Connections 05/24/09


For week of May 24, 2009
Issue 253

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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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.” Charles Finney

A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of US adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion…. Read this in full at

See also Gallup poll finds ‘pro-life’ majority for first time, but some question results

Influential missiologist Dr. Ralph D. Winter died May 20 after a long battle with cancer. He was 84. According to Greg Parsons, general director of the US Center for World Mission, Winter died at 9:05 p.m., at his home in Pasadena, Calif., surrounded by his wife, three of his four daughters, and other loved ones.

Winter was in the middle of radiation treatments and had grown “extremely weaker” over the past weekend, the USCWM communications department had reported Monday.

Winter, who founded USCWM and William Carey International University, is widely regarded as one of the key factors behind the major shift of perspective in the mission movement – a shift from going to countries and individuals to penetrating “unreached peoples,” or those who have been bypassed.

He was named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of America’s 25 most influential Evangelicals and founded and served several organizations, including the International Society for Frontier Missiology and the Frontier Mission Fellowship, among others…. Read this in full at

by John Ortberg
I incurred a stranger’s wrath while trying to parallel park on a congested one-way street in Pasadena, California, not long ago. The driver behind me was getting increasingly frustrated because he couldn’t get around me. Finally I wedged my car in, and he pulled up next to me to share his deepest feelings. “What’s your problem, @#@!*#@?” he yelled, and then drove away.

I was a little hurt that he didn’t stick around to listen to my answer. The more I thought about it, the more it struck me that he had asked a profound question. He pretty much summed up the human predicament since the Fall in a single query. But he didn’t wait. He didn’t really care what my problem was. He was just mad.

He’s not alone. Anger seems to have become our national pastime. According to FBI estimates, a violent crime is committed in America every 20 seconds. More than two million women will be battered by their husbands this year. We have spawned a new genre of movie heroes—Rambos, Terminators, and lethal weapons who die hard—who are not exactly walking models of constructive anger management. Some pundits have taken to calling our era “the age of rage.”

How do we deal with all the angry people out there? More specifically: How do we deal with angry people as disciples of Jesus? For our goal is not just to find ways to experience less hassle in a world of cranky people. Our goal is to become agents of the Kingdom of God, to penetrate the age of rage. It starts with a basic commitment…. Read this in full at

Younger evangelical pastors are less likely to self-identify as conservatives than older generations and more apt to view social justice as a gospel imperative, LifeWay Research director Ed Stetzer told a group of evangelical environmental activists May 14.

Citing research including yet-unreleased findings by the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention publisher LifeWay Christian Resources, Stetzer said there is solid evidence that younger evangelicals are growing more socially conscious.

“I think ultimately that we are at a season right now where the issues of social justice are growing and a desire to integrate compassion and commission are clearly evident among younger evangelicals and evangelicals as a whole,” Stetzer said during a session of the May 13-15 Flourish conference at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga.

Stetzer said the trend of evangelical interest in social justice — evidenced in major ministries like Rick Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. plan and the Evangelical Climate Initiative — has both advocates and detractors. And both sides define the term “social justice” in different ways…. Read this in full at

“One of the most tender images of Jesus is one he supplied when referring to himself as the Good Shepherd. This name reminds us both of our own vulnerability and Jesus’ watchful, protecting care. It evokes a sense of belonging, intimacy, and trust, revealing the Good Shepherd as the one who lays down his life for his sheep.

“When you pray to the Good Shepherd, you are admitting your need for his care and your confidence in his ability to watch over and protect you. Jesus shows us the lengths to which he as the Good Shepherd will go in order to protect his sheep. Unlike those who merely work for pay, Jesus will never abandon his sheep. Instead, he will defend them with his own life.” from The Names of God: 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Ann Spangler

Rome’s underground Christian, Jewish and pagan burial sites, the Catacombs, date back to the 2nd Century AD. There are more than 40 of them stretching over 105 miles. But, until now, they have never been fully documented, their vast scale only recorded with handmade maps.

That is now changing, following a three-year project to create the first fully comprehensive three-dimensional image using laser scanners. A team of 10 Austrian and Italian archaeologists, architects and computer scientists have started with the largest catacomb, Saint Domitilla, just outside the Italian capital. The tunnels, caves, galleries, and burial chambers of Saint Domitilla stretch for about 9 miles over a number of levels.

