How much adventure can a person experience in the “wilds” of Hermosa Beach? Quite a lot, frankly, especially if you want to preach the gospel on an Avenue designed for hard-core partying…
I have made a commitment to share my faith for one hour each Friday evening between 5:30-6:30; I call this The Hour of Power. Last week, three guys joined me and we experienced the following after we prayed in the car and put quarters in the meter:
Jumping out of my Nissan we immediately gave million dollar bill gospel tracts to some guys. I like to break the ice as quickly as possible to get into the groove of evangelizing before I succumb to fear. They were walking away so I had to shout, “Hey! Do you want to know the million dollar question?” “Huh?” one them responded as the other ignored me and kept on going. “If you were to die today would you go to Heaven or Hell?” “Hell!” he shouted back and continued on his way.
Two valets were sitting at their station, so we shared our faith with them. One listened, the other walked away.
I saw a lady sitting outside The Mermaid, a watering hole for the older set. She smoked a cigarette and slurred her speech when answering my questions. She admitted to lying and stealing but would not call herself a liar and a thief. With narrowing eyes she asked accusingly, “Is this some type of religious thing?” “No,” I replied. “It’s relationship thing.” “Get the hell out of here!” she spewed. I knew I had about twenty seconds before she bailed, so I warned her, “I want to let you know that you will be found guilty on Judgment Day and will spend the rest of eternity in Hell…” She jumped up and ran into the arms of another man before I could speak of the Man who loved her so much that He died for her.
A black couple was on a stroll. The man said he was a Christian but did not attend a church. We encouraged him to get back into fellowship while his sister smiled with an “I told you so” look aimed at her brother. Right in the middle of the Strand we laid hands on the both of them and prayed a prayer of encouragement.
Four kids on a wall. “I gave up all drugs two weeks ago except marijuana,” said one. The fourth wanted to know how I changed. I gave my testimony about what Jesus had done.
A Mohawked skateboarder sang loudly while thrashing his guitar. “Hey,” I yelled, trying to grab his attention. “Can you play me a song?” “Sure.” “Will you sing this? Unless you repent, you too will perish.” He wheeled off singing, “UNLESS YOU REPENT! YOU TOO WILL PERISH! UNLESS YOUUUUU REPENT, YOU TOOOOO WILLL PERISH!”
Two scantily-clad waitresses listened intently as Richard spoke of God’s Law. One said that she would go to Hell because of the way she was dressed, and then ran away with tears in her eyes crying out, “You’re making me feel so bad. You’re making me feel so bad…”
I challenged the guys. “Let’s go to the baddest dudes on Pier Avenue and witness to them. After some initial reluctance, they agreed. A bunch of skateboarders, ne’er-do-wells, and tattoo-pierced guys were mulling around, vagrant-like. I approached the big, bald-headed guy wearing shades and an attitude. “You look familiar,” I said. “So do you,” he replied. “Do you go to Scully’s?” “No. Hope Chapel.” He removed his sunglasses. I recognized him. “Joe! Where have you been?” Joe used to come regularly to our church but hadn’t been for some time. “Come on back. Please. We’ve missed you.” He nodded.
It was really uncomfortable talking to the next group. As I spoke to a shirtless man with a spider tattooed next to his right eye, he muttered something about wanting to pound a church-boy. His friends closed in around me as my friends watched. I changed the subject and complimented him on the neat tattoo beside his eye and we talked about how cool God’s spiders are. Extracting myself from the conversation with a quick handshake, I then asked my guys what they thought was happening. “He was going to hit you,” they said. I agreed.
Two city workers heard the gospel as they leaned on a parking structure wall. When I finished, one of them protested, “I don’t appreciate being preached to.” I explained that I had to do it because a bridge is out and people are falling into the canyon below. “I’m compelled to stand on the side of the road and warn people to stop and turn around.”
And I’ll continue to do so. Will you join me?
(Note: I will not be doing the Hour of Power this Friday because my daughter is having a birthday.)