First Priority

We should be sending gifted Christians to penetrate and transform America’s cultural capital.

What do Beyoncé and Penélope Cruz have in common? The most obvious answer is that both are famous entertainers. A less-known association is that I had a chance to share the gospel with both of them within a two-week period.

Cruz and I had a divine appointment at Los Angeles International Airport. She was waiting for her luggage in the baggage claim area. An entourage of at least four people surrounded her. Although I recognized her as being a Hollywood celebrity, I didn't know her name. I felt the Lord tug at my heart to share the gospel with her. I prayed a quick prayer: "Lord, if You want me to share the gospel with her, You're going to have to open the door."

As soon as I prayed, an announcement came over the intercom with a baggage carousel change. Everyone rushed over to the next carousel, including her entourage. Cruz just stood there, checking her e-mail on her unique pink BlackBerry.

Quickly, I reached into my briefcase, grabbed a pen and some paper along with my favorite Billy Graham tract Peace With God. Since I didn't know her name, I thought I could tactfully learn it by asking for her autograph (on behalf of my son, of course!) and then share the gospel with her.

After she signed her autograph, I thanked her and said: "I would like to give you a gift. It is the greatest gift in the world. It is a gift that has totally transformed my life. This gift is the gift of God's love. You see, Jesus changed my life a number of years ago, and He loves you so much that I believe He wanted me to come and tell you this message. It is all summed up in this little tract written by Billy Graham."

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Her face lit up with the million-dollar smile that made her so famous. She thanked me profusely. In fact, she dropped the tract, and I was ready to pick it up, but she grabbed it so quickly that I was surprised by her eagerness to have it. As she thanked me, her bodyguards spotted me talking to her. They honed in on me like a cat pouncing on a fat mouse. I left praying under my breath that she would give her life to Jesus.

With Beyoncé, I had a different encounter: God brought her to me! In 2004, Harvest Rock Church had the miraculous opportunity to purchase Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena as our new home. This architectural landmark is historically referred to as the "crown jewel" of the city or the "Carnegie Hall of the West."

The demand to rent Ambassador has been overwhelming. We wrote into our rental contract a proviso that with each use, either I or another pastor would have five minutes to share who we are and present the gospel. Amazingly, almost every renter has accepted our condition. We have hosted the Pasadena Symphony, the California Philharmonic and NBC—and shared the gospel every time. It's been fantastic and a lot of fun.

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks recently approached us with hopes of shooting a movie about Diana Ross and the Supremes. Beyoncé plays Ross in the feature film Dreamgirls. We said "yes" if they would allow us to do a chapel service with the whole crew. They agreed! I asked my friend Daniel Wilson to share the gospel. Afterward, my wife Sue and I went over to greet Beyoncé. I asked if I could pray for her. She consented, and we all clasped hands in a circle as I began to pray.

I soon found myself prophesying over her: "You were dedicated to Jesus when you were in your mother's womb. You grew up in the church but you have wandered away. If you come back, I see that God will raise you up like an Esther. He has an awesome destiny for you, but He wants you to live for His glory. Does this make any sense?"

Her knees buckled. She said, "Whoa, it makes a lot of sense." With that, I felt I had finished my assignment.

God has filled you and me with amazing revelation of His presence, love and destiny in these recent years that we might be salt and light to the world. We have an unparalleled opportunity to be agents of transformation, not just habitation.

God loves entertainers and actors, but He wants change! And He wants to use us! We not only need to pray for Hollywood, but we also need to invade it with gifted Christian actors, writers, directors and support crews to penetrate and transform the powerful arts and media industry. You may not be called to this field. But you can join a host of us who are contending for a genuine revival to break out in the entertainment industry, by pressing for Hollywood to become "Holywood."

While you are at it, would you do me a favor? Pray for Beyoncé and Penélope Cruz. The seeds have been planted.


Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are senior pastors of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, and the author of several books, including Fire Evangelism: Reaching the Lost Through Love and Power. For more information, please visit www.harvestrock church.org.

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