MIKE PREACHES AS FALUN GONG MARCH PASSES US AT 5TH AND MARKET.
CHUCK GIRARD SINGS AND SEAN WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET.
CHUCK GIRARD SINGS AT 5TH AND MARKET.
MIKE PRAYS WITH MAN AT 5TH AND MARKET.
CAL WITNESSES TO MAN IN BERKELEY.
KATHY WITNESSES TO WOMAN IN BERKELEY.
SEAN WITNESSES IN BERKELEY.
WE SHUT DOWN OUR MARCH 4 BERKELEY OUTREACH BEFORE THE VIOLENT PROTESTERS ARRIVED.
- MIKE PREACHES AS FALUN GONG MARCH PASSES US AT 5TH AND MARKET.
- CHUCK GIRARD SINGS AND SEAN WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET.
- CHUCK GIRARD SINGS AT 5TH AND MARKET.
- MIKE PRAYS WITH MAN AT 5TH AND MARKET.
- CAL WITNESSES TO MAN IN BERKELEY.
- KATHY WITNESSES TO WOMAN IN BERKELEY.
- SEAN WITNESSES IN BERKELEY.
- WE SHUT DOWN OUR MARCH 4 BERKELEY OUTREACH BEFORE THE VIOLENT PROTESTERS ARRIVED.
Friday May 5, 12, 19, and 26 5 – 8 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.
Sat. May 6 5th and Market St. SF 12 – 4 PM
Sat. May 13 UN Plaza (7th St. and Market) SF 12 – 5 PM
Sat. May 20 Dolores Park (18th St. and Dolores) SF 1 – 5 PM
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON PREACHING
Dear Christian friends,
This is the conclusion of our eight part series on New Testament preaching from the book of Acts. Preaching is found throughout the Bible. Noah was called a preacher of righteousness. The Old Testament prophets loudly proclaimed God’s Word in public places, and were usually persecuted for it. John the Baptist was a preacher. He told people to “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).
Jesus was also a street preacher. He began with basically the same message: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). His voice was loud enough that thousands of people could hear him. After His resurrection, he told His followers “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). He told them “you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8).
Throughout the New Testament, His followers obeyed His commandment to preach the gospel throughout the world. They preached in public places, to Jews and Gentiles, to rulers and ordinary people. After Saul persecuted the Jerusalem church in Acts 8, “they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
Today, many professing Christians say that preaching is not appropriate for our age — especially any mention of Hell, repentance, or judgment. There is no Biblical basis for such a view. Certainly, we live in an age of “moral relativism.” Many unbelievers think that Christians are intolerant because we believe that Jesus is the only way to God and that those who reject Him will be punished in Hell. It is tragic that so many people today consider themselves “evangelical Christians,” yet they reject the clear command of Jesus to go into all the world and preach the gospel of repentance and remission of sins.
Many modern evangelistic methods are attempts to “witness” for Jesus without offending anyone. Some avoid any mention of sin, repentance, or judgment and speak only of God’s love, forgiveness and healing. Was Jesus wrong when he said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5) ?
Some like to misquote St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Jesus found it necessary to use words, as did Peter, Paul, and everyone else in the Bible (even Balaam’s donkey)! Do we think we are better than Jesus? Do we think that if Jesus and Paul had used our modern evangelism methods, they could have avoided persecution? Paul said, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). It is impossible to present the gospel in a Biblical way and avoid all persecution.
At the other extreme, there are Christians who are preaching in a way that seems designed to be as offensive as possible. They insult people with their crude, harsh, condemning language and rejoice when they are persecuted. However, they are actually bringing reproach to the gospel. Non-Christians watch them, and decide they never want to become Christians. Christians watch them, and decide they never want to become preachers.
I do believe that we need to understand the audience we are preaching to, and adapt our message to that audience. I could read Jonathan Edward’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the hand of an angry God” to a modern audience, but it would not have the same affect it did in his day. A lot of people today have a hard time with the concept of Hell, and think it is unjust for God to send “good” people there, simply for not believing in Jesus. I agree with Ray Comfort that, instead of repeatedly telling people they will go to Hell, we need to use the law to help awaken their consciences. People need to realize that they have sinned, that their sin is serious, and that God is just and must punish sin. If someone viciously murdered our child, we would want them to be punished severely. We would be angry if the judge simply let the murderer go free. In the same way, it is reasonable for a just God to punish law-breakers severely. Once they understand this, they can appreciate what God did for us in sending His Son to die in our place.
