September 12, 2016

Saturday I was went through Central to head to Lantau for a hike. It ended up it was too rainy with thunderstorm warnings and an amber rainstorm warning.  Anyhow, this is Star Ferry on the right. Some years ago now, they filled in some of the harbor and moved the Star Ferry Pier. The Ferris wheel is a new attraction nearby. The rest of the ferry piers to the outlying islands are lined up in the row to the west of Star Ferry.

Another busy week hurried by. I had my appointment at Queen Mary, and my blood thinner level was a bit low. My doctor told me not to change what I’ve been eating though, and they’d adjust the medicine. So now I’m taking an extra half mg of Warfarin.

I’m still feeling fine. On Tuesday I walked 16km (10 miles) on a hilly road route, and on Saturday I did a bit shorter but harder route with friends on the Luk Wu Trail (Deer Lake Trail). It has one steep climb, and other than taking more time than I’d like on that hill it went okay.

Tomorrow I’ll have my first appointment back at Grantham Hospital, where I originally had all the testing done for my heart. The doctors there will be the ones to do the  longer-term followup. I will also make an appointment with the eye specialist there.

A couple times since surgery my right eye developed momentary tunnel vision. The heart doctor said it could be things like the medicines I’m taking, or changes in the blood pressure. He said it was probably not anything to worry about. However he advised that I still get it checked out. One time it lasted about 2 minutes, the other time about 5 minutes. Both times it happened was on a Wednesday morning while I I was sitting in my office at the church.

Our guests, Sonny and Arlene, arrived on Tuesday and left on Friday. They had been on the go in China and on Wednesday were happy to have a day when they didn't have to go anywhere or do anything. That was timely, since I had to be in the hospital for about 5 hours, and had a deacons meeting that evening, and Cindy had to be at the counseling center for appointments most of the day.

Thursday I took them up to Kowloon Peak, United Christian College/Grace Church, and the OMS office. There we had yam cha (Cantonese lunch) with the pastors of HKEC, who were just getting out of their monthly prayer meeting (that I normally attend too). After lunch I took them to Victoria Peak. In the evening we enjoyed ribs and desert in Sai Kung. It was a nice day, and they got to see and hear quite a bit about our ministry.

The new pastor for Yan Yue church joins us this week. Please remember the church and Rev. Kelvin Tse as he begins his ministry.  Things continue to develop in RiverGrace, and we’re grateful for what the Lord has been doing in the lives of our people.

We will be transitioning the church to a cell model in order to reach into the people/language groups the Lord has brought to us. Since I also do a church newsletter each week, that is where I tell more about what is happening in the church. The link for the church is Please continue to pray for us as we make plans for the next year. We really need the Lord’s direction in so many ways with decisions that need to be made.

As always, thanks for standing with us through these challenging times. Make it a great week! Blessings, Dave


Corrie Ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, relates an incident which taught her a very important principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to Ravensbruck, the worst German prison camp they had seen. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea infested. Their Scripture reading that morning had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and give thanks to the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She finally succumbed. And during the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was several months later when they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.  

Copyright (C) 1996 J. David Hoke


Love and Rules

     Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules! Have you ever said or heard this before? The question or objection, depending on how it is phrased, comes from both Christians and skeptics. So what does Christianity have to say to this?

     It is helpful first to acknowledge that the Bible is indeed full of commands and instructions. But the role that the rules play is often misunderstood. Rules, even going back to the Ten Commandments, were not meant simply to tell us what to do and what not to do. They were intended to be a means by which humanity could come close to God and relate to God. If we think of how rules are applied in other areas of life, it is quite easy to understand how this works. Discipline, guidelines, or putting deadlines in place are never the end in themselves; they are the means by which we achieve what we want to accomplish.

     While I was doing undergraduate studies in Toronto I worked for the Toronto Blue Jays ground crew. While working there I noticed that the elite players would always be the ones to arrive at the ballpark early and leave late. They would come in early for strength and conditioning purposes, then perhaps look over strategies or game plans. Then they would join the rest of the team once the normal daily routines began. This was hard work and made for long days. Here is the point: the discipline of getting to the stadium early, doing an extra work out, working over game plans were not the goal. These were the means by which this player would attain the ultimate goal: victory.

     The rules set out in Scripture were never meant to inhibit pleasure or desire, but to do the exact opposite. Desire gave birth to commands, but somehow we have understood it the other way around, as if the commands were meant to create desire.

