The night we met Gilbert, he celebrated death.
Today, he celebrates life.
As he gave his testimony during the worship service, he shared about his violent past and the stronghold of evil that gripped his life while growing up in San Bernardino and working in downtown Long Beach. The dozens of stories he can tell you are so filled with mayhem that any one of them could have been his undoing. He shared a verse written by the Apostle Paul, who himself was a man of violence, but was saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” [1 Timothy 1:12-16]
Gilbert went from death to life when he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. Today, he no longer uses art to celebrate death. Instead, he uses it as an instrument to glorify God in the church and reach others for the advancing of God’s kingdom. He’s an inspiration. He’s a brother. He reminds us that Jesus’ death on the cross gives us spiritual life to share with others.