2015 Christmas Letter

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Shalom, Greetings from Durham, and Merry Christmas,

We hope that all is well in your world and that it is well with your soul. In case you are interested at all in what has gone on in the life of the Reyners in 2015 then here is somewhat of a summary.

For Linda and I it has been a rather uneventful year for the most part. At 57 years of age this is not a bad thing to say. No dramatic health issues, no deaths in our family, no crises that we have had to work through. We consider ourselves blessed beyond measure. Some of the 2015 blessings include: 1) the birth of our 2nd grandson (see C and C below), 2) Jobs that are stable and enjoyable and rewarding, 3) A great church community to grow and worship and serve in, 4) The opportunity to go to Poland as a part of a church mission trip and minister to many of our Southern Baptist missionaries and their families, 5) The chance to travel following said trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, Normandy, and Paris with good friends, 6) The joy of living in Durham NC with all its great restaurants and cultural opportunities.

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Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 11.48.46 AMChristy and Chad – They are still living in Clemson, SC where Chad serves as the Director of Missions and Small Groups at Crosspoint Church. Christy works 120 hours/week as a stay at home mom – her dream job. They love their community and the Upper State. They welcomed their 2nd child into the world in January. Bowen John is now 11 months and on the verge of walking. He loves playing with his big brother and destroying anything that G builds. Grayson just turned 3 years old. He loves to read and play basketball and root for his Tiger paws (The Clemson Tigers who incidentally are having a pretty good year.) he also loves “Chick-a-lay” just like his Pop Pop.

Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 11.38.29 AMScott and Mary – Living in Durham. We love having them in the same town with us and we frequently get together for a meal. They celebrated their first anniversary in November. Mary works as an Occupational Therapist at Duke Regional and Scott teaches 7th grade Math at a middle school, works part-time in the Kid’s Ministry at Summit Church and does contract work for pastors who need help with sermon prep. They lead a small group at their church and enjoy the faith community that they are a part of.

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Tucker and Danielle – Living in Wilmington, NC. Danielle works at an Eye Center as an assistant to one of the doctors. Tucker is a full time student at Southeastern Seminary, works an almost a full time schedule at Port City Java Coffee Shop. and works part time at The Bridge Church overseeing their Guest Services. They also lead a Community Group and enjoy having people in their home each week where they can share their loveable pups Charlie and Bodie with others


Much grace and peace,

Shay and Linda



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(Here is a pdf version of the post – 2015XmasLetter)


Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Colossians 4

EpistlesSo here we are… my last pondering post of the year.

Paul is closing up his epistle to the Colossians and giving some final thoughts. Much of them seem to be centered on prayer. This is appropriate because as usual I need an encouraging reminder about prayer. Admittedly, I do not pray well. I know a lot about prayer. I can even say a prayer that sounds impressive. But I do not pray well. Or more specifically I do not take the time to pray as I think I should. Notice that I did not say “as I ought.” Prayer is not something I ought to do it is something I get to do. And I don’t take advantage of the opportunities that I have to approach God’s throne of grace.

So here are a few things Paul mentions about prayer in this closing chapter of Colossians. Perhaps they will encourage you to pray well. Perhaps they will encourage me to pray.

Continue steadfastly in prayer (v.2) –  This is the ESV version. The NIV says, “devote yourselves to prayer.” What I hear Paul saying is that even when you don’t feel like praying, pray. Prayer is the best antidote to prayerlessness. Billy Graham once said,

“Heaven is full of answers to prayer for which no one bothered to ask.”

being watchful (v.2) – This would seem to indicate that there is a key aspect of prayer that has nothing to do with talking to God. There are two times that Jesus used the phrase “watch and pray.” Matt 26:41 and  Luke 21:36. There should be an alertness in prayer that is often missing in my prayer life. An alertness to what God is saying in the Word. An alertness to what God is doing in the world. An alertness to how God is orchestrating the circumstances of my life.

with thanksgiving (v.2) –  This is probably the thing I am best at when it comes to prayer. I am very grateful to the Lord for the many many ways that my life has been blessed.

