Dear Friends in Christ
It was Friday midmorning as I walked down the street in front of my house. I noticed a car driving by real slow. I thought it odd since everyone drives fast around here. In Oakland it is not farfetched to think that someone could pull out a gun and open fire. My streetwise sense would tell me to keep walking looking straight ahead ignoring the car. Instead I looked into the car only to see a young woman in what appeared to be her learning how to drive. Mom or someone was sitting in the passenger seat as the instructor. This would explain her going so slow. After reaching the bus stop I thought, what if that were a gunman and it was my day to die? Without exception I bring this up in my preaching. I say something like, “the message of the Gospel is urgent because you don’t know the day of your death; in most cases it comes unexpected, sudden, and in all cases permanent”. We Christians ought to consider that our time here is short and we need to be about our Father’s business. Since the time is short let’s work while we can. John 9:4 Eph 5:15-16
I thank God for all of you that receive my newsletter because in one way or another you are working along with me. Despite the encroachments on our freedom and the sin that abounds in America, we still have an open door of wonderful opportunity to spread the Gospel as you will see in my first story below.
Sacramento – California’s State Capital
Back on Thursday March 27th several of us from the Bay Area and one brother from Sacramento gathered on the west side stairs of the State Capital. I had obtained a “free” permit for about 2.5 hours. They had several storms move through the area the previous few days and the rain was threatening our outreach. Eric Martinez had brought a small sound system that used an electrical outlet. When we were setting up I noticed that we could move under the doorway if it rained. The west side entrance is closed to the public so we didn’t have to worry about blocking foot traffic. My concern was that if it rained, many people would opt to stay inside during the lunch hour. The Lord graciously held back the rain for us to preach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of our audience was state workers going to and fro through the main entrance a little ways down from where we were. The speakers were on stands so our speech could be heard two blocks away up on “K” street, although the people passing by in front of us were not blasted out. It was perfect. For two hours Eric Martinez, Wally Van Sandt, and myself took turns preaching. Ken Onaga and Duane Hoopes passed out tracts and held signs down on “L” street in front of us. Dave St. Marie roved around getting into one-on-one conversations which is his specialty. This event was the epitome of free speech. Some would argue that having to get a permit for the sound is in some way violating our free speech rights. Most do not know that with this “free” state permit, comes the right to have sound decibels way over the city’s allowance and also having Highway Patrol officers there to protect our rights if need be – hecklers beware!
The Saga of Berkeley
As mentioned in my Berkeley Blitz Report on March 26th things have been going gangbusters there. It continues on although the completion of the college school year is very near. Roy Spears had stayed on another couple months and has been working hard at the campus most every day. Roy is considering moving here from Arizona to continue this work. Many relationships, friends, and contacts have been made. Several of the students are evangelizing and some of the young men have taken their turn at preaching the gospel both with and without an amp. I mentioned to Roy last week that I would have to put out a newsletter every day to capsulate all that the Lord has been doing here. We have had our battles but the Gospel is persevering. There are so many stories I could share but I am going to pick this one: Michael, an atheist, is about 50 years old and is taking some classes at UC Berkeley. Roy met Michael and has talked with him numerous times. I also have met Michael. Michael mentioned that his mother who is estranged from him in a nursing facility. She has accused Michael of stealing money and trying to kill her etc. She refuses to see him. Michael’s hope was to reconcile to his 80-year old mother before she died. Roy made a point to tell Michael on several occasions that he and others would be praying for this. About a week later Roy gets a voicemail from Michael stating that his mother completely turned around and is now seeing Michael. Michael mentioned that he still doesn’t believe even though he has witnessed this event. I saw Michael in person a few days ago and asked how his mother was. He said fine and then I said I had a verse for him. It is found in John 12:37 He said he understood the point I was making. Michael still refuses to believe in Christ but he likes us, especially Roy. Roy has spent quite a bit of time with him which left a mark on Michael. Michael is a nice guy but on his way to hell. Please pray for his salvation.
April 4th – Light rain fell on us tonight as we went to one of the most popular places in San Francisco – Halldie Plaza. This is located on the corners of Powell & Market streets. Over the years the only place I think I may have preached more is at Fisherman’s Wharf. Tonight we had a group come down from Eureka to join SOS Ministries. Robin Anderson, (pictured) was instrumental in bringing the group down. Robin moved to Eureka from the Bay Area recently and inspired his new church family to come and join us for an outreach. I met Robin about 6-7 years ago while preaching in San Jose. Although totally blind, Robin clearly sees the need to evangelize and finds a way to come out and share his faith. Prior to his move up north, Robin was a part of Nor Cal Seedsowers, a ministry in the San Jose area. Stuart (pictured in background with Robin) came up when he heard that Robin was going to be here. Robin loves to share about Jesus. If you feel intimidated handed out Gospel tracts think of Robin. He hands them out and cannot see. Often by the time he hears the people walk by they are beyond him as he says, “here you go, please take one”. One looking on could certainly make fun of him but that does not discourage the brother. Robin, a great soldier of God’s army, thinks it is important to share Jesus Christ. I hope you can see his point.
My brothers at Christ Bible Church have consistently been going out on Sundays and during the week to preach the Gospel. Besides San Francisco, they go to Berkeley, and most recently, to Pittsburg, California at the BART station during the evening commute. Later this month we have a Giant’s ballgame we are going to be at with the hopes of three teams covering the main entrances. These guys also have been ministering in other areas such as prison, nursing homes, and the Richmond Rescue Mission. I will be having the privilege to preach at the rescue mission this month as well.
Later this month the annual Sacramento Jazz Festival runs Memorial Day weekend. Last year I attended all four days with the brethren in Sacramento to preach and hand out tracts. This year I will not be able to get up there until Sunday, May 25th since we have an outreach here in San Francisco on Friday and Saturday. Let me know if you can join us or just show up. We will be in the pedestrian tunnel area between Old Town and the “K” street Westfield mall.
I am taking a trip to Seattle in June. This is mainly to see my older son, Matthew who is engaged and is bringing his fiancée Kate down from Juneau, Alaska. Of course I cannot go anywhere without preaching and this time will be no different as I hope to preach at some of my favorite spots in downtown Seattle for the week I will be there.
Alameda hosts the second longest parade route in the nation on Independence Day. Lord willing, I will be preaching along the parade route early before it starts. Many others will undoubtedly join me from my church. Also Pastor John Pillitiere of Alameda Chapel is geared up to ask other Alameda churches to join in the gospel literature efforts as many thousands attend this event.