had a great conversation going through the good person test and the gospel. They were very open to hear the gospel but despite having broken God's law they hoped they would get into heaven anyway. I reasoned with them that a human judge could never sweep crime ‘under the carpet' so why do they suddenly expect God to be able to do the same? I stood down to speak with them further but as I did so an atheist man interjected and in the strongest terms began to deny the existence of God. This would harden the hearts of the young men to the gospel so I placed aside speaking with them temporarily and debated with the atheist for a short period.
He had no interest in the gospel or anything to do with God but only to assert the atheistic perspective. This is increasingly the case with atheists we encounter at the moment, militant atheism is here to stay it seems. Praise God that there is also so much material available now to show that the faith of the atheist is misplaced. Evolutionary science is increasingly an embarrassment to those who propound it, atheism as a philosophy has an equally embarrassing history, and at it's heart atheism is based on an assumption of absolute knowledge (impossible from a human stand point).
Hamish and his friends were still standing close by as Mr Atheist left and the discussion had an impact on them if not on him. They were more than happy to hear what I had to say after watching the conversation. Praise God that He gives a way into every heart for His word. I gave them the gospel message and urged them to read the bibles they had at home. They took tracts and thanked us as they left.
The rest of the team where still in one to one conversations when it came time to leave and it was a pity to leave such a fruitful field of work. All in all it was a wonderful day's work for the Lord, praise His name and may many be drawn to Jesus as we hold Him both dear and high.
Soli Deo Gloria!
One Week Witnessing in Greece
This last week Anna and I have had the privilege of helping out in a church plant in the Greek island of Kos. Kos is a small island just off the coast of turkey which has most of it's economy based around tourism. Alec and Glynn Molton are the missionaries we assisted, they hail from the Open Air Mission (another open air/street evangelism group operating in the UK).
The Molton's have been working to plant an evangelical church on Kos as there isn't one currently. Their heart is to see Greek people come to the saviour and trust in Him alone. This is much needed as many of the Greeks are trusting in the Greek Orthodox church to save them and justify them. The lamentable situation of many Greeks is that they trust a hierarchy of men to tell them what to believe when these self same men have introduce all manner of heresies into the Orthodox church. To give example of just a few, icons (decorated pictures of saints) are worshipped with festivals at which they are kissed and prayed to, many people have their own small shrine at the front of their home at which they offer praise to the creature rather than the creator. In this environment the work is hard and the Molton's have my admiration for working in Kos and they need as much prayer support as possible.
We arrived very early morning Sunday Kos time and after a short sleep joined the Molton's and their grand-daughter and travelled to Kos town for Sunday morning church service. We set up in the hotel tv room that is the Kos Christian Fellowship's chapel and were joined by a Dutch family for the morning. It was wonderful to start a week of evangelism with praise and worship to our great God and father in heaven. After the service we headed to the pool area of the hotel to have lunch together and rest until the evening service. We enjoyed the rest and after afternoon passed we set up for the evening service again, as no-one else arrived we spent some time in prayer and packed up for home. With a hit and miss congregation it is quite jarring for the Molton's on Sunday's and we pray that God would encourage them. Monday was a day of rest and preparation for Alec for the following Sunday and for us to recover from the flight.
Tuesday we went out to deliver newspapers of a very different sort to the normal ones people would expect, bilingual (Greek/English) papers delivering the great news of eternal life. Before going we all joined in prayer and a time of bible study as is the habit of the Molton's every morning. After appealing to God on high to work in the lives of those we witnessed to this day we drove to kos town. In town we dropped Alec at his normal spot by the harbour where he has a board advertising the church and tracts/literature he offers to all passing. Leaving him there we headed into the town residential area and began with Glynn to deliver newspapers. This seems like a small work to some but I am convinced that it is a very useful way to get literature into the hands of people who would not publicly take it on the streets.
We delivered papers to a variety of places and one of the news papers got into the hands of Drosos who then called Alec wanting to talk. Drosos a is rich Greek man and wants for nothing material but is alone in the world and himself says that he "has nothing at all". Later in the week Alec and he were able to sit and talk for quite some time and we pray that this would be the beginning of God's drawing this man to Himself. We praise God that one of the Greeks responded positively to the newspapers and pray that He would bring Drosos to a living faith in Jesus.
In the afternoon we drove down the length of the island and stopping at the beaches we tracted all the tourist cars and gave out tracts to those we met. Hot work but satisfying to know that there are many who have come to the church through this witness.
Wednesday we travelled to a nearby volcanic Island called Nistros to do some sight seeing. The island was an interesting visit and I was fascinated by the caldera/crater of the volcano with all it's vents and sulphur gas plumes. The boat ride home was a little rough so praise God that we got home safely.
Thursday we headed into Kos town and were handing tracts out in the tourist cafe stretch on the harbour front not far from Alec. This was the first time that Anna and I have worked in a multilingual setting for giving out tracts. It was sometimes difficult to tell if people refused tracts due to language or because they didn't want them... oh well. Many tracts went out and we were able to give tracts to many of the locals also which we were surprised at given they are very often anti-protestant.
During the morning Anna was approached by an Irish couple doing a great and slightly unconventional thing, they are walking across Europe praying for its people. They began quite some time ago and have a caravan as their base from which they walk out 25mi each day while they pray. They encouraged us and Alec and among other talk said they would pray for the Molton's work. We were also able to speak with a Jewish family and give them some tracts. After we finished the tracts that we had from Alec for the morning it was time to go so we headed over to be picked up by Glynn with Alec.
Today Alec and Drosos had their chat and while this was happening Anna and I went to the nearby beach for a swim and also tracted all the tourist cars present. As is this faithful couple's habit drove back home via the beach car parks and placed tracts on the cars.
Friday morning there was a large sea liner from Cyprus in dock as we arrived, this was to be quite a benefit today as we could witness to the day visitors from Cyprus also. As per yesterday we set up in the cafe strip and began to hand out tracts. Today I noticed that there were a lot of Greek speakers (silly me was told later that they were Cypriots!), regardless they were taking tracts and we even had a couple of people come and ask for a Greek tract. I also noticed that the tracts we'd given out were being shared around the tables at the cafe next to us. It is exciting to see this happen, people wanting to know about the work of God in Jesus Christ.
During the morning a Jewish couple came up to ask for directions and I was able to engage them in conversation for a short period. The were cultural Jews only but I challenged them to consider the claims of their ancestor's Messiah and after chatting for a short period they left with some literature smiling. We also were encouraged by a Christian Dutch couple who likewise were after directions. After the encounters I've had so far with Dutch Reform folk I must say that they strike me as genuine warm Christians pleased to see the word preached however it can be. This is a saddening contrast to the many evangelicals I have met who are much more willing to cast aspersions as to "effectiveness" and judgement than to encourage us.
