Tom and an on-fire for Jesus weight lifter at Muscle Beach

” People On The Beach”

(new life in Christ version)

On the beach you’ll find them there,

In the sun and salty air.

The people on the beach

are all within reach

If you know what to do.

How I love to walk the cross

And talk with those who might be lost.

The people on the beach

are all within reach,

And I know what to do.


People on the beach, people on the beach.

Cross on the beach, cross on the beach.

People on the beach, cross on the beach.

As a kid, surfing was my favorite water sport and, of course, the Beach Boys were my favorite group. Then came Jesus, the first water walker. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior it was easy to give up the long board for the long cross. That’s what I did. And now, instead of praying for surf, I pray for revival. Instead of chasing The Endless Summer, I’m now on a cross-walking safari I call The Endless Easter. I still enjoy listening to Beach Boys and other surf-theme music, but I’ve also taken the liberty to change some of the lyrics to their songs to fit my new life in Christ lifestyle and cross walk ministry. Thus, “Girls On The Beach” is now  “People On The Beach.”



Our new friend holding the large cross and posing for pictures next to the weight pile

If you read my cross-walking story on Venice Beach, you also know that the reknown Muscle Beach is located in the heart of Venice Beach. Muscle Beach is  a crowded area of  the Venice Beach “Boardwalk,” where some well-known and not-so-well-known individuals pump it up and lift the pig iron. Muscle Beach is where Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped his way into Hollywood on his way to becoming California’s governor.

Whether it’s one of the popular indoor workout centers or an open-air facility where people come to lift weights, I always like to share what Jesus Christ, the ultimate bench-presser, did for all weightlifters as well: He took the sins of the world and literally bench-pressed and conquered our personal iniquities and transgressions so that none of us need to be helplessly stuck beneath an unliftable weight that we thought we could handle.

You’ve probably seen the popular Christian tee-shirt: Jesus Christ in push-up position beneath a heavy cross, with the words SINS OF THE WORLD etched on the heavy crossbeam. The top caption reads,  LORD’S GYM. Beneath the body of Jesus , the message admonishes,  “Bench-press This!” The truth is, we can’t bench-press our sins. Only Jesus Christ can do this for us.

This was my message to the men and women working out at Muscle Beach.

One young man asked me if he could walk the cross. I said yes. As we walked down the boardwalk, he seemed oblivious to the large and congested crowd. “Can I have this cross?” he asked. “If I had a cross like this, I could walk all of California for the Lord.” He was serious. I smiled and told him I’d make him a cross just like mine if he truly wanted to carry the cross throughout California.  He smiled and nodded his head.

The young weightlifter stopped walking and reluctantly handed me the large cross. Nodding his head again, he said, “You’d build me a cross like this?” I said yes. I gave him my e-mail address and cell number and told him to contact me if he really wanted me to build him a cross. With a big smile on his face, he started walking back to Muscle Beach. “I love you in Christ,” he shouted out. “I’ll call you. Thank you for letting me carry the cross.” With that, he disappeared into the teeming crowd.



Bench-press this! Muscle Beach meets Calvary's Hill

A lot of people saw this young Christian weightlifter carry the cross. They also heard our conversation. They both saw and heard his enthusiasm. Many seemed messmerized  by his words and actions and just stood there, waiting to see what I would do next. I smiled big, dropped the cross to my right shoulder, and continued walking the boardwalk, a smile on my faith.

Muscle Beach. Calvary. No comparison. The young weightlifter realized this, and was so happy and thrilled to carry a 60-pound cross for even just a few minutes. As I slowly walked the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but wonder if this young man in Christ would call me. I hoped he would, for his sake, and for the sake of his younger brothers living in Chicago. For now, my mind filled with a familiar phrase: “Bench-press this!” Thank you Jesus for taking all my sins and casting them into the deepest sea, something that I could never ever do myself. Thank you Immanuel for bench-pressing my sins as well as the sins of all humanity and taking them off my crushed chest and crushed life and giving me a brand new lease on life. Thank you Lord for saving my soul and letting me walk the cross for all to see Your marvelous and awesome plus sign to the world! And thank you heavenly Father for letting me walk the cross and pump it up for Jesus every day!

Cross Walk California is a purpose driven cross walk. Therefore,  Muscle Beach won’t be the same tomorrow because we were here today!  Amen and amen.