We had a great outreach this afternoon in Brisbane city. God allowed many to hear the truth today, through the gospel tracts that went out and the conversations had.
One person the team spoke with was named Rad. He grew up Buddhist and is now searching to find which religion is the truth, since he knows that logically they all can't be true at the same time. He listened intently as he heard the gospel and was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading.
Another person later on in the afternoon came up to one person on the team and said he had some questions about God. His name was Tyson and he said he knows there is a God, as there is no way to deny that a creator made the universe. But he said he didn't know who exactly that God is and wanted to find out.
So we took him through the law of God, he saw his sinfulness and deservedness of Hell, but he wasn't sure how to be forgiven. We explained about Jesus, being God in human flesh, died to take our punishment for us. He had a bunch of questions about the trinity, about the Bible, food laws in the Old Testament, and about certain people in the Bible - because he said that he hasn't read much of the Bible at all.
He seems to be searching and was grateful to take a gospel of John to start reading. He even wanted our contact details so he can ask any further questions that he has. Please pray for him and all the others who heard the gospel today.
To God be the glory that His word went out and accomplishes what He wants it to!
The team enjoyed another outreach at Woodridge this afternoon, with plenty of good gospel conversations had and lots of tracts handed out.
There was a theme with some people who said that they wanted to put off getting right with God now and do it later on in life. So we tried to show them the urgency of doing it as soon as possible, since death could be right around the corner for any of us. We used the following analogy:
Just like if a frog is sitting in a pot that is slowing heating up on a stove, since the temperature increase is slow, he won't realize it's getting hot until it's too late and he boils to death.
So in the same way, we can so often think that we've got plenty of time left in life, and so as day by day goes along, we think we still have more time, until suddenly it's too late and death gets us. And if we haven't trust in Christ, it's too late.
We found this made the people we talked to really think and begin to realise the urgency of trusting in Christ alone for their forgiveness while they still can.
This is also what we went on to say today: For it is not something you want to get wrong. If you fail an exam at school, you can always do another one later. If you lose your job in life, you can always find another. But if you die and get sent to hell, you're there forever and there is no escape. That is why there is nothing that matters more than where you go when you die.
There were also a couple people we talked with who said they wanted to trust in Christ today. There were a few gospels of John given out as well to interested people. To God be all the glory!
Glory to God! He makes His work of telling forth His good news so interesting. The various chats today amply illustrate this fact.
- An Arabic family, Mark & Ruba (sp?) were wanting to teach their children the Truth. They were firm that only the Bible had this Truth. They are searching, e.g. Who is Dt. 18:18 referring to? (Answer in Acts 3:22 in context plus Mt. 17:5 + Jn. 8:31,32), and at present have no religion. The girls had a long chat with them, including the law (he thought that he was good enough) and the gospel.
The final words to them were encouraging them to read their Bible asking God to reveal Himself to them, and recommending that they attend a church near to them - a specific one was nominated. They had a question whether they would be welcomed since they are not Christians. They were assured them that they would be most welcome. Pray that the Lord brings them to saving faith in Christ Jesus.
- Aileen and Izzy had been discussing eternal things and have now heard God's glorious plan of salvation. Receiving a gospel of John each, pray that they make a true commitment to follow Jesus, Lord and Saviour.
- Anthony started out stating that he only believed in what he could see. Pointing to a building, Ryan stated that someone had built that building. Even though Anthony had never seen that builder, he still knew there was a builder. Anthony agreed. Going through the law and gospel, he reverted again to his 'no sight, I do not believe' position. He was challenged that his desire to live life the way he choose as being the reason he would not trust Christ alone. Pray he considers the horrors of eternity without any comfort as his outcome for living his life without Christ now.
God uses us in our imperfections and so we freely give Him all the glory for whatever He does in each encounter; whether it is passing out tracts, having a brief or long conversation or whatever transpires. What a honour and privilege to serve Him who first loved us.
When I returned home, my wife said that she had asked the Lord to give me an encouraging conversation. God had graciously answered in the affirmative:
I spoke with a young man, Darren, who has some Christian friends but was not familiar with the Bible. He listened intently. Following the pattern of Paul speaking to Gentiles in Acts, I went through God creating, particularly mankind in His image so that one might enjoy God as one obeyed Him. Proceeding through Adam's rebellion (and this against only one external law) to God's judicial curse, I showed how this explains our problems with relationships today, especially with God but also with our fellow man and with nature.
