He was only 27 years old...
An inspiring man of God who dedicated his life and gave every bit of his heart to the youth he was so drawn to. He had a smile that seemed to start in his heart before it reached his mouth. And he had a demeanor that let you know there was nothing about him that was guarded. Every kid I knew loved him. Every adult admired him. He gave of his time freely. He purposely sought out the alone ones and made them feel welcome and "un-alone". He worshiped passionately and exuberantly. He was the person I first talked to [representing Amped] when I called Gateway three years ago to find out how their Jr. High Ministry worked. He was the first person we met the first night we took Teighlor and Alec to their first night of Amped. We got to know him as Chris The Nintern [a youth ministry intern who loved Ninjas] and quickly understood his heart that burned to minister to kids. He was endearing. He was infectious. And he was loved by so many ... our family included.
In a tragic car accident yesterday, Chris' life was ended. Even as I write this 10 hours after hearing the shocking news, tears still run down my face. My heart aches because even though I know he's right there in heaven at Jesus' side, there are so many left here that will greatly miss his presence. My heart aches for his parents who lost a son. My heart aches for his brother who lost his brother. My heart aches for his beautiful girlfriend who never got the chance to become Mrs. Kuykendall. My heart aches for the score of youth who have been robbed of the life Chris poured into all he came in contact with. My heart aches for the kids at the Ranch he just started working at over 2 months ago [a home for misplaced boys]; especially the one he tweeted about just recently who had decided he wanted to start calling him "Daddy Chris".
And my heart aches over the moments in life he never got to experience: asking the love of his life to become his wife, seeing her walk down the aisle to become his bride, sharing a home of their own, holding their own child, or seeing his dreams of becoming a youth pastor fulfilled ... just to name a few.
I know that tomorrow is promised to no one and that our life is but a vapor. And I know that the One who spoke those words is the One Chris is now spending eternity with. But all to often we forget the impact those words have when they meet you face-to-face, unexpectedly. Death has a way of waking up those parts of our hearts that have settled into complacency.
Chris left behind a legacy that was bigger than his 27 years because he spent his time pouring out the love of Jesus to everyone around him. As many have already posted, He will hear the words "Well done".
Last night I posted my heart for him on his Facebook page that was already quickly filling up with words from those he had touched with his life. As I scrolled through the posts I came across the last few updates he had posted himself. One of them read: "Is so looking forward to Tuesday." Oh, the irony of those words...