During the morning an ex-pat Cypriot named Andrew also came to enquire what we were doing. After giving him a tract Anna and I engaged him in conversation which had an easy starting point, given he hailed from Brisbane! We were able to talk for a short period only as the liner was soon to leave, but we talked through sin judgement and salvation and I confronted him with the demands of Christ to repent and trust in Him alone. After thanking us and receiving some literature Andrew headed away and we pray that he would make it back to Brisbane a changed man and there begin a new life in Christ.
As the morning came to a close we travelled to the various car parks and then stopped at one of the beaches to have an evening swim.
As Saturday was our last day on the Island before an overnight flight we started late and had an easier day. We went to the tourist town of Kardamina in the afternoon, partly for us to have a wonder around and partly for Alec to chat to Stefos another Greek contact. A lot of the conversations they have are building foundations for ongoing evangelism but Stefos knows the gospel and what the Molton's stand for. In the evening we went to one of the Greek festivals, a honey festival. This was all the things that Greeks appear to love, lots of food, loud music, and dancing. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere but had to leave before the night's entertainment began, we had to get to bed.
Now back in the UK almost a week later we can only thank and praise God for the work of the Molton's in Kos and also for their hospitality to us. We pray that God would be glorified in them and that many in Kos would be saved for Jesus name's sake.
Sunday, 13 July, 2008
Keith and I had been in Sydney for the past few days getting ready for the big outreach to coincide with the Roman Catholic World Youth Day. Over the past couple of days we had done outreach locally in and around Sydney, and even hooked up with Yorke and his team in Manly for a bit of outreach. But today was the first day in which we were able to engage with those who were in Sydney for the Pope.
In the morning we went to church at Castle Hill Baptist Church, and heard a brilliant exposition of Hebrews 12:1-2 by Rev. Ian Deane. Then after that we headed into the CBD of Sydney to do some witnessing in Hyde Park.
By the time we fought the Sydney traffic, we realised that we only had one hour to witness in Hyde Park before he had to go back to Castle Hill to fulfil a prior commitment. So we set to work witnessing and handing out tracts as fast as we could. Hyde Park was full of Roman Catholic's who were all there for the big celebration. Tracts were going out really quickly and the majority of people thanked us for the tracts. The interesting thing is that we even have priests and nuns lining up to take the gospel tract from us, and then as they left they would pronounce a quick blessing upon us.
We had been witnessing for awhile when this man came up to me, and started to yell "THOU ART PETER!" I looked at him blankly and was thinking "I am not Peter, I'm Josh." But he kept on yelling "THOU ART PETER!" It appeared that this was the only few words he knew. For the next few moments he just kept repeating these same few words, and then said "Do you believe that?" I replied that if he was talking about Matthew 16 and Jesus saying those words to Peter then yes, I would agree. But however, if he meant that to mean that Peter was the rock upon which the church was built, then I would strongly disagree. The man then went nuts yelling at me, that the Roman Church was the only true church, and that all others were imitations. I tried to reason with him but he just stormed off saying "THOU ART PETER!"
By now Keith had joined me, he had been witnessing to a Roman Catholic who kept stating what the Greek text said, so I Keith asked her to show him in the Greek where she got her info from. It soon became clear that she didn't know the Bible, nor the Greek.
We went back to handing out tracts as fast as we could as many people were coming up and grabbing tracts from us. People seemed grateful for the tracts, and many people were excited about the gospel being handed out. Then Jeff had a woman start screaming at him for handing out tracts, and then she came up and engaged Keith. Keith was very patient with her and kept asking her "What part of the message do you disagree with?" She couldn't provide an answer, and after a while she left.
After an hour we started to leave, and make our way back to Castle Hill. On the way to the train station Keith spotted a large group of ‘pilgrims' standing along George Street so he rushed over to them to try and give out some tracts. The pilgrims were all standing in a big circle, and when he got to them they freaked out a bit as these ‘good' Roman Catholics were all smoking marijuana.
Keith then turned his attention to a Scientologist who was handing out literature. They spoke a bit in an apologetic realm, and then the Scientologist started to yell at Keith; "You're hacking my brain!" Keith left him with a tract, and then we made our way back to Castle Hill.
It was a good hour of witnessing. Between three of us in one hour we were able to hand out over 2000 tracts!
Monday, 14 July 2008
Today we return ed to Hyde Park. We arrived at about 11am, and began to hand out tracts as quick as we could. Like the day before it was packed in the park. As we were witnessing I noticed that SBS had set up a television crew and they were interviewing people about World Youth Day. I was approached by the host and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed, I quickly agreed. But when they heard I was from Australia they didn't want to talk. As they only wanted to speak to foreigners. So I called Keith over and pointed out to them that he was actually Irish. They were then interested in interviewing him.
Keith began the interview, and he made sure that he constantly got to mention the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was asked questions about Rome, and he answered from a Biblical worldview and kept on stressing that salvation is not of works, but by grace alone.
While Keith was being interviewed some Samoan pilgrims came alongside me and started to say "They shouldn't interview him, he is a protestant!" So I simply asked them what was wrong with Protestants. They replied "They don't have Jesus, they aren't real Christians." This of course led into a discussion. I started to ask them about what they believed, and as soon as I started to talk a Catholic seminary student joined in the mix. He was quick to attack Biblical theology, but it didn't take long for me to counter his arguments. So he left me and engaged Keith who had just finished his interview.
For the next hour we spoke about many topics, from Mary, the mass, the Bible, the church, the pope, and also salvation. By the end the group of Samoans that I was talking to had realised that there own works would never merit them salvation. But rather they had to flee to Christ alone to save them. After talking they all took tracts and then posed with us to have our photo taken.
We then headed down to the entrance of Hyde Park and began to hand out tracts to everyone who walked past. Like yesterday priests and nuns were lining up to take tracts, and they were once again very grateful. But this all seemed to be the calm before the storm. After handing out tracts for awhile an American Catholic priest approached me, and read the tract. He then came back shoved the tract back into my hand and said "That's anti Catholic!" So I asked what part was anti Catholic, since Roman Catholicism and the Pope were not mentioned in the tract. He looked at it again and said, "It is anti Catholic, as it says you are only saved by faith alone in Christ alone!" I pointed out to him that everything stated in the tract was backed up by Scripture, so how would he reply to those verses. He agree that everything in it was biblical, but the church however has a different teaching. When I tried to engage him in apologetic discussion, he quickly backed off and started to tell everyone not to take our tracts as they opposed Rome. So this time a bit louder I asked him with everyone watching "Which part opposes Rome, and what part of the Bible do you disagree with?" People stopped to look, then quickly took tracts. The priest chased after them trying to get the tracts off them, so I said to him as he was leaving "God's judgment will be a lot harsher on those who try to keep people from the Kingdom!"
The priest stormed off so I continued to hand out tracts. Things once again went along fine. Although after awhile some New South Wales police officers arrived to say that they had received complaints about the tracts. So we gave all the police tracts and they read them. After reading them they all agreed that there was nothing wrong with them, and that we had the freedom to keep handing them out. In fact some police stayed for awhile and were encouraging us to go and engage the atheists on the other side of the park in debate as it would be interesting.
Tracts were going out at a rapid pace, and by now Ryan had arrived from Brisbane so he also started to hand out tracts. Every now and then we would get people stop and engage us in debate over Roman Catholicism, and they all seemed to use the same arguments over and over again. But most of the people we spoke to left thanking us.
By now it was getting late in the afternoon. And we had handed out thousands of tracts. Then things took a turn for the worse. Another local ‘evangelism' ministry joined us on the streets, and they also were handing out tracts. Since I knew the team leader I believed that I could trust him not to do anything that would cause trouble. I was proven wrong on this matter. He decided to enter into the big Roman Catholic Cathedral where they had a ‘Saints' body on display and tract up everyone in the Cathedral. This of course got him in trouble with the police, and also caused a very irate Roman Catholic to follow him. The problem for us was that he came to us to brag about his exploits. In my opinion the thing he did was rank stupidity and it endangered the whole outreach. It was then that Keith and I noticed that the angry Roman Catholic was on the phone to the police now making a complaint against us.
During this time a bunch of young Roman Catholic girls approached and were screaming at us that we were Protestants. And their leaders were yelling for people not to take tracts, and to rip them all up and throw them on the ground. This brought the police down, who told the Catholics that we had every right to hand out tracts, and that they had no rights to encourage people to destroy property and litter. The Roman Catholics quickly apologised.
Once again these Roman Catholics maintained that our tract was unbiblical, but when challenged to show us what part was wrong, they couldn't.
We put up with them for a few minutes, then the police arrived who had been called by the irate Roman Catholic that had followed the other guys from the Cathedral. Because of his complaint the police asked us to stop handing out tracts until such time as they could investigate what was happening. The police were very friendly, and were real apologetic over stopping us, but they indicated that someone had called to make a complaint.
Keith and I chatted to the police, and all the police were reading our tracts, so we were fine with that. As it gave us a chance to minister to these officers of the law. But things changed when the guy who had handed out tracts in the Cathedral entered in to find out what was happening to "his team". The police told him to go away as it had nothing to do with him. And Keith and I weren't to amused as we weren't "his team" and because of him, we were being stopped from witnessing.
Then the police received a call from headquarters and they were informed to issue us a move on order. Which means we weren't allowed in the Sydney CBD for twenty four hours. As they issued the order they also apologised, and made sure to stress that this order came from higher up, and was not due to them. We thanked the police for their time, and also informed them that we had no problems with them as they were just doing their job.
So we packed up our tracts, and left. The day had been very productive although it was shorter that we had planned. It goes to show that on outreach you must watch out for "glory boys" who seek to do something ‘daring' (stupid) in order to have something to brag about. It was because of one guys stupidity that a whole outreach was shut down. The worse thing was, that he isn't apart of Operation 513 but rather he leads a different ministry. We got shut down but he didn't.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Since we got shut down yesterday, and because we still had twenty four hour ban on us, we decided to have a bit of a sleep in, and then head across to Manly to do some witnessing. Our ban ran out at 4:30pm, so all we had to do was stay out of the CBD till then, and after that we could witness all we wanted to.
After meeting up with a new bloke who wanted to join us, we head over to Manly and began to hand out tracts and witness. Within minutes of getting there we had a bunch of American Roman Catholics start to engage us. One of them was getting rather angry at me, that Keith believed that he was going to hit me. We spoke about church history for a bit, and this man even though he claimed to be a theology student didn't know much about history nor theology. So we examined his beliefs in the light of Scripture. He kept making statements so we challenged him to provide biblical evidence for what he was saying. Of course like most Roman Catholics he knew more about Tradition than he did about Scripture.
After witnessing at Manly for a time, we caught the ferry back across the harbour to the CBD. Upon arriving we noticed that the opening mass was underway, and literally thousands of people were walking along the harbour. So we set up and started to hand out tracts as fast as we could. Many people took tracts, and soon it became clear that we probably wouldn't have enough tracts for the night. While we were handing out tracts one of the police officers from the day earlier approached us and said "G'day" once again he apologised for yesterday and encouraged us to keep going.
After a while we headed up to Barangaroo where the opening mass was being held. Upon arrival near the entrance we spoke to the World Youth Day security team, and they told us where we could stand. They were fine with us being there as long as we didn't block traffic. We agree with their terms and made sure that we were spread out so that no one could accuse us of blocking the flow of pilgrims.
As the Mass ended we were surrounded by a great sea of humanity, and many thousands upon thousands of tracts went out. The traffic flowed freely so we were having no trouble. The whole time we were right next to the World Youth Day security post. After a couple of hours of handing out tracts four police officers approached me and the Crown Sergeant who was leading them started to yell at me and snatched all my tracts out of my hand. The police officer then started to blast me for standing the walkway handing out tracts. I pointed out to him that World Youth Day staff told me to stand there, and he replied "I don't care, this is my turf I am in charge of it!" He said many complaints had been made against us, so he was going to shut us down. I asked him what law we were breaking, and he didn't answer. So I said "I have constitutional freedom to do this, so if I am not breaking any law I will continue." The Crown Sergeant then grabbed a tract and began to read it. As he read it, he started saying "This is hate speech!" So I asked what part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hate speech, he indicated to the part that said "going to church won't get you to heaven." So I pointed out that is what the Bible says, he maintained that it was hate speech, and that I couldn't hand them out. I stood my ground, and said that since no law was broken I would be continuing to hand them out. He snapped at me that I couldn't and then said "I am detaining you under the World Youth Day laws." This surprised me since only two hours earlier the Australian Government overturned the World Youth Day laws stating that they were unconstitutional. I pointed that out to the Crown Sergeant, and he just replied "Tough!" It was then that I said I would be making a formal complaint over this matter, and he just laughed saying "Go ahead, they can't touch me, I am above that!" To which I replied "You may be above this legal system, but you aren't above God's, and He will all you to give an account one day." This made the Crown Sergeant mad, and he ordered me to sit on the wall of an Anglican church and not move less I be arrested. But before I would move I asked him for his details, and also for the details of the other police officers. The Crown Sergeant refused at first, but then gave me his name, but wouldn't tell me his station. So I turned to the three constables and asked them for their details. The crown sergeant ordered them not to give me their details, and told me I wasn't allowed to have them. To this I replied "By law, you must give me your details." He just laughed and started to turn away. One constable quickly gave me his badge number before the Crown Sergeant stormed off.
So I was confined to sit on the wall of an Anglican church. Immediately I called my Barrister and started to ask him on how to proceed. He pointed out that the police had just broken the law, and they couldn't confine me to a wall. After speaking to him for awhile another police sergeant walked past, so I asked her about the law, and why was I detained. She told me that I had been detained for "incitement" but I pointed out that the Crown Sergeant said "World Youth Day laws and hate speech", she was a bit shocked at this, so she read the tract and said "I have no problems with this, you can continue to hand these out". Upon hearing this (in the presences of witnesses) I headed back out to hand out gospel tracts.
