Good morning, Holywood!
As always, there are some great things happening in the Kingdom of God and we are really happy to be able to share them with you today. We’re going to be looking at a few articles here that cover the most widely observed “Christian celebrities” out there right now. Now, we’re not doing this to try to idolize or increase the stress of personality on them, but rather to keep them in our heart of prayer. It has recently been talked about in the Body of Christ that God is definitely doing a “new thing” on earth with his Church and his People. Here is a breakdown of what this is and why it is important to our work in reporting on Holywood.
Traditionally, there have been Church pastors, Church apostles, Church preachers, Church prophets, Church teachers, etc. that the body of Christ has reported on. This is done through wonderful sites such as Christianity Today, the Christian Broadcast Network, Charisma News, and others. However, there has recently been discussion about God doing a new thing as in Acts Chapter 6. Let’s take a quick look at that Scripture:
“And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6: 2-4, ESV). That’s for the traditional Bible readers.
We’ll also examine the Message Translation,
“It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word!”
This is happening right now! The traditional teachers, wonderful men like John Piper, John McArthur, T.D. Jakes, Bill Johnson, Francis Chan, and many others, are focused on the flock, focused on the Church and, in the times we are living, very rightly engaged in prayer and speaking God’s word!
However, there is a new function developing in the body of Christ and, for the sake of practicality, we will call it Kingdom Ministry. The Kingdom Ministry is not about supporting the existing Church and its population, but rather bringing the gospel in full force to the many people who are outside of the Church walls and yet still poor in spirit (wiling to receive the teachings of Christ). In this way, we can actually see – most clearly – that God is doing this in a huge way through Christian actors, musicians, and artists that have gained experience and wisdom from Hollywood. Most importantly, these individuals do not avoid or ignore the existing structure of the Church, but participate and reference as is helpful and appropriate.
This will lead to nothing less than exactly what it did in the early Church, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient in the faith” (Acts 6: 7).
Very briefly, we will look at the concept of priesthood in a post-modern and, dare we say, post-Christian world. Levitical priesthood was focused on two main things: care for the tabernacle (later the temple as described in Numbers 1: 48:53) while the New Covenant priests would become the living temple of God (I Corinthians 3: 16-17). Many scriptures could be used to support this idea, but let it suffice to say that in Christ Jesus all believers are made kings and priests and now have the power to worship in the presence of the Lord wherever they go – including into places sometimes thought of as “unholy” and “evil” by the larger Church community. One last scripture from Isaiah clarifies the type of heart and character these priests should have (in addition to having the character and heart of Christ, of course), “He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66: 2).
These are the new priests that God is calling up out of the entertainment spheres of Hollywood and we will get to look at good news from three of them today – very exciting! In the not so distant future, we will also begin to look at examples of the way that God is raising up Kings for Holywood out of the marketplaces of technology and business. But we’ll wait a little while longer before we add that into the mix.
With that said, let’s look at the good news from Chris Pratt, Justin and Hailey Bieber, and Stephen Baldwin.
This video from the Late Show provides excellent detail to this new thing God is doing. The conversation between Chris Pratt and Stephen Colbert shows, very clearly, the three elements previously described: care for the tabernacle, being a living temple of God, and being humble and unashamed of God’s word. Watch this video, “Chris Pratt discusses the Daniel Fast” and at around 3:48 when Stephen Colbert first mentions “The Daniel Fast.” What’s so beautiful in watching this clip is realizing that Mr. Pratt is quite self-aware that he is discussing the Bible and a religious teaching, but he is able to do it in a way that still seems very attractive to people who would otherwise stay away from religion.
Chris also takes a quote from Church pastor and teacher Christine Cane in her sermon, “Be the Light in the Darkness.” The quote is, “If the spotlight that is shining on you is brighter than the light that comes from within you, it will kill you.” Chris later specified the source of the quote on his twitter the next day, “That’s it! Christine Cane…”
Christine Cane’s video containing the sermon this quote is from has about 3,000 views while the Chris Pratt interview has over 150,000. The point here is not who can get more hits, but how the message that God wants to communicate is getting to everyone who should hear it regardless of religious identification. As the beautiful comments under the Late Show video shows, atheists and secularists are standing up for Chris Pratt’s right to share his faith against other people who are criticizing him for it. It is bringing the gospel not in a supernatural way, but in a very down to earth and natural way that relates to people who are not religious or self-identifying believers in Christ. This is the purpose and power of the Kingdom which is different then the purpose and power of the Church. They work beautifully together.
