Today we had some re-contacts who had not progressed since the previous time; some disinterested; some tracts given with short encouragements to consider the claims of Christ, but also a few like:
- Jennifer, a young Mum with child who had not really considered eternal matters before. She heard and understood the gospel and is now considering what it means for herself.
- Zac had no Bible but some knowledge. Now seems to have understood the gospel and admitted it was reasonable. He was challenged to get a Bible and check out the gospel of John and/or Romans in order to verify the facts on the tract and then see us again.
- A few were issued the 'Valentine challenge', i.e. "Is Jesus Christ your first love?"
We are thankful for our faithful God enabling us to glorify Him in this manner and at the same strengthening our faith as we review His marvelous work of prevenient grace so His sheep can respond favorably to the Good Shepherd - Jn. 10:16.
May those who support the ministry of God's gospel through praying (and fasting for those able to), be strengthened in their own walk with the Lord by His grace.
God has a purpose in everything, and there were at least 3 obvious instances of that tonight during our outreach in Brisbane city.
After praying together as a team, we started handing out gospel tracts and getting into conversations with people.
One young lady we spoke with was open to hearing the message of the gospel and it turns out that she just arrived in Brisbane today from Germany and is leaving tomorrow to tour around Australia. Her friends had told her that there is nothing much to see in Brisbane, but in God's sovereignty it could very well be that the only reason why she went to Brisbane was to hear the gospel. She said she was going to have to seriously think over what she heard and she was happy to take a New Testament.
Later on, while having an extensive conversation with a young guy named Lewis who says he lives for consumerism, a woman with a thick Irish accent came up to us and said, "If the question I am about to ask offends you, feel free to say no. Do you know where I can buy some weed?" Now the person I witnessed said no to her and so as this woman began walking away, I offered her an eternity tract which she took. She then said to me, "I recognise you. You spoke to me about a week ago in Capalaba and gave me this card." I responded, "True! Well maybe God is trying to get your attention". She agreed, as she walked off.
As the outreach was nearing the end, there was a man who arrived from France 3 days ago sitting on a nearby seat. He said that he has been believing in God and also going to church for a long time, but about a month ago he decided to stop going to church and now he was questioning God's goodness. For this man said to me that he has difficulty in walking since he was young and God hasn't healed his legs.
I expressed to him that when we begin to blame God for not giving something to us, we are really forgetting that we actually deserve nothing good. We don't even deserve to have legs at all! For the only thing that we deserve is Hell because of our wickedness, and the very fact that God hasn't sent us to Hell at this point in time is amazing. Plus, God has shown so much kindness to us in giving us rain and sunshine and every other blessing we enjoy.
As I was saying this, he began crying as he was seeing how his attitude was wrong. He recounted that he came to Australia just days ago on a working visa, but the job he applied for here in Australia did not want to employ him because of his legs. I said, "Maybe God orchestrated it so that you would come to Australia and not get that job, in order that it would humble you and thus you would sitting here in Queen Street Mall tonight with a heart ready to hear the gospel."
I explained the gospel thoroughly to him. At the end, he thanked me for the chat and asked if there was a church he could attend tomorrow.
To God be the glory!
There were a variety of people that we got to speak to, including some individuals and even groups of Muslims. In fact, one of the team had an extensive conversation with a Muslim who was listening to the preacher as he presented the gospel using the sketch board and then he came up afterwards to us with some questions.
He asked, "If you get to Heaven only through what Jesus has done on the cross, why can't you just keep on sinning?" So I explained that if someone trusts in Jesus, they will want to turn from their sin, and if someone just wants to continue living life their own way, that is evidence that they are not truly believing.
After speaking for about half an hour with him, explaining about how Jesus is God and how forgiveness is not something you can earn, I noticed another person who had been listening to the preacher for a little while. So I asked him whether he would get to Heaven.
This man's name was Israel and he said he was a Mormon but has been living his own way recently. He thought that keeping the commandments would save him, but when I showed him how he (like the rest of us) haven't kept them, it led into explaining the cross. I urged him to count the cost, and repent and trust alone in Jesus' death on the cross to save him before it is too late. But I knew I had to tell him not to go back to his Mormon church.
So I said "Let's say someone comes up to us right now and says 'I have a brand new revelation from God, another testament.' Now we should check to see whether this new revelation lines up with the old revelation, that is, the Bible, right?" He agreed.
I continued, "And if it doesn't line up, it's not from God. Now Joseph Smith came a couple hundred years ago and said he has a new revelation from God, 'another testament' - the Book of Mormon. What we should do is compare this new book with the Bible to see if it lines up and if it doesn't, we know that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is not from God." He said, "That makes sense."
