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SOS Monthly Newsletter - February 2003
Witnessing at Work
Dear Christian friends,
One of our goals for this newsletter is to provide each of you with some practical help in witnessing for our Lord. Since most of you spend many hours each week at a job, I thought I'd start with some suggestions for witnessing at your workplace. God wants us to redeem the time. Our time at work should accomplish more than making money. Many Christians have led many people to Christ through their jobs. The great evangelist D.L.Moody got saved through the witness of a shoe salesman, while he was trying on some shoes. God wants to use you to witness to others at your job, as well as at other times. Here are some tips that I think will help you:
Get and keep your heart right with God. Confess and forsake any known sin. Spend time in prayer and God's word in the morning before work. The more you are walking in the Spirit at work, the better witness you'll be and the more you'll hear God when He tells you to witness to someone. At the same time, don't fall into condemnation, thinking you can't witness because you aren't "spiritual enough." If you lose your temper at work (for example), apologize to those who were affected.
Choose the right job. Are you where God wants you? God used Jonah while he was running away from Him, but He would rather use us when we are in His perfect will. If you aren't sure you are in the job God wants you to have, ask Him. If He wants you somewhere else, He'll make it very clear to you. When you are preparing for future work or looking for a job, spend much time praying for God's direction. Some jobs provide more opportunities than others to witness. This should be an important consideration in your job choice. Being used by God to witness at a job will greatly contribute to your happiness with that job.
Let everyone know you are a Christian from the start. The longer you work at a job without telling people, the harder it will be to do so. Also, once you tell people you are a Christian, you will be conscious of your need to maintain a good witness before them. One easy way to do this is to send each co-worker and client a personal card or letter at Easter or Christmas with a clear gospel message in it, perhaps with your testimony in it.
Be sensitive to each person and to the Holy Spirit as to how much you should witness to them, and the best way to do so. Everyone reaches a place of crisis in their life at some time, when they are desperate for help. If they see you as a friend and a stable person, they will be likely to turn to you for counsel. Then they will listen eagerly as you share.
Avoid self-righteousness and legalism. Most people think of Christians this way. Let them see that your relationship with God is vital and gives you joy and peace, fulfillment and direction in your life. At the same time, we do need to take a stand as to what we will and won't do at work. We must avoid all dishonesty and other immorality. It is better to leave your job than sin against our Lord.
Be a friend. Invite the person to your house for dinner. Or invite them to go with you to a "non-churchy" Christian event that you think they might enjoy. Don't gossip about them or anyone else. That way, they won't be afraid to confide in you.
Use tracts. Ron Woodruff, who helped start SOS Ministries, worked at a glass factory when he got saved. He bought hundreds of comic-book tracts and left them in everyone's lockers and everywhere around the factory. People avoided Ron because he talked to them about Jesus and wouldn't listen to their dirty jokes. But they couldn't deny the change they saw in his life. Within a few years, almost a third of the factory had gotten saved.
Become indispensable at your job. Be such a good worker that your boss can't do without you. Your boss probably won't mind if you witness to people as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. Of course, this varies with the boss and the job. Once I worked at a hamburger stand and the manager (a Catholic) let me put tracts in the sack with each hamburger. Another time I worked as a cashier at a high-class restaurant. I witnessed to the waiters and quite a few customers. The owner thought it was cute and boasted of his "preacher-cashier."
Don't become a "workaholic." Make sure your priorities are right. You need to spend time each day with God, spend time with your family, have regular church fellowship, spend time with friends, spend time in some kind of ministry activity, and have some time for rest and relaxation. If you find yourself working 50 or more hours a week, maybe you should look for a job with a better hourly wage, or simplify your lifestyle so you don't spend so much money. This is particularly true for single people. One of the main advantages of being single is the ability to give oneself more fully to Christian service without the responsibilities of family life. Many single people should be able to support themselves with part-time jobs, as I did for many years. Last week I got a call from a single brother. I invited him to witness with us, but he said he worked 60 hours a week. He liked making a lot of money, and was giving some of it to missions. Still, he was frustrated that he had no time to evangelize. His boss was unwilling to reduce his hours, so I encouraged him to find a different job. Our time is our greatest asset. "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is" (Eph. 5:15).
