Leicester Square & Tooting Broadway (9th -10th May)
Last night I joined up once more with my good friend Phil for another evening of street evangelism. Unfortunately events of the day meant that we arrived too late at Tooting Broadway to spend any time there ministering. We hopped on the tube and headed for Leicester Square. Arriving just after 9pm I was excited to see the throngs of people who were out to party and have a good time. Leicester Square really is a great spot for street evangelism.
We made our way over to the spot that we have been using for the last three weeks or so - opposite the Empire Theatre against the railings. Artists line these railings doing portraits of people and caricatures. Up until now we have simply slotted in between them when a space has opened up. Last night we attempted to do the same, except this time a very disgruntled artist came up to us pleading with us not to do so, since that would cause a crowd to form, which would affect his business. This seemed ridiculous to me. I explained to him that we did not wish in any way to affect his business and that it was our right to stand there. I also explained that we have had no problems with the authorities in this regard. Just then a police officer headed our way so our artist friend approached the officer to complain. "Oh brother!" was my first thought. I went over to the officer and introduced myself. I presented our case and explained that we had not had problems before. The officer actually stood up for us and said there was nothing stopping us from preaching. However there was nothing that was going to deter this artist and he persisted to such an extent that the officer asked whether there was not some other area that we could use. We agreed and moved to another part of the square. I was feeling frustrated and annoyed and I confess that it did have me a little rattled. Still, I realised that we needed to learn how to handle these sorts of things, as we know that resistance will come.
My brother James arrived soon after and so we got ready to begin ministering the Word. Carl, who had also come through to join us, was still in a one-to-one conversation that he had started before we had arrived. I let him know where we would be so that he could join us when he had finished. Heading back to our "new spot" I stood up to preach. At first only a handful of people stopped to listen but as time went on more and more people began to take interest. After about ten minutes or so a group of young Muslim men entered into the fray. I knew things would now get interesting. As is the common practise the Muslims fired at me the typical questions. They were aggressive and forceful and very domineering. This is to be expected. It can be frustrating as they don't allow you to even get a word in when they are like this. However one young man, who called himself Adam (I discovered later that this was not his name) was far more reasonable than his friends and repeatedly told them to show me some respect and allow me to speak. I was grateful for this and I knew that God was working. It does seem that the majority of the Muslims I meet are simply out to attack Christianity in an aggressive way. Yet there are those who are more reasonable and willing to listen. Adam was one of those. (Let me point that we too want to attack Islam. The point I am making is the aggressiveness of their approach and the fact that they refuse to be reasonable. They ask questions but really their minds are already made up. Please pray that there will be those like Adam that will listen).
The majority of their questions and objections were aimed at attacking Christianity; again, this is common practise. I will say this. For all their efforts to shout me down they succeeded in bringing in a greater crowd. I was greatly encouraged by this and turned to preaching the gospel more earnestly to the crowd.
After preaching and answering questions and objections for close on an hour I came down off my step ladder. It was funny because Adam wanted me to carry on preaching! I told him that my voice would never be able to handle it. At this particular point I noticed that a young man was motioning for my attention. As soon as he started talking I noticed straight away he was from Australia. He seemed quite keen on talking with me. I discovered that he was most displeased with what I had been talking about. He said that he did not discount that there is a God but did not see how I could say that the Christian God of the Bible was the one true God. He felt that me saying Jesus is the way, the truth and the life is discriminatory. I tried desperately to reason with this young man but he seemed to have only one agenda. He was quite strong in his approach and I felt that his mind was already made up before he even asked a question. It was clear that he had some sort of Christian background, since he spoke of a verse in Leviticus that says a man who commits a homosexual act should be killed. I pointed out to him that the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant. This led to him saying, along with the Muslims who were standing near by, that the Bible had been changed and altered. I struggle to understand how they come to that conclusion. Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant with the house of Israel, a new covenant that surpasses and is far greater than the old covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31-33) God chose to do this, not man. It is recorded in the Word for us. Nothing has been changed by man, man has simply written down what God has directed him to write down.
As time moved on I got to speak with another Muslim from the group. He was quite a young man and one who had been quite vocal when I had been preaching. Now that it was just the two of us things were a little different. I told him that God's standards are infinitely higher than man's standards. This he agreed with. I told him that God is just. This he agreed with. I then said that if a human judge could not let a criminal (who was clearly guilty of a serious crime) go free, but rather must execute justice, how much more must God, who is the Just Judge of the entire universe?? For a brief moment I could see on his face acknowledgment that what I was saying is true. I could see that he clearly understood what I was saying. I think he realised that I had exposed the holes in his argument because he came back at me again with an explanation of how Allah is just yet at the same time is willing let the guilty go free. You see, if God is just He must punish sin. The Bible tells us that, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD." (Proverbs 17:15). Without a sinless, perfect substitute to die in our place, we would all end up in hell. Since we are guilty God cannot justify us, unless our guilt is passed to another. And this is why the Christian rejoices. "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the genius of God. In Christ both His wrath and His grace are satisfied. God's wrath is poured out, but on Jesus, not us. God's mercy is extended to those He wishes to save. He has demonstrated both His justice and His mercy. Both are satisfied.
