I often think through what type of leader that I want to be, and what type of leader that I am. I exist somewhere in between this gap of reality. Here lately I can’t get this concept out of my head.
‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’
There were many differences between Jesus the king, and other kings but one is the reverence of the throne. See in what I know about kingdoms, is that normally there would be a leader who sits upon the throne, who demanded respect, who demanded reverence, who demanded loyalty. Then there was Jesus, who never demanded anything upon his authority, who never threw his holiness, his kingship, or the height in which he was at anyone.
I feel that a major part of my calling is to help people get to this prophecy, that every knee will bow, and that every tongue will confess. But there is a difference here. See a normal king demands this type of respect and my king deserves it. The choice is yours for some time, but how much more precious will it be to bow because all that He has done for you, and through you. You will bow, you will confess, but will it be because it is demanded or deserved?
There is something that draws me to this idea as a leader. I can be the leader that is respected or the leader that demands respect. There is a difference, and all I want is to be the leader who points others to a king, to a savior, who has taught me everything I know about how we should lead. Who has given me more than anyone else can, or will. Do my actions point to what he has done? Will you bow to his love, or fall to your ignorance. Either way every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.
Since I have started here at Crossroads Church God has reminded me so much of just how broken people are. In the midst of a falling economy, of a broken family, and in the absence of morality lies the very thing that I’ve been called to reach, the lost. In Luke 15 it is very apparent where Jesus stands, and where His heart is by the stories that he tells. Whether it is a Shepherd leaving his flock for the one that he loses, or a father welcoming his long lost son back into the family, Jesus makes one thing clear, everyone counts. I have come to find that my story in which I was once ashamed of is not unfamiliar to the masses. In fact God has used my story to relate and comfort others and remind them that even in the times of strife and uncertainty He is certain. I once heard someone mention that God still works in the meantime. I know there are many that are in a place of hopelessness right now, but John 16:33 says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” Stand on this truth today.
The Hike With Hope team and I just returned from Delicias, Honduras a day ago and I have been trying to process what took place ever since. Leaving the country is shaky, leading a team without knowing the outcome is scary, but seeing the hope and love of Jesus Christ rejected is without a question the hardest thing a man can witness. When I launched Hike With Hope, I will admit, it was probably too soon and somewhat of an underdeveloped idea. But still something told me the time is now. The idea was to take hope to the hopeless and love the forgotten all around this world. Did I ever think we would actually get the opportunity to do such a thing? Still not sure, but we have, we did, and we will. God has blessed us beyond measure and has provided more than I can imagine. But we spend 90% of our time preparing for the 10%, and that 10% is hard and heavy. This last week we saw God move and develop the seeds we planted last time. It was unbelievable, and so rewarding. But this week we also caught a glimpse of a bondage so strong that has made truth become relative for so many. The picture was painted when a lady spoke to Gerardo one late afternoon saying, “You and your Americans can’t buy us with rice and beans.” At first it was so discouraging, because if you know me then you know I am very careful in leveraging anything for the gospel. I have always been very aware not to present an “if you say this prayer I will give you this” type attitude. But this wasn’t about me or the team, it was about religion. Religion has warred on for sometime now, battle after battle, with people arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong. I guess for once I was hoping that we could spare the battle of who’s right, and not “fight” to “win” but “love” to “change.” Not that I think I am wrong, because I know Jesus is the only way. But until these people know I care, they don’t care what I know. But here is the great part, the only way they will ever trust us is through Christ, and through their own(Benigno). Benigno, the man who stood in the shadow of a giant(Catholicism) last time we were there, has developed truly into a man of God. He is gentle, persistent, and in love with Christ. This is what sets him apart. So though religion paints a brutal fight once again, we have a man on that side who stands for hope. And that is our chance, that is our hope, and that is what we are in this for. Though there were a few and may always be a few who live so sceptical, there are and were many who were just so thankful to see us. With no rain, water has been harder to come by, without water food has been scarce and without these essentials this village has grown weary. But we will learn from Benigno, and have a gentle spirit but persist in hope that change will come, and that we will see love grow and a new mountain for them to stand firm upon. Thank you all so much for making this last week possible.
From me to you.
Well over 2 years ago God moved in the lives of many and there was an urging for a group of individuals to pack up and head west from a small town here in Georgia. I can’t say that I thought we would ever last, I can’t even say other wise, because this was such a fresh idea in my mind when I felt the call to leave it all behind and help launch a church in southern California. “Elevate exist to see people far from God become passionate followers of Christ” I have said this line so much that it has become the life of my wife and I. Today they celebrate as if day one was yesterday. I can’t answer for Kevin Campbell, but I remember the feeling of not knowing if anyone would show, and I am sure today that the only thing that satisfies that feeling is Gods past faithfulness.
I want it to be known that I love all you “Elevators” as Howard so slyly has called us in the past. I will never be the same after that chapter in my life, and I can only hope to be apart of such a journey that delivers such purpose as it did. Kevin Campbell was not only a partner, a boss, or a spiritual advisor, he was my friend. I have never met a man who prays more, believes more, and does more than he. I remember many days hitting a wall in that journey not knowing what comes next and his answer was always the same, lets lift it up to God. I know that position is a lonely position carrying the weight of the calling along with the lives of the church, but I can promise you that you will not find a more qualified individual than he. His love, his patience, and his desire for the exaltation of Christ is so compelling that you cannot be the same.
I love you and everything that you have done for me and my family. I will be forever indebted to you for the grace that you have shown me and the moments you believed in me when no one else did. I was nothing but a misfit who believed in a huge God and you gave me a platform to shout that. Thank you for being such a man of God, and an example that there are still crazy people out there that believe in the miraculous power of Christ like I did. I hope there comes a day where I can dig in the trenches along side of you again. You have shoveled your way through concrete in SoCal when everyone thought we were crazy and the odds were stacked against us. You truly have laid down your life for my family and protected us through such huge life change and for that anything you ever need I will be there.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
I haven’t written in a while on this site, mostly because I read something that spoke to the thought of narrowing down my focus on when I blog and so I have spent time doing so on here. But today I feel inspired. And it is a personal inspiration not one of focus on the adventures that I am currently in but one that focuses on who I am.
Who is Chris Reynolds and what defines his life and his path.
I know him pretty well and I can tell you he dies on the inside daily for the people in which he comes in contact with. He feels the pressure of the world and the expectations they have on him even though he has set most of those up against himself. He labors in pain unto the broken and shamed, and tries so patiently to live within the grey shade of life in between who they say he is and who God knows he is. He is trying not to be defined by what he does but by who he really is. But its hard for him to rest his weary soul because no matter what happens during the day his calling is still whispered around every corner and decision that he hangs his hat on.
How can you shuffle through life so carelessly yet so intentionally. I don’t know the answer to this and I have probably at some point around you put on this facade that I did, but what I can tell about who Christ was and what he has asked me to do is in the lines of this. He infiltrated a culture without becoming the culture. With this intentional way of living he was trusted without flaunting that He was better, He was in the same room but yet so much different then they were. He was at this step that was only one step away from pure majestic splendor and fleshly bones. (of course He was God and sinless and perfect) But to those he came in contact with he was an example. He didn’t make them feel as though they were less, He made them feel as though he was different, a desirable different. I read a John Piper tweet yesterday that said “People are less intimidated when you are more like them, but are they more helped?” Wow this is so true, yet we have shifted ministry, life and the grey in between to be more like them instead more like HIM. How much of an impact can we have being like everyone else they know. Don’t get you are better than that out of this, just get you are different and it is a year to embrace that difference.
So I know you want it cause everybody has one, here is the 11 things I want to do in 2011
1) Be a better Husband and help my wife reach a step closer to her dreams.
