That sinking feeling

Community, Ministry, Thoughts

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There have been many times in my ministry where I have gotten to this point, and yesterday was another one of those days where I evaluated who I was, what God has called me too, and how I was going to make it through.  

See this page has been an avenue where I have spoken candidly on Life, ministry, and all the grey in between.  That “Grey” is the bleed over from both compartments in my life, who I am as a Pastor and who I am to the rest of you.  Many of these posts never make it live, but nonetheless these are my thoughts.

See often times whether when I was in the corporate world or now in the church world, people have approached me and exposed their souls to me.  Which for a moment is kind of a relief… since this is something that my title has required from me for some time.  So for that moment its like we connect, we know what each other is going through and we for a second are on an even playing field.  It’s nice.  Well then other times it feels like I am a lifeguard perched in my tower. Over this sink hole.  Looking for the one, the one I am here to help bring salvation to.  The difference here is when I jump in to assist, there is too many to help, too many to bring to the surface, or to the edge.  In fact for a moment it’s like saving someone who is drowning, the natural reaction is to bring you to their level instead of you raising them to yours. And for that moment my calling feels like it’s to the bottom of the pool.  Hurt, Wounded, Broken, Hopeless, Lost, Dead.

Yesterday was that day for me.  There are so many people around me that need a hand up.  No matter if it is self induced or not, they are drowning and screaming for help.  And I hurt individually for every one of you.  And I can’t get you out of my mind.  But the message is the same.  

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Though you think this is about you, or them.  The encouraging but hard truth is, its not.  In fact it’s not about me either and in these moments I feel helpless too.  

It’s about a fight, a battle, a victory, a defeat, but not about us.  Take heart though things seem lost, He is salvation; He has overcome the very world that holds you back.  And though everything in you says you are alone, your not.  And in these moments, I am beyond thankful I am not either.

I’m sorry, but this to shall pass.

And this is why we must go.

Elevate, Everyday Life, Family, Ministry, Pictures, Uncategorized

A little over 4 years ago God began to stir something in my heart that was somewhat unexplainable.  I was in Miami Florida visiting some friends who had planted a church down there. During this time my friends and other core people of this church plant began to bounce ideas off of me and were seeking guidance for a situation that was far from my expertise.  But through these conversations God began to develop something within my heart for the church-planting world.  I remember sitting in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale tore up about what I felt could be a calling to go and start a church.  Where? I had no clue.  Why me?  I was lost there also, but God was very clear when it came to church planting.  I was going to do this.  During this moment as I was about to begin boarding the plane I received a call from Kevin Campbell who I had been doing college and youth ministry with during this time back in Georgia.  I remember his words like it was yesterday, “How do you feel after your visit?”  Not knowing what he was asking but hoping my inkling was right, I asked him “what do you mean?”  And he said, “about church planting.”  I knew from that point on Kevin and I would begin this journey of a lifetime.  We began meeting and planning our next steps to move to a very heavily populated city of unchurched people, which has now become Elevate Church in San Diego California.   During our time here in Southern California we have experienced the emotional roller coaster called “Church Planting.” But it has been such an unbelievable experience throughout the last couple years we have been here.

I say all of this and prepare you with the precise background on how we got here to say this.  My wife (Kelly) and I will be leaving San Diego and Elevate Church at the end of this month.  Those are probably the hardest words I have typed so far in my 28 years of existence.  It is beyond words why Kelly and I would give up by far besides our marriage the greatest opportunity of our lives.  But at the end of the day about 6 months ago God began preparing in me a departure from the very thing he called me to.  We have invested in more than we can number, we have seen so many come to Christ because of this movement.  We have watched many enter the waters of baptism and begin a walk in new life.  We have seen two locations that were never built to be worship facilities erupt in worship.  We have had some great times and have endured some hard times, but one thing is for sure we have always followed what God had led and He has been faithful every step of the way.    We have to trust even if we don’t understand that God has a plan in us leaving, not just for us but also for Elevate Church.

When I think about this situation and try to dissect it more than I should, I am reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Way before God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22, the bible says in Genesis 15:6 “He credited him as righteousness” because of his faith.   God would never have asked Abraham to prove his faith if he didn’t establish his faith in the first place.  And I believe just like Abraham God began establishing my faith at the age of 18 when I first felt called into the ministry for a day like today.  We will never get a grip on God and the plans he has in store for us and I don’t think that we are meant to.  For example if I would have know that I would be returning home only close to two years after moving out here, I may have never made it.  I would like to think I would have still came, but that is just something I am not totally sure of.  But I came and it has made me a better man and husband to my wife, a better pastor to Gods calling and a more open heart to what God has next.

For those who are wondering Kevin and I are closer than ever and it is hard to think about doing ministry with anyone other than him.  I don’t have another job lined up or a better opportunity!  It is seriously and merely a leap of faith and something God has called.  I will be returning to school when we arrive back into Atlanta where I will pursue and finish my degree.  Something I do know is that school is a huge part of us coming back but where God leads from there is going to be an exciting and incredible adventure.  I hope and pray where ever we end up we will be able to be apart of a movement like Elevate Church where we will exist solely on seeing people far from God become passionate followers of Him.  And hopefully we will always surround ourselves with the unchurched, the broken, the sick, and the poor where Kelly and I will be a light of Jesus that helps change the world one person at a time.

We love everyone who has believed in us and has been apart of this journey with us.  Thank you Kevin Campbell and Elevate Church for your gracious loving support, and impact on the foundation of our marriage and our lives. We will continue carrying out the vision in which God has laid on this church here and to the outer most parts of the world!

With Love

Think big Live Loud

Chris Reynolds

To defeat the Giant

Bible Journey, Everyday Life, Ministry

Many of you are familiar of the story about David and Goliath. As I was reminded today of this story I thought about how relevant this story is today.  Because no matter where you are, there has been a point in your life where you were up against a giant that seem to shadow over you.  Most of the time this Giant in our lives is Sin!  But one of the greatest truths in this story is that even though everyone around David saw him as a shepherd boy and Goliath as the victor, David knew who was on his side!  But you and I when we are given this sort of opportunity to defeat what has cast a shadow on us for sometime, we tend to be overwhelmed with of how big the situation and/or problem is.  But what if for once we took on the optimism that David carried?

Everyone around David told him that Goliath was too big to defeat, but David thought he was too big to miss!

As David approached this Giant, he dwelled on how big his God was and realized that Goliath was no match for the creator of the universe.  Because just like David coming from the chosen people you and I are were chosen for the son of God to pay the price on our behalf, so then at that point we became heirs of eternity and Gods kingdom.  When we compare our sin and our problems with the creator and the power in which he bestows, our giants becomes nothing more but an opportunity to defeat and an opportunity to give God the glory in which he deserves.  So as you approach your giant today remember who is bigger, and remember who deserves the worship in which you will deliver to something.  Why not give it to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the one that brings your only chance of victory.  Today my prayers are with you and your battle, that you too may defeat the Giant!

To Break the Silence

Ministry, Uncategorized

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I guess I quit blogging for a couple reasons, one because I am a horrible writer.  I am huge dreamer but very inadequate when it comes to living beneath the standards you have set within your mind and what you call educated.  The second reason is because for a moment there I began to lose my grip, or my way.  I became so caught up in what you the reader thought and so tied up with all the expectations that come with my job being a “PASTOR.”  It is unbelievable that we have set such a standard for a pastor that he cannot be vulnerable without him losing his voice.  Trust me I know that there are a few of you who read this that do not hold this standard, but I also know somewhere in side of us we hold unbelievable expectations for ourselves and the people around us.  So think on those terms and then apply it here.  But I write now because of this….

I am so past the thought of existing and so ready to begin thriving!