There was another chap who had been listening quite intently whilst I had been preaching. His name was Paal. As we got talking I discovered that he had issues with the fact that if all we need to do is believe in Jesus and in so doing earn eternal life, then that means we can sit back and sin knowing that we're saved anyway. I explained to him that when the Christian repents and puts their trust in Jesus, they are made a new creation. God changes the disposition of their heart. The sin they once loved they now hate. Christians still sin, but there is now a wrestle that takes place inside them because of the Holy Spirit that has filled them. He seemed to understand this. I gave him a gospel tract and my contact details and he left shaking my hand. Please pray for Paal!
It was now gone 11:00pm and so it was time to head on home. My brother James was just finishing up a conversation with a couple of people and Phil was handing out tracts. Carl had already left a little earlier. As the three of us headed for the tube station we praised God for using us once more.
It was just myself and Antonio today at Tooting Broadway. Antonio is still a young Christian and so to see him on the street each week is a real blessing. He is not quite at the place where he is approaching people to talk with them but he is faithfully handing out tracts to the passerby's. When we arrived this morning a pastor from an Evangelical Anglican church, along with people from his church, were at the tube station ministering the gospel. I had met them once before and it was good to see them again. When we arrived the pastor was preaching and the members of his church were handing out tracts so we went about handing out tracts as well. I got talking with a young man named Nester. He listened as I shared the whole counsel of God with him. He understood what I was saying yet did not seem moved at all by the gospel. As he left he handed back the tract that I had given him. It is heart breaking to see this but God's Word does not return void and I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will work to convict him of his sin so that he will turn in repentance and faith to the Lord. I spoke briefly with the pastor from the Anglican Church before he left. He couldn't really stop to chat but we exchanged contact details and I hope to speak with Him some more. I stood up to preach and a few people did stop to pay attention to what I had to say. It is a completely different setting to Leicester Square but even if only a few people stop to hear the Word I will still rejoice in the Lord.
Once more a great weekend of ministry. As long as we have breath we must go on preaching God's Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Credit: Images from www.Wikapedia.org
Saturday, 10 May, 2008
When will I ever learn? Every time I head out on the street and say "Tonight, I won't preach" I end up preaching. Tonight I resolved that I would not preach due to the fact that I would be preaching at Rosalie Baptist Church the next morning, and I wanted to be fresh for the pulpit sermon.
As we set up for the night I noticed that we had a demonic painter set up in our preaching area. This really frustrated me since this guy paints really dark paintings, and often times he gets large crowds. Knowing that there would be clash of light and darkness I prepared for a long night.
Initially I tried to get the Queensland Police to move the painter from our area, but I was informed by police that it is a Brisbane city council matter, and they have no say. Which was interesting since in the past they have moved us for council matters.
The first preacher up was Ryan, and he battled to get a crowd, since people would stand and look at the painter painting instead. He did mange to get a few hecklers, and he did well dealing with them.
Next up was Kevin, I really like to hear Kevin preach, he has come such a long way since I first heard him preach. He keeps calm under pressure, and constantly points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While Kevin was preaching a man came and stood really close to him, so I moved in just in case it got violent. As the man stood close to Kevin, I could hear the language he was using. Some of the words were the most vile I have ever heard, then the man had the hide to claim to be a Christian. Kevin slammed him for his hypocrisy, and then the man yelled "I am on the Council of the Queensland Uniting Church, and we want to see you guys stopped!" This stirred Kevin up to preach all the more.
After Kev preached, Ralph had a go. He did a wonderful job, and he managed to preach to a few people that were gathering. Towards the end of his open air he was heckled by a couple of Jehovah Witness girls who were drunk. Ralph tagged me in, and I began to deal with them. The girls quickly turned and ran. But by now many hecklers had moved in.
It was interesting to see that the crowd watching the painter quickly became a crowd listening to the preaching and the debate. We went back and forth over the existence of God, and then a man who studied philosophy started to heckle. This debate led to a discussion on "Is there absolute truth and is there absolute right and wrong?" Of course all the hecklers said "No!" The leading vocal heckler was "Mr. Dawkins Man" he was yelling that there is no absolutes. After a few illustrations which show that there must be right and wrong. He started to yell that I was wrong. It was then that I pointed out that under his viewpoint I couldn't be wrong, since there is no right and wrong. This caused the crowd the chuckle.
Throughout the fifty minutes I preached, the gospel was presented many a time. At the end we got to have some really good one to one conversations!
Soli Deo Gloria!
A private word
Over the last couple of months I have struggled with discouragement and despair. This is in part to do with the hardness of people's hearts, partly stress and sheer tiredness, and partly to do with my own misconceptions about what my life should be like. I have come to see (by the grace of God through many precious people around me) that this attitude is not right.
What reason do I have to despair, indeed what right? My Lord and God has been merciful and kind to me far beyond this hell-deserving sinner should have ever expected. As a Christian I have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and my life is no longer my own; I have been purchased at great cost. As one who walks in the path of my saviour I should expect nothing more than the responses my Lord faced, if I am indeed being faithful (Mt 10:16-25).
