On Friday evening we were back at Leicester Square to preach the gospel to the people of London. The previous Friday we'd had some trouble with one of the artists who trades in front of the railing that runs along the promenade of where we meet to minister. I was a little anxious as I was not sure what the response would be like this week. We've been going to Leicester Square now for well over six months and so we do feel settled and of course keen to stay. I believe it to be a great venue for the ministry we do. As it turned out my fears were justified. Our disgruntled artist was certainly out to make his displeasure felt. Each artist has a temporary license they pay that allows them to trade in a specific spot of the promenade. It is a marked out spot that they can use. I made the point that we were not trading, consequently we did not need a license as did the artists. The complaint against us centered on the idea that we would infringe upon his spot with the crowd that we would undoubtedly gather. I certainly do not boast in our ability to do this, in fact I can't help thinking how amazing it is that we are able to do this week in week out. I can only say that God is our provider and that He is the one who is drawing the people for us.
If you read my report from last week you would have noticed that I had to stop preaching due to some rather aggressive Muslim men. The crowd had grown large and it did in fact spill over to the area next to us. Even though this was an unusual case and influenced by some aggressive Muslims, we were conscious of the fact that our artist friend did have his business to run. Consequently we moved over as far as we could. However this did not seem to appease him and it was starting to become clear to me that he simply did not want us there, preaching something he did not want to hear in an area that he believes is reserved for artists only. We were in a bit of a quandary as to what we should do and spent at least half an hour or so debating amongst ourselves as to our course of action. I was becoming rather frustrated as I could see that time was escaping us. In the end we decided that I would still preach and should the crowd behave the way it had the previous week I would move even further to the left. So after spending some time in prayer I stood up to preach. Phil kindly manned the table we had laid out that was loaded with tracts and free Bibles. I have to confess that it took me a while to get going as I was feeling a little unsettled. God was good to us though and before long we drew in a crowd. My first hecklers were some young teenagers who stood nearby and threw a number of questions at me. They defended the idea that they were good people and so I took them through the commandments to show them that they were in fact sinners in the hands of an angry God. A young girl who was with them, and had picked up a Bible (you can see her holding it in the picture above), became quite passionate when she heard me say that God sent His only Son to die in the place of sinners. It was rather interesting because prior to her saying that I had explained to her that since God cannot justify the wicked (according to His own law - Proverbs 17:15), our predicament is grave indeed. If we, being wicked, cannot be justified by God because of our wickedness, what hope do we have of being justified before Him? How can we be justified?! I put this question to her, and you know what? She came back with the right answer! Someone would have to pay the penalty for us. And so that is what led me to explaining to her what God has done for sinners by sending His own to Son to die on the cross. She questioned how a loving God could possibly allow His own Son to die in the place of others. I explained to her that Christ came to this earth willingly and that He also went to the cross willingly (John 10:17-18). Christ knew that He would rise again, since it would not be possible for death to keep a hold of Him (Acts 2:24).
As time progressed our crowd did become larger and so I moved further to the left. A young Australian man started to heckle me and we became locked in a debate concerning creation verses evolution. He was actually enjoying himself and it was obvious that he wanted to have a good old banter. He was the perfect heckler because he kept the crowd and I could see that he was not the sought to take things too far. I kept him hooked by throwing some humour back at him, saying things like, "Come on man, use your head, there must be a God!"
Later on after I had finished preaching Andrew Noble got into a good one-to-one conversation with him. Andrew is also from Australia so I thought it was just perfect that the two of them got talking. As I carried on preaching a lady from the crowd asked me why women have ended up with such a raw deal in that they have to go through such pain in child birth. She understood that it was because of Eve's sin but still felt it was a raw deal. I thought for a minute and then simply said to her, "Ma'am that is something you will have take up with God." The answer was not what she expected and it was clear that she was at a loss as to how to respond.
Shortly after I got talking with a Muslim lady, who called herself Faith. She also had some Muslim friends with her. I explained to her why Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). She said that she respected other religions but wanted to make the point that Islam makes more sense than Christianity, due largely in part to their belief that God is not Trinitarian. I explained to her that God has revealed Himself in His Word as one in essence, three in person, and that settles it. This got us talking about the veracity of the Bible. I gave a solid defence for the Bible and showed them how it is far more authenticate that any other book in all of antiquity. Carl had one of his placards that showed how science confirms the Bible, since we can find many scientific facts in its pages. I got a lot of scoffs at this point and a lot of unreasonable objections. I responded by pleading with them to be reasonable and to listen to what I had to say. It was at this point that I got pulled aside by a police officer who warned me that religious debate can lead to a breach of the peace. I responded by saying I understood but that no breach of the peace had yet occurred, and I also pointed out that political marches and campaigns have as much potential to cause a breach of the peace as does the discussion of religion. I got back up to preach and addressed the crowd with a final plea for them to turn to Christ to escape the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). I had preached for well over an hour and addressed a number of questions and topics. The gospel had been clearly preached and so I was very grateful to the Lord.
