Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 7, 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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The LORD your redeemer, the holy one of Israel, proclaims: I am the LORD your God who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.
– Isaiah 48:17 CEB
“We are all healers who can reach out and offer health, and we are all patients in constant need of help.”
– Henri Nouwen
THE IMPACT OF THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS ON RELIGIOUS LIFE IN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA
by Mark R. Elliott
One may ask: how far in the past can the discord between Ukraine and Russia be traced? Does the present conflict only date back to this past winter, Viktor Yanukovich’s ouster from power, his replacement by a strongly pro-Western government, and Russia’s move into Crimea?
Or does the present conflict date back to the Orange Revolution of 2004-05? In this case, public protests over the fraudulent presidential victory of Yanukovich forced a new election that was won by Viktor Yushchenko.
Or does the present crisis find its roots in the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and the Civil War (1918-21)? In those years Ukraine momentarily proclaimed its independence, only to be reabsorbed into a new Soviet version of the old tsarist Russian Empire.
Or can the present conflict be traced back to Muscovy’s seizure of Ukrainian lands from the Poles and Ottoman Turks in the 17th and 18th centuries? In the train of those victories Moscow gave no cultural quarter to its new Ukrainian subjects, pejoratively calling them “Little Russians” and suppressing use of the Ukrainian language…. Read this in full at
ISIS TERROR THREAT GIVES IMPETUS TO ‘JUST WAR,’ STRATEGISTS SAY
With ISIS beheading a second American journalist and controlling a large section of Iraq and Syria, analysts say military action against the terrorist group aligns with traditional just war principles.
“Full application of just war principles does not only warrant airstrikes but a far more vigorous level of engagement as well,” Daniel Heimbach, a seminary professor who was instrumental in developing the just war ethic for the 1991 Gulf War, told Baptist Press in written comments.
War with ISIS — the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — has been discussed increasingly following ISIS videos showing the beheading of two American journalists — James Foley in an Aug. 19 video and Steve Sotloff on Sept. 2.
The US has launched airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and is considering similar action in Syria.
Douglas Carver, executive director of chaplaincy at the North American Mission Board, agreed with Heimbach that there is just cause to wage war against ISIS…. Read this in full at
GOD STILL PERFORMS MIRACLES: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK BATTERSON
Do we dare believe that God can speak into our lives powerfully and tangibly? Jesus did this. During his earthly ministry he healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, and even raised the dead. What if he would do these things today?
Bible Gateway interviewed pastor Mark Batterson about his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (Baker Books, 2014).
Q: How do you define “miracle” and its place in today’s world?
Dr. Batterson: Our planet is speeding through space at an average velocity of 67,108 miles per hour. That’s not just faster than a speeding bullet. It’s 87 times faster than the speed of sound. If that isn’t miraculous, I don’t know what is. Yet when was the last time you thanked God for keeping our planet in orbit? I’m guessing never! My point? There are microscopic and macroscopic miracles all around us all the time, but if you aren’t looking for them you won’t see them.
Every breath of air. Every second of time. Every thought that fires across your synapses. Every sunset and moonrise. Each of them is miraculous in their own way…. Read this in full at
BIBLE DEFINITION OF A HUSBAND
by Dr. Michael L. Williams
The word husband is commonly defined as (1): “a married man considered in relation to his wife.” The word comes from the Old Norse húsbóndi “master of a house,” from hús “house” + bóndi “occupier and tiller of the soil.” The original sense of the verb was “till, cultivate.” This shows us two concepts about husbands. First, he is the master of the house. Second he occupies and tills or cultivates the soil. This has significant meaning when looking at the Bible definition of a husband.
The first biblical reference to a husband is found in Genesis 2:21-25 when God made a woman from Adam’s rib. Here the concept of a one flesh relationship in marriage is established. The word husband, however, is not mentioned until Genesis 3:6.
The Hebrew word for husband is “ish.” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for wife is “ish-shaw,” which is the feminine form of ish. Conceptually, as the woman was an extension from the man, the word for wife is also an extension of the word for man. Likewise, the English word woman denotes a man with a womb. In the Greek, the word for husband is “anayr,” which comes from the root “anthropos.” Anthropos also gives us the word anthropology, which is the study of man.
It is clear from these words that a husband is a man. As a man, God gave him certain roles before He even created a woman. We find those roles in Genesis 2:15-20…. Read this in full at
HOW TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD
by Charles Stanley
When preaching, I have found there are two kinds of listeners.
