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If there’s one thing you don’t know about me (or maybe you do), it’s that I’m pretty stubborn. There are very few people who can get in the way of me when I’ve made up my mind about something. By very few, I mean Jesus and my dad.

Almost a year ago, I was sitting at Cross Point‘s downtown campus when Wes Howard announced that they would be going to Haiti. I was pretty excited. I remembered what I had learned about Haiti from the media – it had been devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010 and never fully recovered. I remember seeing all of the pictures. I knew people who went in to help. I prayed for the poor and powerless. And that was about it. Why? Because I had my own life and my own mission field to pursue – high school students. I also remember feeling like I should go. Then, of course, laughing.

The thing is, for as stubborn as I am, I am made in the image of God…and he can be just as persistent and relentless with what he wants. I started hearing more of the details of our partnership in Haiti and I was intrigued. Our pastor spoke on the importance of missions and my heart started beating faster. The high school girls I was working with began to put up walls and that, combined with an increasingly more busy schedule made it hard to continue ministry there. I had a pretty good argument with the Lord. And on the day that I moved the last of my stuff into the place I live right now – sitting in the middle of boxes and boxes of “stuff” – I gave up. I said yes. The girl who never wanted to go on a missions trip said yes.

I had no idea how much I needed it.

Fast forward to August 4th, 2012. I’m up far too early, grabbing my bags, and headed to the airport when one of my best friends starts playing and singing songs over me (she’s the best singer I know, so she could sing the annoying lambchop song and I would be totally fine about it). One of those is Take Heart by Hillsong United. And suddenly, this very stubborn and strong-willed girl is in a puddle of tears. I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe. I just kept thinking “what if a hurricane hits”…”what if we become prisoners to the country”…”what if I never see my family again”. Terrible thoughts, one after the other, over and over and over.

Then these words….

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again

Peace.

We landed in Haiti. Driving around, I wasn’t shocked by what I saw. I knew what to expect. I was just fascinated…and glad to have made it. We stayed in Port au Prince the first night, got up and went to church, and made the 5 hour trek to our destination in the mountains in a town called SaintMichel-de-l’Attalaye. Our accommodations were far nicer than I expected, but still not like anything I was used to. Our food was great, our team got along well. There wasn’t much more we really could have hoped for. Monday the 6th was our first work day. I was on the morning work/afternoon play schedule. We set out bricks, poured mortar for about 3 rows and broke for lunch. After that, I was setting my stuff down when out of the corner of my eye, I realized there was someone waiting for me.

Her name is Louventa. She was my shadow for the rest of the week. Would not let go of my hand. And still hasn’t let go of my heart. She waited ever so patiently every day for us to finish lunch and would peek over the wall and say my name…which sounded like “creaseteen” from her surprisingly deep and raspy voice. She’s only 7 and has a stronger voice than I do. The minute I stood up for lunch, she would run to my side, brush the dust off my clothes, take my hand and lead me to play. We jumped rope, sang, did cartwheels, played chase, threw frisbees, drew pictures, and anything else we could dream up. The kids were more tiring than the work!

What I realized by the end of our time there was that the language barrier wasn’t such a barrier. Louventa would speak to me, and what I didn’t understand, she didn’t fault me for. She just held on to me tighter and showed me the way. And in that moment, I remembered what it means to be loved. Truly loved. I thought about the Father and how He tries to speak to me. I think about the times He invites me to dream and be adventurous with Him. I think about the times when I’m absolutely terrified, or weak, or I’m angry and I don’t understand…and He doesn’t fault me. He just holds me tighter and shows me the way.

I never wanted to go on a missions trip. Ever. I never thought I needed to. But the Father had to out-stubborn me and take me to one of the most broken countries in the world just so I could remember – really, truly remember – how much He loves me (and little Louventa). He orchestrated every event in my life to lead to this point so that a broken, confused, stubborn girl could realize her worth and how much everything counts. I will never be able to fix Haiti. No one person could. But I can love. I can be a light. I can hold a hand and pour mortar and jump rope until I can’t feel my legs anymore if it means little Louventa (or any other child) can understand that she is loved – furiously and unconditionally loved.

The words still echo in my mind…

All our troubles, And all our tears, God our hope – He has overcome

All our failure, And all our fear, God our love – He has overcome

All our heartache, And all our pain, God our healer – He has overcome

All our burdens, And all our shame, God our freedom – He has overcome

God our justice, God our grace, God our freedom – He has overcome

God our refuge, God our strength, God is with us – He has overcome!

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It’s time to get out of my own head voice for a minute.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I serve on staff at a pretty rockin’ church here in Nashville called Cross Point. I love so much about this place – the raw community, the desire to serve, the tough lessons I learn each week – but I am consistently standing in awe of the team I’m surrounded by. This summer will be no exception.

Our Senior Pastor, Pete Wilson is going to be traveling for most of the month of July. This left our team with a huge opportunity to create a summer series that would be both fun and something to really drive home conversation. Thus, our Creative Arts team came up with Summer Slam.

The whole premiss of this series is allowing our communicators to share scriptures that leave them with more questions than answers; things that they’re wrestling with. They’re inviting us in to their story and I couldn’t be more excited.

