Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

  1. Secret Church Interview with the Erwin Brothers, Part 2

    Posted on April 12th, 2014 by Jonathan Lenning

    Yesterday, we posted part 1 of an interview with the Erwin brothers about how the gospel affects their work as filmmakers. Today is part 2…

    Be sure you check out their upcoming movie, Mom’s Night Out. Also, we invite you to join us 6 days from now for a the Secret Church simulcast with David Platt as we dive into “The Cross and Everyday Life,” a topic that will cover the affect of the cross on both work and entertainment.

  2. Voskamp_Hudson

    Sophie Quote

    Ann Voskamp and Sophie Hudson recently sat down with Pastor David and his wife, Heather, to talk about a number of topics surrounding this year’s Secret Church topic, “The Cross and Everyday Life.”  Ann is the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and she blogs at “A Holy Experience.” Sophie is the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon and she blogs over at “BooMama.”

    Ann and Sophie each bring a unique perspective to this discussion in their respective roles as wife, mother, author, and blogger. Yesterday we posted our interview with Ann about Secret Church and how the gospel impacts everyday life. Today we put Sophie on the hot-seat.

    Sophie …

    SophieTell us a little about your involvement with Secret Church and how it has impacted you.

    Sophie:  Since we’re members at Brook Hills, I remember the first time David announced that we were going to do Secret Church. I tried to listen really carefully as he went over some of the details–it would help us identify with the persecuted church, it would be six hours of intensive Bible study, it would be on a Friday night–and because I am so deeply spiritual, my first reaction was, “Oh. Bless his heart. I just don’t know that people are going to show up for that.”

    Clearly I’ve been given the gift of prophecy.

    I ended up volunteering to help at either the second or third Secret Church, and I was blown away. For one thing I was so moved by the sight of all the college students who showed up at our church and gave up their Friday nights to study the Bible. But the biggest thing for me has been that when you get to cover that much scriptural ground in one sitting, it is utterly encouraging (and oh-so-humbling) to be reminded of the consistency of God’s character, the depth of His love, and the sufficiency of the cross. So, despite my ROCK SOLID initial reaction, now I totally get why people all over the world participate in Secret Church via simulcast. It’s an incredibly edifying and convicting and affirming six hours. There’s no agenda other than the faithful proclamation of what God reveals to us through His Word.

    And I also think that the later Secret Church gets, the funnier David gets. But that is just my personal observation.

    You’ve got a new book coming out next year … can you tell us a little about what you’re working on? 

    Sophie:  Oh, it’s pretty much exactly like Radical and Follow Me, except I added in an exegetical take on the book of Leviticus because I was feeling bored and needed a challenge.

    I kid.

    It’s actually going to be another book of Southern stories. For my last book (A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet), David planned a ten-week sermon series on it but called it off after the first week because he felt like it had more rich theological content than he could possibly cover. Actually, that didn’t happen at all–the book is mostly about God’s faithfulness to us through our families. This new one, which I think is going to be called Home Is Where My People Are, is a little more focused on friendship and how God faithfully puts the right people in our lives at the right times. It’s scheduled to be released in February of 2015, but that’s all dependent on whether or not I finish writing it. FINGERS CROSSED.

    Your focus on family fits with an issue we’ll cover in Secret Church 14–how husbands and wives treat one another. So how should the gospel inform these relationships? 

    Sophie:  So you know how you’ll be at church and you’ll see a couple in the congregation who have this amazing zeal for service and they talk about how, from the early days of their marriage, all they’ve wanted is to serve the Lord together and make His name known and leave a rich spiritual legacy for their kids? I love those couples. But that is not the story of my marriage.

    When David and I got married almost 17 years ago, we didn’t have the faintest idea about how the gospel should inform our relationship. I mean, we wanted to treat each other well and love each other well and all that, but in terms of the parallels between the gospel and marriage … I don’t think we’d have been able to articulate that, even after growing up in the church.

    But here’s why it’s so cool that God doesn’t leave us where He finds us. By His grace, He has shown both of us that the gospel is not just the foundation of our marriage; it is the purpose of our marriage. We die to ourselves and love each other and sacrifice for each other and lovingly confront each other and support each other, not so that we can be happy, but so that God can be glorified. That doesn’t mean that marriage is daily misery that we endure, because the kicker to this whole thing is that there is such joy and contentment in lovingly surrendering and submitting yourself to another person. Marriage has been one of the most sanctifying experiences of my life, no doubt about it, but by the same token it has been such a privilege to see the Lord do amazing things in the life and heart of my husband. I am unspeakably grateful for that.

    As for parenting: How much time do you have? Every moment of parenting parallels something in my relationship with God. I can’t think about how much David and I love our son without thinking of one of my favorite hymns: “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure; that He would give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.” For me, motherhood has exposed every insecurity I have, every tendency to compare and keep score and feel like all the other mamas have everything under control and I’m the only train wreck in the bunch. But what I’ve learned is that I don’t have to be a perfect mama with a perfect child in order to be in the center of God’s perfect will. Motherhood is messy and wonderful and difficult and glorious; I will never get over how the Lord teaches us as we teach the little ones He’s entrusted to us. Yes, it can be a hard road to travel sometimes, but let’s not miss that the road leads us to healing, redemptive places.

    We’re also going to be talking about sports, and it’s no secret that you’re a huge sports fan—Mississippi State to be exact. So what are the dangers and blessings of sports as you see it? 

    Sophie:  Well, I’ve always been very level-headed and even-keeled where sports are concerned.

    And now I’m just gonna sit here and wait for some lightning to strike me (!)

    Listen. I love me some sports. My daddy and I always went to Mississippi State games (football, baseball, basketball – you name it) when I was growing up, and even now that is my favorite thing to do as a family. Just this morning, in fact, I felt a little giddy when I realized that the SEC baseball tournament is just a little over a month away because our family just enjoys the fire out of it.

    Given all of that, I am all too aware that sports can take on a significance in my life that is neither merited nor healthy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stories and the games and the drama, especially living here in the heart of the SEC. So I am forever asking the Lord to help me keep that part of my heart and my life in check. It gets tricky with kids’ sports, too. As parents, we can take something that’s so good for our children–being on a team, sacrificing for teammates, learning to work with others–and taint that thing with our pride and our egos and our expectations.

    I have learned (and I am still learning) that there’s a big difference between enjoying something and elevating it to god-like status in my life. If sports are a hobby, that’s awesome. But if sports are an idol, that’s troublesome. Sometimes that means that I have to distance myself from the message boards, and I’ve pretty much quit listening to sports radio altogether. That’s not because those things are bad; that’s just because my preoccupation with those things can start to create a barrier in my relationship with the Lord and change my priorities in a way that’s not necessarily wise.

    All that being said, there can be so many blessings that come from sports. There are physical benefits from playing and participating, and sports are the source of so many of our favorite family memories. I just have to be careful to keep those things in perspective and remember that there is no place in Scripture where Jesus rang a cowbell and screamed, “Hail State.”

    As a wife and mother, why do you think this particular Secret Church topic is so crucial?

    Sophie:  It’s everything, isn’t it? I mean, I can have all the head knowledge in the world, I can quote Scripture and sing hymns and memorize the entire book of Psalms, but if I’m not lovingly putting the gospel into practice in my everyday life in terms of how I care for and respond to my family and co-workers and neighbors and people who don’t know Jesus, then some part of my so-called cross-centered life is out of line (I just re-read that last sentence and thought, Um, that’s pretty much the gist of 1 Corinthians 13, and really, Paul says it so much better). Sometimes I think I learn more about where I am in my walk with Christ when I’m standing in line for a car tag than when I’m spending the weekend at a women’s retreat, because the daily stuff is where I see the places in my head and my heart that aren’t fully surrendered (Can we please talk about the opportunities for sanctification that are available to us in the carpool line? Or at Chuck E. Cheese?). Our day-to-day routines are where the sacred and the ordinary intersect, so how we view the gospel absolutely affects how we walk it out in all the different areas of our lives.

    For more information or to register for Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” go here.

  3. Voskamp_Hudson

    Ann Voskamp and Sophie Hudson recently sat down with Pastor David and his wife, Heather, to talk about a number of topics surrounding this year’s Secret Church topic, “The Cross and Everyday Life.”  Ann is the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and she blogs at “A Holy Experience.” Sophie is the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon and she blogs over at “BooMama.”

    Ann and Sophie each bring a unique perspective to this discussion in their respective roles as wife, mother, author, and blogger. We decided to post their answers in two parts – Ann’s post is below and Sophie’s will appear tomorrow. In this first post, we asked Ann several questions about how the gospel impacts her everyday life.

    So Ann…

    What are you working on these days? (family, church, writing, etc.)

    Anna VoskampAnn:  There’s the raising and teaching of our 6 exuberant kids, including 4 teenagers, and then there’s the attempt to go deeper with the families in the small group that we host and lead. I’m also studying Scripture and writing the next book out of that time of studying. But you know, as our family has been reading and memorizing the book of John this year, I keep returning to John 6:29 (Amplified Bible): “Jesus replied, ‘This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].’” Jesus is saying that our realest work always is, no matter what we’re doing with our hands, to trust Him. Unless I choose again and again today to trust Jesus, what I am practicing is atheism, not faith. So no matter what the work is, the real work is to trust God and His unwavering, ultimate goodness and the complete and saving work of Christ on the cross. That’s the work everyday: I. Trust. You. Jesus.

    You’ve previously been involved with Secret Church through live-tweeting. What makes the topic “The Cross and Everyday Life” so important?

    Ann:  I will never forget the words David Platt preached the Sunday I was at Brook Hills, only a few weeks before Christmas. He said, “Your only hope for joy, your only hope for peace, your only hope for comfort, your only hope for strength and your only hope for love in this life … is found in the cross of Jesus Christ. Your only hope in this life is found in the brutal, bloody, humiliation of a naked man on a wooden post. My hope is that you go out of this building clinging to the cross of Christ.” And THAT is the crux of everything. Sometimes I wonder if we see the cross simply as our door into God’s presence instead of regarding it as our only air in God’s presence. We don’t get over the cross, but rather we spend a lifetime allowing God to get the cross into us. Christ said it on the cross: It is finished, and Christ finished it, but I am never finished with the cross. I need a cross-centered life if I am going to live the Christ-filled life. The cross is the sign of God’s lavish, unfathomable affection for us, and we need the cross daily because of these two realities: 1) How else can I remember that He loves me? 2) How else can I remember how to die daily? We need a place of execution in our lives if we’re ever to rightly execute a life of faith. Bottom line: If my life isn’t cross-centered, my life is off-centered, and the warping spin leaves me sick. My life needs centri-faith force and the centrality of the cross is the force that holds together my universe. Grace is my gravity and the Cross is my cosmos. If everything in my world is spinning out of control, is it because I’ve lost the centrality of the cross? The Cross isn’t just the kindling that ignites our Christian life … the cross is the very fuel of all of our life. If the the cross of Christ isn’t your everyday fuel, the fire you warm your heart around, then you grow cold. Your faith goes nowhere. So God never moves us beyond the cross; He moves more deeply into the cross, and then we are so moved by this grace that we move out into the world.

    In One Thousand Gifts you’ve written about being grateful for God’s everyday gifts. How do you see this idea overlapping with this year’s Secret Church theme? How does gratitude fit in with the gospel?

    Ann:  I read in Scripture that the gospel shapes us in two fundamental ways, much like what we see happening at the gathering of the Last Supper:

    1) The shape of the Christ-life is eucharistic — Jesus takes the bread and does what? He gives thanks, eucharisteo in Greek (the original biblical language). So the shape of the Christ-life is firstly eucharistic, full of gratitude for the incomprehensible grace of the constant goodness of God, thankfulness for the saving grace of Christ, endless gratefulness for the relentless love and companionship of Jesus and His tender sanctification of our souls. Because of Christ, the call on our life is nothing short of wholesale gratitude.

    2) We see how, at the Last Supper, the shape of the Christ-life is secondly cruciform. The shape of our lives should be cross-like, full of cross-like sacrifice. Jesus took that bread, gave thanks for it, and then broke it and gave it. How does our everyday life look like Christ did in that moment of breaking the bread, symbolic of His body, and of giving Himself away? How do we, on a daily basis, embody the cross, the sacrificial love that we’ve experienced, and then pass it on to a hurting world? If our lives don’t look eucharistic, full of gratitude, or cruciform, sacrificially shaped like the cross, then how will we bring the good news to the world?

    What do everyday routines and responsibilities look like for you as the wife of a farmer, a mom to six, a homeschooler, and a writer?

    Ann:  Gritty. Loud. A bit of a crucible. A gift. We have 6 kids, 8 to 18. All the kids work for 2-3 hours each morning in the barn doing barn chores, taking care of hundreds of sows and piglets. Then they come in for breakfast, then morning routines, which fold into math, Latin, grammar, and spelling. After lunch, we have read-alouds covering literature, history, science, Shakespeare, poetry, and then piano practices. I write in the margins, the fringe hours, early morning, late at night.

    TableBy far, the routine that most anchors our days and shapes us is that we eat around the table together three meals a day, and we never, ever leave the table without chewing The Real Bread. If you sit down to eat, you never leave the table without eating Words — you have time for Real Food. Because we just came to realize that the food served on plates … is actually dead food. The food we eat has to be kept in the fridge like a corpse, or it would rot. The food we serve on plates is dead food. But when we eat Scripture, we eat the only real food, for Christ is Living Bread. We are eating He who sustains all things, body and soul. When we eat His Words, we eat of the eternal Word. Deuteronomy 8:3 says, ” … man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Amplified Bible). The Word of God is what is living and active; it’s a Word that can revive the hungry, and when we eat the Book, the cells in the body, they rejuvenate, enlivened with the true strength. Eating Scripture three times a day as a family around the table … that’s the everyday routine, the one spiritual habit that has most changed us. A body, famished, needs to eat and there’s only one way to eat life. This was actually so paramount to us that we had a table built for our family (by the same carpenter who built the house I grew up in). The table was built out of barn beams and it has eight drawers around all around it, so each person has a drawer at the table with their Bible in it. So when we are done eating, each child opens his/her drawer and takes out real food and we read Scripture together around the table. Because really, to live Christ-centric is to live Word-Centric.

    –Stay tuned for tomorrow’s interview with Sophie Hudson. For more information or to register for Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” go here.

  4. Secret Church Interview with the Erwin Brothers, Part 1

    Posted on April 8th, 2014 by Jonathan Lenning

    Andy and Jon Erwin are followers of Christ. But they are also filmmakers. They made October Baby and are currently working on another feature-length film called Mom’s Night Out, in theaters this Mother’s Day weekend. In the short video below, they were gracious enough to tell us how the gospel led them to the entertainment industry and how it affects their work as filmmakers. Entertainment and work are two of the many topics that will be covered this Good Friday at Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life.” There’s still time to register and participate in the simulcast!

    Stay tuned in the coming days for more from the Erwin brothers on “The Cross and Everyday Life.”

  5. Some Questions to Ask Before Leaving a Church

    Posted on April 7th, 2014 by David Burnette

    Pastor David talks about when it’s appropriate to leave a church.

  6. Janet Parshall Interviews Pastor David

    Posted on April 2nd, 2014 by David Burnette

    In the Market wtih Janet Parshall

    We’ve mentioned before that Moody Radio will soon be airing a new broadcast featuring the teaching ministry of Pastor David called “Radical with David Platt.” The show is scheduled to begin on May 5th, 2014.

    The 15-minute audio clip below contains Janet Parshall’s interview with Pastor David concerning the sufficiency of God’s Word and the upcoming Secret Church simulcast. The interview appeared on Moody’s “In the Market with Janet Parshall” (April 1, 2014).

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    – For more information about Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” or to register for the upcoming simulcast on Good Friday, April 18th, go here.

  7. 3 Comments

    Suggested Resources on Family Worship from Matt Mason

    Posted on March 31st, 2014 by David Burnette

    Pages of a book

    In our recent interview with Matt Mason on family worship, we asked him for some resource recommendations. He gave us a boatload of good suggestions, so we decided to include those separately in the post below.