I continued, "Now if you look in 2 Nephi 25:23 in the Book of Mormon it says that you are saved by grace AFTER all that you can do, when Ephesians 2:8-9 in the Bible says in essence that you are saved by grace APART from anything you can do. That's a clear contradiction, isn't it?" He began nodding his head. It seems he had never considered this. He didn't have a Bible currently where he lives, so I gave him a New Testament to start reading. Please pray for him.
To God be the glory!
One team member thought that bringing along 400 gospel tracts would be more than enough for them to personally hand out, but it turned out it wasn't! They asked for more later in the afternoon, going through another hundred tracts in no time at all.
We had three of us on the team and we got to talk to atheists, to others who have never thought of eternal things, and even to professing Christians who had no idea of the way to Heaven.
One chat we had was with a man in grade 12 named Joseph. He went to a Christian school but didn't know the gospel. So after talking about sin, the coming judgement, Heaven and Hell and how the only way of forgiveness is through Jesus, I could tell he was grasping the message. He said that he wants to today trust in Jesus alone for His forgiveness. I encouraged him to make sure he counts the cost because Jesus doesn't want half-hearted followers.
And it turns out that he is in the same grade at the same school with a person who joins us on our outreaches on Saturday nights. So I encouraged Joseph to ask that person any questions he may have as he begins to start reading his Bible each day and begins his walk with the Lord. Please pray for him.
To God be the glory!
Surprise. A familiar face appeared unexpectedly at the bus station as Ryan came fresh out of court and after we prayed, we witnessed, Acts 1:8:
- A young man previously spoken with about 6-7 months ago, was still full of pride and would not listen to Biblical reasoning. Here is another one we have to commit into God's sovereign hands. We know that those who spurn His great love gift in the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ have to answer to Him on Judgment Day. May God grant him grace to repent.
- A young lass who understands the good news and her need to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone to save her. Jesus is able, Heb. 7:25. May God purify her heart by faith, Acts 15:9.
We prayed and among our thanksgivings and petitions, asked God to grant the court decision from today's proceedings soon and that it would be clearly good for the gospel work in the future, D.V. What a privilege to serve our God in such an exciting way. There is room for more grace-fuelled workers.
Thanks for praying as part of the one Body of Christ.
Australia Day Outreach.
It was an absolutely perfect day for an outreach on the waterfront at Suttons Beach in Redcliffe. Today, the council very kindly put on a large community event to celebrate Australia Day, as a result thousands of people made their way the foreshore for an afternoon of fun.
A group of around ten of us arrived at 4pm and began to share the gospel. We found a lovely spot right in the middle of the festival where we were able to set up the flip-chart and hand out tracts. The atmosphere was laid back and people were very open to talking. Within the first hour I was able to have eight good conversations with people about the gospel.
One conversation stands out and that was with a man named Dylan. Dylan had stopped to chat after seeing the flip-chart. We chatted about being a good Aussie, and then looked at how no one is good according to God. It soon became very clear that Dylan had no Christian understanding and had never heard the gospel before.
As I explained what sin is, and who God is, he seemed amazed. When he realised that he had personally sinned against God Dylan freely admitted he deserved to be judged. I then asked him, "Do you know what God to rescue sinners?" Dylan replied, "I have no idea." I was then able to share with him the wonderful news of Jesus and His love. Dylan seemed stunned. Here is a man in his early twenties who had never heard of Jesus and His work.
At the end of our conversation Dylan very eagerly took a Gospel of John and promised to read it. Please pray the Lord would rescue him.
Over the course of three hours the team was able to have many conversations, and hand out over 900 tracts. Please pray that the Lord would use this witness to bring many to Himself.
We have much to praise God for from our outreach in Woodridge this afternoon. We had 5 people on the team, and it was really encouraging to see a newer person on the team having his first full witnessing conversation with someone. He finished that conversation rejoicing!
Bundles of gospel tracts went out throughout the afternoon and some meaningful gospel conversations were had. One young lady we spoke with was named Vitooma. She thought her goodness would save her, but after going through the law of God, she realised that she too hasn't lived up to it. So we went on to talk about the cross and how forgiveness is only available through faith in Jesus.
Vitooma responded by saying that she is a Muslim. I replied, "I understand, but it doesn't matter what religion you grew up in, or what religion your parents are, if Jesus is the only way you can get to Heaven, you need to place your faith in Him no matter what. For isn't it more important to obey God rather than man if they disagree?" She agreed. So I went on to explain that Jesus was more than just a man, He is God in human flesh. He actually said that with His own lips. Plus He said that He had the authority to forgive sins and He even let people worship Him.
