Besides the busy Christmas season, RiverGrace has still been in the process of settling into a new routine and managing our own matters and decisions relating to our being an independent church, now. We're also still getting used to the ins and outs of using United Christian College for our Sunday service and Wednesday fellowships.
We were really spoiled when we were at Yan Yue Church since our service followed a short while after the Chinese service. Everything was basically set up for us with the sound equipment, computers and projectors all turned on.
After our move to UCC, we have kept our service time at noon, and we are not planning on changing it at this time. However, even with the relatively late start to the service, we still leave home about 7:00 and arrive at the school/OMS Office about 7:30.
After I get something to eat at a nearby restaurant, I go next door to the school, turn off the school alarm at UCC, open the rooms that we’ll be using, and plug in the equipment that we will use later for our service. Th microphones and translation equipment needs to be charged up. After that, I go back up to OMS and finish printing and gathering the things that will be needed for the service.
At 10, I go back to geography room, which is where we have our worship service, practice with the worship team until about 11, then help set up the room. After the room is ready. I need to transfer PowerPoints or files to the church computer, give last-minute instruction to those who will participate in the service, and greet newcomers, etc. It makes for a busy morning!
At any rate, we are making progress in getting things organized and processed, and we are grateful for the many benefits of being in the school.
While it’s been busy, I’ve still tried to keep hiking, though some weeks I’ve only been a weekend athlete. Mostly I I hike on Saturday mornings.
Cindy has kept up her running and did the half marathon a couple weeks ago. Her time was a respectable 2 hours and 13 minutes. The difficult thing is that her knees have really been bothering her in recent weeks and months.
We’ll be going to Thailand for our OMS retreat mid-February for a week. We’ll get back Day 2 of Chinese New Year. I’ll try to get back on schedule in doing Monday Fodder. I’d better not make promises, though, especially soon before we’ll be gone for the week.
Make it a great week. Blessings, Dave
Wisely Witnessing - (By Max Lucado)
Sometime ago I was asked to play a game of golf. The foursome included two preachers, a church leader, and a "Matthew, B.C." The thought of four hours with three Christians, two of whom were pulpiteers, did not appeal to him. His best friend, a Christ follower and his boss, insisted, so he agreed.
I'm happy to report that he proclaimed the experience painless. On the ninth hole he turned to one of us and said, smiling, "I'm so glad you guys are normal." I think he meant this: "I'm so glad you didn't get in my face or club me with a King James driver. Thanks for laughing at my jokes and telling a few yourself. Thanks for being normal."
We didn't lower our standards. But neither did we saddle a high horse. We were nice. Normal and nice.
Discipleship is sometimes defined by being normal.
A woman in a small Arkansas community was a single mom with a frail baby. Her neighbor would stop by every few days and keep the child so she could shop. After some weeks her neighbor shared more than time; she shared her faith, and the woman did what Matthew did. She followed Christ.
The friends of the young mother objected. "Do you know what those people teach?" they contested.
"Here is what I know," she told them. "They held my baby."
I think Jesus likes that kind of answer, don't you?
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PRO-LIFE by Pastor Rick Sams
One of my friends was being ridiculed for aligning themselves with the “pro-choice party.” The mockers were mad that another anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade had come and gone. This was the January 22, 1973 Supreme Court decision which effectively legalized abortion on demand for any reason during an entire pregnancy.
So 60 million U.S. abortions later, pro-lifers are angry.
But I interrupted this forum of Friends (Quakers) to remind them that our Quaker ancestors would roll over in their graves if we focused on a single issue as the barometer of what it means to be pro-life or a Christ-follower.
Our peaceful Quaker forefathers “fought” for life in every way. That’s why they would enter the military as medics, IN combat, but never carrying a gun.
In centuries past many Friends forefathers would tirelessly work for prison reform, sometimes substituting themselves into the horrific jails of 17th century England rather than see fragile prisoners die without Christ.
Friends were all about fair treaties with the Native Americans who had many promises broken in the pacts they made with those of European descent. The Friends who negotiated treaties had such integrity that the U.S. government used them as their key negotiators for many years.
Friends were leaders in reforming the way the mentally ill were treated and housed, often in squalid conditions.
They were key cogs in the Underground Railroad, the informal network that paved the way for slaves to escape the South into Canada. For this Quakers risked their freedom and lives since aiding fugitive slaves was illegal.
To be pro-life means to be life-giving in every way. You do your best to live at peace with all men: co-workers to classmates and everyone in between (Romans 12:18). You’ll add value to the lives of others. Pro-lifers get involved in the lives of women who have crisis pregnancies. There is no better way than donating time or money to a local pregnancy center, like the excellent ones we have Alliance and Canton. Pro-lifers adopt and foster children. They take in refugees.
Being pro-life means you are the best partner, parent and person you can possibly be. You speak the truth, but always in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25). You offer solutions instead of cynicism, hope instead of hatred. You light a candle instead of constantly cursing the darkness.
Nothing has ever meant more to me than hearing one of our grown children tell my wife and me: “You are life-giving to us.”
So just as Jesus came to give life more abundantly (John 10:10), so should we strive to be like Him (Luke 6:40; Romans 8:29), in all ways, not just on a single issue.
Two opposing county chairman were sharing a rare moment together.
The Democratic chairman said, "I never pass up a chance to promote the party. For example, whenever I take a cab, I give the driver a sizable tip and say, 'Vote Democratic.'"
His opponent said, "I have a better scheme, and it doesn't cost me a nickel. I don't give any tip at all. And when I leave, I also say, 'Vote Democratic.'"
Winning Liar… It takes a really tall tale to win the annual Burlington, Wis., Liars Club Contest. So tip your hat to Gordon Zwicky, because he's a worthy champion.
In 2000, he beat out 299 other competitors with a whopper about his trip to Florida. A neighbor, said Zwicky, told him and his wife Dorothy that they'd be fine as long as they paid attention to the road signs along the way. But they'd driven just 30 miles when they saw one that read, "Clean Restrooms Ahead."
Two months later, they arrived in Florida exhausted, having used up 86 bottles of Windex, 267 rolls of paper towels, and three cases of toilet-bowl cleaner. Total restrooms cleaned: 450.
@Cybersalt Digest - Click here to subscribe: http://www.cybersalt.org/
Jesus Could Walk On Legos
There are moments as a parent that make you swell with pride — and others that make you shake your head. I experienced both this week as I overheard my five-year-old son preaching to his three-year-old sister.
"Mary!" I heard him scream at his sister, who had no idea she was about to be on the receiving end of a sermon. "Jesus is in your heart and he died for your sins!"
So far, so good, I thought to myself. I may have a budding preacher on my hands.
Then things got a little ... weird.
"Then all the good guys started fighting the bad guys so that Jesus could come back to life!"
Hmmm ... not sure that jibes with the Gospel accounts. I think he was sprinkling in a little comic book action in his gospel presentation. Good thing we never got that heresy alarm installed.
He wasn't finished.
"When Jesus came back from being dead, he could do anything. He could even walk on legos!"
Again, a significant departure from the events described in Scripture, but I had to admit the legos detail was impressive. When I step on a lego, I go down like I took a bullet. But nothing is too hard for Jesus — walking on water, or if my son is correct, walking on legos.
@Drew Dyck - christianitytoday.com Church Humor.
The doctor told me "Physical exercise is good for you." I know that I should do it, since my body is so out of shape. So I have worked out this easy daily program I can do anywhere:
Beat around the bush.
Jump to conclusions.
Climb the walls.
Wade through paperwork.
Drag my heels.
Push my luck.
Make mountains out of mole hills.
Hit the nail on the head.
Bend over backwards.
Jump on the band wagon.
Balance the books.
Run around in circles.
Toot my own horn.
Climb the ladder of success.
Pull out the stops.
Add fuel to the fire.
Open a can of worms.
Put my foot in my mouth.
Start the ball rolling.
Go over the edge.
Pick up the pieces.
What a workout!
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com