It was a beautiful Spring day as we made our way to King George Square in Brisbane. As usual there were crowds of people sitting around or moving from place to place.
I began to hand out tracts and almost instantly I had a lady stop to talk. This lady is from Eastern Europe and believed that she knew God as she is a good person. We chatted about how there is none good, but she kept insisting that she was. I then asked her, "If you can get to Heaven by being good, then why did Jesus have to die?"
The lady looked at me and said, "He died for our sins." I quickly replied, "Does that mean you have sinned?" It was at that moment the penny dropped. She realised that she wasn't a good person and needed forgiveness. I urged her to trust in Christ, to which she said she would. Please pray for her.
After this I had another conversation, this time with a man who thought he was right with God because of laminin (which makes the shape of a cross). No matter what I said he kept falling back onto the superstitious nonsense that these laminin crosses would somehow save him. Please pray he'll see the truth.
The rest of our time was spent handing out tracts and sharing with people. Over the course of three hours we handed out over 500 tracts.
May the Lord Jesus save sinners!
Many of the usual Brisbane City team members are off on a short term mission in another country and as a result the team was expecting to be smaller on Saturday night. To our great surprise, a whole twelve members made it out and many gospel conversations were had!
Two exciting chats came from eight teenage boys who were walking past. Two team members engaged with them, splitting them into two groups of four.
After not very long, only one young man was left talking to each team member and the rest were waiting in a group. The first young man was named Jack and the other Jacob. The conversation will Jack began a little shaky. He started by being silly.
Jack seemed not too interested by the way he was engaging to begin with but by the end it was clear that Jack wasn't just playing around, His eternity was at stake it was obviously important to him.
What seemed different was that his questions unlike the "usual" mocker or joker, seemed to have much deeper roots than just a desire to ask hard questions.
Jack originally asked about other religions and whether or not they would be going to Heaven. He was given the answer that, everyone is a rebel against God's and hasn't been saved by Jesus Christ will have the same fate, Hell. He pryed a bit deeper, so what about the Jews and the Muslims? And again the Gospel was stressed, salvation is only found in Jesus Christ, He is the ONLY hope.
Jack then moved through a range of other topics. Each answer played its part in filling out the picture of God's ABSOLUTE sovereignty, the problem of sin, caused by human pride and selfishness, the fallen state of humanity and this world. Throughout the discussion regarding each an every topic raised another piece about what God has revealed about Himself and humanity.
This left Jack to his final question, what about people that die from cancer? Tell me everything Christians think about that? Why do people get cancer?
The response was simple, cancer only exists as a product of human rebellion. It is only because this world is fallen that cancer exists. People can get cancer for a range of reasons, for Christians, God uses suffering to bring about their likeness to Jesus Christ, teaching them to trust God more fully (Romans 8:28-29). For non-Christians cancer may be a product of God's judgement (but one should be very hesitate to declare such) or more likely it could be God's call to show people that they aren't in control and call them to turn to Him.
The conversation seemed to be coming to a natural end, with one final reminder of the Gospel. One last question was posed to Jack, "What is stopping you from trusting in Jesus now?"
It was at this moment Jack opened up, he finally felt safe enough to share, "My father died from cancer four months ago and it has put my life on hold. I am sort of waiting to try and sort it all out before I consider God. What do you think about that?"
For a moment, the conversation was halted by the weight of the event that had occured but this answer was given, "God is active in the work of restoring this world and the people in it from the effects of sin. He is the only one who can mend our sin and its effects. He also is the only one that can give real hope of a better future. To say that you can sort out this issue then turn to God is to both, reject the best helper you can have and also to arrogantly declare that you think you're better than God at fixing the effects of sin.
Jack paused and in light of all the conversation that had occured, he said, "I understand". He and his friends hung around for another few minutes or so and he was incredibly greatful in his affections and comments about the conversation that had taken place.
Please keep Jack in your prayers, God is in the business of saving sinners, even those whose life has been overcome with the grief of a lost loved one.
Please pray for the many other people that were engaged with from Rick a man who was scared of eternity, Paul a works righteousness Jew and Chris who wasn't very serious about eternal matters.
We headed into Brisbane city last night to share the good news of Christ. A real highlight was to see many team members who often struggle to engage in conversations, talking with people for extended periods of time about who God is and what He has done to save sinners!
One specific conversation was with Yuri and Michael, these two professed to be agnostic and atheistic but neither of them were that by study, rather had just ended up there as a product of upbringing and society.
Yuri seemed very interested to hear and understand, asking many questions about Christianity. When the selfishness of the human heart was raised, Michael was in complete agreement. He openly admitted that he is desperately selfish and that it is an issue. Yuri on the other hand was less willing to admit that but later in the conversation was explaining to Michael that the Christian scriptures are true history and some of the best records of history known to man.
It was very interesting to see the different areas they both had of disagreement with the truth. What was so surprising was how interested they were. The conversation took over an hour and it turned out they were actually going to be late to a birthday party and were still keen to talk about God.
By the end, they understood how Jesus saves, that Jesus takes the penalty for sin and offers His perfection to all those who acknowledge they are sinners and turn and trust in Him. This was probably the most surprising part of the conversation for Yuri and Michael, as they had some Catholic background and believed it was all about being good.
Please pray that this young couple (and the others who heard the gospel last night) will understand the good news, repent and believe.
Finally, please consider stepping out of your comfort zone to join us in this exciting ministry of proclaiming Christ. Outreach details here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
On Saturday night, as soon as we arrived in Brisbane city and began setting up the free Bibles table, a man came over and asked what the table was all about. He said that he goes to the Revival Centres Church. I had spoken to people from that church before and I knew that they were a cult in that they have departed from standard Christian teaching.
So I asked him what he believes a person must do to be saved. He said that full immersion in water (baptism) is absolutely necessary for someone to get their sins forgiven, and that a person then must speak in tongues.
I decided to point him to Ephesians 2:8-9 which describes that salvation is a free gift which is received by grace through faith alone - not based on any works. And if we add any works as a requirement in order to be saved, it would mean we are trying to earn our forgiveness.
I also explained how in Galatians 1, the Apostle Paul says that if anyone preaches to you another gospel, let that person be eternal condemned. And why did he say that? Because there were some people in that church teaching that a person must believe in Christ and be circumcised to be saved, and Paul says that that is a false gospel. In the same way, if a person teaches that a person must be baptised to be saved, that is a false gospel which will not save anyone.
This man admitted, "I have never really read the Bible much before", even though he has been in this 'church' for some 30 years. He said, "But my feelings tell me that what they are teaching is true". I cautioned him about how feelings are never the test for truth, as they can change based on whether we are healthy or sick, hungry or full, and instead we should check everything with the Bible to know whether it is true or not.
He agreed, and was thankful for the chat and said he would read the passages I recommended for him to read, including Romans 3 to 5 where Paul thoroughly explains how we are justified by faith alone and not by any works.
The rest of the night, there were further encouragements, with God bringing in 4 new labourers on the team. We had about 12 of us altogether, and the team mentioned that they had some fruitful conversations.
God is always so kind, to Him be the glory!
It was a beautiful and hot Brisbane day as we headed out to share the gospel in King George Square. We had a team of 7 and our mission was to make the most of the public holiday in order to proclaim Christ.
One early conversation was with an atheistic Muslim (I'll just let that sink in for a moment). This man argued that there is no God, and that Jesus didn't die on the cross... BUT... Allah will judge me and the Quran is true (try to work that out). It was clear that this Muslim man had researched his arguments, and he tried to make a case for the corruption of the Bible. I countered his claims by appealing to history, and even to Islamic theology. He seemed to be a bit shocked as I explained my case, and then presented the gospel to him. Yet, despite all that the man walked off saying Allah will judge me.
Shortly after this, I looked up and saw a man standing near us wearing a bright orange shirt, and holding up a sign. The sign promised that the end of the world was coming on 23 September 2017. I engaged him in conversation, and asked him how did he know that he was correct. The man replied by saying he learnt it from an American TV preacher, and that Revelation confirmed all this. We chatted for sometime, and the man conceded that he may be wrong, but at least people are repenting at the thought of judgement.
I stressed to this man the importance of being truthful in all our evangelism, as if we lie to people then they won't blame us, but rather they will blaspheme God (Romans 2) and not believe the Bible. No matter what I said, he kept saying that people needed to be warned about the coming rapture, microchips and the beginning of judgement on 21 August, and the final judgement on 23 September. He moved on after our discussion which was a blessing.
We get to see some really strange things on the street. Not only did we have a man declaring the end of the world, we then had two Christians stop who wanted to argue. One of them was wearing a hat saying, "The Earth is Flat!" Guess what he wanted to talk about! It turns out that these two young men were dispensational, conspiracy theorist, flat-earth believers. Everything was a grand scam to deceive the masses. Science, dinosaurs, people who believed the world is a sphere etc. were all considered 'friends of the world.' I tried to reason with them, and stressed to them the gospel.
