Blog Address Change

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

shaybeachJust wanted to alert you that my blog now has a new address. It is now located at http://shayreyner.com

I just posted my first blog of the year over there about my pondering plans for 2013. If you are still interested in following my blog adventures then make your way over to the new site and fill in your email info on the right sidebar to keep getting email alerts.

Hope your 2013 is off to a great start.

2012 Christmas Letter

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Family

(Each year we try to write a Christmas letter as a way of reflecting on the past year. Here is this year’s letter – written by Linda)

December 2012

What a difference a year makes!  We are so thankful to be celebrating this season and have much to reflect on this year.  If you have a great memory, you will realize that we did not send any correspondence last year.  We had a great trip planned for the holidays and were going to send greetings when we returned.  The trip did not go as planned and here we are a year later –but with so much to be thankful for.

Grayson5WE ARE GRANDPARENTS!!  Grayson Scott Ferrell arrived on November 17th –  10 days late, 29 hours of labor but 8 lb. 2 oz of pure love!   We are loving watching him grow and change.

Tucker is engaged!  He is a senior at NC State, will graduate in May and then is planning to marry his fiance, Danielle, soon after.  He became engaged the same day Grayson was born!  Tucker is planning to go to Southeastern Seminary next year.  He is currently interning at a local church.

LIFE – We are so grateful for the life we have been given and the life we experience in Christ.  He came to rescue and redeem us – and give us life abundantly.

Christy and Chad left in June 2011 to serve in central India for 14 months, training church leaders and working with Southern Baptist missionaries.  We planned to visit them over the holidays – spending several days with them experiencing life in their town and then we were going to spend the holidays with them in Thailand.  Scott and Tucker were also able to go.

AccidentShortly after arriving, Shay, Christy, and I were involved in a scooter accident.  If you want the details of that event, go to Christy’s blog:  chadandchristy.blogspot.com.   (It is her most read blog!)  Shay has several great reflections on his blog also. (sreyner.blogspot.com – Jan 2012).

As we approach the one year anniversary of the accident, we are so thankful for healing.  I finished physical therapy in April and began to run again consistently this summer (much sooner than I had been told I would).   I have 4 plates in my face, a temporary tooth, and nerves still regenerating in my face and leg – but there have been so many miracles surrounding the entire ordeal.  We are grateful and overwhelmed at the protection and presence of the Lord through it all.  Christy’s eye has healed completely and Shay’s ear looks normal (unless you look for the scar!)  His back is fairly tender at times and he has to be careful.

Chad and Christy are temporarily living with us (yes, that means we get to see Grayson daily!!) while they search for their next position.  After their experience in India, Chad would like to be involved in planting a church.  Scott has also lived with us for the last 1-1/2 years as he completes his seminary degree. (He was a wonderful help last winter when I couldn’t walk or drive!)  He is also seeking where the Lord would have him as he has only one class remaining on his degree.   So our home is full once again and we love it!  We are so thankful for this house the Lord led us to 3 years ago.

Our church has experienced changes over the past year and Shay is now the Pastor of Discipleship Ministries.  He is enjoying those responsibilities!  He blogs weekly and is enjoying having Scott and Chad around to play disc golf!   I am still a counselor at the middle school- I only missed 4 days after the Christmas break due to the accident.  I went back to work and even taught my classroom sessions seated on my walker!

We continue to be in the season of life where there are many changes for our children – but we are loving the relationships we have with them and have been so blessed by the ways they have all served us during the last year.

As we reflect on this year –  it’s one of those times we would have never asked for but the Lord continues to use for good in our lives.   We are so very grateful for family and friends (we were incredibly blessed by your prayers and gifts of food following the accident), for the gift of our grandson, for the anticipation of a wedding, but mostly for Jesus as we celebrate the Incarnation – God taking on flesh that He might take our place on a cross so that we might have life.