While I was sitting on the wall, I got to see what some of the priests and nuns were doing to our tracts. Some burnt them, others spat on them. Still others urinated on them. All this and these people are supposed to represent God's Church! The Roman Catholic Church revealed itself that night as being a church that is corrupted and a church that hates all those who aren't opposed to it.
I rejoined Keith and Ryan, and we were able to hand out thousands of tracts. As we looked at our stock level we saw that it had nearly reduced to nothing. But then the Crown Sergeant entered back into the scene. He stood right near us and watched every move, after awhile a bunch of American Catholics started trying to stop us from handing out tracts, all the while holding an American flag. We challenged them on what Freedoms the American people held dear, they responded "Freedom of Speech", so we asked why they would stop us from having Freedom of Speech in our country when over 100 000 Australian soldiers had died to give us that freedom? The Americans over the course of this outreach were the worse behaved. They shouted "Freedom" then opposed those who didn't agree with them. This is really sad, but it is clear by their actions why most of the world hates the USA.
The Americans stood in the middle of the road (blocking traffic) yelling at people to rip up the tracts and throw them in the bin. The shocking thing was the Crown Sergeant was encouraging them to do it also. So I turned walked up to him and said "Sir, you told me that if I am in the road I would be arrested, yet you are allowing them to do it, why?" His reply was "One rule for them, and one for you!" To which I replied "So, one rule for Catholics and one for Protestants?" He just grinned, and then said "They are sick of your propaganda and protestant c**p!" This stunned me that a member of the New South Wales police would discriminate against me in regards to religion, so I turned my phone on a called a friend so he could hear it. I asked him to repeat it, and when he realised that I was recording he refused to say much. This was a clear display of Police corruption, this Crown Sergeant openly opposed those who were Protestants, whoever thinks that Rome has changed need to spend a night in Sydney to see how the antichrist (pope) has the police wrapped around his little finger.
During this time a group of Catholics approached Keith and said that we need to watch out as they would be waiting at the foot of the hill to beat us up when we left. We continued to hand out tracts despite the opposition from the American Catholics and also the police. And by God's grace His Word still went forth!
As we were leaving we asked for police protection due to the Catholics saying they would get us. The Crown Sergeant refused to assist and told us to go down the hill and talk to someone else.
We made it out of the city safely, and it was a good feeling to know that God had seen fit to allow His Word to go out even though people tried to stop it!
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Today was the final day of outreach for us in Sydney. We began the day off by meeting up with some friends, and then heading to an Anglican church to attend a Bible study. This church had been doing Bible studies all week about why Roman Catholicism is wrong, and each day they had a testimony from those who had been Catholics but had left the false church.
After attending the study for an hour, we headed out on the streets to witness. We made our way to Hyde Park as it was a hive of activity. Yorke and Jeff were already present handing out gospel tracts, so we joined them for a time.
Today seemed to be a day of debates. Within minutes of arriving I was engaged in a debate with three Catholic priests from the USA. One of them kept yelling "Shut Up!" While another priest was telling me that the priest is the mediator between God and man. This interested me, so I handed the priest my Bible and asked him to please read 1 Timothy 2:5, as he read it I asked "According to the Scripture, who is the only mediator?" He replied "Jesus Christ" and then went silent. Before leaving he thanked me for showing him that verse and said that he needed to study out some issues now. Please pray for that man.
After finishing the discussion with them, I turned and was engaged in debate with two Mormon missionaries. These men were out pushing that we must have good works in order to be saved. So I spoke to them on that topic for awhile, and I illustrated how that we do good works not to be saved, but rather to be saved. After explaining this to them I showed them to Ephesians 2:8-9. The senior missionary wanted to leave the discussion, but the junior missionary was very interested. After talking for awhile the junior missionary said "I agree with you, the Book of Mormon is wrong." This statement caused the senior missionary to drag him away. Please also pray for him.
Once again I turned, and this time I was in a debate with a traditional Roman Catholic who was a fan of having the mass sung in Latin. We had a good discussion in regards to the Bible and salvation. He didn't like the state of the modern Roman church, and wanted it to return to the traditional teachings. We spoke at length about salvation and then parted on good terms.
By this time I was starting to feel like this was the day of debate, then before I knew it I was once again locked in a discussion. This time with two Franciscan Monks. These men were very polite, and were very well educated in the Bible. We discussed a variety of issues from the immaculate conception of Mary to salvation by works or by grace. It was a great time of chatting, and we all left on very good terms.
I spent the rest of the day handing out tracts, and I thought that perhaps I wouldn't need to debate anymore. But then once again an angry American priest appeared, so I engaged him in debate while his French friend yelled at Yorke in French. After talking for awhile about Jesus being the bread of life, it became clear that this priest did not know his Bible. So I used the Scripture to show him the gospel, the priest quickly stated "I must leave, and go um... pray now." Then left.
The rest of the day was quiet, with many tracts going out.
At the end of the day we tallied up the total number of tracts handed out in three days, and we estimated that over 30 000 tracts were given to those at World Youth Day. Please pray for all those that received the gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sunday, 27 April, 2008
Tonight I had the honour of being asked by my church (Beenleigh Baptist) to preach an evangelistic service. It is not normal for my church to actually hold a service with a focus on the lost. For the past two months the event had be planned and re-planned. Advertisement went out, and the congregation was encouraged to invite their unsaved friends and family.
There was a general sense of excitement among the congregation at the prospect of a gospel message being preached. The bit I found most exciting was the fact that the church was becoming more involved in outreach.
My text for the night was James 4:13-17, and my sermon title was "What is Your Life? Answering the Question of Why there is Death and Suffering? As the time neared for me to preach, my nerves increased. Tonight turned out to be one of the biggest night time services the church has ever had, after the service I was told by one of the Deacons that the head count was 160 people. With many of them being unsaved.
As I preached I wanted to stress the reality of death, and how we all die as a result of sin. From there I preached the cross of Christ, and pointed out that there is forgiveness of sin for those would repent.
At the end as the call of salvation went forth I was encouraged to see five people respond, and surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.
Praise God for all He has done!
Listen to the Sermon: "What Is Your Life?"
Driving up to Carlisle on Saturday morning with a team of evangelists was both exciting and daunting. The weather was predicted to be bleak indeed and I was worried we would be ministering to an empty city, as all the Brits seem to keep indoors when the weather is bad.
Joining Anna and I today were John and Jim from Sheffield, with Rob, James, and Carl from London. We were meeting Dale, Kevin, Allan, Keith and Marion at Carlisle and aiming to minister in the centre of town where Dale, Keith and Marion normally witness.
We gathered in the square of the town and together prayed to the Lord that He would bless our efforts and go with us as we witnessed. The team spread out and started to tract the area as Rob and I sought out a good vantage to preach from, quickly there were many one-to-one conversations happening. As seemed to be the pattern for the day from this point onwards, there was at any point I looked around at least one or two witnessing conversations going. What an encouragement to see the people hearing the gospel and God drawing those who needed to hear!
