We were much lower in team numbers last night in Brisbane city, but God was faithful as always and prepared many people's hearts to hear the gospel.
A good number of Bibles went out, particularly to those who first got witnessed to by someone on the team and then they wanted to take a Bible.
One man we spoke with was named Mihar. He was from India and grew up as a Hindu. But he said he is not actually sure if his religion is true or not. So we were able to show him how Jesus is different to all other religious figures in the world. Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad and so on all lived and died but they are still dead. Jesus is the only one who lived, died and then came back alive three days later.
He replied that they say Krishna rose from the dead in the sense that he is now living in the body of another person. I responded that anyone can claim to be the same person as someone who has lived in the past, but there is no way of verifying that. With Jesus, He died and came alive as the same person. If someone can do that, now that is something amazing. And we know this all occurred because of the good historical evidence we have from the time.
He had never heard much about Jesus at all, but he was begin to see how Jesus is unique to all the Hindu gods that he has learnt about. He had the gospel thoroughly explained to him and also about how Jesus is the only way, and he was happy to take a gospel of John. We encouraged him that if he has any questions to come back and ask us any Saturday night.
It was only minutes later that he returned, and the person who originally spoke to him was in a conversation at the time, so he was waiting around before another team member noticed this and got to chat to him and answer his questions and also further explain the message from the Bible.
To God be the glory!
God provided another day of challenges for us to call upon Him for wisdom & grace so that we may witness in a Christ-honoring manner. We had many polite conversations as the claims of Christ were presented and tracts were handed over:
- Beck, a churchgoer who gave a wrong answer to the question, "Why should God let you into heaven?" Then she said she believed the gospel as presented. Ryan pointed out her inconsistency and referred her to the study of Romans chapters 3-5 so that she might see the Biblical answer for herself.
- Jordan, who eventually said that because of his near death experience, he chose to believe in a goddess rather than the God of the Bible. Ryan pointed to the historical facts of Jesus life, death and resurrection and challenged Jordan to base his faith on a concrete objective Person rather than a subjective experience which might well have been an anesthetic-produced 'dream'.
- 4 young men who knew something of the gospel but were not letting it impact their lives (at least as far as they know -Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, Rom. 10:17)
- a Vegan who heard part of the message before his bus arrived (this is all God wanted him to hear at this time). He received an eternity tract and a "Story of Mr. Eternity" pamphlet. He also later returned to catch another bus and was spoken to further.
...and for these and others we look to God to do according to His good pleasure in each person He led us to converse with. We give Him all the glory for apart from Him enabling us, we can do no good thing.
In the Great Commission, Jesus says "Make disciples of every nation" and yesterday it appeared all the nations came to Sunnybank for our weekly outreach there. We had four on the team.
We had a good chat with a man from India named Rigit. He said he just went to his Hindu temple and received a dot on his forehead. He says he hopes doing these rituals will make life go well for him, even though he's not sure if any god exists or if his religion is true or not. I guess you'd say he's trying to cover all his bases.
We spent quite a bit of time showing why Christianity is true because Jesus rose from the dead which we know because of eye-witness historical accounts. For it matters whether that event happened or not, and the Bible says that if it didn't happen, there is no point believing in Christianity. We explained the gospel to him and Rigit was happy to take a gospel of John to find out more.
Another person we had a long conversation with was named Joe. He was from China and has been in Australia for a year now. He had a lot of questions. From "How do we know God exists?" to "How old is the earth?" to "What about the Crusades?". He majored in biology in universe and after being surprised that I said that evolution is not scientific because we have no observations of it taking place, neither can we do any repeatable experiments to show it happened, he conceded that it is a hypothesis and cannot be tested.
Please pray that God would draw Joe to Himself, as he had the gospel thoroughly explained to him, and he is now considering whether he is prepared to turn from sin and trust in Jesus.
Yesterday we had the privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus again with the people of Brisbane city. The city is a location where we find there are more atheists compared to the suburbs. But they are generally atheists simply because they haven't really thought about the issue much.
And so a simple reminder to them that just as a building had a builder, so must the universe have had a creator, we find that they very often change their mind.
We had 4 of us on the team, and thanks be to God approximately 500 gospel tracts were given out.
A couple of people to pray for:
- Sami, whose partner died 4 months ago which has made her really start thinking about what comes after. After hearing the gospel, she said, "That actually makes a lot of sense" and so she is now going to count the cost of repenting and trusting in Jesus.
- A high school student named Henry who didn't believe in God initially, but then changed his mind after being reminded that there must be a creator. He was intently listening and was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading, as he doesn't have a Bible.
