This afternoon in Capalaba it was a little tougher to evangelise because there were less people around and a more people were vocal regarding their hatred of God and His Gospel. None the less there were still many valuable conversations had by the team!
In this tense time regarding the same sex marriage plebiscite, I asked a man, named Jamie, who was just walking by the bus stop if he thought he was a good person. Jamie responded and said he thought he was a decent guy and then inquired as to why I was asking.
I simply explained that Operation 513 is a Christian group existing specifically for the purpose of engaging with people to share the Gospel. Jamie's response was simply, "I'm probably not your kind of guy, I'm not religious and I'm gay."
I asked, "Why don't you think I would be interested in engaging with you?" He said, "Because churches usually are grossed out by and hate people like me."
This was my opportunity, to share with this man that Christians are still sinners. I started by saying, "Christians aren't a group of people who think they're good, rather they're a group of people who know they're not. We as Christians are united by the very fact that we desperatly need a Saviour."
He said, "Oh ok." He seemed very taken a back that I hadn't even flinched despite what he thought was an "unforgivable" sin. I went on to explain, that Christians are often plagued by self-righteousness. We are still prone to thinking we're better than someone else because they sin differently than us and even stronger every person, Christians included, are plagued with broken sexuality, broken identity and broken relationships.
I went on to explain that, every single person is sinful, proud and selfish to the core. We have all made ourselves enemies of God. We are all rebels against our Creator and that wickedness deserves Hell.
Jamie said, "How do we know we're not living in Hell now?" in reply I simply said, "Hell is a place where God removes all His good gifts, intimacy, relationships, pleasure and comfort and instead pours out His justice and wrath on those who are rebels and will rebel against Him eternally. The very fact that we can stand here talking means we are not in Hell."
That seemed sufficient. So I finished explaining, "Even though we deserve Hell and it is God who should punish us, God Himself made a way of salvation." I explained that God came into this world, in the form of a man, as a servant, in the person of Jesus Christ.
In fact, Jesus willingly volunteered. He is perfect and sinless and went to the cross to suffer the full fury and wrath of God for sin. On that cross Jesus was punished as if He were you and I so that if we turn in surrender to Him we can be redeemed. We can have our sin forgiven. We can have our relationship with God and others restored and we can have our true humanity repaired.
With these last sentences, Jamie seemed to be holding back some tears and was keen to take a tract and said, "I am quite interested, I shall definitely have a read when I get home and consider it."
We headed into Brisbane city last night to share the good news of Christ. A real highlight was to see many team members who often struggle to engage in conversations, talking with people for extended periods of time about who God is and what He has done to save sinners!
One specific conversation was with Yuri and Michael, these two professed to be agnostic and atheistic but neither of them were that by study, rather had just ended up there as a product of upbringing and society.
Yuri seemed very interested to hear and understand, asking many questions about Christianity. When the selfishness of the human heart was raised, Michael was in complete agreement. He openly admitted that he is desperately selfish and that it is an issue. Yuri on the other hand was less willing to admit that but later in the conversation was explaining to Michael that the Christian scriptures are true history and some of the best records of history known to man.
It was very interesting to see the different areas they both had of disagreement with the truth. What was so surprising was how interested they were. The conversation took over an hour and it turned out they were actually going to be late to a birthday party and were still keen to talk about God.
By the end, they understood how Jesus saves, that Jesus takes the penalty for sin and offers His perfection to all those who acknowledge they are sinners and turn and trust in Him. This was probably the most surprising part of the conversation for Yuri and Michael, as they had some Catholic background and believed it was all about being good.
Please pray that this young couple (and the others who heard the gospel last night) will understand the good news, repent and believe.
Finally, please consider stepping out of your comfort zone to join us in this exciting ministry of proclaiming Christ. Outreach details here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
God is definitely at work at the Gold Coast and all glory goes to Him alone.
Last night, it was really encouraging for the team to see children being interested in hearing the Gospel. Two such children were 12 years old Jake and 11 years old Hunter, who belonged to a Mormon family. They had stopped by along with their family, to hear the Gospel being preached.
Jake approached one of our team members and began questioning about the Ten Commandments. He and Hunter, who joined in the conversation, attentively listened to all the answers being explained to them. They then asked the team member if they can get a Bible so they can take home to read. Upon receiving the Bible, both of them thanked us and left.
Another interesting conversation we had was with a group of Mormons, who were around 25 years old. As one of our team members approached them, the group said that, they were religious and absolutely certain that they will be going to Heaven. Upon being asked the reason for their beliefs, their answer was that, "Jesus loves us even when we are sinners and continue to sin. Therefore, out of that love for us sinners, He will save us and send us to Heaven."
One of the girls even went on to say that, "Jesus too have committed sins like us, therefore He sympathizes with us sinners." It was really sad to see that, they did not know the truth that will set them free.
So the truth of the Gospel was explained to them that, "Jesus committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth but he bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness." It was further explained to them that, we all have sinned and no sinner can enter heaven but when we truly repent from all our sins and believe in Jesus as the atonement for our sins, then we are saved and forgiven.
