Monday Fodder Weekly Update

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February 6, 2017

Photos from the World Vision Barefoot walk. The Clear Water Bay Road Country Club has some awesome views. Unfortunately local people can't go there unless they have big bucks, or join something like the event we did. See all the photos by selecing "Photos" above and choosing the "World Vision Barefoot Walk."

On Saturday a few of us from our RiverGrace Church and Yan Yue church participated in the World Vision barefoot walk for children in southern Sudan. I’m not sure how many times they have sponsored this walk but it was our first time to participate.

There were well over 1000 people who joined. Nearly all of them, including some young children, waked 3.3km (just over 2 miles) on the concrete road used by the golf carts around one of the 9 hole courses of the Clear Water Bay golf course.  Fortunately, I do believe they must have swept the road clean as we didn’t have to worry about stepping on small pebbles as we walked. Still my feet are a bit tender today, as normally the only place I walk around with bare feet is at home.Though there was grass along the road, it hurt more to walk on it than on the road, because that’s where the pebbles had been swept to.

It was my first time ever to go into the golf course and country club of Clear Water Bay, and I have to say, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Hong Kong. That end of the peninsula is all taken up with the golf course, so you can’t go there unless you have a membership. The country club costs in the neighborhood of $3 million HKD or $384,000 USD.  That’s just for the entrance fee. There are monthly charges on top of that. That’s why we’ve never been inside!

The weather was absolutely perfect or such an event… not too hot, not too cold, sunshiny and dry.

For my golfing friends, imagine playing this course! I guess I’d lose a ton of balls, but it would still be beautiful, and hard to concentrate on your golf game. You can see all the photos here:

Before the walk, there were two African drummers/singers who performed a song of their own. Then they led the participants in a warm-up exercise where they were chanting some words in their language and the crowd was repeating them while doing some body stretches. In one part of the song they were saying “Yawa, Yawa, yeh yeh yeh.”  

After the walk when we had time before departure, I talked to the drummers and asked them what they were saying. I asked them if they were saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Yes, Yes, Yes.”  They confirmed that was what they were saying. They said that in their language they also use Yahweh for God or Jehovah.  So all the crowd, unknowingly, were chanting that.  

We continue to search for the best way forward for RiverGrace. The option we thought might be a possibility, to move to a school, did not work out. So continue our search.

As you can imagine, thinking about renting at commercial rates would be a stretch for us at this time. $2000 square feet would cost around $5000 USD per month. Finding a school that would welcome a church would still possibly be the best option due to the rent factor, but also have the potential for the church to assist the school and reach out to students and their families.

Please join us in prayer for what God wants for our church. Thanks much.

That’s it for this week. Make it a great week! Blessings, Dave


Why Christian?

     "Why Christian?" was a question put before Professor Douglas John Hall by one of the many students who discover themselves in his office asking more about the theology he teaches. It's possible this question was asked rhetorically, maybe even a bit sarcastically, like those near Jesus who threw questions more like daggers than candid inquiries. It's also possible the student just wanted to hear an honest explanation: In a world of so many spiritual options, in a world of reasons to reject religion altogether, Why Christianity? Regardless of tone or motive, the seasoned professor of theology decided to answer the question, laying aside the responses that must come automatically after so many years to really give an answer. "I confess, I [am answering] as much for myself as for you," he writes. "You made me realize that after all these years I needed to face that question in the quite basic and personal way you put it to me."(1)

     On a typical day, my answer to the question of Christianity might be steeped in the signs and realities of the uniqueness of Christ. Thankfully this answer is not my own. With many who have gone before me, I cannot explain Jesus of Nazareth without concluding his uniqueness. "Surely this man was the Son of God!" "Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing" "Come and see the man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"(2)

     Christianity is not a matter of preference or pedigree, but pilgrimage chosen specifically because a follower has found one worth following. "[Jesus] was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men," wrote Scottish nobleman James Stewart, "yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God... No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin... His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell... He saved others but at the last, Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confront us in the Gospels." Why Christian? Because there is none other like Christ.

