We had never heard of Casting Crowns until June of ’14. Mary Kay’s boss, Doug, was in a serious bicycle accident. Doug was now a paraplegic – no movement beneath his breast. His arms and brain were fine. The rest of his body wasn’t. The book Thrive, by lead singer Mark Hall, had recently come out and Doug’s wife, Elizabeth, read it to him in the hospital to inspire him.
Thrive excited Doug. He didn’t just want to survive – he wanted to Thrive. Mary Kay had taken the reins at the office until Doug returned full-time. No one had any idea when that would be.
Doug was expected to be hospitalized for 6 – 12 months. By early fall Doug was out of the hospital.
We saw a newspaper column in the Waco Tribune announcing that Casting Crowns were coming to the Bell County Expo Center October 24th. I wanted to share the story with the writer of the article and see if it was possible for Doug to get a chance to go backstage and meet them. I wrote a long e-mail explaining why this would be so important.
The concert was a couple of days away and the writer didn’t even respond. Wonderful. Thanks!
When MK and I got home from the office that night one of our prayers was that we find a way for Doug to meet the band. Their book, as well as their song Thrive, had been so powerful for Doug and Liz.
I went to the Google machine and tried to see if I could find an e-mail address for anyone associated with the band. An agent? A roadie? Anyone. I discovered that the band members had their e-mail addresses online. Hey, I was shooting for the moon I might as well shoot as high as I can.
Before I hit the send button we prayed again.
MK and I were hoping we could buy tickets for the concert and surprise Doug the next morning. That’s when I received an e-mail. It was from Megan. Megan Garrett is the keyboardist and vocalist for the band. Of course, I included her and all the band members in this long e-mail that described why I was trying to get Doug included in a backstage meet and greet with the band. Seven minutes after I hit the send button she responded.
She said they would love to have Doug and Liz meet the band and that MK and I would be able to go, too. Someone soon reached out to us with instructions on where to go and what time to get there.
I was in tears. I was so moved. Then I was ashamed of my faith.
Since I was 5 years old, I had been taught to pray. I never remembered, however, such an immediate reply. Our prayers were being answered. We couldn’t wait to let Doug know that the band wanted to meet him.
A couple of days later we found ourselves backstage looking forward to meeting the band. We had a chance to meet the two opening acts first. I remember MK and I learning all we could about the bands playing that night on our 45-minute drive to the concert. We had never listened to a Christian music station. We were kids of the mid-50s. John Denver, Chicago, classic rock. We were at the precipice of learning a new way to praise the Lord while singing songs about him!
Mandisa was a star. A four-time Grammy award winner by 2014. Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 2010 Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2012. Then two more Grammys in 2014 – Contemporary Christian Music Album then Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance.
After we met Mandisa, a young guy followed and apologized that Sidewalk Prophets were on stage getting ready to open. He said his name was Dave. We thought he must have been one of the roadies. Turns out, Dave Frey is the lead singer!
Then Casting Crowns came out to meet us. We got pictures with all of them.
Last Friday night MK and I went to hear Casting Crowns for the 4th time. This was their 20th Anniversary Tour. This one at the Key Theatre in downtown Cleveland with 3400 seats. It was a sellout.
Their story is mesmerizing. The hand of God in each of their steps. www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vM7wgq3n3U
Their “Home by Sunday” movie comes out at theatres all over America November 30th. Since they began 20 years ago, they booked gigs so they could be home, now in Atlanta, for Sunday morning services as youth pastors.
As the stories in Diagnosed reveal, it wasn’t always easy. After an award filled 2014 Mark was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015. Surgery revealed that the cancer had been contained in the removed kidney.
If you haven’t done so listen to their songs. Praise You In This Storm. Who Am I? Voice of Truth. Scars in Heaven. Only Jesus.
Funny. One event less than 10 years ago changed our music habits forever. It also reminded me that prayers work. Need more examples? Get Diagnosed and read those 26 stories. They just might change the way you pray and what you believe.