Pop Pop Epistle #96 – Happy BIRTHday Haddon

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

And we have yet another g’kid to add to our tribe so I guess I will have to update the  picture up above pretty soon! But in the mean time…

Welcome to the world Haddon Thomas Reyner.

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Name: Haddon Thomas Reyner
Parents: Scott and Mary Reyner
Siblings: Keller and Audrey
BIRTHday: February 24, 2020 at 8:44 AM
Specs: 9 lbs, 2 oz. 22 inches long

Here is my prayer for Haddon:

Father, yet again I come to you with a grateful heart. And yet again I stand in awe of Your blessings. “Blessed in the Beloved” as Ephesians 1:6 says.

I pray for this little guy and ask that he would grow up knowing the great love with which You have loved him – this love that goes beyond our understanding and which You demonstrated so beautifully at the Cross.

I ask that even now You begin a great work in his life: drawing him to Yourself, opening his eyes to recognize Your holiness, giving him a keen awareness of his own sinful nature, and fueling him with a desperate longing to be reconciled to You.

I ask that he would grow up in Christ and experience bountifully Your life-giving joy, Your sustaining peace even in the midst of hard times, Your power to enable him to do great and mighty acts on behalf of the kingdom.

I pray that You will develop in him the mind of Christ and that You will establish and root him in the Truth of Your Word; that You will teach him to abide deeply and that he will find nourishment for his soul in and through You.

I thank you for the parents You have given him, along with his brother and sister, and ask that You would use Scott and Mary and Keller and Audrey to model for him a contagious walk that irresistibly draws him to faithfully follow You.

And lastly I ask that You would use Haddon to courageously teach and proclaim the Scriptures even as the prince of  preachers did many years ago – Charles Haddon Spurgeon -that You will use him to influence many generations for the sake of the gospel.

I pray all this in and through the great name of Jesus.


Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop



Pop Pop Epistle #95 – About The Staff Infection

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

For about the last 20 years the staff at our church has provided the entertainment for our annual Valentine’s Banquet. We call ourselves The Staff Infection. There are usually 250-300 people in attendance and always a good time. We have a great meal, there are lots of giveaways, some comedy, some table games, and it always culminates with our “act.”

Last night was the 2020 version of the banquet. The theme was Elvis. Each of our five pastors made a grand entrance as Elvis, his brother Elvis, his other brother Elvis, and his two other brothers named Elvis. So there were five of us Elvis’ on stage and we each “sang” an Elvis song. My song was Love Me Tender.

We have had some really great performances over the years, a few very forgettable, but all of them memorable.

At the bottom of this post you will see a few of the characters that I have played. Perhaps my favorite was when I was awarded the Gnomie Award for best impersonation of a movie role – in my case it was the priest from the movie The Princess Bride. Remind me someday to share with you my “mawwaige” line – which is pretty good if I do say so myself. It has even made it into a few weddings that I have officiated.

One of the things that I hope you will always remember about me is that I like to have fun. In fact sometimes I have a hard time getting serious. But just for the fun of it I will share a few really silly riddles with you that I shared at the banquet last night. Perhaps you can use them with your friends. Enjoy.

Q: Why can’t you trust an atom?
A: Because they make up everything.

Q: If you have 13 apples in one hand and 10 oranges in the other, what do you have?
A: Big hands.

Q. Why aren’t Koalas actual bears?
A. They don’t meet the koalifications.

Q: Why couldn’t Cinderella play soccer?
A: She kept running away from the ball.

Q: What do you call a boomerang that won’t come back?
A: A stick.

Q. What is the resemblance between a green apple and a red apple?
A. They’re both red except for the green one.


Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

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Pop Pop Epistle # 94 – About Rattlesnakes

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

Have I ever told you my rattlesnake story?

So as far as I know I have only come across one rattlesnake out in the wild. It was way back in the last century. Somewhere around 1985. I was a student pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. I took about 10 folks on a backpacking trip to Linville Gorge in western NC. Mostly high school teenagers.

We got to the Gorge mid afternoon and our goal was to hike into the wilderness about 2-3 hours and then set up camp before it got dark. We were on a trail that dropped off into the Gorge on the right and had a steep rock face on the left. In other words, there was no way to veer off the trail even a little bit.

It was a sunny day but there was a briskness up in the mountains. One of the young guys was leading the way and I was pulling up the rear when all of a sudden everyone seemed to be backing up into me. The lead hiker pointer over his shoulder and said “snake!”  One of the other adults on the trip looked that way and said “rattlesnake!”

Turns out Mr. Rattlesnake had found himself a nice warm place in the middle of our trail to take a nap. So at this point we had to make a decision. Here were the options that we considered: 1) We could turn around and go back and find a different trail; 2) We could stealthily try to step over Mr. Rattlesnake and hope that he did not wake up; or 3) We could throw things at him until he removed himself and got out of our way.

We chose #3 and all that did was was tick him off. This was when we had incontrovertible proof that the snake was a rattlesnake because he did his best Taylor Swift impression and started to “shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.” We were just hoping he didn’t “charge, charge, charge, charge, charge.” At this point I was glad that I was in the back. But that scenario changed quickly when our efforts finally encouraged him to move off into some brambles that led into the Gorge.

We gave him just a minute and then we hustled down the trail. It was at this point that I started looking over my shoulder because I know if I had been Mr. Rattlesnake I would have been looking for sweet revenge – because there is nothing that makes me more ornery than getting woken up from a good nap.

So here is the life lesson that I learned from the experience as I have reflected back on it over the years. There are always going to be rattlesnakes in your life that you will have to deal with. They will usually manifest themselves as people or problems that are standing in your way – keeping you from getting where you want to go. And there are generally three ways that you can deal with them: 1) You can allow them to discourage you and make you turn around from going in the direction that you want to go; 2) You can do something stupid (like try to step over a rattlesnake) that will only create more problems and cause much emotional, professional, or relational pain; or 3) You can do all that you can do to deal with the problem in a healthy, constructive manner and create a way to keep going.

There will always be rattlesnakes. The way that you handle them makes all the difference in the world. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Scripture is always a good place to start when dealing with rattlesnakes.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

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