Category Archives: Leadership

ACT of VALOR

Was just sent this trailer to a new movie coming out in February 2012 about Navy Seals and Special Forces. It’s exceptional because it seems like it will accurately profile the current tactics, strategies, and people serving our great country.

Synopsis

An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism. Inspired by true events, the film combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure.

Update on Matt Chandler

While I don’t know Matt Chandler personally, he is the pastor of one of the sweetest churches in Dallas and has quite a following on the internet of people watching his leadership and growth from afar. Recently he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and went through surgery to find the tumor is malignant. Watch this video to hear the latest directly from Matt Chandler. What amazing courage and perspective!

I Heart Michael Phelps

Ashley and I are sitting here busting a gut. Michael Phelps seemingly impossible 8th Gold Metal has just been won in this 2008 Olympics. The relay race was amazing, but what we are laughing ridiculously about is the fact that right after the last leg touched, Michael Phelps yells “Let’s go!”. We think he is saying “Let’s Go, I can do this all year long.” Seriously, Michael Phelps wants more. Unreal.

Settling In In West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida is a fantastic place to begin my next phase in ministry. Settling in at this church has been easy, and the staff has been more than welcoming. For me, as expected, it has been easy. Ashley on the other hand has had to deal with keeping the kids for long periods of time with little relief as I spend long hours meeting everyone, putting out some fires, and finishing up a 6 month launch of LifeFaithFusion.com For her so far, it has been what she feared. That will change.

In spite of this, we are settling in. Every day I come home and boxes are magically unpacked. We are finding places to dry-clean our clothes, buy food, and send Fedex packages. The kids have a bigger smile on their face every day. We can go swimming every night. Last week we went to the beach and watched 30 surfers fight over the right place in the wave. We saw a storm roll in fast and chase us all to our cars in less than 10 minutes. This is an adventure no doubt, and your prayers and support are coveted. It will take some time it seems for this to be our normal, but we are starting to get our bearings.

We went to a prayer service last night that had 1500+ people. Just a regular old Wednesday night here. It’s refreshing to see people passionate about prayer and hearing stories of Jesus doing His deal. I was encouraged that the head pastor of this 12,000 person church regularly calls members and staff who are going through a difficult time. He has managed to maintain his pastoral care duties while running this giga-church. I have worked for smarter, more theological, more focused big-time leaders, but never have I worked for a significant leader so passionate about sharing Jesus and doing life with those he leads. He is a servant of the multitudes, and while he doesn’t get everything right he is pushing us all to better model Christ in everything we do.

Fallen But Not Forgotten

In the decision to move to Florida to work for Christ Fellowship, I had to deal with some feelings of unworthiness that I had not faced in a long time. When God tees up a sweet shot for you, it is sometimes tough to think you are the right person to take the swing. In my case, I felt unworthy because of my falleness. I am very familiar these days with my weakness because it rears its head daily in my life in the little things. You know, parenting, finances, relationships, and work. So in the midst of working out if the move to Florida was right for us, I just felt this overwhelming fear that God could not possibly use me for a work as significant as what seems to await me in West Palm Beach.

During the week I was thinking these things, Christ Fellowships #2 guy delivered a message (view the video) which put me at ease. The first ten minutes are especially worthy of your time, as he walks through the great men of Hebrews and recounts their fallen sides. It’s a brilliant reminder that just because we are fallen doesn’t mean the Lord has forgotten us. Jesus still has a plan for each of us that takes into account our screw-ups and disabilities. We still need to pray every morning for God to have His way with us, but we can have a confidence that Jesus does not forget us when he is ready to do a work. Just because we are fallen does not mean we are forgotten.

Discovering Family Values

With our recent time in the hospital came some moments of down-time that really made me wonder what I value. In fact, not only what I value, but what we as a family value. Ashley and I had spent much time considering the question and verbalizing to one another what we believe and what we want to instill in our children. But are we getting through to the little ones with our family values? Are we taking every opportunity to model them for our kids?

The Problem with Family Values

Family values don’t seem to stick as well as they used to. All around are families who seem divided about what they believe. Even within Ashley and my extended family, we don’t see broad agreement about how to raise children and what the children’s character should be. “Family rules” have no basis when there is not an articulated set of values that provide the foundation. Getting uncles and grandmothers and babysitters to enforce the family values is even harder when they are not easily conveyed or transferred.

Family Values Permanence

So I began to ponder the opportunity of putting some of these values down in writing. It seemed like an imposing task. Family values, in many ways, are about the character we want and the character God has. They are tough concepts to wrestle with, but even tougher to put into language a child can understand. So, I began making a list of the family values Ashley and I have discussed that would be possible candidates to put in writing.

