Tag Archives: interviews

Q & A with Logan Wolfram

FC: Your life has taken you from wife, to mom, to blogger, to CEO and Host of Allume and now to author! What has that journey been like for you?

LW: Um….pretty nuts actually. If ever there was a person qualified to write about following God curiously into the unknown it’s me! And funny enough I’ve felt completely UNqualified for pretty much all of the tasks…but God, He makes his own set of qualifications for where He takes us and the first one is just “Will you follow me into the unknown?”

But also, to really answer the question practically, it has taken a lot of shifting within my family and friends to accommodate the changes in pace. I’ve had to ask for lots of grace as I learn to balance new responsibilities that pile on top of the ones that were already there. Some days it means being ok with chicken nuggets for dinner and falling asleep putting my kids to bed at 8pm too. Honestly I’m just trying to steward the moments and the opportunities well so that when I stand before the Lord in the end he says “well done my good and faithful servant.”

FC: Curious Faith. That is a curious title! How did you land on that for a title and theme of your book?

LW: I talk about it in the book, but mostly the thought of curiosity as a theme of faith occurred to me when I was watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory one night with my kids. I was looking at these kids in Wonka’s factory and the thought struck me that in these 5 children I saw pieces of myself. Throughout the movie they were disqualified from the tour because of pride, selfishness, gluttony, impatience, etc, and the kid who won the whole kit and caboodle in the end was the one who was humble and curious and trusted the vision of the creator. Once that thought occurred to me, I realized that it totally applies to the Kingdom of God. God calls us to have a childlike faith, and by my estimation, that lands us squarely in the middle of a curious one too!

FC: Writing a book like this often causes the author to deeply examine their own faith/life. What surprising thing(s) did you learn about yourself while writing Curious Faith?

LW: Oh mercy! SO MUCH! Writing a book is so hard because I think throughout it’s such a clarifying process too. Not only do I have to wrestle with the Lord on things in my own life, but I have to do it to such a point that I can turn around and sufficiently explain the process and lessons to others. I have to REALLY REALLY learn what I’m talking about, otherwise I just won’t make sense. And also, after writing the book when life just started to get overwhelming, I’ll be honest and say pieces of me started to lose my own curious faith (which feels practically blasphemous to say that I lost my own curiosity after writing about it), but I went back and reread my own book and God used the testimony of my own words to reignite my own faith. It’s sort of like you write all this and then the enemy comes after you and the Lord allows it as if to say, “Did you mean what you wrote?” So the rubber of faith means the road of living and in the end what I can tell you is that “YES…I meant every word and still do!”

FC: You say you want to help readers to “rescue your now”? What exactly does that look like?

LW: It means that there is manna for today. There are blessings of God to uncover NOW. That even in the midst of not knowing where we are going, we can still be curious about what God has for us right where we are. In the book I wrote it this way and I think it sums it up, but “The certainty of our faith isn’t found in where we are going, but in the ONE we are following.” When you know WHOM you’re following, your now…your today…and even your unknown tomorrow can be rescued and given new hope!

FC: If there is one idea you really want your readers to grasp from reading Curious Faith, what would that be?

LW: Ack…that’s so hard! I wrote nearly 250 pages and I hope lots of it sticks! But the biggest thing I hope is that people fall in love with the Lord all over again. I pray that they remember who He is to us and who we are to Him…because it’s from that place of security that we walk in the freedom of a curious and open-handed life. When we remember that, and we apply it throughout different circumstances, we really do rediscover hope and possibility.

FC: Speaking of reading, we would love to know what you are reading right now?

LW: Right now I’m actually doing the Open Your Bible study from my sweet friends Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams of SheReadsTruth and I love it! Also as an author I get lots of books in the mail so I have a big stack that I’m desperate to get through faster than I have time to do! I got a book in the mail recently called Praying Upside Down by Kelly O’Dell Stanley and honestly I have a huge heart for prayer and was intrigued by it. It’s really good so far!

FC: So…..Curious Faith is releasing on 3/1. Do you have any plans after that? Another book in the making? Big family vacation?