On the Streets
On Fri. Feb. 10, we witnessed at Powell and Market St. Once again, although rain was forecast, it did not rain during our outreach. Dave witnessed to Julian, 18, who said he was an agnostic but had been attending a Bible study. Dave shared the gospel with him, and then gave him a gospel of John, asking him to read it. Julian responded, “My assignment from the Bible study was to read the gospel of John. I didn’t do it, but now I will.” Jacob witnessed to Georgian. He was born in China but lived for many years in France. He said he didn’t believe in anything. Mike ministered to Mike, an older man who said he was a believer, but had murdered someone.
The next day, we witnessed at Fifth and Market St. Richard Griffin played music. Mike witnessed to Andreas, from Sweden, who believed all religions are true. He invited him to City Impact, and saw him there on Tuesday. Mike and Sean witnessed to Chris, 16, whose mother used meth and left home when he was 13. His stepfather raised him and was mean. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. Mike got his phone number and he called him twice. Mike was planning to meet with him to help him get a plane ticket out of the city.
On Fri. Feb. 17, after the outreach, we baptized Christian in our bathtub. He is a young man from Macedonia who has been witnessing with us for the past two months. It was a blessing having him join us, but he has returned to his home country.
On Sat. Feb. 18, we witnessed in downtown Berkeley. Chuck Girard and Paul and Noreen Coca played music. Dave witnessed to Arzan, from Nepal. He was receptive to the gospel and took a New Testament. He also witnessed to Brian, a graduate student working on his PhD in Physics. He was an atheist, but respectful. He thanked Dave for sharing with him. He took a gospel tract and read it. Deanna ministered to Joann, who was in a wheelchair. She bought her some food and prayed for her. She was thankful.
On Sat. Feb. 25, we witnessed at Fifth and Market. Some Christians from Love-San Francisco joined us. A large group from the Falun Gong cult passed by. May witnessed to several of them in Chinese. Cal witnessed to Sky, one of the few who spoke English. He was quite interested in the gospel and they exchanged phone numbers.
On Sat. March 4, we witnessed outside the downtown Berkeley BART station, next to a Chase Bank. The night before, I learned that a pro-Trump rally was scheduled two blocks from where we set up. Anti-Trump protesters were planning to confront the Trump people. When we arrived in Berkeley, police warned us about the likelihood of violence. They said they were outnumbered and could not protect us. The Chase Bank had just replaced its windows. They had been broken in a February protest. The Wells Fargo Bank across the street boarded up their windows, in anticipation of another riot. We went ahead with our outreach. Paul and Noreen Coca played music and several of us preached. I sent Cal to the rally to monitor what was happening. At 3:30 PM, he called me and said the protests were getting violent and they were moving in our direction. The police told us the same thing. We immediately shut down our outreach and got our PA system safely loaded into our van before the protesters arrived. The police shut down the BART station and left the scene. We saw people who were bloody from fights and were pepper-sprayed. But we escaped unharmed.
Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for our ministry. As we prepare for our summer outreaches, I noticed our tract supply is getting low. I estimate it will cost about $2000 to print more tracts. I appreciate whatever you can do to help with this need. A pastor friend of ours gets his tracts printed in India – 4 colors printed and shipped for about 1 cent each (about half the price we pay in the US for one-color tracts). Cal is redesigning our tracts to print in color, and we hope to be able to get them printed in India.
We have set the dates for this year’s SOS-San Francisco outreach – July 12 – 15. This is our 38th year! I hope many of you will be able to join us this summer.
Yours in His love,
Before our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He left us with one Great Commission, to go into all the world, preaching the Gospel, making disciples of all nations. Two thousand years later, this task is largely unfinished. Every year, the percentage of people worldwide who have heard the gospel is decreasing. According to one study, 90% of all Christians in the United States never witness to anyone. Every year, we see more and more people in our country turn away from God. Yet how can we expect the unbelievers to take the Gospel seriously when we don’t show them that we take it seriously?
