By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – November 18, 2015) — Recently, 21-year-old pop sensation Justin Bieber made a stunning turnaround in his relationship with Christ. In a soul-baring interview with COMPLEX magazine, he said he was leaving behind the tabloid headlines and had made dramatic turn in his walk with Jesus.
In connection with the release of the singer’s new album, “Purpose,” his sold-out concert at Staples Center November 13th had a distinctly spiritual flavor, surprising many observers.
“What the vaguely billed event at Staples Center felt most like was a church service,” reported Mikael Wood, a reviewer for The Los Angeles Times.
Friday’s show started when Bieber rode his skateboard to a smaller stage near the center of the arena. He did an acoustic performance of several new (and old) songs and premiered a film highlighting each track from “Purpose” with distinct dance numbers for each song.
“Between the skateboarding and the singing, though, Bieber sat on a stool next to Judah Smith, the man described as his pastor, and more or less preached,” a surprised Wood noted in the Times.
Smith, 36, is lead pastor of The City Church in Seattle, described as “a thriving multi-site church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus.” He is also the author of Jesus Is, a new book endorsed by Bieber.
Bieber’s mom, Pattie Mallette, stumbled upon Smith’s sermons and met him for the first time at a conference. She told Smith that his tapes put her son to sleep and suggested the two meet each other. While Smith didn’t consider the snooze effect a compliment initially, his relationship with the pop sensation has developed and grown over time.
At Friday’s concert, “He (Bieber) credited his connection with God for helping him to get back on his feet after a string of widely publicized tabloid troubles,” Wood reported in the Times.
At one point in the concert, a dozen pre-selected fans were brought on the stage with Bieber for a question-and-answer session. One young woman asked him for advice in handling a romantic breakup.
Photo captions: 1) Justin Bieber praying on stage. 2) Bieber with Judah Smith.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, and also the founder of www.Godreports.com), a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church aound the world to build interest in world missions.
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