Apologies for my long absence, but I’ll start this Fodder on a sad note. My brother-in-law, Lyle Whiteman, husband of my oldest sister, Peggy, had a massive heart attack at the end of February and died on March 2. He never regained consciousness. There had not been many obvious signs of heart trouble. Lyle pastored in the mid-west, in Friends churches for all of his career since graduating from Friends Bible College (at the time). It was a shock, to say the least. He was on life support for a week, but after the family agreed to remove life-support, he soon passed away. Please pray for my sister, Peggy and their three sons and their families.
A couple days after I finished the last Monday Fodder I experienced a life-threatening situation with my heart. In 2016 I had open-heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and the section of my aorta that had been weakened because my heart had to work harder than it needed to before the surgery. In February this year, my aorta developed a small tear which was bleeding and causing clotting. Neither the doctors nor I know how it developed, but it meant a couple weeks in the hospital, a couple more weeks of home rest, and now becoming more involved, step by step back to some normalcy, but living life in a lower gear for a few months at least. However, I can still work, as long as I don't take on too much, not do too heavy work, reduce stress, and keep my blood pressure low. That's the stage I'm in right now.
I’m hopeful that in a couple weeks my BP medicine can be reduced as it seems to be working too well. My BP often goes as low as around 80/40. So for 2-3 hours after I take my morning BP meds, I get light-headed, and it’s a struggle to do much of anything or to even think clearly.
Anyhow, now I’m able to be involved in the life of RiverGrace again. I preached yesterday for the first time since early February in an early Easter service. We moved the service to an earlier time so that we could use the rest of the day for training in the Train and Multiply church planting strategy. We feel we’ll be able to train our people to be better equipped to serve, share their faith, build into other people lives, and even start cell groups or churches.
A three-lady team from the OMS churches in the Philippines is doing the training. We’ll also have a full day of training on Thursday, which is the Ching Ming Holiday here in Hong Kong.
Many of our folks were traveling over the Easter holiday. That’s often true in a church like ours, with many who attend who are from other home countries. At any rate, the training and equipping do pay off.
One of our Filipinas went back to the Philippines for a holiday. A. had become a Christian while attending RiverGrace, and she wanted to share the Gospel with her family while she was there. Being a bit shy, she invited another of our Filipinas, M, to come to her home, about an hours travel time, and share with A’s family. M. also became a Christian while in RG. She has the gift and passion for evangelism. As a result of her visit with A, all of A’s children accepted the Lord, as well as a sister and niece. M. also shared the gospel with the men of the family. While M. is not sure that any of them believed, they were receptive to listen. Pray that the seeds sown will bear fruit.
I will attempt to get back into doing the Fodder at least a couple times a month, for now. Make it a great week. Blessings, Dave
There is a striking verse in the New Testament, in which the apostle Paul refers to the cross of Jesus Christ as foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew. One can readily understand why he would say that. After all, to the Greek mind, sophistication, philosophy, and learning were exalted pursuits. How could one crucified possibly spell knowledge?
To the Jewish mind, on the other hand, there was a cry and a longing to be free. In their history, they had been attacked by numerous powers and often humiliated by occupying forces. Whether it was the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the Romans, Jerusalem had been repeatedly plundered and its people left homeless. What would the Hebrew have wanted more than someone who could take up their cause and altogether repel the enemy? How could a Messiah who was crucified possibly be of any help?
To the Greek, the cross was foolishness. To the Jew, it was a stumbling block. What is it about the cross of Christ that so roundly defies everything that power relishes? Crucifixion was humiliating. It was so humiliating that the Romans who specialized in the art of torture assured their own citizenry that a Roman could never be crucified. But not only was it humiliating, it was excruciating. In fact, the very word “excruciating” comes from two Latin words: ex cruciatus, or out of the cross. Crucifixion was the defining word for pain.
Does that not give us pause in this season now before us? Think of it: humiliation and agony. This was the path Jesus chose with which to reach out for you and for me. You see, this thing we call sin, but which we so tragically minimize, breaks the grandeur for which we were created. It brings indignity to our essence and pain to our existence. It separates us from God.
On the way to the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus took the ultimate indignity and the ultimate pain to bring us back to the dignity of a relationship with God and the healing of our souls. Will we remember that this was done for us and receive his gift?
We will then discover that it is sin that is foolishness. Our greatest weakness is not an enemy from without but one from within. It is our own weak wills that cause us to stumble. But Jesus Christ frees us from the foolishness of sin and the weakness of our selves.
This is the very reason the apostle Paul went on to say that he preached Jesus Christ as one crucified, which was both the power of God and the wisdom of God. Come to the cross in these days given for our contemplation and find out his power and his wisdom.
~Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
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A Church Truth in Poem
I think that I shall never see
A church that's all it ought to be;
A church whose members never stray
Beyond the straight and narrow way;
A church that has no empty pews,
Whose pastor never has the blues;
A church whose elders always speak,
And none are proud and all are meek.
Such perfect churches there may be,
But none of them are known to me.
But still, we'll work and pray and plan
To make our own the best we can.
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
My little boy sometimes had difficult bowel movements. One day, we were browsing together in a novelty and gift store.
There were many wooden signs of "words of encouragement" hanging on display.
Suddenly, he pointed to one of the signs and said to me, "Mum, I think we should get this one and hang it above the toilet." I looked at the sign he was indicating.
It read: P. U. S. H.
"Pray Until Something Happens."
Most of us have a bad habit we are constantly trying to break. For me, it's biting my fingernails. One day I told my husband about my latest solution: press-on nails.
"Great Idea, Honey," he smiled. "You can eat them straight out of the box."
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
COMMENTS NEVER HEARD AT CHURCH
1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew.
2. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.
3. Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.
4. I've decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.
5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Junior High Sunday School class.
6. Forget the denominational minimum salary, let's pay our pastor so he can live like we do.
7. I love it when we sing hymns I've never heard before!
8. Since we're all here, let's start the service early.
9. Pastor, we'd like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.
10. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign!
I wanted to go jogging this morning but Proverbs 28:1 says "the wicked run when no one is chasing them," so there goes that.
There was a man who had worked all of his life and had saved all of his money and was a real miser when it came to his money.
He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife, "Now listen. When I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me. Because I wanna take my money to the afterlife with me."
And so he got his wife to promise him with all of her heart that when he died, she would put all of the money in the casket with him.
Well, one day he died. He was stretched out in the casket, the wife was sitting there in black, and her friend was sitting next to her. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said, "Wait just a minute!' She had a box with her, she came over with the box and put it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down, and they rolled it away. Her friend said, "I know you weren't fool enough to put all that money in there with that man."
She replied, "Listen, I'm a Christian, I can't lie. I promised him that I was gonna put that money in that casket with him."
"You mean to tell me you put that money in the casket with that man?"
"I sure did," said the wife. "I wrote him a check."
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A visitor from Holland was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Netherlands flag. "Our flag symbolizes our taxes," he said. "We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them."
"That's the same with us," the American said, "only we see stars, too."
Janice, my sister, had been pestering her husband, a carpenter, for more than a decade to build a screen door for the kitchen.
One day, to her delight, he built and installed one in less than two hours. It was both practical and pretty. She glanced towards the front door and wistfully remarked that one would look good there, as well.
"Are you kidding?" he gasped. "You can't just whip these things up, you know. It takes ten years to build a door like this."
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