I asked Brent a few questions over email and his answers were awesome. Take a few minutes and learn more about him by reading this interview!
What is your favourite movie of all time?
Probably at the top of my list would be “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” but “Lawrence of Arabia” is a close second.
What do you love most about it?
I love “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for the fact that so many of the cross-cultural experiences are identical to our experience, since I am a Miller married to a Polychroniadou! I love that “Lawrence of Arabia” is an epic drama set in a pivotal point of colonial and Middle Eastern history.
What TV show could you binge watch for a whole week?
I could binge watch two types of TV shows. It could be a show that was filled with satire and sarcasm so British humour works best for me. Or it would have to be something like “The Crown” that sends me in search of more historical details. Spoiler alert – did you know that the evangelist Billy Graham is featured in an episode of “The Crown”?
What is your favourite food?
When it comes to food I’m quite content with a good hamburger, a nice pizza, or a traditional breakfast (eggs over medium and bacon chewy, please). But I have quite a sweet tooth so likely my favourite food would have to be most anything made of chocolate or pastry. By the way, where is the best place to get a piece of pie in Maple Ridge?
What is your favourite sport?
Hockey! Coming in a tie for my second favourite sport would be both varieties of football.
What book, other than the Bible, do you recommend to people most?
I am cautious when recommending books because people process spiritual input differently based on their particular need and their maturity level. To an unbeliever searching for God I would suggest The Reason for God by Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2008).
To leaders, I highly recommend Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton (IVP, 2008). To those wanting to deepen their dependence upon God I recommend Ablaze For God by Wesley Duewel (Zondervan, 1989). For appreciating what it means to truly live “in Christ” I encourage people to read The Saving Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas (Zondervan, 1961). Other authors, I have recommended include Dallas Willard, Gary Thomas, Andrew Murray, Eugene Peterson, and for her powerful poetry, Amy Carmichael.
When did you first feel called to pastoring?
According to a family friend, when I was five years old I told him that I wanted to be a preacher when I grew up! At age eight our family was attending a mission conference where the film Peace Child was shown. When there was an opportunity to respond, I stood, indicating my desire to serve God with my life. My mother wrote this down in my Bible and it has been a constant marker for the time I first responded to God’s call on my life to serve Him. It was in high school that God’s call became clearer and I grew in a desire to be a pastor.
What do you love about being a pastor?
I love to teach the Bible. I also find it a great privilege to be invited into the “sacred moments” of people’s lives. It might be at a wedding or a funeral, a time of crisis, when receiving Jesus or being baptized. These are the times when it is such a meaningful experience to be a spiritual shepherd to people. And I also love the opportunity I have in ministry to grow in my own personal journey with God.
What Bible verse do you turn to in tough times?
There are quite a few texts that have functioned as a steady rudder in the storms of my life. Of course, in coming to Christ I embraced the truth of John 3:16. Psalm 32:8 and 27:14 encourage me when I need God’s direction. I Corinthians 5:14-21 speaks of God’s calling on my life, reminding me of my purpose in serving Him. A very special text comes from Genesis 41:32. From this we took our marriage motto: “established by God”. And in John 15 I have found the teaching of the Vine-Branch to been a constant source of comfort and correction.
What has God been teaching you lately?
Advent is a time when I put a lot of expectations on myself to provide people with a very profound presentation of the Christmas story.
Like a lot of pastors, I’m tempted by the pressure to be unique, even trendy. But as Advent started this year I was reading in Peter’s epistles and was impressed by this thought: Advent is not a “re-invention” of Christ’s Incarnation but an annual reminder! In II Peter 1:12-13 we read, “I will always remind you of these things - even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.
And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.” God challenged me to see that my task is to faithfully retell His timeless truth. The Gospel is so transformative that even if we are reminded again and again we will never exhaust the encouragement it brings. Peter explained, “For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendour with our own eyes.” (v.16)
As a person who often creates heavier expectations for me than necessary, this was a vital reminder. God doesn’t need me to re-invent anything! He does not need me to be trendy…but to testify. He longs for me to be like the shepherds. They were filled with worship to God for what they had seen and heard. (Luke 2:20)
Thanks, Brent! We look forward to getting to know you more this weekend! May God lead you, anoint you and give you discernment through this process. You are going to love the people of Cornerstone!