in a convertible?
A few pics of my friends from middle Tennessee .
Steve, me, AJ, Brian
Here’s my takeaway from my short trip to Nashville . . . I’ve been going to Nashville, several times a year . . . for years. As most of you know, I got my start in radio in another format before Contemporary Christian – one of which I will always love and will forever be grateful for that time. However, the qualitative difference in my professional relationships now is that they have Christ at the center of them. I’ve known most of these folks less than 4 years, but feel like I’ve known them forever. I think that’s how God intended it to be when we have community as brothers and sisters.
I pray you have community, too.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Meet our friend, Jim Houser. Actually, if you’ve listened to the show any time at all, then you already know Jim. Jim is Steven Curtis Chapman’s manager, but I much prefer to introduce him as one of our bestest buddies in Nashvegas! He lives in Nashville with his BEAUTIFUL wife, Sarah and their 3 BEAUTIFUL children! (OK – Jim, you are BEAUTIFUL, too!)
As you can imagine, life has been a blur for Jim the last 5 months or so. He’s been the spokesperson, encourager, brother, and one of the primary caretakers to The Chapman’s. He’s also had well over a million hits to his blog, The House Mix, corresponding and updating our larger community as to how the Chapman’s are doing, and how we can continue to pray for them. (BTW – please keep Jim in your prayers, too!) His blog has made me laugh, made me cry, made me question, but ultimately – it has brought me comfort. The one line that I will forever remember that Jim shared in the depth of his grief was this: “The gospel better be true”. And Praise Jesus, we know that we know that IT IS!
I had a chance to see my friend this week, and he had a little message for Dave & Bill.
So yesterday I decided that I wanted some real cowboy boots. Not foo-foo boots. Real, bonafide cowboy boots. I was meeting my girlfriend, Andrea, an executive for Word Records (she just got a huge promotion…I’m so proud!) for dinner on Broadway in downtown Nashville. She sent me to Trail West to make the purchase as she was just there a few days ago with the girls from Point of Grace, and knew the owner. After trying on several, I decided to go with classic black since it’ll go with most anything – and it’s not like we get to wear them for very long in Florida!
I’m sitting at a coffee shop in Nashville. Well, actually Brentwood – which is just south of Nashville. I’m catching up with a girlfriend in just a couple of hours – but am totally enjoying an hour of solitude. Just me and my thoughts. Isn’t it interesting how much we change over the years? In my 20′s and early 30′s I would’ve NEVER sat anywhere alone! Much less, like it. Now, I can’t get enough of it!
Earlier on the plane, a very nice lady sat down next to me. Boy, was she a talker! But I have to be honest…I wasn’t in the mood to talk. Today, I want to be quiet. To just observe. To listen. To take in my surroundings. Maybe it’s 13 years of talking for a living that has changed me. Maybe not. Maybe it’s the fact that in our quiet, we hear Jesus the loudest. Days like today when I’m out of town – and nobody knows my name – I realize just how “noisy” my life is. I recognize that the routine of life and the responsibilities I have compete for my attention. Why is it that our modern lives are a blessing and a curse? (I’m sure many of you would argue it’s more of a curse than a cure!) But as I look out the window of the coffee shop and see all of the golds, browns and reds of Nashville’s Fall leaves, inhale the wonderful smell of freshly brewed coffee, and feel the much cooler temperatures outside, I am grateful that in THIS moment – life is quiet and I can fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.
Not sure what kind of company I will be tonight. My hope is a great listener.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song. Having two daughters, it brought me to my knees. Bebo wrote this song one night after seeing the image of Britney being brought out on a stretcher with obvious fear in her eyes. He sat on the song for a long time, insecure about how it would be received. It’s a song that reminds us of how we treat the wounded. And especially the church! We’re so good at standing in judgement – in utter disbelief at someone’s behavior. As Dave said so eloquently this morning . . . our reaction should be that of Jesus’ with the woman at the well or the woman caught in inappropriate relationships.
The song is not an endorsement of bad choices, but rather a reminder of our Christ-like resoponse to them. It is my hope that our voice of condemnation doesn’t out-shout the voice of the Holy Spirit.
On one of my last days in Guatemala, sitting in an orphanage with temperatures upwards of ninety something and no breeze, I had one of those moments that wash over you and you feel like a veil has been lifted. The kind where it takes you longer to explain the epiphany than it took for you to experience it.
And my epiphany was this: Poverty . . . back to poverty.
I grew up with a single mom in government assisted housing until I was about 14 or so. Admittedly, I didn’t experience the same poverty that I just witnessed two weeks ago, but by our standards here in the US, we were poor. My mom worked 2 jobs just to keep macaroni and cheese and Ramen noodles on the table. When you grow up poor, it doesn’t take long for you to know it. One defining moment for me was when I was in the 5th grade. I was leaving English class lined up against the wall with my classmates headed to Science class. I remember it like it was yesterday . . . a girl (let’s just call her Sue, tho I do remember her name) looked me up and down and said, “She’s got her Sedgefield’s on today, so she’ll have her Levi’s on tomorrow”. Instantly, I was humiliated. I also remember that being the first time in my life that I wanted to cry, but felt it necessary to will myself not to. But what Sue had announced to my classmates was true. I did only have 2 pairs of jeans. And I wore each of them every other day, with no other pants rotated in. The Levi’s and the Sedgefield’s were it. And she had figured it out.
Fast forward to 8th grade or so, and I had been invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house that lived in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Her house was beautiful – it was a stately looking white house with black columns. The first time I pulled up, I literally thought I was walking into a mansion. I was so happy to be invited and had a great time until the next morning when I overheard my friend’s parents talking about me in the kitchen. Their conversation included their “concerns” that they monitor the time their daughter spent with me because of my dad’s reputation in town. I’m softening it up, but suffice it to say that they were well aware of my father’s alcohol addiction, and not convinced they wanted to be “associated with that”. Needless to say I didn’t eat very much of my eggs that morning.
There are, of course, other moments that affected me much the same, but these adequately paint the picture of my emotions enough to show that I grew up believing that I had something to prove. My senior high years were great! My mom re-married and we moved into a house on Miss Annie’s Drive. It was a very small house. But it was a house, nonetheless. We were proud.
Despite, the uptick in our standard of living, the drive to “show them” was already set in motion. I had this pervasive need to prove that I was worthy of being somebody. I would somehow escape this image of being poor. I would go to college (and I did). Get a good job (and I did). Get married (and I did). Have kids (and I did). Buy a house (and I did). And the list goes on and on. By all of our worldly standards, I had arrived. Poverty and being seen as poor or hanging with the poor was a part of my past that I had successfully escaped.
And now here I am – however many years later – and my holy discontent if you will is to be with the poor. Why? Because it is here that I see Jesus most intimately. Most clearly. It is here that I truly see what it means to love your neighbor. To help the broken in spirit. The oppressed. The least of these. When you have nothing, all you have IS Jesus.
Between my trip to Guatemala two weeks ago, and attending the Art*Music*Justice Tour last night, I’m utterly convinced that if you go where the poor resides – you WILL find Jesus there. And by poor I mean . . . the orphans, the homeless, the ones that are being held against their will because of human trafficking . . . the poor in spirit.
Sara Groves told Elisabeth’s story last night. Elisabeth, the oldest of seven children was living in SE Asia, and had just finished her sophomore year of high school when she decided to take a job in a nearby community to save money for Bible college. But tragically, she was betrayed, kidnapped and sold to a brothel owner in another country. She found herself days later in a foreign country, unable to speak the language and forced into a life of prostitution. She prayed every night for the Lord to rescue her even in the midst of being mocked by the other girls in the brothel. She was told “God doesn’t hear your prayers in places like this”. But yet she still believed. When she was rescued by the International Justice Mission months later, Psalm 27 was written on the wall above the tiny mattress in her room. “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I fear?”
God is rescuing the poor. And He’s using US to do it. God is rescuing the violently oppressed. And He’s using US to do it. God is clothing and providing shoes to the orphans in Guatemala. And He’s using US to do it. God is mighty to save the homeless here in our own country. And He’s using US to tell them.
Yes, there’s something about hanging with the poor that makes me feel closer to God. Much more so than playing Bunko on women’s night out, having block parties, or any of the other things that I thought would be so much fun and fulfilling when I “arrived”. (and please hear me say that there is nothing wrong with any of the above!) Those are all GREAT things! I just find it interesting that I now prefer to fellowship with the ones I would’ve desperately tried to avoid years ago. But whether it be Denver, Norman or Elisabeth, I’m glad that God is bringing my life full circle. Poverty . . . back to poverty.
See, I told you it’d take longer to tell it.
OK…There are Lucy Moments and then there are just dumb blonde moments! (Yes, I can say that cause I’m a blonde. Granted, decided one). So, my pal Brandon Heath is in town for the Art*Music*Justice Tour. His dad is also in town helping a friend and scheduled the trip to coincide with Brandon being here. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna make the show because Abbey had a basketball banquet near the same time. Wanting to visit with Brandon for a bit while he and his dad were in town, we went for a quick lunch ealier in the afternoon. Later, I get a call from Russell telling me that they’re pretty sure Brandon’s left his iPhone in my car. Sure enough, there it is under my dayplanner in the backseat. Abbey and I headed down to the concert after the banquet arriving a little late.
And here’s where the bleach entered the picture. I knew the show had started, so I didn’t want to call his phone (thinking: “not sure where it is and I certainly don’t want it to ring during the show). So I opt for a text …. THIS text!
Evidentally there was a delay in the transmition because it still hadn’t dawned on me what I had done. Abbey and I rushed inside and took a seat in the back next to Bill & Madi. I had been sitting no longer that 10 secs and I hear a tri-tone that tells me I’ve just received a text. I went to reach for my phone and that’s when it hit me!! What an idiot!!
Lucy Moment or Blonde Moment. This one’s a toss up.
OK…HERE IT IS!! Dave has been working feverishly editing all of the video that I brought back from Guatemala. And he did a FABULOUS job, if I may say so myself!
The video only captures a fraction of what I got to experience, but certainly tells the story much better than I.
It’s a large file, so it’ll take a little while to load. Definitely worth the wait, tho!
I fell in love with this song when I saw the completed film in July. And I still love it! Dave, Bill and I had the awesome privilege of being invited to the set in Albany while Fireproof was being filmed last November. We broadcasted LIVE across the street from the house on Ivy Lane.
If you haven’t had a chance to go and see Fireproof yet – GO SEE IT!!!!