At a time when Christians, in particular, were persecuted, the Catacombs became a relatively safe place to bury the dead. The soft, volcanic tufa rock was an especially workable, yet durable, material that was burrowed out over the course of nearly three centuries. Yet, because of concerns about safety, only about 1,640 feet are accessible to the public today…. Read and see this in full at

“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I can’t feel it. I believe in God even when he is silent.”

by David Buckna
On May 8, director J.J. Abrams beamed an exciting new vision of Star Trek into North American movie theaters. This Star Trek reboot tells the origin of Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. Test your knowledge of some of the biblical connections to Star Trek with this 30 question quiz. Full ahead Warp Factor 1…
1. Who’s the only actor to portray both Jesus on the big screen and captain of the USS Enterprise on the small screen?

1. Jeffrey Hunter, who played Jesus in King of Kings (1961) and Capt. Christopher Pike in the Star Trek pilot episode, The Cage (1964). The storyline given was that Pike made two 5-year explorations, then relinquished command to Capt. James Kirk in 2263. Hunter was unavailable when the second Star Trek pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, was being planned, so the part was recast with William Shatner as Kirk. Prior to picking Hunter or Shatner, producer Gene Roddenberry offered the role to Sea Hunt actor Lloyd Bridges…. Read the rest of this quiz at

“Understanding Jesus in his role as a rabbi gives us a much clearer sense of his resonant phrase: ‘Come, follow me’ (Matthew 4:19). Jesus wasn’t just inviting people for a short walk down to the beach; he was calling them to imitate his way of life. If they accepted his challenge, they would spend the next years of their lives learning to walk in the way of Jesus, literally following in his footsteps. To become an apprentice of Christ, we must allow him to stimulate our thinking and shape our responses, just as he did for his first followers two millennia ago. Even when it calls us to leave comfort behind, make sacrifices and take risks.” from Apprentice: Walking the Way of Christ by Steve Chalke

A 47-million-year-old fossil is being touted as a “groundbreaking discovery” that “fills in a critical gap in human and primate evolution.”

“The fossil’s remarkable state of preservation allows an unprecedented glimpse into early human evolution,” say producers of “The Link,” a documentary that details the discovery and significance of the fossil. “[I]t represents the moment before anthropoid primates – the group that would later evolve into humans, apes and monkeys – began to split from lemurs and other prosimian primates,” they add.

But many experts say the discovery of the 47 million-year-old cat-sized creature found in Germany is far from the breakthrough that it’s believed to be. Though they’ve praised the discovery for the level of detail it provided –- as it is about 95% complete, including even fingertips with nails, gut contents, and hair -– experts say the creature is not close to the ancestral line of monkeys, let alone people…. Read this in full at

Also see “Experts: Fossil find exciting but lacks significance”

by Michael Ireland
After watching his son from the stands last season, Joe Montana, the former San Francisco 49ers great, will be in the coaching booth this fall at the request of a Southern California football coach.

According to Bob Buttitta, writing for the Ventura County Star newspaper, Oaks Christian School football coach Bill Redell prides himself on trying to get the best coaches available in order to ensure the continued success of the Lions program. With that in mind, says Buttitta, Redell opted to break one of his long-standing rules of not having a father coach his son when he asked Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana to provide his expertise and knowledge for the 2009 season.

Montana’s son Nick, who will be a senior this fall, is the Lions’ starting quarterback. “I guess you can say he’s a consultant to me,” Redell said. “He will be in our booth on Friday nights talking with our offensive coordinator. He is not here on a daily basis, but when he is here, he will come to practice and be out on the field. If one of our coaches asks him his opinion, he will give it. He is part of the staff, but he is really not coaching.”
Nick Montana transferred to Oaks Christian from Concord De La Salle last July. He won the starting job and threw for 2,404 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. “He (Joe Montana) is a great guy,” Redell said. “He does not interfere. He wants to stay in the background. He’s had his day in the sun and wants his son to have his day.”

by Erich Bridges
If you think evangelical Christianity is unfairly caricatured by American opinion makers, you might want to avoid Europe. There, cultural commissars in some circles compare evangelicals with the Taliban — unfavorably. By their lights, we’re medieval, superstitious enemies of enlightenment and progress who should be silenced for good.

So it was noteworthy when an article praising Christian missions in Africa appeared in The Times of London a few months ago. Even more remarkable: It was written by Matthew Parris, a self-professed atheist (read it at

Parris, a Times columnist and former member of Parliament, spent his boyhood in what is now Malawi. He returned there last year with a secular charity that assists villages lacking clean water.

