Friends! We're always grateful when we can get together with friends outside or normal circles. We've been friends with this group above for a number of years. All are in some kind of ministry whether professional or voluntary. Thanks to Christiane for the photo.

This evening we had dinner with newer friends.  Michael and Vivian, whom we got to know through our Friends denomination in the States a couple years ago, and Grant and Vicky whom we got to know about 9 days ago. We had a fun evening. Michael and Vivian attend RiverGrace when they're not traveling, and Grant and Vicky have come twice since they came to Hong Kong less than two weeks ago. We look forward to some great ministry together with both couples!

March 14, 2016

We are grateful for the ways the Lord has been working. Cindy andy I have hired a Filipina helper for the first time. One of ladies that has been in our church for nearly four years is also a trained pastor and church planter. Irma has really been the voluntary pastor of the Filipina group that we have. She’s has helped RiverGrace in various ways… doing evangelism, discipling, and even some preaching.


A few months ago she quit her job since her employer, at the time, was not treating her well. She was talking about not returning to Hong Kong. After a long discussion and a few years of considering hiring someone, we made the leap.


Since she is our domestic helper to do some of the things at home, it will free up some time in these last two or thee years in Hong Kong before we retire. I know things will get busier toward the end of our time here, as we start the process of packing up, and going through piles of stuff that we’ve accumulated over the 41 years we’ve been here. We not only have many things at home, we also have things in two different offices… one at the church and another at our mission office. It’s not a process I (we) look forward to even THINKING about, let alone DOING!


Anyhow, Irma will be a great help at home, and she can also continue to volunteer at church on her days off. What a blessing she has been.


As for my health. I’m still feeling fine. I do have a doctor’s visit on Wednesday to check to make sure things are still stable, and to get more diuretic meds.  I’m still scheduled for an appointment on the 29th at Queen Mary Hospital. Nothing new there.  Thanks for your continued prayers.


There are some exciting things happening at RiverGrace with newcomers,  and potentially to do some new things like starting an English class for Chinese students studying in Hong Kong, or for doing church planting training through story telling.


A couple of our HKEC churches have also expressed interest in working with RiverGrace, or even starting their own outreach to ethnic minorities, or new Mainlanders who are coming to Hong Kong. Please pray for God’s direction as we consider the possibilities.


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


SERIOUS FODDER


The First Cake Mix   (By Roy Irwin)

     I would like to share with you an interesting story about the first Cake Mix that was developed. After much market research in the 1940's, the company felt that there was a need for a mix that would make it easy to bake a cake - one that would make a cake that was both moist and delicious.

     Now, a typical 'made-from-scratch' cake requires many ingredients and multiple steps of measuring and mixing these ingredients. Following years of trials with various formulas, the company produced what they believed was the perfect cake mix. Their pre-made cake mix, when combined with 1 cup of water produced a wonderfully delicious and moist cake! The responses from their taste tests were overwhelmingly positive! It was time to take their product to market!

     Soon, the shelves of supermarkets all over the country were filled with this perfect cake mix. Yet, despite all of their advertising and market research, the cake mix did not sell very well. The company quickly formed new focus groups to find out why the product wasn't selling. To their surprise, the same reason was given again and again:

     "It was too good to be true! NOTHING GOOD could be THAT easy!"

     So, the company pulled the entire product inventory from the supermarket shelves. They went back and reworked their cake formula. Now the formula requires their cake mix, 1 cup of water AND 1 egg. Simply by adding 1 egg to the formula, people felt like there was more work to making the cake so it MUST taste better. And the changed formula caused the cake mix to be an instant success and is still to this day one of the best-selling cake mixes on the market!

     Just for a moment I would like for you to think about how people reacted to this first cake mix and how people today often respond the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. When people hear that they can have eternal life and forgiveness of their sins because of Jesus' death on the cross - they can't believe it. It is simply too good to be true! Isn't there more to it than that??? Don't I have to give money, or be nice, or do good deeds, or...

     The attitude that "There has to be more to it than that" has been around for ages.