Always one who would rather not reinvent the wheel, it occurred to me maybe some other families had already walked this road and I could adapt what they had written. As I talked with five great men to which I am no peer, none of them had written down their family values. They all had them. They all deeply desired to imbed them within their families. None of them had written them down. Thinking five are better than one, I talked with my wife about taking our family values discussion to the internet and including our family and friends. She reluctantly agreed.

Family Values Proposal

Family values should take on a unique and personal flare for each individual family. The implementation is unique and thus the final set of values should be unique. But the core values are similar, and I propose that we work on this project together, using the comment system on this site as our discussion method. We’ll take a value at a time and discuss it thoroughly. Comments on each value will close after two weeks. Each family can then take what is useful and discard the rest. Together we are much wiser, no? So, please, help us all by sharing your perspective. Ponder these things alongside us. Pray through it with us. Blog about it if you have a blog. Ask your parents and advisers what they think.

Who is Invited to the Discussion?

Anyone holding a evangelical Christian world-view. That is the short answer. This isn’t a forum for crafting new beliefs or debating political agendas. This is about honing in on the core of a given family value and finding a way to articulate it in a solid, timeless way that our kids can adopt. Ashley and I are inviting all of our family to contribute. After all, if they are going to live with the family values we chose, they should have a healthy opportunity to debate them. Feel free to invite your family to this discussion as well. We’ll all learn from one another. This is the invite we are sending out in a few moments:

Family and Friends,

Ashley and I are putting our family values into writing. As we shared with others our desire to solidify our values in terms our children can understand, it seems many families have yet to do this. Most everyone indicates it is a worthwhile endeavor and that they would do well to have their family values written out as well.

Since the values Ashley and I choose for our immediate family impact our relationships with you all, as well as the way we will ask that you interact with our children, we want to invite you to participate in the drafting of these. You are also free to use this discussion as a starting point for putting your own family values in writing.

We’ll be considering each value on our blog and request your participation as you are able. Read and comment on the values related discussions here: http://www.ashleyandjason.com/ Thanks in advance for your partnering with us in creating something that will help us develop character in ourselves and our children.

Warmest regards,

Ashley and Jason Reynolds

Family Values Resources

No, it has not eluded us there are heaps of resources out there on “Family Values”. Books galore. Programs explored. Our approach here is not a rejection of those resources. We may borrow from the Proverbs, books, videos, wives tales, or from other copyrighted works. Everything is fair game since this is for personal use. In fact, the process we will follow on the blog is a bit like the bonus projects that accompany Family Life’s Raising Children of Faith. When you do use or reference other resources, I would ask that you cite the reference.

List-o-Family Value

After talking with Dave about this project, he agreed to jump in and provide his list of family values worth consideration. So I have merged his list with my own. Add your own values in the comments. Ashley and I will post a compiled list and trim it back for these discussions:

  • Accountability
  • Cleanliness
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Contentment
  • Conviction
  • Cooperation
  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Discipline
  • Endurance
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Honor
  • Hope
  • Humility
  • Individuality
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyal
  • Morally Pure
  • Obedience
  • Openness
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Personal Excellence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety First
  • Self-Control
  • Selflessness
  • Service
  • Trust
  • Uniqueness
  • Wisdom

One Bold Take on the Virginia Tech Shootings

We don’t yet know the stories of heroism or bravery which happened today at Virginia Tech during the shootings. We may never know. In that classroom full of kids, there may not have been any brave souls who ventured to take on the lone shooter without a weapon of their own. There may *have* been. We simply don’t know.

In addition to today, two local events here and here have made me re-think personal safety and my ideas of preparedness for an attack. Please don’t get me wrong, this post is not some boast that looks down my nose at the victims of these tragedies. I can not say with any surety what I would do in these same situations. I would like to think I can put myself in a position to at-least cause harm to the other party, if not be able to come out unscathed. But again, who knows what we would do were we to face a violent attack by someone intent on ending our life, freedom, or dignity.

One thing I can say today is that I am glad I bought that gun I mentioned over this past weekend. I am glad because without an equivalent method of force to what an attacker will bring, I don’t seem to stand a chance… even at my 260 lb. weight and 6’4″ frame. I am just a bigger, slower target than the next guy. I am glad also that I got mine now, before another gun-prohibition is introduced by the democrat-controlled congress who themselves seem to be determined to reduce or remove my Constitutional, 2nd Amendment right “to keep and bear Arms“. I am glad I live in a country where most of the population are reasonable people that understand the vehicle or device utilized in a massacre like todays isn’t the object which kills people, but the depraved and desperate individuals using those things to do ungodly things are at fault.