    Here are some books Matt recommends for you and your family along with some brief descriptions…

    Family Worship: In the Bible, in History & in Your Home (Donald Whitney). I brought it with me on a personal retreat several years ago, and God used it to awaken me to the biblical call and the beauty of family worship. I read it through many tears. A short, but potentially life-changing book.

    Once you’re convinced of the value of family worship, here are some resources we’ve found useful for family worship…

    • The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm).  If you have young children, this is a must have resource. Simple but gospel-rich storytelling. Great pictures.
    • The Jesus Storybook Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones).  Another must have for those with young children. Beautiful pictures and writing. Like Big Picture, the author connects each Bible story to the Bible’s central character and central message, Christ and His saving work.
    • Mighty Acts of God (Starr Meade).  Much like the previous, except that it gives more detail and tells more stories. It’s a good Bible to let your reading-age son/daughter take to bed and begin his/her personal times of reading Scripture.
    • Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing (Sally Lloyd-Jones).  I heard someone say that one of the great signs of maturity in faith is seen in one’s increasing ability to connect the gospel to everything in life. This book is a primer on seeing how the gospel relates to everyday life.
    • God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation (Starr Meade).  A study through the book of Galatians. Begins with a brief Bible reading (a verse or two) followed by a devotional unpacking of the significance of that verse or verses for our lives as people who love Jesus and want to keep the gospel central in our thinking and living. Readings take roughly 5-10 minutes.
    • Note to Self  (Thorn). Gospel meditations based on the reading of a verse or brief passage of Scripture. Good for older kids. The devotional readings take roughly 5-10 minutes.
    • Grandpa’s Box: Retelling the Biblical Story of Redemption (Starr Meade).  Meade uses a story of children visiting their grandpa as the backdrop for teaching the one big story of the Bible. In one biblical episode after another, the Grandpa shows the unfolding progression of how the serpent-conquering Seed of the woman (prophesied about in Gen 3:15) peeks through throughout the OT and then appears in living color in the NT. Readings can take (if memory serves) 10+ minutes, so it’s probably better for older kids (maybe 8 and up).
    • Big Truths for Young Hearts (Bruce Ware).  Devotional chapters written to unpack major doctrines (God as Creator, etc.). Can be doctrinally heavy (in a good way). For older kids. Readings take about 15 minutes.

    Some resources for bedtime reading, road trips, etc….

    • Dangerous Journey (Hunkin/Bunyan). An easy to read (and with pictures!) version of Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. Younger ones will have a hard time comprehending it all and (warning) some pictures are gruesome.
    • Keeping Holiday (Starr Meade).  A Christian allegory akin to Pilgrim’s Progress. Excellent portrayals of how temptation works and many other biblical motifs. Great refrains about “the Finder.” Older kids (maybe from 8+) will get the most out of it.

    Continue Reading

  8. A Conversation with Jennie Allen

    Posted on March 28th, 2014 by admin

    jennie-allen-sitting-5233443dc8b6dIn the lead-up to Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” we’ve been interviewing a number of people about how the gospel impacts their everyday routines and responsibilities. Jennie Allen was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on this topic over on the Secret Church blog, particularly as it relates to the everyday life of women. Jennie is a wife, mother, bloggerauthor, and leader of other women. We hope you’ll be encouraged as you learn more about her life and ministry…

    Jennie, tell us a little about yourself…

    I love Jesus and all kinds of tacos (I live in Austin) and my tribe of wild banshees that includes an incredible husband and 4 kids ages 6-14.  I deeply believe in this generation of women and desire to equip and lead them closer to Jesus through teaching and writing and I just launched the IF:Gathering in that effort as well.

    Can you tell us what the IF:Gathering is all about?

    We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purposes. We just launched our first major gathering in February and virtually gathered around 40,000 women from around the world. What really excites me though is nearly 15,000 of them are involved in IF:Equip where we are daily reading the Word together and involved and we are tangibly loving the world alongside organizations like Food for the Hungry to gather and equip women around the world.

    In your latest book, Restless, you talk about the fact that even though you loved your calling as a mother, you struggled with a sense of purpose…I’m guessing you’ve gotten feedback that this is common for women who desire to follow Christ? Why do you think is so common for women in particular?

    We are in the midst of a generation laced with social and gender pressures.  The weight of “the rules” for women in the church, home, and workplace are so prevalent, I think we forget how all of the different pressures are carried into nearly every choice we make, nearly ever dream we dream.

    If we are all obeying God with our unique gifts and visions then our dreaming, obedience, and our roles should look beautifully diverse. We each look unique on the outside, and I assure you we are even more intricately designed on the inside – our personalities, our gifts, our passions, our visions and everything that we’re suppose to do while we’re here.

    Judgment and boxes aren’t only built in perfect houses in the suburbs. Even the dreaming, radical, passionate ones among us build our tribes and judge those that don’t dream big enough or serve radically enough. One of my friends at the University of Texas said that in her Christian community on campus friends feel ashamed if they spend their summer doing an internship in Dallas instead of serving in Africa. In our handbook, dreams must include radical sacrifice. Where God is clear let’s obey, and where there is freedom, let’s embrace that freedom and issue it to others.

    When you talk about dreaming big and the need to risk comfort for God’s glory in light of the urgency of our task…how does this fit with the everyday routines that women face?

    We brush against people in checkout lines who will live forever in heaven or hell, and we contain God. Try to tell me your life is insignificant. Try to tell me that anything about this life is insignificant.

    Your view of your life may be small, but nothing about your life is small. We are souls undone and rebuilt by the Spirit of God. As God surveys this earth, He sees light and darkness. And He sees his light, His Spirit in us, wandering through neighborhoods, offices, schools, Walmarts, playgrounds, and eating breadsticks at Olive Garden.

    We are created in the image of God and the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us! How could that ever be small? Why would we ever waste time comparing when our work is so important and our time so short?

    There are no average, small dreams, and no average people. There are no meaningless moments as we go to the gym or cook macaroni or handle shipping orders gone wrong or nurse our babies. If we were sitting across from each other and you pleaded with me—begged me—to believe you were average, your life was boring, that there was nothing significant to anything you were doing, you could not convince me. You could not. You just may not realize it. The “more” is already built in your everyday life. You just have to see it.

    Our upcoming Secret Church theme is “The Cross and Everyday Life”….could you talk a little about how the gospel shapes all of these things…including your everyday responsibilities?

    “ … Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18) This takes intention and thought and dreaming and community as we wrestle through how this plays out for each of our lives.

    Surrendering to this daily is the tricky part. Surrendering is the laying down of our lives, control, and plans in order to follow Jesus. I am so passionate about this because for so long I missed this… or at least I missed really living this kind of risk-it-all, die-to-self, die-to-control part of following Christ. It turns out that in God’s beautiful irony the kind of life we want so badly lays on the other side of death.

    The scariest and safest thing I have ever done is to finally and completely surrender my rights—to hand complete control of my life and my dreams over to my God.

    How it practically plays out involves 1,000 little deaths—from forgiving friends who’ve wronged us, to walking through a cancer diagnosis, to taking initiative for orphans, to folding dozens of socks every week, to fighting those dark sins that we just can’t seem to beat.

    For me, the most common form of surrender is in letting go of playing it safe and starting to risk comfort for God’s glory and the good of others.

    How do you balance marriage and motherhood and all of the other callings that are in your life?

    My main earthly voice in my life is my husband. I often am asked, as a wife and mother and pastor’s wife and writer…how do you do it all?  I have a lot of help – sitters and help with cleaning and administrative help. But the most obvious answer is that without the blessing, leadership, and sacrifice of my husband, I would be miserable and unable to do any of it. We have fought our way to a good marriage, it has not been easy. But as passionate and strong and independent as I can be, I have chosen to come under his leadership, even if that means at times I feel held back. But honestly- I am blessed with a man whose identity is secure in Christ and he has unleashed me again and again to do the things God has called us to do here. I am so thankful.

