For those of you who may be new to my blog my wife, Michelle, and our 9 year old daughter, Gabriella, have spent the last few months in the Los Angeles area. Gabi is an up and coming actor. She has an incredible talent and has felt God's call on her life to be His light in the entertainment industry. So we have been in LA since the middle of February to really get a feel for what life is like in Hollywood.

Being from Texas we had no idea what to expect. Of course we've heard the stereotypical view that if you are not “somebody” that nobody will give you the time of day. Or that everyone in Hollywood is “fake” or pretending to be something that they are not and if you can't help them advance their career they want nothing to do with you. However, we have had a drastically different experience. Stay tuned...

We travel for a living. We are always in a different place meeting new people. We love life on the road, but we always have home to look forward too. We love coming home to our family, our friends, our house, our dog, but out here in LA it is just the three of us. We are staying with a wonderful family that has blessed us beyond measure by letting us occupy two rooms in their house and hang out with them constantly, but there is something about having your family close, especially on special days like birthdays and holidays. So needless to say we were starting to get a little lonely, especially with Easter approaching.

This past weekend the whole world celebrated Easter. Everyone made plans with family and friends to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior, but we weren't sure what we were going to do. We had knocked around a few ideas, but nothing really landed, until Michelle got a message from a friend.

Debra lives in Hollywood and she was on the dance team in high school with Michelle. We have had the opportunity to hang out with her and her family a bit, and they have been kind enough to give us some good “insider” tips on what to do and where to go in LA.

Debra said she was having a few families over for Easter dinner and egg hunt for the kids and would love for us to join them. We were so honored and excited! Just being invited made our hearts happy, but knowing that Gabi would have some kids her age to hang out with was a total bonus!

We had no idea what to expect. We were going to Easter dinner in the Hollywood hills, with complete strangers. They all know each other, their kids go to school together and they have been friends forever, so how would we fit in? Well, right from the first “Hello!” we felt like we had all been friends for years. It was amazing! Everyone made us feel welcomed, loved and glad that we were there! It was so wonderful and I haven't even gotten to the craziest part yet! There we were, in a beautiful house in the Hollywood hills, overlooking the city of Los Angeles eating Easter dinner with some of the most important people in the entertainment business. People you would probably wouldn't ever know, but there were movie producers, television directors, acting coaches, film editors and more. I could name a million TV shows and movies that you know, and we were having dinner with the people who make them happen! As I looked around the homes we were in, I started asking questions about the art other decorations in the house. “That is one of only 3 in the world. The others are in the Smithsonian and Columbia Pictures home office.” “This is a piece given to me by (insert famous actor) when we wrapped shooting (insert major motion picture everyone knows).” Yeah, those were the kinds of conversations we were having, but not in a “Hey, I'm gonna show off!” kind of way, just a matter of fact, everyday life sort of way.

I couldn't tell you if any of them are Christ followers, but whenever anyone asked what we did and we told them that we lead worship for churches and write songs about Jesus, none of them flinched or walked away, or looked at us like we were crazy, they actually wanted to know more. Not the "typical" response you would expect from the Hollywood elite. We shared in conversations about music, life, film, and kids. We laughed and ate and felt so loved. It was a beautiful day!

Sure, we had an amazing time celebrating Easter with our new friends, but I wanted to tell you all of that to make this point. How many times do we as Christ followers see a visitor in our church, or new guy at our Bible study or a new family at the PTA meeting or on our kids sports team and never reach out? The families we had lunch with were a very close knit group. They could have kept to themselves and just tolerated us being there, but they didn't. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome, included and loved. It doesn't take much to shine the light of Christ. Just a simple “Hi there! My name is ­_____.” can go a long way. You don't have to be “BFFs” or tell each other your deepest fears, Jesus just asks us to be His light. Romans 15:7 tells us to “Accept each other with love, just as Christ has accepted you.” You don't have to agree on everything, you don't have to agree on anything, but simply being the light of Christ to someone can make the world a better place.

So, my challenge to you this week is to ask God to show you someone to whom you can be His light. Remember, it doesn't have to be a big grandiose gesture. Just a kind word and a smile go a long way!

I would love to here how it goes for you this week! Please come back and leave a comment here or on our Facebook page with your story! Thanks for hanging out with me today!

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AuthorJustin Graves