This was our first Gone Fishin’ for 2023!
Present today: Pastor Jarryd, Mike & Di, June, Maree, Frances, Gideon & Phoenix. Helen, Peck & Daniel met us at the shops.
I opened with Romans 9:14-23:
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”
We spoke of how hard it is to explain God’s sovereignty – withholding wrath from some, allowing it to others. This has been especially brought to life by the recent cyclone that hit the North Island – some portions of the country devastated, while most remain untouched. This is also the same with salvation – He hardens the hearts of some, while allowing some to come to saving faith. In trying to explain this, we need to stress that nobody deserves to be let off the hook at all when it comes to God’s judgement. We are all in the same boat. God knows who He wants to save, but we don’t, so we continue doing the work He gave us.
After prayer, we headed off down to the shops. It was quite busy down there. The nasty weather had blown through, and it seems the warmer day had brought people out. By the time I arrived, Daniel and Peck were already in conversations, and the others had fanned out around the mall.
I felt a bit nervous today – with family visiting for Christmas, prepping the property for sale, and time off work after injuring myself, meant I hadn’t had the chance to get out and about like I usually would. I prayed that God would bring quick recall for the things I may have forgotten.
Praise God, it didn’t take too long to get back into the groove! Here’s a few conversations I documented:
Dane & Max – these two teen boys were like chalk and cheese. Dane was very engaged, while Max was doing all he could to slip away. I honed in on Dane, and it turned out he was quite shocked to learn he would go to hell when he died. I showed him the picture on the Good Person tract of Jesus taking his hell punishment, and he agreed that faith in Christ was the only way to escape going to hell. He promised he would consider what I said, and read the Bible. In the end I don’t know how much of the conversation sunk in, so I just have to leave him in God’s hands. They left with a couple of tracts each.
Peter – this Samoan gentleman told me ha was a Christian, and goes to a Samoan AOG church. I asked him what would he say if God asked him why He should let him into heaven. He said that because he believed that Jesus died for his sins. I asked him if it was his belief that got him into heaven, or what he believed in. He said the latter. I asked him if he shares the Gospel with anyone. He said he tries to. When I asked him how he did it, he said what I used to say before getting training – wait for people to ask why you are different, explain that they are a sinner, that Jesus died for them, and accept Jesus into your heart. I wasn’t entirely sure if Peter was a Christian, so I took him through the law to make sure. He admitted to lying, stealing and bad language. I asked what God should do to him, and he said send him to hell. But then the light went off for him – Jesus took his sins to keep him from going to hell! He thanked me so many times, and took a handful of tracts off me.
Alan – he was waiting for his bus at the bus stop. It was a very honest conversation with him. He admitted that he would end up in hell because of all the laws he had broken. He understood that God had every right to throw him in hell. I explained how Jesus paid his hell punishment, and he looked relieved. Just then, his bus turned up, so I didn’t make it to the checking questions. I handed him some tracts, and had to leave the rest in God’s hands.
Jude – this man was answering all my questions correctly, until he mentioned purgatory. When I said there was no mention of purgatory in the Bible, he said that the Pope thought it was real, so it must be true. I explained that it goes against God’s justice – if someone only pays for their sins temporarily, then God’s justice is not eternal. If it’s not eternal, then God is not perfect. If you believe in an imperfect God, then you are breaking the first and second commandments. He saw my logic, but was not willing to change. I tried to loop back and start again, but he had lost interest and walked off. He did take a tract, so I pray he reads it and God softens his heart.
I spoke to Mike later. He told me he him & Di had a great chat with a man named Boyd, going right through the Gospel with him! They also spoke to a man called Caleb in the cafe. He was delivering something, waiting for them to take it off him. He said he was hungry, so they bought him a pie, then shared the Gospel with him. It never surprises me anymore how God pre-ordains Gospel conversations – and how they can be at anytime, anywhere. We just need to be prepared!
All praise goes to God for today – the exact number of people he pre-ordained to receive the Gospel, got to hear it!
If you are ever in the Naenae neighbourhood on the 3rd Saturday morning of the month, come down to the Naenae Village Market and say hello. If we are not there, we will most likely be at the Hutt Riverbank Fruit and Vege Market.
If you are looking to join in with us to share the Gospel, flick me a DM and we can catch up for a chat.