The dedication of the cults puts us to shame. Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) have all the responsibilities of job and family that we have. Yet they witness an average of 4 hours a week. (At that rate it takes them 16 years to baptize one convert!) One day, I looked out my window and saw two JW mothers going door to door with their children in baby carriages. Why can’t Christians do that? One of the strongest arguments the JW’s use is that they are the ones who are out witnessing for Jehovah, not the Christians.
Every Mormon takes two years out of his life for full time missionary service around the world before settling down to raise a family. Why can’t we do this? If we did, we’d fulfill the Great Commission in no time. Instead, we come up with excuses for not evangelizing–it’s not my calling, I’m a silent witness, I’m too busy. We find fault with every method of witnessing and every evangelism ministry.
One of the main reasons we have a hard time witnessing is fear– fear of rejection by others. Nobody likes being rejected and when we preach the Gospel some people will be offended and reject us. Rather than admit this, we come up with other excuses for not witnessing. We need to overcome this fear, but we never will unless we are first convinced that we must witness for the Lord in order to be obedient to Him. We all love to claim the promises of God, but how many of us claim 2 Timothy 3:12, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”?
We all know that God has a plan for our lives, but many of us don’t realize that Satan also has a plan for our lives. The first part of his plan is to keep us from getting saved. Having failed in this, Satan’s second purpose is to keep us from witnessing to others. He does this through two means: 1. He makes us feel unworthy to witness because of our own sins. 2. He gives us a variety of excuses for not witnessing.
It is time that we stop listening to the enemy’s lies and commit ourselves to obey the Great Commission of our Lord. I believe each of us should be witnessing for Christ in our everyday lives. But I believe each of us should also be involved in some kind of organized evangelistic activity on a regular basis–door-to-door, on the streets, at nursing homes, prisons, juvenile halls, etc. I pray when the Holy Spirit leads me, but I also discipline myself to set a regular time aside for prayer. I fellowship with other Christians when God brings me in contact with them, but I also set aside regular times for Christian fellowship. I witness whenever I am led by the Holy Spirit, but I also set aside regular times for witnessing.
I would challenge each of you to commit at least a few hours a month to some kind of organized evangelism outreach, in addition to whatever witnessing you do in your everyday life. Instead of looking for reasons for being excused from such outreaches, we should instead be dedicating ourselves anew to reaching this lost world by every possible means. I also encourage you to share this teaching with your pastor. I believe that the responsibility of each Christian to witness needs to be taught from every pulpit.
On the Streets
On Fri. Sept. 12 we witnessed at 16th St. and Valencia. Tim Moon played music that night. Mike and Phil witnessed for an hour to Neal, who sells flowers out of his truck. They shared the gospel with him, and he took a New Testament. Eddie and Amos witnessed to a young man who called himself “Brother.” He was a skeptic, but was receptive to the gospel. They told him to go home and ask God to reveal Himself to him. Dave witnessed to Emerson, who is part-owner of a new ice cream store that is across the street from where we set up. Dave told him, “I want you to talk to Jesus tonight.” Some police came by later that night. They did not shut us down, but asked up to turn down our amplifier.
The next day, we held our last outreach of the year at Dolores Park. Tim Moon and Paul Coca played music. Scott Crawford preached. Evangelist Bob Loeffert from Pittsburg, PA was with us that day. He came here to speak at a Bible Conference and stayed in our house for a few days. It was a sunny day, and at least 1000 people were in the park. Most are San Francisco residents in their 20’s and 30’s. Because half of the park is closed due to construction, almost all of them could hear the music and preaching. Phil witnessed to J.R., a homeless American Indian who was listening to our preaching. He said he didn’t want to be on the streets. Eddie and Bob witnessed to an African American family. The mother got angry when her 16 year old son Johnny said that “Jesus is Lord.” He thought he was saved by his works, but was receptive to the true gospel and took a Bible. Phil and I witnessed to Roberto, who appeared to be mentally ill. I had no success communicating with him, but Phil had more success. Roberto said, “That was the first time the gospel was explained to me.” Amos witnessed to Andrew, who like him had graduated from Cal Poly. He was against organized religion but receptive to the gospel. He prayed with him. Eddie, Bob and Amos all witnessed to Noah, who has a Muslim Palestinian background but was stoned on drugs. He asked lots of questions and Amos prayed for him. He invited him to get together the next day. They texted each other but Noah said he was sick and couldn’t meet him. Finally, Mike witnessed to two lesbians who were about 14 years old. They listened as he shared the gospel with them. However, when he answered their question about whether lesbian sex is a sin, they walked away.
