Your Days Are Numbered

Today is a tough day for me. I’m doing the funeral of my close friend and mentor Jimmy Holt.

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About eight years ago I was facing a difficult time in my life as I believed ministry was over for me. I was planning on taking a job at a pharmaceutical company when Jimmy approached me about starting a new church in Nashville. Jimmy believed in me during a time when I couldn’t believe in myself.

The very first core group meeting we ever had to explore the possibilities of starting Cross Point was held at Jimmy’s home. He’s even responsible for the name of the church. I wanted to name in Cross Pointe (with an e). He told me that was a stupid idea because pointe (with an e) was actually a ballet move and I should call it Cross Point. :)

I don’t know if you have any friends who are a couple of generations older than you, but if you ever get the chance you should take advantage of such opportunities.

As a young leader there was (and still is) a certain wisdom I’m missing. A certain wisdom which can only be attained over years of experience. When our friendship started I was 27 and he was 75. Jimmy lent his wisdom to me over the past 8 years and I’ll be eternally grateful for his investment in my life.

Most of our friendship was spent playing golf together while he spoke into my life. We played dozens and dozens of rounds of golf covering 5 different states (I never beat him once despite the fact he couldn’t drive it over 150 yards).

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Over the past 6 months as he was slowly dying the pain kept him from playing golf so I would go over to his house each Thursday and we would talk about leadership, family and our relationship with God.

He routinely reminded me even though I was young and felt like all of life was still before me I needed to remember that my days are numbered. We talked about Psalm 90:12 which says,

12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

He relentlessly reminded me…

  • forgive those who have hurt you
  • time goes by fast
  • don’t leave things unsaid
  • shortcuts don’t pay off
  • be grateful for this moment, it’s all you have
  • things don’t matter, people are all that count

Even in his final days he mentored me on how to not hold too tightly to this life.

Jimmy, you will be missed. Our church and my life will never be the same thanks to your generosity and leadership.

Do you have an older mentor/friend that pours into your life?

59 Responses to “Your Days Are Numbered”

  1. Sonja T. says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I have a couple of these friends in my life… older, wiser, more seasoned. They bring such a joy and never fail to make me feel the love the Lord has for me – even though it’s that tough love (like in pointe). Praying for your day here in Minnesota.

  2. Sarah says:

    Pete,
    You’ll be in my prayers today, as well as Jimmy’s family and loved ones. Having a mentor like Jimmy is such a blessing. I use to have a few thoughout my life but have since lost touch with them.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..A Great….. =-.

  3. dan says:

    my prayers are with you & all of cross point today. i feel that funerals for the people we are the closest to are the hardest for 2 reasons. 1-it is simply hard to get through it emotionally & 2-if we know someone as well as it seems you know jimmy, there are countless things we can say about the way they have spoken into the lives of all who know them.

    i agree with sarah though, having a mentor like jimmy is a great blessing…when i was in college i had a professor who (unknown to him) regularly affirmed that i was following God’s plan for my life; since then i have moved back closer family where my grandfather has become that type of mentor, both in ministry & in life.
    .-= dan´s last blog ..Look at me! =-.

  4. Jason says:

    First, Pete, I’m so sorry that you have to go through this today. I never met this man at CP but he obviously lived the live we all want to try and attain. Not perfect, I’m sure, but as Christ-like as possible. His wisdom just radiates from the words you shared and I can only imagine the nuggets of brilliance that you’ve treasured just in your heart.

    I wish I had a mentor like that. I haven’t had one since my grandfather Dale died in 1994.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Countdown to Blue Ridge: 5 days to go… =-.

  5. Gabe Taviano says:

    Praying for ya now, Pete. What a privilege to hang out with a guy of that caliber. I think the fruit of the work God is doing through you speaks wonders for his legacy!

    What you said reminds me just how much culture is focusing on youth, when ALL of us need words of wisdom from seasoned Christ-followers. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Gabe Taviano´s last blog ..Digital Disciples just sounds cool =-.

  6. i know this has been hard for you Pete. you’ll do a fantastic job at his funeral today. i’m praying for you bro!

  7. Dave Wilson says:

    Hey Pete,

    Sorry for your loss. Happy for Jimmy’s gain.

    Your post reminded me of this scripture:
    “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.”
    – Leviticus 19:32

    Your post today honored God, and gave your friend a “standing ovation.”

    Thanks for your example,
    Dave

  8. Evan says:

    Pete, I and my family will be praying for you as you deal with this loss.

    My father is my mentor, and I’ve gone so far as to ask him to write down his thoughts whenever he gets an urge to, so none of the profoundly philosophical stuff that escapes his lips will pass out of the world when he dies. I don’t want to imagine how badly I’ll deal with that event when it comes.

  9. Hey bro, I wrote about you today… he looks like he was a great man. And from what you said about him…. I know he was.

  10. Brad Martin says:

    Pete, Thank you for opening up, sharing your heart and speaking the truth. You will be covered in prayer today.
    Brad

  11. mpt says:

    Thanks for this, Pete.

    My grandmother taught me more about life than anybody else in my life.

    I hope this is a good reminder to all of the hip churches: Don’t scare away the old folk! We need them. And they need us.

  12. [...] Your Days Are Numbered – by Pete Wilson [...]

  13. Jenni Catron says:

    I can remember the very first time I met Jimmy. It was before I even met you, Pete. I was so inspired by his passion and enthusiasm for the church. His confidence and belief in me, you and the rest of our very young leadership team was such an inspiration.

    Jimmy, you are missed dearly!

    ** And I never beat him in a tennis match either ;)
    .-= Jenni Catron´s last blog ..Mary & Martha Leadership =-.

  14. Jenny says:

    Will be praying for you today, Pete.

  15. woody says:

    Pete, so sorry for your loss personally, and the loss of a great man of God to your church.

    I am 50 years old, and mentors never cease to be important, no matter your age. Mine, Joe T. Carrell, died a few short weeks ago. He taught me to read music as a teenager, how to use the language with an economy of expression, and I met my wife in his choir. I am forever grateful for how that man poured into my life.

    Joe is the reason I am not fearful to pour into others.

    Joe and Jimmy will be best of friends in the most amazing place…thinking about you today Pete.

  16. Becky says:

    I’m praying for you guys today! What a beautiful thing you had with his friendship!
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..Fear =-.

  17. Susan says:

    We are praying for you as you speak today. We really enjoyed knowing Jimmy.

    Miss Flossie Maxwell has mentored me — in my teaching skills, in my prayer life, and by her example. I spiritually grow with each contact I have with her: in person, a card, an email….I am thankful for her — she has changed my life!

  18. ash says:

    Jimmy was endlessly generous to our family, even to the point of sending gifts when we had Audrey even though his health was really declining at that point. I know that Matt and I (and Matt’s golf game)are better for having known Jimmy. Thankful. And praying for you as you do this funeral.

  19. The value of a person in our life is most keenly felt when he is gone. I think Thursdays will be hard for you for a while. But from what you wrote in your blog – if he hadn’t given good counsel, you wouldn’t have started CP; if you hadn’t started CP, you wouldn’t have a very large church that forms the core of so much that is good in Nashville today. God used him back then to bring together a team of people today who can serve with grace in crisis – and some of those who are served now are going to know the Lord as a result.

    It could be that this man’s greatest legacy is still unfolding today. God’s plans spill across generations.

    God bless…
    .-= Steve Gwilt (@swggy)´s last blog ..What are your Spiritual Gifts? =-.

  20. Bill says:

    Wow, Pete, sorry we didn’t know this when we talked to you earlier. Hope the levity was a needed lighter moment. May God fill your mind and your mouth as you mourn with joy.

  21. Nick says:

    I believe this must be who Ryan was talking about the other day who died last week and was going to miss the opening of the Bellevue campus. I am sorry for your loss; it sounds like you’ve gained so much through Jimmy’s life.

    I have an older (and thankfully, much wiser) friend and mentor. I served on staff with him at another church. I’ve probably learned more by watching him through adversity than anything else. When tensions around him grew, it was amazing to see him keep his peace until the very end of a situation, and then he would speak, and it was if God himself was speaking. I love learning from him.
    .-= Nick´s last blog ..One Prayer Coming in June =-.

  22. Derek Bodiford says:

    I do not have a mentor that is older and wiser. It ha been a prayer for me for sometime to have a mentor to help teach and guide me through the wisdom of years of service to the Lord and I am confident that God will provide such a man. The real question is am I looking for the guy I want to be my mentor or am I looking for the the guy that God is sending me to be my mentor?

    In His Name,

    Derek Bodiford

  23. Shawn ASbury says:

    i found this blog/site when looking at the stuff christians like site.

    pete, i too have a mentor in my life whom i love dearly and seek out in times of need. the one thing that Mr. Wes keeps reminding me is that even though someday he will be gone, a piece of him lives on in me. And someday i will be the one mentoring someone else and they too will be asking the same questions i am.

  24. kc says:

    SOLID!
    .-= kc´s last blog ..Courageous Prayers =-.

  25. Erin says:

    Mentors have come and gone in my life, too–most have been for very specific things that I have gone through and I picked their brains and blessed their hearts for the time they shared with me.

    This must be a tough valley through the flood and now death of a close friend, Pete. I will join with those who didn’t know your friend but are thankful for our own Jimmys and will lift you up in prayer today.

    Blessings,

  26. Anne Jackson says:

    I had no idea Jimmy passed. I’m so sorry.

  27. Tony York says:

    While we want to celebrate his position now in the presence of God, I know that it is difficult to lose someone who has spoken truth to you and many others. In this we celebrate through grief.

    I have had people like that and need more…especially since I have found that I am the ‘older, wiser’ mentor for some young men that I meet with on Wednesday nights. This post will make that time all the more special.

    May God give us all wisdom to hear His voice.
    .-= Tony York´s last blog ..To Smell a Name =-.

  28. Lauren Kelly says:

    So sorry to hear about your mentor and friend, Pete! I agree, there is so much to be gained from having an older mentor in your life!

  29. gitz says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, Pete, and will be keeping you in my prayers today as you celebrate his life. I can only imagine the lessons you’ll learn today just being around all the lives he impacted.

    I’m grateful for his influence on you, which in turn allowed for your influence on me. We are richly blessed.
    .-= gitz´s last blog ..Great Expectations =-.

  30. I’m so sorry you’re having to say goodbye on this side of heaven — to a brother and a mentor — and grieving that loss today.

    Jimmy sounds like a friend sent direct from above, in the flesh, to you.

    His words are blessing all of us now… through your life and your words.

    Pete, we’re with you in heart.
    .-= Faith Barista | Bonnie´s last blog ..When We Try To Kill Our Stories: Contest Results & Reflection =-.

  31. CFloyd says:

    OH yes, Pete, My mommy-mentor, Miss Judy. She was such a great and fruitful blessing in my life. My husband even commented to her one Sunday – thank you for all you do for my wife. She’s still living, but we moved with the military. I will always be grateful for my mommy-mentor.
    .-= CFloyd´s last blog ..Fruitless is Pointless =-.

  32. Mike in Milwaukee says:

    Pete, we are sorry for your loss and will grieve with you and pray for you. What a blessing to have a wise, godly friend like Jimmy.

  33. Amber says:

    Praying for you today, CP family & Jimmy’s family too. Such a wonderful man and example. He will be missed!

  34. David Knapp says:

    Thanks for sharing this post with us. It was awesome that you had a mentor like Jimmy.

    May we all find somebody to share life with. Those we can learn from and those we can teach.

    I bet there are a lot of people who are glad you didn’t change professions! :-)
    .-= David Knapp´s last blog ..Amanda Knapp Birthday Video =-.

  35. Lisa says:

    mmm… yes, a number of years ago in a sort of “divince coincidence” (ick, how’s that for Christiany language? just not sure how else to say it!) I met a woman who has become a very dear friend. She’s about 15 years older than me and has very much mentored me in life and faith. She lives on the opposite side of the country from me, so we only see each other once or twice a year, but email and telephones mean that we are in contact nearly daily, sharing each other’s lives. There are not enough ways to express how thankful I am for the “coincidental” meeting.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Stuff Worth Reading =-.

  36. Kevin M. says:

    Yes, I do! It is such an incredible blessing!

  37. Michelle Barnes says:

    Pete,

    I’m sorry to read about your loss.
    I pray that you don’t mind, but I shared your words with some friends on Facebook. My mentors (2 of them) are both out of my life and I miss them terribly. Such a huge loss that I’ll never be able to go to them for advice or to lean on again.
    But, you are an amazingly strong person who, I’m sure, will carry his wisdom with you in every decision you make in life and with the church.
    My prayers are with you and yours,
    Michelle

  38. I am so sorry friend. My heart hurts, and yet it is so full to know that you had him! Much love. H
    .-= whittakerwoman´s last blog ..My Introverted Comedian =-.

  39. Beverly Stroud says:

    I met Jimmy before I knew you Pete. We were setting up chairs early Sunday morning at a middle school for another church. He scared me at first. He always though his way was the best way to do things. After my husband passed he showed he also was a very caring person truly with a heart for God. I sure will miss the smile and hug I got on Sundays from him

  40. Ian says:

    Pete – a wonderful tribute to your friend and mentor. You honour him and your friendship with your words…

  41. Phil Chalos says:

    I’m Free
    by Unknown
    Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
    I’m following the path God has laid, you see.
    I took His hand when I heard His call.
    I turned my back and left it all.

    I could not stay another day,
    To laugh, to love, to work or play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way,
    I found the peace at the close of day.
    If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joys.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    yes, these things I too will miss.
    Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
    I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
    My life’s been full, I savored much,
    Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
    Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
    Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee.
    God wanted me now,
    He set me free
    .-= Phil Chalos´s last blog ..Welcome to TrinityEnergy.com =-.

  42. britt says:

    What a lovely post. Sorry about your loss..and our loss as a church.

    I have two older sisters and a mother who give me lot of great advice and guidance but hearing you talk about an older mentor made me think of who I might know who could be a mentor I wasn’t related to. no one immediately comes to mind.. but I’ll be looking.

  43. Joseph says:

    Pete,

    Prayers to you and Jimmy’s family.

    All I can think of right now is how absolutely blessed you are to have had such an amazing friend and mentor. And you are right, it is something to be embraced.

    I wish I had a mentor like this and it is something I crave. I have a wonderful life, but will tell you, this was a unique and special bond the two of you had.

    Thanks for sharing.

  44. Mela Kamin says:

    Beautiful words for your friend – makes me want to be intentional about being a mentor or more importantly, living so I’m worthy of being considered one. Thanks for sharing through your loss. Praying for you & your family.

  45. Cory says:

    Pete,

    It is neat that you blogged about this because I have a great story to share with you about my mentor.

    I have an older gentlemen that poured into my life and he moved to Tennessee and I moved to Maryland, so we have been seperated for several years. We still talk on occasion. Well about a year and half ago our pastor did a series that dealt with saying things to loved ones that you have never taken the time to.

    After that series I set out on the path to write a letter to my Mentor letting him know how he effected my life. It took me about a year to write this letter and then it took another 3-4 months to send the letter.

    Well my mentor got his letter about a week ago and it arrived at the perfect time. The day before he got the letter he had to make a tough decision to kick his grandson out of his home. The devil was really beating him up about how he was a horrible person/parent and he was feeling down. The letter arrived the next day and really made him realize he is effecting people in a postive way.

    I am just blown away how God’s timing is just perfect. What a true testament to how much God love’s us.

    Thanks for letting me share with you Pete.
    .-= Cory´s last blog ..OH! =-.

  46. Tom Raines says:

    Praying for you. Thank you for sharing. I have a hole here that I thank you for shedding light on. My dad is 80, lives in my neighborhood and I don’t even sit with him one day a week. I am convicted and regret I have let so much time pass. Jimmy gave you wisdom that now will be reflected to us. thank you! Praying
    .-= Tom Raines´s last blog ..Today’s Affirmation: I cry out to You God and You answer me; You make me bold with strength in my soul. =-.

  47. Candy says:

    So sorry for your loss, Pete, but happy for heaven’s gain. Having a mentor like Jimmy is a beautiful thing, and I have a feeling he’d say some of the very same things about you. We all learn and grow from each other. Where experience and age fall short, perspective and youthful energy fill in the gaps. Together, you were a great team. But oh, it’s so hard to lose a friend. Your relationship seems to have had a real “Tuesdays with Morrie” theme. Praying.
    .-= Candy´s last blog ..The Tweet-Up, Part 3: Meanwhile, back at the oyster bar =-.

  48. Pete A. says:

    Though I didn’t know Jimmy, your description makes me glad you – and others there – did.

    No “e” in Cross Point? Ballet? A church I went to many years ago recently changed its name to “Crosspointe.” Yes, WITH an “e.” Maybe not ballet fans?

    While there, I, too, felt like what ministry I’d had (as a lay person) was over (because of a divorce). The minister responded by taking me to lunch and telling me “Don’t feel as if you’re any less worthwhile a person.” Very on-target advice, though it wasn’t easy to convince my emotions to follow it.

    But I, too, found that God didn’t share my views about the end of my ministry. He steadily opened doors I’d never even thought of.

    It was very good to hear you’d had a similar, yet quite different, experience. God’s wonderful at second chances, isn’t He?

  49. alece says:

    when i was in nashville this last time, so many people talked to me about jimmy. he impacted so many, so deeply.

    i’m sorry for your loss, pete. i know he meant a great deal to you.
    .-= alece´s last blog ..four-minute friday: giveaway =-.

  50. Mysoul says:

    I am sorry for your Loss. I do believe, that in our lives we have the people we need for as long as we need them. He has given you what you were supposed to receive through him. That is a blessing. :)

    I have had 3 people like Jim, come into my life at different points in my life…I lost touch with one and have the other two in my life right now. One isnt here physically close, the other is. I cant imagine how my life would be, without them. We talk stuff over letters and emails, they are my pillars of strength. I am fortunate and honoured to have them part of my life. I also understand they maynot be there for long, its something I have come to accept.

  51. [...] Pete Wilson Posted in [...]

  52. Sidney says:

    My family just took a loss recently, so I can relate. Hang in there<3

  53. Susan says:

    To answer your question, yes. I have several people older than me who pour into my life as mentors/examples. My pastor from school, my former youth pastor, and my grandmom are the first three who pop into my head. I’m very thankful for those people, more than words can ever express.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..The Mountain of God =-.

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