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It seems summer is almost here in Hong Kong. It heated up this week, and was in the 80’s (high 20’s C.)… along with the humidity. Cindy is in the bedroom going through the winter clothes and packing them away and getting out the summer ones. It was a mild winter and was barely worthwhile for me to get out the winter ones. I guess I wore my jacket when I went out maybe a dozen times, but most days I didn’t even have to wear a long-sleeved shirt.
Saturday I hiked up Sharp Peak with three other friends. It was the warmest day so far to hike, but there was some breeze, at least. I’m still not sure how my body will react in the hot summer heat after the heart surgery. I should be okay, but will have to experiment a bit. I’m not sure how taking the blood thinner, and also losing a lot of water through sweating will work. I wasn’t doing hiking so difficult last year, before it started to moderate from the worst heat.
Lot’s of people have been traveling from RiverGrace the past couple weeks. Some of our Filipina ladies go back home as it’s the end of the school year there, and there are graduation and other end of the school year events. Also others go away over the Easter holiday as it’s one of the longer holidays.
We’ll have a Good Friday service at church. We don’t expect a lot of people because it is not a statutory holiday, meaning it’s not a holiday for everyone… mostly just for government offices and schools.
This coming Easter Sunday in an afternoon going baptism with a few other HKEC churches, we will have 7 baptized from our RiverGrace family. All of them are Filipinas. We are grateful for what the Lord is doing in their lives.
In June we’ll have another baptism, this one will be a Chinese young man from Taiwan. He is currently studying in Japan, so cannot be with us this Sunday. We’ll probably baptism him in the South China Sea, when he visits Hong Kong, as we have done a couple other times before.
That’s the brief update this week. I wish all of you a blessed Easter, and celebration of our living Savior.
Make it a great week. Blessings, Dave
In a special documentary, a major television network investigated the beginnings of Christianity and the influence of the apostle Paul in spreading the message of Christ. The narrator noted his fascination with the historical figure, commenting that if not for the voice of Paul, it is “unlikely that the movement Jesus founded would have survived beyond the first century.” Yet of the resurrection of Christ he also noted, “Something must have happened, otherwise it’s hard to explain how Jesus’s story endured for so long.”
Why has the story of Christ endured? Has it survived through the centuries because of effective speakers in antiquity? Has it endured, as Sigmund Freud argued, because it is a story that fulfills wishes, or as Friedrich Nietzsche attested, because it masks and medicates our despairing fate? Has the story of Christ endured because something really happened after Jesus’s body was taken down from the cross or was it only the clever marketing of ardent followers?
We live in an age where religion is examined with the goal of finding a religion, or a combination of religions, that best suits our lives and lifestyles. We are intrigued by characters in history like Jesus and Paul, Buddha and Gandhi. We look at their lives and rightly determine their influence in history—the radical life and message of Christ, the fervor with which Paul spread the story of Christianity, the passion of Buddha, the social awareness of Gandhi. But far too often, our fascination stops there, comfortably and confidently keeping the events of history at a distance or mingling them all together as one and the same.
C.S. Lewis wrote often of “the great cataract of nonsense” that blinds us to knowledge of earlier times and keeps us content with history in pieces. He was talking about the common tendency to treat the voices of history with a certain level of incredulity and inferiority—even if with a pleasant curiosity all the same. Elsewhere, he called it chronological snobbery, a tendency to concern oneself primarily with present sources while dissecting history as we please. Yet to do so, warned Lewis, is to walk unaware of the cataracts through which we see the world today. Far better is the mind that truly considers the past, allowing its lessons to interact with the army of voices that battle for our allegiance. For a person who has lived thoroughly in many eras is far less likely to be deceived by the errors of his or her own age.
We might be wary, then, among other things, of assuming the earliest followers of Christ thought resurrection a reasonable phenomenon or miracles a natural occurrence. They didn’t. Investigating the life of Paul, we might ask why a once fearful persecutor of Christ’s followers was suddenly willing to die for the story he carried around the world, testifying to this very event that split history. Investigating the enduring story of Christ, we might ask why the once timid and frightened disciples were abruptly transformed into bold witnesses. What happened that led countless Jews and many others to dramatically change directions in life and in lifestyle? That something incredible happened is not a difficult conclusion at which to arrive. It takes far greater faith to conclude otherwise.
