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Posts Tagged ‘Pete Wilson’

Grasping at Plan A

April 21, 2010 15 comments

I recently read Pete Wilson’s book, Plan B. You can read my review here.  After reading the book, I was reflecting on one of those moments when my wife and I had to face a Plan B.

We had only been married 2 years when we found out that we were expecting our first child.  It was an exciting and nervous time.  We were young and hadn’t planning financially for the addition to our family but we were over-joyed with the prospect at having the baby.  We began dreaming.  We picked names.  We did all the things goofy, newly-expecting parents do.  Heck, I even read books to my wife’s stomach.

At 4 months my wife went in for her first ultrasound.  I was working at a new job so I couldn’t leave work to be with her so her mother joined her for the visit.  They were able to find out that we were having a little girl.  My wife was so excited that she stopped by my place of work to share the news.  I still remember how excited she was that she was having a little girl.  She was worried that I would be disappointed that the baby wasn’t a boy.  I told her that was silly … I was just hoping for what every parent dreams of – a healthy baby.  I mean, that is Plan A, right?

Two days later on December 23rd, 1992, we were both sitting across from a doctor as she told us that our baby was a non-viable fetus and suggested that we abort the fetus.

Plan B had kicked in full force.  Our thoughts went from dreams of a little girl with pigtails to picking up the pieces of a broken dream.  In his book, Plan B, Pete details several of the mechanisms that people go through when facing that moment.  Some try to run. Others become paralyzed.  For sure, my wife and I faced some of those very emotions and conditions.

But in my reminiscing about those days following the visit to the doctor, I remembered something else.  I remember trying to grasp for Plan A.  I was still mired in Plan B but I remember having conversations with friends and family that centered on grasping for the original plan.  Plan A was to have the healthy baby.  The conversation went along this line:

Whatever happens, we are going to try for another child as soon as possible.

Looking back that seems so naive.  Instead of trying to work through the present Plan B, I had wanted to recover Plan A even though, truth be told, that plan was forever gone.  The child my wife carried would never be healthy.  She had already been labeled non-viable … the doctor’s had already wrote her off.

While I was grasping at a lost plan A,  God was still working on the plan that He had in place all along.  Let me introduce to you how our Plan B worked out:

She gets excited over babies.

She loves animals.

She gets into music on her iPod .. especially Reba!

She puts up with her daddy.

Oh.. and she really adores chocolate cake!

Lauren and I shared that slice of cake during a recent daddy-daughter date.  We followed dessert with a movie and, interestingly enough, the movie was Letters to God.  The movie is about a community that is impacted by a young man dealing with the Plan B in his life.  It was a poignant moment for me as I shared that movie with my Plan B.

Sometimes it is good not to reach the things that you are grasping after… you just might miss some pretty miraculous moments.

An Average Joe Review of Plan B

April 20, 2010 9 comments

Wow.  This is tough.  Reviewing a book by a person, in this case Pete Wilson,  that I have met and talked with and hope to meet with again without compromising or being biased in my views of the book.

So the only way that I know how to do this is just do it.  I am no theologian and I have not been to seminary or studied literature in college (though there was that one Art Appreciation class that I had to watch the cartoon, Southpark, but I digress).  You will have to take this review as one conducted by the everyday, run-of-the-mill, average Joe types.

My understanding of the bible has lead me to believe that God knew every detail of my life before He ever created the first tree.  David says in Psalms 139 that everyone of his days had been ordained before one came to be and that God had been instrumental in forming him within his mother’s womb.

People may differ in their beliefs, but for me this means that there are no surprises that are going to sneak  up on God in the course of my life.  He is acutely aware of every moment that I will breathe and every choice that I will make.  I don’t want to go down the path of freewill, election, or predestination in this review.  It’s enough to say that in my belief system there is room for God’s Omniscience and my freewill.  I don’t see those two things at odds even with making the statement that I cannot surprise God.

I say that to set up this statement.  There is a Plan A that God has had all along for my life and a Plan A that I choose or dream about for my life.  There are times when those two plan A’s come together and other times when they diverge.  I have to be careful here not to confuse the premise of Pete’s book with my mental wanderings.  Pete defines Plan B as those moments when life is not turning out the way we thought – those times when life throws us a curve-ball through the loss of health, wealth, or relationships that we have built our dreams upon.  From a purely theological standpoint (based on my earlier assumptions) we are never outside of God’s plan A for our lives, however, God may have orchestrated or allowed events to take place in our lives that we view as Plan B because they don’t match up with what we would have for us.  Let’s face it, given the opportunity, none of use would ever choose to go through the moments that have caused us unknown depths of grief.  We would never have chosen to shape our lives through adversity or loss.

Pete’s book takes the reader on a journey that helps them discover meaning in those moments when Plan B seems so much in force.  I respected Pete as a person and pastor based on his transparency portrayed on his daily blog at WithoutWax.tv long before I read the book.  This book has given me a better appreciation for the man of God that he is.  I don’t say this to build up the man but to encourage the servant that he is.  It is also an encouragement to you, the reader of this post, to trust what he has written about in his book.

Now, to be fair, I have to give some low and high points of the book otherwise this post will come across as biased.  Let’s start with the negative.

Low Points

In chapter 5, Pete writes this when writing about Paralysis through fear:

This is definitely not God’s will for our lives.  In fact, it will most certainly keep us from becoming the persons God envisioned when he thought us into existence.