“It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities,” Parris writes of the journey. “But traveling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my worldview, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

“Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa, Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.”

Parris has applauded such efforts before, but he used to qualify the praise with a caveat:

“It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write,” he acknowledges. “[O]nly the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith”…. Read this in full at

For all their manifold disagreements, Christians and Muslims are both “people of the Book”, and have an obligation to get those holy books into the hands of as many people as they can. Spreading the Word is hard. The Bible is 800,000 words long and littered with tedious passages about “begatting.” Many have claimed that the Koran, though only around a tenth of the length of the Bible, is an even more difficult read. Edward Gibbon complained about its “endless incoherent rhapsody of fable and precept”. Scholars who spend their lives studying them still argue over their ambiguities, literary allusions and obscure references.

Yet there are more Bibles and Korans available in more languages than at any time in history. More than 100 million copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year. The Koran is ubiquitous in the Muslim world. Whole chapters of the book are used to decorate mosques. The faithful transcribe phrases and put them around their necks in amulets, use them on bumper stickers or as letterheads.

This mountain of holy books is a giant refutation of the secularization thesis. “The Book lives on among its people,” Constance Padwick, a scholar of the Koran, has written. “For them, these are not mere letters or mere words. They are the twigs of the burning bush, aflame with God.” The same can also be said of the Bible…. Read this in full at

A pirate captain procured a map that claimed to lead to buried treasure. After months of hard sailing, his crew caught site of an island, right where the treasure map showed it to be. The captain and his first mate disembarked to search out the treasure, which was supposed to lie deep within a swamp at the center of the island.

Sure enough, at the center of the island they found a swamp. The captain and his first mate bravely entered the swamp, even though their feet sank into the muck. As they proceeded, the swamp got deeper; oozy mud rose above their ankles; soon they were knee-deep. Suddenly, the captain banged his shin against something hard. He reached down, groping through the slime, and pulled up a treasure chest. Eagerly they pried the lock, and discovered gold and jewels beyond imagination!

The captain turned to his first mate and said, “Arrrrggghhh, matey, that just goes to show ye! Booty is only shin deep!”

Catalyst Leadership magazine is now digital

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

“Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends.” Henry Ward Beecher

Those who do see the film could very well find their eyes rolling within the first few minutes. As the story begins, the Pope has just died, and cardinals from around the world have come to the Vatican to elect his successor—and a voice-over, possibly that of a reporter, gravely informs us that Catholics around the world “now find their church at a crossroads, their ancient traditions threatened by a modern world.” Really? The church has never come to this “crossroads” before? And how does the death of one man expose the church to this “threat”? Is not the conclave that brings the cardinals together a sign that the church’s “ancient traditions” are carrying on pretty much as they always have?…. Read this in full at

Also see Faith-Based, Science-Based Critics: Dan Brown Needs to Do More Research



“As his father’s words caused Norman Vincent Peale to restudy his life, he recalled what he had long told others who had been caught in the darkness of doubt: ‘Through persistence, self-knowledge, prayer, commitment, optimism, a resolute trust in God, and the building of your own personal moral strength, you can enjoy the blessings of a deeper faith, and face the difficulties of life with courage and confidence.’ When Norman opted to lose his fears and shyness by immersing himself in faith, his life dramatically changed. When he completely embraced the lessons given to him by his father, teachers, and mentors and finally wiped the “t” away from can’t, he was ready to accept his call. His life proved that through faith we can do anything God calls us to. His can-do attitude changed not just his life but also millions of other lives.” from Stories behind Men of Faith by Ace Collins

The first time Norma Freeman strayed from her Catholic faith, it was for love. The second time, she was seeking new spiritual experiences. Both times, Freeman came back. Now she’s 80 and volunteers her time to reach out to lapsed Catholics. She’s one of the laypeople involved with the Catholics Returning Home program at St. Patrick Church in London in Madison County, Ohio. The six-week discussion group allows those who have fallen away from the church to vent their frustrations and concerns.

For reasons both theological and practical, churches try to regain those who have left the fold. The parable of the lost sheep is a familiar Bible story giving God’s view of those who have drifted away: “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance,” reads Luke 15:7.

At the same time, worship attendance has fallen since the 1960s, and churches can’t afford to lose believers. About half of all American adults change faiths, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In the Catholic church alone, those leaving outnumber those converting 4 to 1.

