I grew up in an age where every person receiving an entertainment award would thank their ‘Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ’ or at a minimum thank God. However, their thanks seemed so empty, void of truth and void of authenticity. After a while, those words of appreciation to Him, fizzled. I heard it less and less as I watched the Emmy and Grammy award shows or during interviews. God was being replaced with words like “the universe” or not being mentioned at all; as if the creation was somehow greater than the Creator. I appreciated that the facade was over but mourned what it meant for the culture.
Culture and creativity has become obsessed with self.
Today, entertainment is evidence of what happens when God is pushed out of a medium. Excellence in music, television and film is considered unattainable without the most raciest content. Language has become more vulgar. Scenes have become near pornographic. The excuse has been ‘authentic storytelling.’ The problem is- this is not everyone’s story.
God is the ultimate creator. Look no further than the first page, the first book, the first verse of the Bible.
“In the beginning, God created…” Genesis 1:1
He created the whole world from nothing! Then he created us in his image with the ability to create as well. So, shouldn’t our creativity reflect that of the creator’s? If so, how does Hollywood, the entertainment mecca of creativity, reflect God’s creation?
How can Hollywood reflect God’s creativity, when God is not the one in front of the mirror?
Light shines brightest in darkness.
God has been speaking to me about a shift in the entertainment industry over the past year. Audiences are aware of a new Black Renaissance in film and television, the #MeToo movement, and now the rise of more Asian and Latin representation. These are definitely worth noting. But I’ve also noticed a few small flames of light in the industry. Bold believers in the industry, speaking with authenticity that I never heard when I was younger. They are openly discussing their relationship with a living God who is responsible for their success. I was feeling hopeful about the shift but alone in that hope…until now.
This past weekend, God confirmed that I heard him right.
I found out about Hollywood Arise on social media. The concept was simple.
72 hours of intercession for Hollywood and entertainment, through worship and prayer. I decided to check it out. I am so glad I did.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:11
By the time I arrived, intercession had been going for over 36 hours strong. I could hear the sounds of worship as I walked up Highland Blvd. My spirit filled with excitement as they placed the orange band around my wrist. I walked into the large tent and was immediately engulfed in God’s presence. There was a mission here. Every speaker, every celebrity, every participant made it known. We were here to petition God “to break open the heavens for Hollywood.” Prayers were sent up for every issue in the industry from diversity to pornography. People shared their testimonies of overcoming depression and suicide attempts. Something powerful and trans formative was happening here.
I returned on Sunday evening to more worship and a creative arts celebration. Dancers, singers, spoken word artists, all sharing their gifts for the God who gave it to them. There was a call for purity as the new standard. Perhaps my favorite challenge came from Jaeson Ma, an accomplished leader in the entertainment industry as well as ministry. He said that we, the church, “gotta get our mind out of the religious box!” He emphasized that our mission was to reach the lost and not to preach to the choir. This requires us to step outside of church and ministry as usual. We must step into those places where it is darkest.
Isn’t that the purpose of light?
On Friday night, as Hollywood Arise kicked into gear, the heavens literally opened as rain began to fall and lightening cracked the sky. It was an amazing site. See it here. Monday, after the event ended, the first Santa Ana winds of the season came through Los Angeles. The meteorologists said this was the strongest they had ever seen, this early in the season. When the people of God earnestly pray, God moves. It’s that simple.
But we must move too.
We must move into the spaces that God has called us to occupy. We must use the gifts that God has given us and never be ashamed to tell others about the giver. For my part, God made something very clear to me. I wasn’t hearing things when he told me, “There is a shift happening in the entertainment industry.” He told many other Believers the same thing. We are not just embarking on a major move of God in the most culturally influential city in the world. We are to be a part of that move because we are world changers.
*I also attended The Merge Summit concert this weekend where I heard Dee-1 music for the first time. His lyrics from this tee-shirt ring so true.