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SOS Monthly Newsletter - January 2004
Attitudes To Observe During Gospel Conversations
By Scott Crawford
One of the methods of witnessing which I highly recommend is the question and answer method. It incorporates what I call the “Treasury Agent System” to discover what a person really believes. You see, a treasury agent does not study every counterfeit piece of paper money to find all the ways counterfeiters may make mistakes. He studies the real thing, and knows it so well that when he inspects a counterfeit he instantly sees something is wrong. He will then examine it closer to find exactly what is wrong.
In the same way we should spend time with God and study His Word so we will be able to perceive when someone does not know Jesus. Then by question and answer we can pinpoint exactly what is holding them back. Consequently, it is unnecessary to study all of the cults and to know where each of them errs. We simply ask them to explain their beliefs, and as they do, we will recognize which points don’t line up with the Gospel.
It is good to do this even if you think you know what a person believes. Many people who are in a cult do not believe the same things as every other cult member. Some may be less deceived than others. This method will allow you to take advantage of the past work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. Some believe a part of the Gospel already and therefore you can concentrate your efforts on helping them see all the Good News.
The question and answer method is also good for any conversation in which you are engaged. I find that most people make up their own belief system with a combination of what they like from different religions. By questioning them in a non-confrontational way, in a discovery method, you can show them how their beliefs differ from God’s precepts. And, at the very least, you will give them much about which to think and pray.
Additionally, whatever you share with them about the Holy Bible will remain lodged in their minds forever. Several scriptures support this, including Hebrews 4:12-13, which says, “The Word of God is living and active.” Once you speak God’s truth to people, it will keep living and penetrating their thoughts.
There are four major attitudes to look for when talking to people about Christ:
Honesty and openness
Desire to Know God
HONESTY AND OPENNESS
I realize that God has not called every Christian to witness on the streets with us. However, He has called every Christian to share the gospel with others. As we enter a new year, I urge you to rededicate yourself to bringing the gospel to people -- your unsaved friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives, as well as people on the streets, in prisons, nursing homes, college campuses, and those in other nations. I also urge you to rededicate yourself to praying for evangelism ministries, including SOS Ministries, and giving to those who are seeking to reach others for Christ in this nation and around the world.
Jesus dealt with people according to their willingness to be honest. He already knew everything about them, but he was waiting for them to be honest so they could receive His help. Examples are found throughout the Gospels. In John 3, Nicodemus asked: “How can a man be born when he is old?” In John 4, the Samaritan woman, after being told of her sins, said: “That’s right, you must be a prophet.” In the Book of Acts, when the Ethiopian eunuch was asked if he understood what he was reading, he answered: “How can I unless someone guides me?” They were all open, with no blinders on. Others, like the rich young ruler and the Pharisees, were not honest or open, so Jesus gave them a short answer and went on his way. If you can’t get people to be honest with you in a few minutes, then don’t devote a lot of time to them.
DESIRE TO KNOW GOD
In the Gospel accounts mentioned above, each person showed a desire to know more about God. The best thing you can do to help a person at this stage is to share your testimony and tell them about your personal relationship with Jesus. This often creates a deeper desire in people to want to experience Christ.
Christ came to set us free from both complexity and pretense. Today’s world holds sophisticated people in high esteem. But the scripture says, “ ... for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:15]
We need to remember that many people actually don’t think that experiencing Christ can really be as simple as it is. Relating your testimony, the testimony of others, and Biblical testimonies can often make the difference in helping them believe.
The Holy Bible teaches us: “Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” [1 Peter 5:6-7]
Timing is the thing to remember at this point. Some people are more ready to receive the Lord than others. They have carried a lot of baggage through life; they have dealt with many emotional and psychological issues and are ready to be delivered NOW! Also, the Spirit works with people in different ways throughout their lifetime. He will give you discernment if you listen.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3]
When a person exhibits humility – their willingness to admit their need and ask Jesus to help them – they are ready. Ask them to pray with you, and lead them in a prayer of salvation.
Watching for these four attitudes can greatly enhance your ability to lead people to Christ. Depend on the Holy Spirit to help you and you will experience many soul-winning adventures!
ON THE STREETS
During the winter, it often rains in San Francisco. When it rains, we often need to change our witnessing location at the last minute. We cannot set up our large sound system in the rain. Instead, we find a location with a canopy and use our small maximouse amplifier. We almost never cancel an outreach.
The weather forecast called for rain on November 14 and 15. We had planned to witness at the Sony Metreon on Friday night. We decided to go there, even though there is no canopy there to protect us. It didn't rain where we were witnessing, although it rained hard in Oakland that night. We had some excellent conversations. I spoke with Jesse and Margaret, who attend Lowell High School in San Francisco. Both were only 14 but claimed to be atheists and asked a lot of difficult questions. I also spoke with Matthew, age 20, a Catholic who knew God is real but wasn't sure he wanted to serve Him. The next day, we witnessed in Berkeley. Again it didn't rain. I spoke with Hooman, a student from Iran. Although nominally Moslem, he was extremely open to the gospel and agreed that Jesus was far superior to Mohammed.
On November 21 and 22, we had no problem with rain. On Friday night, we witnessed at 16th St. and Valencia. On Saturday afternoon, we witnessed at Powell and Market and at Union Square. Tim Moon sang at all the outreaches. His band, Bluedog, played at Union Square. A youth mime group from Message of Peace Church, a Brazilian church in South San Francisco, also ministered that afternoon.
Note: Outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 531-5325 or 541-9903 (cell phone) to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday Jan. 9, 16, 30 7:30-10 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods. (Call for location).
Sat. January 10 12:30-4:30 PM Berkeley Outreach. Telegraph and Haste St.
Sat. January 17, 31 12-4 PM San Francisco Outreach. (Call for location).
February 20-25 Mardi Gras Outreach, New Orleans. Contact Rescue Atlanta (404) 627-0054.
Ministry News and Needs
Again, I want to thank you for your prayers and financial support of this ministry. Many ministries continually beg for money and manipulate people to give. I do not think this is pleasing to God. "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" 1 Tim. 6:8. God has been faithful to provide our needs, and I am thankful that many of you continue to support this ministry.
We have set the dates for next summer's SOS-San Francisco (Year 25!): June 18-26. Please set aside these dates to attend this important outreach. Please pray that we will have more workers to help us on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. We especially need someone to play music on Friday night.
Yesterday, I learned that we must pay $100 every time our banner is put up at Union Square. We need someone who can design frames to hold our banners and signs, so we can avoid these fees. Also, we need an experienced painter to paint part of the exterior of our ministry house.
Our Tape of the Month is Small Town Evangelism by Scott Crawford. We need to reach our towns as well as our cities.
Yours in His love,
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