And pray for us… (v.3) – I always find it interesting what Paul prays for or asks prayer for. Usually very different from what I ask for. In this case, even though he is in prison, in less than ideal circumstances, he is asking for prayer that he might have opportunities to share the gospel and that he might do so very clearly.

Epaphras…always struggling on your behalf in his prayers (v.12) – The NIV uses the word “wrestling.” That is not a word that would be used to describe my prayer life. I say prayers. I have much to learn about what it means to wrestle in prayer on behalf of others. One of my favorite prayer quotes is from John Piper that goes like this:

“You will never know what prayer is for until you know that life is war.”

A lesson I still need to learn. Many lessons here that I still need to learn.

I’ll look forward to pondering with you next year. Enjoy your holidays.

Quotes Worth Pondering – Tim Challies

QuotesWorthPondering“ Do you ever wonder why it is that many of history’s titanic intellects managed to come to radically different conclusions? The answer is simple: If you begin your system of thought by refusing to acknowledge what you know to be true – if you start with a lie – the more brilliant and consistent you are in following that premise, the further from truth you will go. ”

Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Colossians 3:17-4:1

EpistlesVerse 17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Verse 23 – “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men.”

Hmmm – seems like Paul is trying to get a point across here. Whether you are a wife or a husband or a child or a father or a mother or a slave or an employee – whatever you do, never forget that first and foremost you are doing it unto the Lord. Me thinks that this is something we often forget. It’s as if we think that our actions are hidden from the Lord. Would it make a difference in our conduct and conversation if we knew that God were standing alongside us? Well, guess what?

Check out this post from Our Daily Bread...

In August 2007, a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. In the weeks that followed, it was difficult for me not to think about that tragedy whenever crossing a bridge over a body of water.

Some time later, I was watching an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Host Mike Rowe was talking to an industrial painter whose work he was trying to duplicate. “There’s really no glory in what you do,” he said. “No,” the painter agreed, “but it’s a job that needs to be done.”

You see, that man paints the inside of the Mackinac Bridge towers in Northern Michigan. His unnoticed job is done to ensure that the steel of the magnificent suspended structure won’t rust from the inside out, compromising the integrity of the bridge. Most of the 12,000 people who cross the Straits of Mackinac each day aren’t even aware that they are depending on workers like this painter to faithfully do their jobs well.

God also sees our faithfulness in the things we do. Though we may think our deeds—big and small—sometimes go un-noticed, they are being observed by the One who matters most. Whatever our task today, let’s “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).

Quotes Worth Pondering – Philip Yancey

QuotesWorthPondering“I have come to know a God who has a soft spot for rebels, who recruits people like the adulterer David, the whiner Jeremiah, the traitor Peter, and the human-rights abuser Saul of Tarsus. I have come to know a God whose Son made prodigals the heroes of his stories and the trophies of his ministry.”

Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Colossians 3:12-17

Epistles15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

My thoughts… such as they are:

Let the peace of Christ rule – So it would seem that we have a choice as to what we allow to rule in our hearts. Many allow worry to rule. Many allow hatred to rule. Many allow jealousy to rule. Many allow greed to rule. Given the choice, peace is a much better option. Don’t you think? But how do you get there?

since as members of one body you were called to peace. – When we really get the fact that at one time we were enemies of God but that through Christ and the cross we have been reconciled to Him – that is that Christ has made peace between us and God – then we have a chance of letting peace rule in our hearts. In other words, until we grasp the gospel it will be impossible to experience true peace.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly – That’s what this pondering thing is all about – letting the Word dwell in us. It’s way to easy to let Scripture go in one ear and out the other. Don’t just read the Word, think upon it. Talk about it with others. Memorize it. Journal about it. As God works it into your life He will use it to work sinful habits and behaviors out of your life.

The thing about this passage that immediately caught my attention was the emphasis on being thankful. Each of the 3 verses mention this. Why would Paul seem to harp on this? Perhaps because even back then people lived as if they deserved to be blessed, deserved to have happiness, deserved to have good things happen to them. Not much has really changed in that regard. We live in a culture that feels deserving. When what we really deserve is for the wrath of God to poured down upon us. What we need is to develop an attitude of gratitude that permeates our lives. Living a life that oozes thankfulness in everything remedies the selfishness that so easily creeps in…  and makes us creeps.

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