It was another rainy week in Hong Kong. I think we had thunderstorm warnings for at least a short period of time each day. Some of those periods lasted for hours. It has been very wet the last three months.
Cindy arrived back in Hong Kong at 11:35 PM on Saturday night. Her flight was supposed to land at 9:25, but Philippine Airlines is often known for not being on time. It also took her about an hour to get her bags and come out into the arrival hall. So it was about 1:30 AM before we actually pulled into our parking lot.
Normally, that would not be so terrible, but both of us had very busy Sundays. Saturday evening I had actually gone out to Tung Chung, which is a fairly new part of Hong Kong that sprouted up since the airport was built nearby. I preached in a Christian Missionary and Alliance Church for a Saturday evening worship service. It was their missions weekend, and they wanted to learn more about local missions, which is primarily what we are doing, working with different ethnic minority groups in RiverGrace. So I told Cindy that I would just come over to the airport after the service and pick her up.
We had to leave shortly after 7 AM, because I needed to drive by our church in Tsim Sha Tsui. We had several things we needed to take there due to an activity later in the afternoon. I needed to to go back out in Tung Chung at 8:30, to preach twice at the same church as I had on Saturday. Their service times were 8:45 and 11:45. Fortunately I could share the same sermon as there were different folks in each service. The church is soon sending a short-term missions team… 24 people, to Thailand. So I prayed a prayer of blessing for them at the end of the service.
As for Cindy, she was preaching at RiverGrace, continuing her series that she's been doing on Ephesians. I was hoping to get back to RiverGrace for the farewell of the pastor of the Chinese mother church. However, I didn't get back until lunchtime was nearly finished. At 4:00 we had a baby shower for one of our African ladies, whom I conducted the wedding for last year. The shower was a lot of fun! Thanks to Pastora Irma and another of our Filipinas who has a Wednesday holiday. They made the decorations, and Irma also planned the games and activities.
Cindy has only six days before she heads back to the US. I will follow her next week.
This coming Thursday we hope RiverGrace will be officially approved by the HK Evangelical Church Executive Committee. Pastor Tommy and I meet with the committee to make some of the final decisions about such things as the official name, and some issues regarding membership that are particular to our church. Some folks, like us, are members of another church, though it's not in Hong Kong. Other HKEC churches have not faced that issue. So please remember that meeting and other meetings I have as well this week.
As always, we appreciate you prayers so much. Blessings on your week, Dave
I Have Decided
There is a song I remember from the days of my youth that I still find running through my mind. The opening line goes, "I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back." Those were brave words for a young man in the early battles of life's struggles with Satan. They brought to mind shiny new uniforms and victorious battles -- a hero of the Faith with medals of valor.
The second line was even more presumptuous. "Though none go with me, Yet will I follow. No turning back, no turning back." It never crossed my mind how lonely that boast might be. After all, if David could "Walk through the valley of the shadow of death" and "fear no evil," surely I could walk alone in the earthly shadows and be brave.
But, the years have passed and the battle is still engaged. The uniform is worn and tattered. While there are many scars from the wounds, there are no medals to attest to heroism. In fact there has been precious little to point to with pride. There have been days of glory, but also days of shame. Wonderful moments when the Spirit has helped me "soar on eagle's wings," and days of deep darkness and despair. I have come to understand the Psalms of King David much more clearly as he rides the roller coaster of the battle of life.
But, the song is still there... and though ragged and scarred, I find the words of decision no less true. I have learned that with all my strength I am a pitiful mismatch for the forces of Satan, but I serve in the army of a King who has assured the victory! I long for the faith of Job to cry out, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him" (Job 13:15), but I find "O God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13), much more appropriate. Still, the song hasn't gone away, "I have decided to follow Jesus!... No turning back, no turning back!"
(c) 2004 Bill Sherrill "Thought For The Week"
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Missed Opportunities (By Alan Smith)
The story is told of a young man who wished to marry the farmer's beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission. The farmer looked him over and responded, "Son, go stand out in that field and I'm going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, you can marry my daughter."
The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the first bull. The barn door opened and out ran the biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen. He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate.
The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood - pawing the ground, grunting, slinging slobber - as it eyed him. Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through the pasture, out the back gate.
The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest, scrawniest little bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He grabbed... but the bull had no tail!
Life is full of opportunities. Some will be easy to take advantage of, some will be difficult. But once we let them pass (often in hopes of something better), those opportunities may never again be available.The same thing is also true of opportunities to serve Christ. God often opens doors -- opportunities to speak up for Him, opportunities to minister to someone who is hurting or in need, opportunities to make an influence on the world around us. If we allow them to pass by (perhaps because we are waiting for something easier to come along), we may miss out on them altogether.
"Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. Also pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message." (Col. 4:2-3a, NCV)
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:10).
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In line at the bookstore, I couldn't help noticing the two bestsellers the person in front of me was prepared to purchase: "Conversations With God" and "How to Argue and Win Every Time."
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We recently had a guest speaker at our church. He is from India, part of an organization that our church supports.
Before he started his sermon, he asked if anyone had called any customer support numbers recently.
When several people in the congregation raised their hands, he said, "That's good. That means you won't have too much trouble understanding my accent."
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After hearing his dad preach on "justification," "sanctification," and all the other "-ations," a minister's son was ready when his Sunday school teacher asked if anybody knew what "procrastination" meant.
The boy said, "I'm not sure what it means, but I know our church believes in it!"
May you take advantage of the doors God opens for you this day!
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How to test an American impostor: Ask him/her to explain the following:
1. - A bandage was wound around the wound.
2. - This farm was used to produce produce.
3. - This dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.
4. - Polish the Polish furniture.
5. - Do not decide to desert your dessert in the desert.
6. - No time like the present, so he decided to present the present.
7. - A picture of a bass was on a bass drum.
8. - Suddenly, the dove dove.
9. - Do not object to the object.
10. - If you're too close to the door you can't close it.
11. - A pig farmer taught his smartest sow how to sow seeds.
12. - A number of Novocain injections makes you number.
13. - The tear in the picture made the owner shed a tear.
14. - A cop must subject the subject to questions.
15. - A seamstress and a sewer fell into the sewer.
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Here are some actual humorous statements by airline flights crews.
Occasionally, airline attendants make an effort to make the "inflight safety lecture" a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:
- "As we prepare for takeoff, please make sure your tray tables and seat backs are fully upright in their most uncomfortable position."
- "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane..."
- "Your seat cushions can be used for floatation, and in the event of an emergency water landing, please take them with our compliments."
- "We do feature a smoking section on this flight; if you must smoke, contact a member of the flight crew and we will escort you to the wing of the airplane.
- Smoking in the lavatories is prohibited. Any person caught smoking in the lavatories will be asked to leave the plane immediately.
- Good morning. As we leave Dallas, it's warm, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing. We are going to Charlotte, where it's dark, windy and raining. Why in the world y'all wanna go there I really don't know."
- Pilot "Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land... it's a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."
- And, after landing: "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."
- As we waited just off the runway for another airliner to cross in front of us, some of the passengers were beginning to retrieve luggage from the overhead bins. The head steward announced on the intercom, "This aircraft is equipped with a video surveillance system that monitors the cabin during taxiing. Any passengers not remaining in their seats until the aircraft comes to a full and complete stop at the gate will be stripsearched as they leave the aircraft.
- As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice comes over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella...WHOA..!
- Here are a few heard from Northwest: "Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or adults acting like children.
- As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.
- "And from the pilot during his welcome message: "We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry... Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight."