For week of March 1, 2009
Issue 242

The Men’s Ministry 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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In This Issue:

  1. Yearbook notes membership declines for Catholics, Southern Baptists
  2. Like father, like son: author stresses the importance of leaving behind a spiritual inheritance
  3. Graham organization to trim staff by 10%
  4. Anger Really Can Kill You: Study
  5. Scorsese to shoot film about Japanese persecution of Christians
  6. Leadership Tips (Business, family, life)
  7. This Week’s Hymn
  8. Pray For A Brother Today – Daily Blessing Pact
  9. Classifieds
  10. Favorite Websites
  11. Much, Much More!

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

The nation’s two largest Christian denominations are experiencing slight but statistically significant membership declines, according to the latest edition of the National Council of Churches’ Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

Released Feb. 23, the 77th annual compilation of church statistics reports membership in the Roman Catholic Church declined 0.59% last year. It also reported a 0.24% drop in the Southern Baptist Convention’s membership.

Roman Catholics are still America’s largest denomination, with 67 million members. Southern Baptists still rank second, with 16.2 million. Given the groups’ respective sizes, neither decline is earth-shattering, authors of the study said. But the report raises eyebrows because both groups have in the past grown steadily but now may be joining virtually every mainline church in experiencing persistent membership decline.

According to the 2009 Yearbook, just 4 of the 25 largest faith groups grew last year. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is up 1.63%, to 5.8 million members in North America. The Assemblies of God are up 0.96%, to 2.8 million members. Jehovah’s Witnesses grew 2.12% and now number 1.09 million. The Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) is up 2.04%, to 1.05 million.

Churches with the highest rate of membership loss include the United Church of Christ (down 6%,) the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (down 3.1%) and the Presbyterian Church (USA), down 2.79%…. Read this in full at

by Joseph Laycock
In Seattle, self-described “charismatic Calvinist” Mark Driscoll preaches that “Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand, and the willingness to make someone bleed.  That is a guy I can worship…I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”  Justin Fatica, founder of the Catholic ministry group Hard as Nails, found a different way of demonstrating the rugged power of Christ when he appeared in an HBO documentary shouting “Jesus loves you!” as a colleague beat him with a folding chair.

Although Fatica is Catholic and Driscoll is Protestant, there are remarkable similarities between the two:  Both were raised Catholic but had a lackadaisical approach to their faith until a conversion experience in their late teens (at age seventeen for Fatica, and age nineteen for Driscoll).  Both men also emphasize their tough origins.  Driscoll believes Jesus had calluses and does not hesitate to compare Joseph’s vocation as a carpenter with his own father’s career as a drywaller.  Fatica comes from affluence but emphasizes that prior to his conversion he lived a shady, worldly life in New Jersey where he “hung out with some characters.”  These narratives generate the capital of manliness necessary for their sermons.

The preaching styles of Driscoll and Fatica–which are both controversial and confrontational–appear to be motivated by a concern that Jesus has been emasculated by a bloodless church that is more concerned with culture than salvation.  They are not alone in this view.  Fundamentalist cartoonist Jack Chick produces a comic tract entitled “The Sissy,” in which a hirsute trucker named Duke mocks a fellow trucker’s Christianity because “Jesus was a sissy.”  Have we actually reduced Jesus to, “a limp-wristed hippy in a dress with a lot of product in His hair,” as Driscoll claims?  Or are there other cultural forces behind these types of extreme preaching?…. Read this in full at

The goal of Team Hoyt is to integrate the physically challenged into everyday life. One way to accomplish this is to educate the able-bodied, making them more aware of the issues that the disabled face every day. Another is by actively helping the disabled to participate in activities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Team Hoyt targets both of these areas.

See a riveting video of a father’s love for his disabled son at

Born and raised in Korea and transplanted to the United States in 1982, New York resident Daniel Kyuyong Lee recognizes the importance of words between a father and son — in any language.

Lee’s new book, “Letters from a Father to His Beloved Son” (Pleasant Word, 2009), offers spiritual wisdom and guidance for young men embarking on the journey to adulthood. Written as a series of letters to his son Kevin, Lee shares seeds of wisdom, knowing they will take root and eventually flower into adulthood. Lee openly discusses personal failures in light of his Christian faith and suggests ways to incorporate those lessons into daily life.

“I have seen many parents work hard their entire lives to pass on their financial fortunes to their children. But it is far better to give your children a spiritual inheritance rather than material wealth — a spiritual inheritance of knowing God, the God who watches over our lives and who has counted the very hairs of our heads.”

In his Solomon-like missive, Lee grapples with the question, “How does a father prepare his son for life on his own in the world?” Among other things, he encourages his son to:
· Avoid negative attitudes
· Discipline your mind
· Cultivate good habits
· Train your intellect
· Spend time with God
· Always give thanks

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is reducing its staff by 10%, laying off 55 employees, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

A BGEA spokesman, Ken Barun, confirmed the Observer’s Feb. 24 report, telling the newspaper that donor gifts have been “relatively flat” while sales of books and other products has declined as has interest income from the organization’s endowment.

The organization’s budget is being pared by 15 percent, back to $84 million, through the layoffs and other reductions in expenses, Barun told the newspaper.

The country’s economic downturn, however, isn’t the only catalyst for the cutbacks, Barun said, recounting that BGEA President Franklin Graham had requested in mid-2007 a review of costs toward making the organization more efficient yet still capable of its varied ministry initiatives.

Barun was unavailable for comment to Baptist Press at press time on Feb. 25. No news release was posted on the BGEA website’s media section.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Barun said the layoffs would take effect by March 20, with departing full-time employees to receive a severance package, outplacement services and spiritual counseling.

The Graham organization is based in Charlotte.

When The Harris Poll asked a cross-section of adult Americans to say whom they admire enough to call their heroes, President Barack Obama was mentioned most often, followed by Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King. Others in the top ten, in descending order, were Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, John F. Kennedy, Chesley Sullenberger and Mother Teresa. These heroes were named spontaneously. Those surveyed were not shown or read a list of people to choose from. The Harris Poll was conducted online among a sample of 2,634 U.S. adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive® between January 12 and 19, 2009…. Read this in full at

Rugby, World Cup Sevens, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (March 5-7)

World Baseball Classic (March 5-23)

NCAA Basketball Championship (March 17+)

Baptists in Tuscaloosa and Muslims in Tehran might not seem to have much in common, but Alabama and Iran do agree on one thing: the importance of religion. Nearly identical percentages of people in both locations — 82% of Alabamians and 83% of Iranians — say religion is an important part of their daily lives. The comparisons come from the Gallup Poll, which recently compiled findings about the importance of faith to individuals in all 50 states and 143 countries.

“Georgians in the United States are about as religious as Georgians in the Caucasus region,” wrote Steve Crabtree and Brett Pelham, in a Feb. 9 report on the Gallup website. “On the less religious end of the spectrum, residents of New Hampshire look similar to their neighbors in Canada and Alaskans are about as religious as Israelis.”

The least religious US state — Vermont — registered the same percentage (42%) as Switzerland when people were asked, “Is religion an important part of your daily life?” Among the most religious countries — with 98% or more answering in the affirmative — are Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Congo. Least religious include Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Czech Republic, with 21% or less saying “yes.”…. Read this in full at

by Rick Warren
Use these 5 biblical purposes to give direction to your marriage”
1. You and your spouse were both planned for God’s pleasure.
2. You and your spouse were formed for God’s family.
3. You and your spouse were both created to become like Christ.
4. You and your spouse were both shaped for serving God.
5. You and your spouse were both made for a mission.
Read this in full at

“Ninety-nine Christians in every hundred are merely playing at Bible study; and therefore ninety-nine Christians in every hundred are merely weaklings when they might be giants.” R. A. Torrey

Anger and other strong emotions can trigger potentially deadly heart rhythms in certain vulnerable people, according to US researchers. Previous studies have shown that earthquakes, war, or even the loss of a World Cup Soccer match can increase rates of death from sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops circulating blood.

“It’s definitely been shown in all different ways that when you put a whole population under a stressor that sudden death will increase,” said Dr. Rachel Lampert of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, whose study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “Our study starts to look at how does this really affect the electrical system of the heart,” Lampert said…. Read this in full at

The book Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God by Mark Batterson (Multnomah Books) is now summarized in detail online. The book’s message: The Celtic term for the Holy Spirit was An Geadh-Glas, which translates “the Wild Goose.” Just as a wild goose cannot be tamed and its movements cannot be predicted, so it is with the Holy Spirit. Pursuing His calling is much like engaging in an adventurous Wild Goose chase. Churches are notorious for taming Christians and discouraging them from taking risks in their faith. Such “taming” of believers leads to a boring life and an impotent church. We all have a choice to make. We can choose to stay in our cages, or we can chase the Wild Goose and experience the wonderful adventure God has in mind for us.
Purchase your copy here:

Oscar winner Martin Scorsese is preparing to shoot a film about Japanese persecution of Christians in the 17th Century. Filming begins this year in New Zealand, with the movie to hit theaters worldwide in 2010.