Dale was the first preacher of the day to preach from in front of Costa coffee shop, he has become increasingly bold for the Lord and it was a pleasure to hear him preach again. Dale confessed that he was fearful before starting, this is normal for any preacher who knows before whom they preach and appropriately Dale went to his heavenly father in prayer about it. The gospel sounded out and some gathered to hear, from these some stopped to talk with members of the team afterwards. We pray they would turn and be saved.
Rob was next up to preach and as he proclaimed the gospel many went past scoffing but few stopped and those seated around us heard loud and clear. Rob works very hard to ensure that he does not obscure Christ when he speaks and the fruit of this is that his preaching is very clear and easily followed.
As Rob stepped down the team swung into action and for the next 45 minutes one-to-one conversations were continuously happening. During this time I noticed two things that made me smile. Paddy (our dog) would effectively be starting one-to-ones when Anna would witness to those that came to say hello to him (she told me later that he also hijacked a few conversations!). Also John seemed to be in constant conversations, he carries a large banner with scripture verses on it, it was great to see people coming to talk attracted to the word of God.
Kevin preached next and he began by pointing to the stupidity of women in accepting the perversions that so many men see as normal now, pornographic magazines and tv shows and even strip clubs. This is truth is an affront to the pride of man, and while true it of course offended a few people and a complaint was made. Part way through the preaching some community officers stopped Kevin and took him to one side. At this I stood up and addressed the gathering crowd, intending to preach the gospel to them while Kevin spoke to the officers. An irate officer also stopped me and after a short discussion we agreed to the reasonable request that the preachers moderate their language. Kevin got up and preached to those who remained and during this time answered heckles from a local drunk and a couple of ladies. Praise God that we were able to continue in preaching the gospel; pray that it would be the righteous demands of God that would be an offence to people and not us as preachers of those demands.
Jim preached next and began by comparing the world and its perishing demands to a luxury car going off a cliff with a humble mini (the Christian life of humility under God) that safely gets you where you want to go. As Jim preached the Lord opened the clouds and down came the hail and rain, unfazed Jim preached on and urged the people of Carlisle to repent and humble themselves before Christ.
When Jim stepped down we headed for the shelter of the nearby mall and spent some time in the warmth in fellowship until the showers passed and we'd warmed up.
I was next up to preach as we went out to witness again, I was interrupted as I was setting up though. A "Christian" lady was with her friends at the coffee shop and came to ask me if we could preach further away, so that people in the coffee shop would not be disturbed by the sound of the preaching. I was saddened and offended by this, a professing Christian coming to stop the preaching of the gospel! I promised her I would take her request into consideration, considering it fired me to preach with passion. With this passion to see the lost saved I poured out my heart to all who could hear and spoke to the people of Carlisle of the disease of sin in their hearts and the eternal death and punishment that would be its deserved end. I pleaded and called them to come and consider Christ and to repent of their evil ways and turn to him in faith.
During this a lady came to speak with me who claimed that through transcendental meditation she could become God! I pointed her to the author of this lie, Satan himself claimed that he could ascend on high and become as God and has been teaching others they can do likewise since the fall. Satan's end will be in the lake of fire as this lady's will be if she would not repent. The discussion ended with her leaving quoting the post-modernist credo "what's true for you is not true for me". Unfortunately for those who trust in the relative truth propaganda it doesn't work in practice. In the same way that it is absurd to jump from a rooftop saying "gravity is true for you but not true for me", it is equally absurd to claim that two contradictory points of view are both true.
As Christians we claim that the only way anyone can be saved from the just and eternal punishment of sin in hell is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is either wrong and or right and Jesus when He said "I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me" left us with only two choices.
With only a little time left in the day James stood and preached the glorious news of salvation through Christ. This was his first time and he preached well and strongly and I don't doubt that he will make an excellent preacher.
After this when the one-to-ones had finished we joined together to praise God for His goodness and mercy in allowing us the opportunity to witness. We offered up our requests that the people of Carlisle would be saved and prayed that more labourers in the harvest would be raised up. We shared in some dinner together and after our goodbyes drove home, and it was at that point that the heavens opened and down came the sleet and rain. Praise God for such a good day and for His infinite grace and mercy to wretched sinners in desperate need of a saviour.
Soli Deo Gloria!
REDLANDS EASTER FESTIVAL - Monday, 24 March, 2008
Today’s outreach was to be held at the Redlands Easter Festival. Last year we went to the event uninvited and handed out tracts and spoke to people, and then by Godís grace the organizers allowed us to share the gospel at the event. But this year they extended a formal invitation for us to bring a team in so that we might be the evangelists on the ground.
When we arrived we were given a ‘show bag’ which contained some details about local churches, a gospel, and also a very soft gospel tract. Seeing this made us more determined to go in and share the biblical gospel with as many people as possible.
I noticed when I was signing in that my name bag had ‘connections’ on it, so I asked the admin man about it, and he said that was a ‘friendly’ way of saying evangelism. Personally I thought it was a way to soften the blow of the gospel, and to also hide the light just a little bit. After signing in I headed down and had a look at the ‘connection’ tent, and I saw that many of the tracts were very squishy, so I pulled out a pack of the Operation 513 ‘Big Money’ tracts, and placed them on the table. Within seconds people began to pick up our tracts and leave the others behind. It was really cool to see so many people walking around the festival with our tracts.
Desma and I teamed up to do some one to one witnessing and recording for Way of the Master radio, and as we began to witness to people it soon became clear that many of the professing Christians, weren’t Christians at all, but rather they were impostors with in the Christian camp!
One interview that really stands out is the one with a street van leader from 96.5 FM the “Christian” radio station in Brisbane. The young lady told me that they were all about showing people the love of God, and sharing the gospel. But they wouldn’t tell people about the gospel because it may offend. So I asked her how many people she has had a chance to witness to, she stated that to date she hasn’t shared the gospel with anyone. It was then that I offered her the chance to declare the gospel to me, she looked at me blankly, and after a few moments all standing around could see that she did not know what the gospel was. So I asked a few questions, but she didn’t mention the name of Jesus, nor did she mention what God had done for us, so I thought it wise to witness to her. It is so sad that one has to witness to an ‘evangelistic’ ministry leader from a Christian radio station, but it just goes to show us the truth of Matthew 7:21-23.
We did a few more interviews, and one young man came under very heavy conviction as we shared about the gospel. After that interview we heard that the Premier of Queensland would be arriving soon in order to open the event. A group of us stopped and prayed that God would open a door for us to get a gospel tract to the Premier, after this quick prayer we went back to sharing the gospel.
About thirty minutes later we found out that the Premier was there, so we made our way over to where she was. Instantly we saw that there were a few security guards standing around, and to get to the Premier one would also have to get through a bunch of local politicians. So I grabbed my gospel tract and walked up to the security guards, when I got to them I patted them on the back and told them that they were doing a good job, and that they should keep up the hard work. They smiled, and I walked right by them, I was then into the group of politicians, so I went up to the Premier and said “Excuse me Mrs. Premier”, she turned, from there I shook her hand and wished her a happy Easter, she wished me the same thing, and then I gave her the gospel tract and explained to her that it contained the message of why we are here today, and asked her to read it. She said she would, and as I walked off she was looking at the tract. Please pray that God will convert her.
The rest of the day was spent handing out tracts, and doing one to ones. It was also good to see other evangelistic ministries handing out our tracts, everywhere we looked you could see people with Operation 513 tracts, from the youngest of children through to the Police officers patrolling the event. The place was well and truly covered!
Praise God for His faithfulness in opening doors for the Gospel!
Soli Deo Gloria!
TOOWOOMBA EASTERFEST - Friday, 21 March, 2008
The troops gathered at my place at 8am for our trip up the great dividing range to Toowoomba for our Good Friday outreach. This has become a bit of a tradition for us, since for the past three years we have made the journey to witness at one of Australia’s largest ‘Christian’ festivals. This year the Australian Gospel Music Festival had changed it name to remove reference to the gospel, now it is simply called ‘Easterfest’. While the name had changed the false teaching remained.
We arrived in Toowoomba at just after 10am, after making sure we were well stocked with tracts, we made our way to the main tent of the festival. As we walked into the tent, I could not help but think about how Jesus over turned the tables of those who were selling in the temple. This tent was set aside to the god of mammon, many of the goods for sale were religious at best. As we walked through the tent we saw advertising for the upcoming visit of the antichrist. So we stopped at the Roman Catholic youth stand, and asked those who were manning it when the Pope was going to arrive, and also where he was going to be. They gave us some details which was handy since it makes it easier for us to plan our outreach for his visit in July.
After an early lunch we began to hand out tracts and witness to people. One of the first people Ralph got to witness to was a young lady who was attending the festival who claimed to be a Christian that was going to hell, and that she also believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ralph did a fine job explaining the gospel to her, and also explaining how the FSM is not actually a possibility based on scientific laws.
We spent some time handing out tracts, then we decided to get out our recording equipment and begin to conduct some interviews to send to Way of the Master radio. The first couple we stopped were more mature, and it was good to hear that they actually understood the gospel, and they were even able to explain the plan of salvation to me. It is always refreshing to hear a Christian explain the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The rest of the afternoon was spent doing interviews, and we had some good witnessing encounters. During one of the interviews the young man I was witnessing to turned and began to witness to me using the methods laid down by Way of the Master. This was really encouraging.
One interview that really stood out to me was with two young ladies, they both claimed to be Christians, yet they were not sure if they were saved. So I began to explain the gospel to them. One of the young ladies soon came under conviction, however, the other lady walked away in disgust. It is always amazing how people react when confronted by the enormity of sin, so many people will come under conviction and look to the Saviour, but others will harden their hearts and rebel against God. I continued the discussion and explained the amazing grace of God. Please pray that these two young ladies come to repentance.
Since it was a hot day we moved under the shade of a tree to continue witnessing, again we had an opportunity to speak to two young ladies. Both of them claimed to be Christian, but again weren’t sure if they were saved. So I began to explain the gospel, instantly both of them came under conviction, and one of them was holding back tears as I explained how God showed love towards us. They both took in-depth tracts, and thanked us for being out there witnessing.
The rest of the day was spent handing out tracts, and doing one to one witnessing. Thousands of tracts went out, and many people got to hear the gospel. After 18 hours in the field we finally made it home at just after 2am. Overall the day had been great!
Praise God for His Faithfulness!
Many things that happened on this outreach will not be included in these reports, apologies beforehand if I forget names or details. I believe that Josh Williamson and Kevin Williams have also got reports going up soon.
On Saturday morning we arrived in south London after a long trip down from Sheffield. We spent some time catching up with Robert, Peter and Josh at Robert's house (he was kind enough to allow us to stay at his house over the weekend). From there we all headed back into London to do some site seeing and witnessing. On the tube to Wesley's chapel Josh preached to the people riding the tube, it had to be short because of the distance between stops. Afterwards almost everyone took tracts and we had to scoot out of the train as it was our station.
We found much to our disappointment that the chapel and house of John Wesley were closed for the afternoon and also the graveyard bunhills field was also closed. What is a greater disappointment to us is the fact that the Methodist church, that Wesley and other Godly men began, is currently ordaining homosexual men and women to preach. This goes directly against what Wesley believed and more importantly against what the bible teaches us.
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
(1 Timothy 3:2-5)
We left this sad scene of decay and went to Tower Hill, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. At the top of Tower Hill Robert preached, people stopped to chat and again the people present took tracts gladly (and politely!). As Josh took photos of the tower and the bridge we stopped beside the entrance to the tower and I began to preach on the traitors of mankind in their duty to mankind. I was interrupted by one of the beefeater guards who informed me that I was preaching on private land and must stop. I wrapped up quickly and stepped down as we didn't know if we were on private land or not. After a little more tracting we headed home for dinner and rest.
Sunday morning came around bright and mild (surprising to say the least in winter!), Josh and Peter went to the Metropolitan Tabernacle and with Rob's younger brother James we headed to Trinity Road Chapel. The Chapel is in Tooting and had offered us the privilege of staying at their church hall for the week's outreach, a very generous offer we gladly accepted. At the church we met the pastor Doug McMasters and many others and were very warmly welcomed into the church. During the service I made a small presentation of what we were doing during the week and thanking the church for their support. I also asked for their prayers and support, something we always have need of (please take note if you're reading this!!!).
After an excellent sermon we had a fellowship lunch with the church family, meeting many friendly faces. From this time another member was added to the team for part of the week. Joe approached me after the service and asked to join us for the start of each day and I gladly agreed.
We traveled from here to speakers corner in Hyde park to have a look at the preachers that gather their each week to give the Gospel. When we arrived there were many preachers, some giving the gospel of Christ, a couple of muslim apologists, others atheistic speaches, and others just having a rant. We just mingled with the crowd for a while but pretty soon Rob, James and I were all drawn into debates with muslims. I debated far too long and too loud against the assertion (with only the qu'ran and man's faulty logic to back it) that Jesus could not be God and that the incarnation is a lie. Yet it is written:
Day One Tuesday 22nd
Tuesday began with everyone full of enthusiasm and ready to witness so after devotions and breakfast we trooped off to the local tube station and headed to Leister square. On the way many of the team where able to witness to people on the train and going to the train many tracts were given to the locals, this became the standard approach for the team for the entire outreach.
There were relatively few people in the square when we arrived, so we began tracting the people passing through. During this time one-to-ones began to start as people wanted to know about the tracts. Anna began a discussion with one of the local law officers who didn't want us to stop but rather wanted to discuss his eternal destination. Rob H, Barnabas, and myself also had good conversations with people and the gospel was proclaimed in written and verbal form as the team worked down through the square.