On Sat. September 20, we held our last park outreach of the year at UN Plaza. The band “Sonhouse Blues Band” played music. One of their members, Dave Angeles, has been ministering with us since 1978, when he was with the band “Gideon’s Army.” They are booked up a year in advance, so we had not been able to schedule them for the past two years. A group of 10 Christians who are traveling from Mexico to Canada joined us for the last part of our outreach. We also met another group of 60 young Christians who are giving out food to the homeless, but don’t share the gospel with them.
Phil witnessed to William, who had spent 12 years in jail and Jackie, a Buddhist “chaplain.” She told Phil he shouldn’t try to change people. Then she told about her work with poor people. “I try to change them,” she said. Phil pointed out her statement and she responded, “Did I say that?” Phil gave his testimony and she said, “You can pray for me.” Dave witnessed to Mikyas, an 18 year old from Ethiopia, who thought he was saved by his works. He listened attentively to the gospel. He also witnessed to Alexia, 17, who had heard the gospel but didn’t fully understand about the new birth. Finally, he ministered to Rose, a Filipino woman in her 70’s. She is a believer, but lacked assurance of her salvation. Dave helped her to see that her salvation was based upon her faith in what Jesus did for her, not her works.
On Fri. October 3 we witnessed at Powell and Market St. Phil and Andy witnessed to a man in his early 20’s named Sophia. He was a Muslim, but not active in the faith. He was receptive to the gospel and took a New Testament but said he would need to hide it from his parents. Dave witnessed to Kendra, about 28, who has a godly Christian grandmother and was raised in the church. She rebelled and became a prostitute at age 14. After God protected her when a man tried to rape her, she rededicated her life to Christ. However, she is living with her fiancé. She has three children and is pregnant with a fourth. Several of us, including Mike, ministered to Mattie and Marcus, homeless Christians. Mattie’s arms were scarred because she cut herself a lot. They attended church with Mike that Sunday.
The next day, we witnessed in downtown Berkeley. We were scheduled to witness on Telegraph Ave., but the location was under construction. The permit officer moved us to a new location south of the BART station. He moved us because he had received two complaints at our outreach there during SOS. This location is not as good, but we were still able to minister to a lot of people. I gave tracts to Keegan and Annan, who are high school freshmen in Berkeley. They started reading them, and Dave spoke with them. They had never heard the gospel. Dave also witnessed to Wendy, who has a Christian grandmother who raised her as a Christian. However, she has turned away from Christ, blaming hypocrites in the church. Dave and Amos ministered to Tia, a Christian who was molested by her brother when she was 11. Now, she has to take care of her brother, and is having a hard time forgiving him. I prayed with Sarah, who said she is a Christian but is living with a man who is physically abusive. His parents are leaders in the church they attend.
On Fri. October 4, we witnessed at Fisherman’s Wharf. Mike witnessed to Val, 20, for 45 minutes. He was an agnostic and had just gotten out of jail. Dave witnessed to Michael, who works at Applebees. He had been looking into Islam and was searching for truth. They prayed together and he said, “I think God sent you to me.” Larry DuBois prayed with Zion, who appeared to be demonized. The next day, we also witnessed at the Wharf. It was Fleet Week, so there were tens of thousands of people in this area. Mike witnessed to Rob, who used to attend church and had been touched powerfully by God but was now backslidden. Dave witnessed to Jerrod, who was 30 and homeless, and Patty, a Catholic. We paid $35 to park in the lot at the Wharf, but it took us 2 ½ hours to leave the lot and another hour to get home after the outreach — a small price to pay to reach thousands of people with the gospel!
Note: Outreaches are subject to change, especially on rainy days. Call (510) 282-5629 to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday January 9, 16, 23 6 – 9 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.
Sat. January 10 and 17 11 AM – 4 PM. Fisherman’s Wharf outreach. Jefferson St. near Powell, SF.
Sat. January 24 12:30-4:30 PM Berkeley outreach. Telegraph & Haste St.
Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. We have one opening in our ministry house. We are particularly looking for a Christian man in his 20’s or 30’s who is serious about evangelism.
Please pray for those we have witnessed to recently, especially those mentioned in this newsletter. I hope some of you will join us for an outreach this next month.