Venice Beach, CA is a wild frontier that takes the outdoors shopping experience to unusual extremes. You don’t have to enter the shops to find out what the keeper is selling. They’ll make it known loud and clear as you pass by; like the busty young attendant wearing a lime green jumper in front of a ‘physicians clinic’ (one of many) who asked me if I needed any medical marijuana. I politely said, “No,” and kept walking. A few doors down I could have gotten any assortment of tattoos or body piercings. I kept walking. I passed Muscle Beach and saw weightlifters whose biceps were nearly as big as my waist (which I’m working on). The men lifting weights had even bigger biceps :).
I found a spot a few meters off the main boardwalk where the shops were still gated up. The area was shaded and had a lot of foot traffic so I knew it would be a good place to paint en plein air. I pitched my easel there. As you can imagine, I had some very interesting onlookers and visitors. The first was a new age vegan who saw god in everything; people, flowers, food, etc. When I told her about Jesus, she, like a lot of new agers said she believes in Him. But she couldn’t swallow the part about Jesus being the only way to God.
Then came the man who was from Africa. He said he didn’t need Jesus because he was already perfect. Even though I got him to admit that he still made mistakes, he still believed he was perfect.
The One Whom God Intended
I had several other visitors, but the one God sent was Joe (not his real name). After speaking to him for only a moment, I asked him what his talent was. He said he was still trying to figure it out. I told him I knew exactly how he could find it out. I told him about Jesus. Joe was a street person who had been in rehab, so he had heard the salvation message. In fact, Joe could quote a lot of scripture. Yet by his own admission, his life was a mess. I told him to start reading his Bible every day, but initially read the gospel of John several times. I recommend that book for people uncertain about Jesus because Jesus tells us from His own mouth Who He is more than any other book of the Bible.
I suspect Joe may have prayed for salvation before, but I asked him if he wanted to pray with me today. He said yes. After we prayed that he be born again, I lead him in a prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit.