Sharing the Gospel IN N Z
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M&M MEANING We were at the office one day, and J read out an M&M Christmas poem he had found. See http://www.oac.org.au/wa/kids-ministry-christmas-resources/ Suddenly God gave me an idea – I could use this with some M&Ms to make a simple but meaningful Christmas gift for students that I teach. So that’s what I did – I am thankful to the Lord for the idea and for the resources to be able to do this. And the kids loved it! I ASKED FOR GOLD... AND GOD GAVE IT!! I wished I had made more time than I did for prayer earlier in the day, but regrettably sometimes my flesh wins the immediate battle and I didn’t. Night market was that evening, and I wanted more than the average nights of the last couple of weeks. Ideas of how to make the Gospel more attractive were trickling through my mind, but I knew that really what mattered was not my effort, but that God was working through me. So before heading down in the late afternoon, I took ten minutes to fall on my knees and surrender to God, asking Him to work despite my weakness, and to give me “gold” – that is, quality opportunities to share the Gospel, with people who were really seeking or really willing to listen. Then I headed out, with confidence and expectation in the Lord, certainly not myself!! It was another windy, gusty day which is unusual for Hastings, apart from the last few of weeks of such weather! As I arrived, God made me look and see that the foot traffic would be funnelled over one side of the fountain, because the other side was blocked off by tapes and cones. So I set up the Good Person Test flipchart on that side of the fountain, near the entrance to the night market, and waited. Soon two young ladies came past, and I shared the Gospel with them. They both said they had made a commitment to follow Jesus, but one said it was “a good reminder”. I challenged them to share their faith with others. They could see it wasn’t that hard, as I had just demonstrated – please pray that they will take opportunities. Next, a man came over, who was quite chatty and open to discussion. He, “John” (not his real name), confessed that he was a Muslim, yet he loved talking to Christians and was very rational and open-minded. We talked for probably an hour. J said how we needed to be open-minded, and accept others. I sympathised, saying that yes, we can accept and love everyone, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept what they teach! I explained how by faith I had come to put my trust in Jesus, but also how I like evidence, and how I have found logical reasons why Jesus is the only way and why we can trust Him. After a long discussion, I prayed for John before he left, because I know God can show him the truth. Before leaving for night market, a thought had come into my mind about bringing “The Right Path” book I had, for Muslims. I quickly dismissed that thought, but after speaking with John, he would have been interested in receiving it. I realised I should’ve paid more attention because God had been trying to tell me something! Praise God that He gives second chances, and so John and I planned to meet at night market the following week so I could give him the book. He did come to receive it (last night) and loved it very much – please pray that he will read it and understand that Jesus is The Right Path. Later on, a lady came over, who had such a strong accent that I thought she was English-Second-Language, until I picked that she was probably Irish! However she carefully listened as I shared the good news about Jesus. She mentioned that a week ago, she had suddenly had a thought that she should go to church, and this thought had stuck with her. “Maybe God’s trying to tell you something!” I replied! Praise the Lord that He is working in her life, and please pray that she will come to faith. As I was speaking with this lady a group of four young boys came up, hanging around patiently. When she left, they were keen to talk and have a go at the “Good Person Test”. As I asked them their names, one introduced himself as “Amos – it’s from the Bible!” I took them through some of the Ten Commandments, showing them how by God’s standard, we have all sinned and deserve to be punished. I was surprised how easily they grasped the concepts of sin and punishment – they seemed to understand more clearly than any adult I have spoken to! These boys were so curious and wanting to learn more. I shared with them details about how Jesus was killed, but how He went through that because of His love for each of us. “Because of His love for me?!” one of them repeated in surprise! It was a privilege to share the Gospel, and challenge them that they had a choice to make. I illustrated Jesus’ death in our place by using an example of a parent punishing a child. One of the boys really related, thinking of the detention he’d had at school. Apparently a friend had offered to take the detention for him, but he refused. I was excited about the open doorway I had there to explain how Jesus had offered to take what was like our “detention” but that we had the choice whether to accept it or not! Thank the Lord for this opportunity to speak to children and share His good news with them. Please pray that these young boys will come to faith in Jesus at an early age and that He will use them mightily! That wasn’t the end of the night yet.... God had answered my prayer and given me “gold” but there was still more to come! Like the two guys I spoke to, M and A, who knew that Gospel but had made a choice to follow Jesus for fear that they’d just fall back into sin. I shared how Jesus didn’t expect us to change ourselves (as I personally discovered) and how He sends His Holy Spirit to empower us to change! I prayed for them before they left, and I am sure that God hasn’t finished with them yet! As the night market was drawing to a close, a man wandered past. Then I saw him poke his head around the corner, curious about what the Good Person Test was. He didn’t think he was a good person, so without going through the test, I explained that in God’s eyes, no one is good, and that is why Jesus came to save us. This man, “David” (not his real name), was very curious and asked many good questions. It turned out that he was from Vietnam, and I wonder if this was one of the first times he had heard the Gospel. But I could see that God was helping him to understand that Jesus is the only way. David was reasonably good at English, but he still found his heart language easier to understand, so later I texted him two websites where he could find the Gospel message in his native language: http://www.tracts.com/LKVietnamese.pdf and http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html By now the night market was virtually over, but yet another person came past. She didn’t have time to stay long because she was picking up someone from the bus which had just pulled in. But she knew about how light and darkness couldn’t be together, and how Jesus is the light. I briefly bounced off that, explaining that if we look honestly at ourselves, we all have darkness and therefore don’t deserve to be in the light with God – and yes, that is why Jesus came as the Light. Praise the Lord, He answered my prayer and gave me “gold”, I went home rejoicing at His faithfulness despite my weaknesses and failures. REJECTION TO REALISATION We’ve been going out on the streets a lot recently, as we have been less time preparing and teaching at schools now that the term is ending. As well as night market, we have had many amazing opportunities and divine appointments on the streets – and challenges too! I could tell many stories, but since I’ve already done that from one night market, I’ll just share one highlight. As we were out witnessing in the late afternoon, I saw a person sitting on the kerb by a line of parked cars. I headed that way, silently praying that God would prepare her heart – oops, actually “his” – it was guy with longish blonde curly hair! I greeted him, and he was very friendly, but said something like, “I’m 30, and I’ve been round the circle on [spiritual things] and made my mind up.” I persevered anyway, asking him, R, what he believed. He said our purpose in life is to “Love thy neighbour”, to look after ourselves first and also each other. Over the course of the conversation, R also said that the sun was his god, that he wasn’t even certain Jesus existed, and that he believed in evolution. I challenged him on some of his beliefs. It turned into a bit of an intellectual discussion, which sometimes ends up going nowhere! So I silently prayed, trusting that God would somehow get to him! As I continued to reason and discuss his beliefs on a logical level, R slowly became quieter and stopped arguing, as he realised the contradictions. Near the end of the conversation, we had some very meaningful discussion. I asked about Hitler’s actions – “F****n evil!” he replied. So I challenge him why – if evolution was true, then Hitler was helping survival of the fittest. And if there was no God, then there’s no right and wrong anyway. R could see the point, and I could see by his silence and lack of argument that God was working and showing him that his beliefs were contradictory. Questions are good. I asked another – “Do you just not want to believe in God, because you don’t want to be accountable to Him?” R didn’t seem to like this question for a start, but then he gradually changed, starting to ask questions like “So how does one choose to follow Jesus?” and “What does that mean in your life?” I suspect he may not have wanted to show it too much, but I am sure God was working in his heart! Praise the Lord! Before we parted, R said that this was the best and most meaningful discussion he had had with someone about the Bible. May it not be the last!