LW: Oh heavens I actually hope to sit still for a little bit. I’ll be returning from CHINA on the night of March 1 because my little brother is getting married on Feb 27th! He has been living and working in China for a few years and is marrying a precious gal who is Chinese, so we are loading up the whole crew and heading to China. I’m contracted for another book but plan to take a good while before diving into that. I always want to write out of the overflow, so I plan to be intentional about taking time to fill back up after all this book fun too!

FC: We are so excited about Curious Faith and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today. In closing, we’d love to ask how we can be praying for you and your family?

LW: You know, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the enemy doesn’t like when people follow hard after God. And if you’re following hard and being super public and inviting others to do the same, it just about puts a target on your back. When I feel the fiery arrows I figure I must be doing something right for the Kingdom of Heaven, but it can sure make the day to day messier and harder. And my family has seen that increase significantly since I started writing this book. And the closer it has gotten to launching, the more complicated things all around us have gotten too. Mostly I’d love to ask you to pray that our faith would continue to increase, that our family would grow stronger through the things the Lord asks us to walk into together, and that Jesus would be magnified even in our messy moments! And for stewardship of this all. It is my heart’s desire that I steward this opportunity in such a way that I honor the Lord and that the Kingdom expands because of my obedience in doing the small part God is asking me to do.

Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

We’re all born driven to explore, marvel, and experience the adventure of life. But as responsibilities pile up, we slowly exchange that unbridled curiosity for a sense of control and routine. Wolfram shows you how to rescue your now by exploring what is possible with a God who is unlimited, unpredictable, and ever-loving!

Family Christian is very excited about Logan’s new book.  We had the opportunity to catch up with Logan and get this little video to share with you.

Logan Wolfram would give you full access to her pantry if you lived next door. She is a plate-juggling mom and interior decorator turned writer, speaker, and host of the Allume Conference. She is a passionate leader who desires to see women live fully in Christ.

We first heard of Logan as a blogger.  She had a great blog Curious Faith by Logan Wolframwhich eventually led to her starting a Christian blogging conference called Allume.  It has been a joy to watch her journey from blogger to speaker to author.  She has an authentic voice and when you meet her, it is like having coffee with your best friend.

We are proud to be selling Curious Faith and excited to give you chance to win a copy!  We are giving away 2 copies of her book Curious Faith and 2 t-shirts!  Each winner will win 1 book and 1 shirt (randomly selected size).

Enter below for your chance to win.

Q&A with Becky Thompson

We had the awesome pleasure of interviewing Becky Thompson, author of the upcoming book,Hope Unfolding Hope Unfolding. Below she talks about her initial success as a blogger, dealing with loneliness as a mother, and the book writing process.

1. Becky, your hugely successful blog, Scissortail SILK, began as a fashion blog. How did it transform into a place to share your heart with other young mothers?

I began my blog, Scissortail SILK, because a boutique owner asked if I was fashion blogger. It’s an interesting story that I actually share in Hope Unfolding, but my intentions were to simply post fun outfits and glimpses into my life. As I began to write, I quickly realized that I didn’t just want to tell women how to feel good by wearing certain clothes. I wanted each reader to know that her worth is found in Jesus. I wanted her to be confident of God’s love for her. I suppose the most authentic story we have to tell is the one that always rises to the top. For me, encouraging other women and reminding them of God’s love is the truest message I have to share.

2. Your blog receives more than a million page views each month. In the beginning, did the overwhelming response from women surprise you?

Six months after I first began the blog I wrote a post late one night about the importance of remembering to be a wife after becoming a momma. When I woke up the next morning, I was shocked by the response. The post was shared over 700,000 times, and my readership grew from one thousand monthly page visitors to one million monthly page visitors. In the months following, I received thousands of messages from women across the world who had been encouraged by what they had read. It was a lot to process as these women trusted me with their stories and shared their hearts with me. But I knew that if I always pointed them back to Jesus, if I always reminded them of God’s goodness and His grace, I would always have the answer that they needed to hear the most.

3. For those of us who aren’t in the daily trenches of motherhood, what are some of the greatest unexpressed needs among mothers today?

More than anything, I think moms need to know that they are not alone. They need support, but they also need to feel seen in the stories of their own lives. Beyond this, they need to know that their best is good enough and that God doesn’t expect perfection from them.

4. Loneliness is one of the main topics discussed in Hope Unfolding. With women connecting online in ways previous generations were never able to, what role do you think social media has played in either increasing or decreasing isolation for young mothers?

I think that social media has created a way for mothers to be connected unlike any other generation before us. But while we live so much of our lives online, with access to millions of other moms, I don’t think that there has ever been a time when mothers have felt more alone. I fear we lack authentic relationships and community as we exchange them for digital friendships. We know facts about one another, which makes us feel like we are known, but we don’t get to connect deeply by sharing the realest places of our hearts. This is why I am so passionate about the online community of Scissortail SILK. As mothers across the world reach out for friendship and support from other moms, it is my hope that Scissortail SILK exists as a grace-filled place where women can encourage one another and say, “You’re not alone. You’re welcome here. I have been there too! Let’s talk about what really matters.”

5. The notion of grace seems to saturate many of today’s Christian messages. Why is a true understanding of grace so important to a mother’s emotional and spiritual well-being?

Mom-guilt is a real thing. We are constantly replaying the moments in our day where we feel like we have been less than perfect. We wonder if we should have handled certain things differently. We fear we are ruining our children with our own inadequacies. The truth is none of us are perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and His grace. He is forever filling in all of our gaps and the places where we come up short. And this includes our mothering. When we realize that it is okay to not be perfect, we find freedom from our own self-imposed expectations, and this brings a new sense of hope to a woman’s heart.

6. What kind of response have you had from your readers as you move from the world of blogging into the publishing arena?

I truly think of my readers as my friends, and as I have shared news with them about different parts of the publishing process, we have all been excited together. Many of my readers have said that they are excited to share this book with other moms not just because they are excited about the words inside, but because they feel as though they are offering other women an opportunity to join us in the adventure of grace-filled motherhood! We are looking forward to sharing our community in book form!

7. What surprised you most about writing this book? What did God reveal to you during this experience?

As I was writing Hope Unfolding, I considered how women outside of motherhood would also relate to many of the grace-filled truths found within the text. The truth is the issues that we face as mothers aren’t just as a result of having children. They are often lies that we have believed or fears that have taunted us long before motherhood held a magnifying glass over them. The truth is we all need to find grace for who we are and hope in Jesus. That is the promise of Hope Unfolding. It could be for anyone.

8. What is your greatest hope for those who will read Hope Unfolding?

More than anything, I want those who read Hope Unfolding to encounter Jesus. I want them to find confidence in the truth that He loves them, is continuously with them, and wants them to live in freedom. I want them to experience the promises of God’s love, and as they tune their hearts to His voice, I hope that they discover the one true Hope who will sustain their hearts.

Learn more about Hope Unfolding on our website.

Interview with Alex Kendrick & Stephen Kendrick

Below is an interview with Stephen and Alex Kendrick regarding their recent book, The Battle Plan for Prayer, which was written as a supplement to the hit movie, War Room.

What is the intent of the new book?

The Battle Plan for Prayer is meant to inspire, engage, and call the reader to an active, strategic, and passionate prayer life. We urgently need the church to pray in unity in these crucial days. (Alex)

To inspire people with the importance of being devoted to prayer, equip them with Biblically training to help them pray more faithfully and effectively, and call them to unite with other believers and ask God to move mightily in our generations and bring healing to our families, churches, and nation. (Stephen)

What is the single most important reason to have a prayer strategy?

The book of James tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”. It’s our daily connection and communication with Almighty God. We would say that it’s a lifeline to the Father in our spiritual life.

You can’t hit what you are not aiming at! When we pray Biblically, strategically, and specifically, we position ourselves to maximize the impact of our praying and to more readily see God glorified through the answers. (Stephen)

How does the book teach preparing a prayer battle plan?

The book will walk the reader through “boot camp” for an understanding of what prayer is, and how we are meant to use it. Then, we teach applications of biblical prayer with a focus on praying strategically in our various areas of life. In this manner, we learn to “fight” in prayer. (Alex)

We inspire people with the stories and scriptures of answered prayer, train them in the fundamental locks and keys of effective prayer, then we give them 6 different tools they can use to help them pray. (Stephen)

What scripture was the catalyst for the project?

