Connections 06/21/09

For week of June 21, 2009
Issue 257

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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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

CONSIDER
“Hardening of the heart ages more people than hardening of the arteries.” Unknown

AMERICANS ARE EXPLORING NEW WAYS OF EXPERIENCING GOD
Americans are in a new age of exploration, deploying new approaches to marriage, communications, sexuality, education, and more. According the results from a new nationwide survey by The Barna Group, the “and more” includes how people pursue their faith and how they choose to relate to God and other people of faith.

88% of American adults say that “my religious faith is very important in my life.” Faith is not going away despite the prolific media attention devoted to the demise of traditional faith practices and beliefs. Nine out of ten adults admit that their faith plays a meaningful role in their life. There is nothing on the horizon to suggest that this is likely to change in the foreseeable future.

75% say they sense that “God is motivating people to stay connected with Him, but in different ways and through different types of experiences than in the past.” There is a growing sense of release from traditional religious practices in this country. People are suggesting that they want more of God and less of the stuff that gets between them and their relationship with God. This mindset is equally common among Catholics and Protestants.

45% say they are “willing to try a new church.” A staggering number of Americans – almost half of the nation’s 230 million adults – are open to changing their church home, demonstrating their lack of connection with their present community of faith and their desire to have a more significant connection. It may also be a reflection of people’s increasing lack of loyalty to both organizations and personal relationships, and the growing sense that there is always something better available if you can simply find it…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/270-americans-are-exploring-new-ways-of-experiencing-god

DOES TWITTER DO US ANY GOOD?
by Mark Galli
“The culture continues to be atwitter about Twitter and other electron-based social media. It’s easy to find both scathing critiques and passionate defenses of the Internet. But as we approach what many churches celebrate as Trinity Sunday this weekend, there is another angle to ponder.

“When we think of the Trinity we tend to think of doctrine—that Jesus’ relation to the father is homoousios (Greek: of the same essence) and not homoiousios (Greek: of similar essence); that, as the Nicene Creed puts it, Jesus is “God from God, light from light, true God from true God … .”—and so forth.

“But the heart of the Trinity is not fine theological distinctions but a relation of love, a fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, a super-community that is so unified in love that it counts as one being….The type of community that can quickly and easily be fostered on the Internet is a disembodied one, one in which only minds meet, and that works at cross purposes to the movement of God in history.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/juneweb-only/122.43.0.html

CHAPTER, VERSE, TEXT, AND TWEET
Across the country, religious congregations have turned more to marketing to keep the members they have and attract others to their emptying pews. The trend is accelerating as the Internet and its explosion of social networking sites add entirely new ways to connect on spiritual issues.

But the growing emphasis on new salesmanship tools alarms others who say the onslaught undermines the idea that spirituality should be a respite from the constant clamor of commercialism.

“It’s considered heresy in some circles,” agreed Greg Smith, a research fellow for the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. “They consider consumerism shallow.” But, Smith said, “Whether they like it or not, religions are being forced to compete for members.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.startribune.com/science/47963531.html

IF GOD TEXTED THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
1. no1 b4 me. srsly.

2. dnt wrshp pix/idols

3. no omg’s

4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)

5. pos ok – ur m&d r cool

6. dnt kill ppl

7. :-X only w/ m8

8. dnt steal

9. dnt lie re: bf

10. dnt ogle ur bf’s m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

If you have no idea what this says, look up the “words” on Netlingo:
http://www.netlingo.com/
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

NIV AND TNIV CHAMPION REMEMBERED
The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) and IBS-STL mourn the passing of the Rev. John Stek, 84, who died June 6, 2009, after a long illness. The Rev. Stek gave nearly 45 years of his life to translating the Bible into the New International Version (NIV), and later, the Today’s New International Version (TNIV). He joined the CBT in 1965 and later served as chair for 15 years. The Rev. Stek also served as associate editor for the NIV Study Bible.

“Only we who have served on the CBT know how great is the influence that John Stek has had on the NIV and the TNIV,” said Douglas Moo, chair of CBT. “His ability to find the right English wording to communicate the meaning of the original text was quite remarkable. He will leave a huge gap in the CBT, and we will badly miss both his contributions and his wisdom.”

The Rev. Stek graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1952 and pastored a Christian Reformed Church in Minnesota prior to serving for 30 years as professor of Old Testament at Calvin Seminary. He retired from teaching in 1990.

A specialist in the poetic structure of the book of Psalms, Stek directed his scholarly ability and considerable knowledge of Hebrew into the task of Bible translation. His ongoing passion was for those who would benefit from a clearer presentation of the biblical text. Rev. Stek was the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Calvin Seminary…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/410210640.html

MOST POPULAR BIBLE VERSES CHOSEN BY iPHONE USERS
iPhone users have helped identify the most inspiring Bible verses. ReignDesign, developers of the ‘Bible Promises’ application for iPhone, recently released a new version which allows people to ‘favorite’ their most inspiring Bible verses. A list of the most popular verses was complied by analyzing information from thousands of church-goers:
1. Isaiah 40:31: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

2. Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

3. Psalms 103:2-3: Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

4. Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

5. Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/1498810697.html

DEFINING DISCERNMENT
by John MacArthur
In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.

First Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches that it is the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

According to the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer — it is required. The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one’s ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living — a certain recipe for compromise.

Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God’s Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.
http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/pulpit/Posts.aspx?ID=4254

TIME IN PEW SOFTENS IMMIGRATION VIEW?
by Jeffrey Weiss
“That headline is a slight oversimplification of a paper in the upcoming edition of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Based on a 2006 poll, the paper suggests that – all other things being equal – the more often people say they attend worship services, the more likely they will have a liberal attitude toward illegal immigrants.

“The paper’s title is ” ‘And Who Is My Neighbor?’ Religion and Immigration Policy Attitudes” and the author is Benjamin Knoll, a political science graduate student at the University of Iowa. He’s slicing and dicing the results of a 2006 poll, taken by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Hispanic Center, that assessed public opinion on immigration-related questions.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/06/08/pray-more-open-borders/

WORLD REFUGEE DAY…
was June 20
http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/refugee/index.html

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY’S NEW CEO SHIFTS PERSPECTIVES
The secret of Jim Daly’s success, he says only half-jokingly, is “low expectations.” Daly, president and chief executive of Focus on the Family, has achieved more by dint of low expectations than most heads of international multimedia giants. Daly, 47, a self-made “business guy,” succeeds psychologist James Dobson as leader of one of the world’s largest Christian media ministries. It has an audience of 230 million people in 149 countries. Daly is as low-key, quick with a self-effacing joke and seemingly lighthearted as Dobson was authoritative, intense, and formidable in defense of Christian values…. Read this in full at
http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_12581442

THE CHANGING FACE OF APOLOGETICS
Lee Strobel doesn’t think the traditional methods work anymore. He’s written many books—The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for the Real Jesus among them—that provide intellectual reasons, wrapped in stories, for the Christian faith. Stan Guthrie, Christianity Today managing editor for special projects, interviewed Strobel, a former pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas about his latest title, written with Mark Mittelberg: The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus (Zondervan).

Q: The Unexpected Adventure is basically a manual of personal stories encouraging people to do evangelism. Why did you write it?
A: The evangelism value leaks away from us faster than any other value in the Christian life. Churches are faced with the problem of having to elevate many different values: Bible study, prayer, community, and so on. Evangelism is [just] one of them. But I haven’t run into anybody who says, “Man, my spiritual life is so dry right now. I feel like I’m in the middle of the desert and, oh, by the way, I have a friend next door who’s not a Christian, and I’m really praying for opportunities to reach out to him. I’ve invited him to lunch next week, and I’m hoping God opens up a chance to talk about spiritual stuff.”…. Read this interview in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/june/22.58.html

THE TREASURE OF A SMILE
“A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” Unknown

VERSE TO PONDER
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1 – 2

CONSIDER
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” Corrie Ten Boom

A CHILD TURNS TO THE FOLD
At 13, Ryan Sweeney decided to join a local Protestant congregation; his parents, Bob and Dianne Sweeney, neither of them particularly religious, went along…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/fashion/14generationb.html

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IS MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY
June signals the beginning of another hurricane season, and residents near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts would do well to start preparing — especially if the words “Katrina,” “Ike” or “Gustav” strike a scary chord.

But Mickey Caison, a disaster relief leader at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, says preparedness is not only for the hurricane season but is a planning process that families, churches and local Baptist associations should undertake in advance of any possible disaster — whether a tornado in the South, a flood in the Midwest, an ice storm in New England or even a swine flu pandemic.

“Families should be prepared in the event of any disaster that may isolate them for a period of time, knock off electricity or block roads,” said Caison, NAMB’s team leader for adult volunteer mobilization.

He recommended that families develop a disaster plan and compile a supply kit to cover a minimum of three days.

The family survival kit would include one gallon of water per person per day; canned and packaged food; “comfort” food such as cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, instant coffee and tea bags; a first-aid kit; equipment and tools, including eating utensils; a battery-operated radio and flashlight with extra batteries; personal hygiene items; clothing and bedding; and special items like eyeglasses, copies of important family documents, cash, etc.

Churches also need to prepare. Such preparations for churches could include creating a communications plan for linking the church with its members during a disaster and, in advance, building strong relationships with community resources such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and city and county emergency management personnel.

Also, churches can decide in developing a disaster plan if they want to be an SBC disaster relief operations center, a site for a feeding unit or a temporary living shelter for disaster relief volunteers…. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=30694

also see
http://www.ChristianEmergencyNetwork.org/

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS LOOK FOR CURES TO STAGNATION
Decades of painful conservative-moderate fights. Stagnant baptism rates. Membership malaise. Surveying the state of the Southern Baptist Convention, seminary president Danny Akin can sum it all up in just six words. “Business as usual,” he said, “is not working.”

Seeking to turn things around for the nation’s largest Protestant body, Akin has teamed up with SBC President Johnny Hunt to draft a “Great Commission Resurgence” declaration that will be presented to the Baptists’ annual meeting on June 23-24 in Louisville, Ky. The goal is to find a new way forward after several high-profile campaigns to boost the number of baptisms — a key measure of vitality and an article of faith for Baptists — fell flat…. Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/news/rss.php?NewsID=18238

PENTECOSTAL DENOMINATION REPORTS MEMBERSHIP GAINS
In stark contrast to the declining trend among mainline groups, membership in the Assemblies of God continues to grow, new statistics show. For the 19th consecutive year, the Assemblies of God reported an increase in adherents and now claims more than 2.8 million followers, according to the Annual Church Ministries Report. The number of adherents went up by 1.3% in 2008, which statistician Sherri Doty called a significant gain…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090617/pentecostal-denomination-reports-membership-gains/index.html

PBS PUTS LIMITS ON RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMING
PBS officials voted June 16 to not allow new religious programming at member stations, but allowed select PBS stations to continue broadcasting their current faith-based line-ups. The PBS Board of Directors took the action after concerns were raised that religious programming could violate the organization’s nonsectarian status.

The board unanimously elected to grandfather in the handful of existing shows that are directly religious in nature; the ruling does not affect news shows or documentaries. “The board has basically voted to insure that the religious programming that stations currently provide and that communities have come to rely on are able to stay on air,” said PBS spokesperson Jan McNamara.

Only six of over 350 member stations broadcast religious programming, according to McNamara. At stake for at least three of the stations were long-running Sunday Masses, broadcast mostly to the elderly. For the last decade, the televised “Mass for Shut-Ins” has aired on Denver’s KBDI every Sunday at 6:30 a.m. The Archdiocese of Denver produces the program, which has been on-air continuously for 53 years…. Read this in full at
http://ncronline.org/news/pbs-puts-limits-religious-programming

BOTT RADIO PULLS PLUG ON MARK DRISCOLL, REPLACES SEGMENT MID-AIR ON 81 STATIONS
One of America’s largest Christian radio networks interrupted one of its programs in mid-show because it featured the controversial Seattle, Wash., pastor Mark Driscoll.

The Bott Radio Network then cancelled another interview with Driscoll that had been scheduled. The Bott network provides conservative Bible teaching, news and information to a potential audience of more than 40 million people in 10 states.

A May 18 interview with Driscoll, on the syndicated “Family Life” program hosted by Dennis Rainey, was halted in mid-broadcast after Bott Network founder Dick Bott learned Driscoll was the guest. Bott then cancelled another scheduled interview and ordered all Bott stations not to carry any programs featuring Driscoll.

However, Bott stressed that his respect for Rainey had not waned and that his radio network’s relationship with “Family Life” remains strong.

Bott said he made the decision because of what he saw as Driscoll’s penchant for using vulgarity in his sermons, especially his questionable interpretation of the Song of Solomon in a Nov. 18, 2007, sermon preached in Edinburgh, Scotland, and subsequently in a multi-part series entitled “The Peasant Princess.” …. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=30700

Also see “Preach Dirty to Me: The debate over profanity in the pulpit”
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/06/preach_dirty_to.html

ISRAELI COMPANY LAUNCHES KOSHER SEARCH ENGINE
A new Internet search engine is making it possible for ultra-Orthodox Jews who use computers to obtain information online — but not on the Sabbath, when the site shuts down.

Dubbed Koogle (a cross between Google and kugel, the name of a Jewish noodle pudding), the Hebrew-language search engine is being touted as a kosher portal for devout Jews who almost universally shun the Internet because many online sites are religiously inappropriate.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, known as haredim, live according to the strictest interpretation of the Torah as interpreted by their respective rabbis. They usually live in insular communities where access to secular culture is severely restricted. TVs are banned while computers and the Internet are tolerated strictly for work purposes.

In their mission statement, Koogle administrators said the site’s goal is to “filter the appropriate information from different Web sites that are relevant to our target audience in a way that does not contradict the values of our traditional Jewish audience.”

Koogle is not a filter for surfers who want to access secular websites. Rather, it is a compilation of Israeli resources deemed inoffensive by the administrators. It includes news, business directories, and links to realtors, kosher restaurants, hotels, as well as mohels, or ritual circumcisers, and rehab centers…. Read this in full at
http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/06/israeli-company-launches-koshe.php

CONSIDER
“The next hour in my life, starting now, is set with 60 diamond minutes and 3600 gold seconds; will I invest it wisely as the priceless treasure it is?” Jonathan Petersen

VERSE TO PONDER
“The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” 2 Peter 3:10-11

ON PRAYER
“Formal prayer is a practical device, not a spiritual necessity. It makes direct suggestions to our souls: it reminds us of realities which we always tend to forget.” Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Concerning the Inner Life, London: Methuen, 1927

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 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.]

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.

Creation through the lens: photos depicting the creation story (click the breadcrumb trail to advance by day)
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/images/2009/05/creation-day-one.html

Google Guide cheat sheet
http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html

US Constitution test (see how well you do)
http://www.dailyrepublican.com/constitution-test.html

Timeline of Art History
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/

How to quick peel a hard-boiled egg
http://www.videosift.com/video/Quick-Peel-An-Egg

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.)

Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it!
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank@gmail.com

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@frankcoleman.com 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: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/

———-

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