This line of thought opens the door for our ability to surprise God – to do something that He didn’t know would happen – to create a Plan B in His plans.  Maybe I am missing the point of this statement and I certainly welcome insight if I have.

OK.. so that is all I have on my notes for low points.

Now for some of the good stuff.  I can’t list it all or be very specific because I want you to discover for yourself what the book has to offer.

High Points

  • First of all, Pete writes like he talks.  Like you are in the room and he is explaining the details so that you can understand.  I guess people describe that as conversational… that was this book  – a conversation on the tough parts in life.
  • He uses a lot of examples from the Bible.  When you are writing on matters of faith, you might as well go to the source and try to get it right!
  • He gives us a personal view into his life and doesn’t try to dress it all up to be more acceptable.  In other words, he keeps it real.

I want to leave you with a quote from his book that I believe is apropos to who God is and what He is about in the Plan B’s of our lives.  There is so much more that I could have highlighted  (or dog-eared as I did in later chapters) but I think this will suffice.  Pete writes about the Plan B’s of our lives:

Will it be over soon?  I don’t know.

You may not know either.  You may never know.  In this life, many of your questions will simply not have answers.  But through it all, God himself will never change.  This is why our faith must rest on his identity and not necessarily his activity.

Pete poignantly presents the truth that we may not get the answers that we originally seek in our Plan B’s but, if we look in the right direction, we can find the One who holds our lives and understands deeply what it is we are going through.

Kissing with Eyes Open – Thoughts on meeting Pete Wilson

June 15, 2009 5 comments

Yesterday, that day known as Sunday, my family was out of town on a long weekend getaway to Nashville, Tennessee.  Now Nashville is home to a lot of activities, stars, and sites to  see.  While eating lunch at a Cracker Barrel, we ran into Neal McCoy and my understanding is that is not an out-of-the-ordinary experience – meeting celebrities about town, that is.  (Not necessarily meeting Neal in a Cracker Barrel… I don’t know, he may actually like to be met in other restaurants as well).

For me, though, one of the highlights of the weekend was Sunday when we got a chance to stop in and visit Pete Wilson‘s church. I have been following his blog close to a year now and have enjoyed his stories that are centered around his family, faith, and church.  He has always seemed to be a genuine guy from the stories that I have read online.  So I was looking forward to meeting the man himself and checking out the church he pastors.  {By the way, I got to meet Anne Jackson from flowerdust as well… she is cool in my book}.

meandpete

We went to the 8:30am service which may have been the reason that I didn’t get to meet Jody and his family.  Sorry Jody, maybe next time!

Without going into a lot of detail, let me just bullet point the things that I really enjoyed about Pete’s church:

  • Great mixture of ages and gender for the 8:30am service.  This is typically a ‘gray hair’ hour for a lot of churches.
  • Pete was in the lobby greeting people as they came in.  Big kudos in my book.
  • They give 45 minutes between services to allow people to mingle and talk.
  • Modern music and lighting but not overdone with a completely dark room and fog.
  • Offering was taken up at the end of the service.  It didn’t get in the way of worship and they made it a point to tell visitors that this was something for the members and that they should not feel the need to give.
  • Pete’s sermon was built on a mix of scripture and relevant thoughts from our society that could then be tied back to scripture. (I hope Pete will read this and let me know the title to that book on prayer he mentioned during his sermon.)
  • No altar call.  Yes, I said it.  I liked the fact that there was no altar call.

Let me explain that last bullet by tying it into my title.  After Pete finished his sermon on prayer, he prayed over the congregation.  If you have ever been in an evangelical church, you have probably heard these words, “With every head bowed and every eye closed.”  Pete didn’t say that so I decided to watch him and the congregation during the prayer.  It was kind of like kissing your girlfriend with your eyes open – a little weird, but I did it none-the-less.

While Pete was praying, a lady lead a young man up and onto the stage.  It appeared the man could not see which became more evident as both he and the young lady were joined by a couple of men who helped set the young man on a seat, get a guitar into his hands, and place a microphone in front of him.  As Pete’s prayer was winding down, the young man, now alone on the stage with Pete, began to strum on his guitar.  He began to sing when the prayer was over and it was a beautiful song accompanied by his practiced playing of the guitar.

This thought struck me: It took some people helping him to get him in position so that he could bless us with the gifts that God had imparted to him.

While I listened to the song, I thought about how that had been a great symbol of Christianity in practice.  We are all dependent – everyone of us.  No matter how skilled we are, we still need other people to support us and help us get into position.  God gives us those people in our lives and we can either be blessed by that or be prideful and turn away the opportunities that He has given us.  This young, blind man understood that and was able to bless us because of it.

So, how does that tie to altar calls or, more specifically, the lack thereof?  Well, I asked Pete about the lack of the altar call after service and he told me that they do have altar calls from time-to-time but its not an every week occurrence.  They have found that God works in a variety of ways and have experienced that most people come to know Christ through the relationships that they form with the people who attend the church.

In other words, there is a pageant of Christianity playing out each week in the church.  There are people involved in leading the ‘blind’ through their love and devotion at the most genuine level – person-to-person.

There are times when it may be apropos to whisper those words, “with every head bowed and every eye closed”, but I think maybe we lean on that too often because we have become uncomfortable with the closeness that ‘kissing with our eyes open’ entails.

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