In the work of evangelism there are times of frustration, pain, offence, hurt and rejection and these things are hard to bear. But this does not change, who we are, nor who our Lord is. He is good and wise and has promised to be with us always, working everything to the good of those who love Him; I should bring our frustrations to Him! As His child, knowing His mercy and grace I will take up my very small cross and follow my Lord who bore the shame and reproach of my sin before me. If my all is lost in this world and I die an unknown scorned and abused street preacher I am satisfied to be called Christ's, and lose all else. For as Paul wrote so truly:
Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as dung, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Php 3:7-12
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Phillipians 1:21
This Friday Jim, John and Cedric gathered together with me to pray before John and Cedric headed away (I was late getting out from work). Jim and I remained and set up to preach in Fargate. I stood and preached the gospel to those in the mall; while not many stopped to listen, there are now many people who sit on the chairs nearby so I preached with them in mind. Afterwards a man named Rowan came up and encouraged Jim and I in what we were doing. Rowan works among the gangs of our city on the north side, sharing the gospel with the youth. I likewise encouraged him to continue in his work for the Lord and will be keeping him in prayer.
While I continued to chat to Rowan, Jim was preaching and doing an excellent job.
A couple of hecklers opened fire on Jim and he gave a great response showing clearly that we can know that God exists if only people open their eyes to see. Part way through Jim's apologetic the young man left, but quickly others stood up to object to the gospel he was preaching.
A Muslim man was trying to persuade others in the crowd that Jim was wrong and now stepped forward to say that the bible was changed and that Jesus never claimed He was God. Sura 29:46 commands all Muslims to believe the revelation found in the bible at the time of Muhammad. Jim used this along with the fact that our current bible texts predate Muhammad by hundreds of years to point the crowd to John 5. Here among other things Jesus claims to be equal with the Father, worthy of the same worship as the Father, and having all authority over life death and judgement. Though many Muslims hate to hear it, their own scriptures command them (through the words of John) to worship Jesus and tell them and all others that Jesus will be their final judge. Why will the Muslim never submit to this? The same reason the Jews would not, they do not believe the word of God revealed in the prophets:
"If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" (Joh 5:46-47)
The discussions following this continued until 5.30pm and Jim was able to share the gospel with the people present many times.
This Saturday we had the unfortunate combination of Anna being unwell and my workday being extra long. Because of this we were out for only a short period of time and Anna came as support only (what a wonderful wife she is - she should have been in bed).
I preached on atheism and the foolishness and emptiness of this position, it makes a non-sense of purpose, morality, rationality, justice, aesthetics, and hope after death. During this a group of youth wandered past and I urged one of the young men to stop and consider if he was good by God's standard. We went through the good person test but he left as we came to the consideration of what the law would mean for him when he appears before God after death.
During this a Muslim man stopped and I asked him as the youth left what he thought of all this? After a small discussion he said to me he believes that the bible is not true, because he was a Muslim. At this I firstly used Jim's apologetic from a couple of days ago to point to the demands of the Muslim scriptures that he believe what the bible says.
At this point I raise the natural consequence of this apologetic. Can the quran be trusted and is it a divine revelation from the God of the bible? I showed him that the quran contradicts the bible on key doctrines (the unchanging nature of God, the divinity of Jesus, and the crucifixion to name just three), though claiming the bible is the authority the quran depends on and defers to. Because of this there is only two possibilities, the quran is wrong and the bible is right; or both the quran and the bible are wrong.
Unfortunately at this point work intervened again and I had to leave, thankfully I was able to hand out tracts to some of those gathered. Praise God that He gives us such clear revelation of Himself!
Greetings to my readers,
This week I would like to begin, by first providing a short video message, courtesy of Paul Washer. The title of the video is "You're Mean-Spirited, Proud, and Critical..". I hope you get something from this, as I certainly did.
It was such a pleasure to come back and put my feet back onto the earth of the Surfers Paradise beach front. Keith and I again, had the privilege to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, in a place where we had been banned from doing so, by the Surfers Paradise Police. We thank God for the precious right of freedom of speech, which the magistrate communicated to us, releasing us to share our opinions in the Cavill Ave mall.
To soften our disposition, from the worlds influence upon us during the week, we first determined to pray, read God's precious word, and witness one2one with the visitors to the area. Handing out a lot of gospel tracts, God granted us some conversations with some very gentle-hearted people.
Jim is a Pentecostal who I first got to talk to, he professed to be a christian, and had heard through others local to the coast, of our earlier arrest. It seems the local churches are aware of the light persecution that has been happening on their doorstep.
Shortly after, I met another gentle-hearted person who I will call James (to protect his identity), who is a Muslim. We discussed a number of subjects including:
Please pray for this man, as he seemed troubled, though he pressed his religion as much as he could. I pray God will open his eyes, and give him the unction to step out of Islam, and by God's favor enter into the promise of God in Jesus Christ. He was a nice young man, doing a fairly sophisticated university course of study, and he was quite happy to accept my bible, some tracts and the hope to meet for coffee sometime in the future.
God shortly allowed me to return to the site where I have been preaching each Sunday for the last two years, and I realised it was now close on three pm. Which was very late (we normally start at 2PM), and I was sorry to have lost the time for Open Air, but pleased that it had been used with a man who might well die, and perish without the gospel had God not put a christian in his life this day.
Keith Rochford was shortly freed from his chat with a few Universalists, and "Frosty" Barwick, began to film our labours in preaching for His glory. It's a blessing to have Frosty, as he faithfully provides legal protection in the filming, and he has a very steady hand for doing this work. He also does a good job witnessing with people. It's a real pleasure to have a well-trained gospel communicator on a gospel outreach team.
I beseeched God for courage and the right words to say, and stood up with a introduction which God was pleased to grant and use to draw in a small crowd of about ten to fifteen people. Mark was an aussie, who is quite a joker, and he took the good test immediately. Aussies frequently are jokers, and with some humour you can really see someone open up to talk about the serious things of God's reality.
If your from overseas, reading this report, and feel burdened to come to aid us in the gospel proclamation here on the Gold Coast, or simply are willing to step out in faith. It would be a pleasure to have you serve with us in the gospel!
Mark was quite open-hearted, which was a precious thing to see, and he accepted a gospel tract, "Are you a good person?", and walked off with his girlfriend, thanking us for the preaching.
I asked the crowd if there was anyone who disagreed with what I had just said. A middle aged aussie lady, stepped in with one foot, and said, "YES we are saved by God's grace". She clearly had some emotion about her, and it seemed that the preached had brought her under conviction. By God's allowance, I corrected her understanding of Grace. Grace means unmerited favour, and it comes only by repentance and faith in Christ. Outside of that, we are enemies of God. Furthermore it is God's grace that gave us Christ, and the gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus. Personally, and biblically none of us deserve another breathe of God's air, if God were to judge us by the ten commandments, on our own merits.
The lady walked off, but I pray the truth that was spoken would bring to become God's friend and a labourer in the gospel. I do hope she can forgive me, if I was a little too blunt in my presentation.
Keith Rochford stepped up to the "pulpit" and began to expound on the falseness of evolution, which had been breifly laid out by myself prior to his entree. He did a wonderful job, and shortly had a heckler, who professed to be a homosexual. He was a very good person by his own estimimation, and so Mr Rochford, began to walk him through the ten commandments, beginning with lying, and stealing, and so forth. He seemed to get a bit agitated by this, and was very squirmy; trying to escape the power of God's perfection against himself. Finally Keith cracked a joke to ease the tension, but he was offended it seems, and left the area.
Not too long, and another aussie entered the crowd, and after going through some more of the ten commandments, he stated his unbelief in heaven or hell, rather that when your dead your dead. Keith did a great job, of inquiring as to what evidence had convinced him of this. He had none, and was a little sheepish that his opinion was based upon the shifting sands of the imagination. He began to soften, and confessed to being concerned that if it was true, then he didn't want to go to hell. Keith then preached the gospel to him, and we pray God uses the gospel proclamation this day, to draw those he pleases to His Son, Jesus Christ who is blessed forever.
It was a wonderful day, and I can't help but say, how much of a pleasure it was to return here and share the gospel, especially amongst godly lovers of the Lord Jesus.
Thankyou to our team, who serve under my authority, and are faithful in the gospel. I love you all very much, and pray that God will bless you for your ordered labours for Him.
Until next week, pray for one another, that Jesus might get a big name in the earth, as we die to self,
For Jesus name,
Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
(Islam and Universalism Quotes)
The night started off a bit slow, although first up we had a Jewish heckler who professed that he had nothing wrong. He was very hard-hearted and self-righteous, so Josh showed him the law of Moses. The fellow didn't like being convicted of his sin so he kept trying to change the topic. Josh was also able to show that Jesus is the Messiah that can take the punishment for our sins.
We then had a chat with Raven, who believed that the God of Christianity is the same one as the Islamic god. She even tried to make the case that in Aramaic, the name of God sounds so similar to "Allah". Except Josh pointed out that "Eloi" is not similar at all to "Allah". I also pointed out that the scriptures of the two religions are so different that they simply cannot both be from God. For example, the Qu'ran says that there is one god. But the Bible says there is one God, but made up of three distinct persons. They're mutually exclusive and so they both cannot be true at the same time.
Our next heckler held the belief that the best idea is not to actually pick a religion because they are all based on faith. I showed him that they're not all based on faith, in fact the major events in Christianity, such as Jesus death on the cross and even his resurrection are historical events. Even archeology agrees with what the Bible says. Moreover I argued that every other world religion is logically inconsistent because they think you can get to Heaven based on your good works. However that means their god's justice is not upheld. In Christianity, God's justice is still satisfied, yet he is shows his mercy because of Jesus' death on the cross.
Josh had a chat with a Catholic fellow who asked what proof there is for God's existence. So Josh explained the teleological argument - the complexity and fine-tuning of the unvierse gives evidence of an intelligent designer. After establishing God's existence, Josh then went onto the law and gospel.
The next heckler we had was an Aussie bloke who didn't hold to any religion and he kept making the claim that the things in the Bible are fairy tales. So I asked him what proof he have that these stories are just fairy tales. He just said, "With logic we know that it is wrong." So I asked again, "What logical argument do you have to prove it is a fairy tale?" He had nothing.
So I explained that events in the Bible are historical and we have evidence for that. But then said, "Oh, but they were all uneducated back then." I pointed out that some of the greatest minds were around back then, such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, etc. He then admitted, "OK, the events are probably historical."
He also denied that there is a god, so explained the Kalam Cosmological argument to him and then after that admitted that there is a god. He then pointed out that that does not mean that god is the God of the Bible. And that's true, so then I passed it onto Josh Williamson who was doing the closing gospel message and he explained why we can know Christianity is true.
Overall, it was a great night. We had 345 people listen in during the course of the evening, with at one point having over 100 people in the Skypecast. We discovered that over these last two Skypecasts, we have had people listening in from over 70 different countries from around the globe.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!
There was not a cloud in the sky when we met as the team met at the regular time of 1pm. There were 4 of us today, so we firstly read the Bible, and prayed. We then started handing out tracts and talking to people. At 2pm, I stood up to preach about judgment to come and the good news of the gospel. At the 30 minute mark, I tagged Snowy in and he did his very first open-air preaching. He did a very good job for a first-timer, he just has to work on projecting his voice so that it's louder.
I then preached for the remaining hour and a quarter, proclaiming the gospel to a rather large crowd. I had a number of hecklers, the first heckler actually had a Qu'ran and a Bible in this hand and he said, "These two books are the exact same." So I responded by saying that they aren't exactly the same; some of the stories within the two are similar, but the Bible has many things the Qu'ran doesn't, and vice versa. This man was also a panentheist, that is, he believed that part of God is in everything, because he created us. So I asked him, "If I made a piece of pottery, is part of me in that pottery?" Obviously not.
My next heckler was a man who denied that Jesus was a real person. So I explained to him that we have numerous historical accounts affirming his life and death. Four of those are within the New Testament, and not only that, we also have historical accounts by secular (non-Christian) historians that were around at the time. Regarding the question of what happens after we die, the man said we are all going to Hell because we have all sinned. So I said that is true that we are all deserving of sin, but then I used that opportunity to proclaim the wonderful news of the cross, in that God can remain just and yet still show mercy to save some.
About this time, I noticed that there were 6 police officers on the other side of the road walking towards us. I was expecting that they might shut us down or arrest us, like they did 3 weeks earlier. But they just stood there and listened to the preaching. In fact, even had a word to the hecklers that were being too hostile and swearing. One heckler while pointing at me, shouted to the police, "Isn't this a public nausiance?" One officer replied, "No, you're the one being the public nauisance." I discovered later, the reason why the police came over to us was because they were locked out of their station.
The crowd during the entire hour and a quarter was constantly large and many people got to hear the gospel. Please pray that God will draw people onto Himself.
At 4pm, I stepped down from preaching and noticed that there was a police officer talking to Peter and Tim. I discovered that he was actually a born-again Christian and he was very happy to see the preaching of the gospel going out in this way.
During the preaching, the other team members were having good one-2-one conversations and a lot of tracts went out.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 3 May, 2008
I was still rather excited about the conversion of my niece as I made my way to the city. Another cool thing about tonight was that we had a few new people come out on the streets. It is always encouraging to see new people come out to share the gospel.
Tonight was also a night in which we got to field test our new Operation 513 tracts, and it soon became clear that they all were going to be a great success. After we set up the Bible table, and got the team ready for the first open air, the thought struck me just how fortunate we are to have the freedom in Australia to declare the gospel of Christ. Even though over the past few months there have been multiple reports of preachers being arrested nationwide, we still had the freedom in Brisbane to preach, and we also have good relations with the fine men and women of the Queensland Police.
Ralph was the first preacher up for the night, and it soon became clear that it was going to be a long slow night. Ralph is coming along really well in his training to be a preacher, he has good voice projection, but the only thing he needs to realise that hecklers will try to keep him quiet. But the skill of handling hecklers only comes with experience. Ralph preached for near about thirty minutes, and during this time only a few people stopped to listen. Some people and ministries would be disappointed with the fact that a large crowd did not gather, but we were thankful that God allowed us to share the gospel with at least one soul.
At the start of the night I sent a four man team under the leadership of Dan Kent down to a busy intersection to hand out tracts, but after an hour of them being away I had to send someone to go fetch them back, as many people were stopping at the Bible table asking questions. Many great one to ones occurred during this time, it was encouraging to see so many people interested in learning more about the claims of Jesus Christ.
After a while I began to preach, and not long into my preaching a few hecklers arrived. The problem was that these guys were bad hecklers, one of them who was drunk was cursing and claiming to be a Christian. So I rebuked him for his hypocrisy, and pointed out that he was not a Christian. This began to get the crowd fired up, and a few people began to throw out questions like "What about paedophiles?" "What about those preachers that want your money!" "What about evolution?" I did my best to answer all these questions from the Bible, and I must say it was good to see "Mr. Dawkins Man" back even though he was sick.
There was one man who kept standing right up in my face screaming and cursing. Multiple times I told him to step back and stop touching me. He refused, and eventually Hsusy began to distract him. Unfortunately the man decided to continue to stand right in front of me and yell at Andrew. The crowd went from listening to me to listening to this demonic drunk man yell. A few people formed up on my right and began to ask questions, so I did my best to answer them. This was done more in a one to one setting, but before I realised it a crowd and stopped to listen. By now the crazed yelling man had gone, so I began to address the crowd. One asked about the Roman Catholic priests that molest children. I answered his questions, but while I was talking to him the police came and took him away for fighting earlier in the night.
While the police were there the crazed yelling man returned. He was calm while the police were there, then as they left he watched them walk down the mall. As soon as he thought they were far enough away he swung at me and slapped me across the face. Before he had a chance to respond I put my arm out to block any future shots, and also to restrain him. The police which were a fair way down the mall heard the sound of the slap so they came running back to arrest the man. While this was happening I was thinking "What a waste of time, the open air just got wrecked!" But God used this to open up some of those in the crowds with hard hearts. Some were shocked that we kept on witnessing even though I was assaulted, this led to many great one to ones. Many of those witnessed to took Bibles after that.
The rest of the night was spent in one to ones and tract work.
Praise God that He is in full control!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Team Members: Warren Beetham, and Dan Kent
Young man from a Sunday School, hears the law and gospel for first time
While evolution is refuted, young man puts his head in hands and screams
Indian Muslim: "come back with real money, and I will listen to your gospel"
Roman Catholic Pommies, hear the gospel of grace
During the week, I had been asking God to give us lots of young people to witness down at Redcliffe Pier. They seem the most open, and we normally have lots of fun, sharing the gospel.
Today, God answered my prayer! Hallelujah, What a wonderful Saviour, he just keeps on being so good to his people!
Young man from a Sunday School,
hears the law and gospel for first time
The three of us had headed up the pier, handed out gospel tracts to many people, and got to see thousands of cool little fishes swimming below. Right near the middle of the pier, I met a young lad, called Andrew, who was a very quick young man in the mind, riding a bike. He was from a local Sunday School, and I must say you Sunday School teachers are too cool! Keep up the work mates! Unfortunately he did not understand the gospel and what it required of him, but we sorted that out pretty quick. He loved the gospel tract, and after a good serious chat, he took off down the pier for a ride.
While evolution is refuted,
young man puts his head in hands and screams
We then headed back down the pier for some more tracting, when I spied eight or nine young lads being silly at the start of the pier.
I grabbed a bunch of big money gospel ice-breakers (purchasable from Operation 513 web store) << [Shameless plug] and marched off to meet the lads. They were kicking around a ball and one of them had cut his foot on glass, and was hopping around like a crazy fellow, leaving drops of blood everywhere. Well, I took the opportunity to hand out big money gospel tracts, and like clockwork one asked.. whats this about?
I smiled, and told them it asked a question, "Are you a good person?" I demonstrated a scale of goodness, and they all gave different answers as to what they thought of themselves. Then I tested them.
We had a brilliant conversation witnessing, though two of the boys kept on interrupting with objects, and questions, and stupid statements that didn't make sense but made the lads laugh. This appeared to be normal interference to gospel witnessing that I had seen before, so with a quick request to God silently, I pressed on in.
Some of the boys began to get very quiet as I continued to quiz them, show them judgment, and share the cross of Jesus Christ. Then the other boys started to open up again.
One of them proffered evolution as a refutation to my presentation. As God allowed me to finish my refutation of the evolution position, and use my Open Air handbook (small version of W.O.T.M. Open Air chart, with additions), one of the lads, Josh put his head between his hands and began to scream in a really frustrated way.
I thought that was odd, but kept on answering the boys questions including:
It's impossible to have babies, without disobeying Jesus and lusting, so how?
Where did the different race colours come from?
They laughed and at me, as I answered the questions and said, what are the you the christian doctor Phil, to which I laughed and said, No. I'm just a pastor trying my best to answer your questions. I departed shortly after, and as I left some strange weird guy was talking to one of the boys about something sick I won't mention. Please pray for these boys, as I suspect we were dealing with devils today. At least all of them took a second indepth tract with my email address on it. Please pray they will communicate with me electronically!
One of the boys was from a C.O.C. and his friend decided to go with him to church that night. I hope God had a strong godly preacher on that night!
Dan and Warren headed down the pier once last time, while I took notes in my diary. While they were down the pier serving the Lord Jesus, the boys came past and had another quick chat. One of them gave me his my space address, and asked me some questions about being slain in the spirit, and how they had been involved in it. They asked me opinion, and I told them I thought it was real, but it was not of God.
I told them not to worry too much about the experiences, rather consider that the bible says the mark of a true believer is that he loves God and hates sin. They didn't bear this mark, and so I challenged them to get right with God tonight, lest they die.
They left, just as the boys arrived. Dan had to go, so Warren and I strolled down towards the water park.
Indian Muslim: "come back with real money,
and I will listen to your gospel"
Shortly we came across an Indian Muslim family. The father walked towards us, as if to pass us, so by God's graciousness I made sure he got a big money tract. He laughed and said, "Come back with some real money, and I will listen to your gospel." Sad that people have to have physical things to want to hear the gospel, but it's not exactly like we are dealing with regenerate sanctified believers or angels.. rather we are dealing with unregenerate sinners. So we expect things like this. He took a few gospel tracts for his family. PRAISE GOD! :)
Roman Catholic Pommies, hear the gospel of grace
Next we met Frank and Brendan, two British lads, who were Roman Catholic in their profession of religion. From what I could tell, Frank was concerned that he might go to hell, although he didn't believe in heaven or hell. Hmmm.. something tells me he was having himself on. Nonetheless these two were quite chatty and happy sorts, and we enjoyed witnessing to them. Thanks be to God, I got to practise some of my RCC apologetics, and eventually they had to go, but not without being drilled on what was needed to be forgiven by God.
Well Warren and I headed back for prayer, handed out some more tracts, and then seperated to go home.
My thankfulness is that God answers prayer!
May Jesus ordain the people of Redcliffe be awakened from death, and drawn by the Father to Him.
For Jesus name,
Here is a good video to watch:
As the weather here in Yorkshire warms up, people are more happy to talk and will interact with us more. This can be great but it can also mean that preaching can become very chaotic, as was the case today.
Jim and I prayed together in the centre of Fargate and then Jim stood to preach the good news of Christ crucified for sinners. Jim has only been preaching on the street for a short period of time but has a very strong preaching method from his work as a lay preacher. People tend to gather to hear what he says and as I stood praying that people would be drawn in to hear the gospel that is just what happened.
As a crowd gathered a lady who claimed to be a follower of Jesus shouted out a question ‘how can you reconcile the God of the bible and the suffering of the world'. I am not sure on the sincerity of her questioning but she claimed that she was having doubts about her faith and wanted answers. Jim did an excellent job to answer this very difficult question (the short answer is sin produces suffering, not God), and then turned to question her in return regarding the sin in her heart. During the good person test she justified herself many times and though she would admit some guilt before God I wondered if it was pride or embarrassment that stopped her from being honest. It is a good thing to test your faith against reality and struggle with the difficult questions that come from this struggle, but it must be done in knowledge of our fallenness and in submission to God's revealed truth.
At this stage the crowd was getting larger and 30 or so people were standing and listening to the interactions, I began to hand explanation tracts to all those who left and so heard only a little of the preaching. In quick succession Jim fielded questions from a series of hecklers; first was an angry Atheist who would not listen and only justified himself as being the same as everyone else when questioned about his obedience to God. Next was Chris who likewise thought he was good because he did nothing different to the rest of the people he knew, revealingly he stormed off when Jim opened the bible to read him a passage of scripture. Next was a group of youth that seemed determined to be as foul as they could possibly be, they wanted to know about homosexuality and if God is against it. Jim quoted Romans chapter one (where God condemns the rebellion of man and allows them to stew in their sin - including sexual perversion), in response and with that they stormed off not wanting to know anything more.
A group of muslim men in the crowd began to rapid fire questions at Jim, the basic assertion of these men was that Jesus was merely a prophet and not God. Jim refuted this rapidly and while interacting with one of the men pointed out the falseness of Islam as a religion - this produced a violent reaction and if the police had not been present I am sure there would have been an assault. I moved in beside Jim quickly while this was happening but was thankful nothing further came of it. In this country hard-line muslims hide behind their minority status and claim that anything that points to the falseness of Islam is ‘Islamophobia'. All the while these same people will boldly declare that all other faiths are false and worthy of only scorn.
At this point I stood up to speak with the muslim man and try and give some other apologetics on top of those Jim had given. I attempted to speak to the man regarding the crucifixion, in particular the contradiction between the Qu'ranic denial of this and history's confirmation of it. At hearing of the witness of Tacitus, Pliney, and Josephus to the appearance of Jesus to the disciples this he only laughed and scorned Christianity as having only a handful of witnesses. Oddly at this point he left very quickly as I would not let him speak to the crowd but rather preached over the top of him. For a short period I discussed Muhammad and if he fits the role of a biblical prophet or not, which he clearly does not with no public miracles, no historically confirmed prophecies, and a life full of murder deceit and indulgence. I spoke for a short period also with an Atheist who spoke to Jim earlier, now he wanted proof that the earth was as old as the bible seems to claim. Again he would not listen and was constantly complaining that I was not answering his questions.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any more chaotic Mr Gnostic arrived and things really went mad. Mr Gnostic began by informing everyone that evil spirits had inspired Christianity, which was a perversion away from the true God, and that Jesus preached karma and reincarnation! Needless to say I loudly and roundly denied this and pointed to the historical Jesus who preached repentance from dead works and a final judgement at the end of life. He then began to rant that the gospels in the bible are only an account of ‘the false roman trial' of Jesus and the ‘true' Gnostic gospels gave the real story. (An interesting thing to note is that there is no trace of the Gnostic gospels until well after the fourth century, when the gospels and indeed the entire New Testament were being circulated throughout the ancient world.) As Mr Gnostic ranted I began to preach over him that Jesus had come to destroy the works of the devil, and that special ‘gnosis' or knowledge in his cult is aimed to empower people to become as God - this is a lie direct from Satan. After a short period of ranting and raving and waving his arms about he took off down the mall and did not return. The crowd applauded him and his anti-biblical stance and many of them left. I preached the gospel one last time and then stood down.
Gnosticism teaches that through special knowledge or ‘gnosis' people can through many lives and building up enough good karma become right with God. Indeed it teaches that by this knowledge you can become a little divinity in your own right. This is a fusion of both an ancient Christian heresy and eastern religions, borrowing heavily from Hindu gurus and Buddhism. This cult leaves people hardened in their belief that they can make their own way to God and will ultimately condemn them because even our best works are far short of God's perfect standard.
At the end of all this chaos a young couple, Peter and his wife Nyieve, came up and encouraged Jim and I to keep on preaching the gospel. Peter is interested in street evangelism and so I gave him our contact details and I hope to see him again soon on the streets.