Coming down from my ladder a young man approached me and asked if I had a copy of the scientific facts in the Bible that I had shown whilst preaching. Carl had some in a tract format so it was great to be able to give him the resource. I then got talking with him for about half an hour or so. It turned out that his Dad is a pastor and so he had a fair amount of Bible knowledge, even though he professed to be an agnostic. I reasoned with him from the stance of creation and conscience and then took him through the law and the gospel. At the end of the conversation all I could do was to plead with him, that he think carefully about his sin, how his sin condemned him to hell, and that he should flee to the Saviour, not simply to escape the terrors of hell, but ultimately because Jesus had been so kind to save sinners just like him from hell (Romans 2:4).
Andrew Blake, Carl, Andrew Noble and Philip were busy too, talking with people and handing out tracts. Philip has kindly written a short report of some of the opportunities he had for the evening...
I was manning the "Free Bibles" table. While Rob was preaching, several people came up to ask for New Testaments. A man known as "Mac" took a New Testament to read and asked for prayer so I prayed with him. Another man came up and asked for a Bible. He said he'd read some of the Bible already and I was able to encourage him to read more of God's word to him so that he could get to know God better.
After Rob had finished preaching after being interrupted by a keen policeman, I got talking to a lady who'd been in the crowd and was sticking up for Rob. She is a Roman Catholic and although she liked to talk, I was able to rehearse with her what Rob had been preaching on i.e. the Law and God's gift of Grace in sending Christ Jesus. I don't know how much was being taken in, but I encouraged her to trust in what Jesus had done alone, and not to put any faith in her own works which are like filthy rags before God. God being holy cannot accept anything that is tainted with sin, even the best of our works are not acceptable to Him outside of what Christ already did in dying on the cross for those who will repent and put their trust in this very work He did for them.
It truly was a great evening. Our artist friend was still complaining to the police at the end of it all, but praise God, they were on our side and told him plainly that we had a right to stand there and preach.
Please pray for all those who heard the gospel, as well those who took tracts and Bibles.
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Friday night the team met up once more at Leicester Square for another night of ministry. Carl, Philip, Andrew Noble, my brother James, Andrew and I came together in prayer and looked forward to an evening of ministry. Leicester Square was full to the brim with people, just the way we like it!
After setting up our table with gospel tracts and free Bible I stood up to preach. It wasn't long before we brought in a crowd. Carl had a number of laminated cards that he had made up, that showed things like the scientific facts we see in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, fulfilled prophecies, etc. He stood next to me whilst I preached so that I could use them during my message. As I continued to preach the crowd got larger and before long I was being heckled by a number of Muslim men. I refuted their arguments and answered their question; unfortunately they were not best pleased and became quite aggressive. Carl could tell that they were starting to make approaches towards me and so tried to keep a perimeter in front of them and me. This was not working and I was actually more concerned for Carl than I was for myself! Being elevated serves two purposes. It causes people to stop and listen and it is also offers a form of protection.
I had preached for less than twenty minutes when I stepped down. It was frustrating but we were getting nowhere fast. There were people in the crowd who wanted to listen but our Muslim hecklers were not interested in listening at all. It is worth noting how aggressive Muslims can get, and I believe this is due largely to the fact that Islam is a religion steeped in militant teaching. Not all Muslim people that I speak to are this way mind you. Before I had stepped down, Christians from a ministry called "John 3:7" had arrived. One Christian gentleman in particular was very supportive of my preaching and when I stepped down began engaging with many of the Muslims. I also discovered later from the team that a man from the crowd, who was not a Christian, had been prepared to come to my defence, had things turned south. Praise the Lord!
As soon as I was down I made my way over to a young couple who I noticed had been listening to my message. I got talking with Mark and his girlfriend Danielle and we spoke for about an hour. We covered much as they had many questions. One particular question they asked was centred on knowing which religion was the right one. This allowed me to comprehensively share the whole counsel of God with them so that they could see that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). They took a Bible to share and some tracts and we also exchanged contact details. I have since written them an email and so do pray that they would write back so that we can continue where we left off.
We left about 11:30pm, which is more or less the time we need to leave as we have to catch the tube home. It had been a somewhat frustrating evening, however many tracts had gone out and I was particularly grateful to the Lord for the conversation I'd had with Mark and Danielle. Do pray for them. After talking it through we have decided to cut back our ministry on the Saturday at Tooting Broadway to once every two weeks. This is simply down to the practicalities of life I'm afraid. As it happened I was contacted about a week ago by a man named Michael who attends a Calvary Chapel church in London. Every year his church does an outreach at the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival involves marches and parades and so forth. There is always loud music and much food and drink. There is also a great deal of lasciviousness that goes on and so I have avoided it for obvious reasons. However, there are simply thousands and thousands of people who attend and so there is no better place to go if you're looking for people to witness to. My only gripe is that the music is incredibly loud and so it can be somewhat of an obstacle when talking to someone. I had been contacted after Michael had seen my blog. He wanted to know whether my team and I could attend their outreach to give a helping hand. Of course I was quite willing to do so, and so Carl, my brother James and I headed up there Saturday afternoon. The area they use is the same each year and has come to be known as "The God Corner." During our time there we spoke with as many people as we could. The music was quite deafening so we did our best! Michael and those from his church were handing out tracts and talking with people as well. In addition his church had set up a stage and where they had performers who rapped and sang Christian songs. It was certainly different to what I am used to.
