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The Faith and Entertainment Series!

Welcome to the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series, where I interview followers of Jesus who work in the entertainment industry.

WHY did I start doing these interviews? Two reasons. 1. I have a deep appreciation of  music and acting.  2. I am very passionate about personal soul care and authentic discussions about living out our daily faith. So, I figured…why not blend the two?

CLICK on a picture below to read each interview.

Mary Sarah 2 Blog
Recording Artist: Mary Sarah
April Kry 1 Blog
Recording Artist: April Kry
Lucas Hoge 2 Blog
Recording Artist: Lucas Hoge
Kaitlyn Baker 3 Blog
Recording Artist: Kaitlyn Baker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Sutton Blog
Actress: Ashley Sutton
Holly Tucker Blog
Recording Artist: Holly Tucker
Janelle Arthur Blog
Recording Artist: Janelle Arthur
Curtis Grimes Blog
Recording Artist: Curtis Grimes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawn Johnson and Andrew East
Andrew East & Shawn Johnson-East (COMING SOON!) 

 

Let me know who YOU would like me to interview next for this series! Drop a comment below. I am an ordained pastor in the Church of God. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and have been working in faith-based counseling for over 20 years. Each of these discussions have greatly encouraged me, and I pray they encourage you too.

Subscribe to the blog Here and never miss a post.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

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Interview with Country Recording Artist Kaitlyn Baker

Ok guys, this next interview in the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series was so good to do. This young lady’s testimony and journey with God is sure to encourage you today. I appreciate how openly she shared her heart and authenticity about her faith and calling in life.

Be sure to leave a comment below for Kaitlyn. Enjoy the interview!

[Brent]  How do you continue to manage your relationship with Jesus with all the music venues and travel?

[Kaitlyn]  I travel a lot so I love being able to turn on gospel music. It really fills my spirit. Basically, my ‘go-to’ is whatever is mobile for being on the go.

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[Brent]    What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Kaitlyn]  When I was younger (age 11 or 12) I struggled with depression and anxiety problems quite a bit. Honestly, it was very debilitating at times. A friend of mine used to always tell me, “Stop focusing so much on what is negative, and the fact that everything isn’t going the way you want it to. Instead, focus on what God is doing right in front of you in the moment and be thankful for that.” She also always reminded me to have faith in myself.

[Brent]    If you were to pass on to heaven tomorrow and all but one of your songs ceased to exist, which one would you want to remain for people to hear and why?

[Kaitlyn]  This is a very hard question. I’d have to say the song that has had most impact on people and myself is “It’s Never Too Late.” I didn’t write this one, but recorded it.

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[Brent]   What does Kaitlyn’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Kaitlyn] Prayer is a real lifestyle for me. It gives me peace, it takes my anxiety away when I pray. And it’s good because I do lots of driving and fishing. That’s my quiet time without distractions of the world around me.

[Brent]   We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Kaitlyn]  About 4.5 years ago I had singed with a record label that unfortunately did not work. I decided to leave the label and soon after that my business partner/financial investor died of a sudden heart attack. It left me shattered and confused on what my next steps were. It took a significant amount of time to accept this situation. I became bitter BUT what really helped me the most was to use the support network I had around me. I remained around positive influences. Then the next painful event hit. My guitarist and great friend was tragically killed by a drunk driver on New Years Eve. Music, prayer, and time were the key components through all of these hard events I was challenged with. I released “Blackbird” afterward to encourage others with the kind of encouragement I was needing myself at the time.

Extra side-note: ”When I was born, I was incredibly premature. My mom prayed to God and asked him to protect and let me live. She made a promise to God that she would always teach me to know about God and his word. She kept true to her word. My Dad wasn’t a believer when I was a small child but he came to know Jesus because he would come to church just to hear me sing. I guess God used the messages he was exposed to in order to draw him into that relationship.”

 

[Brent]   If you could travel back in time and witness any event recorded in the Bible, what would it be…and why?

[Kaitlyn]  Noah’s ark because I would absolutely love to witness the ark and all of God’s beautiful animals in one space like that.

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[Brent]    Looking back, if you could give 12 year old Kaitlyn any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?

[Kaitlyn]  Have faith in yourself and trust God that he has you.

[Brent]   Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, I do love an occasional glass of wine but I do not allow my band to drink before a show. They are allowed one drink. Foul language is not tolerated within our band. I am very careful of how I present myself, both on stage and off stage. And last but certainly not least, my band and I always pray together before each show.

[Brent]   What made you want to do this interview?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, first of all I did look at your Instagram feed. Basically, I did my homework before agreeing to do this interview. The biggest reason is to reveal to people that the entertainment industry isn’t all full of dark, crazy, wildness. There are a lot of good people here, and many believers.