In Matthew 6:6, Jesus teaches us to go into our inner room and to pray to our Father in secret. Then, God rewards what is done in secret. So He desires for us to draw closer to Him in our secret place, and not just when people are watching us. (Alex)

Matthew 6:6, James 5:16, Colossians 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:1-5 (Stephen)

How has creating War Room the movie and the book projects impacted your prayer life?

The more we study prayer, the more we are driven to make it a larger part of our life. It’s meant to go along with the Word of God in maturing us in our faith and making us bold in our calling. Both Stephen and myself have increased our time with the Lord in prayer. We’re also helping our families to do the same thing. We want to be warriors ready for His orders, not lukewarm believers that spend most of our time on the bench. (Alex)

I have learned much more about prayer and have truly been inspired and challenged working on this movie and book. It has caused me to pray more joyfully, specifically, and with a greater faith – trusting that my Heavenly Father will answer in His timing.

We serve a mighty God who answers prayer. He is not unaware, unable, uncaring, unwilling, or unlikely to answer the prayers of His children.

Writing The Battle Plan for Prayer has caused me to pray with greater freedom and confidence in the Lord.

Ephesians 3:12 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (NIV) (Stephen)

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Q&A with Steven Furtick

In our interview with Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina, we talked about his upcoming book (Un)Qualified—asking why he chose to write on this topic now and how it is possible that he feels unqualified with the success he has had.

(Un)Qualified

1. You lead one of the country’s fastest growing churches with more than 20,000 attendees and you’ve now written your fourth book. Why are you addressing the topic of feeling unqualified now?

I’m writing on this now because it doesn’t matter if you’re preaching to a group of 10 sweaty middle schoolers at a youth group lock-in or if you’re preaching to an arena of people at a church leadership conference – the feeling of being unqualified and inadequate is something you can’t ever really outrun. At one point or another, we all feel ridiculously unqualified for what God has called us to do. That‘s okay. Actually, to be used by God, it’s essential. God loves to work with unqualified people.

2. Why is it that we often misunderstand what it means to be qualified?

I think it goes back to our earliest form of qualification – grade school. Pass, fail. A-plus, C-minus, F. These letters mean something to us. They were our first measurement of success, and this whole business of judging and assessing and qualifying is deeply ingrained in our culture and psyche. We constantly analyze and summarize each other. We develop our own secret, subjective ways of determining whether people measure up, and we do the same to ourselves. The problem is we will never be perfect enough or fail proof enough to be at peace with ourselves on this basis of qualification alone.

3. You preach every week in front of large crowds, how is it possible that you question your ability to fulfill your calling?

I question it because I know me. I think we all secretly fight feelings of inadequacy, insufficiency, and incompetence. We fear we are not enough – whatever that means in our particular situations. I heard once that most people, particularly men, go through life wondering how long it will be before everyone realizes they’re a fraud. Not in the sense that they’re insincere, but just that they have no idea what they’re doing. I relate to that more than I can explain.

4. You make the statement,  “God can’t bless who you pretend to be.” What do you mean by that?

It was a thought that hit me while I was preparing a series of sermons on Jacob. I mean, Jacob was a con, a liar and a manipulator – you know, the model citizen for Sunday school stories – and yet God chose him to be one of the pillars of our faith and one of the fathers of the nation of Israel. He was simultaneously one of the most important figures in scripture and one of the most screwed up.

I was reading the scene in the Bible where Jacob dressed up like his brother Esau to get blessed by his father Isaac. And it worked. Kind of. He spent the next twenty-one years on the run – from his family, his homeland, and ultimately, himself.

It wasn’t until Jacob admitted his true identity while wrestling at the Jabbok that God was able to bless Jacob the way he wanted to. And that’s when God changed his name, on the basis of his true identity, not his persona or construct.

And as I’m sitting there studying this, I realized that we’re all like Jacob. We find ourselves pretending to be someone we’re not. We’re thinking if we manipulate our image just right, it will bring the accomplishments or acceptance we’re so desperate to receive. We think our weaknesses are the problem and faking it till we make it is the answer. But God sees it so differently. He longs to bless us. The real us, with all our ups and downs. The version of us that limps and loses, but refuses to lie about it. Once we come to him in that way, His truth begins to set us free to become who we really are.

5. You ask readers to fill in the blank to the statement “I am ­____. What word or phrase do you use to fill in that blank and why?

