When Justin Bieber Shows Up at Your Event (Seriously…)
“Are you serious?”
I was staring at my friend Louie with undisguised shock.
“Yeah man, he just showed up yesterday…” Louie absently tucked a flyaway portion of his long hair behind his ear and adjusted his “Monster Energy Drink” hat. As a prominent young BMX pro-rider, he held himself with the kind of un-self-conscious “cool” factor that the rest of us usually try (and fail) to emulate.
“I guess His future father-in-law, Stephen Baldwin, was here for a bit and Justin Bieber showed up to hang out with him,” he shrugged, “he seemed like a pretty cool guy.”
“Whoa…” I shook my head, “How did people seem to respond?”
“Well it was cool for a while until it leaked that he was here – we were in the middle of our show and we just saw, like, hundreds of girls running across the field to try and get backstage…” he frowned, “Honestly, I don’t know if it was a good thing – I was kind of afraid that maybe people were showing up for the wrong reason, you know? Like that’s not what this should be about. They’re saying that he might show up again tonight and I really don’t know what to feel about it.”
“Totally,” I nodded and glanced over my shoulder at the backstage area.
It was the second and final night of the Luis & Andrew Palau festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan. An estimated fifteen thousand people had shown up for the first night, and at 5 PM, the river-side festival grounds were already swelling with what looked like it was going to be a much larger crowd. I wondered how much of the size increase was a result of the rumors of a celebrity sighting.
“I wonder…” I turned back to my friend and shot him a half-smile, jerking my head towards the gathering crowd, “I wonder what God’s gonna do with this tonight.”
“Yeah,” he raised his eyebrows and shrugged again, “I guess we’ll see…”We’re currently preparing for an outreach to PAKISTAN this fall and we’d love your prayer – visit our SUPPORT page if you’d like to find out how you can help financially!
We talked for a few more minutes and then headed back to the heart of the festival grounds, where we were quickly caught and mired in the press of people trying to maneuver their way across the field. As we passed the backstage entrance, we began hearing scattered shouts and chants: “JUSTIN!”
A quick glance at the furrowed brows of the beleaguered gate security guards as we passed was enough to confirm it – our celebrity must have made his way backstage again.
Over the next few hours, several well-known Christian bands performed – the sets were high-energy and the crowd, which had grown to nearly twenty-thousand, was responsive and welcoming.
Then, as the sun began to set, Andrew Palau took the stage and began to share the love of Jesus. He spoke clearly and passionately, sharing the story of God’s redemptive work in his own life – the story of how God rescued him from the secret pain of a self-destructive lifestyle and offered Him forgiveness and freedom through Jesus.
And the crowd was riveted.
Whether they had shown up to participate in a Christian event or just to catch a glimpse of a celebrity – whether they were there to celebrate a loving God or just to fill an empty space inside themselves, they LISTENED.
And they heard about the love of JESUS.
And when Andrew offered an opportunity to respond to the love of Jesus, they responded.
Hundreds of them, all across the festival grounds – maybe thousands – raised their hands, saying “yes” to Jesus.
And as counselors began to flood the field to pray for those who had responded, I knew that I was watching God change lives forever, and use EVERY detail of the situation to reach the people that He is passionate to rescue.
And this is why we do what we do.
Since 2012, we’ve shared the love of Jesus in 28 nations and seen tens of thousands of people respond. Since April of 2017, we’ve had the privilege of watching thousands respond to Jesus in twelve nations and territories on five continents – we’ve just finished up a packed few months of events in Israel, the West Bank, France, Belize and across the American South and Midwest. Now we’re preparing to head to Portland to begin recording our next CD project, after which we’re scheduled to share the love of Jesus in Pakistan, Mexico and across the American Midwest.
THANK YOU for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide. Our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field.
Zach and White Ribbon Day