July  4, 2016

This photo is from someone in our hiking group. We had some incredibly clear days last week. This is taking from somewhere going up Tai Mo Shan. The distant buildings on the left or of Hong Kong Island. Kowloon is on the left behind the green hill. In the foreground is Tsuen Wan and the container port in Kwai Chung. The Island on the right is Tsing Yi Island.

Last week Hong Kong set a heat record of four days in a row with temperatures above 35 C. (95. F)  With the humidity we have here, it sent the heat index up to 118 F. or over 47 C. On the other hand, they were also some of the days with the highest visibility. The air was clear, and I assume. fairly clean.

Unfortunately, one of the hot days, was on a joint church outreach called Harmony Day, which we have joined in past years. Since RiverGrace started, we have joined other churches and charity organizations in this outdoor community outreach on a nearby playground. Normally it’s in April, but it had to be postponed this year because of heavy rain and flooding on the scheduled day.

Because of the heat, the attendance was down maybe 60-70% from what we’ve had in past years. The heat really was stifling and you can’t blame people for not coming out. One Nepalese lady did pray to receive Christ at our booth after Michael, one of our church members, shared with her. So for that, it was worth it.

However, if we have to postpone the event to the summertime, I doubt that we’ll participate, or we may suggest they do it in later in the fall. when the humidity and temperature are down.

Cindy arrived safely back last week on Thursday evening. I guess it’s an adjustment being together again for both of us, after she being away so long. Hopefully, now that she is back. I’ll get the phone call to come in for surgery. I was assured I’m still at the top of the priority list and wasn't moved back to the bottom when I asked them to postpone it to wait for Cindy’s return.

Please continue to pray for the situation at Yan Yue, our mother church. They are still searching for a senior pastor, and will advertise again this month in a different Christian newspaper. We are seeking God’s way forward at this time, both in Yan Yue and RiverGrace.

We thank the Lord for the growth he has brought to RiverGrace. We have plans to start a training class on how a person can tell their personal story, God’s story, and how to reproduce disciples.  We are also starting a Cantonese class this week, reaching out to students here in Hong Kong that are studying now, but may want to stay and work in the future when they’re studies are finished. We’ve also gotten to know several people through an English class that just concluded (at least for now). Pray that those who come to the classes will come to know the Lord.

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


SIGNING AND SACRIFICING By Pastor Rick Sams (My home church pastor. - DA)

  June is the month for flags, brides, grads and dads. You may think your dad is the greatest. Or you may hardly know him. But all Americans have truly amazing Founding Fathers, specifically the original 56 signers of The Declaration Of Independence?

  Five of them were captured by the British and tortured as traitors before they died. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had 2 sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds of the War.

  Each realized the risk when they signed pledging “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

  John Hart is typical. Driven by the British from his wife’s bedside as she was dying, he and their 13 children fled for their lives in all directions. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves. He returned home to find his wife dead and children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion--and a broken heart.

  Norris and Livingston had stories starkly similar to Hart’s (Encyclopedia Britannica and History Channel archive).

  Few of us living today know much about this kind of sacrifice for our country. Gold star wives, children, mothers and fathers do. But most of us think going without dessert or dialing down our AC is a sacrifice beyond compare.

  What kind of future does this unfamiliarity with sacrifice portend for America? I’m praying the various cuts, crises and challenges we’re encountering as a country cause us to dig deep, planting the seeds of patriotism into the same soil that grew the American soul like that of our Founding Fathers.

  If you look closely at this ground you’ll see the words “in God we trust” written there in red poppies colored from the blood of all patriots who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.


What can be more foolish than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth could come by chance, when all the skill of art is not able to make an oyster.  --Jeremy Taylor

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Our Forgetful Father by Max Lucado

     "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us"(Ps. 103:12 NIV).

     "You can't teach a Bible class with your background." ... "You, a missionary?" ... "How dare you ask him to come to church. What if he finds out about the time you fell away?" ... "Who are you to offer help?"

