Actor Denzel Washington is once again unleashing a furious attack against social media.
“The No. 1 photograph today is a selfie, ‘Oh, me at the protest.’ ‘Me with the fire.’ ‘Follow me.’ ‘Listen to me,’” he told the New York Times. “The Bible says in the last days – I don’t know if it’s the last days, it’s not my place to know – but it says we’ll be lovers of ourselves. We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed.”
Not only that, people are committing suicide because of snide remarks on social media.
“This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective,” the two-time Academy Award winner says. “If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.”
The 67-year-old goes so far as to give youth advice regarding Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: “Turn it off. It’s hard for young people now because they’re addicted. If you don’t think you’re addicted, see if you can turn it off for a week.”
Denzel just portrayed MacBeth in an Apple Movie released Dec. 25 and now available on streaming. The Shakespearean tragedy explores the demise and demonization of a once-loyal general who allows ambition to take over his heart. Read the rest: Denzel Washington social media
Working as a waiter at a steakhouse in LA, Josh wanted to become a star but the attractive ladies at his table offered him a different kind of acting: “adult” movies.
“I showed up (at the studio) and I was terrified and everyone’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just take this pill, you’ll be able to perform.’ I didn’t have a conversation with the girl. I didn’t know her name. We never even made eye contact. I felt dirty.
“That changed the rest of my life.”
And so the small-town kid fell into the swamp of Hollywood. Josh Broome didn’t have a relationship with his father, so when he started modeling at age 15, he thrived on the praise, the positive reinforcement.
“If I am successful in any type of genre of a film or theater, I would be loved,” he thought at the time. So with $50, he moved to Golden State, California, home to the film industry, maker of stars. His plan, of course, was to do something legitimate.
But as the months dragged into years, when the “provocatively dressed” girls showed up and made him the proposal, he quickly agreed. It seemed cool, and he needed the cash.
The first film was disillusioning.
“It didn’t feel real. I didn’t feel like it truly happened,” he says. “Then some of my friends saw. I was embarrassed, even though they were like, ‘Dude, that’s so cool’”
But if his friends stumbled onto and watched his video, Josh realized that his mom would eventually find out. What would she think?
“I was thinking about embarrassing my mom,” he admits.
At the same time, he rehearsed his rationalization. “I already did one. So, what’s the difference, if I do another one.”
“Then all of a sudden you know I’ve done a few and I’ve made three or four thousand dollars in less than a month,” he adds. “All of a sudden I was doing 20 a month.”
Of course, Mom found out.
“I still didn’t stop. I became this person I didn’t even know,” Josh says. “The more I was willing to care less about myself, the more I was willing to do these movies.”
Josh became a “star,” performing in thousands of films in five years.
“I’m, crying myself to sleep every night,” he remembers. “Every time I worked, I would literally shower, and I couldn’t get clean enough because I couldn’t wash off the hurt.”
The breaking point came from a bank teller. “Josh, is there anything else I can do for you?” the teller asked.
It was the first time he had heard his own name in such a long time.
“I just lost it and I went home and I looked myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘What have I done? What have I done with my life? I haven’t been home in two Christmases. I wasn’t taking care of my mom. I wasn’t taking care of my brother.”
He called his director and quit.
“I ran, I ran for my life. I moved to North Carolina,” he says. “Every night, I would have dreams of the things I did. Even though I wasn’t doing anything anymore, my sin was just tucked away. It wasn’t dealt with.
“The last thing I wanted to do was face what I did, and I had ruined my relationship with my family.”
His mom offered him unconditional love.
“But I knew I embarrassed her,” he confesses.
Next, Josh met Hope. She was pretty and liked Josh.
Just two weeks after he arrived from Colombia as a child and was taken to a luxurious home in Glendora, CA, little Edwin Arroyave watched his home raided because his father was under suspicion for drug trafficking.
Both mom and dad were hauled away, and Edwin and his two siblings saw their dream-like landing in America turn into nightmare as they went into foster care.
