The crowd at the end of the block at Highland and Hollywood was huge. Everyone craned their necks over the barrier that stopped them from tumbling into the street after their favorite star.
I, on the other hand was there for a far more noble purpose… Who’s that getting out of the white limo…? Lemmee see, lemmee see… I was there to share the Gos… “Who is that on the red carpet? ‘Scuse me, scuse me… Ahem!
Okay I wasn’t so noble. I got caught up in the fervor of it all too. I wanted to see a star; I wanted to see a celebrity. I wanted to give a million-dollar bill Gospel tract to some poor, rich, famous, has-it-all-but goin’-to-Hell fabulous person. And I wanted a picture. I WANTED A PHOTOGRAPH darn it all! But I couldn’t even see!!! Whahhhh!
But I had a little hope.
Right smack dab in the center of the crowd was—believe it or not—right in the middle of those star struck fans crushed against the barrier was… a guy on a four foot ladder taking pictures! The guy had the wherewithal to bring his own four-foot ladder, not a stepstool mind you, but a ladder the same height as that barrier I stood on earlier.
I had an idea.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” I shouted to the ladder-owner. “May I stand on your ladder? I want to preach a little.” There were at least three hundred people rounded up at this little corner of the block, and by golly, I was going to take advantage of the opportunity. Besides, I might even catch a little glimpse of the action right across the street, maybe even get a picture… but… but… I really came here to preach. Really!
How would people react to an evangelistic sermon when they came to see celebrities? I wondered. Wait a minute! Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute! Where are the celebrities anyways? I haven’t seen even one.
I asked my friend Dan Kerr, who made the ultimate sacrifice by being here this day. He’s a sound effects librarian with a company that had two movies up for Oscars this evening, yet he still came along. When I asked why he came along he said, “This is something I need to do.” He had a real heart for being obedient to Christ’s call to go out and preach the Gospel, and here he was. Since he was an insider, I thought he would know why we hadn’t seen any famous people yet. “Because they are already inside. The show has started. Everyone walked the Red Carpet about an hour-and-a- half ago. You missed it.”
Well, don’t that beat all? So much for my fantasy of informing Brad Pitt that he was a lying thief. There was now no threat of the L.A.P.D. doing much of anything to me except…
Hey! I have a captive audience… right here! The police and the pimply-faced ushers in red jackets have to listen to me—as well as this crowd of three-hundred. I asked the ladder man again if I could use his ladder.
“Uh… I don’t think so, man.”
Bummer! Here’s a guy with the perfect preaching platform, right in the middle of a huge godless crowd—and he was preventing me from doing the Lord’s work! I had only one option: I turned around suddenly, and knocked him off his four-foot ladder.
I’m kidding! Gotcha!
I had another option: I turned to my companions and asked them to pray. Right in the middle of that crowd we huddled together and asked God to give me that ladder! Amen!
I turned to ladder man again and said, “Hey! I will give you a million dollars if you let me use that ladder.” I waved the Gospel tract in front of him.
He said, “Okay,” and climbed down.
I climbed up and started preaching. “Excuse me everyone,” I began, “This is my first amendment right to speak on a public sidewalk so I will be doing that for the next few minutes!” The fifteen-foot Oscar listened attentively in the foreground.
I asked if there was anyone who thought they were a good person… then I took them through the 10 Commandments, and warned them of Judgment Day and Hell.
Of course, I told them about our wonderful Savior, who died for all their sins, and how they can have peace with God if they repented and trusted in Him.
As you can see, the crowd listened with rapt attention…
…while I preached on and on and on…
I’m sure that if someone was sitting in an open window, they would have fallen out of it, sound asleep. Most continued to stare in the direction of the red Carpet, trying to ignore me.
I finished up and climbed down the ladder. A lady came up to me afterwards and introduced herself as a prophetess, and offered to preach at our church. Being somewhat prophetly myself, I declined her offer.
No stars. No glitter. No crashing the Oscars. No photos of Tomcat. Just a simple message of salvation preached in faith to the fans of Hollywood. The cops stared. The ushers rolled their eyes. The crowd continued to look towards the faded dream beyond the red carpet as the sun cast its long shadows. The evangelism team gathered back together sharing their own unique stories of how God invaded Hollywood for one evening.
We worshiped out loud on the MetroRail home, and every one of the passengers heard us praising God in his own language—English.
We sang to the true star of the evening, Jesus, as the Holy Spirit directed His supporting cast to tell others about the prize that will never perish, spoil, or fade.
And everyone was a winner this Oscar night…
…in His eyes.
We caught the preaching on video in 2008. Click here to watch.
(If you liked this adventure, you’ll love another Hollywood story about the time when we were chased by Scientologist security guards down Hollywood Blvd. last September. Click here to read “Hollywood Babble-On”)