She was clearly thinking through all that she was hearing and said that she is trying to get her head around everything she is hearing. She asked a few questions and was happy to take a New Testament. She asked whether she could return in a future week if she has any questions as she is reading through the Bible we gave her. We said absolutely and also recommended a good local church for her.
Praise God that He does draw people out of darkness. Please pray that God would do that for Vitooma and for all the others who heard the gospel today. To God be the glory!
On Thursday at our Sunnybank outreach, we had 4 of us on the team. Throughout the afternoon, it was great to see that God brought along people who were open to chat with us about the things of God.
In particular there was one young man named Josh. He said he used to go to church until about a year ago when three of his family members died in a car accident. Since then he has been living life his own way and rebelling against God.
I asked him whether during the time he was going to church, did he have certainty that he would go to heaven. He said he didn't, because he said we can't know. It appears that even while going to church, he thought his entry into heaven was based on his performance in some way.
So we spent some time talking about what the Bible says is the way that we can have our sins forgiven, how it is nothing about our goodness or church going or prayers, but instead through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and by faith alone in Him. He came to grasp the message and said, "I have been saying that I will one day come back to God. But I really see this as a sign that I need to do this today."
I encouraged him to definitely count the cost, but also to read Psalm 51 and make that his prayer. To God be the glory that He uses unworthy vessels such as us in His Great Commission!
We encourage you to come along to an outreach sometime, see times and locations here: http://www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
We had five of us on the team today for our outreach in Woodridge. It's been great having over the past 2 weeks a native Burmese speaker on the team since there are a lot of Burmese refugees living in the area.
God brought along people to chat to throughout the afternoon, including with an aboriginal man named Brandon. He said he was from Alice Springs and said he didn't believe in Christianity but instead believed in his tradition beliefs about the mother land and a form of reincarnation.
I gave him an example, "Let's say you give a great birthday present to your child but then you start to notice that your child now loves this gift you have them far more than loving you, to the point where your child doesn't think about you at it. That wouldn't be right, would it?" Brandon agreed.
I continued, "In the same way, God is the one who gave us this land and everything that comes with it, and if we start loving the land more than God, we're doing the exact same thing". "That's a good point", Brandon replied.
So I then brought him through the law of God showing him how we have all fallen short of God's standards and therefore deserve judgement. I pointed him then to the cross and how we can be forgiven through faith in Jesus.
He was listening, but replied by saying that his culture has been around for 100,000 years and he can't turn his back on it. He thought his culture to be superior, and said that he has been made a chief in his community. So I told him the story of the Apostle Paul who was in a similar situation within Judaism before he became a Christian - he was from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, and being so zealous, he was even a persecutor of the church. But he says in Philippians 3:8 that he counts everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord.
Those other things don't matter in the long run, only knowing Jesus does.
I asked him, "Why don't you live in Alice Springs now?" He said, "Because there are a lot of tribal conflicts going on there right now, it's far too dangerous of a place to be. That part actually makes me ashamed of my culture."
I replied, "The people there need to hear of Jesus, for having an ancient culture is not the solution to the problem of sin, Jesus is."
This definitely made Brandon think and he said, "I have a Bible, I am going to have to start reading it."
To God be the glory!
Gardiner Spring, "If you are the greatest sinner in the world, then you have the greatest need of Christ."
Thanks to those praying for this aspect of the fulfilling of the Great Commission, Mt. 28:18-20.
Acknowledging that 'the battle is the Lord's', we entered the Capalaba bus station expecting anything and so it was:
- A young homosexual couple wanted to know why God targeted homosexuals. This view was corrected and they were pointed to the fact that God holds each individual answerable to Him for the choices they make. Just as a heterosexual cannot commit fornication/adultery and be guiltless before He who is holy, so likewise, a homosexual can choose to disobey God or not. Regardless of where a person is today, by repenting of their foolish rebellion and trusting Jesus Christ to save them from the power, the penalty of their sins, such can ask for and receive forgiveness of their sins and the gift of never ending life.
- A young man who knew much about the gospel but now seems to understand it. He is challenged to close with the gospel offer today.
- An unusually large number of people who would normally say, "Not interested", took tracts and were challenged to read the Bible and find out about eternal life/death.
Praise God that He controls the affairs of His Church working all things for our good and His glory. We love Him who first loved us.