The film will be an adaptation of the novel, Chinmoku (Silence), which tells the story of Portugese Jesuit Priests that encounter persecution and violence as they search for a fellow priest and spread the gospel.

Scorsese is known for such films as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and The Last Temptation of Christ. Scorsese is reportedly seeking Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro to star in the film.

Art director Dante Feretti and Producer E. Bennet Walsh visited the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture to study a “fumie” — a plaque depicting Jesus Christ that was used to identify Christians by demanding that they step on the plaque. Those who refused were killed, some by crucifixion.

As many as 30,000 Japanese Christians are believed to have been persecuted for their faith in the 17th century. Christianity was banned in Japan for centuries thereafter.

Today, about two million Japanese are Christians, including Prime Minister Taro Aso. Aso is Japan’s second Christian postwar prime minister.

Scorsese’s film will be the second film adaptation of Chinmoku. Japanese Director Masahiro Shinoda released the first, titled Chinmoku, in 1971.

When Details Get You Down: Maintaining a spiritual life amid war, famine, and plague is what made Gregory the Great.
by Chris Armstrong
How can I maintain a spiritual life while dealing with people’s incessant problems and needs? The question didn’t originate with a pastor whose cell phone kept interrupting his prayer life. It goes back at least as far as Gregory, the first practicing monk to be elected, over his own objections, to the papacy. Gregory (540-604) preferred the life of solitude and contemplation, but it was his abilities as a leader as well as his writings on the integration of the inner life with active ministry that that caused him to be called, “Gregory the Great.” When he became pope in 590, Rome had been attacked for several years by the Lombards, a fierce Germanic tribe that had crossed the Alps to plunder the Eternal City. The emperor, distant in Constantinople, was distracted by a war with Persia, and could not offer aid to Rome. The years of war, famine, and plague had prompted Rome’s senatorial class to flee the city, when meant that the newly-elected Pope Gregory I was the only civil authority left. So he was immediately thrust into managing supplies and troop movements, and negotiating with terrorists.

In July 592, he averted disaster by negotiating a difficult peace with a local Lombard duke. But the following year the worst occurred: the Lombard king himself, Agilulf, besieged Rome. In an act unprecedented in the history of the papacy, Gregory met Agilulf on the very steps of St. Peter’s to negotiate. With diplomatic words and generous tribute, Gregory persuaded the marauding king to leave the city untouched…. Read this in full at

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

“It’s tough in the desert. It’s bewildering. It’s destructive. It’s hellish. Yet the testimony of the Old Testament, and ever more strongly, of the New, is that out of it comes new growth, new insight, new certainty that a God of love is at home among us.” Charles Elliott

Men are giving up. They sense that they’ve lost the high ground (and the future) to women, and they aren’t even trying anymore. They’ve opted out to become jackasses, stoners, and slackers. Responsibility is shirked, and adolescence is extended indefinitely. The magazine Ad Age spoke with Guy Garcia, author of “The Decline of Men: How the American Male Is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future.”…. Read this interview at

Mickey Rourke may have resurrected his career with his amazing performance in The Wrestler, but in an interview with RELEVANT magazine, Rourke opens up about an even more significant turnaround in his life — one that happened in a church. The interview can be found in the March/April 6th Anniversary Issue of the magazine. Rourke was a nominee for Best Actor in the 2009 Academy Awards, which aired Feb. 22.

The article covers Rourke’s brutal experiences growing up, his life as a boxer, and the fateful night when — on his way to kill the man who raped his girlfriend — he decided to stop by church one last time.

Rourke describes his first encounter with the priest who is now an important mentor in his life: “It was gonna be more than a punch in the mouth, and the guy deserved more, but Father Peter gave me the rap about, ‘Where in the Bible does it say, ‘Vengeance is mine,”” says Mickey Rourke? It was a question that changed Rourke’s life…. Read the interview at

For the first time, fans will get to vote for Artist of the Year and New Artist of the Year for the Gospel Music Association’s 40th annual Dove Awards.

Nominees were announced Feb. 20, and the show will be broadcast live from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn., April 23 on the Gospel Music Channel from 8-10 p.m. Eastern.

Fans can vote at, and the cumulative fan vote will account for one-third of the total vote in those two categories.

The seven nominees for Artist of the Year are Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Fireflight, Marvin Sapp, Third Day, TobyMac and Chris Tomlin.

Tomlin, a three-time Male Vocalist of the Year, is the top nominee with seven nominations, including Song of the Year. Natalie Grant and newcomer Francesca Battistelli each received five nominations, as did Casting Crowns.

