Judah Smith ignites passion among crowd

Students filled the Vines Center Wednesday, March 20, to hear the “Jesus is___” author preach on self-worth

Truth — The City Church pastor Judah Smith, who happens to be Justin Bieber’s pastor, urged students in Convocation to be who God created them to be. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

“Be who you really are.” These five words rang through the Liberty University Vines Center Wednesday, March 20, as Pastor Judah Smith addressed a full crowd about what it means to have worth and to appreciate life as a gift.

Smith, the lead pastor of The City Church in Seattle, Wash., described a conversation he had with his son, who told him that he was ready to fulfill his duties as a Smith.

“You are a son by birth — you just became a Smith,” he said in response to his son. “It was a gift — accept it, enjoy it, but please do not offend me by trying to hurt (the name). Be who you really are.”

Smith’s newest book, “Jesus Is ____: Find a New Way to Be Human,” skyrocketed in pre-sales thanks to a shout-out from Justin Bieber, who Smith has known personally for about three years, according to Christian Post.

“So proud of my pastor,” Bieber wrote on Instagram, including a picture of Smith’s book. “Judah is the best speaker of our generation. Read this book — you won’t regret it.”

In his new book, Smith considers John 1 to be the foundation of defining who Jesus is.

“Jesus is grace and truth,” Smith said in an interview with the Christian Post. “Grace is always first in the biblical order, and obviously I’m one of those guys that believe that even the order of the wording in Scripture is completely inspired and divine. I think Jesus is grace, truth and love. Obviously, there’s so much in there to unpack, but grace is always first.”

During the Convocation service, Smith joked with the crowd, saying that he needed prayer, because he was one of only five Christians living in Seattle.

“The way I see it is, Seattle is a very black-and-white culture, so why not be a missionary in your own backyard? It’s a place that is in need, too,” Smith said. “Being a missionary doesn’t mean you need a band or a pulpit backing you up — just be who God’s called you to be and do what he’s gifted you to do.”

Smith also said that the purpose of his new book is to spread the name of Jesus to those who do not know him.

“As a community in Seattle, we want to make Jesus a big deal,” Smith said. “(The ‘Jesus Is ____’ theme based on Luke 15) started out as a 30-day series at church, and then it evolved into billboards, bumper stickers and magnets. We started to see people’s lives change, and we put it in the local paper so that people knew what was happening in our community.”

According to Smith, human beings cannot find their worth in the world they live in, but in the image they were created in.

“God loves you,” Smith said. “He doesn’t need you, but he wants you and he loves you. But the only thing that impresses God is his son, and that’s why it’s impossible to please God without faith. All of us who trust Jesus are pleasing to God.”

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