Newsletter and Coming Events – August 2016

  • PAUL & NOREEN COCA, CHUCK GIRARD, AND MARTIN O. PLAY AT UNION SQUARE. PAUL & NOREEN COCA, CHUCK GIRARD, AND MARTIN O. PLAY AT UNION SQUARE.
  • BEN WITNESSES TO SOCIALIST AT 24TH AND MISSION. BEN WITNESSES TO SOCIALIST AT 24TH AND MISSION.
  • SEAN WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA. SEAN WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
  • JACOB WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA. JACOB WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
  • CAL WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA. CAL WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
  • TIM MOON AND BAND PLAY AT UN PLAZA. TIM MOON AND BAND PLAY AT UN PLAZA.
  • CAL PRAYS FOR MAN AT UN PLAZA. CAL PRAYS FOR MAN AT UN PLAZA.
  • JACOB PREACHES AT 5TH AND MARKET ST. JACOB PREACHES AT 5TH AND MARKET ST.
     

Coming Events

Friday August 5, 12, 19 6 – 9 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.

Sat. August 6 11 AM – 4 PM  Fisherman’s Wharf (Jefferson St. and Powell SF)

Sat. August 13  11 AM – 1 PM Fisherman’s Wharf

3—5 PM Union Square (Powell & Geary St.) Bridgepoint Community Church, Pacifica, worship group.

Sat. August 20 UN Plaza 12-5 PM 7th St. and Market, SF. New Life Christian Church, Hayward, worship group.

Shiloh Christian Fellowship choir sings at Union Square.

Shiloh Christian Fellowship choir sings at Union Square.

New Testament Preaching

Dear Christian friends,

 

Most of what we know about New Testament preaching comes from excerpts and descriptions of the preaching of Peter, Stephen and Paul in Acts. Over the next few months, I would like to discuss these scriptures, and see what we can learn from them about effective gospel preaching.

The first recorded sermon in Acts was given by Peter on Pentecost in Acts 2: 14-40. Thousands of Jews from all over the known world were there. They heard a strange sound at the place where the believers were gathered, and heard these believers from Galilee speaking in their own tongue.

Peter, who recently had denied Jesus three times, stood up and boldly proclaimed the gospel. He went through several Old Testament prophesies, starting with Joel’s prophesy of how God would pour out his Spirit in the last days. He proclaimed that Jesus is the Messiah, and that God confirmed this through various miracles he performed. He said that they had nailed him to the cross and murdered him, but that God raised him from the dead. He quoted David from Psalm 16, pointing to the resurrection, and Psalm 110. This was his conclusion: “God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah.”

Many were under great conviction and asked the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…” About 3000 were baptized that day. The believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and gave to those in need.

So what can we learn from this first sermon? The crowd gathered in response to a supernatural phenomenon – the wind and tongues. Many of the New Testament sermons were given in response to supernatural events, such as healings. Today most healings, prophesies, words of knowledge and miracles occur in church services, not around non-Christians. Some are genuine but, unfortunately, many are not. Genuine healings and miracles demonstrate the power of Christ and get the attention of unbelievers. However, we must preach the gospel at all times, not just when there are miracles or healings.

Much of the audience had been part of the crowd that had called for Jesus to be crucified two months earlier. Peter bluntly accused them of murdering God’s Messiah. Great conviction fell upon the crowd and 3000 were radically saved that day. In our preaching, we can help people see that they have violated God’s law and deserve punishment for their sins, but that they can be forgiven by repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus.

Peter was addressing Jews, and most of his sermon was based upon Old Testament scriptures. Almost every sermon in Acts was given either to Jews or to Gentiles who were familiar with Jewish matters (as when Paul went before Felix and Agrippa). Usually, the argument was made that Jesus is the Messiah in fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. However, in the one major sermon given to Gentiles, on Mars Hill in Athens in Acts 17, Paul does not mention the Old Testament prophesies.

Most people in the U.S. know more about the Bible than the Gentiles on Mars Hill, but much less than the Jews of that day. In my preaching, I often refer to the Old Testament prophesies that point to the coming of Messiah, and how Jesus fulfilled them. However, I try to provide some background explanation to help people understand these prophesies. I point out that the Bible is the only book that predicts the future with perfect accuracy, and contrast it with man’s inability to predict the weather or stock market even one day in the future.

