This is the mosque on Nathan Road TST. It's about 3 blocks from our RiverGrace church.  

March 26, 2016


First of all, I want to wish all of you a blessed and joyous Easter celebration.


I apologize for not being able to send out the Fodder last week. I was not able to log into my online email service for a few days. Thankfully, it's working now and I can send out this update.


I thank all of you who have been praying for my heart surgery, and appointment on the 29th. According to what I have learned about the way the system works, I will likely have my surgery this coming week.


The key thing is whether or not the operation theatre is available. If it would be available within a day or two of the 29th, I could possibly be admitted to the Queen Mary Hospital that day. (Though it’s called an appointment, I will go prepared to be admitted if that’s the case.) That would give them time to do the pre-operation procedures. If there are other emergencies that come up and the theater is not available, they may wait a couple days and then call me to come. So, although the surgery date is not yet known, but it seems that it will happen very soon.


We’re still praying for it to happen as early as possible so that Cindy might still be able to get home by April 15th to be with our daughter Becki, who will have a C-section on that day. We do have a Filipina helper now, and other friends here who have volunteered to stay in our place to help me after I’m released from the hospital, if help is still needed


According to the information they gave me at the hospital in one of my checkups, I can expect to be in the hospital for about 10 days after the surgery. They will need to make sure I’m stable in terms of recovery and adjustments of medication. The doctor said that I would need to be on a blood thinner the rest of my life, to prevent blood clots.


So that is the situation as I know it now.


Please do continue to pray for Ace and Becki. My son-in-law, who’s a Columbus police officer, was involved in a collision while on duty. A car pulled out in front of him. (That’s kind of the worst nightmare for that other driver… but that’s another point).  Ace was not driving very fast at the time, but the collision cause the airbag to be deployed, driving his arm and hand (at a 12 o'clock position) into the right side of his face. He sustained a concussion which did not show up immediately but after a day or two. He has experienced some dizziness, disorientation and other symptoms, which are all indicative of a concussion. He is currently not allowed to drive and was given 30 days off duty.


This, of course, has raised the stress level for Becki, which she did not need, as she was already feeling a bit overwhelmed.  We are grateful that my son Josh, who’s between film projects, will be able to go and help them out.


We do all need and appreciate your prayers with all that’s going on in our family. We are blessed because we know so many of you are praying, and we can feel God’s presence through it all, even when it’s tough.


I will not send out any more Monday Fodders until I feel well enough to do so, which I’m not exactly sure when that will be. In any case, in the mean time, be blessed. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.


Easter blessings with love from Cindy and I.


SERIOUS FODDER


The Rooster

(By Peder Eide, www.pedereide.com)

     You know the story. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him 3 times and when he does a rooster will crow. Peter in all his confidence says, "No way Lord, I would never do that!" Of course Jesus knew it, Peter did it and the rooster crowed. Then in the Gospel of John, Chapter 21 we read where Jesus reinstates Peter after His resurrection asking him three times if he loved Him. Peter says, "Yes!" 3 times and Jesus without hesitation says, "Then feed My sheep."

    What did Peter think of when he heard the rooster crow in the years after that? You know he heard it. The rooster never goes permanently silent. Did he remember his screw up, his failure, his absolute falling on his face when His Lord needed him? I think only for a second. I would tend to believe that reflecting on Peter's words that he would write and the life he lived, his thoughts would go to John 21, where Jesus restored him remembering how far God has brought him. Peter was commissioned to feed the sheep. He did not wallow in the guilt; he lived a "Jesus freak" type life of a man who was restored. That's what Jesus died for.

    What about you?

    When you experience a memory through a smell, song, picture, location, calendar date, tradition, etc that brings back a hard time, mistake, failure, painful moment, what do you remember? I ask myself as much as you because I am convinced that God does not want you and I to have a huge pit in our stomach forever and degrade ourselves or feel sorry for ourselves. That can take our eyes off the cross, the prize, and we will miss so many divine moments. Jesus died for all of the "As Is" moments we have. WE ARE REINSTATED!!! What if you focused on how far God has brought you? Look where you were and now where you are. God is good. Really.

    The next time you hear the rooster crow in your own life, remember, amidst the scars, God never left you where you were at, has showed Himself to you time and time again and has reinstated you through the cross.

    Feed His sheep.

~~~~~

Ashes of Triumph

     In churches all over the world yesterday, children marched among the aisles with palm branches, a commemoration of the first jubilant Palm Sunday. The palm branch is a symbol of triumph, waved in ancient times to welcome royalty and extol royalty or the victorious. Palms were used to cover the paths of those worthy of honor and distinction. All four of the gospel writers report that Jesus was given such a tribute. Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a colt, and he was greeted as King. The crowds laid branches and garments on the streets in front of him. An audience of applauders led him into the city and followed after him with chants of blessing and shouts of kingship:


     Hosanna!

     Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

     The King of Israel!

     Hosanna in the highest!

     The triumph of Palm Sunday is not lost on the young. Long before I could see its strange place in the passion narrative, I loved celebrating this story as a child. It was a day in church set apart from others. In a place where we were commonly asked to sit still, inconspicuous, on this day we suddenly had permission to cheer and march and draw attention.

     But like many stories in childhood that grow complicated as the chapters continue, Palm Sunday is far more than a triumphant recollection of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. The convicting irony of the holiday Christians celebrate strikes with each cheer of victory, for these cheering people reenact a scene that dramatically changed in a matter of days. In less time than it takes to plan a king’s coronation, cheers of “Hosanna!” became shouts of crucifixion. The honor that was extended with palms and praises was taken back shortly after it was placed before him. The troubling reality to the triumph of Palm Sunday is that we now know the defeat of the cross is yet to come.

     But it is also more than this. With Palm Sunday comes the arrival of holy week in all its darkness, in all its blinding mystery, and speculation. Would I have been with the marching crowd that cheered him as king only to cheer again as he was marched to Golgotha? What can be called a fickle crowd, or an illustration of the power of “mobthink,” only reminds me of my own vacillations with faith, with the Son of God. How easily declarations that he is important become denials of his existence with the turn of mood or fortune. How readily hands waving in praise and celebration become fists raised at the heavens in pain or hardship. Like a shaky palm laid down and taken back again, honor bestowed on Sunday can easily be abandoned by Wednesday.

     Such are the thoughts my adult mind carries through the story in which I once took mere delight. With palms in our hands, we carry the burden of awareness that Jesus himself carried through that first crowd. Riding through the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus knew then what he knows now: This honor will be abandoned, the praises will cease, and these branches will be trampled to dust. The cross will still come.

     How fitting, then, that in many churches the remains of Palm Sunday literally become the ashes of Ash Wednesday. The palms are burned and the ashes collected. Then on Ash Wednesday services the following year, the ashes are used to mark foreheads with the sign of the cross, a reminder of our humanity, the beginning of another journey toward the mysterious gift of the cross.

     This week the church invites the world to remember the one who comes into the midst of a very fickle humanity—duplicity, defeat, violence, injustice, pain, and all. He comes near to good and bad intentions, near the ashes of what was meant to be honor, the ruins of attempts on our own. And despite our oscillating thoughts, despite the sin we cannot leave, he invites us into a tragically, regally different sort of story of defeat. The Son has made his triumphal entry. And yet he comes to bring us the cross, to the one sacrifice that speaks to the world’s pain.

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

@A Slice of Infinity - go to http://www.rzim.org/slice/ to subscribe