Bamboo scaffolding is still used to construct buildings in Hong Kong. Each level of bamboo is attached the the building as it goes up, do it really is safe and sturdy. The netting on the bamboo just prevents things from falling on the pedestrians below.
I’m off to a late start on the Fodder. Today was a public holiday, and I ended up leading a hike for some of the ladies in our church. They had planned to go up to Victoria Peak, but the foggy weather made it doubtful whether it would be worth the time and money to go there when they may not be able to enjoy the views. Instead, they came Sai Kung for a scenic hike.
Cindy is getting ready for her trip to the States on Friday. Since she has such a short prep time… only a week, she’s been working like a trouper to get things in order. Becki was really relieved when we told her mom would be there. Being pregnant is hard enough (so I’m told!). but with Ace not being able to drive yet, and then grandson, Daniel, riding in a car that was involved in an accident, it's been nearly overwhelming.
Daniel seems to be recovering without any complications. We’re so grateful for the Lord’s protection over him.
We’re also grateful for some of the recent developments in RiverGrace. As God brings more people, we’re able to take advantage of more outreach possibilities. Next Wednesday we will start an English class, especially trying to reach out to Chinese students from the Mainland. There are many in Hong Kong, studying in the universities. Michael Krigline will teach the class. He is from one of the churches in our supporting denomination in the States, and a fairly new arrival in Hong Kong, though not new to Asia. He and his wife Vivian are part of our RiverGrace family.
Even newer arrivals to Hong Kong… a month ago, Grant and Vicky McAllister from New Zealand, have been involved here in Asia for nearly 20 years, using the story-telling T4T method of church planting and growth. This is a method that work well for many cultures. It will also be ideal for training the people God has brought to us in RiverGrace. Using your own story and God’s story a person is trained to evangelize, disciple and plant cell groups and churches.
A significant number of our RiverGrace family are on 2-year contracts or asylum seekers, who won’t likely be in Hong Kong long-term. As they leave to return home or are resettled elsewhere, they can use the T4T training to start Bible studies, or even churches, if their are none in their vicinity.
We are planing some training courses, not only for our RiverGrace family, but also inviting other churches to join as well from the Hong Kong Evangelical Church conference. Some of them have expressed interest in reaching out to minorities as well.
Just this week, one of our RG family members from Venezuela is interested in starting a Bible study group for Spanish speakers in Hong Kong. Our new pastor, Pastor Tommy, though he is Chinese, grew up in Columbia, so his mother tongue is Spanish. As I understand it, some or most of these Spanish speakers are non-believers. (I suppose I’ve forgotten too much of the 3 years of Spanish I studied in high school to do any good!)
Please pray with us for these new initiatives, that they would bear much fruit
That’s my report for this week. Make it a great week! Blessings, Dave
Mike Huckabee: How To Know When God Is Speaking To Us
How do we know when God is speaking to us and that those “spiritual” promptings are not just gastronomical gurglings from not having eaten breakfast?
1. God never speaks contrary to His Word, the Bible. If what “God says” in a specific situation doesn’t agree with what He already has said in His written revelation, something is wrong.
2. God is not in the habit of changing His mind about the same issue. If He released a statement about a matter 2000 years ago, He holds the same position today.
3. An “impression of the Lord,” if genuine, will usually rest in harmony with that of a host of praying and perceptive Godly counselors.
4. “God’s will” is not always custom tailored to fit man’s desires. This is not to imply that God consistently passes out bitter pills to His children, but beware when what “God told me” is invariably what you wanted to hear.
--Mike Huckabee, in “Life’s Answer,” August 1979, p. 21
@The Timothy Report, www.timothyreport.com, March 28, 2016)
Grief Is Great
“Please—Mr. Lion—Aslan, Sir?” said Digory working up the courage to ask. “Could you—may I—please, will you give me some magic fruit of this country to make my mother well?”
A child in one of the Narnia books, Digory, at this point in the story, had brought about much disaster for Aslan and his freshly created Narnia. But he had to ask. In fact, he thought for a second that he might attempt to make a deal with Aslan. But quickly Digory realized the Lion was not the sort of person with which one could try to make bargains.
C.S. Lewis then recounts, “Up till then the child had been looking at the lion’s great front feet and the huge claws on them. Now in his despair he looked up at his face. And what he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and wonder of wonders great shining tears stood in the lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the lion must really be sorrier about his mother than he was himself.”(1)
Charles Dickens often spoke of his characters as beloved and “real existences.” I have often wondered if the “safe but never tame” Lion cared for C.S. Lewis half as much as this figure has comforted others. Lewis was a boy about the age of Digory when his mother lay dying of cancer and he was helpless to save her.