I was asked to come up on stage to deliver a gospel message, and so I preached a solid gospel message for about twenty minutes or so. I did not offer an alter call but urged those who did not know the Lord to come to Him in repentance and faith. Please pray that the seed fell on good soil. So in the end a packed weekend of ministry. Praise the Lord that we are privileged to serve Him by sharing the gospel with others.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Report for 15th August & 16th August
On Friday evening the team was back to preaching the gospel at Leicester Square. I was particularly excited as we were due some new faces. Andrew Noble had contacted me via the Operation 513 website, keen to join up with some people to go witnessing with. Ivan and Benjamin, two young men from Denmark, had been directed to the Operation 513 website through listening to Way of the Master Radio. This was their first time to England and even though they had come for a brief holiday they were dead set on coming out to evangelise with us. Arriving at Tooting Broadway around 8:30pm, I met up with Carl, Ivan and Benjamin, and the four of us hopped on the first tube we could get.
We arrived at Leicester Square a little later than we would have liked, having missed our connection. We linked up with Andrew and my brother James and made our way over to one of our commonly used spots. It wasn't until after 9:30pm that we had opened in prayer and were ready to start ministering. Earlier in the day I had bought a fold-up table from a D.I.Y. store. This little table folds up a real treat, which allows you to carry it very conveniently in a small bag. We placed a good number of tracts and Bibles on the table for people to take away free.
When I was happy all was ready I stood up to preach. We were blessed in the fact that there were a number of Christians from another church who were in the square singing choruses. When they saw our table full of tracts and Bibles and heard that I was about to preach open air they formed a crowd in anticipation. This is always helpful because people draw people. During my message I did a call out to a young man named Prince, and taking him through the law, showed him his need of a Saviour. I was of course careful to put the same message over to the rest of the crowd. I was getting plenty of Amen's from the Christians in the crowd, which is all good and well, but we are out to preach to the unsaved and so I was pleased that a good number of people stopped to listen.
After I had come down from preaching the team set about speaking to people who had been listening. Carl and Andrew got into a conversation with some Muslims that had been listening whilst I preached; Ivan and Benjamin set about handing out tracts to as many people as they could and my brother got into some conversation as well. I managed to get into a number of one-to-one conversations. I spoke with a man from Italy, who had been brought up Catholic. He held the belief that the Bible is not the final authority and that there is latitude to believe whatever you want to believe when it comes to spiritual things. Our conversation was quite brief and so I did not get much of a chance to speak to him in depth. He did, however, take an in-depth gospel tract. It struck me that I have yet to meet a person, who having grown up Catholic, is of the mind that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. The next people I got to speak with were two young Muslim guys. I was able to share the whole counsel of God with them and take contact details so that I can contact them again. They in turn took my contact details. We had a good chat and I was grateful that they listened to what I had to say without throwing up a wall.
By the time it was ready to go only a few Bibles were left. Many of the tracts had gone too. I was careful to hand out Why Christianity? tracts to the Muslims I spoke with, as they are very good at showing why Christianity offers what no other religion can offer. They show that Christianity is the answer. It was a great night and we were all quite encouraged by the time we left. Andrew said that he would be back next week and the Danish lads were beaming too!
Carl and Andrew witness to some Muslim men...
James witnesses to some young men...
Saturday morning came around and we were back at Tooting Broadway. We arrived at 11:30am. The first thing I noticed is that there were some people standing where we normally stand, handing out some literature. At first I thought they might be Christians but when I approached them I discovered they were in fact Jehovah Witnesses! I wanted to get up and preach as quickly as possible so that they would hear the gospel, however as we were setting up they left. It was interesting that the literature they had was in Tamul, which is an Indian language. Tooting Broadway does have many Indian people so I can only think it was done for that reason.
Watchtower magazines in Tamul. Incredible.
I spent some time preaching the gospel open air. As is normal with Tooting Broadway I did not get much of a crowd, however, people would have heard the gospel as they were passing and we also managed to hand out many tracts to people as well. Ivan and Benjamin joined us for a second time and Phil was with us too. As we were all handing out tracts, etc, I got the opportunity to speak with Assad and his friends. Click on this link to listen to the audio of that conversation.
As you will discover Assad is a Muslim, as were the majority of his friends. There were I think five of them in total. It seems that I cannot avoid speaking with Muslims these days; they certainly are popping up wherever I go! The more I speak with them the more I learn what I should be saying and the more my desire increases to see them saved. Islam certainly is on the rise and so we need to be about the business of reaching out to them in love with the truth of the Gospel.