At the ticket booth for discount tickets there was a line of people waiting and so Rob H and Josh both preached to the staff and their customers. As often is the case one of the listeners didn't like the conviction of their sinfulness, and so a member of staff yelled abuse while the preachers out of love told of Christ's work to save him if he would turn from his sin and have faith.
We walked the short distance into Trafalgar square, intending to witness to the crowds in the square. While the team was tracting all of the passing people and many one-to-ones where going on, Josh and I set up a preaching post at the base of the wall for the National gallery. Josh preached and while no-one stopped for long a camera crew working the area heard God's righteous demands and of their sinfulness and of the risen saviour Jesus Christ. As Josh finished the team continued to tract the area and offered them to the film crew also.
After a break in the warmth of the gallery we moved the preaching post to facing the gallery hoping to preach to those going there. Rob began to preach and was doing excellently until his voice showed the strain of his recent flu and he was forced to stop, another preacher down and out for the day! Josh tagged into the preaching and engaged a young American Jew named Simon. He went through the law with Simon revealing his sin before God, and gave him the glorious gospel showing God's great mercy and grace.
Afterwards a catholic man came wanting to discuss the preaching with Rob and Josh, so while this was happening Kevin got up and preached further to the crowds. He did an excellent job and the team were giving out tracts at a rate of knots. The team continued to tract and one-to-one in the square until lunch, during this time I was able to engage a group of four youth and share with them the good news, please pray for Sam, Kim, Jack and Joe and the many other people who heard the word s of eternal life.
After lunch at marble arch we all headed for Paddington, but due to many delays and a stop to get supplies we were at the tube station exactly when Josh was due to do phone fishing for Way of the Master Radio. We split the team and some headed to Tower hill and some staying for phone fishing.
During the interviews for the radio show a man begged David for some cash as he was on the street, responding to his greater need David began to witness to him. When the conversation was over the man was in tears repenting of his sin!! Praise God that He works in the hearts of men and brings new life to those dead in sin! Pray that he will continue on in the faith and find a good church where he will be built up and taught well.
Meanwhile the other part of the team arrived at tower hill at exactly the right time to have Peter preach to the “Jack the Ripper” tour group before they left for their tour. After the preaching almost every team member had a cluster of people around them asking questions as they again proclaimed the gospel. Praise God that many took tracts and a couple even took bibles. Pray that God will use these and the preaching of His word to convict of sin and call the lost to the saviour.
Day Two Wednesday 23rd
Today’s focus was on the Tooting area and we planned to preach at Robert’s local preaching point and do door to door witnessing around the church.
First stop of the day was Tooting Broadway tube station where we proclaimed the word to those passing and Peter preached the gospel clearly to the crowds as they went to work. During this time the team ensured that many tracts were given out and I saw some one-to-ones happening and the gospel going out to the many who are on the broad way to distruction.
We packed up after the morning rush and headed back to Trinity road to knock on doors around the church. We had with us packs holding literature and bibles supplied generously by the Trinitarian Bible Society, information about the church and of course a gospel tract. Most people welcomed these packs and by the time we had done only a couple of streets around the church we had almost exausted our supply. During this time Anna had quite a few good conversations, she was able to speak with a lady who's husband goes to the church cafe. David had someone invite him back to chat some more the following day. Kevin also talked for quite some time with a muslim man in the drycleaners across from the church and he wants to speak further with people from the church.
After lunch we headed back down to Tooting Broadway where Robert preached (praise God his voice appeared to be improving!) to the passing crowds. Josh again had Way of the Master Radio phone fishing and I heard that there were some great interviews done.
For the rest of the evening the team handed out tracts and talking with the locals. As always I never see all the encounters that happen and there are more one-to-ones than I think, but I saw Josh reasoning with some Jehovah’s witnesses, David discussing eternity with some teens, and Anna bravely giving the gospel of hope to Deeno, a Muslim man who left convicted but clinging to the justification of Islam. I had the privileged of speaking with Rafique a French Muslim who unfortunately believes that he will be justified before God because of his good deeds and moral stance. I struggled to show him his danger before almighty God who will not be corrupt and ignore sin but rather will punish wickedness wherever He finds it.
The end of the evening was possibly the most encouraging of the day. We had one of the local police officers come up and say that they (the local police) need us to preach the gospel in the streets of Tooting more! Officer Hurley also asked us to pray for the police department of Tooting, that they would have more resources for their work. This coming from a non-Christian was encouraging to say the least; pray that the message she heard preached would convict and renew her heart by the Holy Spirit’s sovereign work.
Day Three Thursday 24th
This morning we headed to Tower Hill and planned to have the morning spent preaching to the tourists that gather to see the Tower and the nearby bridge. Unfortunately as soon as we arrived and began to witness to people the local manager of the area came and told us that we were not welcome and as it is private land we had to leave. So in accordance with Romans 13 we left and began witnessing at Tower Hill for the next hour.
From here we travelled over to Buckingham Palace to witness to the many people that gather there to take photographs. In front of the palace we had some excellent one-to-one conversations, amusingly Josh and Anna (both Aussies) both kept bumping into Australians. Josh began one conversation with a couple only to find that they were Christian religious education teachers from Perth! David had the rare opportunity of witnessing to a friend that had been a soldier in Iraq and was now open to hear the gospel after having seen so much death. I spoke with a young Swedish couple for half an hour showing them their sin under the microscope of God’s law that reveals all our sin. God be praised by the end of the conversation their mouths were stopped and they heard the glorious good news of the work of Jesus to save sinners. They took tracts and a bible as they left for their plane home. Pray for these young people, that God would sovereignly change and save them. Anna also spoke to an asian man named Minh who heard the whole gospel and left with a bible.
Kevin then preached on the steps of the monument in front of the palace and loudly proclaimed the sovereignty of God over all of us, exulting the great name of God the king over all kings. During the preaching the many tourists in the area sat or stood watching and listening to the message of hope, we praise God that he made it possible for them to hear and pray they would receive the preached word and flee to the saviour.
After Kevin finished preaching the team gave tracts to the gathered people and again many one-to-ones started. At this point the police arrived to ask what we were preaching in front of the palace, on hearing the message they said there was no problem with us preaching there and then gave us permission to preach in Westminster if we wished. The only request the officers made was that we give them notice the next time we intend to preach and that we stop for today, which was fine as we were about to head home anyway.
After a long break in the afternoon the team headed to Leister square to preach to the crowds that gather for a night of west-end entertainment. Joining us for the evening was Allan and a friend from his church, it is always an encouragement to have others with us and we were grateful for them coming. Rob was first up preaching and while he proclaimed the law of God and the gospel a crowd gathered to hear him. Engaging one of the listeners Rob went through the good person test with them giving a solid defence for the gospel against the objections and again his voice held as he preached (praise be to God!). After the preaching many one-to-ones began and one interaction that was interesting was between Rob and a member of a well-known heavy metal band. Though not a Christian, this guy was happy to hear the gospel preached and encouraged Rob to continue preaching in Leister.