What if just one of those 30 college students had a gun with them at the time of the shooting today? Would anything have been different? If any two students had carried a pistol concealed to class, and they knew how to use them, surely things would have been a lot different. Unless those two students are both in the first 8-14 persons killed (unlikely), at-least one of them should be able to get a shot off that wounds the coward enough to have other students jump on him and get the gun away from him. Or, maybe it gives the other students the bravery they need to hurl books at the satanist. Or maybe another student picks up the pistol another student falls dead to the ground holding in order to do their part to end the brutality. Again, we don’t know the circumstances of today, but more guns in the hands of the good-guys couldn’t have hurt on this sad Monday.

I am not afraid to say that if I knew I had a good chance of dieing by doing nothing, I would much rather have a gun that gives me a chance of living by doing something… even if it means a few of my best-attempted shots are errant and kill other individuals who in this kind of attack are likely to become victims anyway. That is a hard, gross problem to consider. But my perspective is the more sane, humane, trained, and willing people who have guns on their persons, the fewer lives that will be lost in all kinds of violent crimes. In all states that allow it, concealed handguns deter/lower violent crime. In the events of today, all we could have hoped for with students who concealed carry would have been a quicker end to something destined to be a tragedy regardless.

God help us all. We need it.

Back from the NRB Conference – Initial Reflections

Having returned late last night from the National Religious Broadcasters conference (NRB), I am still processing this quick trip to Orlando. I was there speaking on a panel in one of the REACH sessions about the use of internet content in ministries. Regarding the conference, I can’t say I learned a lot of unknown information, new technology, or that my attitudes about broadcast ministries changed, but here are some initial take-aways:

A) With regard to the web and ministry, I am smarter than I think I am. I mean this humbly as a recognition of how God has gifted me. As I spoke with ministry leaders and visited the various vendor booths, it hit me that I am one of the forward-thinkers in web ministry. Not to say others don’t get it, but it is to say many still struggle with the basic questions of technology and its opportunity for ministry that I have long since worked through. So in a sense, this trip reassured me that I do know what I am doing and I have a responsibility to share with other ministries what works. I think this is more a recognition of the sad state of affairs within Web Ministry than it is that I am really all that.

B) There are exceptional people who “get it” who are sharing their knowledge freely about ministry. Perhaps the most impressive was Erwin McManus. He gave the REACH Keynote speech at NRB and focused in the need for ministry to communicate stories. One of the biggest impacts of his talk on me were his thoughts on doing ministry with excellence. His comments poked fun at the irony of our unwillingness to accept imperfect people into our ministry, even though we are all still very depraved.

It was also great to finally meet Brad Abare in person. We had faint memories of sharing some email and blog comment conversations about Church Marketing Sucks, but this was the first time to get to know each other. Mr. Brad Hill over at SiteOrganic was the one who brought us all together for dinner at Maggianos (Thanks SiteOrganic). Brad Abare’s NRB session had miserable low attendance because of when it was scheduled, but people clearly didn’t know who or what they were missing. Part of his talk focused in on the story of David and Goliath. The three questions Brad asked about our ministry: 1. What is your giant? 2. Who is ready to fight [alongside you]? 3. What are your five stones [you can use to overcome the huge obstacle]? Then Mr. Abare offers that like David we must be responsible (as David was by still taking care of his flock), we must be ready (David went to the fight with what he needed), and we must be willing (David ran toward Goliath to fight) to do interesting things in ministry with the internet. While digging up the links for this post, I just noticed Brad made mention of me over on his blog. Thanks Brad for reaffirming a) above… it is great to hear someone else say what God seemed to be confirming all weekend.

Another nice surprise was Rex Miller, the author of Millenium Matrix. His talk’s focus was on helping us to understand the thinking of Millennials, who tend to be less trusting of authority, more prone to pass on stories through any number of mediums, and tend to deconstruct everything from videos to devices and remake/mashup the components into something new and interesting. Rex asked me to lunch and I am very excited about connecting with him soon.

Besides the Mohawk adorned internet marketing wiz I met on the shuttle to the airport (not an NRB attendee), there was Dr. Mike Miller. This is a church Executive Pastor who understands technology and is not scared to incorporate it into the vision of the church. He is helping to take the vision of a church member and birth GodTube.com, which is an up and coming YouTube clone that is focused specifically on ministries. I hope to cover this and other ministry video options in a later post. I met Mike at the GodTube booth along with his wife, and they were both so inviting and gracious. Mike offered to have me down to First Dallas to connect with them and what they are doing with the internet.

C) Ministries are still clueless about how to dream about, plan, fund, and deploy web technologies to the significant benefit of their mission and vision. I will write a later post on dealing with ministry leaders who aren’t willing to let go of the reins and let the horses run. I understand their fears, but I disagree about who is really in control any way. Also, people in ministry still seem to be clueless about what people really want. They need to jump on the Cluetrain and realize they don’t control the conversation.

D) I need to blog more. I have more to say that is of value than I realize.

So these are initial thoughts on my trip to Orlando for NRB 2007. Will post more as other things strike me.