Praise God for a great weekend of ministry. It was an encouraging time.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Editors Note: London Team Leader joined with Sheffield Team this weekend!
Recently I had the great pleasure of joining fellow partners of Operation 513, as well as those who network with us. It was an amazing day. The day began early and finished late, and coupled with the heat it meant that by the time we left we were all very, very tired. Was it all worth it? You bet it was! I had the great pleasure in talking with a young man who made a profession of faith in Christ. If you would like to listen to the audio of that conversation simply click on this link. You can also listen to an audio of me preaching open air by clicking on this link. Below are some great pictures from the day.
John Steele draws in a crowd
Jim Gourlay preaching
People came and took free Bibles and tracts from the table we had set up.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Editors Note: Read the Sheffield Report, for a longer, more in depth report! JM
Leicester Square and Tooting Broadway (11th-12th July)
Friday night began at Leicester Square with Carl, Philip and I. Carl had brought his friend Duncan along to listen to me preach. Duncan is yet to become a believer and Carl, who has know him for some time now, is of course eager to see him saved. The weather was simply awful so we were a bit low on numbers. Our hope was that the Lord would hold back the rain long enough that we could have a good night of ministry. And that He did! After handing out tracts and talking with people one-to-one for a short while I stood up to preach. The rain had dissipated and I could see we had a window of opportunity.
Standing up to preach I drew in a small crowd. About five minutes into my message I began to be heckled by two young gentlemen whose names were David and John. It was interesting to note the difference between them. John genuinely wanted to ask questions whereas David simply wanted to be argumentative and disruptive. There were times when John asked David to be quiet so that he could ask his question!! When it comes to God, the Bible, Christianity, etc, England's society is largely ignorant. They no longer have much of a foundation at all. This was apparent with the questions that John was asking me. He wanted to know when man first started to believe in God, as if God was some "invented" concept. I explained to him that man has always believed in God and there has always been a remnant that has remained faithful to Him. It is because we are born at enmity with God that we wilfully choose to forget Him. It is purely down to the grace of God that we are called out of our rebellion to serve Him with our lives.
As I continued to preach a number of people stopped to listen. You can never underestimate the power of a good heckler and David and John were certainly a great help in drawing in the crowd. It would have been nice to speak with the both of them one-on-one, unfortunately they left before I finished preaching. I continued to speak with the people of the area in one-to-one conversations after I had finished preaching. Carl and Phil were doing the same. We left a little after 11:00pm thanking the Lord that we had been able to minister on a night with such poor weather.
The following morning at Tooting Broadway we arrived to see Christians from another church that had come to do a series of dramas. They were using sound systems and varying equipment as well. It was a little strange as there were so many Christians from their church in the small square outside the tube station. It was not possible for me to preach open air so we spent the rest of the time handing out tracts and speaking to people one-to-one.
We'd had a fruitful weekend of ministry. A bit wet and a bit different but still used by our Lord for His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Events of late have limited our time spent on the street, however this past Saturday we were back at Tooting Broadway to preach the gospel. Philip and I were joined by Antonio, as well as David, a friend from church.
Before I stood up to preach open-air we spent some time handing out tracts and talking with people. I got talking with a young man named whose name I'm afraid escapes me. I reasoned with him of sin, righteousness and judgment, however he did seem quite indifferent. I must admit it was frustrating. Not everyone I speak to is like this, however having spoken to a vast amount of people these last few years it is clear that although some are completely dismissive, there are those who are willing to listen. This was the case with a young woman I spoke to called Ann.
She was willing to listen and so because of this I was able to share the whole counsel of God with her. She admitted to believing in God, which is an important component for all witnessing encounters. When I stressed to her the importance of knowing where you are going to go when you die I could see that she appreciated the seriousness of this truth.
One of things I always stress when I share the gospel is to do my best to help the person understand their need for a Saviour. It doesn't matter if you are a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, an agnostic, a Hindu, a Mormon, a Jehovah's Witness, a Jew or a Rastafarian; everyone needs a Saviour because everyone has committed the most heinous of crimes. They have denied the One who has made them. They have denied the God who has given them life. They have shunned Him. They have mocked Him. They have abused Him. Why is hell reasonable? Because the punishment fits the crime. But there is good news!! No one has to go to hell. No one. God has sent His Son to suffer and die in the place of sinners so that they can be saved. What they must do is repent (turn from their sin) and trust in what Jesus has done. They must put their hope and trust in Him and in doing so they will be saved. Many people today spend a great deal of energy trying to argue away the existence of hell. They spend a great deal of time trying to prove that a loving God would never send anyone to hell. But God is also just and that is why He must condemn sinners to hell. But again, no one has to go there. Instead of trying to argue away the existence of hell the sinner should simply repent and turn to Jesus, because if they do they will be saved. Anne understood this and she left with knowing the truth as well as a gospel tract to remind her should she forget. Praise God.
