Update from Mike and Dan:
Five or six Hare Krishnas set up in a spot maybe 100 feet from us and spent much of the day singing and playing their instruments. During a break, one of their ladies came by our table and looked over the materials. Mike told her about Brian Flynn, whose book Against the Wind describes his experiences as a psychic. When Mike mentioned that Brian discovered his "ascended masters" were actually demons bent on leading him to destruction, Dan noticed that her face seemed to register a "dose of reality" (as he put it).
A Bulgarian man who has been to our table in the past stopped by to see if we had any Christian music. While I was looking for some, Dan told him about Dwayna’s CD's. We were unable to find any, so we gave him a few that we had. (Note: We'll have to make sure we bring them next time we're at Venice.)
A man who bore a slight resemblance to Mark Twain stopped by in a sharp-looking white Zoot Suit. He began to discuss the Bible at length and seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the scriptures as well as the historical setting of the New Testament. He is known as "Sarge" to the others at Venice (as he had been a Sergeant in the military). Although he is currently homeless, he is an itinerant preacher and was hoping to find someone who could video him presenting an Easter message that could be put up on Youtube. He also used to have an extensive collection of Christian materials (lexicons, commentaries, and other books typically found in a church or seminary library) that he has studied over the years. He stopped by to chat several different times during the course of the day and was a great blessing to us, although we did not tape him for YouTube. Dan also got his contact information, so perhaps we'll see him at future outreaches.
While we were talking to Sarge, a passer-by read our sign offering to reveal what "God has to say about your future -- for free." He seemed annoyed that we would be giving out "free" readings when other psychics are charging, and he told us we should be charging a fee as well (implying that we're taking away their business). Mike quoted Romans 5:18 to him and then added that we're not going to charge money for telling people about the free gift God is offering.
While Dan was briefly away from the table, a Hispanic man came by and looked over the materials. He had been by the table last year, but Mike didn't remember the details of any previous conversations. He told Mike he believed in God but didn't believe in church. Mike mentioned that the Church is not a building or denomination, but it's the collection of true believers. The man then said the white man came from Europe with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other to force the indigenous people in North and South America to convert. He seemed to be under the impression that Christianity is the religion of rich, white men, so Mike pointed out that Jesus was Middle-eastern and probably had darker features than the actors who portray Him in movies. Mike also mentioned that God has a tender heart towards the poor and quoted James 2:5 to him. This seemed to soften his demeanor somewhat and he left the table.
A little later a group of people stopped by and asked what God has to say about their future. We gave them the Romans road to salvation, and since they are already Christians, they were encouraged to hear the Gospel being shared there at Venice.
A young man named Gabriel stopped by the table to chat. His father is a lay preacher in the Seventh Day Adventist organization, but Gabriel had left the church. He said he didn't seem to follow any particular faith, but he said he liked Jesus… because Jesus accepted outcasts and sinners. We pointed out to him that Jesus loves people but that He also called them to repentance (as with the woman caught in adultery). We told him about how we're all sinners and that Jesus paid our sin debt to the Father. We also spoke to him about how some denominations stress works but that the works the Book of James speaks of are a by-product of genuine faith that will be evident in every true believer. These works don't save the believer and may not even be part of the Levitical Law (for example, Abraham's offering of Isaac). Gabriel was taught that Jesus' death opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles, but we added that both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to God the same way, and that's through Christ. About this time, another man came by and Dan shared his testimony with him; meanwhile Gabriel spoke to Mike a little longer and then thanked us before leaving.
Two men stopped by and asked about our sign, and we presented the Romans road to salvation (quoting verses from Romans about how to be saved). After hearing the message, one of the men indicated that he was still struggling. We quoted Ephesians 2:8-10 about how salvation is by grace through faith, and that believers would then voluntarily respond in love to God by walking in works that He had prepared for them. We then briefly went into Romans 3 and 4, Galatians 2, and James 2 and explained how they complement one-another. We also shared from Romans 6 how grace is not a license to sin, but that we are to depend on the Holy Spirit as we live out our faith.
There were several other conversations that we didn't write down. For the day we presented the salvation message, reading verses from Romans, on at least three different occasions and had more people than usual stop at the table.