The first kind are passive and nonchalant – people who can “take it or leave it” when it comes to the Bible.
Then there are those who are aggressive listeners. These people have a look of hunger on their faces. They attend church to learn more about God and to worship Him. They are not there to hear a pastor speak. Instead, they are present to hear from God.
There is a huge difference.
An aggressive listener wants to hear truth even when it may be painful to assimilate. He hungers for righteousness and thirsts to know more about the ways of God, and he yearns to find out the answers to his questions by probing and studying the Bible. People who are aggressive listeners will take notes, reread them during the week, and ask God to show them how what they have heard applies to their lives. They are not afraid to become involved with the active study of His Word. They want to know the truth because they have learned a great secret – the more they know about God, the more peace, contentment, hope, joy, and blessing they experience. If you read and study His Word, He will bless you…. Read this in full at
FINDING REST IN A BUSY WORLD
by Daniel Darling
Brady Boyd is the senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brady is the author of the new book Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul. Today, we talk with Brady about busyness, creating margin, and rest.
Also, be sure to enter our giveaway to win a copy of Brady’s book.
Q: I think most people who are too busy realize this, but wonder if there is a way out of it, given the crushing demands of life. What do you say to them?
A: I certainly understand that most people have a tremendous amount of stress because of seemingly unending responsibilities. The truth is, though, we all have wasted space in our lives. At some point, we have to stop and evaluate what is really important and make hard choices to stop things that are simply not fruitful. Even the healthiest, holiest people have some rhythms that don’t serve them well…. Read this in full at
MAKING YOUR TEACHING MEMORABLE
by Clare De Graaf
For years, I’ve made a study of some of the most effective ways to teach the Bible and a biblical worldview. I’m still a student myself but I’ve come to this conclusion: My job isn’t really to teach. It’s to help others understand. So these “teaching tips” are really practical ideas for making what you teach, understood and memorable.
To begin with, I have these criteria for my teaching:
* Be true to the Bible
Teach the Bible. Don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t clearly teach, or soften it’s teaching when God seems hard or uncompromising. Let the Bible speak for itself.
* Be intellectually honest
Be honest about when the Bible or God “appears” to make no sense to you. Don’t try to put the best spin on hard truths and admit it when you don’t know the answer to every Bible question.
* Be gracious
Admit that there are Christians who love God deeply and have a high view of Scripture who disagree with you. But, be kind in your critique of them and their ideas. Also, be gracious with non-Christians. They simply don’t know better…. Read this in full at
VIDEO: LOUIE GIGLIO SHOWS HOW STARS AND WHALES SING “HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD”
Watch this video of Louie Giglio describe God’s amazing audible showcase of his astronomical creation…. Watch this in full at
THE ‘SPIRITUAL MUSIC’ OF A BEAUTIFUL WORLD
by Jonathan Edwards
The beauty of the world can be found in its sweet mutual agreements, both between things in the world, and between the world and the Supreme Being. The sweetest and most stunning beauty in the world of nature is its resemblance to spiritual beauties—since material things are only images and shadows of spiritual beings, and spiritual beauties are infinitely greater than material beauties. So the more that something in nature is an image of spiritual beauty, the more charming it appears to us. This spiritual beauty that nature suggests is greater than anything human beings can produce.
Think of the planets moving around the sun. Their orbits suggest their trust, dependence on, and acknowledgment of the sun, by whose power they are made happy, bright, and beautiful. The sun gives the planets authority, as it were, to control their own moons revolving around themselves. The sun is therefore an image of majesty, power, glory, and goodness in the midst of the solar system—as well as being an image of these things among creatures and plants here on earth…. Read this in full at
SCHOOL BEST SELLERS:
Walking To School The First Day Back
by Misty Bus
The Day The Car Pool Forgot Me
by I. Rhoda Bike
Can’t See The Chalkboard
by Sidney Backrow
Practical Jokes I Played On The First Day Of School
by Major Crackupp
What I Dislike About Returning To School
by Mona Lott
Making It Through The First Week Of School
by Gladys Saturday
Is Life Over When Summer Ends?
by Midas Welbee
What I Love About Returning To School
by I.M. Kidding
Will Jimmy Finally Graduate?
by I. Betty Wont
What Happens When You Get Caught Skipping School
by U. Will Gettitt
WALK ON WATER
by John Ortberg
Sometime ago we went on vacation to a dude ranch in Arizona. My wife, who grew up vacationing there, insisted that my experience would not be complete until I knew the exhilaration of a truly challenging horse ride. We went on a trail ride, but it was far too tame to count as there was no possibility of falling and receiving a serious injury. The truth is that I have spent very little time around horses and have never actually met one I trusted, but of course I wasn’t about to admit that.
So the next morning I rode out with five ranch hands to take the herd of horses to pasture about three miles away. I was very interested to meet my horse du jour. Often horses receive their name from some notable aspect of their temperament; when you get a horse named Pokey or Valium, you pretty much know what to expect. My horse was named Reverse, based on his particular eccentricity of going backward anytime someone was foolish enough to pull on his reins. I made a mental note not to do that.
The trip out to the pasture was uneventful. We dropped off the herd and were on our way back when one of the ranch hands decided to make a race of the return trip. His horse took off at full gallop and the other four immediately started racing to catch up with him…. Read this in full at
VIDEO: MATTHEW’S GOSPEL: ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
by David R. Bauer
The Gospel of Matthew is one of the most important books of the Bible. Many great New Testament verses are memorized using the Matthean version. This Gospel also bridges the two testaments. Dr. David Bauer presents a survey of the Gospel — one that will be helpful to use in preparing for Bible study. Notice the 3 literary divisions, marked by “From that time Jesus began to . . .”: …. Read & watch this in full at
GOOD FROM EVIL
“God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist. And if he had willed that there should be no reformation in the case of men, as there is none for the wicked angels, would it not have been just if the nature that deserted God and, through the evil use of his powers, trampled and transgressed the precepts of his Creator, which could have been easily kept–the same creature who stubbornly turned away from His Light and violated the image of the Creator in himself, who had in the evil use of his free will broken away from the wholesome discipline of God’s law — would it not have been just if such a being had been abandoned by God wholly and forever and laid under the everlasting punishment which he deserved? Clearly God would have done this if he were only just and not also merciful and if he had not willed to show far more striking evidence of his mercy by pardoning some who were unworthy of it.”
– St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Enchiridion On Faith, Hope, and Love, par. 27
5 GREAT REASONS TO MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE TODAY
by Tim Challies
There are few areas of the Christian life where there is a wider gap between what Christians want to do and what Christians actually do than in this area: memorizing Scripture. We all know that we should, we all have some appreciation of the benefits, and we would all love to be released from the guilt of doing it so little. Here, courtesy of Donald Whitney and his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (now in a brand new edition), are five great reasons to memorize Scripture today.
Memorization Supplies Spiritual Power.
“When Scripture is stored in your mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention when you need it most.” No wonder, then, that David wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” “A pertinent scriptural truth, brought to your awareness by the Holy Spirit at just the right moment, can be the weapon that makes the difference in a spiritual battle.” …. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
LORD, the world is full of your faithful love! Teach me your statutes!
– Psalm 119:64 CEB
“Forgiveness is the oil of relationships.”
– Josh McDowell
BIBLE STUDY STRUGGLES
by Paul David Tripp
I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it publicly: I’m not always excited about reading and studying the Bible.
I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. On my worst days, reading God’s Word feels burdensome to me, and my heart is motivated more by duty than worshipful joy.
When I hit these periods, there are 3 things I require myself to remember: …. Read this in full at
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT LIVING IN THE WORLD?
by Derek Hill
We are all one of two different kinds of people. We are either living for self and our own desires in the world, or we are dying to self and the frailty of our flesh with the power of the Spirit through Jesus Christ. The Bible is loaded with many scriptures and sections talking about living in the world. While we all live in the world, Jesus calls us to be different than the world. Let’s take a look at some truth in the Word about living in the world…. Read this in full at
THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY
by Chris Nye
My friend John and I were putting Christmas lights on my mother’s mammoth tree one December. His whole life was changing. He was going to be a parent, had to cut back volunteer time with our church, and focus on new responsibilities in his work. As we talked, his struggle was similar to the tension many Christians feel: How do I live the life Jesus has asked me to live when I have all of these responsibilities within ordinary life?
We want to live the type of life that Scripture wrote about: miraculous, adventurous, and worthy of reporting over social media, but we still need to take the trash out.
I was in full-time ministry and could have excused myself as being one of those “extraordinary” ones who devoted more time a week to the kingdom than any of my friends. But that didn’t feel honest. I really didn’t feel that way. I felt like most of my ministry was ordinary, not special. Most of my time was spent eating meals with people, calling them back, praying for them in my office or over coffee. I spent time teaching my church or writing and preparing for weddings and funerals…. Read this in full at
RELIGION AND SPORTS
The beginning of September is traditionally when sports — both professional and amateur — heat up. The National Football League season begins, Major League Baseball enters the pre-World Series frenzy, college and high school athletics kick off and millions of fans deck themselves out in team regalia to watch. And with sports come stories, often with a faith or ethics angle — whether about the personal faith of players and coaches, the appropriateness of praying for a team win or even the morality of competition itself.
This edition of ReligionLink offers a variety of sources and background on the long and storied relationship between sports and religious faith…. Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
by Melanie Rainer
With each season (and seemingly each new study on the effects of football injuries and concussions), the public debate over this beloved American pastime reemerges. Last year, Southern Baptist leaders Owen Strachan and David Prince and Jimmy Scroggins took sides to argue Christians’ role in the sport, whether or not we should be involved at all. Both are good reading for the start of this football season.
The concern over the future of football is not mere speculation by us on the sidelines. Even sports outlets like Grantland and football hall-of-famers talking to ESPN have wondered how long the violent sport has left. Yet, football remains America’s pastime. And though it may change significantly in my lifetime, I don’t believe it’s going anywhere.
I believe that as Christian fans, we can acknowledge and mourn the fall manifested in football, while still finding God’s redemptive work and light within it. As Andy Crouch writes in Culture Making, “If we are known mostly for our ability to poke holes in every human project, we will probably not be known as people who bear the hope and mercy of God.” …. Read this in full at
‘I COULD NO LONGER OPEN THE BIBLE, TALK ABOUT THE BIBLE, TALK ABOUT GOD OR PRAY’
by Todd Starnes
Troy Schmidt’s jaw dropped. A few minutes before, he had been preparing to start his seventh year as chaplain for the Olympia High School football team in Florida. But now, those plans had been changed-radically changed.
“I received a call from the coach,” Schmidt told me. “He said Orange County Public Schools is no longer allowed to have chaplains as a part of the football program.”
Schmidt, who is a campus pastor of the First Baptist Church of Windermere, Florida, listened as the football coach explained the district’s decision to cleanse Christianity from its ranks.
“I could no longer open the Bible, talk about the Bible, talk about God or pray with the team in any capacity,” he told me. “It was heartbreaking.”
A spokesperson for Florida’s Orange County Public Schools confirmed they have ended the long-standing tradition of having local ministers serve as volunteer chaplains for football teams…. Read this in full at
25 YEARS OF CHANGED LIVES, REVISED FOR A NEW GENERATION
In 1989, the book The Man in the Mirror was published with little fanfare. Who knew it would eventually be named one of the 100 Most Influential Christian Books of the 20th Century? For its 25th anniversary, the author Patrick Morley has revised and updated the book, without sacrificing any of the plainspoken truth of the original. Pre-order your copy today and be one of the first to receive this updated classic. Release date: October 7…. Read this in full at
HOW TO WEATHER A CRISIS OF FAITH
by Bailey Brewer
Faith is not always easy to weather. It can feel light and breezy one day — with a string of hopeful and happy words: “Faith, hope, and love.”
On others, it can feel like a giant weight you’re carrying around, making you wonder if you should drag it a little longer and see if it becomes light again or leave it behind and try life on without it.
Friends may share encouraging verses with you, like Hebrews 11:1 (“Faith is being sure of what we hope for … ”), or tell you to sign up for more church activities in an attempt to get your questions answered more quickly. Sometimes this helps, but sometimes it doesn’t…. Read this in full at
WHAT THE STORY OF A ROWING TEAM CAN TEACH US ABOUT EFFECTIVE MINISTRY
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
In his 2013 bestselling book, The Boys in the Boat, author Daniel Brown chronicles the unlikely eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington that won the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. Detailing their disciplined preparation, Brown celebrates the teamwork of those working class athletes. The author also identifies the importance of the team’s 5’4″ coxswain who kept the rowers focused on his verbal cues so they were not distracted by the competing shells alongside them.
As I read The Boys in the Boat, I couldn’t help but think about another crew of unlikely oarsmen and their articulate coxswain. Jesus and his disciples spent countless hours learning lessons of leadership while rowing on the Sea of Galilee.
To Jesus, the boys in the boat represented those through whom he would achieve his mission. Over the course of three years he coached his disciples, teaching them how to leverage their opportunities, function as a team, and trust his commands.
Looking back over 35 years of pastoral ministry, I realize that in each situation I have been privileged to serve as a coxswain to a team of lay leaders. In each church the “boys in the boat” were those men and women who worked together following my lead to move our mutual ministry forward…. Read this in full at
WHY YOUR CHURCH NEEDS MORE (OFTEN) ANNOUNCEMENTS IN WORSHIP
by Sam S. Rainer
Most of us have entered the twilight zone of worship announcements at some point. A person approaches the pulpit with the same gait as one walking the plank. A piece of paper unfolds, multiple times. The throat clears… loudly. What follows is usually awkward, many times painful, and sometimes memorable in all the wrong ways. In one of my churches I had to kill the death announcements. Historically, the church began worship services by announcing all member-related deaths. Nothing screams “Let’s worship!” like announcing Aunt Geraldine’s funeral.
Those minutes are valuable. Every moment in a corporate gathering is important and should bring glory to God. Church leaders should guard the congregation from the black hole of endless droning about next Thursday’s fish fry. Additionally, church leaders should guard less skilled communicators from the undeserved pressure of performing in an area they are not gifted. There are times when it is edifying for an unskilled communicator to share something with the entire congregation. Such moments can be powerful. Making an announcement is not that moment.
The horror stories make many church leaders want to cut the announcements out of a worship service entirely. But I believe such a move is a mistake.
Churches don’t necessarily need more announcements. They need important announcements more often. Here’s why…. Read this in full at
FILM ABOUT ‘SON OF HAMAS’ WHO SPIED FOR ISRAEL COMING TO THEATERS
The Green Prince, a documentary based on Mosab Hassan Yousef’s bestselling memoir Son of Hamas (Tyndale, 2010), opens in New York and Los Angeles September 12, followed by a nationwide rollout. The film won the Audience Award in the World Cinema: Documentary category when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Directed by Nadav Schirman and produced by the Academy Award-winning team of John Battsek and Simon Chinn (Man on a Wire; Searching for Sugar Man), The Green Prince is being distributed by Music Box Films. It was shot in Israel, Palestine, Germany, and Los Angeles…. Read this in full at
ZAMPERINI FILM BY ANGELINA JOLIE WILL NOT INCLUDE HIS FAITH IN CHRIST
by Mark Ellis
A new film about Louis Zamperini, the World War II hero whose life is the subject of an adaptation of the book “Unbroken,” will not include the story of his faith in Jesus Christ.
The prisoner of war survivor and inspirational speaker – known for his bold profession of faith in Christ — died from pneumonia in Los Angeles on July 2. He was 97.
The Universal Pictures film will be directed by Angelina Jolie, based on “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand.
The adaptation of Hillenbrand’s book involves a collaboration between Jolie and the Coen Brothers, known for their idiosyncratic postmodern films, combining wry humor, an eccentric viewpoint, and sometimes brutal violence. The film is set for release on Christmas Day…. Read this in full at
“Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.”
– A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 95
VERSE TO PONDER
Come, let’s worship and bow down! Let’s kneel before the LORD, our maker! He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep in his hands. If only you would listen to his voice right now!
– Psalm 95:6-7 CEB
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: ALL ALONE
Words & Music: C. Austin Miles, 1915
Have you ever tried to bear your burdens
All alone? All alone?
Don’t you know there’s One Who waits to help you,
Who will make all your burdens His own?
When I have burdens to bear which no one can share,
I take them to Jesus, the Man of Calvary;
When I have crosses to bear, my Savior is there,
And always takes the heavy end, and gives the light to me.
Don’t you know He trod the winepress for you?
All alone? All alone?
And the burden that He bore in meekness,
Such a burden no other has known.
Don’t you know that He has bought your pardon
All alone? All alone?
And your gratitude for such a mercy
Unto Jesus you never have shown.
>from NetHymnal at
“Not one of us yet knows how to pray. All we have done has only been pottering and guessing and experimenting… God cares not for the length of our prayers, or the number of our prayers, or the beauty of our prayers, or the place of our prayers; but it is the faith in them that tells–believing that prayer soars higher than the lark ever sang, plunges deeper than diving-bell ever sank, darts quicker than lightning ever flashed. Though we have used only the back of this weapon instead of the edge, what marvels have been wrought! If saved, we are all the captives of some earnest prayer.”
– Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902), The Pathway of Life, Historical Publishing Company for the Christian Herald, 1894, p. 280
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP
WHO WERE THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES?
Aired 09/05/2014 @ 10:00pm central
Just who were the Scribes and Pharisees?
Let’s look at those that Jesus spoke against more than satan.
Can we find a corelation to this today?
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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Frank Coleman, Editor
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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.
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