I could end with the above line but instead I will explain the path of this landing.  I feel as though God has created every one of us uniquely and wonderfully to fulfil his purpose.  But have you ever received directions from someone to an incredible restaurant and you begin heading down that road that you knew they said to turn on, but you have been here for a while and you just cant seem to find your destination so you turn around.  Or maybe you end up settling for McDonald’s cause at the end of the day you’re just hungry.  When all it took was not second guessing yourself, and just staying true to the one who knew, the one who had come before you.  Well this is kind of where I am at.  So many people are on the road to where God has called them too except they begin thinking too hard about the chance that they just might have missed the turn.  So they give up or choose the long way, or another alternative, or whatever.  I feel so many of us are here, we have given up and just began settling.  Forget the traveling parallel and just think about this

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” Hebrews 4:2

Knowing is useless if you do not put faith in the truth you know.  It is so simple when read but yet so difficult when applying.  Two final thoughts:  You are where you are because God built you for this moment or maybe you just ended up here because you have never gotten past existing.  Either way God built you for this moment! Begin Thriving or you might as well begin dying! He came before not for the heck of it but so that He could show you the way, now trust in it!

Living above the anticipation of failure

Bible Journey, Elevate, Everyday Life, Ministry, Thoughts

144752711_baf9e92c7e_mTomorrow I will be bringing the word at Elevate Church, I am so excited not only because it is a church that I am on staff with but because I know that tomorrow could be very ground breaking for a lot of people.  We are beginning a new series called “Chase the Lion.”  I am covering the “Defying the odds” part of this series.  I will be telling a story that comes from Acts 12, about a man named Peter who was very pivotal for the church we know and love today.  During this particular story the early church stood a chance of failure because of a king and his clutch on key leaders within this movement.  I feel as though a lot of us are in a situation that is a make it or break it time for our lives and that we are living under this unspoken anticipation of failure from those around us and from even our own fears.  But like I have heard put so many times since I began church planting, “The greatest rewards lie on the other side of the greatest risk in our lives.”  You may be thinking Defying the odds is a great thought but Chris you just don’t understand what I am up against.  Here is some advice, you are right to fear your fight with the odds, but it is not your fight, it is the hope and glory in you that will take you the heights in your life that  you never thought were possible.  But here is the scary thing about all of this…the story ends with the king failing but people still praising him, and because he did not give the glory to where it was deserved he was killed, and even eaten by worms.  So when you are on the other side of this story and you do “Defy the odds” remember who saw you through and give the praise where the praise is deserved, God.  So I pray that tomorrow God will knock down the walls you have been trying to climb and create  a wholeness in you that will never leave you defeated again.

How do we pray?

Elevate, Ministry, Prayer Request, San Diego, Video's

This Sunday I am delivering a message in our series at Elevate Church called “God is Listening.”  Really I have been thinking about this talk for a couple years now and these verses for sometime.  I made a video and posted my thoughts on Youtube for the world to see about a year or so ago, and I thought I would give you a chance to see the basis of this moment we will have Sunday morning.

The Blind leading the Blind

Everyday Life, Ministry, Relationship, San Diego, Thoughts

3348830173_30d01723b7_mThis post is a continuation of yesterdays post …..

Yesterday I wrote about something that God has just been putting on my heart about the people I come in contact with everyday.  How a lot of times we appear that everything in our life is going fantastic and nothing is wrong inside, but when in reality we are dying on the inside.  So apart of my step into the right direction I began handing out crackers and food to those around me who are homeless.  Well God added to this story yesterday at work.

If you don’t know this already I am a pastor, and if you know anything about that lifestyle, you sometimes have to work other jobs to compensate that lifestyle of choice.  So my other job is at the great and marvelous Chick-fil-a!   So as I was working last night I noticed a blind man walking across the road, with no regard to the on coming traffic.  He was approaching our building as though this was new territory for him and he was not sure where to enter.  As he placed himself with his hand grazing our wall towards the entrance my first thought was holy crap “I can’t imagine a life with out sight!”  So he stepped into our building not knowing where to go next he began asking for someone to help him get to the counter and get him some food.  So I began to assist him through the process of life outside of his boundaries.  So throughout all of this we exchanged names and crazy stories on how we  both ended up on the west coast so far from home.  I took him back to the bus stop where he exited my life, probably thinking just another day in a dark world.  But I am telling you God really used him to help me really think through my surroundings and my lifestyle and the choices that I make.  Though I have sight, I have come to realize I have a hard time seeing. This man has learned to trust, which is hard for me, he has learned to take a step in the dark and the unknown, which seems crippling to me.  He has learned to depend on people even when most of the time they are not dependable.  And he listened to me as though there was nothing in this world he would rather do.

When will we begin to choose to surrender a life we feel we have control of and begin to grasp a life that is unknown, but is controlled by the utmost highest.  Because after a couple hours with Danny, I have realized that seeing is not always believing but having faith in the next step can take you to the next level.

Is how your living today worth someone writing about in the future.

Open your eyes…it may not be how it looks.

Everyday Life, Ministry, San Diego, Thoughts

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A couple weeks ago I started this little cracker ministry, I know your thinking what the heck is a cracker ministry? Well basically I was cleaning out our offices at Elevate and came across so many packs of crackers that we use to stuff bags for advertising that were now sitting and aging. They weren’t exactly expired but they were heading in that direction. So instead of tossing them like I really wanted to, I decide why not give them out to those in need? So I loaded up my car and hit the road, and there started a cracker ministry. Basically there are more homeless in San Diego than one would know what to do with. And they are at every traffic light asking for whatever you got. And I have CRACKERS! So I began handing out these snacks to these guys and only seeing is believing the relief on their face when they recieve what I thought was stupid and what I saw as trash. A cracker? Or is it the gesture? I am not exactly sure but what I do know is everything and everybody in this world is in a place of need and are crying out, it just takes you and I to open our eyes. Here are some sobering statistics from those you come in contact with everyday!

40% of us have inflicted self injury

1 in 5 of us have contemplated SUICIDE!

Over 1500 of us actually go through with killing ourselves each year

65% of us say there is no way to tell which religion is true

53% of us believed Jesus actually SINNED

83% of us believe truth is relative

We will see 14000 sexual references on TV this year

9 out of 10 of us have seen porn online

8000 of us contract an STD everyday

1 in 10 of us have been raped

1/2 of us are no longer virgins and are not married

1 million of us are pregnant

340000 of us get abortions each year

1 in 4 of us use illegal drugs

All of us need to be reached!

What is the idea that you think is stupid that could change a statistic? What is your cracker ministry? Just because everything seems put together in their eyes, most of us are broken and need love. How will you make the dreams of someone else possible?

The time is now.

What is holding you captive?

Bible Journey, Elevate, Everyday Life, Ministry, San Diego

Hostage-Web312x222I haven’t  taken the opportunity to blog lately because I have been held Hostage to a lot of things going on in my life.  I like to think I am getting my mid life crisis out of the way but whatever it is I am very thankful to Gods renewing spirit.  But all this turmoil led up to this Sunday where I was given a spur of the moment chance to preach at the church I am on staff at!  Due to Pastor Kevins child making her appearance God gave me the opportunity to help the people of our congregation  through the things that I have been dealing with.  I am not sure if your anything like me but when your frustrated and its complicated the best thing you can do is talk about it, and that is exactly what I did.  I learned with the crowd on this given date through Gods words that he was speaking through me.  So here is some thoughts:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the patters of this world but be transformed in the renewing of your mind.
Gods will is more concerned with who you are becoming then who you are and what you do.

If you stand for nothing you will begin to stand for everything.

When your devotion increases for stuff your devotion decreases for God.

Ultimately to break free from the bondage of today’s culture and society you have to get a GOD size view of the SIZE of our GOD!

What are you in pursuit of today?  Because you will chase what is important to you.  Maybe you can begin with me by prioritizing our lives to begin a pursuit of the creator who has been pursuing us since the beginning!