Darren was quite sure that no one could meet God's moral standard (10 external laws) and he did not know anyone who is perfect who could aid him. Going through the sinlessness of Jesus, I explained that His submission to the judicial wrath of God was as Substitute for His people. God's raising Jesus from the dead proved that God was pleased with Jesus sacrifice.
So now to the one who turns from his rebellion against God and trusts in Jesus alone to save him, can ask God for mercy and God will grant this as this is His stipulated way for anyone to become a Christian. I pointed out some of the means of grace by which God empowers Christians to begin and to continue living for His glory. I encouraged him to make a serious reflection and ask questions from us, most Monday afternoons, or via the web site. He says he is going to. May God lead him in the everlasting Way, Jer. 6:16.
Praise God triune for His gospel which is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes, first to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles and for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that glorifies our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many challenges in the Christian life, many ways we trip and fall, many ways we confront suffering and pain, many opponents, and many uncertainties. In all these things, we are comforted that Christ goes with us in it all. More than that, Christ conquers all these challenges through us and makes us more than conquerors in Him.
This last two weeks have been quite a challenge for both my church and I. My regular heckler Mr S. has leveled a complaint against my pastor Campbell Markham and I under the Anti-Discrimination act here in Hobart. The complaint whilst long and convoluted is clear on one thing, the issue at hand is primarily the content of the Christian faith. Christian convictions regarding morality, the gospel, the sanctity of life, and the reality of God’s coming judgment are all under attack. Australia’s usual “holy cows” have been used in this complaint; homosexuality (and SSM), abortion, Islam, and the big one “offence”. It appears that a public Christian response to these is not only forbidden in the eyes of progressive ideologues like Mr S. but also in the eyes of the law (ala the Anti-Discrimination Act).
My Pastor has been targeted for writing letters to the editor and reproducing them as blog posts. The “offensiveness” of his comments is the excuse used to attack his reasoned, gentle, clear, and biblical response to homosexual campaigns in our state and nation. I must wonder what comes next if “offensive” church blogs and newspaper articles are open to legal action. Are we going to have people monitoring the content of pastors’ sermons and submitting them for assessment under the Anti-Discrimination Act?
Before you laugh at the ridiculousness of that thought you need to be aware that part of the complaint against me comes from a sermon I preached at a local church!
I will not weary you with the large list of my apparent legal misdemeanors. Suffice to say that apparently, I can and have breached the law with almost everything I’ve done in Christian evangelism for the last 4-5 years. Obviously, I reject the accusation that I and the team of Christians with me are hatefully bigoted against others who don’t share our views. Our team has worked hard (and sometimes failed) at keeping the balance needed between gracious and gentle proclamation and the clear need to present God’s unflinching opposition to all forms of sin. Over the years we have had a long string of people come to us and apologise for their opposition as they can see that we love the people of Hobart and act from that love. Many of these people are not Christian and some radically disagree with Christian doctrine, yet they can see that Christian street preaching is motivated not by bigotry and hate but rather by loving concern.
Where to then from here? The first port of call in this for all Christians should be prayer. We must praise and glorify God for His goodness in all this, even in challenging times we can trust His wisdom and exult in His Holiness. We need to ask that this will lead to an expansion of God’s kingdom and a deepening love for His ways in Christians. We need to confess our sin and ask for Christ Jesus’ mercy, no Christian is perfect and I am worse than most. We need to ask our loving heavenly Father to give us what we need for today, that we could live and glorify Him in how we live. We need to plead for forgiveness for our enemies, please don’t stop praying for Mr S.. Lastly, we should to call out to God for Him to act on our behalf and fight the spiritual war that this complaint is as small expression of.
Second thing we should be doing is to let this motivate us to Christian witness. Look at what is happening here as a warning brothers and sisters, opportunities to witness are lessening in our nation. Use the opportunities you have now to speak to others about Jesus. Needless to say, this complaint will not stop the team and I from publicly sharing the glorious gospel news here in Hobart.
Thirdly, as Christians I believe we have a responsibility to stand up to this opposition. What does that look like? Firstly, it involves preaching the gospel! Also, though it involves making this issue as public as you can, this sort of thing breeds in the dark. Bring it out into the light. Write respectful but urgent emails to your local, state and national representatives, make them aware of this and your concerns.
Lastly, we should trust God has all this in hand and it will end up glorifying His name and being for the good of His people. We can trust Him!
God gave us a day where some meaningful chats were had with those He had prepared to come under the sound of His gracious gospel this day.
