Every year around winter solstice Hobart hosts the pagan “Dark Mofo” festival. It is without fail a festival that insults the values of Christians and often aims insults at Jesus Himself. It is all based on Bacchanalia according to Leigh Carmichael the artistic director of the festival, all about “…the link between sex, death and beauty…”. Most go thinking they are going to enjoy good food and art but really the festival is a celebration of all things dark, violent, licentious and pagan. I could go into the horrible examples of this but those of you with a need to know and a cast iron stomach can google the horror for yourselves.
Into this darkness, myself and 4 others went armed with bibles, tracts and backed by the prayers of many. We went to the street outside “Dark Park” on the wharf in Hobart. We prayed before beginning that God would act to save people from the festival and allow us to witness freely to the crowds.
As this was the first year we’d tried this I was tentative and brought what I thought would be enough tracts. This caution very quickly proved unnecessary. Within 30 minutes every one of my tracts went out to the passing crowds. Most people took the “Eternity” cards thinking it was to do with the festival, but most kept them even after reading them praise God! As is always the case there were some who refused or returned the tracts as “God stuff”.
During this time, I had a quick chat with a Chaplain from the north of Hobart who was excited to see Christian witness at the festival and encouraged me to continue the work next year. I also encouraged him to continue reaching out to the kids in the schools, a vital work, and assured him that we would be back next year.
After so quickly running out of tracts we stopped to pray again and then set off to find an area to preach from. I found an ideal spot across the street from the main gates of the park. As the street is pedestrianized for the festival there were many people milling around in the street and not many cars.
The symbol of the festival is a red cross on a black background, so bouncing from this I preached about the Cross of Christ and the gospel of free salvation by faith alone in Him alone. Many passing looked and listened and some even gave a thumbs-up as they went past. There were a couple of heckles but for the most part the preaching was uninterrupted. The security and festival staff were not pleased to see the Gospel preached and most of them were on their phones and there was a lot of pointing and discussing happening on the other side of the street. Shortly after this the police turned up and after speaking to the staff they loitered near the gates obviously checking out what we were doing.
I opened the bible to the account of Lazarus being raised to life by Jesus, showing Him clearly to be Lord over both life and death. At this the police came and spoke to Tim, one of the team. They asked what we were doing and when Tim told them they responded that we should be careful as the “ratbags” will be out and about soon. With that they left!
As if being left unhindered was not enough of a blessing, one of the festival staff gave a clear contrast between peaceful, lawful gospel proclamation and the heart of the festival. She came rushing over as the police left to shout abuse at them (I can only assume for not removing us) and then disappeared back into “Dark Park”. I have no doubt that those two officers will remember the contrast.
We prayed together before heading away for the night, celebrating the great blessings of God and praising His name for blessing us with the opportunities we’d had tonight.
Yesterday a small team of us made our way to Brisbane city to share the gospel with the lost. Being a public holiday, we found people were not in a rush to get anywhere, so some extensive gospel conversations were able to be had.
We chatted with a lad named Tang from Vietnam who is studying here for the next 4 years. He said he has no religious background at all, in fact he said he doesn't know anything about what religions believe.
After being shown that just as a building has a builder, so must the universe have had a creator, he agreed that made perfect sense. So we went on to talking about our sin and how we have offended God based on how we have lived and so therefore need a substitute to pay our penalty for us - Jesus.
He wanted to know what is the difference between Christianity and other religions, and so we said, "Every other religion will tell you that to get to heaven, it is based on how many good deeds you do compared to the bad deeds you do."
He thought about that for a moment said, "But that doesn't deal with the past. Doing good wouldn't undo their history." I replied, "Exactly right. That is why Christianity stands out and is the only one that is true - for Jesus' death on the cross satisfies God's justice for all our bad deeds so that God can show us mercy and let us into heaven, if we trust only in Him."
Please pray for Tang. He was happy to take a gospel of John to start reading and we referred him to a good church in the area.
To God be all the glory!
Today we got to hand out over 4,000 gospel tracts in Brisbane to those who came out to see the Anzac Day March. God raised up a team of about 10 of us.
As people remembered the great sacrifices that people have made for our country, we were able to bring people's attention also to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made to bring us freedom from our biggest enemy, our sin and its effects.
To God be the glory!
We are always praying for labourers to join us in the Great Commission, for outreach times and locations visit: www.operation513.com/street-evangelism-teams
Australia Day Outreach.
It was an absolutely perfect day for an outreach on the waterfront at Suttons Beach in Redcliffe. Today, the council very kindly put on a large community event to celebrate Australia Day, as a result thousands of people made their way the foreshore for an afternoon of fun.
A group of around ten of us arrived at 4pm and began to share the gospel. We found a lovely spot right in the middle of the festival where we were able to set up the flip-chart and hand out tracts. The atmosphere was laid back and people were very open to talking. Within the first hour I was able to have eight good conversations with people about the gospel.
One conversation stands out and that was with a man named Dylan. Dylan had stopped to chat after seeing the flip-chart. We chatted about being a good Aussie, and then looked at how no one is good according to God. It soon became very clear that Dylan had no Christian understanding and had never heard the gospel before.
As I explained what sin is, and who God is, he seemed amazed. When he realised that he had personally sinned against God Dylan freely admitted he deserved to be judged. I then asked him, "Do you know what God to rescue sinners?" Dylan replied, "I have no idea." I was then able to share with him the wonderful news of Jesus and His love. Dylan seemed stunned. Here is a man in his early twenties who had never heard of Jesus and His work.