The Trial -- Part III
The evidence phase of our Federal Civil Rights trial concluded on December 16. We expected to make closing arguments the next day. However, Judge Chesney surprised us. She asked each side to write legal briefs summarizing the evidence we presented at the trial and arguing our case. According to her schedule, this would continue through April, with oral arguments on April 28. Actually, this is good for us. While it involves more work for our attorney, Russell Davis, and for me, it will allow us plenty of time to present the strongest possible argument, and will increase our chances of winning the case. We won't learn the results until May or later, and most likely, there will be an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will take at least another year. So keep praying for us, and for Judge Chesney, that she will rule in our favor.
We are asking her to order that the San Francisco police be required to comply with California law in enforcing "disturbing the peace" statutes. The California Supreme Court allows arrests for "disturbing the peace" only when someone is using "fighting words" that could provoke an immediate, violent reaction or when someone is making noise for the sole purpose of disturbing people. However, the San Francisco police continually ignore this ruling.
Also, we are asking her to order that the San Francisco police issue permits to us at Powell and Market, 4th and Market, and Fisherman's Wharf from noon to 6 PM. At the trial, we presented extensive proof that the police allow other music groups to use these areas illegally, without permits, and never cite them even when people complain. The 9th Circuit ruled that this must be considered evidence of discrimination against us. Also, the San Francisco ordinance requires the Chief of Police to issue permits at these locations to non-commercial groups from 9 AM to 10 PM. Still, they refuse to issue us permits at two of these locations, and limit our permits at Powell and Market to 1 hour.
So all we are asking is that the judge order the San Francisco police department to comply with their own laws. We think this is very reasonable. However, we do not know how she will rule. Based on her comments at trial, I think she is inclined to rule against us. Please pray that God will change her heart, and that He will give Russell wisdom in presenting our arguments to her.
On the Streets
December was a difficult month for us. Both Eric and I were exhausted from the legal battle. Paul Coca was overwhelmed with work at his jewelry job and couldn't join us. The rest of our outreach team was unable to join us for various reasons. Most weekends, we were unable to witness because of the heavy rains. So we held only one outreach in December. On Friday December 20, Eric, Brenda, and I witnessed at Union Square, along with Eric's children Christie and David. While we were witnessing, we and our equipment were drenched by a sudden rainstorm. We found shelter a block away and continued to preach and witness. One young man was sincerely seeking after God. We gave him a New Testament before his friends pulled him away.
Note: All outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 541-3147 (cell phone) to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday February 7, 14, 21 7:30-10 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods (Call for location).
Sat. February 8 12-1 PM Powell and Market St. 2:30-4:30 PM Union Square, Powell and Geary St. SF
Sat. February 15 12-1 PM Powell and Market St. 2-5 PM UN Plaza (7th St. and Market) SF
Sat. February 22 Berkeley Outreach 12:30-4:30 PM Telegraph and Haste St.
Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. Don't forget to take the week of June 20-28 off from work so you can attend next summers SOS-San Francisco outreach. Also, we need more Christians to witness with us on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. As you can see, our outreach team is getting pretty small. It is difficult to conduct an effective outreach with only 2 or 3 adults. We especially need someone who can sing and play guitar.
Please pray for those who wrote us this past month in response to tracts: John, George, Eugene, and Vance (SF), Peter (Berkeley), and Joanne (South SF). Randy wrote us, "Thank you for this faithful ministry that has encouraged me to preach door to door in the San Leandro area. Keep up the good work."
Our Tape of the Month is "Evangelization" by Dennis McNally. Dennis is Pastor of my home church, New Life Christian Church in Castro Valley, CA, and a member of the SOS Ministries Board of Directors.
Yours in His love,
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