Justin Bieber, Kari Jobe, Chance the Rapper, Tori Kelly, Jaden Smith, Cody Carnes, Pastor Judah Smith, & Chandler Moore… It’s not common to hear all these names in the same headline but what all these artists have in common is Jesus.
These artists and volunteers from across Southern California came together on July 24th, 2021 for the “Freedom Experience.” 20,000 volunteers had the same goal of loving on the city of Los Angeles and helping to make it a better place through back-to-school projects, homeless assistance, medical clinics, and service projects.
Volunteers were invited to end the day with a night of worship and performances from artists. The most incredible part of all of this is that many in the crowd were lifting their hands in worship to Jesus for the very first time. Speaking to the crowd of 20,000 Justin Bieber said:
“Some of you might not be used to this kind of atmosphere, but what you are feeling right now is the presence of God. He doesn’t need perfect people he just wants to use average ordinary broken people like us. I’m tired of religion. I’m tired of division. I just want to know what it looks like to love people, you know? I want to know the Jesus who goes to where the broken people are. No one’s got it together, you know? But we do got a hope and his name is Jesus and he’s changed my life.”
According to Billboard, Bieber was motivated to be a part of the 1DayLA movement “because of his strong and long-held belief that giving of ourselves in service to others is one of the most important things we can do. Bieber is committed to the powerful idea that a movement for change can start with individuals helping one another and their community.”
I know it’s easy to look at “Celebrity Christians” and say that their music or their lifestyle doesn’t honor the Lord and disregard them as a “bad witness.” I hear believers often quote scriptures like Matthew 7:15-20 that says:
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.“
But I challenge you, before you judge our celebrity brothers and sisters in Christ, first look inward. When I look inward I know that I am a child of the King and that my life bears GOOD fruit. Fruit of the spirit. But I also know that my fruit isn’t always sweet. My fruit isn’t always ripe. My fruit doesn’t always reflect the goodness of my Savior. I mess up. I’m not perfect. And while the passage in Matthew is true, so is this passage in John about the woman caught in adultery. In John 8:7 Jesus says,
“Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
I won’t be throwing stones today and I hope you won’t either. Who am I to shame someone for not being perfect when neither am I?
God is honored when we seek forgiveness for the ways we fall short and He is also honored when we keep pushing forward to find ways to glorify Him and spread His Good News!
I am so thankful for the Good News of Jesus that Justin Bieber and all the artists on the Freedom Experience stage proclaimed.
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