Archive for the month “December, 2018”

Pop Pop Epistle #50 – 2018 By the Numbers

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Today we close out yet another year.  Here are some of the significant numbers that tell the story of 2018…

0 – This number has multiple meanings. Zero new grandkids were added to the clan this year – after 3  of you joined the family last year. We know that we are expecting at least one at this point in 2019. (Ezra, we are looking forward to meeting you in March). I spent zero days in the hospital. I had zero kidney stones. I visited zero new countries.

5 – This represents the number of days that I spent in Mexico with a group from various churches from the Yates Baptist Association. We went there to meet a church planting pastor and explore the possibility of a partnership. It was a significant trip because I met a pastor from Durham that I became friends with who eventually hired one of your dads to his staff. Guess which one?

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10
– This was the 10th year of the Reyner Disc Golf Invitational. Around Christmas every year your dads and I have a one day disc golf tournament played at 2-3 courses around Durham. This year, and for the 3rd year in a row, Tucker prevailed – but everyone was still in the battle until the final 9 holes of our 54 hole tournament.

35 – I have been in vocational ministry for about 35 years. 10 of those years were in Raleigh and the last 25 here in Durham. I have only served in two churches which is somewhat unusual but it is a testimony to serving alongside 3 great pastors and to a philosophy of ministry I adhere to – one of the most effective ways to have lasting influence is to STAY.

37 – Way back on August 1, 1981 your Nona and I vowed before God and family and friends that we would be committed to each other for the rest of our lives. That was 37 years ago. It has been a wonderful adventure and an awesome journey as we have watched the Lord work in us and through us. We pray even now for each of you that the Lord would provide a “suitable helper” to walk through life with you and to sustain you with love and companionship when the time comes.

52 –  I did not fail to reach my goal of at least 70,000 steps every week of 2018. I actually averaged over 80,000 steps. This is significant to me because it means that I am being intentional to get exercise most every day and that I have been healthy enough to not miss getting my steps in.

I am very much looking forward to 2019. I have no doubt that this time next year there will be lots of new stories to tell. And here is a great verse from the Book of Numbers that is always appropriate to share at the beginning of a new year…

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Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Gkids2018

Pop Pop Epistle #49 – About the Incarnation

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Dear Grandkids,

Today is Christmas! I’m looking forward to celebrating with you and enjoying the gift giving and food and fun and being together. But today is really all about Jesus. Sometimes that is easy to forget with all the emphasis on presents and the way that this holiday has become so commercialized. A few years ago I wrote a poem (song) that helped me remember what today is really to be remembered for.

John 1:1-5,14,16 says this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Here is my attempt to poetically ponder these verses and remember why we enjoy this day every year. The incarnation – which means God appeared in the flesh in the person of Jesus – should be celebrated not just on December 25 but every day.

THE WORD BECAME FLESH

The Word became flesh and lived for a while
In a world plagued with sorrow and sin.
The magnificent Son – the most Holy One
Was determined the plague had to end.

The Word became flesh as the Father revealed
All His love in the life of His Son.
His manifest grace must have felt out of place
When He saw what the devil had done.

The Word became flesh as God testified
To the truth that had never been heard.
The Savior appeared, God spoke loud and clear
Through the voice of His Incarnate Word. (Refrain)

The Word became flesh as the Father set forth
To give freedom to all who were bound.
Hope was restored, though  God’s Word was ignored
When a cross took the place of a crown.

The Word became flesh leaving heaven behind
Giving up all the honor He had.
“Abba Father” He cried as He suffered and died
“I now know what makes You so mad.”

The Word became flesh as God testified
To the truth that had never been heard.
The Savior appeared, God spoke loud and clear
Through the voice of His Incarnate Word.

You are going to have many voices vying for your attention in the years to come. You will do well if the first voice that you listen to every day is “the voice of His Incarnate Word.”

Never ever forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Gkids2018

Pop Pop Epistle #48 – About December 17, 2011

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Dear Grandkids,

Today is a day to celebrate!

indiainjuriesIt was 7 years ago today that Nona, Christy (aka Mom, aka Aunt), and I were involved in a pretty bad accident in India. Pretty bad in the sense that we are all “lucky” to be alive. The accident itself has been blogged about elsewhere (HERE and HERE and HERE) so I won’t spent time going over the details here – I will just say again that today is a day to celebrate!

We celebrate that we were around to see…

  • Tucker and Danielle get married.
  • Scott and Mary get married.
  • Grayson’s birth
  • Bowen’s birth
  • Keller’s birth
  • Miller’s birth
  • Asher’s birth
  • Audrey’s birth

We celebrate 7 more years of ministry with our awesome Ridgecrest Baptist Church family.

We celebrate never to be forgotten memories made in Italy, Switzerland, Poland, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

We celebrate 7 more years that Nona and I have been able to enjoy together (37 and counting).

We celebrate generally good health at our ripe old age of 60 – with just a few minor repercussions from the accident.

We celebrate Nona’s retirement and the opportunities this gives her to invest in your lives.

We celebrate and treasure all those moments that we have been able to spend with you.

And we celebrate God’s faithfulness to us in many many ways – none greater than the opportunity to abide in His immeasurably great love for us expressed through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So we do indeed have much to celebrate – and we anticipate  that this list will only grow longer in the years to come as the Lord fuels us with life.

As you read this, take a minute and celebrate the goodness of God in your life and as you do…

Never ever forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Gkids2018

Pop Pop Epistle #47 – About My Feet

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Dear Grandkids,

I’ve been thinking about my feet a lot lately. I know that sounds kind of weird but there is a reason why.

For the better part of my life I have taken my feet for granted. I never thought about them when I walked or ran. And as you know I do a lot of walking. For the last few months, though, my feet have been bothering me when I walk. Which made me think about them with every step. So I tried getting a new pair of shoes. But that didn’t really help. So I exchanged those shoes for another pair (which my 30 day return policy allowed me to do). I just did this yesterday so the verdict is still out but here is what I found out from Mr. Shoe Guy…

Turns out that my two feet are different. My left big toe does not do what my right big toe does. And my left foot is shaped different than my right and is not as strong. It has a tendency to collapse when I come down on it. This makes walking very uncomfortable. I basically have a “roll bar” in my new pair of shoes to try to help. I don’t like thinking about my feet. There are so many other things that I would rather think about.

But as long as I am going to think about feet I might as well think about what the Bible says about feet. So here are a few choice verses worth pondering about feet.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”Psalm 119:105

“Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:26-27

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” Isaiah 52:7

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

So perhaps the next time you are washing your feet, or tying your shoes, or clipping your toenails, or squishing your feet in the sand at the beach – think about what God’s Word says about feet and rejoice with great joy that He has given you two feet to use for His purposes.

And don’t ever take your feet for granted. I sure won’t anymore.

Never forget that you are very loved!

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Pop Pop Epistle # 46 – Happy Birthday Audrey

Dear Audrey,

It has been awesome having a front row seat to your first year of life. I love the way that your face lights up whenever you catch me smiling at you.

Having just finished up Thanksgiving I am very grateful to be your Pop Pop and to have a chance to see you grow up. It came very close to not happening.

Just a little more than 30 years ago, on November 28, 1988 a very powerful tornado came through the neighborhood where we were living in  Raleigh. It was 1 AM in the morning and we were sound asleep. Your daddy was just a little more than 1 year old at the time and was also asleep across the hall as was your 2 year old Aunt Christy. We were woken up by our golden retriever Cassidy who was scared to death, by the roaring sound of a nearby train, and by the pounding of stuff hitting our house. Turns out that stuff was from other houses in our neighborhood that had been torn in half as well as the remnants of K-Mart from 3 miles away that had been wiped off the face of the earth.

We were very fortunate and had minimal damage but just a block away dozens of houses were completely destroyed and a little girl was killed when a chimney collapsed in on her while she was sleeping.

The horrific F4 tornado stayed on the ground for 84 miles. It destroyed 425 homes and 78 businesses, left 157 people injured and killed 4 people in total.

So you can see what I mean when I say that I am grateful to be your Pop Pop. I am excited about what the Lord is going to do in your life in the years to come and anticipate that He is going to use you to be an incredible blessing to others. My prayer for you is this…

May the Lord fuel you with His abundant grace and give you more joy than you could ever possibly imagine. May your life overflow into the lives of others in such a way that they are overwhelmingly blessed as God’s Spirit produces bountiful fruit in your life that is used to nourish and nurture the people around you. And may the joy of the Lord always be your strength.

So Happy Birthday #1. I’m looking forward to celebrating many more with you along the way.

Never ever forget that you are very loved,

Pop Pop

 

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