    – Go here to register or to find out more information about our upcoming Secret Church 14 simulcast on “The Cross and Everyday Life” on April 18th.

  9. A Conversation with Matt Mason on Family Worship

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 by David Burnette


    Maybe you know that a consistent time of family worship would be a great blessing to the spiritual growth of your family. However, you often struggle with what this should look like on a day-to-day basis. I’ll bet you’ve asked questions like: How long should it be? What should we do once we’re gathered together? Is this only for older kids?

    How do I even get started?

    Matt Mason

    These are some of the questions I posed to Matt Mason, an elder and worship pastor at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Matt has taught on the topic of family worship and has practiced it in his own home. As a result, he and his wife have seen spiritual fruit in the lives of their three children, now ages 15, 12, and 9. Because family worship is such a struggle for many Christians, I asked Matt some questions that will hopefully encourage you to move forward in putting this into practice in your own family. Family worship is one of the topics to be covered in the upcoming Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life.”

    So, Matt…

    1. To begin with the most basic question, what is your goal in family worship?

    Matt: At the most basic level, the goal is to hear from God (Scripture) and talk to God (prayer).

    2. If we showed up at the Mason home for family worship, what would we see?

    Matt: Everybody comes into the living room. Usually someone is asking where his/her Bible went. Eventually we all sit down. We might sing at first or have some kind of Bible trivia to warm us up. Once we’re all in place, we read some Scripture (one chapter from the Old Testament and one from the New). Often we’ll split up the reading of the passage so everyone is involved, and I stop us from time to time to add a brief comment or ask a question here and there. Then we’ll pray together. Sometimes we pray the Psalm of the given day (e.g. March 11 = Psalm 11)—each one of us taking one verse and praying from that verse (adapted this approach from Donald Whitney’s excellent resources on praying the Psalms). Other times we pass out missionary info cards we have on the fridge and pray for them, along with friends and family.

    3. How often does your family gather? How long do you gather?

    Matt: Most every night for about 15-25 minutes. We try to have some time in the morning when we know the night is not going to work.

    4. Do you use Scripture, catechisms, or other resources? What about music?

    Matt: Yes, we’ve used various resources designed for helping families get a better grasp of biblical truth. There’s so much good stuff! We’ve spent some time memorizing portions of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, used devotionals of all kinds, various children’s Bibles, read and talked through a kid-friendly version of Pilgrim’s Progress. We use music from time to time, most consistently along with Advent calendar in December.

    5. How does family worship look different now that your kids are older?

    Matt: When the kids were really little, we’d take 10 minutes max, and we’d let them color or play with legos while we read to them. We take more time, dig a little deeper, and call for more focus and participation.

    6. For someone who’s never tried family worship, how would you encourage them to get started?

    Matt: Start something simple and start tonight. Find a way to establish regular times for hearing God’s Word and praying together as a family. Don’t confuse a lack of excitement with this being a waste of time. God works through His Word and He answers prayer! Someone once defined a classic as a “book that everyone wants to have read, but no one actually reads.” I think family worship is something Christian families want to say we did back when our kids were in the house. The question is will we carve out time to do it tonight? Sow the Word. Teach them to pray. Don’t be overly formal. Have fun!

    To learn more about family worship as well as a number of other topics related to the cross and everyday living, join us at Secret Church 14. To register or find out more about Secret Church, go to

  10. The Gospel and the NFL According to Sam Acho

    Posted on March 19th, 2014 by Jonathan Lenning

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    Sam Acho plays in the NFL as outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals. But Sam is not primarily a football player. He is a committed Christian who is passionate about spreading the gospel to people both near and far.

    Recently, we were able to have a conversation with Acho over the phone in which he told us how the cross affects his daily life in a context that doesn’t always naturally give itself to gospel-centeredness. In the 35 minute audio clip below, you can hear him talk about overseas ministry in Nigeria, faithful Christian living, sharing the gospel with those around him, idolatry, and spiritual discipline, all from his perspective as follower of Jesus… who just so happens to play professional football.

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    Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” will cover many of the topics Sam Acho talks about, from sports and idolatry to disciple-making and spiritual disciplines. You can find out more information and register at

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