Feling naked

Guest Post: by Kyle Reynolds

As a pastor, I’m familiar with judgment. I’ve sat with countless victims over the years and have seen the pain in their eyes as they recount their stories. Stories of how the church rejected them, a friend betrayed them, or a callous comment cut them. There is nothing like the pain of judgment that leaves us vulnerable. There is nothing like Christians to shoot their wounded. Can you relate? Honestly, not a week goes by, I wonder if my feet will make too much noise on the egg shells covering the ground of the church. There is a special kind of irony at play when most who go to church on Sunday also feel like they don’t fit in. We all have that part of us if other’s knew, we’d suddenly feel very naked. We’re not alone.

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ok With YOu

I want to be a better person today that I was yesterday.

I want to make a change in the world, and I and convinced that often times that starts with me.

Lately however, it has led me to a place where I am not happy with who I am.
Where I become obsessed about how to be better.
Where I am not happy with myself where I am at.

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MENTOR MILLENTIALS

Guest Post by Kent Ingle

Millennials crave mentorship more than any other generation before them. Because Millennials value relationships, they are looking for someone to invest in them, listen to the things they’re going through, and give them advice. While many Millennials have a strong desire to be mentored, that doesn’t make it easy.

If we want to be effective mentors for Millennials, we need to learn how to guide them through the things they’re experiencing in a way they can relate to. We’ve all heard the stereotypes that define the Millennial generation. They can be restless and entitled. They’re dreamers who want to make a difference.

Because Millennials are wired differently, the way we mentor them will probably be different than the way we were mentored. If you want to make the greatest impact as a Millennial mentor, here are three things you need to know:

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CULTURE IS

I visited a small church in rural Washington that had to be one of the oldest churches in the state. It was exactly what you’re picturing in your mind. A small white chapel, dirt parking lot and basement full of hymnals with songs that haven’t been sung in decades. The average of the church members was 71 years old.

And man where a few of them pissed that I didn’t tuck my shirt in for service…

A friend of mine spent 3 years of his life trying to revitalize this church. I say trying because it wasn’t much of a success….

Shifting culture is much harder than creating culture. As a church planter you only get one chance to create a healthy culture.

Four things to keep in mind about creating a healthy culture:

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It’s been almost 1 year since my Dad almost died from a massive stroke. His stroke has changed my life and my families lives in some pretty big ways. It has left it’s mark on my dad both physically and emotionally. At times it has been scary, difficult, frustrating, sad and very humbling.

But at the same time it has moved my family to a better place. Our relationships are stronger, we love and value each other more, and God has become even more real to us.

Here is a note my Dad recently wrote on Facebook. I hope you can be encouraged by this no matter what difficult situation you find yourself in today.

“I fear that I haven’t given God the credit He deserves in my life…

Prior to my stroke, I was a very controlling and organized person, in my life and in my faith. Due to my very anal organization skills, I really didn’t have much of a need for help and I didn’t really seek it. This stroke has been a huge pain, and I’ve prayed so hard for God to remove it and restore me… (But it’s kind of cool being that close to death and being saved by The Savior.)

I don’t believe for a second that God did this to me, but I believe he allowed it in order to correct my faith. That’s what happens when you don’t listen to all of the little kicks in the head, He’ll finally allow the carpet to be pulled out from under you! He has always carried me like this, in every aspect of my life. Giving me more than I deserved or could do on my own…

Recently, thanks to my lovely Lynda and my doctor (Ray Turnure) who have preached God’s goodness and love until I was ready to kill them, I have come to understand things better. I now suffer this thing with God in His kingdom, where all suffering has meaning. My pain has been an opportunity to trust and lean on God, even thanking him for it! Which I understand is an extremely high form of praise.

When I suffer I remember that He is sovereign and can bring good out of anything. Even this! I now accept it in His name, offering it up to him for His purposes. This makes my suffering have meaning and draws me closer to him. Realizing that in my weakness, He is strong!

In my strength, I never allowed God his right place on my life, instead I relied on human strength. (How stupid, I knew better after years of church, but somehow believed I knew what I should do.) All I attempt to do now, no matter the difficulty, I can succeed because of God! I praise God for EVERY day of my life.

Simply put, God is good and I’m finally in a good place. I await all of the great things that He brought me here for!”

- Brad Barber

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“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” –Aristotle

 

Woodrow

What I Learned From Woodrow

[My Atheist, Hitchhiking Friend]

Guest Post: by Kyle Reynolds

Most days, I don’t think of God at all.  I’m too busy doing church work.  God becomes book ends to my day as I pray before going to sleep and when I wake.  No wonder he feels like a cop on the side of the freeway I momentarily reduce my speed for as I pass by.  You can’t have much of a relationship with a God like that.  I know this doesn’t sound very Christian, but it’s the truth.  Lately, my faith feels like it’s on life support.

