CASTILLO FAMILY WITNESSES ON VALENCIA ST.
TIM MOON SINGS ON HAIGHT ST.
AMOS WITNESSES AT 16TH ST. AND MISSION.
BEN WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
NEW LIFE (HAYWARD) WORSHIP MINISTERS AT UN PLAZA.
MIKE WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
KATHY AND MAY GIVE OUT FOOD ON HAIGHT ST.
NORMAN WITNESSES ON HAIGHT ST.
- CASTILLO FAMILY WITNESSES ON VALENCIA ST.
- TIM MOON SINGS ON HAIGHT ST.
- AMOS WITNESSES AT 16TH ST. AND MISSION.
- BEN WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
- NEW LIFE (HAYWARD) WORSHIP MINISTERS AT UN PLAZA.
- MIKE WITNESSES AT UN PLAZA.
- KATHY AND MAY GIVE OUT FOOD ON HAIGHT ST.
- NORMAN WITNESSES ON HAIGHT ST.
Friday November 6, 13, 20 6 – 9 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.
Sat. November 7 12:30 – 4:30 PM Berkeley Outreach (Shattuck and Center St.—outside downtown Berkeley BART station)
Sat. November 14 and 21 11 AM – 4 PM Fisherman’s Wharf (Jefferson St. near Mason)
Godliness with Contentment
Dear Christian friends,
The apostle Paul is probably my favorite person in the Bible (except of course Jesus). As an evangelist, I certainly admire Paul’s commitment to preaching the gospel and his burden for lost souls. But I also appreciate the wisdom Paul shows towards how we should live as Christians. In 1 Timothy 6, Paul warns Timothy about “people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Through most of human history, the vast majority of people followed in their parents’ footsteps. If my father was a farmer, I would be a farmer. I would have little expectation of prospering financially much more than my father had. Until recently, every generation in the US was prospering more than their parents. There was a sense that there was little limit to what someone could accomplish with hard work.
One result of our expectations is that many of us are not content. We have very high expectations out of life, and our reality falls short. Perhaps we have financial problems, health problems, or marital problems. Paul said we should be content with food and clothing. While there are Christians in other parts of the world who lack food and clothing, virtually no Christian in the US is in that circumstance. There are abundant sources of food and clothing, even for the homeless. Still, we aren’t content.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his “thorn in the flesh”: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was. Perhaps that is good, because we can substitute our own “thorn in the flesh.” All of us have things we have wanted to change in our lives. We have prayed, but nothing changes. Like Paul, we need to delight in our weaknesses, hardships, persecutions and difficulties. Having food and clothing, we need to be content. What are we complaining about? Anything more is an unexpected and undeserved blessing from God.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Kathy gives out food on Haight St.
I once asked two pastors why it is so hard to get Christians involved in evangelism. Both pastored churches which were very much involved in street ministry 35 years ago. Today, few of their members are involved in evangelism of any kind. They gave several reasons for this. One main reason was economics. Over the past 35 years, there has been a great increase in the number of church families in which both parents work and in which the husband works overtime in order to pay their bills. Many families are heavily in debt and are trying desperately to catch up. They barely have time to attend Sunday morning service and possibly a home fellowship. Many say there is no time for anything else.
When I was growing up, most families lived on a single paycheck. We thought that in the future, as automation took over the workplace, we would have more leisure time. Because of technology, the average work week had decreased from 80 to 60 to 40 hours. We expected it to continue to decrease to 30 or even 20 hours. For a number of reasons, this did not happen. Today, most families need two paychecks to maintain their standard of living.
As Christians, how do we relate this new “economic reality” to our responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission? For some Christians, their increased prosperity had led to increased support for world missions. But giving is only one part of our responsibility as Christians. We are also personally responsible to bring the gospel to others.
Some Christians find that they have many opportunities to witness in their daily lives–at work, to their neighbors and friends, while riding the bus, etc. However, most Christians rarely witness in their everyday lives. They need to set aside time to witness–on the streets, door-to-door, at prisons and nursing homes, etc. But where do we find the time?
One thing we need to consider is simplifying our lives. Our actual needs are few. We need food, clothing, and shelter. But advertisers spend billions of dollars trying to convince us we need a brand new car, a new computer, a new phone, the latest fashion in clothing, and so on. Many Christians work overtime or go into debt to purchase these things. We don’t want to deprive us or our children of anything material. Our children need us to spend time with them, teaching them God’s ways, much more than they need us to spend lots of money on them.
Our time is our most valuable asset. God will hold us accountable for how we use our time. Should we spend extra hours at work trying to support a lifestyle we don’t need and God does not want us to have? Then, when we come home from work, we are too tired and stressed out to spend time with the Lord, our family, our church, or reaching the lost. “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” Eph. 5:15-17.
One pastor gave another reason why few Christians witness: we have left our first love. We need to fall in love with Jesus again. If we love Him, we will want to tell others about Him. The sacrifices we must make to do this will seem small.
On the Streets
On Sat. August 1, we witnessed at UN Plaza. The worship group from New Life Christian Church, Hayward, my home church, ministered. Mike witnessed to Rocco, a Muslim man who was listening to our worship, and spoke with Raj, an Indian man who seemed angry and tormented but claimed to be a Christian. Mike prayed with Raj, and he seemed to have more peace afterwards. Mike also spoke with a police officer named Julius, whom he had met several years earlier. The officer was friendly towards us and later removed a drunk woman who was causing problems.
Dave witnessed to Ariella, a Catholic from El Salvador who was hanging out with some young drug dealers in the park. He witnessed to Teresa, a Jehovah’s Witness from England. She seemed to have been ministered to by the things Dave shared about being born again and having a relationship with Jesus. He also witnessed to Lee, a Chinese man who attends UC Davis and was quite receptive to the gospel. Finally, he witnessed to Angelica and Martina, who are from Switzerland. They stood around for over an hour listening to the music and raising their hands. We all assumed they were Christians. However, they were Catholics who believed in praying to Mary. Dave spoke with them about Jesus being our only mediator.
On Friday August 7, we witnessed on Haight St. We received a lot of food from City Impact, which we gave out to the many homeless people in this area. Dave spoke with Evan, a 14 year old foster kid who heard the gospel and took a tract, but argued that all ways lead to God. He spoke with Nick, a 20 year old from Indiana, who listened patiently to the gospel and took two tracts. He also spoke with a young woman who called herself “Toes” and said she was raised in a Christian home and God was her best friend until the age of 9. She was horribly abused for seven years and felt God had abandoned her. Norman and Dave spoke with Joshua and Melissa, 20 year old college students, both atheists, who debated with them but also heard the gospel.
Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for this ministry.
Please pray for those we have witnessed to recently, including those who are mentioned in this newsletter. We also still need a musician for Friday night outreaches.
I hope many of you will join us for an outreach this next month.