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A God-Message Sent This Famous Pastor From Preaching Against Hollywood to Making Hit, Faith Films

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The Rev. Samual Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, is on a mission to reach the masses with biblical truth.

His quest has stretched from the pulpit to Hollywood, with the preacher diving into Tinseltown to produce hit films like “Flamin’ Hot” and “Breakthrough.”

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

The fascinating mixture of Gospel-driven preaching and movie-making is something Rodriguez said first came on his radar 10 years ago when he was pastoring in church and a woman came up to the microphone and said, “Samuel, God says ‘Hollywood.'”

“I had no inclination for Hollywood, no desire for Hollywood, to be honest,” he said on “Higher Ground With Billy Hallowell. “I was one of those evangelical pastors who would preach strongly against Hollywood.”

But Rodriguez soon received a call from Paramount about screening the film “Noah” to see how it might appeal to the Christian community.

He agreed and, like many commentators and Christian voices at the time, informed them the movie would likely not perform well among the evangelical community — a prediction that came to fruition.

Listen to Rodriguez discuss faith, Hollywood, and more:

From there, famed TV producer Mark Burnett and actress Roma Downey — the minds behind the hit TV series “The Bible” — asked Rodriguez to join him in consulting for their projects, with Christian entertainment company Pure Flix doing the same.

Before long, Rodriguez ended up producing “Breakthrough,” a movie about a boy who falls through the ice and dies before his mother’s prayers bring him back from the brink of death.

The based-on-a-true-story flick attracted quite a bit of support and attention.

“I saw that story about that kid who died for an hour at eight minutes and the Holy Spirit really prompted me,” he said. “Something inside of me said, ‘You’re gonna make it into a movie.'”

And that, too, came to fruition, with “Breakthrough” making more than $50 million worldwide at the box office. Most recently, the pastor produced “Flamin’ Hot,” the real-life story of Richard Montanez, a janitor at Frito Lay who conjured up the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and reached sweeping success.

These films’ successes have led Rodriguez into other projects set to release in the future.

“It really is by the grace of God,” he said.

Rodriguez said he wants to use these projects and his preaching to lead people to spiritual revolution and “cultural reformation.”

“That’s my assignment,” he said. “We are here … for such a time as this.”

Rodriguez said there’s no shortage of chaos in today’s culture, and expressed the most pressing issue he believes is plaguing society.

“My number one concern regarding culture is — and I say this with a heavy heart — the lukewarmness of those that know the truth — the apathy, the complacency, the comfortability, the lack of engagement,” he said. “The truth of the centrality of Christ.”

Rodriguez said people all over the globe are questioning once undisputed basic truths.

“We’ve reached a slippery slope,” he said. “Christianity has been questioned for 2,000 years, Judaism for 4,000 years — but now we’re questioning even math and science.”

And it’s the attack on truth that has Rodriguez so concerned, as he said too many who know better are “complacent” and “afraid of the backlash” or of losing followers. But the consequences of this dynamic, he believes, are tragic.

“Unfortunately, we’re permitting every generation to swallow the pill of moral relativism and cultural decadence,” Rodriguez said.

Listen to the interview for more.

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.