Oh man. It depends on the day or even the minute, honestly. I know the answer I’m supposed to say is “I am chosen” or “I am loved” or something super pastoral, but the reality is I’m schizophrenic when it comes to the word I fill in the blank with. The words I find myself saying cover the whole spectrum too: I am unqualified. I am stupid. I am strong. I am driven. Screwed up. Loyal. Stuck. Hurting. Overwhelmed. Blessed. Capable. Disappointed. Hopeful. Jaded. Content. So many of my words circle around my weaknesses, but at the same time, I know God has equipped me, and remembering that helps shift my thinking. Making that choice, moment to moment, is what the book is all about!

6. What is your recommendation for someone who is struggling to come to terms with his or her weaknesses and ability to change?

The more I study the Bible the more convinced I am that we need a fuller understanding – not just of God – but of ourselves. And we need to give less weight to our opinion of our weaknesses and problems. Don’t give up. Keep showing up. I truly believe the key to change isn’t always doing something new, but often in doing the right things over and over again. Change isn’t something that happens overnight. There are the exceptions, sure. But for the rest of us, change is a long, messy process. But if we don’t show up every day, and decide that today is going to build on the success we had yesterday, and so on, then our change will never last. And at the same time, when it comes to maturing us, God has His own timetable, and the Christian walk isn’t really about a finish line. Faith can’t be reduced to a goal or an achievement. It‘s an ongoing relationship with Jesus. It‘s a progression of growing and changing, of embracing and replacing, of listening to God‘s voice and living out who he says we are. It‘s a process, and it will last the rest of our lives.

7. What patterns do you see in the Bible of God using those who don’t outwardly appear to be qualified for what he has asked them to do?

Well, just think about how many of our Bible heroes were tortured souls with marked pasts that would label them unqualified by our standards. You’ve probably heard a version of this before: Noah was a drunk. Moses was a coward and a murderer. David was an adulterer. Paul was chief proponent in the killing of many Christians. Yet, these are some of the men God used. Don’t even get me started on Rahab!

Look, God has a habit of picking people who have been passed over. It’s just proof that God’s qualification system is totally different than ours. The very people we’re so quick to discount and disqualify are often the earthen vessels in whom God pours the greatest measure of His glory.

You can order your copy of (Un)Qualified from Family Christian today!

Interview with Priscilla Shirer

Check out our interview with Priscilla Shirer below—where we talk about her role in the hit movie, War Room, as well as her new book and supplement to the movie, Fervent.

Tell us about the character you play in WAR ROOM.

In WAR ROOM, I get the privilege of playing a woman named Elizabeth Jordan. Elizabeth is a wife and a mom who is really struggling when you meet her in the movie. She’s become so good at putting on a polished professional veneer that you can’t tell just by looking at her but underneath there are a lot of huge cracks. The main one is that her marriage and family are falling apart. This film is about an older, wiser woman who helps Elizabeth recognize the power of prayer to put her family back together again.

How do you hope audiences can relate and respond to the film?

I know that audiences, particularly women, are going to relate to Elizabeth Jordan. So many of us have her story–when we’re out in public, we present a polished, pristine image when really we are hurting or suffocating underneath a mound of difficult circumstances that no one else knows. Elizabeth is just trying to keep it all together, and it takes someone else–Ms. Clara in the story—to be diligent enough and patient enough to break past her external veneer and get to the heart of what’s really happening.

I think women especially are going to walk out of the theater not only having seen a beautifully crafted film, but they’re also going to be inspired and challenged in their prayer lives. They are going to be reminded that prayer works, and can change even the most difficult circumstances. I’m hoping that they’re going to want to incorporate it more fully into their own personal lives and in the lives of their families. That’s the reason why I wanted to do this film. I’m so glad the Kendrick brothers focused this movie on prayer and that they asked me to be a part of it. After their other films concentrated on a variety of different yet equally critical topics it just seems fitting that this one would focus on calling the church to utilize the most powerful weapon it has been given to fight against the enemy.

What was it like working with the Kendrick brothers?

They are hysterical. They were always pulling pranks, always doing something to make everyone lighthearted and engaged. They are masters at building a sense of community among the cast and crew and creating a culture of friendship on the set. And, they prioritize the Lord in every aspect of filming. Each day on set began with devotions and often, they would stop filming to pray for specific portions of the process.

It has really been special for my husband and me to be in relationship with them. We’ve learned a lot and our ministry and marriage has been strengthened because of their wise counsel. They are men of such integrity, and character, and while they are intent on making entertaining films their primary goal is to make God famous.

Your new book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious; Specific and Strategic Prayer is a companion to the WAR ROOM movie. Tell us more about the book and what do you hope women will get from reading it?

Fervent is a hands-on, knees-down, never-give-up action guide to practical, purposeful praying. It brings the message of WAR ROOM to YOUR room and life.

Each chapter exposes the enemy’s cruel, cunning intentions against you in all kinds of key areas like these, then coaches you in crafting your own personalized prayer strategies on included tear-out sheets—ready to post them and pray them, anywhere you can put them into active deployment against the enemy.

What is prayer for you?

Prayer is a conversation with God. I use the word conversation very specifically because prayer was never meant to be a one-way street. It is talking to God, yes, and knowing that He hears, but it is also leaving room in your life to hear and see God’s response. He wants to be involved in the circumstances of our lives, so when we pray, we have to keep our eyes open to see how He’s going to answer and what He’s going to do in our experience in response to our prayer. Prayer, is how we see heaven invade earth. It’s what opens up the floodgates for God to come down and be involved in our every day circumstances.

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Exclusive Interview with Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson

Family Christian: We are excited about your new book “If”. The idea of using your worries as a springboard to a new future is an intriguing idea.   What was your inspiration for this book?

Mark: Everybody has a favorite chapter in the Bible. Romans 8 is mine. It’s got everything! It starts with no condemnation in Christ. It ends with nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. And right in the middle it says all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose! But the key verse to me is Romans 8:31—If God is for us, who can be against us. That’s the game-changer! There are 1,784 ifs in the Bible, but that’s my favorite.

Family Christian: “If” is filled with great content, but if you could condense this down to one primary thought for readers to take away what would it be?

Mark: God is for you every day, in every way!

Family Christian: Same question Mark, but this time for Pastors. What do you hope Pastors, or those serving in ministry will take away from “If”?

 Mark: Pastors set the tone, set the standard. When you create a culture where people actually believe that God is for them, the church turns into a faith-filled atmosphere where anything can happen!

Family Christian: Speaking of pastors, this is Clergy Appreciation Month. Do you have a suggestion for how lay people can show appreciation for their pastors/ministry leaders?

Mark: I love gift cards! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Family Christian: Could you share with us one encouraging verses for Pastors to focus on during Clergy Appreciation month?

Mark: Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Emphasis on I and my. It’s His church, not ours. And if we can stay out of the way of what God wants to do, some amazing things can happen! We say it this way at NCC: if you stay humble and stay hungry, there is nothing God cannot do in you or through you.

Family Christian: We know you are a talented author, so we have to ask…what are YOU reading right now?

Mark: I had a little sabbatical this summer, first one in nineteen years of pastoring. So I had the chance to do lots of reading! I love biographies—helps me put my story in perspective. So I read biographies on George Washington, the Wright Brothers, and Andrew Jackson to name a few. I’m also at a place where I’m really trying to manage priorities and establish boundaries that are healthy and holy. I loved Essentialism by Greg McKeown and the classic book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries.

Family Christian: Finally, we’d love to know how we can be praying for you and your family Mark.

Mark: I have the joy and privilege of pastoring a church in the nation’s capital. Frankly, we’re praying for revival to start here. Why not? As we head into a presidential election year, I know all eyes will be on DC. I also know that our hope is not in the government, but in the King of Kings.

"If" by Mark Batterson

Order your copy of “If” today or pick this title up in your local Family Christian store.   You may visit our website to find other books by Mark Batterson as well.

Interview with Matthew West

Matthew West is releasing a new album called Live Forever.  We had the honor of interviewing Matthew.

Family Christian:  What was your main goal as you were making this album, Live Forever? Take us through a little bit of the process.

Matthew West:  Six years ago I had the idea to write some songs inspired by peoples’ true stories and see what God might do with it. Six years, 40,000 stories and now 3 records later, I’m blown away by what an amazing experience this has been! Live Forever is my third project inspired by the testimonies that people have sent to me. In the last couple records, I wrote songs that covered a number of different types of chapters that many of us have in our stories. This record looks forward at the chapters of our stories that we are writing write now, and the chapters that are still to come.

