Connections 06/07/09

For week of June 7, 2009
Issue 255

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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O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” Psalm 34:8

“Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” Roger Staubach

Is it the end in America to the perceived separation between the secular and the evangelical worlds. Not 10 years ago, the conventional wisdom as reflected in much of the mass media held that evangelical Christians led completely separate lives from everyone else. They went to separate colleges, they married each other — and they shopped at Christian bookstores, where they could purchase books, records, magazines, and tea napkins produced and distributed by Christian-owned companies. Only secular people shopped at Barnes & Noble. So separate were the two worlds that Christian bestsellers rarely showed up on the New York Times bestseller list — and when they did (as with Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’s Left Behind books), the secular media treated the authors and consumers as oddities. Now, though, Christian and inspirational stories are widely available in secular places…. Read this in full at

“People today are willing to concede Jesus was a good man, a gifted teacher, and a sound moral example. But that’s not the whole picture of Jesus presented in the New Testament. He is all of those things, but so much more. You cannot speak meaningfully about Jesus without immediately plunging into deep waters. That, my friends, is where the trouble starts, because Christians claim he is God. Others are convinced he’s not. Some people take it further and, while acknowledging that the Bible may point in that direction, still insist Jesus himself never made such a claim. As you might have guessed, this last statement is simply a myth.

Recall that God revealed his name to Moses from the burning bush as the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). Now in John 8:58, there is no mistaking the allusion: Jesus claimed to be the great I Am, God Almighty, Israel’s glorious King. His enemies got it: “At this, they picked up stones to stone him” (8:59). Why? Because claiming to be God was worthy of death.” from Busted: Exposing Popular Myths about Christianity by Fred von Kamecke

Evangelist Billy Graham has been the confidante and spiritual advisor to American presidents and men and women of fame, financial and political power. He became a household word, not only in Christian circles, but in the homes of most of the people across the globe. Personally, in his lifetime, he has preached to over 215 million people and, estimates say, seen 2.5 million come forward in his meetings to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. His radio and TV audiences have reached over 2 billion viewers and listeners.

Today the once busy minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still active, but not as much as before. His daughter Anne Graham Lotz, the second of the Graham’s 5 children and the wife of a dentist, operates a ministry called AnGeL Ministries which, following in her father’s footsteps, reaches out internationally.

In a new documentary, Graham Lotz spoke about her father’s new pace of ministry. She stated in the recent interview: “My father didn’t really retire until his body sort of quit on him. He has always said that, for a minister of the Gospel, there is no retirement, but his body decided differently.” It was 17 years ago that Billy Graham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “He has a difficult time hearing, a difficult time seeing, a difficult time walking. His heart is still strong. His mind is clear,” said Graham Lotz…. Read this in full at

“The real transforming work of marriage is the 24-four-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week commitment. This is the crucible that grinds and shapes us into the character of Jesus Christ. Instead of getting up at 3:00 AM to begin prayer in a monastery, the question becomes, “Who will wake up when the baby’s diaper needs changing?”

Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value, and I slowly began to understand that the real purpose of marriage may not be happiness as much as it is holiness. Not that God has anything against happiness, or that happiness and holiness are by nature mutually exclusive, but looking at marriage through the lens of holiness began to put it into an entirely new perspective for me.” from Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy? (DVD) by Gary Thomas

A survey of some of the top evangelical leaders in the nation found that while there is overwhelming optimism on the growth of Christianity in the world, there is mostly pessimism when it comes to the future of the faith in America. “Evangelical leaders are very bullish on the future growth of Christianity, except in America,” said Leith Anderson, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

In the latest Evangelical Leaders Survey, released Tuesday, respondents said they overwhelmingly (94 percent) believe the number of Christians worldwide will increase in the next ten years. A mere four percent of respondents said the number of Christians will stay the same, while two percent said they are unsure. No one predicted the number of Christians will decrease. The expectations for Christianity’s growth, however, focused on the global south where the religion is currently blossoming…. Read this in full at

Ron, a 9-year old boy, was being raised by his mother who didn’t know how to cope with his uncontrollable temper. She knew he was angry that his father had abandoned him and she tried professional counseling, but nothing seemed to work.