To God be all the glory!
We headed into Queen St Mall, Brisbane last night With a team of eight and the Gospel went forth. As usual there was some preaching, many tracts were handed out and a range of conversations were had.
It never ceases to surprise how few people know the Gospel.
A typical conversation was had with three young guys who were about to finish highschool. They have gone to a Catholic school, have been taught some morality, think they're good enough to get into Heaven, if it exists, but are more than happy to live however they so desire. These young men, Hamish, Shane and Rick were strongly supporting an atheistic worldview, seasoned with God.
They would declare that this universe is a product of time and chance acting upon matter and then in the very next breath talk about being good or doing the right thing. They were happy to borrow morality, logic and truth from Christianity but wanted nothing to do with the God who gave them life or His justice.
Another discussion was had with Mike, when asked, "If you were to die tonight, would God let you into Heaven" he had a range of answers. He was a surprisingly honest man. He said, "I don't believe that God exists and from that basis I deny the Bible". Mike acknowledged that his worldview enitrely hinged about whether or not that assumption was true.
It was a long conversation, the basic tenants of Christianity were explained but at the end of it all, after acknowledging the call on his life to repent or perish, Mike wasn't interested in God. He was more than happy being his own authority and even answered in the affirmative when posed with, "Are you willing to stake your eternity on the claim that, "maybe God doesn't exist".
Please pray for these four men and the others who took tracts and engaged with the team. As a Christian I am sure you can affirm that the decision one makes in response to God's call in the Gospel is the most important decision any will make. Please pray that God will transform the hearts of many and bring them into His Kingdom as a result of tonight!
Equally please pray that more people will heed the final words and most critical command of Christ, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
If you're ever in doubt about how many people haven't ever heard or understood the Gospel start asking around!
What did our Lord have for us today? among others:
- encountered again, a young man who cannot read but had previously taken a gospel of John because he had someone who could read it to him. He had handed this copy to someone he said who needed it more than he did. His mother is getting him an audio Bible. Pray he hears the Good Shepherd speaking to him.
- a young procrastinating man who evaded me but Ryan did not know this and approached him after speaking to the man above. He said he would count he cost as he knew that he deserved hell for his sins but has a 'fatal attraction' for them. Pray the Lord gives him a stir.
- a lady encouraged us by letting us know that when she saw what was going on, she got busy at the throne of grace. This is tremendously encouraging and she herself needs prayer as she invites overseas student home for a meal and then tells them how Jesus has saved her from her sins, then asks them what their religion has to get them to heaven. Pray without ceasing.
To God be the glory. We thank Him for the privilege and pleasure of serving Him.
After a very busy couple of weeks in April things have quieted down a fair amount this week. Snow falling on the mountain and a chilling wind tends to keep people walking when they are in the mall. Despite this cold there was a number of appointments God arranged for today.
The first of these was with a group of friendly young Mormon men who have been witnessing in Hobart lately. We chatted briefly only today as they were doing outreach in speaker’s corner, it was good to continue building rapport with them. They have stopped to listen to me preach a few times and we have talked for quite some time. We have had good conversations about the similarities and differences between Christianity and Mormonism.
One conversation was about the role of good works in Christian and Mormon lives. The Mormon doctrine regarding good works is that it is essential for salvation as opposed to Christian doctrine which teaches the worth of good works but that they are only an evidence of salvation. As Ephesians chapter 2 states, we are saved by faith and not by works so that no-one can boast. This is a major difference between these two faiths and very clearly underlines the difference between the Bible and what Joseph Smith taught in the Mormon Scriptures. We talked for quite some time on this issue and I encouraged them to consider what God has said in scripture about the role of good works. I hope that we will have a chance to talk about these things again.
I spent some time handing out tracts with Tim and Penny and a moderate number went out. I am always pleased to see people take tracts because you never know where they’ll end up. I’ve met people who say to me that they have one of the tracts I hand out that a friend had floating around their house and they read and kept. I’ve heard people talk about Million Dollar Question tracts that they have pinned to their wall. And I know of at least one cleaner who heard the gospel through a discarded tract that caught their eye one day at work. You never know how God will use them.
Karl and I preached through the week. I am delighted to see my brother becoming more bold in his proclamation of God's glorious word and its always good to see him show up the emptiness of the world's wisdom (he studied philosophy whilst at university). On Tuesday I preached on Genesis 1-3 and then the 1st Psalm, I tried to keep to the passage and apply this to lives of the people of Hobart. It never ceases to amaze me, just how relevant even the smallest section of scripture is to life in any age. The realities of brokenness and sin alongside the beauty and nobility of our world is explained by God’s word with a clarity that is not found anywhere else.