The next is Justin and Hailey Bieber’s cover article from Vogue Magazine, “Justin and Hailey.” This is another perfect example of the Acts 6 paradigm. Here we have two Christians under the age of 30 who are watched and beloved by, literally, millions upon millions on the face of the earth. They are not in careers that involve preaching or teaching The Bible to others, but they clearly study the teachings of Jesus and of Scripture while also modeling and singing. This is the epitome of saltiness in our world today. Literally.
And so when the article mentions two main pastors, Judah Smith and Carl Lentz, it is doing justice to the goodness of God within the Church, also. In fact, a quick on-line search of both pastors lead directly to information about their Church rather than about them personally. This is important in driving people to faith rather than to personality. And it is also integral to the Acts 6 model – the good works that serve the poor [in spirit] by Justin and Hailey in their opening up about their marriage glorifies God, uplifts Jesus, and also points people to the Church which will, inevitably, grow the Church. Do we see how this is working? It is incredible!
As a side note, while writing this I searched Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” on YouTube because it is mentioned in the vogue article and what is fascinating is after one Justin Bieber song plays, the rest of the follow up tracks are all worship music from Bethel and Hillsong Churches. This is without searching any Church or religion related material into YouTube, yet the streams are all connected! “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20).
In a time where Christian-faith is being more and more connected to politics (unfortunately or not unfortunately depending on how you see it) there is also a whole stream and connection happening between Christianity and art and entertainment. This is very important for the growth of the Church.
And speaking of Church growth, our last piece of news is connected to Hailey Bieber’s (formerly Baldwin) dad, Stephen Baldwin and his new film, “The Least of These.” This movie is incredibly timely – one reason is because India is now, for the first time in recent history, one of the top ten most dangerous places to practice the Christian Faith according to Open Doors USA. But just as important in the news is a recent Barna survey that shows that “Almost Half of Practicing Christians Believe Evangelism is Wrong.” The plot of the movie deals with a law in India that banned any form of proselytizing or converting to Christianity and an Australian pastor, Graham Staines played by Stephen Baldwin, who dares to preach the gospel to the most vulnerable and detested in Indian society, lepers. The movie comes at a time when Church growth in India is threatened by murder, rape, and coordinated attacks all across the nation. A closer look at this issue can be found in this article in the UK magazine Express titled, “Christianity Crackdown.” Having a cinematic portrayal of missionary history abroad is important for Christians living in America where comfort and religious freedom have seemed to bred not only a lack of urgency in sharing the gospel, but a disdain for it!
******SPOILER ALERT FOR THE MOVIE****
This is a link to an Interview with Pastor Staines’ wife Gladys who tells how her husband and two sons were burnt alive for the missionary work done in India.
*****END SPOILER ALERT****************
Never have we here at the Holywood Blog felt more convicted that God’s plan is at work. We are hopeful that there will continue to be incredible growth in the Church and that every time we post here, we are making a difference in hastening the development of God’s Kingdom on earth.
Bless you all – let’s close it out with a prayer.
Father, we thank you that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. We thank you that no force on earth can stop your plan, your will, and your glory from breaking through wherever you intend. Thank you for the evangelists, prophets, apostles, pastors, and teachers of the Church, the organized structure of Jesus’ life and love being used to communicate the gospel of his crucifixion, resurrection, and salvation to all the earth. We also thank you for the new generation of Kingdom evangelists, prophets, apostles, pastors, and teachers who are being used in creative ways to communicate the good news of Christ to the world and to help shine your light in a way that brings them into the larger Christian fold. We play for all of the hurting people scouring the internet for peace and truth and that you would use media, music, and cinema and other forms of art to speak directly to them and bring them consolation and purpose. You are at work and we joyfully acknowledge and praise the work that you are doing. Thank you, Jesus!!! We bless all of those who you have called and anointed for priesthood and ask you to increase the unction of authority, wisdom, and revelation over them. Strengthen the bonds of Christian marriage and bless the children who are just coming into the world. Keep us all from the evil one and purify these streams of media to become living water directly from the heart and belly of Christ. Amen.