Standing up to preach my message was much the same of what I had shared with Anne. Some people stopped to listen and so afterwards Philip and Antonio were able to speak with some of them. Our continued presence at Tooting Broadway is very important I believe. I had to chuckle a few weeks back. My brother went to visit a friend he hasn't seen in quite a while who is over from South Africa and is now living in England. As it so happens I have never had the chance to meet her. She and her family live in Tooting just above the Tube Station. Anyway, during the time my brother spent visiting her he showed her some photos that were on his digital camera. One of them was of me preaching outside Tooting Broadway. As soon as she saw it she said, "Hey, that looks like the guy I see preaching each Saturday when I look outside our window." Breaking into a big grin my brother exclaimed, "Yeah I know, that's my brother!" She happens to be Muslim and my brother has spent much time talking to her about Jesus and the gospel. I think it's quite amazing that she should now be living in a place where she can possibly hear preaching each Saturday.
It was a good night and many got to hear the good new. Please continue to pray that the Lord would continue to use us in Tooting for His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Having met up with Antonio on Friday evening at Tooting Broadway, Phil and I hopped on the tube and headed to Leicester Square. (Antonio stayed behind to hand out tracts to all those coming in and out of the tube station.) We arrived at 8.30pm and immediately met up with Andrew and Virgil. We opened in prayer and spent a short while handing out tracts and talking with people. After about twenty minutes or so I stood up to preach.
At first only a handful of people stopped to listen. People came and went, but then after about fifteen minutes or so a young man by the name of Chris stopped to heckle me. In return I started heckling him (well, not really, I simply engaged in open debate) and in about five minutes the crowd grew from about ten people to about thirty people. Oh the drawing power of a good heckler! Chris openly professed to be a good person and so I took him through the law of God and showed him that just like the rest of us he has fallen short of the glory of God. I reiterated to the crowd the predicament we all in and that we all desperately need a Saviour. This allowed me to expound on the amazing grace of God, fulfilled with the coming of His Son Jesus Christ, who substituted Himself in our place so that we could go free.
At one point a Muslim man began asking me questions about prayer, particularly whether or not God answers our prayers. I told him that there are three responses to our prayer requests: yes, no, or not yet. He had a book on prayer, presumably a Muslim book. He came right up to me and asked me to read a section from it to the crowd. He was quite insistent and at one point I felt rather intimidated. I took stock of the situation and gathered my thoughts as to how I should deal with it. The Lord very graciously helped me to think quickly. I turned to the man and, holding my Bible in my hand, said, "Sir, I am not here to promote that book, I am here to promote this book. If you wish to promote your book then get your own little stepladder and stand here next to me and promote it." At this he went rather quiet and was at a loss as to how to respond. The crowd thought it was very funny and although it was not my intention to embarrass the man it did serve to remove him and win the crowd to me even more. In open air preaching winning the crowd and keeping the crowd is your main task. Your ultimate objective is to preach the gospel so that the people may be won to the Lord.
After I finished preaching I got talking with a Muslim man called Farrukh. He was not aggressive and so that made talking to him much easier. He was, however, loaded with some preposterous notions concerning Christianity and the Bible. He repeatedly attacked the Bible, saying it had been changed and was corrupt. This has become a very common objection that I seem to continually encounter. I will in later posts, provide answers to these objections, evidence that shows the Bible is actually the most authentic book in all of antiquity and that it is not full of error at all. I was able to get Farrukh's email address, so I will be writing to him to show him the overwhelming evidence that supports the veracity of the Bible.
The rest of the team had all been chatting with people and handing out tracts. Open air preaching is wonderful in that after the preacher has finished many one-to-one's can take place. We left a little after 11:00pm. It had been a good night!
Saturday morning came around and once more we took the gospel to the people of tooting. Andrew, Antonio and Barney, Phil and I made up the team. It was great to have Barney with us as he can't always make it, however whenever he's with us he certainly sets to work! After I had preached we all set to talking with people and handing out tracts. I spoke for a short while with a young man named Ian. He'd had a Christian background and certainly had a fair amount of knowledge concerning the Bible. One of the objections he put before me was that the Bible is in affect contradictory because it shows a very different God in the Old Testament compared with how God is presented in the New Testament. I explained to him that this is based very much on the two different covenants we see in the Bible. The Old Covenant, found in the Old Testament, is broken by God's people, and so He makes a new covenant with His people (Jeremiah 31:31-34). "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Ian was quite pleasant to talk to and he seemed willing to listen. He mentioned that he would like to talk some more so I took down his details and told him that I would send him some information to help him with his questions.
We all had a good afternoon talking with the people of Tooting. Barney, in particular, spoke with a number of people and very kindly wrote up a report of those conversations...
