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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lincoln Blvd, Venice: Thirsty?

This fifth and final blog entry on my walk up and down Lincoln Blvd in Venice. 

Part five: "Thirsty?" has nothing to do with bars or nightclubs. 

It's based on the words of Jesus as found in John 7:37-39:

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He [Jesus] meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."

I've driven up and down Lincoln Blvd hundreds of times. But it was only by walking up and down the same stretch of street that I noticed a few small churches that I had missed before.

The first was at Lincoln and California: Venice Beach Fellowship.
The church meets in a small strip mall, and has been in Venice since 2002. Here a link to their website. 

Just outside were the church meets was this amazingly colorful textured wall. This could go in the "funky" side of Venice, for sure.

Venice, like much of the westside, has dozen of homeless people wandering and living on the streets. The majority are either mentally ill, have addiction problems, or both. Our family tries to play a small role in the work of Venice Bible Tabernacle, which has an extensive outreach to the homeless and those at risk in the community.

The Venice Bible Tabernacle is technically located on Washington Way, but their Thrift Store is right on Lincoln at Indiana Ave.

I've always admired the skateboard ramp that the United Methodist Church has set up. Thousands of people drive by this every day. Pretty cool outreach; I'm jealous (in a good way). I wish my church had something similar, but don't think their skate ramp on Lincoln has the same "neighbor and noise" issues ...

There were a group of teenagers and young adults with skateboards and BMX bikes when I walked by on a Saturday afternoon. Pretty cool, as extreme skating all stared with a group of kids from Venice and Santa Monica.

From what I understand, the older building off of Lincoln is technically their church's "Venice Center for Peace and Justice and the Arts." Their main church building is actually located on Victoria Ave, just off of Lincoln. I couldn't find a website, but they do have an article on wikipedia.

Sonrise Westside is a relatively new evangelical church serving Venice and the westside. They also got started in 2002, and are currently meeting Sunday mornings at the Boys and Girls Club (near the northeast corner of Lincoln & Venice Blvds.). Here's their website.

Of course, there are many more churches in and around Venice. But I was surprised -and very encouraged - to find Sonrise and Venice Beach Fellowship right there on Lincoln. Both of these new evangelical churches are renting small spaces and working to see Christian communities developed in the eclectic and urban environment that is Venice.

Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and philosopher described a "God-shaped vacuum" in the heart of every individual. This is that same "thirst" that Jesus referred to that can never be satisfied by stuff, fun fixes, work, or even good things like family or relationships.

Many thanks to new churches here on the westside like Sonrise and Venice Beach Fellowship - as well as those that have been here for decades - that are working to help individuals satisfy that thirst that can only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Welcome to the adventure.

(originally posted 4/28/09)
© 2010


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