Here are a couple photos from recent hikes. Hong Kong is so beautiful when you get out of the city.
April 25, 2016
We’ve had a lot of gray days with rain and thunderstorms on and off. It’s fairly typical, though, for this time of year.
My new granddaughter, Elia, is doing okay. There was a bit of a concern as she had lost weight after the birth, which is normal, but she had not yet started gaining again. As of my last report, she’s started to gain weight slowly now. Ace said she sleeps a lot, and Cindy said that she often falls asleep drinking.
Becki’s back has still been hurting from where she had the spinal tap, and has not been sleeping well, as a result.
Here in Hong Kong, it’s been a busy week, but mostly I’ve just been doing administrative tasks or having extra meetings.
Two meetings involved asylum seekers and refugees. Some people in the Hong Kong government have been talking about some fairly drastic changes to how they deal with asylum seekers. Some have even suggested that the government build detention camps and hold them there until they can be processed
While that seems totally unacceptable, especially to the genuine torture claimants. and others who have fled persecution, or countries in upheaval or civil wars, actually it is not unheard of in Hong Kong. In the 70’s when Vietnamese refugees were pouring into Hong Kong they were held in detention camps and not able to leave or have any kind of a normal life.
In the end they all were placed in other countries after a few years. They were never allowed to be accepted by Hong Kong.
When we started RiverGrace 5 years ago, there were about 6000 asylum seekers and refugees. Now there are around 11,000 coming mostly from Africa, the Middle East or southeast Asian countries.
The reason they come to Hong Kong is that we have a UN office here where they can apply for asylum.
Though the number of asylum seekers here in Hong Kong is not significant compared to many European countries, there’s not a lot of space in Hong Kong for so many extra people when even the local people have trouble finding affordable housing.
Please pray for a reasonable response to the situation.
This next Sunday, RiverGrace will celebrate it’s 5th anniversary. We will join with Yan Yue and go to a camp for our service, lunch, and some extra activities. The day after we have an annual event called Family Fun Day. It’s a day when we just have fun and enjoy each other. We go to the playground at United Chrisitan College for some sports games. We also have some group activities that day as well. It’s the international Labor Day holiday.
Should I Go To Church? (Based on a manuscript by Benjamin H. Spalink. Scripture quoted is from the NIV.)
I was confident that nowhere in the Bible did it say I should go to church.
But then I read Ephesians 4:11-13:
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
Then I wondered: If Christ gave pastors and teachers to prepare me for works of service, shouldn't I use them?
Then I read Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
And I realized that being together with other Christians is how God intends to encourage me to do what is right.
Then I read Romans 10:13b-17: "...'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?' Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
And I knew that Jesus sent these pastors and teachers to build my faith.
Then I read Matthew 16:18: "'And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.'"
And I discovered that Jesus built the church, owns it, and protects it.
Then I read Matthew 18:20: "'For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.'"
And I found that when His followers gather to worship Him, He joins them.
Then I read Luke 4:16a: "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom."
And I discovered that Jesus himself was in the habit of attending church.
Then I read Luke 22:19:"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'"
And I found out that Jesus told us to use the Lord's Supper to help us remember that He died for our sins. If I stay away from church, I am also staying away from the Lord's Supper.
I was convinced, but I wondered how I could convince my friends - I knew what they would say about going to church: "If Jesus owns the church, why can't they agree? Why so many denominations?" I searched for some answers to their objections and found this in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
And I knew that our inability to see Christ's work clearly was the reason for all these denominations. Some lean on one part of the Bible and others lean on another. I also told my friends that what really counts is what you do with Jesus.
But I knew that my friends were really disgusted with how some of the "regular" church members behaved. I didn't have a good answer, because I also was hurt by things other members did. But then I read Ephesians 4:32:"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
And I knew that forgiveness was so important to Jesus that He once told his followers that if they refused to forgive others, then they would not be forgiven either. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Another of my friends said to me: "I don't need others to have a relationship with God. I can be a Christian by myself."
So I showed him what the Bible said in various parts of 1 Corinthians 12:"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many...The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!'...there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other...Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
Their final objection was the biggest: "We are too busy - Sunday is the only chance we have to relax and enjoy ourselves." I recognized it as a big issue because I felt this way myself at times.
Then I remembered what Jesus said about priorities:
"...others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." (Mark 4:18b-19)
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
See you in church!
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
The Smith's were proud of their family tradition; their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower and also included many Senators and Wall Street wizards.
When they decided to compile a family history as a legacy reminder for their children and grandchildren they hired a fine author. Only one problem arose and that was how to handle that great-uncle George, who was executed in the electric chair.
The author said he could handle the story tactfully.
The book appeared. It said "Great-uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a great shock."
@Cybersalt Digest - Click here to subscribe: http://www.cybersalt.org/
The man passed out in a dead faint as he came out of his front door onto the porch. Someone called 911.
When the paramedics arrived, they helped him regain consciousness and asked if he knew what caused him to faint.
"It was enough to make anybody faint," he said. "My son asked me for the keys to the garage, and instead of driving the car out, he came out with the lawn mower!"
When my daughter, Brittany, was 4 or 5, she was having some "growing pains” in her legs and needed to take some aspirin. She had the bottle and was trying in vain to get it open while I changed her baby sister's diaper.
I saw her frustration and explained that it was a childproof cap and I would have to open it when I finished.
Eyes wide with wonder, Brittany asked, "How does it know it's me?”
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Signs You're Getting Too Old To Drive...
- You think an SUV might be too small to be safe.
- It takes more than four minutes to get out of your car.
- When backing into a parking spot, you just back up until you hear something.
- It scares you to drive the speed limit.
- The only thing you pass on the road anymore is the Amish.
- You use cruise control because your leg fell asleep.
- You use cruise control at 25 mph.
- You inquired if the dealership could install magnifying glass for the windshield.
- Your turn signal has been on since 2003.
- Your bumper sticker endorses Eisenhower.
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?
Little Johnny jumped up and yelled, "Because people are sleeping!"
My three-year-old granddaughter, Rebecca, had been well-behaved throughout the morning service at New Bethel Baptist Church in Harrison, Tennessee until the pastor began his long closing prayer. With no end of the prayer in sight, Rebecca stood up on the family pew and said loudly, "Amen, Preacher, Amen!"
The congregation erupted in laughter as the pastor stopped. Then in a somber voice, the pastor continued, "Dear Lord, your message has been well-received and a child has led them. Amen and Amen."