Today was our fellowships’ Annual Christmas Outreach down at the Riverbank Market!
Sadly the weather resembled last year’s outreach – windy and damp. But we didn’t let that stop us. We had around 650 Christmas packs to give away, consisting of a Christmas tract, a welcome to our fellowship’s Christmas Services, and either a small Christmas mince pie or chocolate.
The organisers had us over towards the car park rather than by the market stalls, but it turned out to be a great transition spot!
There were about 12 or so from our fellowship – a few manned the tables, while the rest walked around the market, distributing the gift packs. We all attempted to engage in Gospel conversations, asking people what they thought Christmas was all about, and using that to spring-board to the Gospel.
The first person I conversed was a man named Peter. He was in a hi-viz top. It seemed he had been through a hard life, and wanted to talk. When I asked him if he knew about Christmas, he said it was about Jesus or something. I asked him why He came to earth, and he said he had no clue. So I went back to the start with him and told him that He came to save us. A few questions exposed exactly what he needed saving from. He said he was not guilty, even after explaining to him that to be innocent he would have to have done nothing wrong. He explained that if he thinks he’s innocent, then he’s innocent. I bet there are many criminals walking around thinking the same thing. I explained that the law didn’t care what a criminal thinks, but what he does. He eventually gave in, but being silly with it at the same time. I told him that God would give him the same punishment that I deserve, eternity in hell. Going through Jesus taking his hell punishment was a bit of a comedy act with him, so I decided to stress the danger of thinking the way he does, and wished him good luck on judgement day.
Tamarua – this was quite a good chat. He was with a group of three high school aged kids, fundraising for a trip for their sports team. Mike was talking with him, and getting his bank account to help out. I thought it might be fun to engage them by saying that I was giving food away for free. I asked Tamarua what happens after we die. He said heaven or hell, but he was quite embarrassed that the other two left him to do the talking. He thought he was going to heaven because he was pretty good. There was nothing pretty about his goodness – in fact he turned out to be as evil as I was. We went through the scenarios of getting out of his hell punishment, and why they wouldn’t work. I showed him the Operation513 gospel of John cover that on one side shows sinners getting their hell punishment, and then the other that shows Jesus taking his hell punishment for him. That made sense to him, and he became sober. The conversation ended up by him professing that he believes he will get to heaven only because he believes that Jesus is taking his punishment for him. The group walked past again later, and I yelled out to him “Hey, Tamarua, how do you get to heaven?” He answered “By believing that Jesus takes 100% of my hell punishment!”. This was confirmation that he understood the Gospel, and I pray that he indeed follows through with his conviction!
We had all run out of the gift packs, so the team were starting to pack up the gazebo tent. However, Karen had given me a stack of about 50 of Living Waters’ Christmas tracts. I made the decision that I wouldn’t stop until I had given away all the tracts, and had tried to have some more Gospel conversations.
I asked a guy walking past if he knew what Christmas was all about. He said it was about Jesus, but he said he was a Jehovah’s Witness. I asked him if Jesus was both the Son of God, and God Himself. He said it wasn’t possible. I told him that in the original Greek text, John 1:1 said that He ‘was God’, not ‘a God‘. I told him that he believed the JW church when they said their texts were correct. He said it wasn’t worth debating, but thank you anyway. I said I’m not here to debate, but to tell the truth. And the truth is that if Jesus is not God, then everyone is going to hell. He shook his head and said ‘Thanks anyway, but we are not going to agree here.’ He gave back the tract. I said ‘I’m only here to tell the truth, because I don’t want you to go to hell. And if you don’t believe that Jesus is God, then your sins aren’t forgiven. And if your sins aren’t forgiven, then there’s no way you can get to heaven’. He just waved his hand at me and walked away. I prayed for that man to read a real Bible translation and learn the truth.
A gentleman was waiting for his wife to finish at a a market stall, so I decided to engage him. His name was Owen. I asked him what Christmas is all about, and he said Jesus. He said I didn’t need to talk to him because he was a Christian and went to church – a local one that I knew was a bit liberal. I never take people’s word when they say they are Christians – especially at Christmas or Easter, times where everyone is Christian. So I asked him if he was standing in front of God on judgement day, and He was to ask him why He should let him into heaven, what would he say? Straight away he pointed to his good works – going to church, being nice to his neighbours, etc. I felt vindicated asking him now, because if this was true, Owen would go straight to hell. So I took him through the good person test. Like everyone, he failed miserably. He agreed that God would have no option other than send him to hell. I asked him that if his good works won’t help him make it, then what would? He struggled for an answer. So I asked him what if someone took 100% of his hell punishment, how much would be left for him to take? He said none. I asked him who would do this for him? He frowned but then smiled, and said ‘Jesus!’. I said ‘And that’s why he died on the cross’. It was a lightbulb moment for Owen. I told him that no amount of good works will sway God to let him into heaven. We went through some checking questions together. He admitted that he only goes to church about once a month, and doesn’t read his Bible. It was a good time to tell him to find a good church that will tell him this. I gave him a church card, and he shook my hand. His wife was finished and was walking over. I asked him if his wife was going to heaven, and he said he didn’t know. I asked him what was the best thing he could do for her? He said ‘Tell her what you told me’. I left him to do just that!
After that I gave away the last of the tracts. It was an awesome morning sharing the hope of Jesus coming into the world. We give God all the glory for our endeavours, and pray that He would bring many sons to glory!
I pray you have an awesome Christmas, and focus on the birth of the one who promises to take away the sin of the world – our Saviour and Messiah!