So she sent Ron to spend the summer on his grandparent’s farm. When he came home, he was a changed boy. His mom asked him what happened and he told her that every time he got mad or said anything unkind, Grandpa made him go outside and hammer a big two-inch nail into a two-by-four. It was hard, and he wasn’t allowed back until the nail was all the way in.

After about 20 trips to the shed to get the tools, he decided it was easier to control his temper than hammer those long nails. “Did you change because you hated the consequences so much?” she asked. “Well, that was part of it,” he said. “After I’d nailed in all the nails and was behaving better, Grandma took me outside and made me pull them out. That was even harder. When I was done, she gave me this note.” He showed it to her, and this is what she read:

“Pulling out the nails is like saying you’re sorry. But the holes still remain in the board. You can’t fix things by being sorry, but you can stop making new holes. Remember, every time you do something mean and nasty, you’re making a hole somewhere in someone. That’s what your dad did to you. Please don’t do it to anyone else. You’re better than that.”

“Like the Father, Jesus is God. He always was, always is, and always will be. But unlike the Father, Jesus is also a human being. Though charged with blasphemy and crucified for claiming to be one with the Father, Jesus’ resurrection validates his claim to be God’s Son in a unique way. When we confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, we share in the love the Father has for the Son, becoming adopted children of God.

Though Jesus was the Son of God, he was also the Son of Man, a title that emphasizes both his lowliness and his eventual dominion. Near the end of his life, when the high priest asked him whether he was the Son of God, Jesus no longer avoided the title but said that he would one day “see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). When you pray to Jesus as Son of God and Son of Man, you are praying to the One who is your Brother and your Lord.” from The Names of God: 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Ann Spangler

Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North served 22 years in the Marine Corps, receiving the Silver Star for combat service during the Vietnam War, along with the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for combat wounds. President Ronald Reagan described him as “an American hero.”

North, however, told motorcycle enthusiasts at the 2009 Rally to Ridgecrest that he met Jesus Christ in 1978 “after a life of self-centeredness, thinking I was God’s gift to the Marine Corps and that all the medals and accolades made me a greater man.”

North, now a best-selling author, syndicated columnist and host of “War Stories With Oliver North” on the Fox News Channel, recounted how, when he was a cocky Marine officer, his commanding officer, Lt. Col. John Southy Grinalds, modeled for him the servant leadership of Christ. And Grinalds challenged North to examine the Scriptures, which led to his conversion.

“I would not know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior if I hadn’t had someone intentionally share with me,” North told 600-plus attendees at the motorcycle rally held over Memorial Day weekend at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C.

North encouraged the crowd to be intentional about sharing their faith and living like Christ…. Read this in full at

“Rain, with its dark skies, gray days, and dreariness, is liquid disappointment. Rain is a symbol of ruin, a catalyst for corrosion, a creator of rust. We steel ourselves, stockpiling resources for a rainy day. Discouragement dampens our spirit, and no one likes to hang around a wet blanket. Rain is a pain, a bother. Our children sing, ‘Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.’

Yet this is not the whole story. In the 45th year of my rain-drenched life, I have come to see rain as compelling proof of God’s gracious, giving nature. An absence of rain turns a place into a desert, a wasteland. If you’ve ever been parched and felt faint and studied the horizon for the smallest sign of hope, then you know the feeling. You know the feeling of hope at a softly darkening sky, the sharp-sweet scent of wet air, and the transparent but tangible first drop of rain. That first drop of rain begins a transformation from hunger to fruitfulness.” from The First Drop of Rain by Leslie Parrott

Looking for a way to help members of her youth group use moral discernment when making life choices, a Lutheran youth minister in Holland, Mich., re-read a copy of Charles Sheldon’s “In His Steps,” a classic story from the 1890s in which the central character frames right and wrong with the question, “What would Jesus do?”

Friendship bracelets were becoming popular in 1989. So, Janie Tinklenberg asked a friend who worked for a local company about producing some woven wristbands with the acronym WWJD — because there wasn’t enough room to spell it out — both to remind young people of their commitment to Christ and as a tool to witness to friends.

The rest, of course, is history. Tinklenberg, now on staff at Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, Ohio, belatedly obtained trademark for the phrase, but since it was considered public domain, she did not receive any royalties.

That didn’t stop others from cashing in, however. By 1997, Lesco Corporation, the company that produced the first bracelets, had sold about 300,000. Then Paul Harvey mentioned them on his syndicated radio show, and dozens of corporations rushed in to capitalize on a market craze spilling over into WWJD shirts, hats, key chains and coffee mugs.

