As we began our outreach in Brisbane city yesterday, we noticed plenty of people in Maroon or Blue for the State of Origin. By God's grace, we were able to have some extensive gospel conversations with some of them, and hand out plenty of gospel tracts.
One man we spoke with was named David. He said he has been heavily involved in secret societies in the past and it appealed to him because it supposedly explained everything beyond all religions. But we were able to explain to him how Christianity is completely to different every other religion.
For all other religions are attempting to reach their god or the good place by doing more good than bad, but the problem is, that is not how justice works. No good judge could let a criminal go free based on how many good deeds the person has done compared to their crimes. Christianity is different in that the only way we can get to Heaven is by having a perfect person take our punishment for us - which satisfies God's justice so He can then show us mercy.
For David though, he expressed how even though God may be true, He doesn't like that God would direct people to live a certain way. He likened God to a dictator, not realising that God has been so abundantly kind to us all, giving us life, food, rain and sunshine, different seasons, sunsets, an immune system, and so on. And being our maker, He obviously has the right to say to us how we should live. And yet even though we have all been rebelling against Him, how amazingly patient has He been in not wiping us out the moment we sin?
Please pray for David, we spoke with him for over an hour. Pray also that God would save many through the word that went out yesterday.
Who did the Lord bring under the sound of His good news today at this bus stop? 2 examples:
- Jake had some unusual questions like"Why does the Bible state thieves should be stoned?" Stoning was God's commanded punishment for certain crimes under Israel's law when it was a theocracy. Stealing incurred a fine and restitution, not stoning. After answering some questions, Ryan was able to proceed with the law and gospel. At the conclusion, Jake said he had more important issues to consider. Ryan challenged him to make 'where he will spend eternity' his top priority - today. Pray Jake does consider his precarious position today.
- Hayley has a religious Mum but was not conversant with the Bible. She knew about the 10 commandments and after admitting her sin of lying said that God could not let her into His perfect heaven. After proceeding through the substitutionary work of Jesus, She was interested to know more. She said that she could read her mother's Bible. I suggested that she read John's gospel and ask God to show her who Jesus is.
There were gospels of John handed out plus tracts of course. As I was leaving, I saw 7 skate boarders. 6 of them were being young guys and the 7th was listening intently as Ryan told him the good news.
Thanks for praying!
Glory be to God alone.
The Essex Team met in Romford today and we preached Christ crucified and risen from the dead. The team was Andrew, Chuck and Jacob. Many heard the Gospel and many Christians were also encouraged. SDG
A young Samoan man, Tussi, who had recently moved here, but was not sure why he did so, had a long chat with Ryan and I joined in towards the end. He was a bit 'slow of understanding' because of a recent event in his life. He had a fair knowledge of salvation but had the common 'old nature' [false] idea that he would do his best and that would gain him entrance into heaven. Before his bus arrived he heard the message and we pray that God would complete the witness. We were able to correct a few of his erroneous views, e.g. someone had told him his past and his future via tarot cards. We pointed to the limited power of the false magicians who opposed Moses through whom God worked true miracles. Also that God's truth is unique and only He knows Tussi's future. How wonderful that he had arrived early so this long, cordial chat could take place!
Praise God for the work He does through his servants. What a privilege to serve the Almighty!
A quieter day than most in trying to converse with people but the Lord provided an interesting variety including:
- Yana, a German lass here for another 2 weeks who revealed that she was a Universalist. Ryan took her through some apologetics and the law and gospel patiently reworking those points that needed to be clarified in her understanding. At the conclusion, she took a gospel of John to check out what she had heard. [It was also unusual in that it is mainly families or couples that come here and Yana was by herself.]
-high school students, Blake had a R.C. education and a view that all religions are the same. The lass, McKenzie, listened as the Bible's unique message of salvation through repentance from dead works, Heb. 6:1 and trusting in Christ and His finished work of atonement for the sins of His people, Mt. 1:21 so that God's justice is fully satisfied and the sinner can now ask God to grant him forgiveness of all his sins and receive remission. They left with John's gospel and a statement that they would download a Bible.
No effort that is fuelled by God's grace is wasted in God's sovereign economy. Let us work while it is day and keep giving.God all the glory.
"You're just the person I was looking for."
Last night in Brisbane city the team had an exciting opportunity to preach the good news, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.
Each time the team assembles, it is an opportunity to share with others the power of the gospel but it is also extremely valuable for personal humility - being reminded how much you, even as a Christian, need the salvation that Christ has offered.
One encouraging conversation was had right at the end of the night. Jack and Karl were walking through the mall and were asked, "Do you think you will go to Heaven when you die?" Jack looked at his friend, then responded, "You're just the person I was looking for". Over the course of the discussion Jack didn't argue with anything that was said. In fact the look on his face seemed to imply that he was taking this information very seriously. Karl his friend was a little bit sporadic but this eagerness was helpful. Over the course of the conversation, Jack's serious concern about this topic was reiterated. Karl even said, "You've been really worried about this for a while," a number of times!
In the end, Jack and Kyle openly acknowledged their sinfulness and deserved justice before a Holy God. They were not opposed to God's just punishment. When ultimately posed with the question, "Is the opportunity to live for yourself over this short life time, worth suffering God's wrath in Hell?" neither of them were able to state definitively either way. They left with a clear choice infront of them.