I spent 45 minutes talking to an atheist who openly rejoiced in his sin. Initially he was very confrontational, ridiculing Christianity and the Bible. I was forced by his approach to deal with a couple of individual issues he raised (e.g. Adam and Eve as real people), but I was then able to move him on to consider his own sinfulness before the Creator's law and the saving work of Christ. Towards the end, he was much more open to considering the gospel, but still far from Christ and also, sadly, unwilling to meet again.
I spent a while talking to a Muslim student. She gave the standard Muslim objections to the Bible, which I quickly dealt with and then we used the law to discuss our sinfulness in God's sight and the sacrifice of Christ which deals with sin. She was particularly intrigued as I explained that the Old Testament prophets point to sacrifice, as the answer to sin rather than good deeds, something Muslims know nothing of despite animal sacrifices during their festival of Eid. She has agreed to attend a church service with my wife and I, pray that she does.
I spent some time talking to a group of 6 Muslim teenagers. After talking about our failure to meet God's standards from the law, I explained that arguing from your good deeds on judgement day would not do any good and gave the example of a normal law court. They agreed that they were therefore likely going to hell, but didn't seem worried as apparently they have been told hell will not be eternal, but rather will be like Catholic purgatory (i.e. paying for sin for a while then heaven afterwards). I will have to research this as no Muslim has given this as an objection to me before. Anyway, I explained that the Bible does teach hell as eternal punishment and (continuing the law court example) that Christ's sacrifice is the payment of our fine.
They were not convinced, but one gave me his email to follow up.
All in all, a great weekend of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!
This past Friday the team began its ministry by meeting together at Tooting Broadway. I arrived before Antonio and Phil and got talking with a young Latvian man named Alex. At times his command of English meant that I had to repeat things more than once, but this was too much of a hindrance. I was able to share the whole counsel of God with him and I could see that he was of the temperament, in that he was willing to listen to what I had to tell him. He particularly liked the Ten Commandment coin tract I gave him. Please pray that the Lord will minister to him through the Word that was sown.
We arrived at Leicester Square a little past 8:30pm and were joined by Virgil. We were few in numbers, which was a little unusual, but we were still looking forward to being used of the Lord for His glory. We were blessed in that there was an opening for us to set up in a spot that I particularly like, namely against the railing, opposite the Empire Theatre. We were not centre but rather over to the left, a good distance from the artists who are stationed in front of the railing. Even so, an artist to our immediate right came up to us protesting that if we preached it would rob her of her business. While it is not my intention to infringe upon a person who is working a business, this particular person was most unreasonable. We were a good distance from where she was sitting. It seems to be an ongoing issue that we face each week and I am not sure what we are going to face each week. Please pray for us that the Lord would continue to keep the door open for us to preach at Leicester Square.
After we prayed we went up speaking with people and handing out tracts. We met with a wonderful couple from Texas who are Christians. They were very supportive when we told them what we were in Leicester Square to do and so they decided to hang around while I ministered the Word. After a little while I stood up to preach. I drew a few hecklers, which caused a small crowd to form. My hecklers were Muslims, and even though they are a challenge in terms of their many objections and the aggressiveness of their approach, they do serve to bring in a crowd. After a little while my small crowd moved on and even though there were only a small few who were now listening I continued to preach. After a little while a new crowd formed and I was most grateful to the Lord for this. I had considered stopping but was glad that I had not.
After I finished preaching we all got to talking with people who had been listening. Even our new friends from Texas were getting involved! I got talking John and Rachel who, although they were together, were quite different in the beliefs. John seemed to be saying that he did not believe in God, even though he could not categorically say that there was no God. Rachel seemed far more open. At one point the conversation turned to evolution. I explained to Rachel that one of the major problems with evolution is the lack of transitional forms found in the fossil record that serves to support the notion that various species of animals have evolved from one form into another. An article on the subject can be found here. Rachel found this piece of information quite interesting and I pray that God will use it to cause her to question things further. After using various apologetics I was able to share the gospel more easily. Leaving them with both an in-depth gospel tract I thanked them for their time. Please pray for them both.
I turned to see both Phil and Virgil in conversation. Virgil was chatting with a young couple, and I found out later that the young man he had spoken with claimed that at one point he was a Christian but felt that he had now lost his salvation because he had so drifted. Virgil rightly explained to him that a true Christian, someone who has truly repented and trusted in Jesus, cannot lose their salvation, since when they become a Christian they become a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. He reiterated the gospel to them both and left them with tracts and his details. Virgil correctly pointed out to this young man that the proof of anyone's conversion is the fruit of repentance in their life. A true Christian continues to live repentant for the rest of his or her life. You may want to view the following video that speaks of the perseverance of the saints. Our perseverance does not secure our salvation. God secures our perseverance.