- Natalie, grew up in the USSR, had been taught in school that there is no God but she was to be a good citizen. They told her how to be good. Ryan took her through the Builder/building analogy and some more necessary corrections before getting to the law and gospel. Seeming to understand intellectually, she later asked, "If someone believes in God ... that one will be saved?: this also was corrected so Jesus, the Way, was shown to be the necessary Mediator. Now she has a gospel of John. May the Father show her the truth and grant her repentance and faith to be saved.
- Bek, a contact from mid-May, who after hearing the Good News again, still does not get it. Sadly, she does not read God's Word daily; it is one of the main means of grace according to Acts 2:42! Here is another church-goer who is still far from God. May He deal with her in her great need and give her ears to hear and faith to believe.
- Phoebe, educated in a Roman Catholic school, was unsure of getting to heaven. First, I showed her 1 Jn. 5:11-13, then going through the Law and Gospel, I stressed Jesus perfection does not (and cannot change because God will not have an imperfect Saviour) so we can always trust Him completely, Heb. 13:8. Her response was most heart-warming. May God bring her to see that Jesus is all she needs, Heb. 7:25.
May our great sovereign Lord, deal with each one contacted this day as only He can, Rev. 4:11.
The Lord gave us a pleasant winter's day and we were pleased to welcome a new worker )for the second time) in the Lord's (Mt. 9:38) harvest! Please pray for:
- Daniel, an Asian who had never heard and said that he loved knowledge. Being introduced to God's moral standard for mankind, he admitted his lying. After going through the gospel message, he thought that maybe here was too much knowledge. However, praise God, when it was stressed to him that his future will be either eternal life with God or in God's eternal prison, he said that he will check it out. Pray that he does read the Bible and that God opens his mind to understand his great need for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ; to trust in Him alone.
- thank God for two different Christian couples who encouraged us in this aspect of God's work; one couple follows Operation 513 0n Facebook.
- a teenage lass, Frankie, who was very open and intends to respond now. Pray that she counts the cost and makes a serious commitment to follow Jesus.
- John, a supposed Christian, who had believed in Jesus for a long time; after all, wasn't He sent to save us?. However, John has remade in his own mind so that Jesus is fallible, a sinner. Now, as an aging man John neither fellowships nor changed his mind when shown Heb. 4:14,15 that our great High Priest never sinned. He was challenged to read and study Eph. 2. May God humble him and grant him the grace to repent and trust in the sinless Saviour.
To God be the glory for He alone is worthy to be praised.
The rain came pouring down for the first half of the outreach last night in Brisbane city. But thanks be to God that there was an awning we could find shelter under, which happened to be where all the people walking by also were.
For a lot of the people we encounter on a Saturday night, they will never ever just rock up at a church, and that is why it is so important that the church goes out to the world with the gospel.
Last night, a prime example of these kinds of people were two Aussie blokes who were brothers and had never been to church in their life nor heard much about Jesus. They initially were not sure if there was a God, but after being shown that just as a builder must have had a builder, so must the universe have had a creator, they said, "That makes sense." We went on to run them through the good person test, which they flunked (as we all have!). And once they knew they deserved hell, one of them asked, "What can we do then?"
We went on to explain the news of Christ's death and resurrection, taking our hell punishment for us, and they said that that made sense. They wanted to find out more, so we also gave them a gospel of John each to take home and start reading. They are going to count the cost of trusting in Christ. Please pray that God brings them to repentance and faith in Christ alone.
Every conversation had and every gospel tract that went out will never return void! To God be the glory!
God gave us a day where His protection was obvious as well as His usual guidance. One young man threatened Ryan with physical violence when he heard Jesus mentioned. Ryan walked away unharmed but the foul language continued for a little while longer. But that is all part of God's training and equipping of His witnesses and so the work continued. Please pray for:
- Jacob heard it all before his mates enticed him away. The peer pressure was evident but may our Lord draw this teenager to the Saviour.
- Matthew was given an overview of the Bible and how the gospel is central; that head knowledge is a precursor to saving faith. May the Lord stir him to read the Bible and see his great need for Christ.
There was one of those incidents that cheers the soul. I had given a "What is the Most Stolen Book?" tract to a man who was not religious and not likely to change anytime soon. The woman sitting on the bench behind asked for a tract also. As I seemed to be getting nowhere fast with the man, the lady started to hand the tract back so I asked her what she thought and she said, "Good!" Just then Ryan came by so he was able to help the lady to understand the gospel, for which she was thankful. Isn't the Lord wonderful the way He does things so we know He is aiding us in this work.