     There is actually a moment documented in the Old Testament in which the people of Israel say that they would like to follow God’s commandments. However, Joshua, their leader at the time, turns them down. Effectively, he says, ‘You don’t have what it takes. You will turn away from God. So, please, don’t commit to it.’ They push back and insist that they truly want to follow God. Joshua reluctantly gives in and grants them their desire to form a covenant binding them to follow God’s rules.

     The rules and statutes implemented into the life of Israel stemmed from a desire to know and love the Lord. Rules were not put in place to prevent desire from finding its fulfillment. Rather, the rules were put in place to fulfill desire and avoid detriment.

     A question that we need to ask ourselves is: ‘Where do rules find their starting point?’ In the Christian sense, does obedience come from a sense of duty or from a desire for God? If the drive to live for God comes from a sense of duty, our faith will become one long, arduous journey. But duty is not where the gospel asks us to begin. We begin with Christ himself, God with us, and a love and desire to follow him.

     Imagine that I have just been away from home on a long business trip. When I return home I decide to stop off at the florist’s near my home because I want to get flowers for my wife. I purchase the flowers, then walk up to the door with flowers behind my back and knock on the door. My wife opens the door and I reveal the flowers to her. She says, ‘Nathan, you shouldn’t have done this! Why did you get me these flowers?’ I reply, ‘Because it is my duty!’

     What do you think her response will be after she hears this? What if I respond to her question by saying that I got her those flowers because I love her—that there is nothing more I love than the sweet fellowship I have with her.(1)

     This gets at the heart of Christian discipleship. Christianity does not start with rules, but the rules do make sense. They are put in place to fulfill our desire for God; not to coerce us into loving God.

~Nathan Betts is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

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       When I went to get my driver's license renewed, our local motor-vehicle bureau was packed. The line inched along for almost an hour until the man ahead of me finally got his license.

     He inspected his photo for a moment and commented to the clerk, "I was standing in line so long, I ended up looking pretty grouchy in this picture."

     The clerk looked at his picture closely. "It's okay," he reassured the man: "That's how you're going to look when the cops pull you over anyway."


     The CEO was scheduled to speak at an important convention, so he asked one of his employees, Jenkins, to write him a punchy 20-minute speech. When the CEO returned from the big event, he was furious. "What's the idea of writing me an hour-long speech?" he demanded. "Half the audience walked out before I finished."

     Jenkins was baffled. "I wrote you a 20-minute speech," he replied. "I also gave you the two extra copies you asked for."

@Sent by Mary Sutherland


Judge: Is there any reason you could not serve as a juror in this case?

Juror: I don't want to be away from my job that long.

Judge: Can't they do without you at work?

Juror: Yes, but I don't want them to know it.

@Laugh & Lift -


     Suspecting he had a serious medical condition, I nagged my husband until he agreed to see a doctor.

     Once there, he was handed a mountain of forms to fill out.

     Next to "Reason for visit?" he wrote, "My wife made me."


     My sister landed a good job with an accounting firm, and after a while she got a generous raise.

     The day she found out about it, her husband picked her up from work, and they stopped for ice cream.

     As they continued home, my sister blurted out, "Isn't it hard to believe that I have a job that pays this much money?"

     Just then, she went to toss the last of her ice cream cone out the window. However, the window was closed, and it smacked against the glass.

     Her husband replied calmly, "Yes."

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     The poor country pastor was livid when he confronted his wife with the receipt for a $250 dress she had bought.

     "How could you do this!" he exclaimed.

     "I don't know," she wailed, "I was standing in the store looking at the dress. Then I found myself trying it on.  It was like the Devil was whispering to me, 'You look great in that dress. You should buy it.'"

     "Well," the pastor persisted, "You know how to deal with him! Just tell him, 'Get behind me, Satan!'"

     "I did," replied his wife. "But then, he said, 'It looks great from back here, too!'"

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Various organizational philosophies explained in "two cow" terms.*

-Socialism: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

- Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.

- Feudalism - You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

- Fascism - You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

- Totalitarianism - You have two cows. The government takes them both and denies they ever existed and drafts you into the army. Milk is banned.

- Bureaucracy: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours it down the drain.

- Corporate: You have two cows. You sell one, force the other to produce the milk of four cows and then act surprised when it drops dead.

- Democracy: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point that you must sell them both in order to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow which was a gift from your government.

- Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

- Enron Venture Capitalism - You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

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