Praise God that in the midst of such chaos the gospel was preached and many people heard. Pray that God above would raise up more labourers for this field of the harvest and most of all that He would save sinners through the faithful (if weak and seemingly foolish) preaching of the gospel.
This Friday markets were set up in Fargate for the long weekend and this can be good and bad. Good because the markets attract people that we can then share the gospel but also bad because they mean that people tend to keep shopping rather than stop to talk or listen.
Jim and I prayed together, asking God to work in the hearts of people as we preached and spoke to people. After this I stood in the midst of the markets and preached, focusing on the meaning of Jesus' name and his role as saviour of sinners. During this a small crowd gathered and listened, within this crowd Ian stood at the front and after listening for a while he began to ask questions. He was an excellent heckler and would ask his questions clearly and loudly and then give me time to answer him. Ian asked many questions about Christianity and I used the opportunity to expound the nature of God, the reliability of the final revelation given in the bible, the position of man as a sinner before God, the certainty of judgement, and again and again gave the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ alone. This was a fantastic interaction and I thank God that He allowed me to participate in it. Within the crowd there were a few Christians and I was encouraged to see some nodding heads and smiles as I proclaimed our great saviour.
Afterwards I chatted shortly with Ian shortly before heading back to work. He shook my hand and thanked me for sharing the gospel with him! As I was heading away I saw Jim discussing things with a pair of young salesmen and giving them an account of the faith we hold.
We pray that God would intervene more frequently and bring interactions like these more often, praise Him for His goodness and wisdom. In all things may His name be glorified and the Saviour Jesus be loved and sought.
Having the day off I set off for Sheffield to witness with John, the markets were still on and there were many people in town. John and I spent some time in fellowship and prayer before witnessing and having committed the day to the Lord began handing out tracts.
There was also a group of people from the local church doing an outreach, they were having an evangelistic sermon that night and were inviting people to come. After handing out tracts for a period and having a few short conversations I set up the preaching post in the centre of Fargate and John stood to preach the gospel. While John preached a young guy I have spoken with before and a pair of the people from the local church stopped to listen. John did a great job I thought and gave a clear appeal for people to repent and trust in Jesus.
Simon and I spoke afterwards; he and I have talked before and he says that he doesn't want to trust in God just because of fear of judgement. We had quite a long conversation about the two equally true characteristics of God, His mercy and His justice. As he left I gave him a tract and urged him to consider carefully the Love and Justice of God shown clearly in Jesus Christ.
While we were talking John was having a hard conversation with the two church folk. The refrain was heartbreakingly familiar "You're judging people and all they will hear is that God is going to send them to hell....". These two young people have swallowed the pragmatic gospel approach of telling people of God's love and forgiveness only without the Holy and righteous demands of God's law and the need of a radical turning from sin. While this may bring accolades from man it is not in line with the gospel as spelled out in the bible (Rom 3:21-24; Acts 17:30-31; Acts 26:20 and many others). They left after condescendingly telling us that they would pray that God would send His Holy Spirit to us (all believers have Him in them dear reader!). We pray that these people would look more closely at our motives and at the bible. We win no accolades for preaching a gospel of repentance and faith, but we do it in obedience to the word of God.
I preached next on the free offer of God to take the heavy burden of sin from us and give us life eternal. Pointing people to the saviour and away from the temporary pleasures of sin in this world I pleaded that people would stop in their current march towards hell.
After lunch we gave out some further tracts and I had some good conversations. Please keep Juanosh in your prayers as he is considering the evidences for the bible and struggling with the contrasts between what God's word says and what the world says. During our conversation today he had been in church before and had not been able to believe. I asked if he had genuinely repented of sin and trusted in the saviour, no was the reply. I pointed him to the impossibility of having relationship with someone if you will not stop doing the things that they hate. Please continue to appeal to God to work among the emo's and goth's of Sheffield, I had a great conversation with a young emo guy and despite the attempts of his friends to stop the conversation he heard the whole gospel.
With this I headed for home and pray that God will use this work.
(Report submitted by David Gee. Photo's edited and published by Josh Mitchell).
The night started off pretty slow with no hecklers wanting to speak for about the first hour. Or for the ones that did want to speak, their microphones were not working. However there was still a lot of people in the listening area.
Josh Williamson had a conversation with an American who believed in the theory of evolution. Josh showed why it is not a scientific fact, but rather just another belief because the evidence supporting it is non-existent.
Our second heckler was a Hindu man who said he believed in millions of gods. He then went on to say that god is in everything (panentheism). So then I asked him, "If there are millions of gods, which god is in everything?" He then said, "Oh there is only one god." The fellow then explained that he thought that a person gets reincarnated seven times then they will either be sent to Heaven or Hell. So I asked him where he thinks he's going to go. He wasn't sure, so I went onto the law and the gospel with Him.
Josh had a chat with a man who had questions about the trinity. He made the assertion that the Bible does not contain the doctrine of the trinity in it. The guy was mixing up what he believed - one sentence he would be a modalist (Father, Son, Holy Spirit are all same person), next sentence he was denying that Jesus is God, and the next sentence he would hold to the Biblical view. Josh cleared up the issue with him explaining what the Bible says about who God is - three distinct persons yet one in essence.
It was another good night overall in which the gospel was preached to 115 listeners.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!