Now WWJD is remembered as the quintessential Christian fad. A fad, according to the dictionary, is a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal, and then abandoned when something else comes along to take its place. Sociologists classify fads as a form of “collective preoccupations,” where many people over a relatively broad social spectrum engage in a similar behavior and interpret it in similar ways in order to identify their place in society…. Read this in full at

“Over time the Crypto-Christians [in Japan] confused their Christian beliefs and their Japanese [cultural] disguises. The result was the emergence of a hybrid religion no longer adhering to the doctrines of orthodox Christianity. When Europeans regained entrance to Japan in the 19th century, they were astonished to see communities of hidden Christians living in the hills around Nagasaki. This amazement waned, however, when they discovered the faith of these forgotten Christians was hardly Christianity.

In our cultural quest for survival, driven by our fear of irrelevance, have evangelicals become Crypto-Christians? Have we clothed our faith with the forms of our American culture to the point that our Christianity has morphed into something entirely different — a folk religion altogether consumerist in spirit and content? By yielding its imagination to the forms around it, has the church, like ancient Israel, lost the ability to be an alternative people of God? Is Walter Brueggemann correct: ‘The contemporary American church is so largely enculturated to the American ethos of consumerism that it has little power to believe or to act’?” from The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity by Skye Jethani

by Erich Bridges
At the very moment when all kinds of media are multiplying, however, one of the best tools available for understanding the onslaught of information is on life support: journalism. For all their biases and shortcomings, good newspapers tell us what is happening, where and when it’s happening and, often, why it’s happening. They summarize the world and give us options for responding to onrushing events.

With a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other, we can cut through the clutter, get to the heart of the matter, and act….

“Free content” without a free press is worth what you pay for it: not much. I challenge you to buy a newspaper. That’s right, buy it — with cash money from your pocket. Read it. Put it into the hands of a young person in search of knowledge and understanding. Subscribe to a Baptist state paper.

You can’t make an impact on your mission field — which is the world, from your town to the ends of the earth — unless you understand it…. Read this in full at

“As children we may have grumbled when we were forced to write thank-you notes. But through this discipline, our parents taught us that thank-yous can be one of the most powerful ways you can use words. A thank-you speaks volumes about your character, humbleness, and values. It points out that you realize that those who reach out to others mean a great deal to you. Your thank-you will inspire them to continue to reach out. Your actions will also put into focus the value of all those who have touched and who will continue to touch your life. Your thank-yous will also remind them of the value of their actions.

In the case of Dr. Beane, his kindness and the thank-you letters he received didn’t just buy his freedom; they led to Francis Scott Key’s writing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ Paul’s letters of thanks have impacted people’s faith for two thousand years. Who knows what kind of power your sincere words will have. They might well renew an old bond, inspire someone who is down, change the direction of a life, or remind a person that their life has really mattered.” from Sticks and Stones: Using Your Words as a Positive Force by Ace Collins

by Andy Stanley
Leadership, by definition, is forward-focused. As a leader, you and I are compelled to look ahead in anticipation of tomorrow’s demands. But sometimes this foresight can prevent us from appreciating today’s accomplishments. It can also blind us to a debt we all owe. With eyes fixed on the future, it’s often easy to forget what, or more importantly who, is behind us.

In the wake of our success is a group of committed, gifted, and generous people who have facilitated our accomplishments. If we are great at what we do, it is due in part to the dozens, maybe even hundreds of people who have gotten behind us and have given their most valuable commodity — their time — to support our vision.

If we think about the number of hours that people spend to enable us to do what we do, we could never fully repay them. This generosity creates a deficit in our relationships. So what do we do? …. Read this in full at

“Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
~1 Corinthians 2:5~

“What I kept, I lost; what I spent, I had; what I gave, I have.”
~Old epitaph~

Sarah is a 33-year old single woman who shows up on Fridays at a support group for men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction. No one in her church knows about her struggle or her loneliness. She needs brothers and sisters within her congregation to love and mentor her. Here’s how a church can create a safe environment in which this can happen…. Read this in full at

“We cannot look into the mirror of Rwanda without noting its deep contradictions. The slaughter that lasted for a hundred days in the spring of 1994 began on April 7, the Thursday of Easter week, in a country that was over 85% Christian.