“Christian and gospel music expresses itself in many different ways and we applaud all nominated artists for their unique contributions to the music landscape,” John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, said. “The powerful messages of redemption, hope and joy found in the music of our Dove nominees come during a season in history when our country and the world need inspiration and encouragement.”…. See the complete list of nominees at

Beauty is in the brain of the beholder. Go to any museum and there will be men and women admiring paintings and sculpture. But it turns out they are thinking about the sight differently. Men process beauty on the right side of their brains, while women use their whole brain to do the job, researchers report in the electronic edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. They even explain it differently. “It is well known that there are differences between brain activity in women and men in cognitive tasks,” said researcher Camilo J. Cela-Conde of the University of Baleares in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. “However, why should this kind of difference appear in the case of appreciation of beauty?” The answer seems to be that when women consider a visual object they link it to language while men concentrate on the spatial aspects of the object, Cela-Conde said…. Read this in full at

In large numbers, teens today express a troubling contradiction when it comes to ethical readiness for the workforce. At the same time they express confidence in their preparedness to make the right choices in the future, they freely admit to unethical behavior today. Those are among the key findings of a new national poll from Junior Achievement and Deloitte, the results of which reveal considerable ethical confusion among teens regarding what types of behavior are appropriate in order to succeed. The paradox underscores a continued need for training in ethical decision-making.

Among the key findings:
* 80% of teens either somewhat or strongly agree that they are prepared to make ethical business decisions when they join the workforce, yet more than a third (38%) think that you have to break the rules at school to succeed.
* More than one in four teens (27%) think behaving violently is sometimes, often or always acceptable. Twenty percent of respondents said they had personally behaved violently toward another person in the past year, and 41% reported a friend had done so.
* Only 3% of teens see pastors, priests, rabbis, or imams as role models. 54% see their parents as role models. Friends (13%), teachers or coaches (6%), and siblings (5%) also beat out clergies as role model figures. Just slightly more than one in ten (11 percent) say they don’t have any role models…. Read this in full at

Among the passengers on US Airways Flight #1549 was Gerry McNamara, a partner at the executive recruiting firm Heidrick and Struggles. McNamara, a former U.S. Marine officer, wrote an inspirational account of his ordeal for the company’s internal newsletter, and it has since been e-mailed around the country. Here is his account of that harrowing day in January….,8599,1881311,00.html

While many feared recent economic conditions would negatively impact faith-based nonprofits nationwide, most evangelical parachurch ministries exceeded, met or came very close to their 2008 fourth-quarter contributions goals, despite the downturn, according to a recent survey by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

In a survey of ECFA members, 72% of responding organizations reported they exceeded, met or came within 10% of their goals. Twenty-eight percent reported they were more than 10% below their goals.

Parachurch ministries are organizations that work outside of and across denominations to promote evangelism and social welfare, relying heavily on charitable contributions to launch and sustain vital programs and initiatives.

“Many of the parachurch ministries we surveyed reported small donations of $10 to $100 were relatively unaffected, and in some cases, donations in this category increased,” said Dan Busby, acting president of ECFA. “In fact, some of our members had the strongest fourth quarter they’ve had in years and ended the year debt-free.”

Some ministries attributed steady or increased contributions to increased prayer and widespread humanitarian interest in supporting organizations that help the poor and disadvantaged…. Read this in full at

“Learn to pause, or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.” Doug King

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praise-worthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Words: A. Katherine Hankey (1834-1911)
Music: Johann Scheffler, 1657

Advent tells us, Christ is near:
Christmas tells us Christ is here!
In Epiphany we trace
All the glory of His grace.

Those three Sundays before Lent
Will prepare us to repent;
That in Lent we may begin
Earnestly to mourn for sin.

Holy Week and Easter, then,
Tell who died and rose again;
O that happy Easter day!
“Christ is risen indeed,” we say.

Yes, and Christ ascended, too,
To prepare a place for you;
So we give Him special praise,
After those great forty days.

Then, He sent the Holy Ghost,
On the day of Pentecost,
With us ever to abide:
Well may we keep Whitsuntide!

Last of all, we humbly sing
Glory to our God and King,
Glory to the One in three,
On the Feast of Trinity.

>from CyberHymnal at

“Prayer spells all the difference between working for God in our own strength and wisdom or being fellow laborers together with Him in the work that He is seeking to do.” C. Stacey Woods


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!

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

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
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 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.]

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!

Books, Music & More!

Get your domain name here!

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Photo Gallery: Our Vanishing Night

The Eyeballing Game

Atmospheric Optics

37 Years of Super Bowl Commercials

(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.)

Your behavior is what you believe; all the rest is just talk.
Min. 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!


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, 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. Visit our website at:


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  • Katie  On February 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

  • watcat  On March 16, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  • wonker  On March 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.


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