The Jeremiah Johnston Show

The Power of the Gospel


With a vision for 1000 church plants, we talk to JD Greear about the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church, and suggests the key to our christian lives is a 24/7 lifestyle we need to embody.

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston introduces pastor, author, and Christian leader, Dr. J.D. Greear. “The Gospel invigorates us,” Johnston says. “It’s not just the diving board, it’s the swimming pool. The Gospel is the key to our Christian life and the constant presence in our lives.”

Greear remembers a time when he went through tremendous doubt about his salvation. The period of doubt ultimately paved the way to a greater understanding of the saving work of Jesus Christ. Greear has spent his life spreading the message of salvation. Through his mission work and studies, he has gained valuable insight into methods of sharing the Gospel and answering the questions people groups have. He notes that his book, “Breaking the Islam Code: Understanding the Soul Questions of Every Muslim,” offers insights.

“No matter what I’m talking about, nothing takes the centrality away from the first place of the Gospel,” Greear says. “Christianity is not good advice; it is good news. It’s not just the way you get saved; it’s the power to live it out.”

In responding to questions from believers who waver in their trust for God’s saving work in their lives, Greear encourages them to put their faith in God’s promises rather than in their own feelings. “Our Heavenly Father wants us to know the certain promises of the Gospel. God’s Word is stronger and His promises are stronger,” he says. “Salvation has everything to do with the One that faith is in. Faith is not a savior; Jesus is the Savior. What we find in Scripture is that Christian growth is really growth deeper into the Gospel. The New Testament speaks about the blood of Jesus – not just paying the sin debt but washing away the sin of our heart that keeps us separated from God. What matters is: are you leaving your hope for salvation on the finished work of Christ? Go and embrace what He’s done for you.”

Dr. J.D. Greear is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church. His book, “Above All: The Gospel Is the Source of the Church’s Renewal,” was released in 2019.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Why God Loves Cities and What it Means For You


People are looking for interactive compassionate community members. Chris Brooks, host of the Equipped with Chris Brooks radio show, discusses what it looks like for us to embody faith and live out the implications of the Gospel in front of a watching world.

The Great Commission outlined in Matthew 28:16-20 means being around people is necessary, points out guest Chris Brooks. He disagrees with a call to separation from the world when it means disengagement. Brooks is eager to see urban areas transformed with the truth of the Gospel. “The Bible never calls us to cut ourselves off from society,” he says. “We have to live our lives. We also have to understand that we are His ambassadors. We trust the Gospel and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”

ProfileGod has placed believers in different places, and we each have a calling and a destiny where we are, Brooks says. “Everyone needs to find their ‘where.’ God wants to do a phenomenal work,” he says. “I want us to see broken but beautiful cities as gold mines for Jesus. The Gospel works regardless of zip code. Our homes are lighthouses in this dark world.”

In reaching other people, effective ministry is made possible by the richness of one’s own relationship with God, says Brooks. “The fruit of the Spirit is far more important than the gifts of the Spirit,” he says. “I want people to know this Jesus that changed my life. I Corinthians 10:31 says ‘whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ That’s my heart, my passion, my desire.”

Christianity has accomplished great good in the world, Johnston and Brooks emphasize. “The ethics of the Gospel include that every human being carries value,” Brooks says. “We need to pray for the welfare of the city we’re in and embrace the call to creative evangelism. God’s called us to create and not just consume culture. This generation is looking for people who embody the ethics of the Gospel – being committed to not just talking the talk, but walking the walk, and living out the implications of the Gospel in front of a watching world.”

Chris Brooks is the senior pastor of Woodside Bible Church, a multisite congregation across the metro-Detroit area. Brooks hosts “Equipped with Chris Brooks” on Moody Radio. He is the author of “Kingdom Dreaming” and “Urban Apologetics.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Finding Your Calling with the Kendrick Brothers


How did film directors Stephen and Alex Kendrick find there calling? A great discussion answering your questions as well as what God has called them to do and where their journey has brought them.

The Kendrick brothers discuss their latest film, “Overcomer,” and their path to becoming celebrated filmmakers with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. Stephen and Alex Kendrick began their path to becoming influential Christian filmmakers as children when they filmed scenes played out in their backyard. As adults, the men entered youth ministry before embarking on their first film project, “Flywheel.”

The initial project was planned as a community outreach that would show in a local theater. The outcome far exceeded the brothers’ expectations, however, and the DVD has sold 1.2 million copies to date. After “Flywheel” came “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” “Courageous,” “War Room” and “Overcomer.”

As a practice, the pair have made a film about every two to three years, spending time praying as they prepare for the next one. Their creative process has often been that God inspires Alex with film scenes, and at the same time, Stephen is studying Scriptures that relate. The writing of the film then unfolds, with collaboration together and review from others.

“God puts us in synch in different ways,” Stephen says. “Ultimately, we want God’s fingerprints on everything. We seek to please Him and to tell stories that are relatable.”

Stephen says, “We realized that telling stories – especially if it connects with the audience – is a wonderful form of ministry.”

For “Overcomer,” the brothers explore what it means to have one’s identity rooted in Jesus Christ. They were particularly inspired by Ephesians 1 and 2, in which the Apostle Paul concludes, “In him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

The brothers say their passion remains the Great Commission, and inspiring the Church through their films and accompanying materials to live according to her calling. “It’s been harder super fulfilling and harder than I thought,” Stephen says. “In the end, if we can people and encourage them with relatable stories, that is success for us.”

Stephen and Alex Kendrick write, produce and direct inspiring, Christian-based films. Their latest film, “Overcomer,” was released in 2019.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Open Doors, Smuggled Bibles, and The Persecuted Christian


What are the most dangerous countries for the persecuted Christian? David Curry, CEO of Open Doorslegacy of the book God Smuggleshares what we can learn from oppressed Christians across the world, immediate steps you can take to , and how Bible smuggling plays into it all.

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discusses the persecuted Church throughout the world with David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors. The ministry began through a man known as “Brother Andrew” who smuggled Bibles into regions hostile to Christianity.

“We want people to have freedoms and to have a Bible and to decide what they think,” Curry explains. “It makes for a wide-ranging ministry because we’re in 60 countries-plus that have high levels of restriction, and we’re trying to answer the question of what the Church needs in order to be salt and light.”

Johnston and Curry reflect on President Trump’s address to the 74th Assembly of the United Nations in September 2019. Curry confirms the statistic that approximately 250 million people live in areas in which they are persecuted.

“The reality remains this president is speaking out forcibly. Never in my knowledge has a US president spoken at the UN about religious liberty. It is a real issue right now,” Curry says. “It just so happens that Christians are the largest group that is persecuted for their faith.”

Curry illustrates the life of a Christian in North Korea, for example: “Many followers of Jesus Christ in North Korea – if they’re caught with a Bible, sharing about Jesus, singing a song – at a minimum they probably spend the rest of their life in prison, and sometimes worse.”

Curry is inspired by the faithfulness of such believers who remain steadfast, and even joyful. “What I have, they need, but what they’ve learned, I need,” he says.

While many Christians in the West remain unaware of the plight of other members of the Body of Christ, Curry and Johnston invite them to become involved through prayer, giving, volunteering, advocating, and even writing letters of encouragement.

“You can be part of it,” Curry says. “From the very spiritual to the very practical, there’s a lot to do. I stay encouraged because I see a lot of answers to prayer. I know the people and I am excited about what Jesus is doing.”

David Curry is president and CEO of Open Doors. The organization s further the Gospel message around the world and assists persecuted believers.