June 12, 2017
I’m off to a late post of the Fodder again. Yesterday our Internet at home went off and it will be Thursday before the technician can come to check it out. Today I’m working at OMS. It’s amazing how much I’ve come to depend on the Internet for so many jobs!
We had a #8 typhoon signal go up late afternoon yesterday. The storm never gathered a lot of strength, and it never really got very windy, at least where we live. So I guess it was something of a “nothing burger” to quote a certain lady who could have been our President.
The big news this week was the vote on Sunday by our mother church, Yan Yue, to allow RiverGrace to become an independent church. Now that the mystery and anticipation is over, and the work begins! Moving forward there are many things that we will need to put into place. The last step in the process is being approved by the Hong Kong Evangelical Church. That is mostly a formality, as we already meet the criteria put forward by HKEC in their guidelines for a church to become independent.
The vote at Yan Yue had to be approved by 2/3 of the voting members. After an hour of questions from various members of Yan Yue, the vote happened. I was actually surprised that the approval was as strong as it was… 52 out of 56 qualified voters. As I understand it there were no negative votes because they didn't need to ask if anyone was against. A couple of people abstained from voting because they did not want RG to leave, but they also did not want to stand in the way.
It was bitter sweet for many, for sure. Yan Yue has been supportive in many ways, especially at the beginning, but really we felt they were behind us. Some of the Yan Yue people invested energy, time, prayers and practical help, and we want to acknowledge that and say a huge “THANK YOU.” We could not have grown, or done what we di without that support, or without their flexibility in allowing RG to minister in ways that are not necessarily ways they would choose for themselves. We wish them well and continue to pray for God to enable them to grow and reach out to more people.
There are too many things to even mention here that need to be done over the course of the next few months. So please continue to pray with us through all these processes.
We are grateful that UCC has opened their doors to RiverGrace and we look forward to serving this new community, which shares similar goals of making the Gospel known. As of this moment, we project a move sometime in October.
I met up with a couple friends this week. One of them, Jimmy Stewart, filled in for us at RG when we were on furlough in 2015. The other was Larry Phillips, a missionary friend who served with his family for a number of years in Hong Kong. Josh and Becki were near the same age as two of their children, so were also friends.
The other main event of last week took place on Sunday evening, when UWGI (United Wesleyan Graduate Institute, our seminary, held its graduation ceremony for 2017. There were about a dozen graduates this year, both at the master’s and bachelor level.
That’s my report. I hope you have a great week. Blessings, Dave
Recently I have been picking a book - usually a short one - out of the Bible and reading it non-stop. I try to take the time to let it speak to my mind and my heart.
The last few days I have been reading the book of Second Timothy. This verse caught my mind and my heart, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." The two words that caught my attention were "sound mind". Actually, there is one compound Greek word that is translated "sound mind". [sos = safe + phren = mind, thus "safe-thinking"]
Oh, how we have a need in our world today for "safe-thinking"! "Safe-thinking" is found in the Word of God. The Apostle Paul stated it this way, "Finally, my brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things ." (Philippians 4:8)
What more contemporary words of encouragement for wholesome, "safe-thinking" could be given than these? In a world filled with the antithesis of "safe-thinking" what better guidelines than those found in Philippians 4:8?
I am concerned that, in today's media, we find much that is unwholesome and unsafe. Television is filled with programs and commercials that take us away from "safe-thinking", and move us toward the profane and dark side of mankind.
The descending maelstrom of today's media blitz is weakening the foundation of gospel truth and Christ-centered thinking which set this nation's foundation. Proverbs 23:7 declares, "For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is…" Thoughts generate direction, and direction determines destination. We all would do well, in the unwholesome media blitz, to consider what direction our thoughts are encouraging us to go, and what destination we are headed for.
In a world whose airwaves are being filled with "darkness", and are controlled by the prince of the power of the air, I would like to encourage us all to follow the Apostle Paul's exhortation in Romans 12:2 - "Do not be conformed (Don’t allow peer pressure and trends to be the model to follow) to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit) - that you may prove (by testing the truth of Scripture) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
-- Ken Trevithick - The Barnabas Chronicles
THE KING'S HIGHWAY ~ Author Unknown
Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to have a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway the best.
On the day of the contest the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos, or great food. Some young men came in their track clothes and ran along the highway. People traveled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris left on the road at one spot and this got in their way and hindered their travel.
At the end of the day, a lone traveler crossed the finish line warily and walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty, but he addressed the king with great respect and handed him a bag of gold. he explained, "I stopped along the way to clear a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it all. I want you to return it to its rightful owner."
The king replied, "You are the rightful owner."
The traveler replied, "Oh no, this is not mine. I've never known such money."
"Oh yes," said the king, "you've earned this gold, for you won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow."
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Grant me, O Lord, to know what is worth knowing, to love what is worth loving, to praise what delights you most, to value what is precious in your sight, to hate what is offensive to you. Do not let me judge by what I see, nor pass sentence according to what I hear, but to judge rightly between things that differ, and above all to search out and to do what pleases you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
-- Thomas Kempis
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Ode to Old Age
Just a line to say I'm living
That I'm not among the dead
Though I'm getting more forgetful
And all mixed up in my head.
I got used to my Arthritis
To my dentures I'm resigned
I can manage my Bifocals
But dear God I miss my mind
For sometimes I can't remember
When I stand at the foot of the stairs
If I must go up for something
Or have I just come down from there?
And before the fridge so often
My poor mind is filled with doubt
Have I just put some food away?
Or have I come to take something out?
And there's a time, when it is dark
I stop and hold my head
I don't know if I'm retiring
Or am I getting out of bed?
So, If it is my turn to write to you
There's no need getting sore
I may think that I have written
And don't want to be a bore
So remember that I love you
And wish that you were near
But now it's nearly mail time,
So I must say "good-bye dear"
Here I stand before the mailbox
With a face so very red
Instead of mailing you my letter
I went and opened it instead.
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On one particular Sunday, the pastor was emphasizing the importance of everyone giving their tithes and offerings. He went on to challenge the people to give enthusiastically because 2 Corinthians 9:7 says in it that "God loves a cheerful giver."
As the plate was passed, a little boy in the second pew, quickly slipped off his neck tie and placed it into the offering plate. His mother, absolutely mortified, asked him what in the world he thought he was doing.
The boy replied, "The pastor said put your ties in the offering plate and do it joyfully. I love that man!"
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1. Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
2. The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
3. Life is sexually transmitted.
4. An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
5. Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
6. Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
7. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
8. Get the last word in: Apologize.
9. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
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"The vote" All those in favor of RiverGrace International Fellowship becoming an independent church say, "I." That was what was being voted on and the outcome was not in doubt. The next photo is of old friends, Jimmy Stewart and Larry Phillips. The rest of the photos are of the graducation of United Wesleyan Graduate Institute's graduation ceremony on Sunday evening.
Ma On Shan
Tai Wan Village
Fei Ngo Shan