Before we left to go home I got to speak with a few more people. One in particular was a young man named Alex was is only 15. I was happy to see that he understood the gospel and what he needed to do to be made right with God after I had finished sharing the gospel with him. I also got to share the gospel with three young men from Georgia. They had grown up in the Eastern Orthodox Church and after I had spoken with for a short while they had a works-righteous mindset. I stressed to them that we are justified by faith in Christ (Romans 1:17), and that faith is proved real by the deeds that we do (Acts 26:20). There was a small language barrier and so it is my hope that I was able to communicate to them clearly that they must turn from their own self-righteousness and trust purely in the atoning work of Christ. We left about 11:15pm.
We were not out Saturday because my Mum was down for the weekend. Friday evening had been a good night. May the Lord grant repentance and faith to all those who heard the Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!
As usual Philip and I met up with Antonio on Friday evening for the start of another weekend of ministry. Arriving at Tooting Broadway we set about handing out tracts to the passerby's. After a short while I stood up to preach.
About this time some Christians from another church arrived and began setting up sound equipment for what I expected to be some form of evangelism. While not many people stopped to hear God's word, I could see that my message was an encouragement to these Christians. After I finished preaching I managed to speak with a chap who turned out to be the pastor of their church. Because I believe it to be vital for the church today I spoke with him about the importance of true biblical evangelism; that is, using the law to preach about sin, righteousness and judgment before preaching about grace. I was encouraged to hear that he understood this important principle, as he mentioned he had listened to Hell's Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort.
After saying goodbye to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, and of course Antonio, we hopped on board the tube bound for Leicester Square. Going up and down the carriage in either direction I quickly went about tracting the people on board. If you look left you can see those who are in the middle of reading their tract. When a young girl had finished reading her tract I asked her what she thought. She said that she was going to start reading her Bible when she got home. Too cool!
Arriving at Leicester Square we quickly met up with Carl, Andrew and my brother James. Carl really makes me smile because every time we arrive he is always in a conversation with people, sharing the gospel. He certainly doesn't muck about! The place was heaving, and so after opening in prayer, so we set about handing out tracts and talking with the people. Below you can see a picture of my brother in a conversation with three people. I got talking with a young couple, Page and her boyfriend Carlos. This was a really good conversation, as both Page and Carlos listened intently as I shared the whole counsel of God with them. Page in particular seemed quite moved by the message and when I asked them what they were going to do with what they had heard they both said that they were going to give it some serious thought. Praise God.
During my conversation with Page and Carlos I noticed that there were some other Christians who had arrived for the evening. They were parading up and down the square and some were also preaching, although they used no form of elevation. It's great to see other Christians and while it would have been good to fellowship with them and get to know them, we had a job to do. Stepping up on my ladder I started preaching. I preached just as I have done in previous weeks and yet no crowd seemed to form, which meant no hecklers either. It really was quite strange, given that the place was bustling with so many people.
After I finished preaching a young man arrived with his own little soapbox and stood up to preach. I have met him once before and during that time I was able to chat with him briefly. I don't really know much about him and so it will be good if I can get to talk with him again. In the last few weeks we have also been joined by Paddy and his friend Steven. They carry with them large placards that simply say the words "John 3:7" on them. The idea is that people will approach them and ask them what John 3:7 means. This of course allows you to then share the gospel with them. I admit this is quite a fascinating way of engaging with people. Paddy in particular is very keen on coming alongside us and working with us each Friday evening. I have not approached them about joining our ministry as they are already in their own ministry. Paddy is also very much charismatic in his theology and so there are some things he teaches that I seriously disagree with.
As the young man who had arrived began preaching Carl came running to me and asked me to come and speak with a Muslim gentleman who had some questions. We spoke for at least half an hour and covered a number of topics. One particular issue that we disagreed on pertains to that of original sin. This refers to the fact that we are born sinners. My new Muslim friend, Ali, disagreed and instead said that we are born pure, we simply "lose our way" when Satan tempts us. I explained to him that it is quite evident we are sinners from birth, however he refused to believe that the wrong we did was evidence that we are all born evil. He kept alluding to the good that people do. However it is clear that if we are born pure then it does not square with the fact that we all sin, and that we all begin doing so from a very early age. The Bible clearly teaches that it is because of the Fall that we all inherit the sin of Adam.
After I finished speaking with Ali I noticed that Paddy had stepped up to preach. I listened to his message and was deeply concerned to hear the watered-down version he was preaching. It's going to be tough but I will be speaking to him the next time we meet to tell him that as things stand right now we cannot align ourselves with him. Hopefully he will take on board what I have to say when I share with him concerning the importance of preaching a complete and sound gospel message.
It was now past 11:00pm and so we departed Leicester Square and headed on home. We may not have had a big crowd but we had handed out many tracts and had witnessed to quite a few people. To God alone be the glory.
Saturday came around and it was back to Tooting Broadway. Antonio and Andrew were there to meet both Phil and I. We arrived at 12pm and spent the first part of the afternoon talking with people one-to-one and handing out tracts. After a little while I stood up to preach. We continue to get few people who stop to listen at Tooting Broadway but I believe that this can change. You never know what impact the gospel is having as the people of the area continue to hear the message week after week. When God commissioned Ezekiel he said to him, "And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 2:7).