Likewise, there is insight into our personal lives, why there is such beauty and such ugliness in the soul of mankind. While both passages do not explicitly mention the saviour they both point forward to Him with eager longing. My preaching urges people to look to Jesus in faith and trust in Him only. This is the only solution to the brokenness of our souls. The only answer to our accusing consciences. This is the only hope for sinful people living in a sin scarred world. Only salvation through Him, only cleansing by Him, only a good relationship with God through Him.
After preaching this week there were a good number of conversations. Firstly was a young lady who was very interested in the literature we had on same sex marriage on the Bible table. At first she avoided conversation but then asked "Will God send me to hell because I'm gay?". She was quite tentative and shy in her approach and so I spoke with her gently for some time about the holiness of God and how all of us fall short of His glory, not just homosexual people. I also shared the great love Jesus has for her and all people regardless of their sins. She listened to the gospel message and then walked away thoughtful. I pray that God would soften her heart and bring her to faith in Jesus.
Karl also had a fantastic conversation with a Muslim, Mr A. who was very eager for further conversation and promised to come back next week to talk more. There was much discussion of who Jesus is and why He came and what he taught. I hope that we can reach out to him again in the near future.
Just as we were packing up on Friday a group of young ladies and a guy stopped and again engaged with our same sex marriage material. In marked contrast to the young lady previous they were very aggressively anti-Christian in their stance and arguments. Numerous times through the discussion I noted that there was no reasons for their thoughts given, only slogans that could easily have been lifted straight from the newspapers or internet. We discussed why Christians disagree with same sex marriage and say homosexuality is a sin. Karl and I both tried to show the balance of love and judgment that God's word responds to these issues. Tragically they left spouting yet another slogan, "You should try to be more open to love..." . May God work in their hearts to show the bankruptcy of the homosexual life and the great love God has shown through Jesus. May they turn to Him from this broken lifestyle.
God continues to work through my work here in Hobart. Praise His name for that.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for yesterday's outreach in Woodridge. We had 6 people on the team.
The man in the red in the photo is named Tristan. He initially didn't care about eternal matters, but as the conversation went on, he opened up a lot more. He thought Christianity was about doing religious activities in order to find forgiveness, and so it was a big eye opener when he heard that forgiveness is a free gift that Jesus offers because of His sacrifice on the cross. Please pray for him.
Please also pray for Nora who right from the start of the conversation thought she was going to Hell. She listened intently as she heard of the message of the cross, and she is now going to count the cost of whether she is prepared to repent and trust in Christ.
"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Cor. 3:7)
To God be the glory!
Yesterday a small team of us made our way to Brisbane city to share the gospel with the lost. Being a public holiday, we found people were not in a rush to get anywhere, so some extensive gospel conversations were able to be had.
We chatted with a lad named Tang from Vietnam who is studying here for the next 4 years. He said he has no religious background at all, in fact he said he doesn't know anything about what religions believe.
After being shown that just as a building has a builder, so must the universe have had a creator, he agreed that made perfect sense. So we went on to talking about our sin and how we have offended God based on how we have lived and so therefore need a substitute to pay our penalty for us - Jesus.
He wanted to know what is the difference between Christianity and other religions, and so we said, "Every other religion will tell you that to get to heaven, it is based on how many good deeds you do compared to the bad deeds you do."
He thought about that for a moment said, "But that doesn't deal with the past. Doing good wouldn't undo their history." I replied, "Exactly right. That is why Christianity stands out and is the only one that is true - for Jesus' death on the cross satisfies God's justice for all our bad deeds so that God can show us mercy and let us into heaven, if we trust only in Him."
Please pray for Tang. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading and we referred him to a good church in the area.
To God be all the glory!
Amazing! God brought along 25 of us on the team for last night's outreach in Brisbane city. A common comment made by numerous people on the team was "People tonight are so open".
One team member said, "I didn't feel like coming in tonight but I'm glad I did, I got to chat to 6 different people who were really receptive."
Please pray for all those that heard the gospel or had a gospel tract given to them, including a man named Jack. Three days earlier he had someone give him a Bible on the street, and having no Christian background he started reading it and in 3 days he was already up to Isaiah.
He didn't understand the gospel and so we got to share about sin, the coming judgement and how Jesus died to pay for our sins and rose from the dead. With a few analogies, he began to grasp the idea of someone paying our fine for us, saying "That makes sense".
To God be the glory!