After the one-to-ones finished Josh preached, beginning with the stalker that we all have – death. While speaking of our uncertain position in this world and the judgement to follow, a man named Dave heckled Josh. This began a long series of hecklers and a crowd gathered around for most of the preaching many taking tracts as they left, may God use what they all heard of the gospel even if in part only. The objections raised were mostly the standard ones: ‘there is no God’, ‘science and evolution disproves the bible’, ‘what about suffering and other religions?’ etc.
The rest of the team was busy working through the crowd to give out as many tracts as possible and talk with those on the fringes. I had three interesting encounters, one encouraging and two not so encouraging. The discouraging encounters were with ‘Christians’, one deneighs the bible and God even though studying theology at Eaton. His knowledge had puffed him up with pride and the gospel was not welcome in his life and sadly he left scoffing. The other was the sadder encounter was with a young man who openly admitted to drunkenness, promiscuity, drug abuse and blasphemed God’s Holy name as we spoke. Despite this he claimed to be a Christian because he had been taught this from the pulpit and by the people of a well known charismatic church. In an attempt to show him that he was deceived I reasoned with him from the bible taking him to:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
All of this he laughed off or jeered at and le ft as he informed me that the team and I were not Christians. I could not help but think of the responsibility of those who had taught this young man to embrace sin and formalism, surely he will curse his pastors for not giving him the truth if his end is eternal punishment.....
Encouragingly I also saw a homosexual couple standing near me as the preaching was happening, one partner was trying to pull the other away but he would not leave wanting to stay and hear the gospel. As they left I gave the man wanting to stay a tract and the look on his face was of deep conviction, he immediately began to read. God is sovereign and will call who He will!
Anna spoke to one of the local sign holders who was nearby, I think that he must have gotten the gospel from almost every member of the team! During the preaching she also spoke with two young muslim men Esam and Ash, both of them were under heavy conviction of sin after hearing the gospel. Anna had offered them both bibles and though at first they did not want them, after about half an hour these same young men came back wanting the Word of God! Not only that but they took the details of Trinity Road Chapel. Pray that they would come to trust in the true saviour.
Two police officers also were walking throughout the crowd and listening during the preaching, I later found out that they were chasing pickpocket’s (God be praised for the authorities He has given us for our protection!). When Josh stepped down the officers approached him, and again I heard a street preacher commended by the law for his preaching. Not only this one of the officers wanted to know what he must do in order to be saved, Josh joyfully gave him the gospel again. As he left the officers was saying he would think on the matter and get right with God!
There were many other interactions that went on throughout the night but space does not permit them all. Needless to say the team went home rejoicing to have seen the Lord moving in Leister Square that night!
Day Four Friday 25th
The last day of the outreach is often the hardest with little energy left in anyone, but this day we again saw the Lord move to display His strength in our weakness.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
First stop for the day was Westminster abbey where we met Rian, Dolph and Dolph’s two friends. In the area of the abbey we handed out tracts and discussed the gospel with all who passed. Dolph got into a conversation so in depth that he ended up walking several blocks with the people involved. Many tracts were given and I also saw Rian and David in conversations proclaiming the gospel. May God use the tracts and burn the message of sin, righteousness, and judgement onto the hearts of those who received tracts or who we spoke with.
The team travelled from Westminster to Covent Gardens, there a gain to speak the gospel and watch God gloriously work in the hearts of men and women. Halfway to the gardens Josh, Peter and my self were stopped by people wanting to know what the tracks were about. The man who stopped me had picked up one I didn’t even know I’d dropped! Michael asserted that there was no God and that the bible was outmoded when we began, by the end though it became clear through the law of God that he didn’t want to believe the evidence before him because he loved his sin. I gave him the gospel though he did not want to hear it, I hope and pray that God the Spirit will hound him until he submits to the Almighty One.
The rest of the team had gone onto the gardens and when we arrived they were already busy engaging in one-to-ones and handing out tracts. Anna was speaking with a young man from a charity organisation about the million pound question, would he go to heaven? Their conversation lasted some time and Anna contended for the faith and gave him the truth about himself and pointed him to the only saviour of sinners Jesus Christ. While this was happening a lady and her son who wanted to know more about the tracts stopped me. They were Christians and so I encouraged them to witness wherever they are and look for opportunities. The young man took a handful of tracts to give to his schoolmates, may God use him to witness in his school mightily!
Further into the gardens we set up a preaching point and Rob was up to preach first and as always gave a solid declaration of God’s word to this lost and darkened world. After Rob finished and the crowd dispersed I got up to preach for the first time in the outreach, I felt like Paul bringing no clever arguments and being nothing exciting as a speaker. I began to preach on evolution and how it makes a monkey of all who will swallow this fairy story masquerading as scientific fact. From this I began to speak on the law on our hearts and God’s just demands, enter Felix and his friends. Catching his gaze I called to Felix ‘YOU sir, are you right and good in the eyes of God?’, from here I poured out my heart to this young man. I spoke of the law, showing him his sinfulness and great danger before the Holy Judge, of his danger in death and of his uncertainty when that would be. He listened carefully as I spoke of the risen saviour that he must flee to for cleansing and forgiveness. He took the tracts I offered him and his friends and he left with a serious look on his face and a promise that he would seek God in prayer and in the bible. Exulting that God should use one as unworthy as me I closed and stepped down.
Josh got up to preach next and he spoke to the people Covent Garden of the stalker of death and the certainty of God’s just judgement of our every word, deed and idle word. A couple of people gathered around to hear the preaching and Josh challenged one man to give his perspective on the preaching. The man was a Muslim and so deneighed the deity of Jesus and accused Josh of preaching from a corrupted book. Josh pointed him to a greater problem he had, the book he sees as holy – the Qu’ran contradicts history. This is seen in Sura 4:157 where it is claimed that Jesus Christ was not crucified. This is a blatant contradiction of history, even the non-Christian historians Tacitus, Pliney, and Josephus agree with the claims of the bible that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and rose from the dead three days later. Josh then questioned him, which would he believe a book written at the time of a major world event or one written 600yrs later? The man agreed that common sense demands you trust the eyewitness account and not the later account. Lastly Josh confronted him with the comparison between Jesus and Muhammad; Jesus walked on water Muhammad road a camel, Jesus said love your enemies Muhammad said kill the infidel (Sura 9:5), Jesus made blind men see Muhammad made seeing men blind, Jesus made lame men walk Muhammad made sound men lame, Jesus said bless the little children Muhammad slept with a nine year old (Eyisha whom he married when she was six and took sexually at nine according to the Ahadith).
At this point the preaching was interrupted by security guards who were concerned that the man gladly shaking the preacher’s hand was getting offended. So in accordance with Romans 13 Josh stopped preaching further but we made sure that the crowd all got tracts and spoke further with those who would.
We finished the outreach at this point, encouraged and exulting in what God had done but tired we made our way back to Trinity Road for one last night of fellowship before we all went our seperate ways home. Truly it has been written: