May 30, 2016

I like to do before and now photos to show the differences. The first two photos from the early 90's show Yau Yat Chuen, the buildings in the foreground, and look out towards Kowloon City, and the area where the old Kai Tak Airport used to be. In fact, in the first photo you can see a plane that's landing just above the buildings. All the buildings that have sprouted up in the background have done so since 1998, when the airport moved to Chek Lap Kok, near Lantau Island. In Yau Yat Chuen, the buildings are still zoned to allow only 4 floors. The photos were all taken from the 9th floor or our OMS office building behind Grace Church and UCC on Tong Yam Street.

It’s the end of May, and there’s still no word from Queen Mary Hospital. Waiting, waiting. I’m just grateful it’s not an urgent thing going on with the heart

Talking with Cindy via Skype, things are going relatively well in the States. Elia is continuing to gain weight, sleeping less, and becoming more are active

Ace, my son in law, is doing better now, and the only thing that seems to be left over from the accident is lower back pain, which he says is the worse when he first gets up in the morning. After he starts moving around, however, it's okay. Hopefully he will be able to return to work within a week or two

He's still sporting a beard. He's not allowed to have one when he’s on police duty. He told me that when I see him without it, he will mean he has returned to work

Please continue to remember for the process of finding a new pastor for our mother church, Yan Yue. The deacons interviewed a couple candidates, and are in the process of considering one of them. There has been one more applicant since that interview, but I'm not sure if they will consider that person or not

Things are going fairly well in RiverGrace, and it seems we have entered a new stage of growth after a couple years of losing people who returned to their homelands, or who were resettled in other countries, speaking of our asylum-seekers and refugee church family members

We have been experimenting some new ways of outreach, including an English class and film showing. We will also offer a new Cantonese class for Mainland Chinese students or Filipinas. There are now many Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong these days, who are studying here, and also wanting to stay and find work. However, if they only know know Mandarin and not the local Cantonese dialect, so it may not be easy for them to find a job here. The Chinese dialect of Cantonese is the language of choice for most Hong Kong people

When Cindy and I first came as missionaries in 1975, there was very little Mandarin spoken in Hong Kong. Few mainlanders were able to come into Hong Kong until after the handover in 1997. It hasn't been until the past few years that travel here from China has become more relaxed. However, it is still restricted to those who can obtain permits to come.

Nowadays, Mandarin is much more widely used, even here in Hong Kong.  As it is, I am not able to communicate well in China, except perhaps in the Guangdong Province. Even Shenzhen, which is just across the border from Hong Kong, has mostly mostly Mandarin speaking residents from other parts of China

That's my report for this week. Make it a great week. Blessings, Dav

SERIOUS FODDER


Why I'm Not a 'Fan' of Jesus - By Kyle Idleman

    According to a recent survey, the percentage of Americans who claim to be Christian is somewhere north of 75 percent.

     Really? Three out of four people are followers of Christ?

     Let's see, if the population of the United States is about 311 million and 75 percent are Christians that brings the number of Christians to somewhere in the neighborhood of 233 million. That's a lot of Christians. I don't see nearly that many Jesus fish on car bumpers. I don't know, maybe all the Darwin fish ate them. I'm just saying something about that percentage is off. Because if there really are that many Christians, then why will some 35 million people in America go to bed hungry tonight, including 13 million children? If 75 percent of Americans are Christians, then how is it possible that 40 percent of the homeless are under the age of 18? Why are there more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted? I could keep going, and that's just in the States. The numbers don't add up. Jesus said the evidence that someone is one of his followers is love. So 233 million? The evidence just isn't there.

     What's the explanation for such a discrepancy? A number of years ago I read an article about the new vegetarians. These new vegetarians don't eat meat -- most of the time. One of them explained that she was a vegetarian, but she really liked bacon. A vegetarian, by definition, is someone who doesn't eat meat. Umm, yeah, but isn't bacon a meat? Is it really accurate for her to identify herself as a vegetarian? If enough people who eat meat started calling themselves vegetarians wouldn't that throw the numbers off? The discrepancy was solved by coming up with a new term to describe vegetarians who aren't committed to abstaining from meat. They now identify themselves as "Flexitarians."

     A Christian, by definition, is a follower of Christ. So, I'm thinking that what might help make sense of the 233 million number is a new word to describe people who identify themselves as Christians but have little interest in actually following the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps instead of "followers," it would be more accurate to call them "fans."

     The word fan is most simply defined as, an enthusiastic admirer. And I think Jesus has a lot of fans these days. Some fans may even get dressed up for church on Sunday and make their ringtone a worship song. They like being associated with Jesus. Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them. They want a no-strings-attached relationship with Jesus. So a fan says, I like Jesus but don't ask me to serve the poor. I like Jesus, but I'm not going to give my money to people who are in need. I like Jesus, but don't ask me to forgive the person who hurt me. I like Jesus, but don't talk to me about money or sex - that's off limits.

     Fans like Jesus just fine, but they don't want to give up the bacon.

     Fans tend to identify themselves as Christians not because they are committed to following Jesus, but for a number of other reasons. They might point to their family heritage thinking that being a Christian is in their DNA. Like a pug nose or a unibrow, it was somehow passed down from mom and dad. Fans might identify themselves as Christians by pointing to religious rituals they've kept and rules they've followed.

     Ultimately, defining what it means to be a follower of Jesus isn't nearly as arbitrary or subjective as we've made it. Jesus very clearly lays it out in Luke 9:23. He says, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." These words tend to separate fans from followers. Followers are to deny themselves and take up a cross. Instead of giving a theological explanation of what that means, it's probably more helpful to show what it looks like. I've spent the last year collecting stories of fans who have become followers.

     Bowin and Lindsey each ran their own successful business. They had a Mercedes SUV to handle their four kids. For them, following Jesus meant selling nearly everything they had and moving to the Island of Hispaniola to bring clean water to thousands in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

     For Rachelle, following Jesus meant showing love to the women working in strip clubs. She and some of her friends started making big homemade meals and taking them to the women in the clubs. As a result many of the women no longer know Christians as just the group of angry picketers out front who, from their perspective, are trying to take away their job and have started to know Christians by their love.

     Jennifer and Tom had a car they rarely drove. They decided that they really didn't need two cars and would give one of their cars to a single mom who needed transportation. One car was a 2001 model, the other was a 2004 model. They gave her the newer one.

     That's just three stories of followers. I'm praying that there would be around 233,249,997 more. They may not be as dramatic or inspiring but my prayer is that Christians would be known not by a fish on their bumper -- or the profile on their Facebook page -- or by going regularly to their church, but they would be followers of Jesus who are known for their love.

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

GUFFAW FODDER


Frequently Asked Questions About Health Care

In our continuing quest to shed light on the most perplexing issues of the day, here are answers to the common health care questions

Q. What does HMO stand for?

A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe! Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?

A. No. Only those you need

Q. I just joined a new health plan. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?

A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the plan at the time the information was gathered. These doctors basically fall into two categories — those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But don't worry  the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half day's drive away

Q. What are pre-existing conditions?

A. This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with it

Q. Well, can I get coverage for my pre-existing conditions?

A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?

A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?

A. Poke yourself in the eye

Q. I have an 80/20 plan with a $200 deductible and a $2,000 yearly cap. My insurer reimbursed the doctor for my outpatient surgery, but I'd already paid my bill. What should I do?

A. You have two choices. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement check over to you, or you can ask him to invest the money for you in one of those great offers that only doctors and dentists hear about, like windmill, or solar farms or frog hatcheries

Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling?

A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus

Q. No, I mean what if I'm away from home and I get sick?

A. You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing your primary care physician. It's best to wait until you return, and then get sick

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his office?

A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10 co-payment, there's no harm giving him a shot at it.

Q. What accounts for the largest portion of health care costs?

A. Doctors trying to recoup their investment losses

Q. Will health care be any different in the next century?

No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

@Sent by Kathie Jerrell

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This just in.......  For years scientists have debated the reason gorillas should have such large nostrils. Today scientists announced their findings. With grants from the Federal Government and National Geographic it had ben possible to complete a major study providing the answer to the question that has baffled scientists for years. By sifting diligently through evolutionary findings aided by trends traceable with DNA testing, scientists devloped a theory that has been proven by careful observation. Gorillas seem to have large nostrils because they have large fingers.

@Sent by Fred Miller

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     The Baltimore Police Department, famous for it's superior K9 unit, was somewhat taken aback by a recent incident. Returning home from work, a woman had been shocked to find her house ransacked and burglarized. She telephoned the police at once and reported the crime.

     The police dispatcher broadcast the call on the channels, and a K9 officer patrolling nearby was first on the scene. As he approached the house with his dog on a leash, the woman ran out on the porch, clapped a hand to her head and moaned, "I come home from work to find all my possessions stolen, I call the police for help, and what do they do? They send a blind policeman!"