Sunday, November 30, 2008

celebrating 80 years of ford

This is NOT about the auto industry. This is about a very special person, Ford Reynolds. Yesterday there was a surprise party at Richville Christian Fellowship (RCF) to celebrate his 80th birthday.

I’ve known Ford for over 24 years, ever since I came to Canton. Instrumental in starting Christian Fellowship Center (CFC) in the 1970’s, he was an elder there. I met him the very first time I attended CFC (Sunday of Labor Day weekend in 1984). I went forward for prayer at the end of the service and Ford came up to me and asked if I was “born again.” I told him I wasn’t sure what that meant but that I had accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. With a big smile, he waved his hand in the air and said in his booming voice, “Son, you’re born again!” I fell in love with Ford immediately. Most people do.

Ford Reynolds has had more impact on my walk as a Christian than anyone. No one else is even close. He is like a father to me.

Starting in 1987 or ‘88 Ford and his wife Sarah led cell or home meetings at our house for a number of years. When RCF started in 1992, Ford was of course the pastor and our family of six attended during its first four years before being led to return to CFC. In addition to taking up a row of seats in a new church, we started the “junior church” for the kids and I also did the bookkeeping for 10-years.

I still miss Richville even though I know the Lord doesn’t want me there anymore. To this day when I visit RCF, I find myself more interested in what is happening to the building, the finances, and the people than I am about them at our home church CFC.

Before “retiring” Ford was a dairy farmer. He had never taken a course at a seminary nor at a Bible college, yet no one ever questioned his ordination as a pastor. You didn’t need to be at all spiritual to know that Ford was obviously ordained by God to be a pastor.

If you hang around Ford you’d better be prepared to 1) work hard, and 2) laugh a lot.

Ford is a man without pretense, completely comfortable with himself and with others. All he cares about is seeing God move, to see God do something. He loves to see miracles, especially healings. He has an infectious faith. Although he was saved 40 years ago, Ford still gets excited about individuals coming to Christ and having their lives changed.

Ford is a very bright guy. He had to be to be a successful farmer. However, his most impressive display of intelligence was when he took Sarah as his wife. Sarah is the wisest woman I know. She is very unassuming, not flashy, not outgoing; she seldom speaks – just what you’d expect from a farm girl and farm wife. However, when she speaks you better listen if you have anything at all on the ball. Better yet, go to her for advice and wisdom -- you will not be disappointed. Ask and ye shall receive.

As a pastor, Ford is unusual. At RCF, he would cancel mid-week services while North Country Christian Retreat was in session. He told his flock to go out there and receive the great guest ministry available. Have you ever hear of a pastor telling his people to go elsewhere for preaching and teaching? You see Ford’s ministry, his local church, is about Jesus, not about Ford.

Remember the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets? With me, it is what would Ford Reynolds do? If I see someone who is sick, I should pray healing. If I see spiritual oppression, I should pray deliverance. If I see despondence, I should speak encouragement.

That is what Ford would do. You see with Ford, things aren’t that complicated. Ford just takes Jesus at his Word and trusts Him.

Be blessed!

1 comment:

Jeff McGrath said...

Great tribute to a man of faith who continues to believe in the impossible through God who can make all things possible.