Interview with Andrew East & Shawn Johnson East

My next interview in the Faith & Entertainment series is with Olympic Gymnast, Shawn Johnson and NFL athlete, Andrew East. What an amazing conversation!

I’m also thrilled to announce that this blog series has officially transitioned into the Faith & Entertainment PODCAST. That’s right. Moving forward, all interviews with persons of faith in the entertainment industry will be recorded and made available on the new podcast.

And I’m so excited to have Shawn and Andrew be my guests on episode 001. I’ve included our discussion below. Give it a listen.

I hope you enjoyed listening to this interview. And if you don’t want to miss out on future interviews, please jump on over to the podcast page and click the ‘FOLLOW’ button.

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

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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, i.e., musicians, athletes, actors, etc.

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 (or HEAR) 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
Athletes: Shawn Johnson-East & Andrew East
Krista Angelucci pic 2
Recording Artist: Krista Angelucci
morgan-myles
Recording Artist: Morgan Myles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jesslee 1
Recording Artist: JessLee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN to the new podcast on Spotify and Soundcloud.

 

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spotify
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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.

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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.

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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?

[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.

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[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.

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[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!

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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.

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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?

[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.

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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?

[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.

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[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.

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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.

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[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.

 

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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!

 

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