The LTW booth is located on Ocean Front Walk in tourist-oriented Venice Beach, California. This unique location offers a global reach, as people stroll the Ocean Front Walk from around the world. Stretching the entire length of Venice Beach, from Santa Monica to Marina del Rey, Ocean Front Walk is a spiritual smorgasbord of psychics, tarot card readers, healers, mystics, Atheists United, Black Moslems, Hindus, and Buddhists. And, surprisingly, LTW has the only Christian booth on Ocean Front Walk.
From 2002-2015, the LTW booth had a sign that read, “Come find out what God has to say about your future- for free!” Free handouts were available pertaining to every religion and belief system. Bibles, books, CDs, tracts and tapes in several languages were available to anyone interested at no charge. These resources provided Biblical answers for objections to Christianity. Curious people visited the booth to talk about issues in their lives, ask for prayer and voice questions about the Bible. We stocked an alphabetized file bin of apologetic answers to Biblically challenge our postmodern culture.
All of a sudden the rules changed. The police on the boardwalk explained, “You all have never given us any trouble, but the Church of Satan has wreaked havoc, and we had to change the rules to no longer allow religious spots on the boardwalk. If we let you set up, we will have to allow the Church of Satan to set up; therefore, we have discontinued the religious spots.” Now the only tables allowed on the boardwalk are “artist tables” (with psychic and tarot readings deemed as art). That being said, our ministry has shifted at Venice to an outreach for single women where I make my book Happiness No Man Required 50 Tips for Single Women to be Happy With or Without a Man available to all of the women passing. Any woman who reads it will read my Christian testimony and know what it means to be saved. Since the new rules require that the artist who created the art be present, I now work this table myself on a part time basis. (Meanwhile, we are continuing to partner with Whole Foods on a full time basis to feed the Venice Beach homeless).
Quoting Billy Graham on Happiness:
Over 2500 years ago the prophet Isaiah looked out on a people who longed for happiness and security but were looking for it in the wrong places. They were running to the marketplace and to places of amusement, spending their money madly for things which brought them no permanent satisfaction.
He stood before them one day and gave them the Word of God: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Harken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)
Isaiah didn’t speak negatively and berate them for their sins in this particular sermon. He didn’t grab the bottle from the drunkard’s hand; he didn’t lecture them about the evils of gluttony; he didn’t shame them for their immoral practices. He overlooked that for the moment. He simply asked them: “Are you getting what you want out of life? Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”
If Isaiah were living today, he would probably stand at 42nd and Broadway in New York, in the Loop in Chicago, or on Market Street in San Francisco, and simply ask the milling, restless throngs: “Are you getting what you want? Are you finding satisfaction?”
He would ask the actress, surfeited with fame and fortune, but peering out on life hungrily: “Are you getting what you want?” He would say to the eminently successful financier who commands his fleets and controls his industries: “Are you getting what you want?”
He would say to the laborers and workmen of America who are enjoying the highest standard of living in history: “Are you getting what you want?” He would ask the youth of America: “Are you getting what you want?”
He would say to the consumers of America who have the best homes, the most comfortable furniture, the finest food, the cleverest gadgets, and the smoothest, most powerful automobiles: “Are you getting what you want?”
Isaiah did not leave them with an unanswered question. He went on to tell them that there is a satisfying way of life, if they would seek it. He exhorted them to abandon their vain searching for pots of gold at the end of mythical rainbows and to start searching for happiness where it is really found, in a right relationship with God.
Our materialistic world rushes on with its eternal quest for the fountain of happiness! The more knowledge we acquire, the less wisdom we seem to have. The more economic security we gain, the more bored and insecure we become. The more worldly pleasure we enjoy, the less satisfied and contented we are with life. We are like a restless sea, finding a little peace here and a little pleasure there, but nothing permanent and satisfying. So the search continues! Men will kill, lie, cheat, steal, and go to war to satisfy their quest for power, pleasure, and wealth, thinking thereby to gain for themselves and their particular group peace, security, contentment, and happiness, and yet in vain.
Yet, inside us a little voice keeps saying, “We were not meant to be this way—we were meant for better things.” We have a mysterious feeling that there is a fountain somewhere that contains the happiness which makes life worthwhile. We keep saying to ourselves that somewhere, some time we will stumble onto the secret. Sometimes we feel that we have obtained it—only to find it illusive, leaving us disillusioned, bewildered, unhappy, and still searching.
There are, we need to realize, two kinds of happiness. One kind of happiness comes to us when our circumstances are pleasant, and we are relatively free from troubles. The problem, however, is that this kind of happiness is fleeting and superficial. When circumstances change—as they inevitably do—then this kind of happiness evaporates like the early morning fog in the heat of the sun. In addition, even when our outward circumstances are seemingly ideal, we still may be troubled inside by a nagging hunger or longing for something we cannot identify. We say we are “happy”—but down inside we know it is only temporary and shallow at best. Yes, from time to time we may think we have found a degree of happiness, but sooner or later it will vanish. Our search for happiness remains unfulfilled.
But there is another kind of happiness—the kind for which we all long. This second kind of happiness is a lasting, inner joy and peace which survives in any circumstances. It is a happiness, which endures no matter what comes our way—and even may grow stronger in adversity. This is the kind of happiness to which Jesus summons us in the Beatitudes. It is happiness which can only come from God. He alone has the answer to our search for lasting happiness.
The Secret of Happiness
by Billy Graham