At South Bank (Brisbane Australia) this past weekend (February 15, 2014) my friend Blair, Morrie and I had many encounters and some we believe were divine appointments. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a young Austrian tourist. He was very open and receptive so I felt impressed to give him a copy of The Desire of Ages and some DVDs. He was very grateful. And as always there were others. Blair talked with his traveling friend and shared his experience with him, and he opened up and asked many questions about health, Christianity and life.
Ex-Muslim liberated and convicted by the Spirit and character of God
Aside from this, one encounter that particularly stands out for me was with an Iranian ex-Muslim. I had a wonderful conversation with this gentleman that largely consisted in sharing the gospel with him.
(Disclaimer: The references to Islam in this report are not intended to pre-judge or look down upon any Muslim for their faith. There are countless Muslims in this world that are wonderful and kind people many who follow the light they have and will probably enter God’s kingdom way ahead of many professed Christians.)
This is what I recall.
Being brought up as a Muslim in Iran, he told me one of the things he despised was the spirit of control. Ironically, as he mentioned, atheists are free to become Muslims but Muslims are not free to leave their religion.
He said how Islam does not approve of Idol worship. But Muhammad went further than forbid idols. His followers would mercilessly kill those who did not renounce idol worship and convert to Islam! I explained how the character of force and control is totally foreign to true Christianity and God’s character. God is Love, and when force is exercised love and freedom cease to exist. I said God ALWAYS honors our free choice – whether we choose to serve or not to serve Him.
He made the point that his male Muslim friends couldn’t answer, that if being a devoted Muslim was to be rewarded in the afterlife by lots of virgins to indulge in and wine to drink, then the porn and brothels in France would be the Islamic heaven’s equivalent for Mohammad and his followers!
Yet one of the main things that caused him to question and eventually renounce Islam was this control aspect. This was something he just couldn’t accept. He is surprised that many of his Muslim friends cannot see this, and he knows “first hand” in their works-based religion they are not free. He went on to say that in conversations with what he considered very intelligent and Muslims he suggested, “this (force and control) is the very root of the problem.” This is how they responded to him after he challenged and confronted them. “Do you realize, if you weren’t our friend we would kill you”!!! Again we see love is diminished by force to induce fear.
He seemed to have a general idea of Christianity and some idea of the concept of God’s free grace (we are all evil by nature and Jesus covers our sin). I could sense he was genuinely searching for truth. I shared Jesus with him and mentioned He was more than a prophet; but God’s Son who forgives us and washes away our sins. He showed no resistance to this and he was quite attentive. I went on to say Christ wants to radically transform us and empower our lives in victory by the indwelling of His life-giving Spirit. I then gave an overview of the book The Desire of Ages. He was very open and receptive. I then mentioned The Great Controversy and suggested he Google that title assuring it would accessible as a PDF. He proceeded to type in the book title on his mobile (cell phone) as he solemnly, in a soft voice, repeated the book title in a way that told me he was really interested. This thrilled my soul. I wanted to give him a paperback copy but wasn’t sure if we had any left. I fossicked through a large container of mixed books and to my delight I found one unwrapped copy. I felt strongly impressed to give him what seemed to be our last copy. We don't often randomly give away books of that size for free but i sensed he would value them and read them. He was very grateful when he left. Please remember Saji, or Sa’id (spell???) in your prayers.
Many others came by that day, some only interested in health, others taking copies of all our DVD’s and asking many questions.
I praise the Father for the opportunities that we still have to share the gospel truth today in a free country and share the good news about God’s character of love.
For those who haven't yet read Blair Andrew's Feb 13 "Street Ministry Evangelism" article I highly recommend it