Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 17, 2014
The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.
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We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
– Ephesians 2:10 (CEB)
“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”
– Abraham Joshua Heschel
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM?
by Mel Lawrenz
In recent months the world has been shocked to hear about religious extremists in northern Iraq slaughtering Christians or people of other religions unless they convert. Tens of thousands have fled, some to the mountains.
It’s not the first time extreme violence has been used in the name of religion. In Jesus’ day the Romans and King Herod used force in the name of the state or of religion. An underground Jewish group known as the Zealots carried out attacks against political targets. John the Baptist was imprisoned in an attempt to suppress the small movement resulting from his prophetic words…. Read this in full at
ROBIN WILLIAMS’ DEATH AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT DEPRESSION IN THE SCRIPTURES
By Mel Lawrenz, Director of The Brook Network and creator of The Influence Project
“The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14).
The shocking news of the suicide death of actor Robin Williams has left millions of people all over the world with a mystery: how could someone known for a whole-face smile that caused multitudes of people to laugh to the point of tears be so distraught that he would take his own life? Many are perplexed, and there are many others who are saying to themselves: if anyone knew how desperately depressed I am, they would be surprised…. Read this in full at
HOW JESUS’ MOST TROUBLING PARABLE FINALLY MADE SENSE TO ME
by Alec Hill
Scripture contains more than 40 of Jesus’ parables. Some are so well known, hospitals (Good Shepherd) and laws (Good Samaritan) are named after them. Others confound readers today as much as they likely did their first hearers. And one parable has been all but forgotten—at least in the West. Recently I shared it with five U.S. ministry leaders. In their 130 collective years of service, not one of them had given a talk on it or heard it preached from the pulpit.
Contrast their response with that of a Nigerian friend, who told me that the parable is one of his favorite teachings of Jesus. So why would the parable resonate in Nigeria and seemingly fall flat in the United States?
The parable — found only in the Gospel of Luke — was delivered relatively late in Jesus’ ministry, to his closest followers. It belonged to a set of teachings on discipleship:…. Read this in full at
5 REASONS SOUTH KOREA COULD BE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF FUTURE
by Candida Moss
When Pope Francis arrived in South Korea for a five-day visit, he got a look at just the kind of church he’s been trying to create worldwide.
The trip, planned to coincide with Asia Youth Day, marks the first time a pope has visited the country since 1989, and is part of a new papal focus on globalization in general and on Asia in particular. (Francis plans to visit Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Japan in January.)
The time has long passed that the Catholic Church is elderly white men and women in European enclaves.
The last papal conclave and the election of the first Latin American Pope raised awareness of the Catholic Church’s growing presence in Africa, but Asian Christianity was hardly mentioned at all…. Read this in full at
8 THINGS CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
by Jarrid Wilson
It seems that today’s Christians are more known by what they are against than for. And although there are plenty of things God has called us to turn our backs to, I strongly believe our holy anthem should be chorused by what we are for.
1. Love (1 John 4:8)
Love is an intrinsic value for any who call themselves Christ followers. In reality, I don’t believe that any can truly call themselves Bible-believing Christians and not showcase the act of love. No matter the circumstance, offering a helping hand of love is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. God loves us, even when we don’t reflect the same image in return. We owe it to others to offer them this same reality…. Read this in full at
THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU HAVE TO DO TO GROW SPIRITUALLY
by Nathan R. Hale
Some years ago I struggled mightily with the idea and execution of what is commonly talked about as my “personal devotions” or “quiet time.” It seemed boring, lifeless, and frustrating. It was hard to focus, and I almost dreaded opening up my Bible to read a chapter or two or three. I was in what I thought was a spiritual rut. However, I made a decision to stick with it as long as I could, even though the task of ploughing through a dense ancient religious text wasn’t particularly enjoyable.
Then, one day, something happened. My entire frame of mind shifted. I simply woke up and *desired* to read my Bible. It wasn’t just old and hard to read and challenging, it was life giving. I no longer dreaded my “personal time” with the Bible – I craved it. This opened up a whole new season of spiritual growth for me, and taught me what I think is one of the most important spiritual lessons I have learned: the value of personal discipline…. Read this in full at
WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS CARE WHAT OTHERS DO “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS?”
by Clare De Graaf
Last fall I attended a conference on human sexuality at a local Christian college. I spent several hours after the lectures meeting with several gay Christians or those who were in support of same sex relationships and marriage. Some of the heterosexual newcomers to this subject kept coming back to this question:
Why should Christians care what gays do behind closed doors? If it’s a sin – it’s their sin. In any case, doesn’t affect you!
If you’ve heard that argument yourself, here’s why gay marriage and a gay lifestyle does matter to the rest of us!…. Read this in full at
8 CHARTS THAT EXPLAIN HOW OUR CULTURE IS CHANGING (& 24 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE IMPACT ON YOUR CHURCH)
by Rich Birch
One of our roles as church leaders is to have our pulse on the shifting cultural around us so we can serve our community better. We need to understand the times so we can have clarity on what actions we should be taking as a church. Here are some “signs of the times” and some quick thoughts on what impact I believe these will have on us in the coming years…. Read this in full at
WHY NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE
by Steve McSwain
That’s the title of a new book written by Joani Schultz and Thom Schultz. And it’s a question those leaving are more than ready to answer. The problem is, few insiders are listening. And, of course, that IS the problem.
Clearly, the Church is dying. According to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research, more than 40 percent of Americans “say” they go to church weekly. As it turns out, however, less than 20% are actually in church. In other words, more than 80% of Americans are finding more fulfilling things to do on weekends…. Read this in full at
WHY MISSIONARIES PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE
by Daniel Burke and Ashley Fantz
It wasn’t as if God’s voice boomed through sun-parted clouds, telling Kent Brantly to move his family to Liberia. Still, the young doctor said, the call was clear.
It echoed through the congregation where he was raised, Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis.
Standing before the church community in July 2013, months before he left for Africa, Brantly said he heard the call in the teachers who urged him to memorize Scripture and the neighbors who funded his first mission trip years ago.
He saw it in the aunts and uncles who spent their vacations running Bible camps, organizing youth groups and serving missions themselves in Africa…. Read this in full at
DO WE REALLY BELIEVE?
“Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible. He reads to them: “Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!” All the ducks shouted, “Amen!” And they all waddled home.”
– Soren Kierkegaard
WHY DOING WHAT YOU WANT WILL MAKE YOU MISERABLE
A Video Bible Study by David Delk
We live in the age of doing what we want when we want. So many men struggle with addictions and priorities that distract them from their true calling. Our relative affluence and technology has brought unprecedented freedom of choice and opportunity. So how do we decide what we are going to give our lives to?
In this engaging message from David Delk, he helps us take a look together at what the Bible says about how we should orient our lives. And we’ll see how learning to submit to the authority of Christ helps us become the men we have always wanted to be. Click here to listen or watch:
by Paul Tripp
Do you know anyone who is blind? I’ve acquired some life-changing information about spiritual blindness from people who can’t see the physical things I see every day.
1. Seeing With Two Pairs of Eyes
First, I’ve learned that the eyes of my heart are far more important than the eyes of my body. I could be physically blind yet have very accurate spiritual vision, and conversely, I could have 20/20 eyesight while I’m blind to my own sin and the glorious things of God.
In fact, I’ve found that my physical eyes often deceive my spiritual eyes: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) I would encourage you to train your “eyes” to look beyond the physical existence of something (or someone) and attempt to see what God sees…. Read this in full at
THE KIDS KNOW!
“If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked the children in my Sunday School class.
“NO!” the children all answered.
“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?”
Again, the answer was, “NO!”
“Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked them again.
Again, they all answered, “NO!”
“Well,” I continued, “then how can I get into Heaven?”
A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!”
CHUCK COLSON’S 1ST GENUINE PRAYER
by Dan Graves
I have accepted Jesus Christ. I have committed my whole life to Him and it has been the most marvelous experience of my life.” The words by Tom Philips staggered Chuck Colson. Colson didn’t understand. Everyone knew Jesus Christ was dead two thousand years ago. Tom had more to say. “I had gotten to the point where I didn’t think my life was worth anything. Now everything is changed–attitudes, values the whole bit.” He would like to tell Colson the whole story, he said. To Colson it didn’t make sense. Tom was the successful president of Raytheon, a huge electronics firm in Massachusetts. What did he need religion for?
Chuck Colson was by then out of the White House, working for a law firm. Accused in the press of being one of the central figures of the Watergate mess, he would later prove to have had less to do with it than the rest of the principal actors. At the time stories were still leaking out. Falsehoods were printed about him in the press. Hours of testimony loomed before him. Facing all this, he could not forget Tom’s peace and his own inner ache…. Read this in full at
ELEPHANTS UNEARTHED: ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE MOSAIC YIELDS NONBIBLICAL IMAGES
by Michele Chabin
An ancient synagogue mosaic in Israel depicting nonbiblical themes – including elephants – has been removed for safekeeping, according to the lead archaeologist who discovered the three-part floor panel earlier this summer.
Jodi Magness, director of the excavations in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq in the Lower Galilee, said the high-quality, 1,600-year-old mosaic panel, which depicts an array of nonbiblical themes, “has been removed for conservation” until the synagogue is fully excavated in several years’ time.
Magness, a professor of Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her team have been digging at the site every July for four years.
Until now, “all stories found decorating ancient synagogues have been taken from the Hebrew Bible,” Magness said…. Read this in full at
‘DON’T EAT ALONE’ IS METAPHOR FOR HEALTHY CHRISTIAN LIFE, SAYS MINISTER-CHEF
by Norman Jameson
Forty-two years ago Milton Brasher-Cunningham first heard the words that rescued him, like a strong arm lifting a drowning person to safety.
He was 16 and the new missionary kid from Africa in a big Houston school, plopped into the middle of his junior year. His family came to Houston to lead a Baptist church, but details had not been finalized so Brasher-Cunningham — ordinarily an extrovert — could not connect in school with youth from that church.
He didn’t talk to a single other student outside of a classroom for two weeks, dreading every lunch hour sitting alone in a boisterous cafeteria, a stone in the river of laughter flowing around him…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
I rejoice in the content of your laws as if I were rejoicing over great wealth.
– Psalm 119:14 (CEB)
“Whenever our desire to be right overshadows our desire for another person’s well-being, we are not living for Kingdom purposes.”
– Mary Albert Darling
“One reason I, like many others, missed the deeper meaning of Christ’s radical declaration is that I had always read the term kingdom metaphorically. Like the Jews in that Nazareth synagogue, most of us think of kingdoms as geographic entities, physical realms with boundaries and defenses and treasuries.
“But the Kingdom of God is a rule, not a realm. It is the declaration of God’s absolute sovereignty, of His total order of life in this world and the next.”
– Charles W. Colson (1931-2012), Kingdoms in Conflict, HarperCollins Canada, Limited, 1990, p. 120-121
JESUS WASN’T AMERICAN – NEITHER IS THE BIBLE
by Stephen Mattson
Sometimes it seems that American Christians all read the exact same Bible-a truly “American Standard Version,” where every verse, account, story, and parable within Scripture is interpreted through the lens of being an American. God originally authored this Scripture with the intention of blessing America, protecting America, supporting her interests-and generally ignoring the rest of the world.
Therefore, our wars were the most righteous, our founding fathers were the most holy, our government is the most favored by God, and our land is the most Divinely blessed and protected.
The collateral damage of this type of thinking comes in the form of dehumanizing others. We completely disregard original context in order to carry out our selfish agendas. Anyone apart from our national identity is viewed as a stranger, foreigner, illegal immigrant, and enemy…. Read this in full at
CHART OF ISRAEL’S AND JUDAH’S KINGS AND PROPHETS
Blogger Craig T. Owens has created this helpful chart delineating the Old Testament kings and prophets of Israel and Judah…. See this in full at
WHERE THE BIBLE COMES ALIVE
by Mark Coppenger
I ventured to the Holy Land this summer for the seventh time, where it’s said “the Bible comes alive.” Indeed it does, but in a mixed way. There were, as always, both edifying and dispiriting aspects of the tour — for the Bible is not just a “happy talk” book but also one of stern declaration. Some observations follow: …. Read this in full at
BIBLES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: DO STUDENTS BENEFIT WHEN THE HOLY BOOK IS TAUGHT IN CLASSROOMS?
by Michael Gryboski
An education expert has argued that United States public schools can benefit immensely from reading the Bible in literature classes and having prayer in schools.
William Jeynes, senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute and an education professor at California State University, made these arguments in a presentation Wednesday at the Family Research Council.
Titled “Putting the Bible and Prayer Back in the Public Schools,” Jeynes said there are many benefits to keeping the Bible in public schools and drawbacks from when, during the 1960s, courses were taken out.
In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that sectarian Bible classes could not be in public schools.
In the decision Abingdon v. Schempp, the court did allow for the teaching of the Bible, provided it was done in a neutral, objective matter…. Read this in full at
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSICIAN UNDER FIRE FOR DOUBTING GENESIS
Contrary to reports, LifeWay Christian Stores have not stopped selling music by a contemporary Christian artist under fire for stating he does not believe narratives in the early chapters of Genesis are to be taken literally.
Marty King, director of corporate communications for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said a comment by Dove Award-winning artist Michael Gungor that his music was taken out of LifeWay Christian Stores is incorrect.
“LifeWay has not removed Gungor music from our stores,” King said. “Although we disagree with Michael Gungor’s recent statements about Scripture and creation, that theology is not expressed in the music we carry.” …. Read this in full at
US NAVY REMOVES BIBLES FROM GUEST ROOMS
by Todd Starnes
There is growing outrage among sailors and religious liberty advocates over a directive that calls for the removal of Bibles from lodges and hotels run on US Navy bases. The directive comes after an atheist group filed a formal complaint earlier this year over the placement of Bibles in the rooms.
“The current direction is to remove all religious material from Navy Lodge guest rooms,” read an email to a Navy chaplain from The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM). “For those Navy Lodges with religious materials currently in guest rooms, the Navy Lodge General Manager will contact the Installation Chaplain’s office who will provide guidance on the removal procedure disposition of these materials.” …. Read this in full at
PENTAGON: BIBLES OK AT MILITARY RECRUITING STATION
The Pentagon says the commander of a St. Louis recruiting station may allow groups to make available to recruits copies of the New Testament Bible – or the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, or any other religious text.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen told Military.com that the Bibles kept at the Military Entrance Processing Station and offered to recruits are covered by existing regulation. But so would be the holy books of Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and any other faith, he said.
“A commander who accommodates one [faith group] must be prepared to do the same for other, similar [groups],” Christensen said. “Should the presence of any provided material adversely impact the accomplishment of the mission, the commander has the discretion to remove all literature that threatens good order and discipline.” …. Read this in full at
CHAPLAIN USES TECH TO CONNECT FAMILIES SPIRITUALLY DURING DEPLOYMENT
by Ken Chitwood
In World War I, letters were the only way for soldiers and their families to stay in touch. It was the same during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and even Desert Storm. But since mobile and Internet technology came of age, the deployed women and men of the armed forces have more, and simpler, options to communicate with their families.
Now, thanks to the creativity of one chaplain, soldiers can even worship or enjoy other religious services with their families back home.
The program is called “Worship with Warriors” and it is the brain child of Deputy Wing Chaplain James Buckman, a Lutheran house-church planter from New Jersey currently deployed with 108th Air Refueling Wing at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar…. Read this in full at
DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR – ON THIS KINDLE?
by Jeff Brumley
It’s hardly news anymore to see someone in church using a smartphone or tablet, instead of a printed Bible, to follow along in Scripture.
Many pastors have embraced the paper-for-digital swap themselves, often using iPads or tablets to preach from. Here and there, worshipers are being encouraged to share sermon excerpts, music sound bites and video clips in real time on social media.
But the use of a portable, digital device in a ritual setting raised a few eyebrows and made international headlines this summer when Suzi LeVine placed her hand on a Kindle Touch, not a Bible, to be sworn in as US ambassador to Switzerland…. Read this in full at
GOD TEXTS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
by Jamie Quatro
1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg’s
4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok – ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/ m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf’s m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.
M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.
Compare with the real 10 Commandments:
DEVIL’S BIBLE – THE LARGEST MANUSCRIPT IN THE WORLD
Codex Gigas, otherwise known as ‘the Devil’s Bible’ is the largest and probably one of the strangest manuscripts in the world.
It is so large that it is said to have taken more than 160 animal skins to make it and takes at least two people to lift it. It measures approximately 1 metre in length.
According to legend, the medieval manuscript was made out of a pact with the ‘devil’, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Devil’s Bible.
It was written in Latin during the 13th century AD, and although the origin of the manuscript is unknown, a note in the manuscript states that it was pawned in the monastery at Sedlec in 1295.
The manuscript is currently displayed at the National Library in Stockholm (http://www.kb.se/codex-gigas/eng/)…. Read this in full at
GROWING NUMBERS SIGN UP TO SWISS RIGHT-TO-DIE SOCIETY
A Swiss organization that helps people take their own lives and defends their right to refuse medical treatment says it has seen a higher number of applications than usual this summer.
Exit said it was receiving 60 to 100 new membership requests daily from people who wanted to make living wills – documents specifying how they want to be medically treated if they are gravely ill and unable to communicate.
Unlike in previous years, the number of applications has not slowed during the months of July and August when people tend to be away on holiday, said Bernhard Sutter, vice president of Exit, which was founded in 1982…. Read this in full at
NORWAY’S CLOSELY WATCHED PROSTITUTION BAN WORKS, STUDY FINDS
Norway’s ban on buying sex has reduced human trafficking and has not increased violence against women, as some had feared, a study commissioned by the government said.
Following the example of its neighbor Sweden, Norway criminalized buying sex in 2009, but critics said the law would push prostitution underground, making women more vulnerable and increasing the likelihood of violence against them.
Nations like Finland, France and England have adapted a partial ban, making it illegal to buy sex from a person who was trafficked or pimped. Foreign governments have been carefully watching the effectiveness of the more comprehensive Norwegian and Swedish approach, which punishes buying but not selling.
“This report does not find any evidence of more violence against prostitutes after the ban on buying sex entered into force,” said the report, which was published on Monday.
“The enforcement of the law, in combination with the laws against trafficking and pimping, makes Norway a less attractive country for prostitution-based trafficking than what would have been the case if the law had not been adopted,” it said…. Read this in full at
“Will you be the rock that redirects the course of the river?”
– Claire Nuer
VERSE TO PONDER
God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.
– Psalm 46:1 (CEB)
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: HE’S MY KING
Words: James Rowe, 1912
Music: James D. Vaughan
All day long of Jesus I am singing,
He my song of joy will ever be;
All the while He keeps my heart-bells ringing,
For His love is ev’rything to me.
He’s my King, and O I dearly love Him,
He’s my King, no other is above Him;
All day long enraptured praise I sing,
He’s my Savior, He’s my King!
Streams of love around my soul are flowing,
From His heart love’s everlasting spring;
That is why my faith in Him I’m showing,
That is why an endless song I sing.
In His light, I’m going home to glory,
With the souls who trust His saving grace;
Going home to sing and tell His story,
In the blessèd sunshine of His face.
>from NetHymnal at
“Give rest to the weary, visit the sick, support the poor; for this also is prayer.”
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Aired 8/15/2014 @ 10:00PM central
Frank Coleman shares a message about overcoming fear. (Pre-recorded)
The “world” can cite dozens of ways to confront fear. You are typically told about “methods,” “steps,” & “proceedures” that will help aleviate fear.
What about doing things God’s way?
DAILY BLESSING PACT
Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.
I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Estates & inheritances
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase
“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).
[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]
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There are three kinds of people: those who can count & those who can’t.
Frank Coleman, Editor
Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, email@example.com if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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