     The ghost spews waspish words of accusation, deafening your ears to the promises of the cross. And it flaunts your failures in your face, blocking your vision of the Son and leaving you the shadow of a doubt.

     Now, honestly. Do you think God sent that ghost? Do you think God is the voice that reminds you of the putridness of your past? Do you think God was teasing when he said, "I will remember your sins no more"? Was he exaggerating when he said he would cast our sins as far as the east is from the west? Do you actually believe he would make a statement like "I will not hold their iniquities against them" and then rub our noses in them whenever we ask for help?

     Of course you don't. You and I just need an occasional reminder of God's nature, his forgetful nature. To love conditionally is against God's nature. Just as it's against your nature to eat trees and against mine to grow wings, it's against God's nature to remember forgiven sins.

     You see, God is either the God of perfect grace ... or he is not God. Grace forgets. Period. He who is perfect love cannot hold grudges. If he does, then he isn't perfect love. And if he isn't perfect love, you might as well put this book down and go fishing because both of us are chasing fairy tales.

     But I believe in his loving forgetfulness. And I believe he has a graciously terrible memory.

     Think about this. If he didn't forget, how could we pray? How could we sing to him? How could we dare enter into his presence if the moment he saw us he remembered all our pitiful past? How could we enter his throne room wearing the rags of our selfishness and gluttony? We couldn't.

     And we don't. Read this powerful passage from Paul's letter to the Galatians and watch your pulse rate. You're in for a thrill. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal.3:27 RSC).

     You read it right. We have "put on" Christ. When God looks at us he doesn't see us; he sees Christ. We "wear" him. We are hidden in him; we are covered by him. As the song says, "Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne."

     Presumptuous, you say? Sacrilegious? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn't; it's his. We are presumptuous not when we marvel at his grace, but when we reject it. And we're sacrilegious not when we claim his forgiveness, but when we allow the haunting sins of yesterday to convince us that God forgives but he doesn't forget.

     Do yourself a favor. Purge your cellar. Exorcise your basement. Take the Roman nails of Calvary and board up the door.

     And remember ... he forgot.

~Sent by Max Lucado


Even More Bumper Stickers

- Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?

- He's not dead, he's electroencephalographically challenged.

- Honk if anything falls off

- How do I set my laser printer to stun?

- I do whatever my rice krispies tell me to

- I fought the lawn and the lawn won.

- Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

- She's always late. her ancestors arrived on the juneflower.


Unintentional Resume Bloopers  - "Resumania" is a term coined by Mr. Robert Half, founder of RHI Consulting's parent company, to describe the unintentional bloopers that often appear on job candidates' resumes, job applications and cover letters. Here's some examples:

- “I perform my job with effortless efficiency, effectiveness, efficacy, and expertise." (And an eye on the "e" section of the dictionary, evidently.)

- “Insufficient writing skills, thought processes have slowed down some. If I am not one of the best, I will look for another opportunity." (No problem ...)

- “Seek challenges that test my mind and body, since the two are usually inseparable."(Glad to hear it.)

- “My compensation should be at least equal to my age." (And bonuses "tied to" his shoe size?)

- “I am very detail-oreinted." (With the possible exception of spelling)

- "I can play well with others." (We'll be sure to tell your mommy.)

- "Married, eight children. Prefer frequent travel." (A new twist on work-family balance.)

- ”Objection: To utilize my skills in sales." (Have you considered law school?)

- "My salary requirement is $34 per year." (They say money isn't everything.)

- "Served as assistant sore manager." (Ouch.)

- "Previous experience: Self-employed - a fiasco." (Definitely to the point.)

- "I vow to fulfill the goals of the company as long as I live." (And they say loyalty is hard to come by.)

- "Reason for leaving last job: Pushed aside so the vice president's girlfriend could steal my job." (We're glad you're not bitter.)

@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/


Health Tips Q&A with an "Expert"

Ready for some "unusual" health advice? Here you go...

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain... Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO? Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Okay, now that we've got that all out of the way, you should of course know that none of this is good advice. :) As stewards over our bodies, we should do everything we can to take care of them.

@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/