2) Read the Bible, the whole thing. I say this every year and I fail it every year.
3) Memorize a verse a week, which means 52 verses will be apart of my vocabulary…that cant hurt. Here was this weeks: Philippians 1:27 “Whatever happens conduct yourself in manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
4) For the love of all that is holy watch my portion size. Lets face it I am chubby and not proud of it. Lets lose 20 pounds, why not?
5) Treat my mother like the queen she is. With out her wisdom and guidance where would I be today?
6) See Hike with Hope take a giant leap of faith in this vision God has given us.
7) Finish School. I will be done hopefully in December if my calculations are correct, but then again I failed math badly! So at least by January…but why not December? I am taking 15 hours this semester….God help my soul
8 Be a leader of my generation. Love to start a disastrously raw small group where my friends and I can battle through this shade of bondage to societies success scale!
9) Support a missionary(this one is kind of a give me, since we have that couple picked out) But give consistent, and out of love.
10) Get a dog. It’s either a kid or a dog at this point, lets face it…its time for something to thrive or die…probably better a dog than a child at this point.
11) Be me, at this point I have calculated my decisions by their outcomes and changed a lot of who I am to make you like me more…well this isn’t my licenses to be hated but to show you what God has created and live in a manner that is worthy of that!(see my memory verse is already paying off)
11.5) I also want to help the dreams of others around me become realities. Right now I have a buddy who wants to clothe them and a buddy who wants to shelter them…its time to make an impact on the people in your woods and your streets.
There you go…be inspired
Lately life has gotten extremely busy, with our return to Atlanta for the sake of school in which I began yesterday. I feel as though I sit in a classroom again with a mind I emptied long ago waiting for it to become full again. The class I am taking right now is Sociology of Religion, which is essentially a discussion of how religion has impacted society and how it continues to make an impact. In light of the topic and considering I am a pastor, this has been such an interesting time. It is easy for me and it has always been this away, but to keep an open mind and not be threatened or insulted by what others thought of my “Religion.” Mostly because I guess I have never seen myself much as a religious person. With my interpretation(probably not meaning much to you) I have always thought the Bible spoke and read pretty clearly that religion was not the main objective. Jesus seem to amen such a thought within the time of his intentional stay here on earth. But it is so hard for me to be objective not necessarily when it comes to talking about Christianity, probably because there are so many sects out there these days, who even knows what such a word means, but about Jesus. Because I believe he was more than just a lunatic, I believe he was God sent, Gods son, redemptive power, grace waiting to cover me, there very being I live to praise. So it is so hard for me to sit and let people continue to go on misunderstanding the very truths of Gods word and Jesus. So while I am there apart of this social institution that society has said I needed to attend in order to get a job worth a crap. I am there trying to fill my mind, but I leave every night with a full heart. I am still in the process of waiting expectantly for Gods next step in my life and the canvas to be revealed with the wild colors of his plan. I guess I have been waiting since our departure from San Diego. But I think you should know that while I am waiting I am not going to stop serving, living and dying to see people who are far from God become Passionate followers of Christ! No matter the platform or the place of worship, I want to exist to see people thrive for the creator of the world. I guess I write all this to say, sorry Dr. Holland I am learning a broader view of religions and no matter how much my mind fills with different perspective, it all points back to Christ and how we on so many levels may have missed the mark, but that there are still people out there who try to die to themselves daily in hopes that for a moment Christ life and teachings will be revealed within them. And church leaders and everyone else who is walking around claiming the teachings of Christ, I feel you should know that the world doesn’t have that great of a taste in their mouths for us right now. Sure some of them are that away because its their choice but some of them are that away because of the contact they have had with us and our churches. One thing that is said over and over that I feel as though they just may have right is, we somehow continue becoming the very thing we don’t want to be, religious. Please pray for my time this semester with these students and the chance I have to love them in a way that can’t be shaken!