After the Gospel had been explained to them, the young man in the group admitted of being homosexual and had lots of questions. As the team member was attempting to answer his questions, the two girls in the group dragged him away and left. Please pray that, Holy Spirit will work in their hearts as the Gospel has been explained to them.
All Glory to God for his mercies that are everlasting and His grace remains for the lost so they can be brought into the light of the Gospel.
It was a wonderfully productive day of outreach along the waterfront in Redcliffe. From 11am - 1pm, we gathered together as Christians from several churches to reach the community for Jesus.
At one point there were 18 Christians (including children) sharing the gospel in a variety of locations. The people were warm and open to talking, with many taking literature.
Over the course of the outreach we distributed a couple of hundred tracts, and also gave away nine Bibles and six Gospels. On top of this, we also had 20 "Evolution vs. God" DVDs from Ray Comfort which were quickly taken.
One lady who took the DVD is a scientist from England who has worked with Richard Dawkins. She wasn't a fan of Mr. Dawkins and stressed that he a poor scientist who was full of hate. As well as taking a DVD she also encouraged her children to take tracts and Bibles.
Praise God for a wonderful time of outreach in Redcliffe.
God reminded the people in Sunnybank this afternoon of His promise to not completely flood the earth again by showcasing a massive rainbow. This was while the team was chatting to people about the only way of salvation, reminding them of the judgement day that is to come.
And God in His providence, allowed hundreds of gospel tracts to go out and some great in-depth gospel conversations were had. Including with a man named Ricky who said that he was Buddhist. The message of sin and grace was explained to him, but he said that he has to remain a Buddhist because that would be the way to respect his grandfather's wishes.
I said, "But it really matters that what we believe is true. If a person is told that it's fine to just run out on the road with your eyes closed, you'd hope that person would consider for himself whether that is wise to do so, because ultimately his life is at stake. In the same way, even though your grandfather's wishes may be for you to remain in Buddhism, if Christianity is true and by the time you die you've not trusted in Jesus for your forgiveness, the consequences will be hell forever - because God will have to give you justice for the sins you've committed."
He saw that, and came to realise that just trying to do better would not undo his past. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading to find out more about Jesus, having never read it before.
Please pray for him and all the others who heard the gospel today. To God be the glory!
He looked like a very rough guy, and when he was sat next to and asked whether he thought he might go to Heaven, he initially was quite angry and asked, "Why did you ask me that?" It was explained that we are talking to people about eternal things and that he happened to be the only one sitting here at this point in time, and that seemed to cool his anger.
He said that he is an agnostic and doesn't like religion. He also explained how his father killed himself when he was 7. He said that he has been addicted to a variety of different drugs throughout his life, and is now an alcoholic, nicotine addict and food addict.
It was discussed with him about how we know there is a God through the creation, how we have sinned against God and deserve His judgement, and how Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins.
He said he knew that all the addictions that he has are to simply numb the guilt he feels for the bad things he has done in his life, but he said he doesn't know a way of removing that guilt. But as the gospel was further explained to him, he was beginning to see how Jesus was able to pay the penalty for our sin.
His bus came, but before we parted ways, he thanked me profusely for the conversation and was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading. Please pray for Ian that He would come to faith in our very great Saviour.
At the same time as this, the rest of the team were either handing out gospel tracts or in gospel conversations of their own. It was a great thing to see the gospel go out to so many.
To God be the glory!
During our outreach in Capalaba, we spoke with an Aussie bloke in his 20s named Kyle. He said he used to not believe in God, but then he was at a low point in his life and he found a Bible at a caravan park he was staying at. He read various parts of it, but thought he couldn't take the Bible with him because it was not his.
So he said to me that he has been wanting to get a Bible of his own for a long time now. I then ran to my car and gave him a full Bible. He was overjoyed. He said, "My heart is beating so fast right now. You have made my day. Thank you!"
He recognised that he had done lots of things wrong in life, but had no idea of how to get his sins forgiven. And he knew that simply improving his life wouldn't get rid of his past. He took a while though to understand the message of grace, and how we need to trust in Jesus' death alone for our forgiveness. But in the end, he understood it and is going to be counting the cost of trusting in Christ.
We also referred him to a good local church in the area. Please pray for his salvation and for all the others who got to hear the gospel today. To God be the glory!
On Saturday night, as soon as we arrived in Brisbane city and began setting up the free Bibles table, a man came over and asked what the table was all about. He said that he goes to the Revival Centres Church. I had spoken to people from that church before and I knew that they were a cult in that they have departed from standard Christian teaching.
So I asked him what he believes a person must do to be saved. He said that full immersion in water (baptism) is absolutely necessary for someone to get their sins forgiven, and that a person then must speak in tongues.
I decided to point him to Ephesians 2:8-9 which describes that salvation is a free gift which is received by grace through faith alone - not based on any works. And if we add any works as a requirement in order to be saved, it would mean we are trying to earn our forgiveness.
I also explained how in Galatians 1, the Apostle Paul says that if anyone preaches to you another gospel, let that person be eternal condemned. And why did he say that? Because there were some people in that church teaching that a person must believe in Christ and be circumcised to be saved, and Paul says that that is a false gospel. In the same way, if a person teaches that a person must be baptised to be saved, that is a false gospel which will not save anyone.