Merry Christmas,

Shay and Linda

Family2012

On Being A Granddad

Posted: December 10, 2012 in Family

So I am now 3+ weeks into this granddad thing and thought I’d write a little about my experience thus far. I’m still new at this so bear with me as I have about 7 things I want to briefly think out loud about. Grayson3

1) On my Granddads – I really did not know my granddads at all. My Dad’s dad died before I was born. I’m thinking he was somewhere around 57 years old. My Mom’s dad died when I around 4 years old so I only have vague memories of him. I’m thinking he was also around 57 or so. All that to say that I find myself becoming selfish. In my early 30’s after my kids had been born, and knowing my family history (my Dad also died at 42), I began praying that the Lord would give me 50 years so that I could at least see my own kids grow up and I could invest in them while they were still in our home. So now that 50 has come and gone (I’m 54) I find myself thanking God for the years he has given me but also praying now that I’ll have 25 more years so that I can invest in my grand-kids. I’d kind of like Grayson and others that may follow to know me.

Grayson52) On waiting for the birth – Christy was in labor for about 29 hours. I was at the hospital for 14 of those. Not sure who had the harder time waiting – especially after she had her epidural. Okay, I know that it was harder for her but I am not good at just sitting and waiting. And it’s really tough on a dad knowing what his favorite daughter is going through and wanting to protect her and make sure that everything is okay. But not much I could do. So Art and Cindy (Chad’s folks) and I hung out in the waiting room together. Mostly I watched other people. Sometimes I read. I even napped a bit. But mostly I just sat… and waited.

Grayson73) On the miracle of birth – 3:30 am November 17, 2012 is the official time of birth. Pretty amazing to think about all that has to happen for a baby to be born. It  just seems that there is so much that could go wrong in the process that I am astounded that much more often than not nothing does go wrong. Can you imagine what a baby must think as he goes from a nice cozy, warm, dark, quiet home and is literally pushed out into this cold crazy, noisy, bright  world. No wonder they cry. Grayson was born with a little hitch in his cry – no big deal just needed to get his lungs cleared out. New birth is an amazing thing. But we’ll get to that later.

4) On choosing a granddad name – Evidently it is not in my power to choose what my grand-kids will call me. I came up with a bunch of suggestions that my daughter has exercised her veto power on. What’s not to like about about Saba (Hebrew) or Zeyde (Yiddish) – both of which I thought would honor my Jewish heritage. So my next 2 choices are Pop Pop (which was my fraternal grandfather’s name) or Pops. Both are still on the table, but it may not matter – or so I am told. It may come down to whatever Grayson decides to call me. Who knew that it was up to a kid that can’t even talk?

5) On a “full house” – Christy and Chad came back from India in August and because they did not know “what next” they have been living with us until that piece of the puzzle is figured out. We have somewhat of an upstairs apartment that gives them lots of privacy but gives us lots of time with them. It has been a real treat to have them here since Grayson’s birth and to get to spend bonus time with him, knowing that it may not be long before he is not even living in the same town as we are. I’m already missing him. I’ll probably miss Christy and Chad too, but I’ve been led to believe that once grand-kids come along the kids have to take a back seat.

Grayson26) On original sin, new birth, and the gospel – So one of the things that I’ve enjoyed doing is just sitting on the sofa with Grayson in my lap. Such a cute,  content little guy. I have to keep reminding myself that this cute little boy is also a cute little sinner. That just as he inherited his stunning good looks from my side of the family, he also has inherited a sin nature that will be reason enough to destin him for hell. In biblical terms it’s called the doctrine of original sin. It doesn’t take take long for our sin natures to manifest themselves. People look at little babies and say “isn’t he just a perfect little thing.” Far from it. And he will venture far from God unless he experiences new birth. The penalty for having a sin nature is death. The remedy is to be born not just physically but spiritually. Or to say it like Jesus said it, “You must be born again.” Hence Grayson’s need to hear the gospel and to see it lived out by his parents and his grandparents and the community of believers he grows up with. With this in mind I go on to #7.

7) On praying for Grayson – Soon after Grayson was born our families gathered together in the delivery room and prayed for this little guy. he had already been the subject of countless prayers preceding his birth and will be the benefactor of countless more prayers throughout his life. Later that same day I sat down and wrote out a prayer for my grandson that expressed what we have been praying and will continue to do in the years to come…

Father,

Thank you for your grace expressed to me and to my family everyday. And today I want to say thank you again for the extraordinary gift of grace that you have given us through the birth of Grayson. Thank you for your protection for he and Christy through the pregnancy, and through the labor and delivery.

And now as begins his life I want to ask that as he grows up that You would strengthen him with power through Your Spirit in his inner being so that Christ may dwell in his heart through faith. Father, even today on his BIRTHday, would You prepare his heart to believe the transforming word of the gospel. Would You call him to be your child, adopt him as Your son, make him an heir of Your grace.

And I pray that as he responds to You and Your gracious invitation to Life, that You would root him and establish him in the incomparable love of Christ – that You would empower him along with all the saints to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep is the love of our all Sufficient Savior, and to know this all surpassing love in such a way that he is filled to the measure of all of Your fullness.

Father, would you use this little boy to be a mighty instrument of grace to a world that is lost and full of despair. Use him to bring hope to people who feel hopeless. Use him to bring joy to people who live in the depths of sorrow. Use him to bring the gospel to people who are bound for an eternity separated from You.

Use Chad and Christy to model for him what it means to know You and to find his life in You. Use them to teach him grace and truth rightly apportioned. Use them to nurture him and to invest Your Word in his life. And may Your Word bear fruit in his life that is immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.

All this I pray in the name of the One who gave His life for me, Your glorious Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus.

(written November 17, 2012)

Family2012

Pondering Psalm 127

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Pondering Passages

Psalms-YELLOWPsalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
    children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Here are a couple of observations that I had never really thought about until I pondered this week….

1) What exactly is a “Song of Ascent?” –  There are 15 Psalms that claim this designation (Ps 120-134). And there are quite a few explanations as to what this means. There does not seem to be a clear consensus, but this one gets as much press as any of them and I like it best:

The word ‘ascent’ means a step, or an upwards climb.

God’s law includes a rule that Jewish men should go to Jerusalem for the sacred holidays each year. There are three such occasions, called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16).

Probably, these songs were for the men to sing as they travelled. Of course, they did not have modern methods of transport. Most of them walked. And as they walked, they sang these songs.

Their journey might take 3 or 4 days, or longer, if they were from the north of Israel.

Some of the journey had to be uphill, because Jerusalem is at the top of a hill. That is why these are the songs of “ascent” (an upwards climb).

2) The Psalm is “of Solomon” – Many interpreters  believe the Psalm was written by David for his son Solomon. Did you know that at his birth Solomon was given the name “Jedidiah” by the prophet Nathan? (see 2 Samuel 12:25). Jedidiah means “loved by God.”  There is a veiled reference to Solomon (Jedidiah) in verse 2 of the Psalm – “for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

3) My main takeaway from the Psalm – Comes from verses 1-2. “Unless the Lord…” One of the main things that differentiates Christianity from all religions (note that I did not say “all other religions” because Christianity is not a religion) is that Christianity is based on what God does (and has done in Christ) and religions are based on what people do. These verses are a reminder of that. We can do whatever we want BUT “unless the Lord”  is the builder, watcher, boss, manager, coach, owner… then all the work will be in vain. Much better to join God in His great work than to hope, often futilely that  God will bless what we consider our great work.

Next Weeks: Okay I am going to take the rest of the year off from blogging – not pondering, so that I can get prepared and re-energized for next year. I may slip a post or two in about my family and new grandson. For those of you who read this thing, thanks for your encouragement and support along the way. See you in a month or so.

Chapter 9: Instruments of Grace

Here are some excerpts that I thought did a good job of helping me to understand this chapter…

In applying the power of Christ to us, however, the Holy Spirit uses means or, as I prefer to call them, instruments of grace. And though they are His instruments, it is our responsibility to take advantage of them. I have a treadmill and a set of weights that I use to try to maintain a reasonable level of physical fitness. These pieces of equipment are instruments of physical fitness, but they will not accomplish their intended purpose if I do not use them. in the same manner, the Holy Spirit’s instruments of grace will not accomplish their purpose if I do not take advantage of them. The way we take advantage of them is through what is usually called the practice of spiritual disciplines.   p.119

Also keep in mind that though the practice of these disciplines involves our activity, we must always depend on the Holy Spirit to make them effective in our lives. As someone has so well said, grace does not make our effort unnecessary but makes it effective. So the same activity is both an instrument of grace from the Holy Spirit and a discipline of practice.  p. 120

Godliness is basically God-centeredness. It means to live all of life in awareness of our absolute dependence on God and our accountability to Him in both the spiritual and temporal dimensions of life. So it is really at the heart of spiritual transformation. And it is through the practice of the spiritual disciplines that we become more God-centered in our everyday lives.   p.121

Someone once wisely observed that “discipline without desire is drudgery.” What is it then that will give us the desire? It is, first of all, the gratitude that grows out of a daily embracing of the gospel.  p.122

For some believers the idea of spending time alone with God each day is not even in their thinking. Others will have their quiet time, read a daily Bible reading, say a few prayers, but never really enjoy actual fellowship with God. I suspect that only a small minority of believers experience the longing for and joy of an authentic time with God wach day, but this should be the goal of every Christian.   p.125

Next Week: Chapter 10 – The Word of God and Prayer

Pondering Psalm119:121-176

Posted: November 28, 2012 in Pondering Passages

Here are the verses that grabbed my attention this week and why:

v. 133  “Direct my footsteps according to your Word; let no sin rule over me.”

It wasn’t enough for the Psalmist to just know what God’s Word said, he wanted his life to be dictated by God’s Word. And he knew that if this were true then sin would not rule his life.The familiar maxim comes to mind again – Sin will keep you from God’s Word or the Word of God will keep you from sin. So the Psalmist did two things: 1) He spent time reading and learning and pondering the Word of God and 2) He prayed – he prayed that God would use the  Word in the Psalmist’s life to “direct my footsteps.” This is a great example of how the Word of God and prayer go hand in hand. As you read, pray. And when you pray ask God to work his Word into your life in practical ways.

v. 135  “Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.”

Knowing the Word of God wasn’t just a mental exercise for the Psalmist. He didn’t read and ponder so that he could impress people with how much he knew. He did so in order to know God. This was the desire of his heart. And he knew that hearing God’s voice through His Word was the pathway to seeing His face. There is a huge difference between reading the Bible and hearing the voice of God. I’m reminded of what David prayed in Psalm 27:8 – “My heart says of you, “Seek His face!” Your face,  Lord, I will seek.”

v.136  “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.”

The Psalmist was a passionate man. This is quickly obvious as you read through Psalm 119. He was passionate about God’s Word. He was passionate about knowing God. He was passionate about hearing His voice and seeking His face. But he was also passionate about God’s glory. This verse reflects his passion to see God honored and obeyed. And when people do not give God the honor that is His due it literally brought the Psalmist to tears. Question: As you and I look around at our world and see the egregious way that people have rebelled against God are we brought to tears? Do we have the same kind of passion that the Psalmist had for God’s glory. And if not, why not?

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week: Psalm 127

Pondering Psalm 119:81-128

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Pondering Passages

Here are a few of the verses from this section that caught my attention. Good stuff!

v.83  “Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.” 

Huh? What does he mean by that? The Psalmist uses the term “wineskin in the smoke” as an illustration of how he felt. Drinking containers in ancient times were usually made of skin. These skin bottles were often used out in the wilderness to hang in a tent when the use of fire was needed inside and there was no chimney. The skin would absorb the smoke for a long period of time. The skin would become hard and shriveled because of the smoke and afterwards it turned black and was useless. The psalmist is saying that he felt useless – dried out, shrivelled, and soot-covered spiritually but he wasn’t giving up. And he would not forget God’s Word no matter how he felt.

The lesson for us is this: No matter what life brings and no matter how distant from God you might feel, hold on to God’s Word. Don’t let go. Cling to it as you would a life preserver in the open sea when you have had to abandon ship.

v 89  “Your word , O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”

This verse reminds me of my call to ministry. In college I heard a speaker say that there were only two things that were eternal in this world – God’s Word and people. And that we should spend our lives investing in these two eternal things. I knew after hearing that that I would be a Biomedical engineer, which is what I majored in in college. I knew that I would pursue a life of vocational ministry which would enable me to maximize my time as I invested in eternal things.

v 101, 104, 127-128  “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word./ I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path./  because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.”

So there seems to be two things going on here. Because the Psalmist loves the Word of God, he hates evil and does whatever it takes to steer clear of it. And because his desire is to obey God’s Word, he avoids sin so that it does not short circuit his relationship with God. Do you see the difference? On the one hand, the Word of God keeps him from sinning. And on the other hand, he know that sinning would keep him from the Word of God so he is very intentional about staying away from it.

So here is the question to me… and to you: Do I love God and His Word more than I love sin? We don’t have to look very far to find the answer to that question.

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week: Psalm 119: 129-176