CONNECTIONS – 12/12/2010

Connecting man to man to God
For week of December 12, 2010
Issue 334

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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“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17

CONSIDER
“Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.”
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. [1948], Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 55

A TALE OF TWO LEADERS: WHICH ARE YOU?
by Michael Hyatt
More than 20 years ago, I had an experience with two very different leaders. Those experiences have dramatically shaped my own view of leadership. In the end, they represent two very different styles, leading to two very different results.

One evening in 1988, my business partner and I had dinner with one of the most prominent pastors in America. He’s not so well known now, but at the time he was at the top of his game…. Read this in full at
http://michaelhyatt.com/a-tale-of-two-leaders-which-are-you.html

JESUS VS. PAUL
by Scot McKnight
Many biblical scholars and lay Christians have noted that Jesus preached almost exclusively about the kingdom of heaven, while Paul highlighted justification by faith—and not vice versa. Some conclude that they preached two different gospels. Others argue that really they both preached justification; still others say it’s all about the kingdom. What gives?

I grew up with, on, through, and in the apostle Paul. His letters were the heart of our Bible. From the time I began paying attention to my pastor’s sermons, I can only recall sermons on 1 Corinthians—the whole book verse by verse, week by week—and Ephesians. I don’t recall a series on any of the Gospels or on Jesus.

Evangelicals have offered two ways to bring Paul and Jesus into a more perfect harmony. What stands out is that each approach imagines that it is articulating the gospel itself. One approach is to master Jesus’ gospel, the kingdom vision, and show how Paul fits. The other approach is to master Paul’s gospel, his theology of justification, and show how Jesus fits. Each approach requires some bending of corners and squeezing of sides but, with extra effort and some special explanations, each thinks it can show the unity of the messages of Jesus and Paul and that the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of justification are one and the same…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/9.25.html

CHURCH PLANTER SAYS REACHING IMMATURE MEN A CHALLENGE
A pastor and respected church planter is challenging one societal problem he calls “ban”, which are males that are not quite boys nor men in their maturity level.

A ban is “somewhere in between” a boy and a man and can take the form of a 30-something male playing three hours of video games a day.

“I personally believe that the reason we have a societal crisis with men is because we do not have strong churches that draw out trained, equipped, empowered, challenged men,” said Darrin Patrick, pastor of the Journey Church in St Louis in the US and author of Church Planter: The Man, The Message, and The Mission, in a recent video interview with Desiring God ministry.

“He’s a guy that prolongs his adolescence, really resists responsibility. He’s not trying to be an Ephesians 5 husband … He’s really about himself.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/church.planter.tackles.men.who.wont.grow.up/27192.htm

BIG THINK INTERVIEW WITH RICK WARREN
Question: What is your legacy?
Rick Warren: I have really several goals in life. My first goal is to restore responsibility to individuals; to restore credibility to the church; and to restore civility to society. My goal in life is the Good News and the common good. I’m for both. I believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ, and I believe in the common good of our society for people who don’t accept Jesus Christ; that we’re in this together. We got to make it together. As a pastor, I’m working for the second reformation of the church. Five hundred years ago we had the first reformation in England. We need another one now. It’s not about beliefs. It needs to be about behavior. It needs not to be about our creeds, but our deeds…. Watch this video interview in full at
http://bigthink.com/ideas/3005

THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Back in 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of such classics as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped, gave a rather odd gift to the daughter of a friend of his. This friend, Henry Ide, once joked that Christmas was not the happiest day of the year in his household. His 14-year-old daughter, Annie, had been born on Christmas; she always complained she got cheated out of a separate birthday party. So Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the idea of giving away his birthday. He drew up a legal document transferring all the “rights and privileges” of his birthday, which fell on Nov. 13, to Miss Annie H. Ide. From that day forward, Annie celebrated her birthday on Nov. 13.

Robert Louis Stevenson was not the first to transfer all his “rights and privileges” to someone else. In a sense, Jesus became mortal that He might transfer some of His immortality to us. Jesus became human that He might transfer the spark of divinity to us. Jesus became a servant that He might transfer us to the status of sons and daughters. Or as John put it: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (King Duncan, Collected Sermons)

CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION: ADDICTION IS THE SPIRITUAL DISEASE OF OUR TIME.
by Carolyn Arends
I’ve never met a potato chip I didn’t like. Actually, I’ve never met a potato chip that didn’t call my name from behind the pantry door until I was forced to eat it and every one of its salty companions. So when I heard the phrase “carbohydrate addiction,” I knew nutritionists were on to something. It turns out there are foods that can actually increase your hunger when you consume them, creating an escalating, recurring need for the very substances that intensify the problem.

The reality of carb addiction is accepted more widely in popular culture than in scientific communities. But most people can verify anecdotally that some food only makes them hungrier.

It seems to me that this phenomenon symbolizes much of what plagues the human condition. We drink liquids that dehydrate us. We buy objects that require us to buy more objects. We make some money, ratchet up our lifestyle in response, and find we need more income to sustain us. The harder we work, the more work there is to do. And the harder we play, the more elusive the fun. Ask anyone working in Hollywood special effects, or in extreme sports, or in the sex trade industry, and all will tell you the same thing: Yesterday’s thrill is today’s old news. We always need more…. Read this in full and see photos at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/15.60.html

SACRED SPACES: MEET THE MASON AT THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL
For Joe Alonso, the National Cathedral in Washington is a work of art. In part, his own art.

Alonso has been working as a stone mason at the cathedral since 1985. He was part of the team that finished the construction on one of the most recognizable buildings in an already iconic skyline.

He was given the honor of laying the final stone on the Cathedral before a crowd of 20,000 people (including then-President George H.W. Bush) on September 29, 1990, exactly 83 years after President Teddy Roosevelt presided over the laying of the foundation stone…. Read this in full and see photos at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/25/sacred-spaces-meet-the-mason-at-the-washington-national-cathedral/

Watch the CNN video report at

CONTROVERSIAL AUTHOR: MARRIAGE NOT OBSOLETE, BUT NEEDS RESTORATION
Marriage isn’t obsolete, but it is getting rarer, says an evangelical social scientist who sparked controversy a year ago with articles in major publications making a case for early marriage.

Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, says recent data on marriage by the Pew Research Center is discouraging but not surprising. The report, which showed that fewer Americans are choosing to marry and more are cohabitating, prompted a Nov. 18 TIME cover story titled, “Who Needs Marriage?”

According to the Pew study, nearly four in 10 Americans said they believe marriage is becoming obsolete. That’s up from 28% who agreed when TIME magazine posed the same question in 1978.

Regnerus, author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers, said in a recent blog posting that marriage isn’t obsolete, but it is broken and needs restoration.

Regnerus raised eyebrows with an April, 2009, Washington Post article arguing that parents send a mixed message by telling their children that, while marriage is good, kids shouldn’t repeat the parental generation’s mistake of missing out on educational and career opportunities by marrying too young…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5924/53/

FAITH GAP’ SEEN AMONG MARRIED
In addition to an “education gap” in marriage, there is also a “faith gap,” says the new State of Our Unions report on marriage. “Middle America has lost its religious edge,” wrote W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, looking at trends over the past 40 years.

In the 1970s, the moderately educated — blue-collar, working-class Americans with high school diplomas or some college — were more likely to go to church every week than people with college degrees.

That has now reversed: Today 34% of college graduates attend weekly religious services, compared with 28% of moderately educated Americans, said the report, which was jointly issued by the NMP and Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American…. Read this in full at
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/6/faith-gap-seen-among-married/

WHAT IS HUMAN FREEDOM? ARE HUMAN BEINGS FREE?
Watch this video answer by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
http://www.christianity.com/videoanswers/11634526/#see

70 THINGS EVERY MAN NEEDS TO KNOW: FATHERING
by Patrick Morley
Jesus wasn’t just born to a virgin woman, he was born to a virgin couple. Joseph planned to divorce Mary quietly. Jesus was going to grow up without a dad. God thought it was important enough for Jesus to have a father in the home that he intervened supernaturally to change Joseph’s mind (and so Mary would not be disgraced as an unwed mother).

Mary may have had the baby, but Joseph taught Him how to be a man. Jesus was a man’s man, and He didn’t learn that from His mommy. Fathers *are* important.

There are basically two fathering styles: fathering for performance and fathering the heart…. Read this in full at
http://www.maninthemirror.org/weeklybriefing/wb400.htm

BOOKS PROBE CHRISTMAS’S RELIGIOUS ORIGINS
Somewhere in all of the sparkly lights and wrapped packages and jolly elves of Christmas, there is — or was — a religious story at the heart of the holiday, and three new books argue it shouldn’t be forgotten.

In Christmas: A Festival of Incarnation, Lutheran theologian Donald Heinz emphasizes the importance of the incarnation of Christ — God made flesh — as the root of Christmas.

Heinz’s book highlights how the manger story has influenced music, literature, and art throughout history, and warns that the commercialization associated with the holiday should not take precedence over its religious origins.

“Christmas is being buried by an avalanche of materialism and commerce,” said Heinz, a professor of religious studies at California State University, Chico. “The church is going to have to reclaim the religiousness of Christmas if it’s going to survive.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/books-probe-christmas-rel_n_794108.html

BRITAIN: ALMOST HALF SAY JESUS IS ‘IRRELEVANT’ TO CHRISTMAS
Almost half of Britain’s adults don’t find any need for Christ in Christmas, according to a new survey by theology think tank Theos. Christian Today reports that 46% agreed with the statement that the birth of Jesus is “irrelevant” to their celebration of Christmas, while 51% said the event is still relevant to them. Only 36%, however, plan to attend a Christmas church service this year. Theos director Paul Woolley said, “It’s clear that society is split right down the middle regarding the religious significance of Christmas.” The study yielded other surprises, as young adults ages 18 to 24 were more likely than any other age group to disagree with the statement that Jesus’s birth is irrelevant. “It will surprise people that young people are most likely to believe that Jesus is relevant to their Christmas.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/nation.divided.over.meaning.of.christmas/27204.htm

5 HOLIDAY DINING ETIQUETTE TIPS
1. Banish your mobile devices
2. Place setting is all about Bread, Meal, Water (left to right)
3. Butter your bread one portion at a time
4. Use your silverware from the outside in
5. Do not drink a toast to yourself…. Read this in full at
http://www.rd.com/home-garden/5-holiday-dining-etiquette-tips/article187275.html

FOR TOP RELIGION STORIES OF 2010, A MAJOR CASE OF DEJA VU
by Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service
The calendar may have said 2010, but for Pope Benedict XVI and much of his global flock, it looked and felt a lot like 2002.

For the second time in a decade, damning charges of child molestation at the hands of Catholic priests dominated headlines, this time reaching the highest levels of the Vatican, as critics questioned whether Benedict himself mishandled abuse cases.

The Roman Catholic Church wasn’t the only institution battling a sense of deja vu, as some of the most controversial religion stories from the past 20 years returned to the headlines.

A 1994-style fight over health care reform not only pitted Republicans against Democrats, but also Catholic bishops against Catholic nuns. Lingering questions about President Obama’s Christian faith morphed into a belief among one in five Americans that he’s actually a Muslim. Nearly 10 years after 9/11, Islamophobia returned with a vengeance as a Florida pastor threatened to torch a pile of Qurans, and Tennessee officials debated whether Islam is actually a religion…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/27/for-years-top-religion-st_n_788320.html

EVANGELICAL AUTHOR PHILIP YANCEY ASKS: WHAT GOOD IS GOD?
Philip Yancey, a popular evangelical author, was driving on a deserted road in New Mexico one Sunday morning when something went wrong. His Ford Explorer hit a patch of black ice and fish-tailed. Yancey wrestled with the steering wheel, but his SUV tumbled over an embankment, shattering glass, plastic, and metal — and much of Yancey’s thin body.

He was rushed to a hospital where he was strapped to a gurney for seven hours. A young doctor finally approached him with bad news: Yancey’s neck was broken and a bone fragment may have nicked a major artery. “I must emphasize this is a life-threatening situation,” the doctor told Yancey. “Here’s a phone. You may want to contact your loved ones and tell them goodbye…”

Yancey lived to write another day. But the questions he asked himself as he made those phone calls three years ago hang over his latest book, “What Good is God?” Yancey traveled to some of the grimmest locations in the world to ask people who had been broken in body and spirit the same question: Does belief in God really matter when life gets tough? Their answers form the heart of his new book. The people Yancey profiled included former prostitutes trying to escape the sex trade in Thailand, leaders in the underground church in China, and members of Alcoholics Anonymous…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/09/evangelical-author-philip-yancey-asks-what-good-is-god/

JOHN PIPER STILL WORKING ON HIS SOUL AND FAMILY DURING MINISTRY TIME-OUT
Halfway into his first leave from ministry, evangelical pastor John Piper released an update to let supporters know how he is doing on the soul, family and vocational front.

“[W]e continue to probe the roots of our most characteristic sins with a view to confessing them and repenting and seeking God’s transforming power through prayer and Bible-saturated counsel,” he said of him and his wife, Noel, in a brief update Dec. 5.

The influential pastor left the pulpit of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis in May after announcing to the congregation that he would be taking his first-ever leave of absence.

His break was not prompted by a particular sin but by “ongoing character flaws” – including pride – and the stresses they have caused to others. He said he felt his marriage, soul and ministry pattern needed a reality check from the Holy Spirit…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/john.piper.still.working.on.his.soul.and.family.during.ministry.timeout/26713.htm

AND HE ALMOST DESERVED IT
Will Poulter is the best thing about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third in the Chronicles of Narnia films. With his wild eyebrows, exaggerated expressions, and grating tone of voice, Poulter is brilliant in the role of a character described in the book’s opening sentence like this: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

There was another boy called William Jack Poulter, and he pretty much deserves to play the role — and not just because his middle name is the same as Narnia author C. S. Lewis’s nickname. Poulter had already proven himself adept at playing a brat, as Lee Carter in the 2008 cult classic Son of Rambow.

Christianity Today recently chatted with Poulter, 17, about Dawn Treader and his memorable character, a boy who undergoes quite a transformation. Due to his selfishness, snobbery, and greed, Eustace literally turns into a dragon (in the book and the film), only to later regret the way he’s been acting. When he tries to peel off his dragon skin, he finds that he can’t do it alone. Only Aslan the Great Lion — a Christ figure — can tear off his dragon skin and restore him to being a normal, albeit quite changed, boy again. (In the book, the scene is depicted beautifully and movingly, divine redemption quite evident; in the film, unfortunately, the scene gets short shrift and pitiful treatment.)…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/interviews/2010/almostdeservedit.xml-dec10.html

THE NARNIA POLICEMAN
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/interviews/2010/narniapoliceman-dec10.html

NARNIA FAITH WEBSITE
http://www.narniafaith.com/engage/narnia-night/

HERE’S ONE ‘CODE’ WORTH CHECKING OUT
by Mark Moring
When the book Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis released a couple years ago, with its claims of discovery of a “secret layer” of meaning behind The Chronicles of Narnia, I remember thinking, “Seriously??”

But it was released by Oxford University Press, giving it some instant cred. Still, on the heels of The Da Vinci Code movie and The Secret and all sorts of hooey with This Code and That Code coming out, I pretty much ignored the book. In the years since, I’ve heard others say it was a good read, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Well, shame on me.

Leave it to a 60-minute documentary – called The Narnia Code, no less! – to pique my interest. The film, which released to retail outlets just before Thanksgiving (and, conveniently, only a couple weeks before The Voyage of the Dawn Treader hits theaters), is an overview of the ideas that Planet Narnia author Michael Ward put forth in his book.

And they are fascinating ideas. Ward says that Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia include a deeper, never-before-discovered “imaginative DNA” behind the seven books, with each book representing one of the seven planets of medieval astronomy—one of Lewis’s great interests. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, for example, represents the planet Jupiter, while Dawn Treader represents Sol, or the sun. (The sun and moon were considered “planets” in medieval astronomy.) …. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctentertainment/2010/12/heres-one-code-worth-checking-1.html

WHEATON COLLEGE RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS REGARDING ASSOCIATE UNIVERSITY STATUS WITH THE TONY BLAIR FAITH FOUNDATION
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Wheaton College have announced that Wheaton has accepted the designation of Associate University status with the Faith and Globalization Initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Blair, formerly prime minister of the United Kingdom, started the Foundation to promote respect and understanding between the world’s major religions, for purposes of collaboration on serious humanitarian challenges, and to present faith as a force for good in the modern world. As part of the initiative, Wheaton professors will teach a course on Faith and Globalization from the perspective of Christian faith.

Wheaton’s announcement of the designation spoke of the importance of the College’s distinctively evangelical identity.

“As an institution of higher learning with a firm identity grounded in evangelical Christian faith, we align with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s quest to promote interfaith collaboration in addressing significant problems of human suffering such as malaria and extreme poverty, and to promote interfaith literacy and civility,” said Wheaton College Provost Dr. Stanton Jones. “Efforts toward such ends contribute to the common good of humanity and serve to advance religious liberty, outcomes we passionately support.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.wheaton.edu/news/releases/10-11_releases/12.06.10_Tony_Blair_Foundation_Response.html

END-TIMES THEOLOGY HARMFUL, ARAB CHRISTIAN SAYS
Theology that equates the modern state of Israel with the Israel of biblical prophecy has caused some evangelical Christians to let eschatology trump ethics when it comes to the Middle East, a Palestinian-American Christian told a recent interfaith gathering at a Texas Baptist church.

Speaking at the Global Faith Forum at NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, Henry Mikhail rejected the notion that support for the Palestinian people makes a person anti-Israel.

“What I am against — and what most Palestinian evangelical Arabs are against — is not Israel itself, but unjust and oppressive Israeli policies,” Mikhail said.

The Jerusalem-born Arab now serves on a peace-and-justice work group of the Reformed Church of America’s General Synod Council.

Belief that God has a prophetic role for the modern nation of Israel has caused some evangelicals to turn a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians, Mikhail said…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5893/53/

VERSE TO PONDER
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
Hebrews 1:1-2

CONSIDER
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

THE NIV 2011 AND INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
by Ben Witherington
The process of translation revision is a grueling one, not least because English is a living language and the use and meaning of words keeps changing, and the finding of ancient texts with rare Greek usage keeps happening. I remember once when a young girl who was reading the KJV came up to me and asked why it said in the OT that God was an ‘awful’ God. I explained it meant he was full of awe and wonder, but of course the word awful had come to have a negative sense in the 20th century.

There are many such issues to deal with when you update the best-selling evangelical translation of the Bible in modern times — the NIV. In my view the NIV has many rivals, but no peers or superiors and for several reasons: 1) it does not fudge on the text critical issues; 2) it tries to keep abreast of the growth and development of the English language; 3) it corrects previous mistakes found in the RSV, KJV, and older versions of the NIV etc.; 4) it uses good idiomatic English where warranted precisely because a woodenly literature translation is often more of an obstacle to understanding than an aide to it, especially in a Biblically illiterate age, and 5) on the whole it deals fairly with the issue of inclusive language, and does not make decisions based primarily on theological rationale, but rather on the basis of common English usage. In other words, the theological debate is not decided by the translator, nor is a particular gender viewpoint read into the text as an agenda, unlike some other translations…. Read this in full at
http://blog.beliefnet.com/bibleandculture/2010/11/the-niv-2011-and-inclusive-language.html

KJV: THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON THAT WILL NEVER BE LOST IN TRANSLATION
by Christopher Howse
Like the Tower of London and its attendant ravens, the Authorized Version of the Bible stands as a monument at the heart of the English-speaking world. We may not often look inside, but we are glad it is there. Like the Tower too, Americans seem particularly keen on it, and we speak reverently of its ageless magnificence while remaining vague on the detail.

In the first decade of the 17th century, it took the new king James from Scotland to hammer out a Bible that endured. “It is one of the first British things to be made,” points out the Glasgow-born Neil MacGregor, fresh from his A History of the World in 100 Objects. “It was made by the whole island to be used by the whole island.”

Now it is used by the whole globe, as though God really were an Englishman. If the last Harry Potter sold 44 million, the Bible has sold 2.5 billion some say, or six billion, say others…. Read this in full at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/8151865/The-global-phenomenon-that-will-never-be-lost-in-translation.html

THE CENTRALITY OF SCRIPTURE
“Every Christian must refer “always and everywhere” to the Scriptures for all his choices, becoming “like a child” before it, seeking in it the most effective remedy against all his various weaknesses, and not daring to take a step without being illuminated by the divine rays of those words.”
Pope John Paul II

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LOST WORLDWIDE
by Doug Bandow
Americans take religious liberty for granted. Unfortunately, this most fundamental freedom of conscience and action is not protected in many other countries around the world.

State repression is the most obvious assault on religious faith. Today Christians face the death penalty in Afghanistan and Pakistan in prosecutions for converting from Islam and allegedly blaspheming Mohammed, respectively.

But the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom warns that “a second and equally egregious threat to religious freedom” is the failure “to punish religiously motivated violence perpetrated by private actors.” In this case public officials become accomplices to often brutal private violations of religious liberty…. Read this in full at
http://spectator.org/archives/2010/12/07/religious-liberty-lost-worldwi

COLSON: PRISON RATE UP DUE TO MORAL BREAKDOWN
The growing crime and incarceration rates are the consequences of a lack of moral training in society today, says Watergate-convict-turned-Christian-evangelical-leader Chuck Colson. When Colson was serving time in prison in the mid-1970s, there were 239,000 incarcerated individuals. Now, that figure has increased ten-fold to a staggering 2.3 million people.

During an interview hosted by The King’s College Dec. 3, Colson contended that prisons in the United States have become bigger over the years because there is a lack of moral training and education, not because there are more bad people in society. “The moral breakdown in our society is the real reason we’re building prisons,” said Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. He disagreed that longer and tougher sentences would deter crime, citing a study done by psychiatrists in the 70s that found people committed crimes based on wrong moral choices not by their environment…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101205/colson-prison-rate-up-due-to-moral-breakdown/

POINT TO HEAVENS MEANS PENALTY FOR HIGH SCHOOL RUNNING BACK
Tumwater beat East Valley 63-27 on Nov. 29 at the Tacoma (WA) Dome during the 2A state semifinal game, but a post-touchdown penalty call was a big surprise for the player responsible.

In the second quarter of the game, Tumwater running back Ronnie Hastie scored on a 23-yard run, took a knee in the end zone and briefly pointed to the heavens above. For that the referee threw a flag, saying it was unsportsmanlike conduct.

Hastie said he’s pointed up as a gesture to God after every touchdown he’s scored in every game and never had a problem before. “It’s usually one or two seconds long,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done as a tradition.”

Hastie said he asked the ref why he was penalized, and the ref responded that Hastie wasn’t supposed to draw attention to himself. “That wasn’t the point (of the gesture), so I guess I was a little confused,” Hastie said. “I do that to give glory to my heavenly father, Jesus. He gives me the strength. He’s the one who gives me these abilities in the first place.” …. Read this in full at
http://tumwater.komonews.com/content/point-heavens-means-penalty-tumwater-running-back

DO WE THINK WE’RE MORE RELIGIOUS THAN WE REALLY ARE?
When it comes to religion, many Americans can’t put their money where their mouth is. A new University of Michigan study finds that we are much more likely to exaggerate our attendance at religious services than people in other countries.

“Americans have long been viewed as exceptionally religious compared to other nations in the developed world,” said Philip Brenner, a research fellow at the U-M Institute for Social Research and the author of the study. “But this study suggests that American religiosity may be exceptional not in terms of actual behavior, but rather in terms of identity. Brenner said the gap between what we (and to a lesser extent, Canada) say and what we do is substantial, and has been so for the last several decades…. Read this in full at
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/12/do-we-think-we-re-more-religious-than-we-really-are.html

SURVEY: TYPICAL ATHEIST HAS RELIGIOUS PARENTS?
The typical member of a fast-growing atheist association is a highly educated, married white male who grew up with religious parents, according to an unscientific survey. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which grew from 5,500 in 2004 to about 16,000 members this year, announced results of a survey of its members on Dec. 1. The Wisconsin-based organization received nearly 4,000 responses to its survey, which was mailed to all its members in May. Asked about their primary reason for being “deconverted from religion to freethought,” about a third of respondents said “religion doesn’t make sense.” Seventeen percent said religious hypocrisy or bigotry was the cause; 9% said reading skeptical authors; 5% cited reading the Bible. Most respondents said the religious denomination they left behind was Protestant (42%), but 30% said they were raised Catholic and 27% were raised Jewish. The overwhelming majority of atheist respondents – 95% — are white, but foundation officials hope that statistic will change…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2010-12/survey-typical-atheist-white-son-religious-parents

HABITAT WORKS TO PUT FORECLOSED HOMES WITH NEEDY FAMILIES
Habitat for Humanity, known for building homes for those in need, is “aggressively” working on providing affordable shelter by buying foreclosed homes and selling them at low cost to poor families. For about a year and a half now, the ecumenical Christian ministry has worked in local markets across the United States buying foreclosed homes in cities such as Miami, Boston, New York, Charlotte, and Atlanta. HFH is also considering buying homes across the state of Michigan where there is a “huge opportunity,” said Mark Crozet, senior vice president of resource development for Habitat for Humanity International. Crozet noted that it is oftentimes cheaper to provide a family with a foreclosed home than to build a new house…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101208/habitat-works-to-put-foreclosed-homes-with-needy-families/

MAP OF THE WORLD’S COUNTRIES REARRANGED BY POPULATION
What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

The result would be this disconcerting, disorienting map. In the world described by it, the differences in population density between countries would be less extreme than they are today. The world’s most densely populated country currently is Monaco, with 43,830 inhabitants/mi² (16,923 per km²). On the other end of the scale is Mongolia, which is less densely populated by a factor of almost exactly 10,000, with a mere 4.4 inhabitants/mi² (1.7 per km²)…. Read this in full at
http://bigthink.com/ideas/25109

CONSIDER
“Fear will always knock on your door. Just don’t invite it in for dinner. And for heaven’s sake, don’t offer it a bed for the night.”
Max Lucado

VERSE TO PONDER
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:1-2, 14

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL
Words: Combined from various antiphons by an unknown author, possibly in the 12th Century; translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale, Mediaeval Hymns, 1851. Neale’s original translation began, “Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel.”
Music: from a 15th Century processional of French Franciscan nuns; arranged by Thomas Helmore in the Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Refrain

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Refrain

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/o/c/ocomocom.htm

ON PRAYER
“Do not let us fail one another in interest, care and practical help; but supremely we must not fail one another in prayer.”
Michael Baughen

PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/

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!

PERSONAL
Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
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
us to add you to our prayer
chain
to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your
name to the list for the time you'll be
away.]

CLASSIFIEDS
Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

Book your next vacation with us!
http://www.ChristianConnectionTravel.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
http://www.earnGlobalVacations.com/
It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

2010 Year in Review
http://yearinreview.yahoo.com/

BBC: In Our Time (explores the history of ideas, one idea at a time)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)

If you’re going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank

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, frank if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/

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