Interview with Bryant Cornett

Tell us about yourself.
1. What a question. I grew up in West Texas—Amarillo, Texas—in the church. I went to the Johns Hopkins University, met a girl I eventually married on an abroad program called Semester at Sea that went around the world, graduated, and moved to Saigon, Vietnam, for the better part of two years to start a business there. I moved to Atlanta, got a job in real estate, got married and had a bunch of kids. I did all of that by 34 and had never made a decision because of Jesus. I followed the rules, but only because the rules were how you got ahead. I wanted the girl and the house and the car and the job. I wanted the world and, for the most part, I got it. But what would have been plenty a few years before still wasn’t enough. I just wanted more. That started an awakening in me to answer the call of Jesus. I began studying earnestly, reading, writing, journaling, praying, and listening. I felt an urgency and pressure from the Holy Spirit to get ready, but I still didn’t know what I was making ready for.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I connect with God in the morning. I’m an early riser, so I’ll spend time first thing—I don’t know that I’ve ever told anyone this, but if the first thought in the morning is God (I mean the very first thing), then I know that I’m starting the day on a good foot. I’ll lie there for 20 minutes or a couple hours (I get up very early) and praise, repent, petition, or just listen—sometimes falling in and out of sleep—but just being thankful for all that God has provided and enjoying Him. Scripture is a big part of how I hear God, too. If I spent 70 minutes one day, that is never as good as 10 minutes a day for a week in the Word. I read in my car in the parking deck at work. Sometimes for 15 minutes and sometimes for a couple hours: just reading through and getting excited about this love letter written to me and everyone I know thousands of years ago. And then I connect with God throughout the day, asking, What would you do here? or How do you see this person? I just seek to get God’s perspective on questions like these.
Who are your favorite authors? Any favorite books?
I love Mark because he loved Peter—and still put in all those crazy things about him. I love Moses because he had the guts to share what God told him about Creation. I love Tozer in Pursuit of God because he wrote it on his knees and couldn’t not share the greatness of the pursuit. I love Eric Metaxas because he lives in the lion’s den and keeps raising his voice. I love C. S. Lewis because he showed me how to look at the back of the diamond that is the Gospel in The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters. But of all them, I’m only jealous of C. S. Lewis because God made him so good he didn’t have to edit.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
Well, as I said earlier, I had something different in my conversion story than any others that I’ve talked to. I felt an urgency or pressure to “catch up.” It didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but the best word I can think of is urgent. I was being poured into. I felt like a reservoir that had no outlet and I was drowning. I needed to share this with someone, so I started teaching. I taught a few Sunday school classes, but the Super Bowl (at my level) was Family Ties at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church—100 folks, couples, and people that I know. I led classes and I was good at it, but I had a program—a beginning, middle, and end. I got a nudge to leave a little more room for the Spirit to move within the classes, so for the first time, in October 2012, I planned to stand before that class without a single note. I had an idea how it would look, but GOD had another idea. I was beginning to get nervous about it as the Sunday approached, but that Thursday night, I got a view of the Gospel as one cohesive story. It was as clear as a painting and on that Sunday in October, I just explained what I saw. I recorded the lesson for some friends that were out of town and knew it was something special. With no flash or video or even a website, just passing the link around, that lesson has been downloaded over 8,000 times—4,000 times within the first couple of weeks. I knew I’d been given something precious, and I wanted to protect it and share it. That lesson became A Rooster Once Crowed.
Tell us about your current book.
A Rooster Once Crowed is the Gospel. It’s a way to view this story that will connect the reader to it in a deeper way—even if they feel they’ve heard the story a hundred times before. I’ve used personal stories, research and context to weave together an account of the Gospel that holds Scripture sacred to remind us that we have one story, from Genesis to Revelation, and it’s a love story. I guarantee that anyone who engages this material, whether they are a serious student of the Word or a casual observer, will come away with another view of the greatest story ever told.
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
I talked about the seed for this idea previously, in my journey to publication, but those who tried to write a book know that a seed is just a seed—it still has to do the work of growing. I run a few practice groups for a real estate company in Atlanta, but after I gave that Sunday school lesson, I knew that I had something so special, it needed protecting and nurturing. So, I began to write it. Not a book, but just essays on the 12 points that came from the lesson. I would commit an entire Monday to getting an email out on each point over 12 weeks. Only one chapter (Chapter 9—Tune Into Life’s Belief)—took longer than a day to push out. This was a miracle, because I remember sitting down on those Monday mornings without a clue on how each point was going to work out, but like manna, I was fed and led each step of the way. By the end of the day, I had a line of thought and essentially everything I had to say on that point. Halfway through, I realized that I had a book, but I had no idea what that meant, yet. I knew what I’d written was good, but it needed a lot of work. Over the next eight months, that’s exactly what I and a great team of editors like Suzanne Lawing and others did.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
I have a real heart for moving the Gospel into the conversation. I’m working through something now about Oklahoma. When a tornado whips through there or a flood destroys New Orleans or a church gets bombed in India, at my best, I might take a moment and pray for the folks down there. Three or four times that day I’ll think, “What a shame that they have to go through that.” Children die, businesses ruined and lives torn apart, but I very rarely will I cry over such destruction. Do you know why? Because I don’t know them. I have empathy for them, but it doesn’t break me because I don’t have a relationship with the folks that were ravaged there. If half that happened to my friend or child or wife, I would be torn apart.

Well, great men and women can read Mark 15 and feel exactly like I felt for Oklahoma or New Orleans or Indian Christians. That’s not right because if we have a relationship with Jesus, then that story should affect us. I want every Christian to pull the cross deeper into their heart and look at it as an overwhelming gesture of love—a pivotal event in their own lives—around which they will bend every decision going forward.

I want A Rooster Once Crowed to bring the Gospel back into every conversation.
What's next for you?
God willing, I have two more books planned. One is a fictional novella based on something I pulled out of the original manuscript for A Rooster Once Crowed. It will correspond chapter to chapter with A Rooster Once Crowed and tell the story of the Gospel through the lives of a West Texas ranching family. I expect that book to launch Christmas 2014. I’ve also got a collection of short stories coming in 2015. A Rooster Once Crowed references Scripture from 32 books of the Bible, so the book of short stories will highlight Scripture from the remaining 34 books.
How can we connect with you online?
Sure. My website is www.fullporchpress.com There you can hear the lesson heard around the world, and see other information, too. Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/wbryantcornett and twitter is @FullPorchPress. I’ve got a Youtube channel with some videos coming soon at http://www.youtube.com/user/fullporchpress and my Goodreads author page is https://www.goodreads.com/fullporchpress
Published 2013-12-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Rooster Once Crowed: A Commentary on the Greatest Story Ever Told
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 81,020. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Commentary / General, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Ministry / Discipleship
From a one-room Sunday school class—the lesson that’s been downloaded over 8,000 times in 54 countries—comes A Rooster Once Crowed, A Commentary on the Greatest Story Ever Told. This book will connect the heart and mind through Scripture, give you a new view of the Gospel and lead to you discover clues that connect the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.