Later that afternoon I met with two Mormon missionaries. Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is a heretical offshoot of Christianity. I met with them because they had first approached me a few weeks back and had given me some of their literature. As we talked we spoke about their beliefs and how they differ with orthodox Christianity. They believe that their "version" of the gospel is the restoration of the gospel, but this simply is not the case. The Book of Mormon, for example, conflicts with the teaching of the Bible. The following link will show you the major difference between the Christian gospel and the Mormon gospel. I did not get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked as they had to leave quite early. I did ask them if I could meet with them again and they said yes. I do hope this will happen and I ask you to join with me in prayer that it would.
We had met in McDonalds and so there were a number of people sat around us as we had been talking. As I was getting ready to leave a young girl who was sat nearby spoke up and said that she had been listening to the conversation. Quickly I sat down next to her and asked her what she thought. It turns out that her Mum is a Mormon; however she claimed to not be religious, although she did believe in God. I spoke with her for at least twenty minutes and shared the whole counsel of God with her. When I had finished she said that it made sense and that she knew what she needed to do in order to be reconciled to God. She seemed quite convicted as well and so I urged her to get right with God whilst there is still time. She said that she would certainly be giving it careful thought. Her name is Elizabeth. Please pray that God would grant her repentance and that He would bring her to the knowledge of the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Friday night the team came together once more for another weekend of ministry. Arriving at Leicester Square a little later than usual, myself and Philip were met by Carl, Virgil and Andrew. It wasn't until about 9:30pm that we had grouped together before praying for the evening. Due to the events of the previous Friday we debated amongst ourselves as to what would be the best location for us to use, that would be compliant for the authorities. We decided to stand against the railing, to the right of the artists. We concluded that there was sufficient space between them and us. We did not know how things would go, but we had prayed and were trusting in the Lord. Before stepping up to preach Phil pointed to the other side of the square where some form of entertainment had drawn in a large crowd. It was interesting to note that the police had not stepped in to break up the crowd like they had done with us.
After stepping up to preach I drew in a reasonable size crowd. There has been much in the news lately concerning the events in China and Burma. The question of why there is suffering in the world is a common objection that is often thrown at Christianity, so I decided to begin by talking about why we have suffering in the world. I explained that suffering and sin cannot be separated; it is because sin has come into the world that we have disease and suffering and crime, etc. I must admit that the crowd I had was fairly placid compared to recent weeks. After opening up the law of God to make clear the standard of God's justice I did a call out to a man named Julio. I asked him if he would be deserving of heaven or hell, after being found guilty of breaking God's law. I reasoned with him that if God's standards are higher than human standards would it not make sense that God must punish sin, especially when you consider that according to our own laws, a guilty criminal would not be allowed to go free. I never really got a straight answer from him and it was made a little trickier when his friend George also added his comments. They were trying to say that you cannot compare our justice system with that of God's justice system, but I explained that it is only because we are created in the image of God that we have laws in the first place. Our sense of morality comes from God. I continued to explain why we are all deserving of God's punishment and that without a Saviour there is no hope for anybody. This allowed me to explain why Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, since a substitute for our sins can be found no where else, except in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Towards the end of my preach, I spoke of the certainty of death and that we must consider the value of our soul in preparation of where we will spend eternity. At this point a man cried out, "I'm a sinner! I love death!" To this I replied, "Does that mean you would like to die right now?" I never heard another word out of him after that. After coming down from my ladder I was pleased to see that the team were all involved in one-to-one conversations. We continued to speak to the people who had gathered and spent the rest of the evening handing out tracts and talking with people. We were very grateful to the Lord that He had used us once more to preach to the people gathered at Leicester Square.
Saturday morning came around and it was back to Tooting Broadway. We arrived at 11:30am and opened in prayer. I decided to have the team spend a good half hour or so doing one-to-one's before I got up to preach. The team consisted of Philip, Antonio, Andrew, Joanna, Joe and myself. I did a bit of filming as well as they all set about handing out tracts and talking with the people. I continue to be greatly encouraged by Antonio. Still a young Christian, it was awesome to see him engaging with people in a one-to-one conversation. It was also wonderful to have Joe join us, who is from Nigeria and is often back there due to business. Below is an interview I did with Andrew after a one-to-one conversation that he had with a young couple.
Editor's Note: The analogies used in this video,
are credited to the Way of the Master Ministry
As time went on I decided to step up to preach. A number of people stopped and then moved on, only for others to then take their place. This is quite common for Tooting Broadway. As a busy intersection it is harder to get a crowd but many people are coming and going and so they do get to hear the Word of God as they go their way. I noticed as I was preaching that there were a few listening quite attentively. Speaking with them afterwards I noticed that they were Christians. It was encouraging speaking with them and I could see that they too had been encouraged. Part of this ministry is to also motivate and inspire other Christians to step out and take the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world.
Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with another great weekend of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!