As always, to God alone be the glory and we thank Him for the privilege and pleasure of serving Him.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as Sarah, Kylie, Adro, Karl and I arrived to share the Gospel in the Toowoomba’s CBD. After meeting together and praying we decided to split into three teams and head out. Adrian and I took one side of Margaret street whilst Sarah and Kylie took the other.
Karl travelled by himself for a while down Ruthven street and was eventually joined by Paul who came after work to help with the work. The two of them continued handing out tracts and were even able to connect with some people who were sitting under a bridge. The Gospel is for people from all walks of life and thus sometimes you can find yourself in places you don’t normally expect to be. I always admire Karl and Paul’s quiet strength and this situation was just another example of where they stepped out for the sake of others. Looking back on their conversation we pray that those people under that bridge will personally encounter the God who loves them.
Meanwhile Sarah and Kylie were able to engage a number of people. One of those was a woman sitting under a bus shelter. When they offered her a tract the woman gruffly asked “Is it about Jesus?” Sarah gently responded “Yes it is ” to which the woman’s face suddenly lit up and she exclaimed “Praise the Lord!” Turns out this woman was a local Christian and she was thrilled to see the work of evangelism going on in her city. Which goes to show… you can never judge a person by appearances.
Buoyed by this experience, Sarah and Kylie continued their adventure down the street. Off in the distance they saw a large group of tattooed people and they thought “Let’s go share the Gospel with them”. Now reader you must understand: Large groups of tattooed people are unusual in Toowoomba. Generally speaking we don’t have large tattooed groups of humanity walking around as you see in larger cities…so groups of such people around here tend to evoke all sorts of disconcerting old-school stereotypes. Kylie and Sarah though walked up to them and offered them tracts that explained the Good news of Christ. The members of the group took the tracts and minus a few snickering remarks were willing to read them. This was the second time today God sought fit to explode stereotypes and show our hearts once again that appearance is not as important as we might think in exhibiting the heart underneath.
Adrian and I however were travelling down Margaret street during this time when we suddenly met an older man who was evidently quite drunk. As he began to speak to us you could tell that he was both friendly and earnest in what he was saying. He told us how he was a bloke who has made some mistakes with his life but that he would always be there for his family if they needed him. He also said he had respect for religion and knew of some of the ministries that serve the homeless in Toowoomba.
At the end of our rather lengthy conversation he said he would read the tract we gave him and thanked us for the conversation. We directed him towards some of those ministries who provide dedicated support for the homeless in Toowoomba and I genuinely hope we get to see him again someday. Jesus has often freed people from the grip of alcoholism and has reconciled families and we pray that this may be the life-story of this man as well.
After bidding farewell to our new friend* we had only walked a few meters before we met a completely different type of person. After rather bluntly refusing a tract, this man walked a little further on before spinning around and saying “Actually, I will take one of those!” He then came over, quickly grabbed a tract out of my outstretched hand and said rather triumphantly “This is going on FaceBook!” His tone left no doubt regarding what he thought of the Gospel tract.
Before I could get a word out he turned around and stormed off. To be honest I find this sort of behaviour really frustrating. We are currently living in a society that is more fractured than ever. It seems like everyone is talking and no one is listening. Never before have it been so easy for us to live an “echo chamber” of our own group’s thoughts and opinions and therefore genuine, truly respectful dialogue between opposing sides on *any* important topic is in short supply.
If we as a society are going to live together I believe we need to learn to listen to each other (this includes Christians learning to listen to others as well). We also need to learn how to “fight well”…where we can passionately debate and critique other’s views and then shake hands afterwards and share a drink. And when you think about it there is a no more profoundly important topic which holds such wide-reaching ramifications as that of religion. All religions…and all non-religious philosophies… need to learn to speak beyond the memes and the triumphalist talk and actually have a face-to-face discussion with “the other”.
So I suppose that is part of my frustration. But as is the case with street evangelism, things tend to change quickly and it wasn’t long before Adrian and I met a tradie who was happy to dialogue.
This tradie (Nathan) had come up to work on the new Grand Central development and was presently waiting for a door to open so he could grab some tools he’d left on the job site. The three of us chatted for a while and Nathan told us that he was an Anglican who went to Church with his aging mum. We went over his understanding of the Gospel and helped point out that God saves people not because of how good they are/have been but because of the fact that Jesus is good and has made a way back to God for all who would trust in Him and leave their life of rebellion against Him.
Overall we had a great chat together and I encouraged Nathan to become involved in a Small Group at his church. As I look back over the events of the day I think I can speak for the whole Toowoomba team when I say it was fantastic day and we pray that God will receive all the credit for what He has done and will do in Toowoomba.
*name withheld to protect privacy.