“After that, our home would get raided once a year,” he told Ed Mylett on a YouTube video. “It’s exactly like you see in the movies, probably worse. They just come in and turn that house upside down. The first three times they raided, my dad wasn’t there. I could hear the helicopter flying overhead looking for him.”
On the fourth raid, federal agents arrested and convicted Edwin’s dad. The family moved into poverty-stricken Huntington Park.
“Son, you need to be the man of house now,” his dad managed to tell him before being locked away “for a long time.”
“That was a blow to me because my dad was my hero,” Edwin says. “I was 10. Even though I didn’t know what he did for a living, I admired that he took care of everyone. He showed me a lot of love. It was a big blow.”
Mom and the kids were so poor they had to rent two of the rooms in the 3-bedroom apartment to make rent. Eight people lived in the apartment. “It was very cramped,” he says. “I remember roaches waking me up every night.”
Through the chaos of their lives, mom prayed over him and built up his self-esteem. Edwin came to accept Jesus into his heart.
“You have greatness in you,” mom told him.
He dreamed of fulfilling the American Dream.
Because his sister’s boyfriend made $100,000 a year, Edwin decided he would earn that amount too.
He ditched high school classes and went to a posh Rodeo Drive upscale shopping district to window-shop and then tour the priciest neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills to see the mansions.
“One day, I’m going to be here,” he announced dreamily.
At 15 he got his first job. It was tele-marketing.
“I was just so grateful to get a job,” he says. “I was the youngest guy they hired. I just worked my butt off.”
At 16, he was promoted to supervisor of five employees. At 18, he was made manager of 40 employees. He was making $1,000 a week and became the right hand of the vice president of sales.
A short time later, the VP resigned and invited Edwin to help him found an alarm system company. Edwin would have to quit his $60,000 a year job and had no guarantee of success at the startup.
Today, that startup is Skyline Security, a $34 million giant in the domain of home security systems.
“A lot of success comes from common sense. I thought, ‘This guy is making 250 grand a year, he’s risking everything for it. He must be pretty serious.’”
“I took a risk to follow my dreams,” he says. “Everyone told me, ‘There’s no way you’re going to leave another $70,000 a year job for the unknown.’ But if you’re going to make it big, you have to go all in.”
He married Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of rocker John Mellencamp, who launched a weight loss program after she got her own fluctuating weight under control. They have three kids together and attend Mosaic Church, a hipster magnet, in Hollywood.
Teddi is also featured in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality show.
“Faith is huge for both of us,” Edwin says. “Before we went on the show, I had fear of the unknown. But we prayed about it and felt that God was putting this opportunity before us to show our faith and give Him glory.” Read the rest: Edwin Arroyave and Teddi Mellencamp Christian.
Becket Cook lived a dream life as a set designer in the fashion world. Flaunting an openly gay lifestyle, he swam in Drew Barrymore’s pool and vacationed in Diane Keaton’s vacation home.
But the luster lost its shine at one party: “I can’t do this anymore,” he realized.
In his book Change Of Affection, Beckett documents his identity transformation, as well as a peace and freedom previously unimaginable.
Becket’s demise into homosexuality began when he was 10 at a sleepover with a friend in Texas where he grew up. The friend’s dad molested him at midnight.
“It was very shocking and scary, and I had this image in my mind that if I didn’t allow him to do what he was doing, I had a picture of him with a knife,” Becket recalls on a 700 Club video. “He was going to stab me or kill me.”
The molester came back three times during the night.
“I did not tell my parents because I knew my father probably would of had him killed,” he said. “I didn’t want my father going to prison over this.” He was the youngest of eight and didn’t want his siblings to be fatherless.
“Also I didn’t want people to know,” he says. “It was a shameful experience.”
So he locked up the horrors in the safe deposit box of his heart.
“Living as a gay man, I never really thought that affected me,” Becket said. “I didn’t want my identity as a gay man to tied to such a scary, weird, gross night. After I became a Christian, I realized, that night had a huge impact on my sexuality. It cemented it.”
He was popular in high school with the girls and went to dances, but when he got older, he had gay bestfriends and went to gay bars and explored the gay life.
“I kind of felt like this was home for me, these are my people. But it wasn’t until after college when I had my first relationship with a guy,” Becket says. “We fell in love and that is when homosexuality as my identity was known.”
He “came out to his parents and family.
His parents were Christians and believed it was a sin, but they were very loving about it. His father asked him if he did anything wrong and if he was angry towards him about anything.
“No dad, I’m fine,” Becket responded. “This who I am, and it’s not your fault.”
Over the years in LA, he went through five serious relationships.
He was at Paris Fashion Week March 2009 at an after-party when he looked over the crowd and remembered asking himself: “This is not it. This is not the meaning of life. What am I going to do for the rest of my life?”
He went to a coffee shop where he came across people with Bibles, and he and his best friend ended up having a conversation with them.
They invited him to their church the next week. Becket asked them what they believed in about homosexuality. They replied it was a sin. Becket ended up going to the church the following Sunday, and while he was listening to the sermon everything was resonating as truth to him and heart.
“I was processing the sermon and worship music, and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit just overwhelmed me.” he remembers. “God was like, I’m God, Jesus is my son, Heaven is real, Hell’s real, the Bible is true and you are now adopted into my kingdom. Welcome.”
Becket started bawling and was able to see the truth for the first time in his life — and the new meaning of life for the first time. He knew in that moment that that was no longer the gay man he used to be.
“The curtains just parted,” Becket said. “I knew instantly in that moment that this was no longer who I was. Being gay was not who I was. It was over. I was done with it.”
(spoiler alert) After several hair-raising chase scenes, armed runaway slave Harriet Tubman gets the drop on her former slave master.
Aiming her revolver, she steps out from behind a tree and demands Gideon Brodess, riding on horseback, to drop his rifle, which he does. But he tries to surprise her and pulls his handgun.
Harriet shoots his hand, walks over and grabs his rifle and trains it on him.
“God did not make people to own people,” she declares.
The fact that the biopic Harriet, in theaters now, portrays Christianity in a positive light is refreshing and rare from a secular production company from Hollywood. It would have been so easy for them to gloss over the ‘Black Moses’ connection to God in a rewrite that could have highlighted only feminism and race equality.
Harriet (played by Cynthia Erivo) decided to flee slavery in Maryland rather than be sold “down the river” and parted from her husband. Despite being illiterate, she successfully made the dangerous 100-mile journey to anti-slavery Pennsylvania.
A year later, she made the dangerous incursion back into Maryland to free her family. This became the mission of her life. Harriet Tubman, born Araminta “Minty” Ross, disguised herself, often as a man, to lead more than 100 slaves to freedom. She became notorious among white slave owners, who kept increasing the bounty on her head. Several riveting chase scenes are the fodder of this movie. Read the rest: Christianity in ‘Harriet.’
As a three year old, Ada Betsabe Ruiz would sing in the church and wind up crying under the power of the Holy Spirit.
But when she was 14, she left the church because of controlling and abusive leaders. She became a skeptic and rebelled against everything she had learned. God had been “misrepresented” to her, so she turned her back on Him.
As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic with her parents, she lived from age three in New York’s Bronx where people blasted from cars either salsa, bachata or hip hop. Biggie and Pun enthralled her, and she started mimicking and composing verses herself.
With no moral compass, Ada fell into lesbianism. She began a formal relationship in 2012 with a domestic partner who had no background in Christianity. Their home was adorned with Buddhas and crystals. “We were both really searching,” she says.
Ada launched a secular hip hop career in English, and she was gaining notoriety. She got a handler and was at the point of signing a major record label. She attended a music conference in Los Angeles in April 2014 to interview with executives.
But the bosses and her new friends did more than just worldly music; they were into Luciferianism, and they invited Ada to participate. They drank wine mixed with blood and apparently performed human sacrifices. Somebody in the cult died mysteriously during the conference, Ada tells God Reports.
Frightened by what she saw and by what was happening, Ada declined to join.
“I had the opportunity to be a part of it, but instead decided to run to Jesus,” she says.
She never signed the record deal and, no longer “skeptical” about the reality of supernatural things, went to her Airbnb in Hollywood to reconcile with Jesus.
“I was terrified after the things that took place in LA,” Ada says. “This situation, however, proved to me that evil was real and good was real.”
Fatherhood brought Matthew McConaughey back to faith.
The Oscar-winning actor, a heart-throb in romantic movies, has been lauded for breaking Hollywood’s high divorce rate by staying married to his supermodel wife, Brazilian Camila Alves, who was raised Catholic.
“As soon as we had children, I was like, ‘You know what? Church was important to my childhood, even if it was just for the ritual of giving an hour and a half on Sunday to yourself, to pray and to think about others, even if you’re tired or whatever,’” McConaughey said. “I noticed how much I missed it and needed it.”
He and his wife have three children: Levi, aged 6; Vida, aged 7; and Livingston, aged 4.
McConaughey was raised in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Kay was a kindergarten teacher and a published author. His father, James, was a Green Bay Packers football player before becoming a Texas oilman.
His childhood dream of being a pro football player along with his college plan of being a lawyer all got cast aside. He worked in a commercial and then performed minor roles until he was cast as the lead in the John Grishman-based movie A Time to Kill.
The breakthrough roll led to more, and McConaughey found himself soon in romantic roles in such movies The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
In his rising success, the God of his childhood became all but forgotten.
Then, the man accustomed to making women swoon met and swooned over Camila Alves. When they met, he was hiding his identity under a huge hat and a bushy beard at the Hyde Club in Hollywood. As soon as he saw Camila, he was pierced by Cupid’s arrows.
Action megastar Sylvester Stallone has always done his own stunts, which sometimes resulted in broken bones and hospitalizations. The Italian Stallion’s faith in Christ survived many blows as well, until the Hollywood prodigal found his way back to the Lord.
“I was raised in a Christian home,” Stallone told the Dove Foundation. “I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it until one day I got out into the so-called real world. I was presented with temptation and I lost my way and made a lot of bad choices.”
Stallone, 70, was born in New York City. His father was a hairdresser and beautician. His mother ran a gym, being an astrologer, dancer and promoter of women’s wrestling.
His birth was accompanied by complications. The obstetrician used forceps that accidentally severed a nerve causing paralysis in portions of his face, contributing to his trademark mad dog look and slightly slurred speech.
His parents divorced when he was nine, which may have had a bearing on his poor school performance. Evicted when he was 24 and sleeping at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Stallone accepted a role in a soft-core porn movie for $200.
“It was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end – the very end – of my rope,” he told Playboy.
He landed some other minor roles but hit huge success with the 1976 Rocky, which won three academy awards and seized the American consciousness. The underdog boxer became an American icon.
Six sequels and a Special Forces series called Rambo followed that success. The Expendables came later. From the dregs of society, he was catapulted to the summit of Hollywood success, and the flush of money and fame brought a glut of temptation.
“All of sudden you’re given the keys to the candy store and temptation abounds, and then I began to believe my own publicity,” Stallone told Pat Robertson in an interview. “There’s no question. I admit it. I just lost my way.”
He divorced twice, first from Sasha Czack and then from Brigitte Nielsen. He is currently married to Jennifer Flavin, with whom he has three daughters.
His personal struggles have become fodder for the introspection in some of his later films. His 48-year-old half sister Toni Ann Filiti succumbed to lung cancer in 2012. In his most recent film “Creed,” Rocky Balboa needs to be pushed to fight cancer by Donnie Johnson, the youngster Rocky is training to fight in the ring.
By his own account, Stallone spiraled downward for 12 years until he finally had a prodigal son epiphany and decided to return to the faith of his childhood.
“Finally I realized it had to stop,” Stallone said. “I had to get back to basics and take things out of my own hands and put it in God’s hands.”
Even in the anti-Christian environment of Hollywood, he unabashedly acknowledges his faith in Christ – and he spills enthusiasm about going to church.
“The more I go to church and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to his word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now,” Stallone told Focus on the Family. “The church is the gym of the soul. You cannot train yourself. You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else.”
Now older and wiser, Stallone admits to some distaste for the shallow violence of his earlier films. But he stands behind the Rocky series.
“This is a story of faith, integrity and victory,” he said. “Jesus is the inspiration for anyone to go the distance. You could compare his courage to that of David, who as the epic underdog defeated the giant Goliath in battle. It’s a metaphor about life. ”
A sequel to Rambo has been in the works for some time, with discussion of one version being a rescue of missionaries out of ISIS’ control in Iraq. But this film may never get done.
The Stallone trademark for his movies is that he does his own stunts. This has resulted in injuries that he has tried to mask with tattoos on his shoulders, chest and upper back. The first tattoo was a portrait of his wife Flavin.
For Rocky IV, he told Dolph Lundgren (who played his Russian opponent): “Punch me as hard as you can in the chest,” he said at a Comic Con panel. “Next thing I know, I was in intensive care at St. John’s Hospital for four days. It’s stupid!”
The injuries too are a metaphor because when we wander from Christ, they tend to make us reflect about what is most important and bring us back to Jesus. It would seem to be something Stallone would say.
This article was written with Alex Cervantes, a student of the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, where I teach. It was originally published on God Reports.
Frankly, I don’t get the allure of Hollywood — and I don’t get the stars on the sidewalk. I host foreign students who learn English. They ALL want to see Hollywood. Little do they know that Hollywood is ghetto, with abundance of drugs and grimy streets.
But those foreign students, invariably, like to get a selfie with the star of their favorite performer.
Why anyone would want people to walk all over their name, I’ll never know. It seems like a dishonor, not an honor. But Hollywood is full of such contradictions that go totally unnoticed by people infatuated with this world.
This I know: the darker this world gets — and it IS growing darker — the brighter the light of Jesus. The more that sin becomes “acceptable,” the more people are going to suffer its ravages. They will need a Savior more and more desperately.
Hey, I’m tempted, and I sin, but the attraction of God is greater. I always come back. I keep following God. Because there’s nothing better, nothing like Him. His love is amazing. Freedom is incredible.
Passing through the power cables at an old school video arcade from one game to another, a hulking, 9-foot tall wrecker named Ralph strikes up a friendship with feisty, pint-sized girl racer named Vanellope. Because she’s a “glitch,” they won’t allow her to race with the other girls in Candyland.
This charming movie has won my heart because it’s about relationships. No one hardly is aware of others’ experiences with rejection. In one scene, Fix-It Felix Jr. whines to his villain counterpart Ralph about suffering unrequited love. “You wouldn’t know anything about it,” he complains.
“Yes, I do,” Ralph responds. “It’s the story of my life everyday.”
Felix’s countenance softens. He finally understands that the “bad guy” in his game feels left out by the others. The heart-warming takes place on various levels of conflict and misunderstanding.
The story is highly imaginative and the interaction between video game characters, both known and unknown to gamers, is delightful. The movie is a gem amidst the piles of rubbish churned out by Hollywood. The plot never bores. (Most movies make my eyes glaze, and I usually just walk out of the room from boredom.)
Wreck-It Ralph is more than just a great children’s movie. It is absolutely a contribution to humanity. Wreck-It Ralph wrecks buildings but fixes friendships.
Knowing what God can do, we don’t know what God can do.
That’s why we go to prayer — not out of compulsion or religiosity — but out of wonderment. What unimaginable answer will God produce? The world’s greatest fiction writer couldn’t think up what God does.
Sometimes, you go for a long stretch without seeing an answer. Then out of the blue, God moves dramatically, unexpectedly, unforseen. And then praying is gratifying. He is at work always; we do not perceive always. We win at the end, after the enemy has scored so many points that a lopsided victory seems sure.
I think Los Angeles is the city most like Gen. 1:2 — formless and empty, (with) darkness… over the surface of the deep. Out of Los Angeles, has come corruption-propagating
Photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog
entertainment to poison the world. They may have built this city on rock and roll, but the prayer warrior rebuilds it on prayer. Not only is there Hollywood here, there is also Azusa Street.
A friend of a friend, a super model and an actress, has cancer and is now praying and reading her Bible. When the mask breaks up, you turn to something of true value. Prayer has brought her to Christ and is bringing her to Christ.