Actor Stephen Baldwin's Testimony:: The Jesus Freak of Hollywood
Fame, success, drugs and beautiful women didn't bring actor Stephen Baldwin lasting fulfilment or satisfaction. It wasn't until he gave his life to Jesus Christ that he found forgiveness, meaning, purpose, and real joy that he was missing.
As a former Hollywood bad boy now on fire for Jesus, Stephen Baldwin personifies the “unusual suspect” ? the last person in the room you’d suspect of being a sold-out, hard-core Christian.
The youngest of the renowned Baldwin brothers acting family, Stephen has appeared in over 65 films and dozens of television roles.
According to Stephen,
“growing up Baldwin was like the Brady Bunch on a whole bunch of espresso.”
In his early days as an actor and model in New York, he earned a reputation as the life of the party.
“He was one of the great playboy nightlife people in the annals of Manhattan nightlife,” says his oldest brother Alec. “He was like having a panther for a pet ? he was just this exotic animal who was so beautiful and everyone loved him.”
Who did Jesus think he was? And why should I care?
“I never really did anything too bad,” Stephen counters. “I didn’t commit any crimes that anyone was able to…convict.”
With his Baldwin-good-looks, an incredible singing voice and a broad acting range, Stephen soon established himself in the New York acting community. He met the girl of his dreams, Kennya, on a Manhattan bus.
“I said, I just met the girl I’m going to marry and she’s gonna have our kids.” he says. “And what we never could have known then that we understand now is that it was all part of God’s plan.”
He did marry the stunning Brazilian beauty (he and Kennya now have two young daughters), but he also encountered another risk of the show business culture ? an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
His pastor, John Carter, says:
“He had a lot of stuff in his life that was messing him up and even though he had fame and he’s a handsome guy…he had a beautiful wife…all the things that everybody thinks you gotta have…he still wasn’t happy inside.”
Kennya issued an ultimatum:
“(I told him) I needed somebody who was going to be straight and who was not going to be lying to me and…living a double life,” she says. “I realized it wasn’t working and it wasn’t okay.”
Stephen entered a 12-step program and has been sober for 16 years. He recognizes now that God had plans for the two of them.
“Looking back in retrospect ? (it was) all totally the hand of God orchestrating a series of events and scenarios that would lead to who I am today,” he says.
The Baldwin’s moved out west to Arizona when Stephen landed a role on a television series called The Young Riders.
Long days on the set, combined with the demands of a young family, compelled them to hire a Brazilian housekeeper named Agousta. The woman, an outspoken and joyous Christian, told Kennya (in Portuguese) that she was definitely NOT there simply to clean their house.
As Stephen remembers it:
“So my wife comes to me and says ‘uh, you know, honey, I was talking to Agousta and she says that someone in her church in Brazil said she should come to America and work for a couple who will become born-again Christians and be involved in Christian ministry.’
What do you think of that?”
“I mean, you know, I was dialling 9-1-1,” he says.
First, it was Kennya who was curious about her housekeeper’s faith.
“Agousta would always talk about Jesus and I said to her ‘I want to know about this Jesus. Who is this Jesus?’” she asked. “I dealt with my hang-ups, with my fears, with my arrogance, my pride. There was so much in me that God showed me I had to change.”
At first, Stephen was an observer as his wife began her new walk in Christ.
“I was cool with it, and at some point it registered in me somewhere that it was genuine,” he says. “Something was changing in her, and it was real. Then 9-11 happened.”
“It was a day and an event where, for me, the impossible became possible.”
Very soon after 9-11, Stephen Baldwin dedicated his life to Christ.
“When I decided to become a Christian, it was a full-on, gloves-off, throw-down, kick-boxing match between me and God.”
It’s been a wild ride since that decision day ? from the creation (with Kevin Palau) of the Livin It action sports ministry to White House prayer sessions to the National Republican Convention.
His first film for Palau Fest Productions ? Livin It ? became one of the most successful action sports DVD’s ever produced in the genre: the sequel, Livin It L.A., is set for release in mid-2006. He’s developing printed outreach tools as well, from graphic novels to testimony anthologies to his own autobiography.
Coming from an outspoken family better known for their liberal views, he’s at peace with his brothers and rock solid in his purpose.
“My whole family, including my brothers, from a spiritual perspective has been very supportive of me.” he says. “Now, when my faith-based motivations led me to support the re-election of the president at the Republican National Convention….let’s just say the boys were a little concerned.”
His mother Carol points out:
“When Stephen was inside speaking at the Republican Convention, his brother Billy was out on the sidewalk protesting.”
He’s developed a special respect and appreciation for the action sports athletes ? and their legions of young fans and followers ? that are an integral part of his Livin It films and national tours.
“I really feel that these are the people that God has called me to relate to,” he says.
“The Livin It skateboarders and BMX’ers are hard core, but God has gifted them to communicate the Good News, especially to kids.”
“Who I am today ? and I hope this doesn’t sound too hokey ? I am the guy that I couldn’t become on my own.
I couldn’t become the man that I wanted to until I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I am in no way perfect but I’m a far better husband and father. I’m a person who understands what their purpose is.”
“The Bible says God creates us, first and foremost, to do what? To love Him first, to seek His will and serve Him. This is a point of time in my life that is so far beyond the word ‘best’ that I couldn’t even use words to describe it.”
Have you ever felt like you’re looking for meaning in all the wrong place?
Are you circling round and round but still not finding happiness? Perhaps it’s time you asked Jesus to help you take stock of your life before a crisis hits. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of my life. Make me be the person you want me to be.