This man admitted, "I have never really read the Bible much before", even though he has been in this 'church' for some 30 years. He said, "But my feelings tell me that what they are teaching is true". I cautioned him about how feelings are never the test for truth, as they can change based on whether we are healthy or sick, hungry or full, and instead we should check everything with the Bible to know whether it is true or not.
He agreed, and was thankful for the chat and said he would read the passages I recommended for him to read, including Romans 3 to 5 where Paul thoroughly explains how we are justified by faith alone and not by any works.
The rest of the night, there were further encouragements, with God bringing in 4 new labourers on the team. We had about 12 of us altogether, and the team mentioned that they had some fruitful conversations.
God is always so kind, to Him be the glory!
It was a beautiful and hot Brisbane day as we headed out to share the gospel in King George Square. We had a team of 7 and our mission was to make the most of the public holiday in order to proclaim Christ.
One early conversation was with an atheistic Muslim (I'll just let that sink in for a moment). This man argued that there is no God, and that Jesus didn't die on the cross... BUT... Allah will judge me and the Quran is true (try to work that out). It was clear that this Muslim man had researched his arguments, and he tried to make a case for the corruption of the Bible. I countered his claims by appealing to history, and even to Islamic theology. He seemed to be a bit shocked as I explained my case, and then presented the gospel to him. Yet, despite all that the man walked off saying Allah will judge me.
Shortly after this, I looked up and saw a man standing near us wearing a bright orange shirt, and holding up a sign. The sign promised that the end of the world was coming on 23 September 2017. I engaged him in conversation, and asked him how did he know that he was correct. The man replied by saying he learnt it from an American TV preacher, and that Revelation confirmed all this. We chatted for sometime, and the man conceded that he may be wrong, but at least people are repenting at the thought of judgement.
I stressed to this man the importance of being truthful in all our evangelism, as if we lie to people then they won't blame us, but rather they will blaspheme God (Romans 2) and not believe the Bible. No matter what I said, he kept saying that people needed to be warned about the coming rapture, microchips and the beginning of judgement on 21 August, and the final judgement on 23 September. He moved on after our discussion which was a blessing.
We get to see some really strange things on the street. Not only did we have a man declaring the end of the world, we then had two Christians stop who wanted to argue. One of them was wearing a hat saying, "The Earth is Flat!" Guess what he wanted to talk about! It turns out that these two young men were dispensational, conspiracy theorist, flat-earth believers. Everything was a grand scam to deceive the masses. Science, dinosaurs, people who believed the world is a sphere etc. were all considered 'friends of the world.' I tried to reason with them, and stressed to them the gospel.
They eventually admitted that those who hold to a round earth can be saved, and that salvation isn't by believing in a flat earth. It was clear they were looking to argue, so I bid them a good day and continued witnessing. It was shaping up to be an 'interesting' afternoon.
Finally, I had a heartbreaking conversation with an elderly man named Ken. This conversation was started by a lady named Ivy who attends the same church as I do. Ken is eighty years old, and a bit of a larrikin. He was a pleasure to speak to, but his rejection of Christ was truly sad. We presented the gospel to him, but he kept finding some excuse to reject Jesus. We shared with him plainly and encouraged him to read the Bible. He did agree to go home and read Isaiah 53. Please pray the Lord would speak to Him.
Even though conversations with people like Ken can be heart breaking, I take hope from the promise of Jesus in John 10:27-28, when Christ says that those who are sheep will hear His voice, and be given eternal life. I cannot save anyone, but I witness with the confidence that those whom Jesus calls sheep will come to faith.
Please pray for everyone we met today. May Christ bring many into His Kingdom. SDG!
Warwick Outreach (July 2017)
It was a beautiful winter's day here in Warwick (Queensland, Australia). The mornings are a little cool at minus 3, but it warms up to the low 20s for a pleasant temperature to hand out gospels tracts.
For a couple of weeks in July each year Warwick puts on an event called "Jumpers and Jazz" where locals dress up the trees with jumpers, beanies, scarves and colourful knitted crafts and fill the streets with live jazz bands which brings in many visitors from surrounding areas to enjoy the festivities and is a great opportunity to share the gospel.
We located a good spot and started handing out our tracts and it wasn’t long before I struck up a chat with a man and his wife after handing them one of our “What will matter to you in 150 years time” tracts.
They both agreed that they wouldn’t be here and be long dead and buried and I said, "Have you thought what happens when you die?" He said, "You just go into the ground." I found out during the chat that he said that he was a born again Christian for twenty five years - many years ago but now he isn’t and doesn’t believe in Jesus and that we are all gods.
I addressed those issues and quickly moved onto the gospel but half way through the commandments they said they had to go. So I asked them to read the tract and remember that they had to stand before a Holy God in judgement one day and give an account of their lives to Him.
There was a few more conversations that arvo and we got to hand out about 150 tracts. Scripture says that God’s word does not return void but accomplushes what he has sent it to do.
All glory to our God and King!