I love any time that we get to hear from our Bellevue Campus Pastor – Justin Davis and Nashville Campus Pastor – Blake Bergstrom. The wisdom and life that pours out of these two is just unreal. In this series, we’ll also get to hear from a couple of fresh faces: our Dickson Campus Pastor – Willy Maxwell and our new North Campus Pastor – Brent Hodge. But what I love about this series even more is that we won’t just be hearing from our pastoral staff. We’re bringing in a couple of our attenders to share their hearts and thoughts, which takes it to another level.

Carlos Whittaker is a worship leader and serves with our music team here at Cross Point. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite people because of his heart. He’s an advocate for worship, adoption and authenticity. I’ve never met someone with so much drive and passion who also lives out and backs up everything he’s saying. I count myself very fortunate to know him and call him friend.

Jon Acuff is an author and blogger working at Dave Ramsey. I’ve followed Stuff Christians Like, a satire blog of his, for a few years now. His humor is so relatable. I can vividly remember where I was when I first read my most favorite of his posts, Thinking You’re Naked. I giggled at the title, but by the time I got to the bottom of the page was practically in tears. He has a natural gift for speaking the truth, whether he would agree or not.

Check out this promo video…it’s pretty awesome:

It’s going to be a great summer at Cross Point. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and grow more and to really come in to a place of leadership that I know I’m capable of. So thankful He’s not finished with me yet.

You’re reading part thirteen of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy

Call me late to the ballgame, but it wasn’t that long ago that I learned what “type a” and “type b” personalities were. My poor best friend…she taught me and I ran it in to the GROUND! I was telling everyone I could that I was type A/B. Seriously, everyone. My justification, of course, is that I like organization but I’m not opposed to organized chaos. I’m structured, but I’m pretty chill. And the more I’ve thought about that over the last few years, the more I believe I’m an idiot! I’m SO unbelievably type A. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with “what I’m looking forward to”, but follow me on this rabbit trail.

Earlier this morning, a girl in the office came up to my desk and commented on how I stock the refrigerator. She said it was nice and straight and organized. My mom would be so proud. And I am, too! I think people don’t take enough pride in their work…especially the small things. That being said, (drumroll please)I’ll now bring you to the point.

Sundays.
I look forward to Sundays.
Sundays are a LONG day for me and anyone else here on staff. Most people who join us on Sundays don’t know just how much has to happen or how many people it takes for one service to go right…and we have four! Yesterday, with our county fair, was a 12.5 hour day for me. But once our 6 p.m. service hit, I was overwhelmed by the reason I love this church so much.

I’m in charge of coordinating the First Impressions team. These are the people who hold open the doors for you as you come to worship with us. These are the people who hand you a program or help you make coffee or tell you where you need to go when you’re lost. They all have smiling faces and sweet dispositions. But more than that, they each have a story. They each have a lot of things that are going on or wrong in their life, but they come in and serve. In a lot of ways, I think that this is the easiest way that you can minister or be ministered to. In the same way that people don’t value their work, people forget just what a treasure it is to have someone, anyone, acknowledge you, smile and tell you good morning. Last night I had people coming in through my door saying hello before I could say it to them. I’d like to think it’s because they know how warm and welcoming this church is and feel right at home. It made my heart so happy. Then to turn and see my team smiling, greeting, being helpful…without complaining…there was just so much JOY! It’s contagious!

I had to bring something to our campus pastor Blake’s office earlier today. He asked me if I was having a good day. I said yes, because well…I am! I also said there’s no good reason to have a bad day. And I truly believe that. Do we have them? Clearly. But do we have to give in to them? NO WAY! I choose not to let my emotions get the better of me.

I loved my time at North End so very much. It taught me a lot about who I am and who I should and should not be, but Cross Point is different. I’ve never seen people with SUCH a heart for their community, which doesn’t just mean Nashville or “Cherokee/Sylvan Park”. The people who come here truly want to get involved with each other’s lives and to walk beside each other and then, turn around and help out in the community – with the homeless, with children, with whoever needs a helping hand. I get so much joy out of my job that I don’t want to call it a job. It’s a straight up ministry. I love that, a lot of times, I get challenged just in knowing that I’m the very first person who a new visitor is going to talk to or be greeted by. Their entire view of the church could be skewed because I’m having a bad day and decide to not be nice when I pick up the phone. They could come here one time and be made to feel less than welcome and never come back. That’s on me! What a great reason to make sure my heart is in check! And yes, I do know that some people are not easy to please and that there is nothing that you can do to make them happy…but that doesn’t give me a right to be just as mean or cynical as they are. That was never my calling in life.

So, I look forward to Sundays. Sundays are where my volunteers get to shine and I get to feel so proud of them. Sundays are where I’m challenged by the word and then encouraged by a stranger’s smile. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And for the record – a few selfish things I’m looking forward to:
– Young Life banquet tonight
– Shopping this weekend (I haven’t shopped in 3 months)
– Bible Study with my amazing girls on Thursday
– Going home in 10 days.
– CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!


Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from
Day 15 — The person you miss the most
Day 16 — Someone that’s not in your state/country
Day 17 — The place you wish you were from
Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be
Day 19 — Something that makes you different
Day 20 — Your favorite television shows
Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Day 23 — The last person you kissed
Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
Day 25 — A life changing moment
Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
Day 29 — Your talent
Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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