Most of you probably know this, but in the event that you don’t (or in the event that you don’t know the specifics), Nashville was hit by a major flood last week. It started out a little comedically because Todd was out of town (not the funny part), we had lost electricity (again, not really funny), and our new nanny (we call her a babysitter because nanny sounds snobby, but she helps us out for several hours a week and I can’t wait to share more about Ms. Kelsey later :)) was with us.
Here’s the funny part. I’m looking outside and waiting for someone on a broomstick to whiz by and I decide to call my parents. They have different cable than we do and I thought they might still have service. They did. I talked to my mom for several minutes while she explained that she was watching TV and they weren’t saying anything at all about weather. Which, given the aforementioned broomstick issue, seemed unusual.
Well, it would have been unusual had she not actually be watching a recorded episode of Days of Our Lives from earlier in the week. God bless that woman and everyone who is relying on her for life or death weather issues.
My dad was watching a movie but switched over and we realized it was more serious than we thought. In fact, we discovered that it looked like there was tornadic activity right where we live. Later we realized that it did some serious damage a few streets away. It was separate from the flood and knocked down all kinds of power lines, several hundred year old trees and more.
Then, it rained a lot. A LOT. We heard rumors of flooding and when we could get out to see it a bit, we were absolutely astonished. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will know that I live in the Bellevue area. People died in a very nearby neighborhood and when the National media reported on the flood, the streets they were showing were within walking distance. Nashville has taken a pretty serious blow, but as expected, the people are responding with love and service. It has been so encouraging to see all of the support in the midst of chaos. I will put up some videos when I figure out how to, but trust me when I say you can’t imagine what it looked like around here.
Did I mention this happened on the day of my book release? I have this blog I write and it’s called “Bring the Rain…” Hmm. I may need to rethink some things.
A few days after my book released, another one came out that is near and dear to me. I wasn’t able to write about it because of the whole “no internet” thing, but I was compelled to share it with you all tonight for several reasons.
You all know about my Pastor and friend Pete Wilson. He has been the butt of an endless amount of height and hair jokes (by me and the rest of the free world) because he is such a good sport, but there is so much more to him than all that. It would be really easy to look at Crosspoint on paper and say that it’s another trendy spot where borderline Christians meet and watch light shows while listening to fluff messages. It’s easy to say that because I’ve been to several of those churches and we kind of meet the prototype. We have a lot of artists who attend. We have catchy music and really nice flyers. We have cool sets and media that makes VH1 look amateur. We have a young, hip pastor who has been likened to Keith Urban. If you meet him, you’ll like him. And if you meet his wife, you’ll really be impressed. As great as he is, he’ll be the first to tell you he married up.
Here’s the deal, though.
When you dig deeper, you’ll see that the church has grown at a remarkable pace and it isn’t because of his cool jeans. This is a man who has a passion for the Lord and for the body of Christ that is totally inspiring. One of the first things I would tell you about him is that he loves people. I have NEVER seen a church that so actively puts into practice what they preach as far as loving on others. I could give you a million examples, but one night we went over to the Wilson’s for dinner and Pete was running late. When he got home, Brandi asked him what was going on and it turned out he had been interviewing a woman who was a crack addict and had been prostituting herself and soliciting business in the church parking lot. There’s obviously a lot more behind the story, but the bottom line is that she has accepted the Lord, now attends our church and has totally turned her life around.
I want to be careful about how I say this next part because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted, but it’s what I think so I’m going to give it a shot. As a good friend of Pete’s, someone who has traveled to a third world country with him and been privy to his teaching on the stage as well as from the other end of the dinner table, this is the gist of what I see in him.
He does the whole thing the way I think Jesus would.
He loves people and he chases them down with his passion for the Lord. He laughs with people who, according to some, he shouldn’t be sharing a room with. He doesn’t let the rules define the way he leads, and as a result, people all around him are inspired to do the same. Don’t get me wrong. He is fully human and has flaws just like all of us. He just isn’t wrapped up in the package that makes Christianity unapproachable. The truth is that living the Gospel isn’t about being good for the sake of rules and focusing on every minute detail about others. Some of the strongest “Christians” I have ever met spend more time judging others than loving the Lord and being led by Him to minister to them instead. It comes down to the way you love Jesus and the way you show that love to those around you. Pete does that well, and also, he wears sandals like Jesus sometimes.
I had a really good post telling you all about his book, which is fantastic. I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend. I had a little outline of it to share with you and tell you all the powerpoint reasons I think you would benefit from reading it.
And then we had the flood.
And it changed a lot.
So, instead of going on and on about the book, I chose to tell you about the man behind the book, and I’m going to trust that there was enough in those paragraphs to make you want to read his words.
He is a really, really good writer. There are compelling examples, stories, scripture references, and the sense that you are sitting beside a good friend as you read. All of that is true and noteworthy.
What is more noteworthy is that he hasn’t been flitting around telling everyone about it, because he’s been a little tied up living it.
Several THOUSAND people volunteed at Crosspoint in the last week. They have helped at more than 250 homes in the past several days alone. He would tell you that he didn’t do it alone, and I know that’s true. What is also true is that they have come to a church where they are inspired to do it, led by someone who preaches from the trenches more than behind a pulpit.
I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN the other night as he interviewed people down the street from me. At the end of the show, he mentioned Crosspoint and Pete Wilson and for some reason, that was the moment I lost it. I’m just so darn proud to be a part of what God is doing at our church.
Wouldn’t you just love to meet this guy? Well, good news. You can 🙂
Next Saturday (May 15th), Pete and I are doing a book signing at Lifeway in downtown Nashville from 11-1pm. I had other tentative book signings but because of Charlotte I’m not able to do them right now, so as far as I know, this one is it. Pete and I have walked through the process with the exact same deadlines and roadblocks, and have commiserated with one another about it all, so it’s really cool to be able to share this with him too. I assume Brandi and the kids will be there, and Todd will be as well. I believe three of my children will be joining us. I’m going to try very hard not to make that four.
I am so excited to give away 5 of my personal copies of Pete’s book here, so please leave a comment and you will be entered to win.
Or, just click HERE to purchase it right away. You will be glad you did…
If you’re in the area, come on out to Lifeway on Saturday and let us thank you for your support.
Please keep Nashville in your prayers as we sort through the aftermath of the flood.