“My son, my son,” said Aslan. “I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another…”
The character that fills each of the gospel stories towers above all attempts we have made to describe him. And yet, had we been in charge of writing the story of God becoming human, I doubt it would have been Christ we described. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). He was not the stoic, man of nerves we might have imagined. Nor was he the ever-at-peace teacher we often describe. He was, among other things, a man of sorrows.
If I am honest, there is, for me, immense comfort in a Christ who was not always smiling. As I picture his face set as flint toward Jerusalem, readying himself for the tortuous events of the cross, my fear is unfastened by his fortitude. As I imagine the urgency in his voice as he defended a guilty woman amidst a crowd holding rocks, my shame is undone by his mercy. And as I picture him weeping at the grave of Lazarus, crying out at injustice, sweating blood in the garden of Gethsemane, my tears are given depth, maybe even life, by his own cries. We do not grieve alone.
“But you, O God,” cried the psalmist, “do see trouble and grief.” Becoming man, the character of God was not compromised or misrepresented. As the vicarious Son of God knew tears, so the heart of God is one that knows grief. The heart of the Father is one who knows the loss of a child. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted,” writes the prophet Isaiah. Matthew describes the extent of these words: “Then [Pilate] released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Matthew 27:26). Indeed, our grief is great; let us be good to one another.
Perhaps those who mourn are called blessed because they are at this point closest to the deepest wound of the heart of God. Until every tear shall be wiped dry, we have before us the hopeful figure of the Man of Sorrows, who bore on his shoulders our grief and his own. “My son, my daughter, I know.”
~Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
(1) C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), 83.
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6. Never ask an usher to break a $20.
5. Never do a cannonball in the baptismal tank.
4. Never hold a church business meeting on Super Bowl Sunday.
3. Never tell the pastor, "We love your church and we might even come back next Easter."
2. During youth group activities, never bungee jump off the church steeple or play chicken with the church buses.
1. After a soloist of impressive size sings "Love Lifted Me," don't follow with the hymn "It Took a Miracle.
I went to my doctor yesterday. After a long wait in the outer office, my name was finally called. When I got into the examining room, the nurse pointed to the scale and said, "I need to get your weight today."
I immediately replied, "One hour and 5 minutes."
The doctor's office was crowded as usual, but the doctor was moving at his usual snail's pace. After waiting two hours, an old man slowly stood up and started walking toward the door.
"Where are you going?" the receptionist called out.
"Well," he said, "I figured I'd go home and die a natural death."
Outraged by the high charges that the computer service wanted for repair work, one employee asked her co-worker which service she used.
"My sons," was the reply. "They both have degrees in Computer science."
"So you get that kind of work done for nothing," the friend marveled.
The co-worker smiled. "Actually, I figured that it cost me about $140,000 for my kids to fix my computer for free."
Mary was discussing the various aspects and possible outcome of the insurance policy with the clerk at the Insurance Agency. During the discussion, she asked. "Suppose I take the life insurance for my husband today for a million dollars, and tomorrow he dies? What will I get?"
The clerk eyed her suspiciously and replied, "Probably a life sentence."
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There was a gentleman in the hospital bed next to me. He was covered with bandages from head to toe.
I said to him, "What do you do for a living?"
He said, "I'm a former window washer."
I asked, "When did you give it up?"
He said, "Halfway down."
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- Tongue: A variety of meat, rarely served because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of dead cow.
- Yogurt: Semi-solid dairy product made from partially evaporated and fermented milk. Yogurt is one of only three foods that taste exactly the same as they sound. The other two are goulash and squid.
- Recipe: A series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you forgot to buy, in utensils you don't own, to make a dish the dog won't eat.
- Porridge: Thick oatmeal rarely found on tables since children were granted the right to sue their parents. The name is an amalgamation of the words "Putrid," "hORRId," and "sluDGE."
- Preheat: To turn on the heat in an oven for a period of time before cooking a dish, so that the fingers may be burned when the food is put in, as well as when it is removed.
- Oven: Compact home incinerator used for disposing of bulky pieces of meat and poultry.
- Microwave Oven: Space-age kitchen appliance that uses the principle of radar to locate and immediately destroy any food placed within the cooking compartment.
- Calorie: Basic measure of the amount of rationalization offered by the average individual prior to taking a second helping of a particular food.
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When my wife had to rush to the hospital unexpectedly, she asked me to bring her a few items from home. One item on her list was "comfortable underwear."
Not sure what she considered comfortable, I asked, "How will I know which ones to pick?"
"Hold them up and imagine them on me," she answered. "If you smile, put them back."
Following the Rules
As I left the grocery store, I noticed two little kids, maybe six or seven years old, selling candy bars in front of the store to raise money for their school band.
"I'll buy a chocolate bar on one condition," I said to the boys.
"You eat it for me."
I bought one and handed the candy back to one of the boys.
He shook his head. "I can't," he said.
Looking me in the eye, he responded gravely, "I'm not supposed to take candy from strangers."
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