At the end of our conversation Dylan very eagerly took a Gospel of John and promised to read it. Please pray the Lord would rescue him.
Over the course of three hours the team was able to have many conversations, and hand out over 900 tracts. Please pray that the Lord would use this witness to bring many to Himself.
It was another great night of evangelism during our third night of Christmas outreach in Brisbane city. We have been steadily increasing in team numbers. Four on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, and six last night.
By God's grace, we were able to hand out 2,000 Christmas gospel tracts and have some great one to one gospel conversations.
At one point of the night we had a professing Christian come up to us saying we shouldn't be handing out the Christmas tracts because God forgives everyone automatically. And when we said that the Bible describes how forgiveness is only available through Jesus, she responded by saying, "No, you're reading the Bible literally. God forgives all. You need to be spreading a message of love and joy." She said this as she ironically began to rip up the tract she had in her hand into tiny pieces and then scatter them on the ground.
The message of the gospel is a message of love and joy in that Christ came into the world to save sinners. But a person needs to realise that they are a sinner and deserve punishment first before the message of the cross will be good news indeed.
We had the council come by and tell a nearby musician and statue busker to move over to the side, which was great for us as then we had the footpath to ourselves, praise the Lord!
We'll be back in Brisbane city for our next night of Christmas outreach on Saturday night.
To God be the glory!
Our second night of Christmas outreach was a great success last night with 2,500 Christmas gospel tracts going out to people in Brisbane city. The Lord brought in a team of 5 of us, and it appeared to be more busy than the night before.
This might have been because there was a full dress rehearsal of a Christmas parade (set to start this weekend) through to King George Square, which actually delayed the beginning of the light show a little bit.
We had a few conversations with people, including with two young men named Liam & Michael. After explaining the whole message to them, they came to grasp that they needed to trust in Christ alone for their forgiveness, but said that they needed to count the cost. As they have a love for sin and self and so said they will need to really think about it. They already have Bibles, so we were able to encourage them to start reading it.
Please also pray for a musician busker that is in the same area that we are in each night, and it looks like he'll be there right until Christmas. So please pray that we can keep speaking words of truth to him - we got to speak to him briefly last night.
We are about to head out to King George Square for night 3 of our Christmas outreach. Please consider coming along or please be praying. Thank you!
It was a beautiful summer's evening in Brisbane as we arrived in King George Square to commence our city Christmas outreach. Crowds of people had gathered outside of City Hall to watch the light display, so in-between shows we would hand out tracts and talk to people.
I noticed that things were a bit different this year to last year. The crowd numbers were slightly down, and there was this stark reminder all around the square that we live in an unsafe age. Around the perimeter of King George Square anti-vehicle bollards had been placed, and then covered in Christmas decorations.
I can only assume that these bollards were installed to ward off a Nice style terrorist attack. All this stood in contrast to the celebration of the coming of the Prince of Peace; and I was reminded that we will never truly know peace until we come to the Lord Jesus.
The whole outreach went well. Many people took tracts and the team was able to have several good conversations. One discussion I had was with an Asian man named Brian.
Originally he had stopped to talk to Alan, but somehow I got chatting to him. It was clear from the beginning that Brian was running an agenda. He asked lots of questions, but then tried to sow seeds of doubt in regards to Christianity.
Brian asked me to share my story of how I came to know Christ, so I told him my journey, and explained the gospel. He then asked me, "How certain are you that Christianity is true?" I replied that I had absolute certainty (this seemed to shake him).
He then said he wanted to try and move me to 95% certainty and to give me 5% doubt. I pointed out that this would be impossible as I know Christ; it is impossible to make me doubt His existence and truth when I actually know Him. It would be the same as Brian trying to convince me that I don't know my wife; it is completely impossible.
Brian at this stage described himself as an agnostic stoic, and that he was interested in learning. The conversation really took off from this point. I decided that since Brian wanted to rattle my worldview that I would return to favour by challenging his.
We discussed everything from morality; truth; science; ethics; belief; religion and slavery. Throughout I kept pointing him back to the gospel, and he openly admitted that he didn't like the concept of Jesus paying the penalty for sinners. This revealed the heart of the matter - pride.
As we spoke Brian admitted that his worldview was falling down around him and that he had hard questions that he needed to answer, but he was determined that the answer would not be found in Jesus.
We spoke for over an hour, and eventually we parted ways. Brian had his objections answered, but he still wouldn't believe, because at heart he wanted to be his own saviour; he didn't want anyone to rescue him. Please pray that the Lord would save Brian.
Overall the outreach went very well. Please keep us in prayer as we seek to make much of Christ during this Christmas season.
We praise the Lord for the amazing week-long outreach at Schoolies on the Gold Coast last week. Thousands of year twelve graduates received a gospel tract or had a conversation about Christ with us.
God sustained our voices, kept us healthy and kept us relying on Him for strength. It was great seeing so many labourers with us on the team this year, and also seeing so many of them step out of their comfort zones and start conversations with people about eternal matters.
All glory to God that He uses unworthy servants such as us to make known such a wonderful message of reconciliation!
Watch this 2 minute video from Saturday 24th September Riverfire outreach in Brisbane city.
Anzac Day 2016 Outreach
Yesterday afternoon in Brisbane City the mall was quite busy as it was the Anzac Day public holiday, where Australian's celebrate the sacrifice of the lives that men and women gave for our country's freedom.
So we went to proclaim the sacrifice Jesus the Christ paid, His sinless life, so that we may have freedom, from sin and death.
The tract we were handing out was our new Anzac gospel tract.
Watch the video from the outreach:
Soli Deo Gloria!