Each song on the record is inspired by someone’s true story. So these songs mean a lot to me, because when I sing them, I’m thinking of that one person who shared their testimony and I’m amazed by how God can use all of our stories if we will choose to let him.

Family Christian:   How do you think your latest release, Live Forever, speaks to listeners? What do you hope listeners think and feel after listening to your album?

 

Matthew West:   I hope listeners get so fired up by the messages on this record! This is a victory album. A reminder that God’s mercy is new every single morning. A reminder that our best days are not behind us, they are in front of us. Even musically, my aim was to move forward. I didn’t want to make the same style of music. I wanted to move forward in my sound and in the lyrics. Starting over, starting now…

Family Christian:   What does the title of your new album mean? How was it chosen and what significance does it have?

 

Matthew West:   This record carries a message that in many ways flies in the face of the message the world sends to us. This world tells us things like YOLO—You Only Live Once. That sounds real good, but it’s an empty thought. The world lives like our legacy ends the day we die and so the emphasis is on making these moments last forever. But we know this life is temporary. And we also know that for those who choose to follow Jesus, there is the ultimate hope that we can live forever. The songs and stories on this record all point to the reminder that between the day we are born and the day we die, there is a dash. God offers us a way to live our dash, our story in such a way that it leaves a legacy behind us and secures an eternity in front of us. That is how we live forever.

Family Christian:    Who was Matthew West when your first album came out? Who is Matthew West now?

Matthew West:   That’s a good question. I was a young songwriter with a calling on my life that I was going to be part of a new generation of voices telling the world about Jesus through song. I guess not much has changed on that front. But I have changed, and hopefully I have grown in many other ways. I think it’s so amazing how God does have a calling placed on each one of our lives, and the more we follow him into his plan for our lives, the more layers he peels back, and the more we begin to see and understand what God had planned all along. Today, I feel like I’m in my sweet spot in many ways. God has blessed me with an amazing wife and two incredible children. He has combined my passion for story with a platform to tell the world how God is the author of redemption in all of our lives.

Family Christian:   To expand on the previous question, How have you changed over the years when it comes to songwriting, recording and producing music? Do you have the same goals?

Matthew West:   Well, for starters, I used to use songwriting as a vehicle to tell my story to the world. Now, I’ve found fulfillment in sharing that spotlight with thousands of people who are brave enough to believe that God can speak through their stories. I’d like to think I have continued to push boundaries musically and also topically. I guess I used to write songs with the masses in mind. These days, I find myself reading someone’s story and thinking, “I want to write a song for this one person.” It’s amazing that with such a finite focus, I’ve been writing songs that have been pretty universally relatable. I guess that’s how God works.

Interview with Michael W. Smith

The other day, I had the honor of interviewing Michael W. Smith! Enjoy!

Kristen Jeffery

Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian

 

FC: Hello Michael! How are you doing?

 

MWS:  Doing great! Thank you!

 

FC: Well, I know you just released your newest cd, The Spirit of Christmas, so it is only natural that we ask a Christmas question.  Can you share with us a favorite Christmas memory that you have?

 

MWS: Just growing up in my house…all the kids…. I mean I don’t even know where to start.  We have our traditions. Christmas is a BIG thing at the Smith house.  Just huge!   We’d pull out the Christmas albums every September 1; everyone opens a present on Christmas Eve.   A great Christmas memory is probably when I got my first red, sparkling drum set when I was 7 years old.  You know, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven!  I’ll never for forget that.

 

FC: Speaking of gifts, do you have a favorite gift that you received for Christmas?  I know mine was the Barbie Ice cream shop

 

MWS: Love that!

 

FC: I did too! Was yours your drum set?

 

MWS: Probably so.  It was a game changer for me.

 

FC: I heard a quote from you that in your 31-year career, The Spirit of Christmas is the most unique album you’ve created.  Can you expound on that for us?

 

MWS:  Well I think it’s unique because of all the people who are on it.  I’ve never actually had as many guest artists on an album in my life, other than the artists that were on the worship album that sang in my choir.  These are people that are stepping out.  I’m singing solos with them and people that are mostly not from my genre, you know Contemporary Christian music.  This is an A Level group of amazing people.  Carrie Underwood being one of them. Bono’s on the record.  I mean it’s just insane.  I’m just sort of pinching myself that we actually pulled it off.