They eventually admitted that those who hold to a round earth can be saved, and that salvation isn't by believing in a flat earth. It was clear they were looking to argue, so I bid them a good day and continued witnessing. It was shaping up to be an 'interesting' afternoon.
Finally, I had a heartbreaking conversation with an elderly man named Ken. This conversation was started by a lady named Ivy who attends the same church as I do. Ken is eighty years old, and a bit of a larrikin. He was a pleasure to speak to, but his rejection of Christ was truly sad. We presented the gospel to him, but he kept finding some excuse to reject Jesus. We shared with him plainly and encouraged him to read the Bible. He did agree to go home and read Isaiah 53. Please pray the Lord would speak to Him.
Even though conversations with people like Ken can be heart breaking, I take hope from the promise of Jesus in John 10:27-28, when Christ says that those who are sheep will hear His voice, and be given eternal life. I cannot save anyone, but I witness with the confidence that those whom Jesus calls sheep will come to faith.
Please pray for everyone we met today. May Christ bring many into His Kingdom. SDG!
Tonight the team had the privilege of serving their Saviour in bearing witness to Him in Queen St Mall, Brisbane.
The team interacted with quite a number of other Christians who were meandering through the mall on their Saturday night. It was a real encouragement to the team to have these Christians encourage them to press on and many of them said they were keen to consider sharing the gospel with people as they returned to their homes.
One person on the team got up to preach with the sketchboard and spoke about how humanity in an attempt to find true freedom, rejected the freedom they were given and replaced it with the illusion that we are in control. It was explained that this rejection of God and His design for us, earned us Hell but that God in His immense love, gave up His freedom and willingly became a servant, to suffer a cross kind of death, that we could have freedom from sin and judgement.
When the sermonette had finished a young man named Alex from the United Kingdom, who was in Brisbane for 1 day, came up to a team member to discuss about the Bible.
Alex had grown up in a Christian home, had studied Theology and Philosophy but as a result sat in the unknown. He wasn't sure he could trust the Bible and yet couldn't really argue against it.
He had many ideas and thoughts and a whole host of questions. As the conversation drew to a close Alex seemed less against God and more willing to submit to God's truth. So we suggested a local Church he could attend that was only 200m away from where he was staying the night. While explaining the service times, the pastor of that very church walked by.
The pastor and Alex were introduced to each other, which seems like God's sense of humour played out in providence. This was quite an exciting moment and the conversation continued a little after that.
Please pray that Alex would attend church tomorrow and that God by His Spirit will speak through His exposition of the Word, the very words of God, that Alex may for the first time understand the gospel and come to a surrendered faith in Christ. Please pray also for the many other people who the team had the pleasure to speak with about Christ and His saving work!
The gospel was proclaimed on Saturday night in Brisbane city by the team of about 10 people that showed up. Through the preaching, listeners were asked whether they thought they were a good person, but unfortunately no one is since we have all sinned, and therefore that is why we all need the forgiveness available only through faith in Christ.
It was great to see the team engage in many gospel conversations, including two new people on the team who have never evangelised on the street before. They stepped out of their comfort zones to share the gospel with people.
I think this principle holds true: The amount a person will enjoy coming out evangelising will depend on how much they are prepared to step out of their comfort zone. If a person doesn't really want to do that, they'll find evangelising maybe a bit boring. But when we ask God for courage and then step out of our comfort zone to approach people and strike up a conversation about eternal matters, it won't be long before we are in a gospel conversation with someone, and it is so exciting! We will go home rejoicing at the end of the day!
And even for those of us who have evangelised for years, we still need to each time ask God for help for boldness. And when we step out in faith, God blesses our efforts for His glory.
We encourage you to come along to one of our outreach teams, details are listed here: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
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 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!
On Saturday night for our Brisbane city outreach, we were blessed to be joined by students from a local Bible college who wanted to get a bit of experience doing evangelism. We encouraged them each to tag along with a more experienced team member, so they could get a bit of feel for how it is done. And it was great to see a good number of them throughout the night get out of their comfort zone to share the gospel with the lost.
During the open air preaching, God drew in people to listen and watch as the gospel was also illustrated on the sketchboard. This also lead to a bit of interaction with a number of people in the crowd, as they were run through the good person test. And once the preaching concluded, it was a joy to see lots of gospel conversations being had with some of the people who had been listening.
One conversation the team had was with a man named Leo who had no idea on how to get to Heaven, but after hearing about sin, the coming Judgement and the cross, he said, "Oh that makes sense!" He said that he wanted to that day trust in Christ. Please pray he counts the cost.
To God be all the glory!