A friend of mine is fond of saying that truth is something you can hang your hat on. Even as we struggle to see it today, her words communicate a reality Jesus’s disciples knew well. The resurrection was shocking in its real-ness; it was an event they found dependable and enduring. It was not for them like the latest scandal that grabs our curiosity and passes with the next big thing. It is solid and it is real. The disciples and the apostle Paul were transformed by seeing Jesus alive again—a phenomenon that would be just as unthinkable to ancient minds as it would be for us today. In fact, even the most hesitant among them, and the most unlikely of followers, found the resurrected Christ an irrefutable reality. Comfort was irrelevant, it went far beyond curiosity, and personal preference was not a consideration. They could not deny who stood in front of them. Jesus was alive. And they went to their deaths talking about it.
It seems to me that the story of Christ has endured for innumerable reasons: because in the fullness of time God indeed sent his Son; because knowingly Jesus walked to the Cross and into the hands of those who didn’t know what they were doing; because something really happened after his body was laid in the tomb; and because with great power and with God’s Spirit, the apostles continued to testify of the events they saw. What if the story of Christ remains today simply because it is true?
~ Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
@A Slice of Infinity - go to http://www.rzim.org/slice/ to subscribe
One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"
The teacher paused then asked the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?"
One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think he said: 'WOW! A talking chicken!'"
The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.
@Sent by Tommy Wilkerson
Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were taking a walk one fine March day.
One remarked to the other, "Windy, ain't it?”
"No," the second man replied, "It's Thursday.”
And the third man chimed in, "So am I. Let's have a coke.”
The head of a corporation, who was a rather pigheaded, obstinate man, called his executives on the carpet one day. "Look," he fumed, "you people have got to get on the ball that's all there is to it. If we have any bottlenecks around here, I want you to tell me what they are. Is that clear?"
After the meeting one executive turned to another, "I've had some experience with bottles, and from that experience I can tell you that the necks are always at the top."
@Sent by Richard Wimer
Pilot: November 123 on a very short final, understand I'm cleared to land?
Tower: Oh, who's talking?
Radar: Flight 1234, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees
Pilot: Roger, but we are at 35.000 feet, how much noise can we make up here?
Radar: Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 707 makes when it hits a 727?
Radar: CRX 500, are you on a course to SUL?
Pilot: More or less
Radar: So proceed a little bit more to SUL
Tower: N2234, are you a Cessna?
Pilot: No, I'm a male Hispanic
Pilot: ... request heading 110 to avoid
Radar: To avoid what?
Pilot: To avoid delay
Pilot: Radar, this is Cessna 4675
Radar: Cessna 4675, go ahead
Pilot: Radar, I don't seem to be making much progress here. How is my ground speed?
Radar: Well, all depends. If you are a hang glider, you are doing very well.
Captain: (after landing a bit rough) Ladies and Gentlemen, it's happy hour. You just received two landings for the price of one.
1) Arachnoleptic fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
2) Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.
3) Cashtration (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4) Caterpallor (n.) The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.
5) Decaflon (n.) The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
6) Dopelar effect (n.) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you come at them rapidly.
7) Extraterrestaurant (n.) An eating place where you feel you've been abducted and experimented upon. Also known as an ETry.
8) Faunacated (adj.) How wildlife ends up when its environment is destroyed. Hence faunacatering (v.), which has made a meal of many species.
9) Grantartica (n.) The cold, isolated place where art companies dwell without funding.
10) Intaxication (n.) Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
1) Kinstirpation (n.) A painful inability to move relatives who come to visit.
Anthony, Pauline, James and I climted Sharp Peak on Saturday. It's 468 meters or about 1536 feet tall. It's only #60 in the list of tallest peaks in Hong Kong. But it's appropriatly named as it is one of the technically one of the hardest hills to climb because of its steepness and the many... small ones that make the footing difficult. Still it's worth the climb and one of my favorite views in Hong Kong.
Ma On Shan
Tai Wan Village
Fei Ngo Shan