Maybe that’s why I pulled over.

Last week, I was getting on the freeway and I noticed a hitchhiker on the side of the road. I never stop for these guys because I have an overactive imagination and I’ve seen too many horror films.  However, for some reason, this time I did.

Woodrow threw his backpack in my SUV and hopped in.  He was a happy-go-lucky twenty-two year old from Texas making his way to Spokane.  We immediately hit it off.  Woodrow had a lightness to him that was refreshing to be around.  I felt my guard lowering and I laughed freely.  Our drive turned into him coming to a book club with me, then pizza, then playing poker with some friends until late, and then crashing on my couch.(1)  We talked a lot about his travels, the church, hypocrites, writing, and even Jesus.  The conversation was always easy and even whimsy.

The next morning I made Woodrow hash browns, toast, and a latte.  I prayed for him and then dropped him off at a local Starbucks for him to continue his journey.  As I drove away, I kept praying for him because it was raining and I was worried he would have trouble finding another ride.  Then it dawned on me that I had been talking to God all morning and the whole night before. I had been asking God all sorts of questions, looking for his guidance and thanking him for helping us.  In fact, I had been thinking of God all day long. I could hear the faint heart beat of a faith being brought back to life.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  - James 2:15-17

When I used to read the above Bible passage I always took that as a negative warning, but lately I’ve started to see that passage as a hopeful invitation.  See, if faith without works is dead, we could logically conclude faith with works is alive, right?

That’s why I pulled over.  I want a faith that is living, breathing, and active.  I long for a faith that matters and makes a difference.  I don’t just want to read about mountains moving, water walkers, and a relational God but I want to step into the adventure Jesus offers us all.  I want my love to be extravagant, my hands to be generous, and my faith to be reckless as I follow a God that has picked up even someone like me.  I want to risk and care and give to the degree that thinking of God is like breathing.  I want to follow Jesus and I’m pretty sure this is where He’s going.

I’m not saying if your faith feels lifeless to go pick up a hitchhiker.  However, if we were honest why we don’t pray, its usually because we don’t have much to pray about.  We work so hard at making life predictable, safe, and controlled that we leave little room for faith to stretch, grow, and matter.  I learned from Woodrow that faith comes to life in the risky, uncomfortable, adventure of caring for others.  I believe Jesus when he said,

“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake, will find it.”(2)

Or as Woodrow put it, “Into the wild, my friend!”

1.  The answer is yes to your question by the way.  I do have the most supportive and understanding wife and mother of two young boys ever.

2.  Matthew 16:25

About The Author:
Kyle Reynolds is the director of young adults at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, Washington. He graduated from Northwest University with a degree in youth ministry and is slowly getting his Masters of Divinity from Multnomah Seminary. He has been a full-time vocational minister for the past 12 years within various denominations. He even started and stopped a church a few years back but that’s a whole other story.  

Kyle is married to a sassy girl named, Laura and they have two boys, Lincoln and Sawyer.  

He enjoys speaking, writing, playing cards, and a glass of Mac n Jacks. Oh, and he’s still surprised daily by God’s grace. If you’d like to know more, ”like” his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.
Why Prepaid?

Pre-Paid Plan:

If I were to buy an iPhone 5s for $649 my data plan would be $35 per month. That means after one year I would spend: ~$1070

Regular Plan:

If I were to get the same plan with a subsidized phone I would pay $100-200 up front and my monthly payment would be $70-90. After 1 year I would have spent: ~$1214.92

And would still be locked in for a second year.

How about after 2 years?

So after 2 years on prepaid I would pay: ~$1489.

On contract it would be ~$2329.84.

That’s a $840 difference. Enough to buy another phone out right the second year if I wanted to.

Being Consumed

“Being consumed by what people think of you is the fastest way to forget what God thinks of you.”

 

MIAMI via Pitts

I am on the road this week and next. So posts may be few and far between and posted at weird time. Not that I usually stick to a schedule very well anyways…

This week I am in Pittsburgh for the first time in my life. For a long time Steelers fan that’s a pretty big deal. I only wish I could have lined up a game.

The CMN (Church Multiplication Network) and I are hosting a CMN Essential event. Which is a training event for church planters. It’s been going great so far. We have 27 church planting teams training to head out to plant new churches. Check out where they are headed in this map:

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