On the Streets

Our 37th annual SOS-San Francisco outreach went very well. I will give an outreach report in next month’s newsletter. This month, I wanted to share testimonies from some of our May and June outreaches.

On Fri. May 20, we witnessed on Valencia St. As he was walking to the van, Dave picked up a tract from the ground. Rida, 19, apologized for throwing the tract on the ground. He said, “I’m going to be a Christian soon.” Dave shared the gospel with him and his girl friend, Dora, and gave them a gospel of John.

The next day, we witnessed at Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. Kathy witnessed to Sophie, a Jehovah’s Witness from England who was receptive to the true gospel. Mike witnessed to Tek, an Oakland police officer who had been in a City Impact youth group several years ago but wasn’t saved. Jacob witnessed to Galilee, a woman who was listening to his preaching. She was raised in the church, but very confused. He also witnessed to Africa, who claimed to be a “gay Christian.” Dave witnessed to Ibraham, a Muslim from Yemen. He gave him a gospel of John.

On Friday May 27 we witnessed at 24th St. and Mission. This was the first time we had been here in many years. There are many Spanish-speaking people in this neighborhood. Guillermo came with his family and preached in Spanish. Ben ministered to Patrick, who had been saved from heroin addiction and had worked as a rehab counselor for 7 years, but had since returned to heroin, and was homeless. Jacob witnessed to Lala, who was homeless, and struggled with alcohol and homosexuality. She said, “I want God to satisfy my thirst.” Dave witnessed to Federico, an engineer from Italy. He asked him, “What happens after you die?” He didn’t know.

The next day, we held our first outreach of the year at UN Plaza. Tim Moon and his band played music. Allan witnessed to Gerald, who struggled with homosexuality but was trusting in the Catholic church, not in Jesus. Mike witnessed to Emily, a Muslim from Jordan who had studied the Bible with some Christians. She said, “I want to change my religion.” Cal witnessed to Tutu, from Thailand. He recently became homeless and was lonely. He also witnessed to Gabriel, Ian, and Austin, young men who were receptive to the gospel. Jacob witnessed to Manvir, a young Sikh man. He was very receptive and gave Jacob his phone number for follow-up. “I have never heard anything like this before,” he said.

On Fri. June 10, we witnessed at Powell and Market. Jacob witnessed to Michael, who had been reading the Bible and attending church, but was not saved. He explained the gospel to him. Dave and I spoke with Lihau, from Beijing. Dave had shared the gospel with him two years ago and ended the conversation saying “I hope to see you in heaven.” He was quite open to the gospel. Dave also witnessed to Ken and Tom, both Vietnamese, who were receptive and took gospels of John.

The next day, we witnessed at UN Plaza. The band “Sonhouse” and Cal Grant played music. Kathy and Jacob witnessed to Damian, who had a Christian background and had been involved in homosexuality, the New Age, and had spent some time in prison. He realized he needed to get right with God, and Jacob got his phone number for follow-up.

While Mike was preaching, a young man grabbed the microphone and started shouting profanities. Before we knew it, two homeless people knocked him to the ground. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt.

During the week, we have no organized outreaches but often people in our house witness in various places. Jacob witnessed to Keenan in downtown Oakland. Two days before, he had hired someone to shoot him in the head, but the person missed.

On June 18, a choir from Shiloh Christian Fellowship in Oakland ministered at Union Square. Their excellent, anointed music drew a large crowd. Cal witnessed to Abdul, from Yemen. He had an Arabic translation of the Bible on his phone and asked him to read some verses. At the end of the outreach, some Christians from Shiloh ministered to Donnie, who was backslidden but wanted to repent.

That afternoon, Jacob witnessed to Augustine, from China, who approached him asking  “What do you know about Jesus?” He got his contact information. Later, he called Jacob and said a friend had been telling him about Jesus. He asked if he could get a Bible. Augustine attended Christian Layman Church in Oakland on June 26 and July 3 with Jacob and Cal. They went to lunch together after church. He said he couldn’t wait to read the Bible they gave him and wanted to know more about God.

 

Ministry Needs

Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. Scott Crawford was one of the founders of SOS Ministries in the late 1970’s and helped establish our first ministry house in San Francisco. He will be moving into our ministry house in Oakland this month and we will be helping him with his food and living expenses. He will be witnessing with us, training Christians in evangelism, and recruiting churches to minister with us. This will cost us an extra $850 per month. We appreciate any help you can give us with this additional expense.

Yours in His love,

Larry Rosenbaum

 

 

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