     The incomparability of Jesus Christ answers the questions of a world of spiritual options and religious hostility. Like professor Hall, facing the question "Why Christian?" is typically a matter of confessing the things I know, even as I know I now see but a reflection and will one day see face to face. Still, there are less typical days when the question comes not with hostility or sarcasm or curiosity, but from somewhere within, and the answers are somewhere caught up in despair or injustice or death. When standing over a casket or holding the hand of one whose body is riddled with cancer, "Why Christian?" takes on a different flesh—or else it wavers cold and corpselike. Christ's uniqueness is suddenly a matter of urgency, needing to be spoken in words that have meaning even in valleys of death and shadow. Standing before this body that once breathed, what does it really mean that Christ was unique? Though with a far different kind of trembling certainty, here too Christ's incomparability is ultimately what matters.    

     The apologetic of the apostle Paul was always spoken starring life's "last enemy" dead in the eyes. Whether answering the question "Why Christian?" or standing in jail having been beaten to silence, Paul kept before him the hope of the resurrection as both the proof of Christ's uniqueness and the assurance that this uniqueness inherently matters. He spoke of the resurrection of Christ and his hope in the resurrection of the dead before the assembled Sanhedrin, before the Roman procurator Felix, and again before Felix's successor, Festus, who conceded that Paul's arrest was due to his proclamation "about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive."(3) Even before king Agrippa, Paul's answer to the first acrimonious signs of the question "Why Christian?" was an appeal to Christ's uniqueness in the hope of the resurrection. He asked, "Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?...I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen--that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:8, 22). For Paul, and for all who claim the inimitableness of Jesus, if Christ has not been raised, there is no answer to the question "Why Christian?"

     Instead, the uniqueness of Christ is an answer for questions that come with sarcasm or sincerity. But so it is an answer with flesh when life's typical comforts fall by the wayside and the valley of shadows is long and lonely. "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."(4) There is none other like Christ. I know of no other god who weeps with us at gravesides and then shows us in his own dying and rising that death no more holds its sting.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Douglas John Hall, Why Christian: For Those on the Edge of Faith (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1998), 11.

(2) Mark 15:39, John 9:32-33, John 4:29.

(3) Acts 23:6, Acts 24:15, 21, Acts 25:19.

(4) Matthew 28:6.

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      Jonnie had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer.

     "Fine" said the mother. "Did you ask the Lord to help you not misbehave?"

     "No,I didn't ask Him to help me not misbehave,"said Johnny. "I asked HIM to help you put up with me."


     I was listening to a lady who called a radio pastor. The pastor was a wise, grandfatherly gentleman who has that calm reassuring voice that can melt all fear.

     The lady, who was obviously crying, said,  "Pastor, I was born blind, and I've been blind all my life. I don't mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed."

     The pastor asked her, "Tell me, do you carry one of those white canes?"

     "Yes I do," she replied.

     "Then the next time someone says that hit them over the head with the cane," he said, "then say, 'If you had more faith that wouldn't hurt!'"

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A bus load of politicians were driving down a country road, when all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer's field. The old farmer,after seeing what happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig a hole and bury the politicians.

A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus, and asked the farmer where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer said he had buried them. The sheriff then asked the old farmer, "Were they ALL dead?" The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren't, but you know how them politicians lie.”


How to know whether or not you’re ready for parenthood…

MESS TEST Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains.  Now rub your hands in the wet flower bed and rub on the walls.  Cover the stains with crayons. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all  summer.

TOY TEST Obtain a 55gallon box of Legos.  (If Legos are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks or broken bottles.)  Have a friend spread them all over the house.  Put on a blindfold.  Try to walk to  the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream (this could wake a child at night).

GROCERY STORE TEST Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with  you as you shop at the grocery store.  Always keep them in sight and  pay for anything they eat or damage.

DRESSING TEST Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus.  Stuff into a small net bag  making sure that all arms stay inside.

FEEDING TEST Obtain a large plastic milk jug.  Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord.  Start the jug swinging.  Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug while pretending to be an airplane.  Now  dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

NIGHT TEST Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 to 12 pounds of sand.  Soak it thoroughly in water.  At 8:00 PM begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 PM.  Lay down your bag and set  your alarm for 10:00 PM.  Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these  too until 4:00 AM.  Set alarm for 5:00 AM.  Get up and make breakfast.  Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

PHYSICAL TEST (WOMEN) Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes.  Leave it there for 9 months.  Now remove 10% of the beans.

PHYSICAL TEST (MEN) Go to the nearest drug store.  Set your wallet on the counter. Ask  the clerk to help himself.  Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store.  Purchase a newspaper.  Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT Find a couple who already have a small child.  Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and child's table manners.  Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run riot. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.