 

FC: I’m sure.  When I was looking at the list of artists performing with you, it’s going to reach such a huge audience!  You’re hitting all the different tastes that people could have for the different genres of music and different talent it’s just phenomenal!

 

MWS:  Well I think so.  You know I think we have something really special going on.  Just take me out of the equation and I think it’s just an amazing record, just from what these people brought to the project.  It’s pretty off the charts.

 

 

 

FC: That sounds amazing! I know I will be picking up a few copies for my family this year.  You’ve got a tour going on this year and some confirmed tour dates for 2015 as well.  Is there anything else you are working on right now?

 

MWS:  No, I did an exclusive album for Cracker Barrel that I worked on and then Sovereign came out in May and then the Christmas record and it’s just like wow! 3 records in one year for me.  Pretty crazy!

 

FC: Here at Family Christian we believe strongly in the power of prayer.  In fact, we have a team that gathers daily to lift others up in prayer.  So how can we be praying for you right now?

 

MWS:  You know what, probably just it’s such a busy, busy time.  It’s pretty non-stop from now till the end of the year, till Christmas.  Just pray for my health, for protection as we travel everywhere. I think just some of those things.  Kristen, business can wear you out if you don’t watch it so please pray that I’ll get my rest and that we will all stay healthy on the road and my family as well.  Thank you very much!

 

FC: Thank you Michael! Have a blessed Christmas season!

 

Interview with We Are Leo

 

By: Kristen Jeffery, Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian

This week I had the opportunity to speak with David from We Are Leo.  Read the full interview below.

FC: Hello! Thank you for your time today.  I hear you all are gearing up for a new tour.  Can you tell us about it?

 

David from We Are Leo: Absolutely.  We are on for part of the Acquire the Fire tour that is starting in Spring.  We’ve done Acquire the Fire in the past, and it came to Lansing and I think there was about 7,000 people there.  I think the greatest thing about it to me is that I get to talk to all the fans after the show and just pray with them and talk to them and share our stories with them.

FC: I have actually been enjoying your new single “You’re the Best Thing”, here in my office.  What does this song mean to you?

David from We Are Leo: This is for my testimony.  I came out my teenage years sort of feeling really lost and  just fighting a lot of depression and loneliness.   And with my story of reaching out to Christ and Him coming and rescuing my life, that was such an epic change for me to be like God  loved me and to feel loved instead of rejected and at that point I realized this is what I have been looking for my whole life and for me singing this song “You’re the Best Thing” is coming back to that point and being thankful and remembering that God changed my life and despite the busyness or whatever else comes along in my day to day life I want to remember that He is always the best thing.

FC: Your new album is called “Fightback Soundtrack” and it releases tomorrow (10/14).  What do you hope that people take away from your new album?

David from We Are Leo: Yes. I think the overarching theme of this is bravery and not being afraid.  In the Bible it talks so much about not being anxious and Paul talks about not being anxious and I love that relationship and the idea of being strong and courageous.  Fightback Soundtrack,  the whole idea of it is ‘Yeah,  you need to be strong in the Lord and when things come against you and things happen you’re not defeated and you can overcome those things and keep your head up. ‘  And to be brave because God’s love can make us brave.  That’s what I hope people will take away.

FC: What changes can your fans expect from “Hello” to “Fightback Soundtrack”?

David from We Are Leo: That’s an awesome question!  Way to go!   This record we made it on our own.  In November we decided it was decision time.  We felt like God was telling us to keep being persistent and that we have things to share and talents that He was calling us to use.  We put it up on Kickstarter and it came through on the last hour of the last day. 

FC: Awesome! Making it even more of a God story right?

David from We Are Leo: It is totally a God story!  Totally.  I really can’t even believe it really happened. I think on this album you will hear a more mature sound and get a feel for what we truly sound like.

FC: We have a prayer team here at Family Christian and we meet daily to pray for others.  How can we specifically be praying for you?

David from We Are Leo: Thank you.  Be praying for wisdom.  And be praying that these songs will be heard by those who need it the most.