“I think a lot of people left because of hurt,” Freeman said. “Because of anger. Because the church, for so many years, was rather rigid in their rules and regulations.” Freeman’s first “leave of absence,” as she calls her time away from the church, came when she got married in 1951. Her husband, a Baptist, wasn’t comfortable with Catholicism or raising their children in the church…. Read this in full at

Evangelical Christians are breaking past conservative politics, individualism, and fear of association with the political left to join the environmental movement. Among their own, the 150 leaders who gathered for the Flourish environmental conference in Duluth recently are at the forefront. Critics say they are late to the party, 40 years after the first Earth Day, and that evangelicals are still too timid in addressing the biggest environmental problem, global warming.

“Evangelicals have been the taillight, not the headlight of the environmental movement,” said Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics in Nashville, a moderate organization not affiliated with Southern Baptists. Flourish is a new Atlanta organization started by evangelicals to educate fellow Christians about what they call creation care.

Jonathan Merritt, a young, Southern Baptist minister at Cross Pointe Church and a Flourish founder, has emerged as a leading voice in the movement. He said the 150 who came were less than he hoped for. Still, he is encouraged. Many who came are leaders who will influence many more. The conference sessions also will soon be online to magnify the impact, he said…. Read this in full at

A new downloadable 15-minute program featuring news, features, and interviews from the world of sport with a Christian perspective is available from as a podcast from iTunes.

Sports media group 2K Plus International Sports Media has launched the new interactive website and the weekly podcast program for sports fans desiring sports news from a Christian perspective.

The website is designed to engage sports fans with the leading issues in sport and explore the stories behind the headlines. “The aim of the website and Planet Sport program is to introduce sports fans to Jesus,” said 2K Plus Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Barnard.

“Through interviews with top Christian sportsmen and women and our network of correspondents around the world, we want to show that following Jesus in the 21st century is relevant and fulfilling,” Barnard said, adding: “We hope Planet Sport will be a credible resource to which Christians can direct their non-Christian sporting friends.”

by Michael Gerson
“Respect makes cooperation in the common good possible. Civility acts like grease in the democratic machine; disdain is sand thrown into the gears. But civility is also a direct reflection of our belief in human equality. Even people we vehemently disagree with on the largest issues possess a democratic value equal to our own. In his book, “Civility: Manners, Morals and the Etiquette of Democracy,” Stephen Carter argues that this recognition does not preclude “passionate disagreement,” but it does require “civil listening” — and I’d guess it forbids referring to strangers as a..holes and hoping for their death.

“So civility has an unavoidably moral component. The proper treatment of others conveys regard and demonstrates self-control. Rudeness sets out to dominate and humiliate. This is not only true in politics. “Precisely because rudeness is quite common,” says philosophy professor Emrys Westacott, “it is not a trivial issue. Indeed, in our day-to-day lives it is possibly responsible for more pain than any other moral failing.” Verbal violence can leave people smarting for days, or scarred for years, or pushed like a vulnerable junior high-schooler toward suicide. Such hostility is broadly and correctly condemned. Why does politics seem to numb this rudimentary moral sense?”…. Read this in full at

American Christians across the US will band together the day after Independence Day to repent and pray for God to heal the country. The newly launched initiative Call2Fall, organized by the conservative Christian group Family Research Council, will focus on the spiritual and moral problems growing in the nation.

“America is a nation in moral crisis,” says FRC President Tony Perkins. “Four out of every ten children are born out of wedlock, and every day roughly 3,000 unborn children are aborted in our county. From homosexual ‘marriage’ to proposed curbs on religious speech, there are serious matters for the church to address, humbly and with great earnestness, before God.”

Held a day after Americans celebrate their “independence,” Call2Fall will be a day when Christians declare their “dependence” on God, Perkins explains. The name of the initiative means call to fall on our knees.

Related story: “George Barna: America Is Being Destroyed Inside Out”

“Make sure that you let God’s grace work in your souls by accepting whatever He gives you, and giving Him whatever He takes from you. True holiness consists in doing God’s work with a smile.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

“One way to recollect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquility, is not to let it wander too far at other times. You should keep it strictly in the Presence of God; and, being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings.” Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1900, pp. 35-36


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.

Christian Radio on the Internet

Breathing Earth

Stunning Black-and-White Wild Animal Portraits

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

(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.)

I used to watch golf on TV but my doctor told me that I need more exercise, so now I watch tennis.
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!


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, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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