Actor and singer Carlos PenaVega isn’t just an entertainer. He’s also a husband, dad, and believer who regularly shares his Christian faith with audiences.
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The Big Time Rush star, who recently released both kids’ book, “Ocean’s World: An Island Tale of Discovery and Adventure,” and the memoir, “What If Love Is the Point?: Living for Jesus in a Self-Consumed World,” alongside wife Alexa PenaVega, told CBN’s Faithwire how he came to faith.
“I grew up Catholic,” he said. “I did like the whole first communion … all that stuff, but it never meant anything. It was just a box.”
PenaVega continued, “I knew of God, but I didn’t have a relationship.”
The actor recalled dating a Christian in college and sometimes going to her church, but even then, he felt he was checking faith boxes and “moving on.”
“It wasn’t until I really hit rock bottom … I was smoking a lot of weed,” PenaVega said. “I was drinking and I was sleeping around.”
Watch PenaVega share how he came to Christ:
But he said he knew this wasn’t who he was and eventually found himself “really depressed” by the ongoing behavioral cycle.
“I locked myself in my house and I was ordering food and I was just miserable,” PenaVega said. “And I knew that there was something more for me.”
He ended up calling a friend named Andrew, who had recently sold him a house, and started opening up, questioning why Andrew always seemed so happy.
“He was like, ‘Oh, man, I got Jesus,'” PenaVega recalled, noting the proclamation didn’t initially convince him.
Days later, though, PenaVega went to church with Andrew, visiting a small house of worship in Inglewood, California. And that’s when everything changed.
“The bishop comes up, and he preaches his sermon, and he’s like, ‘Let me tell you a little story about a guy, myself, who was 23,’ and … he’s like, ‘Man, I was smoking drugs,'” PenaVega said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I’m smoking drugs, too.’ He’s like, ‘I was sleeping around.’ I was like, ‘Me too.'”
And as the sermon went on, PenaVega realized the preacher struggled with the very same issues he did, feeling as though the minister was “speaking to [him].”
“He preaches his whole sermon, literally directly into my soul,” PenaVega said. “And after it finishes, I was just [like], ‘This is what I want. … I’m on this Jesus high now.'”
After church, he said he called every person he had ever wronged in his life and apologized.
When PenaVega got in the car, Andrew asked if the actor wanted to attend Bible study with him the next Thursday. Andrew then hopped on the phone, called a girl, and invited her as well — and that’s where the story takes another fascinating twist.
“Well, that night, I go to the Bible study and the girl that he called to come to the Bible study for her first time happened to be Alexa,” PenaVega said, noting the chance meeting led the two to fall in love, marry, and build a family.
He called it a “blessing” to grow in their faith together.
Now, the PenaVegas have three children and balance busy Hollywood careers. But, at the end of the day, he said his true efforts are geared toward reaching people with the Gospel.
“I always tell people that acting, singing all this stuff to me, producing writing, it’s a hobby, right?” PenaVega said. “My job is to spread God’s love to everyone … That’s my job. Everything else is to hobby.”
He continued, “I really do believe that God has a huge calling on mine and Alexa’s life, and we’re just going to continue powering through.”
Check out “Ocean’s World: An Island Tale of Discovery and Adventure” and the couple’s memoir “What If Love Is the Point?: Living for Jesus in a Self-Consumed World,” which tells their incredible story.
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