Cardinal Etchegaray was the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1984 to 1998. When he visited Rwanda on behalf of the pope in 1994, he asked the assembled church leaders, ‘Are you saying that the blood of tribalism is deeper than the waters of baptism?’ One leader answered, ‘Yes, it is.’ Christian expression throughout the world has too easily allowed the blood of tribalism to flow deeper than the waters of baptism.

Paul is right when he says that ‘our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). We are not called to fight against [physical, political, and church] bodies but against spiritual forces that lay claim to our bodies.” from Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole

What does it mean to participate with God in “making all things new”? Many feel the answer to that question is key to the life and liturgy of the church. “We think of ‘creating culture,'” said Winn Collier, one of the pastors at All Souls Church in Charlottesville, Va. “We are part of — and contributing to — our culture. The question is whether we are doing it faithfully, purposefully and well.”

Brad Andrews, worship-arts coordinator for Missouri Baptist University, agrees. People live in the culture, he said. “We’re doing a disservice if we don’t help our people connect the dots and see culture through spiritual lenses.”

He cautions against churches using popular culture simply to seem culturally relevant, however. He feels many churches have gone too far, forcing contextualization in ways that are both inauthentic and unwise…. Read this in full at

“In John 9, Jesus refutes the traditional explanation of suffering. His followers point to a man born blind. Clucking with pity, they ask, ‘Who sinned, this man or his parents?’ In other words, why did he deserve blindness? Jesus answers bluntly, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’

The disciples wanted to look backward, to find out ‘Why?’ Jesus redirected their attention. Consistently, he points forward, answering a different question: ‘To what end?’ And that, I believe, offers a neat summary of the Bible’s approach to the problem of pain. To backward-looking questions of cause, to the ‘Why?’ questions, it gives no definitive answer. But it does hold out hope for the future, that even suffering can be transformed or ‘redeemed.’ A human tragedy, like blindness, can be used to display God’s work.

Sometimes, as with the man born blind, the work of God is manifest through dramatic miracle. Sometimes it is not. But in every case, suffering offers an opportunity for us to display God’s work. from Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey

By Lisa Belkin
Being the parent of an 18-year-old means second guessing a lot of choices made over 18 years, and one that I might have done differently is the decision not to have him get a job until the end of high school. That’s when I got my own first (non-babysitting) paycheck, and I subscribed to the same theory that my parents had — that his work was to stay focused on school.

But one of the many side effects of that theory is that he now needs a crash course in money — HIS money — before he heads out to college in the fall. Figuring that many readers are in the same situation, I turned for advice to Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, daughter of Charles Schwab, and president of Charles Schwab Foundation, whose mission is to promote financial education, philanthropy and volunteerism.

Schwab-Pomerantz, who probably could have simply handed her children cash as they needed it, started sending them out to work much sooner than I have, and she used their earnings as a way to teach them about spending, savings and investing…. Read this in full at

“Every day is a messenger of God.”
~Russian proverb~

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”
~Proverbs 3:1-2~

“To relinquish any of the Psalms on the excuse that its sentiments are too violent for a Christian is a clear sign that a person has also given up the very battle that a Christian is summoned to fight. The Psalms are prayers for those who are engaged in an ongoing, spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book.” Patrick Henry Reardon, Christ in the Psalms


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.

Photos of a leopard nuzzling a rodent

Pictures within pictures

Free Old Time Radio Shows

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.)

Be kind…everyone you meet is fighting a tough battle.
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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  • Malaysia Travel  On June 12, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I think your site was so great and it is really awesome..Of course it really impress me a lot..

    Good job dude and i hope you can keep it up..

    Good blogging !!

  • connectionsnews  On June 13, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the comment.
    Min. Frank

  • connectionsnews  On June 13, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the comment.
    Blessings to you.
    Min. Frank

  • Benjamin  On June 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    David Letterman’s hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
    Speaking of anti-Semitism, it’s Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who’ve gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
    Wrong! It’s the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that’ll outdo even Hitler’s by stating that “Judah hath dealt treacherously” and “the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this” and asks “Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?”
    Haven’t evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin’s continuing “crucifixion”!
    While David, Sandra, and Kathy are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
    (For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in “Separation of Raunch and State” and “Bible Verses Obama Avoids.”)


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