Please pray for Jack, Kyle and all those who were engaged in conversations, took tracts or stopped to listen to the preaching.
"I would love to have a Bible."
Today God's providence was on full display (again) during our outreach in Sunnybank. We had a team of 3 of us. Here is what happened. At one point, I was chatting to a school student sharing the gospel with him and gave him a New Testament at the end of the conversation.
Not long later, I chatted with three different school students and they were very receptive. I asked if they had a Bible at home, and I heard that one of them didn't, but I wasn't sure what the other two said. So I gave my last NT that I had in my pocket to the student that said he didn't have a Bible. At that exact moment, the student who I had given the NT in the earlier conversation came up to me and said that he didn't want the NT anymore and handed it back to me.
One of the three students then said that they all had to go as their parents were waiting, but one stayed behind and got my attention again and said, "Can I have one? I would love to have a Bible." Praise God I now had a NT in my hand again that I could give him. He grateful took it and then ran to catch up with his friends who were already quite a distance away.
The team found that a lot of people took gospel tracts today, and there were plenty of people happy to have a gospel conversation. God is always amazingly faithful, so we give Him all the glory!
Thanks for praying for today's outreach in Brisbane city. We can always be comforted knowing that God is drawing His people to Himself, and what a privilege we have in being able to play this small part in His Great Commission.
Some people to pray for:
- Naomi & Sarah, trainee nurses who come from religious homes, and thought they were 'great' people. One of the ladies didn't like the idea that God is three in one, but is going to check the passages that we pointed out to her about this. The idea of forgiveness through Christ alone did seem very novel to them, and they were hesitant to accept it.
- Alana went to a Christian high school but now says she just wants to live for herself. Her worldview was able to be challenged though.
- Henry used to go to church but hasn't been in years. After hearing the law and the gospel, he came to grasp the message of salvation by grace through faith alone. He saw his need of forgiveness. He also took a gospel of John to start reading.
To God be the glory!
We were blessed by the Lord on Tuesday to have 8 labourers on the team at Woodridge, including 3 new people. One of the new people had never done any street evangelism before and as was expected, he was were terrified. But it wasn't long before he was handing out gospel tracts and got into numerous gospel conversations.
At one point, he remarked, "I am so happy I just got to share the gospel with a Muslim lady!"
Please pray for all those who received a tract or got witnessed to, including an Chinese man named Leo who had never heard the gospel before. After hearing of the news of Christ, he was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading.
Also. pray for Omar who thought it was his 10 Commandment keeping that would save him, but then came to grasp the gospel by the end of the conversation.
God is always faithful, to Him be all the glory!
As winter sets in here in Melbourne we are noticing that it is harder to create conversations as there are just fewer people lingering in the mall area to speak to. Despite this, God has still been opening doors for the gospel each week as we seek to share the Gospel with the lost. Here are a few highlights:
Sophie () was a young lady from mainland China who was here on holiday for a few months. We met her late one evening in March and it turned out that she was a band new Christian as of a few months earlier. She was so excited by what we were doing that she joined us for quite a few weeks on the street while in Australia. On her second week she acted as translator so that I could share the gospel with 2 older men from China. Sophie stayed with us for quite a few weeks while she was here and we were thrilled to watch her grow in her confidence in sharing Jesus with people. Hopefully as she goes home she will be better equipped to share about Jesus with those around her.
One evening we were struggling for decent conversations and so we posted a prayer request on Facebook. A few minutes later we bumped into an older Indian gentleman who was waiting for his family outside the shops. We began to share with him but within minutes his family came and joined us. His wife and older son returned to shopping but the father and younger son were very keen to talk. They knew nothing about Christianity beyond the fact that in India it seemed to attract poor people. We were able to step through the gospel in great depth with them and they were both intrigued by the message and very thankful for us taking the time to explain it to them.
One April evening most of our team seemed to find really long conversations. Canaan & Peter chatted with this Atheist for more than an hour and were able to share the gospel in great detail.
At the same time, Troy, Amanda and I started a chat with two young British guys who were both very interested. Within a few minutes Troy and Amanda headed off for other conversations leaving me to chat with the 2 guys for more than 90 minutes. One was fairly clueless and knew almost nothing about Jesus. He asked brilliant questions and so often he asked about the next thing I wanted to share with him. The other guy was nominally Muslim from Egyptian descent and knew lots about religion. He was often able to jump in and explain crucial concepts and was many times almost doing my job for me! He also had so many questions and was thrilled that I was the first Christian he had met who could provide reasonable explanations for some really hard topics.
We don't do open-air preaching very often but we had a go a couple of weeks ago. Not many people stopped to listen but afterwards Brad and Dave (far right) stopped to chat as they were also out doing evangelism in the city. To our surprise we bumped into them the following week as we gathered as a team and they joined us for a couple of hours of ministry. During that same week we were contacted by Lacey (3rd from left) who is here from the US for a short study trip. She had been grieved by the lostness she was encountering here in Melbourne and had Googled for evangelism teams in Melbourne and found us. She will join us for the remainder of her study trip.