Be sure to stay connected with Kaitlyn’s music at the links below!

Spotify   Instagram   Twitter   Website   Youtube

AND…if you liked this interview, be sure to check out similar conversations with Lucas Hoge, Mary Sarah, & April Kry.

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

Subscribe to the blog Here and never miss a post.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Interview w/ Curtis Grimes

Curtis Grimes is a country music artist in Texas, a husband, father, and tenacious follower of Jesus. You’ll understand why I use ‘tenacious’ after you read about his story.

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This is a guy who is very much a family man and 100% committed to great country music. He finished in the top ten on Season 1 of The Voice in 2011. I can tell you, however, he is not willing to compromise his purpose or message in the venues or other opportunities that come his way.

Enjoy my interview with Curtis Grimes, and please check out his music and give him a follow.

[Brent]  When did you get started in music?

[Curtis]  I kind of got a late start when it comes to creating a music career. I really slipped away from God from somewhere in my High School years and following through college. This bled over into the first several years of my music career.

 

[Brent]  What would you say is the single most challenging part for country music artists to stay strong in their faith in this industry?

[Curtis]  Going against the grain. You’re the outcast as a persistent person of faith in this industry. You’re not selling out venues. Not playing in any major festivals. So, I treat this as my personal mission field in an environment they (the audience) didn’t probably expect to hear about Jesus. Simply put, being OK with saying ‘no’ to anything that might hinder advancing my career has got to be one of the toughest things for me.

Curtis Grimes 3

[Brent]  What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Curtis]  For me, it started at age 19. Before that was baseball and earning a scholarship in college. After this period of my life came ‘the conviction.’ Recording artist, Aaron Watson, said this: “The  hardest prayer to pray is if success comes from sacrificing my integrity and faith and voice for Jesus, then I need to do something else.” This was a major turning point in my life and career.

Curtis Grimes 5

[Brent]  What does Curtis’ personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Curtis]  For me, it’s literally an ongoing grind. Every day, hour, and minute has to have some sort of connection to Jesus so I don’t slip up. I wake up and pray a 20-30 minute prayer every morning before I even get out of bed. I also make sure I read a chapter in my Bible app. Listening to sermons/messages on my phone while at the gym is something that motivates me more than listening to music while I workout. At night, my wife and I pray together with our daughter and read a devotional. I’ve just learned that ever since my conviction, I will slip away quickly if I don’t maintain this pattern of connection.

 

[Brent]  We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Curtis]  My last 3-4 years has been a 180 degree difference from when I’m not staying connected. A couple of years ago my grandfather passed away. It was a smooth process because I was staying connected regularly. If I hadn’t been, losing him would’ve been much more difficult. It’s a difference in having peace vs. worry and trying to fix things myself. It’s how we interpret those valleys when we’re in them.

 

[Brent]  Is God teaching you anything new right now?

[Curtis]  Being patient with the new ministry I started. I want more ministry to happen more regularly. It’s not where I want to be now, but I need to be patient. I produced a Country Gospel album after numerous requests and God providing the resources for it through a fund raiser.  After the album, there was even more money left over so I started buying Bibles in bulk to give to anyone who didn’t have one. This continues to be something I’m really passionate about.

Curtis Grimes 4

[Brent]  If you were to pass on to heaven tomorrow and all but one of your songs ceased to exist, which one would you want to remain for people to hear and why?

[Curtis]  Born to die! This song came out of my first co-write in Nashville after the conviction. I asked if we could prayed first, and then wrote this song.

 

[Brent]  Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Curtis]  Well, I’m always sober. That’s the easy thing. I also try to go to church even while on the road. I also ask my band to be sober and encourage them to do church too. I read the Bible in my hotel room when away from home. And if they don’t have one of the Gideon Bibles in my room I’ll leave one of mine in the nightstand drawer.

 

[Brent]  What made you want to do this interview?

[Curtis]  I will take every opportunity to talk about my faith and the rest of my story, period.

 

Where to connect with Curtis and his music:

Spotify / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Website / Youtube

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

Subscribe to the blog Here and never miss a post.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Interview with Holly Tucker

Next up for the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series is Nashville recording artist and song writer, Holly Tucker!

Holly Tucker 1

Holly began her career in music at the age of 8, and received a rare four-chair turn in 2013 on Season 4 of The Voice. She advanced all the way to the top 6 vocalists that season and was invited back for the finale.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Holly. I could tell that she has a true heart for Jesus and his calling on her life, solely based on her honesty and openness about her own struggles and doubts with God in difficult seasons. All of us wrestle with God’s timing, quietness, and call from time to time. But not everyone is willing to be gut-level honest about what that has looked like for them.

