SOS-San Francisco July 12—16
This is the 32nd year we have sent out an “SOS” to Christians to bring the gospel to the people of San Francisco. We have shortened the outreach this year, since it is getting increasingly difficult for people to take so much time off work. The outreach will begin Tues. night July 12 and ends Sat. afternoon July 16. Again we will be meeting at The Gate Ministry, 1429 Mendell St. (near 3rd St. and Oakdale), SF. We have housing and showers and provide breakfast and lunch. Bring a sleeping bag and foam pad. If you prefer, we can send you names of hotels in the area.
The cost is $40 and fees will be waived for those who cannot afford it. I hope many of you will join us for this outreach. Talk with your pastor and youth leader. Ask them if this event can be announced at church and if your church can bring a team to the outreach. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (510) 761-6120.
Tues July 12 6-8 PM Registration, evangelism training and prayer 1429 Mendell St. San Francisco
Wed July 13 – Sat. July 16 8 AM evangelism training and prayer 1429 Mendell St. San Francisco
Wed. July 13 12-4 PM Fisherman’s Wharf—Jefferson St. (between Mason and Powell) San Francisco 6-9 PM Evening outreach
Thurs. July 14 12-4 PM Telegraph & Haste St. Berkeley 6-9 PM Evening Outreach
Fri. July 15 12-4 PM Haight & Masonic St. San Francisco 6-9 PM Evening Outreach
Sat July 16 11:30 AM -1:30 PM Union Square (Powell & Geary) 2-3 PM March through Chinatown 3:30-5:30 PM Washington Square (Columbus & Union) SF
WHY WE SHOULD WITNESS
Independent Community Church ministers at UN Plaza. (City Hall is in back)
Dear Christian friends,
One of the main purposes of this newsletter is to encourage Christians to witness for Jesus Christ. Perhaps 80% of all Christians never or almost never witness to anyone. Not only do they not witness through organized outreaches, they don’t witness at work or even to their unsaved friends. Also, many Christians who at one time were involved extensively in evangelism no longer do much witnessing.
Over the years, I have thought a lot about this problem, its cause and possible solutions. I am convinced that much of Satan’s attacks on Christians is focused on two areas: prayer and witnessing. In the area of evangelism, Satan will give us every excuse not to witness. He will tell us our witnessing is not effective, that we should do other things with our time. Whatever method we are using, it is the wrong method. We are turning people off to the gospel. We are neglecting our family or church activities. Satan has been very effective at preventing Christians from witnessing. We can see the result in the current condition of our nation and world.
One area in which Satan attacks us concerns our motivation for evangelism. We have seen preachers who condemn people, as though they were happy people are going to Hell. Our motives for preaching are not always perfect. We may enjoy the attention we are getting when a crowd gathers. We may think we are earning favor with God or making up for past sins by witnessing.
What is the proper motivation for evangelism? First, we witness because we love God. When you fall in love with someone, it is natural to tell others about that person. Also, we know that God loved this world so much that He sent His Son to die for their sins. He does not want to see anyone perish but that all come to repentance.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and He has ordained that people are saved through preaching. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corin. 1:21). “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
The apostle Paul didn’t worry much about people’s motives for witnessing. “Some indeed preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely…What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice” (Phil. 1:15, 18). Even when people’s motives for preaching were wrong, Paul was more concerned that Christ be preached. “Just do it.”
“When I preach the gospel,” Paul wrote, “I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me” (1 Corin. 9:16-17). Paul is saying that even if he does not want to witness, he is compelled to do so and something bad would happen to him if he were disobedient. Then he compares the discipline involved in preaching the gospel to that of a runner and a boxer. Athletic competition involves great discipline even to the point of pain. “No pain. No gain.” It is painful to see people reject the gospel, and reject us because we proclaim the gospel. Without sufficient motivation, we won’t be willing to endure this pain. “They do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corin. 5:11). And he told the people of Ephesus, “I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men, For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). Paul was referring here to God’s warning in Ezekiel 33: “If you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.” Paul apparently thought that this Old Testament scripture does apply to us in this age of grace.
I may not feel like praying or reading the Bible or going to church. I may not feel like going to work. I may not feel like witnessing. But I discipline myself to do the things I know God wants me to do regardless of my feelings. However, many Christians think that they should evangelize only when they “feel led.”
Christians often ask me what motivates me to continue preaching the gospel for so many years in a city that is known for its resistance to God’s Word. I grew up in the “Bible belt” and probably many of my friends were Christians, but none told me how to be saved. At the age of 24, after searching many years to find meaning in life, I finally met some people who cared for my soul and showed me the way of salvation.
Once I realized the Bible is really true and there really is a Heaven and Hell, I was amazed that nobody had ever warned me before. In light of this truth, I knew that the only sensible thing for me to do was to dedicate my life to warning people of the reality of eternal Hell and showing them the way of salvation.
Some may say that this is not a lofty motivation. Some Christians teach that it is wrong to witness because of our desire to save people from Hell. Yet Paul wrote in Romans 9 that he had “great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren (the Jews).” Paul was was even willing to take the place of his fellow Jews who were headed for Hell. Of course, we can’t do that, but we can warn them of this danger and show them the way out. If you study church history, you will find that virtually every great evangelist was motivated by an overwhelming desire to keep people out of Hell.
I am continually amazed that Christians who believe that all the unbelievers around them are headed for eternal torment in Hell would care so little about warning them. The only explanation I have is that Satan is very clever at giving us excuses for not witnessing, and that our heart is so deceitful that we fall for his lies. I rarely feel like witnessing to anyone. Every week, when I am leaving home to attend an outreach, I can think of some excuse for not going. But then I remember that no sacrifice is too great to save even one soul from Hell.
There are many valid motives for preaching the gospel. While we should examine ourselves for impure motives, the most important thing is that we continue to preach the gospel in a consistent way. Setting aside a regular time to witness is as legitimate and necessary as any other spiritual discipline. Waiting until you are in perfect spiritual condition before witnessing is as foolish as waiting until you are in perfect physical condition before exercising.
On the Streets
On Friday April 15, we witnessed at Powell and Market St. I witnessed to a 14 year old boy from Yemen named Jonas. He is a dedicated Muslim, although he was confused about its teachings. He said the Bible had been changed, and I asked him for evidence of that. He said he would bring it tomorrow, when we would be at UN Plaza. Kylan, who has read the Quran, also witnessed to him. He did not show up at UN Plaza. We had many other conversations that night. Dave witnessed to John, a college student from San Jose, and Jeromy witnessed to Robert and Todd.
The next day, we ministered at UN Plaza. Tim Moon played music and several of us preached. Tony, a pastor from New York, gave an altar call after he preached. Three people responded. Dave witnessed to John, a homeless man from Lousiana. Kylan, Larry DuBois, and Amanda witnessed to Robert, who heard our preaching in his room across the street and was sincerely seeking after God. I met Michael, the young man I mentioned in last month’s newsletter. He had left Victory Outreach and was taking drugs again. He wanted to get into a Christian program, and I made some suggestions. On Tuesday he emailed me: “I’m glad that I met up with you at the UN Plaza a few days ago. I really have been feeling the Lord bring me back on the right track. I just have to give a praise report that things are looking up for me just a little bit better. I also got connected to a great Pentecostal Christian church that provides services in the week and a bible study session as well. Thank you!”
We held another outreach at UN Plaza on April 23. Pastor Raymond Landry and the Independent Community Church (Richmond) worship group ministered. A large crowd gathered to listen to their music and Raymond’s preaching. They prayed with several people that afternoon. Dave witnessed to Mark and Lynn. Jeromy witnessed to Paul and Geronimo. Kylan witnessed to Ron and Jacob.
During the afternoon, several hundred people from Yemen gathered for a demonstration. I spoke briefly with Jonas, whom I had met the week before. Dave witnessed to Nadir, a Muslim who was quite receptive to the gospel. Two of his friends also listened to their conversation. We gave out about 100 tracts to demonstrators, including many children, and virtually nobody refused a gospel tract. This was a remarkable opportunity for us. Evangelism is extremely dangerous in Yemen.
Note: Outreaches are subject to change.
Call (510) 761-6120 to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday June 10, 17, 24 Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods. 7:30-10 PM (Call for location).
Sat. June 11 and 18 San Francisco Evangelism Outreach. UN Plaza (7th St. and Market) 12-5 PM.June 11: Triumph Ministries, Oakland. June 18: Shelter Cove Church youth, Modesto.
Sat. June 25 Berkeley Outreach: Telegraph & Haste St. 12:30-4:30 PM
July 12-16 SOS-San Francisco 32nd year!
Thank you for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. Our San Francisco park permits will cost us $900. Also, we need to purchase 600 more New Testaments ($400).
Please continue to pray for work for three house members, Dan, Dave, and Jeromy. I hope some of you will join us for an outreach this next month.
Yours in His love,
2. Kylan witnesses to Jonas from Yemen.
3. Dave witnesses to Nadir, a Yemeni Muslim, at UN Plaza.
4. Pastor Raymond prays with people at UN Plaza.