     In the Bible there is a story about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. The people became impatient and spoke out against God. As punishment, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, which bit them, causing many to die. The people acknowledged that they had sinned against God and asked Moses to pray that God would take away the snakes. In Numbers 21:8 we read:

     "The Lord said to Moses, 'Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.' So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived." (NIV)

     I can not think of many things that require less effort than just LOOKING at something - yet that was what they were told to do. Could it really have been that easy? Just having to LOOK at the snake on the pole to be healed? Yes! IT WAS THAT EASY! But I also believe that there were those people who would NOT look at the snake - simply because they believed that it was too easy - and died as a result.

     What ties this together for me is the verses found in John 3:14-15:

     "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." (NIV)

     The snake represented the sin of the people and was lifted up on a pole - pointing the way to be healed and live. Likewise, Jesus Christ accepted all of our sins, and was lifted up on the cross to die - pointing the way for each of us to be forgiven and healed of our sins, and to have eternal life with Him in heaven!

     The Bible describes eternal life in Romans 6:23: "...the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV) Like any gift - it isn't earned or deserved. There is absolutely NOTHING that we can do on our own to earn or merit the gift of eternal life. Ephesians 2:9 explains further that "This does not depend on anything you have achieved, it is the free gift of God; and because it is not earned no man can boast about it." (Phillips Translation)

     So could it really be that easy? Asking Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins and trusting in His death on the cross as the ONLY payment for the forgiveness of our sins?

     It really is that easy.

     "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not be lost, but should have eternal life." John 3:16 (Phillips Translation)

     Prayer: "Lord Jesus, we live in a world where nothing is free and where we have to work to get anything. Yet You have provided us with the greatest gift we could ever want. Like any gift, it is free. Only the person who purchases a gift can give it. Help us to remember that though it is a free gift, it was purchased at a very high price - through Your death on the cross. Amen."

~(Copyright 1998 Argyle Giraffe Productions. This may not be resold or used for the enhancement of any product sold without the written permission of Argyle Giraffe Productions.)

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


GUFFAW FODDER


When my daughter, Brittany, was 4 or 5, she was having some "growing pains" in her legs and needed to take some aspirin. She had the bottle and was trying in vain to get it open while I changed her baby sister's diaper. I saw her frustration and explained that it was a childproof cap and I would have to open it when I finished. Eyes wide with wonder, Brittany asked, "How does it know it's me?" -- Barbie Buntz

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

~~~~~

Newspaper Headline Chuckles

- Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge

- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

- Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

- Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

- Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Needy

- Arson Suspect Is Held in Massachusetts Fire

- British Union Finds Dwarves in Short Supply

- Ban on Soliciting Dead in Trotwood

- Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees

- Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

@Doc's Daily Chuckles - go here docsdailychuckle-join@freegroups.net  to subs

~~~~~

Employee performance evaluations. These quotes were taken from actual employee evaluations:

-  "Since my last report this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."

- "His men would follow him anywhere but only out of morbid curiosity."

- "I would not allow this employee to breed."

- "This employee is really not so much of a hasbeen but more of a definite won't be."

- "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

- "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."

-"This employee should go far and the sooner he starts, the better."

- “Got a full 6pack but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together."

-"He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."

- "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."

- "He's been working with glue too much"

- "He would argue with a signpost."

- "He has a knack for making strangers immediately."

- "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

- "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

- "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."

- “If you give him a penny for his thoughts you'd get change."

-  "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

-  "Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 Minutes."

"The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."

@Sent by Rick Sams

~~~~~

There is a story about a bride and groom long ago who were leaving on their honeymoon in a buggy pulled by a horse.  As they traveled, a piece of paper fluttered across the road and the horse bolted.  When the man regained control of the horse he said, "That's one!"

Later in the day, a rabbit jumped from the side of the road and ran in front of the horse.  Again the horse bolted.  When the man regained control of the horse this time he said, "That's two!"

Something similar happened later in the day and the groom said, "That's three!"  He then pulled out his gun and killed the horse.

His startled and bewildered wife said, "Why John, that's terrible; you can't do that!"  Her new husband looked at her with expressionless eyes and said, "That's one!”

@Thought-For-The-Day send a blank email to join-thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org to subscribe

~~~~~

A photographer from a well know national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze.

When the photographer arrived, he realized that  the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him.

He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, "Let's go!'' The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air.

The photographer said, "Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures."

"Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I am a photographer," he responded, "and photographers take photographs."

The pilot was silent for a moment; finally he stammered, "You mean you're not the flight instructor?”

@Sent by Wilma Hinshaw