I’ve linked her music on Youtube and Spotify below. Be sure to give her a listen. But for now, enjoy our encouraging discussion around her authentic faith journey. 

[Brent]: You recently retweeted a quote by Bob Goff. “Fear and insecurity will always try to talk us into settling for lesser things.“ Can you speak into that a bit? Does anything come to mind?

[Holly]: Man, it has been a very tough one and a half years for me. Lots of set backs and losses, especially in my music career. To be completely honest, I’ve been really angry with God, that he’s given me a gift to use for his glory…it’s a calling but I don’t feel like I’m being used effectively right now. I’ve said yes to opportunities I shouldn’t have said yes to. Every opportunity isn’t a good opportunity. Lately when I pray to God it sometimes feels like I’m talking to air. I’m really working hard to hold on to my faith, but I’m in a deep valley right now. I’ve just been settling. This tweet was mainly a reminder for me.

Holly Tucker 4

[Brent]:   What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Holly]:  At 13 years old I saw Darryl Worley perform at the Grand Ole Opry for 1st time. I was with my parents and we learned about a secrete alleyway artists would use to exit the Opry and slip off to one of the nearby bars. He was a big influence to me, so we went to the back after the show and I got to meet him! I shared with him my dream of pursuing a music career. I’ll never forget what he said to me. “Well, that’s a great dream, Holly. Keep singing. But don’t let this business change you.”  This industry is all about changing you to what it thinks you should be, so it’s a constant battle to remain unique and true to your message.

 

[Brent]:   What does Holly’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Holly]:  It’s been longer than I’d like to admit. I usually like to sit down with a pencil and highlighter. And I always come with questions, and I write them next to the scripture I’m reading. This is one way I engage in conversation with God, and I find that I am encouraged later on down the road when he provides me with solutions or knowledge pertaining to questions I’d jotted down weeks or even months ago.

Holly Tucker 2

[Brent]:   We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Holly]:  I haven’t quite figured this out yet. Praying and reading the Word would be the most logical answer, I guess. I don’t know! Maybe this is why I’ve been in this ‘valley’ season for so long. Even though I avoid talking to God, and he still finds ways to talk to me. I still make myself go to Church every Sunday. I’m still figuring it out. But I know this won’t last. It will eventually pass. I’m not asking to be a Taylor swift, I simply want to survive in this industry.

 

[Brent]:   Is God teaching you anything new right now?

[Holly]:  It seems like he’s always teaching me patience. I’m constantly over-thinking and worrying about every possible outcome. God’s always working on that with me. I need to stop being in control all the time. As for new, I don’t think I’ve ever had my faith tested this hard.

Holly Tucker 3

[Brent]:   If you were to pass on to heaven tomorrow and all but one of your songs ceased to exist, which one would you want to remain for people to hear and why?

[Holly]:  I’ve never been asked that before. Haven’t written this song yet.

 

[Brent]:   If you could travel back in time and witness any moment of Jesus’ life while he was in the flesh on Earth, what would it be…and why?

[Holly]:  Instantly in my mind, it would have to be his talk with the woman at the well. To witness that conversation. To experience his example of mercy here. Those stories make my heart happy. Also, woman who touched his robe in the chaotic crowd. It goes back to his mercy and her faith being so strong.

 

[Brent]:   What made you want to do this interview?

[Holly]:  Honest, I don’t get a lot of requests for faith-based country.  It’s refreshing to talk about my faith like this, especially right now in this season.

Enjoy one of my personal favorite Holly Tucker songs, ‘The Finer Things.”

Connect with Holly, subscribe, follow, etc. HERE > > >

Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, website, youtube.

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

Subscribe to the blog Here and never miss a post.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

My Interview with Actress Ashley Sutton

Guys, this is my 5th interview for the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series, BUT it’s my 1st interview with an actor in Hollywood.

Ashley Sutton has been in numerous movies & commercials, done voice-overs, and has worked with huge companies such as MAC cosmetics and the Jessa Hinton swimsuit line. She also worked with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the movie, Swelter.

This interview was so much fun! So encouraging. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ashley Sutton 1

[Brent]  How do you continue to nurture your relationship with Jesus while managing/growing your career and travel schedule?

[Ashley]  This is probably the hardest question being young in the world today with social media. It’s easy to focus on self. So I’d have to say keeping people of faith around me regularly is absolutely critical. I also have learned to say ‘no’ a lot to take care of myself. I work to make it part of my self-care. This often includes lots of listening to worship music, and frequently asking, “What can I do (to connect with Jesus) RIGHT NOW?”

[Brent]  What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Ashley]  Well, my acting manager is a Christian. And she’s constantly reminding me that everything is going to be OK. God is in control. And that it’ll all end up how He wants it to work out for me.

[Brent]  What does Ashley’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Ashley]  It’s not consistent at all. It’s just so hard in career with no set schedule in the day. So having a regular routine is simply impossible. But I hike a lot. I look at the flowers and their intricate design. The sound of birds singing and other things God made. These remind me of him. He feels close when I’m enjoying his creation outdoors. I also listen pretty exclusively to Christian. Commuting in L.A. allots me plenty of time for this.

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[Brent]  We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Ashley]  I’ve been a Christian since I was very young. I grew up in the Catholic church, and then stepped away to my own church where I could better connect. In 2013, I was in a very bad accident on a movie set on a boat. I almost died! My faith changed after that day. I think often the only way to get out of our spiritual valleys (dark seasons) is to just keep moving. Do things that bring joy. Another thing is that quantity not same as quality when it comes to friendships. More is not better. A million Instagram followers won’t comfort or help me when I’m struggling as much as a small handful of really close friends. Struggle is OK, it builds character. (authentic comment coming) My accident actually showed me that I didn’t really like the person I was before the accident. Without hard times we wouldn’t be able to grow and be able to continue to work on becoming the best version of ourselves.

[Brent]  Is God teaching you anything new right now?

[Ashley]  Oh yes. Just the same lessons. To be patient! My default is to work ward to obtain goals quickly. So it seems God is regularly reminding me, ‘Work hard, but don’t be anxious about obtaining results immediately. Leave that part to me.’

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[Brent]  If you could travel back in time and witness any event recorded in the Bible, what would it be…and why?

[Ashley]  I’d have to say it would be when Jesus was sleeping in the boat during a storm and his disciples were freaking out. He asked them why they had such little faith. I’d want to witness that because that would show me the level of strength/faith I should have and need. I’m an actress. I live in pictures, so actually watching this would be amazing.

[Brent]  Looking back, if you could give college-age Ashley any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?

[Ashley]  Find what brings you joy and stay with that. Don’t worry about anything else. The rest isn’t nearly as important. Don’t allow simple moments with family slip by because you feel like you should be working on your career.

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[Brent]  Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Ashley]  Simply being willing to say no to jobs/opportunities that might not be best for me. This hasn’t always been true for me, but now I just don’t do it. I’m much more selective with what acting roles and other opportunities are available to me.

[Brent]  Lastly, what made you want to do this interview?

[Ashley]  I don’t actively take steps to go out and talk about my faith. It’s usually more private. I thought this might be a good way of letting others no the realist version of myself, possibly helping someone who reads this. But I think this is also good for non-believers who read this. Christians haven’t always openly, or accurately, portrayed the hard part of life.

I’ll leave you with this small but enjoyable work of Ashley’s…

You can learn more about Ashley Sutton at her webpage, or stay connected with her on Instagram.

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

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You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

A Solid Reminder When Things Appear Dark

Are you in a DARK place today? Is your current season full of endless negativity?
We’ve all been there.
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I want to share an ENCOURAGEMENT with you that jumped out at me this morning during my Bible Intake time.

Mark 7:37 REMINDED me that ‘He (Jesus) has done all things well.’
And specifically the HAS DONE part. Meaning, in the past. He’s been there before for you and done well on your behalf.

So he’ll continue to DO WELL for you today…and tomorrow…and the next day!
Today, take a moment to THANK HIM for things he’s done well in your past, and then to TRUST HIM that he’ll be with you in the same way TODAY.

 

Have a very blessed Sunday!

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

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How To Embrace Your ‘New’ Season

Ok, if I’m honest I really don’t have a firm grasp on embracing new seasons myself. But like many of you, I am in the middle of weathering one currently so…let’s have a discussion. Shall we?

As I was beginning to pen this post, this scripture came to mind…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Eccl. 3:1

A Season, or time, for everything. The Hebrew meaning for time here is a ‘set or appointed time.’ In other words, the seasons you and I are facing today are no surprise to God. There is a reason we are where we are!

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And sometimes this requires us to reevaluate some of the regular patterns and habits we’ve set in place. To change things up a bit, if you will. Now, this is really difficult for a guy who ‘needs’ to know what to expect in my day and who values (to a fault) concrete habits. It’s my comfort zone, BUT God operates best outside of comfort zones!

So, what does it look like to EMBRACE a new season of life?

Here’s what I know and have personally experienced. We must be willing to step into it. This requires (demands) faith. And faith without action is dead. You and I must be able to rest in the promise that God is not surprised by where we are right now, and he does have a purpose for us while we are there.

Be intentional to spend time in his Word. Ask him to speak clearly to you through his Word and through other believers. Journal your thoughts and what you think God is telling you.

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

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