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SOS Monthly Newsletter - May 2002
Getting our Priorities Right
Dear Christian friends,
As I was walking through our neighborhood, I encountered a Jehovah's Witness man going door to door with his two children. Members of this cult come through our neighborhood about once a month. I have seen mothers bringing their infants in baby carriages. I have learned from a former Jehovah's Witness that the average active Jehovah's Witness spends about 4 hours a week witnessing. At that rate, it takes them about 16 years to gain one convert. Also, they spend many hours at their church meetings practicing how to witness, using role-playing to go over various questions they might be asked, and learning how to respond.
Every time I see them, I marvel at their dedication to a false cause. They work secular jobs and support their families. They spend time with their families and participate in the activities at the Kingdom Hall. Yet, they all spend time going door to door spreading their message. Why can't we Christians, who have the truth, do as much? We say we have no time for witnessing, but Jehovah's Witnesses find the time to witness.
Many Christians say witnessing is ineffective because we don't lead someone to Christ every time we go out. Yet the Jehovah's Witnesses will patiently go door to door, facing one rejection after another, for 3200 hours to get one convert! Many Christians will not inconvenience themselves for even one hour to witness to an unsaved person. The only explanation I have is that Satan opposes our witnessing, but not theirs. Satan has given us a variety of excuses not to witness, and we have believed him.
This past month, President Bush suggested that all young people dedicate two years to volunteer work. Mormon youth devote two years to missionary work. Why can't Christian youth do as much? Our goal at SOS Ministries is to encourage and train Christians to become more involved in evangelism, on the streets, to friends and relatives, at work and school, and on the foreign mission field. We also want to help those who are called to be evangelists to become more effective in their personal ministries and in equipping the church to witness.
On February 23, a music group from Jews for Jesus ministered at Powell and Market St. Children of the Rock ministered at UN Plaza. We witnessed to many people that afternoon, including hundreds of people who were arriving for the Chinese New Year Parade. On March 1, we witnessed on Castro Street, the center of militant homosexuality. We had no opposition that night. We also had several good conversations and gave out hundreds of tracts.
On March 9, we again ministered at Powell and Market and at UN Plaza. The Independent Community Church choir from Richmond sang at UN Plaza, drawing a large crowd. We witnessed to many homeless people. We also witnessed to hundreds of wealthy people as they left the Orpheum Theater, which features Broadway plays. Many of the wealthy people would not even take a gospel tract, but they all received a gospel witness through the music, preaching, and signs as they walked past us.
Many of the homeless seem receptive to the gospel, and will pray with us. However, most have such serious problems that they need to enter a live-in Christian discipleship program. We try to help them get into a program, but few are willing to abide by their rules. They like the freedom of living on the streets, doing whatever they want. Still, we continue to minister to the homeless, knowing that some will eventually be truly converted. Many have a worldly sorrow. They are sorry about the way sin has ruined their lives. Few have a godly sorrow, a sorrow that they have displeased God. Once they repent and make Jesus Lord of their lives, He will give them the ability to live a life pleasing to Him. Pray that many of the homeless people who have professed faith in Christ will have a godly sorrow that leads to true repentance.
Please pray for those we have witnessed to this past month, including Marty, who saw the New Life Drama Team on Friday night and again in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon. David is a homeless homosexual, raised as an Orthodox Jew. Trien is a Vietnamese Mormon going through a very hard time. He listened to the gospel and received prayer from us. Reva knew the Lord when she was young, but now attends the Unity Church (cult). Jeffrey is young and into sex and drugs, but listened to the gospel and said we could pray for him. Also, pray for Jack, Kevin, Johnny, Tommy, George, Roberto and Christopher (SF), Felix (age 61, Evans, CO), Robert (Garden City, KS prison), Juan (Reidsville, GA prison), and Pat (Tracy, CA prison).
"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim. 3:12. From 1996 to 1998, the San Francisco police cited us eight times. After five years of legal efforts, every criminal charge was dismissed. We received an important ruling that the city was applying their noise ordinance against us in an unconstitutional way. Also, in 1996, the police began denying our loudspeaker permit applications at many locations, and severely limited our permit times at other locations. That year, we filed a Federal civil rights lawsuit in an attempt to stop the arrests and permit restrictions. The lawsuit is finally scheduled to go to trial this December.
While we have not been arrested in three years, we are still occasionally threatened with arrest. On March 15, a police officer told us that if two people complained about our message, he could arrest us for "disturbing the peace." On April 5, an officer threatened to arrest us if one person signed a complaint against us. Fortunately, neither officer arrested us or stopped our preaching.
On April 3, Eric Livingston attended a hearing at which the police department sought to reduce our permit times at Washington Square from four hours to two hours. At the hearing, one person complained about our outreaches. As a result of this complaint, the police are now limiting our permits to two hours, from 1-3 PM. It appears that other groups will still get four-hour permits at Washington Square.
Our Washington Square permits are now filled with ridiculous conditions. We are instructed to set up our sound system at the end of the park farthest from the Catholic Church, but "no speakers or portions thereof shall be faced towards the direction of the church" (in other words, we can?t point the speakers towards the people in the park). We are also told that we can only seek to communicate our message to those "persons whose specific intent is to attend the event?.
While we are making a special effort to involve youth groups this year, Christians of all ages are welcome to participate in SOS-San Francisco. This year we will again be meeting at Temple Baptist Church, 3355 19th Ave. (near Ocean), San Francisco. Registration begins on Friday June 21 at 6 PM. Meetings are scheduled daily except Sunday at 9 AM and 6 PM from June 22 - 29. Evangelism training will be provided throughout the week.
We will be holding daily noon worship rallies in city parks, bringing the church to the street. Free housing is available during the outreach. We will be serving breakfast and lunch from June 24 - 29. Youth under 18 need adult supervision. This outreach is an opportunity to bring the love of Jesus Christ to people who desperately need to know Him. It is truly a life-changing experience.
We will be printing thousands of full-color poster/brochures to let people know about this outreach. Please help us get this literature to churches, Christian bookstores, and Christian schools in your area. You can give it out at Christian concerts and other events. Please encourage your Christian friends to get involved. Set aside the week of June 21 - 29 to attend the SOS outreach and bring a friend.
Note: All outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 531-5325 or (510) 244-0277 (pager) to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday May 3, 10, 17 7:30-10 PM Witnessing in various S. F. neighborhoods. (Call for meeting locations.)
Sat. May 4 Berkeley Outreach. 12:30
Sat. May 11 San Francisco ?Church on the Street? worship rallies. 1-3 PM. Washington Square (Stockton and Columbus St.) 4-6 PM. Powell and Market St.
Sat. May 11 Whole Earth Festival Outreach, Davis, CA. Call New Hope (916) 348-6997.
Sat. May 18 San Francisco ?Church on the Street? worship rallies. 12-1 PM. Powell and Market St. 1:30-5 PM. United Nations Plaza (7th St. and Market)
We still need a spiritually-mature Christian with a burden to reach the lost for our ministry house in Oakland. Call or write us if you are interested. We also need Christians to witness with us on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.
Our Tape of the Month is Evangelical Frustration by Ray Comfort. Finney, Moody, Wesley and Spurgeon all used a powerful biblical principle for effective evangelism which has been largely forgotten by modern preachers. That key is expounded on this tape.
Please set aside the week of June 21-29 to attend this year's SOS-San Francisco outreach. Ask your boss to give you the week off, or use some of your vacation time. Please pray for us as we prepare for this important outreach. Pray that God will provide our needs and guide us in planning the outreach. Don't forget to send in your SOS registration form right away.
Yours in His love,
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