Connections – 07/12/09

For week of July 12, 2009
Issue 260

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.

Today’s issue is going out to 1,892 weekly subscribers. Thank you in advance for forwarding this issue to friends, family and associates! To have a friend start their own Free subscription to CONNECTIONS, please have them visit:
or subscribe via rss feed here:

“Encourage one another and build each other up.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:11~

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
~John Lennon~

A growing “religion gap” between older Americans and those under 30 is occuring, according to a new Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey. The study finds that one-fourth of Americans ages 18-29 say they’re atheists, agnostics, or have no religion, while only 7% of those 65 and over describe themselves that way. Eighteen percent of those ages 30-49 and 13% of those 50-64 fall into the no religion/atheist/agnostic category.

At 7%, the under-30s also are more than twice as likely as those 65 and over (3%) to say they belong to a religion other than Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish…. Read this in full at

No one doubts that American Christianity has had a profound effect on the shape of world Christianity. It’s figuring out the exact nature of that influence that still requires investigation and fresh thinking. University of Notre Dame historian Mark Noll has brought his usual careful research and wisdom to bear on this theme in his most recent work, The New Shape of World Christianity (IVP). Christianity Today Media Group editor in chief David Neff talked with Noll about the myths and realities of American influence overseas…. Read this interview in full at

Spring Lake, Mich.-based global relief organization International Aid (IA) ceased operations suddenly July 1. Board Chair Roger Spoelman said the board voted that morning to shut down the agency.

“While this was a tough decision for all of us who believe in the mission of the organization, we simply do not have the resources to continue even another day,” said Spoelman. IA acting CEO Dr. Gordon D. Loux informed the agency’s 40 US employees that afternoon. The shutdown also immediately affects 32 employees in Honduras and the Philippines.

Founded in 1980, International Aid provided health care services, technology, training and supplies to the poor in developing countries around the globe in addition to emergency aid for those affected by natural disasters.

Loux said the agency will continue shipments of medical equipment and supplies. He said he will be working with vendors and creditors affected by the shut down as well as notifying the agency’s corporate and other partners.

Also see
“Economy Closes One Relief Group, Forces Cuts at World Vision”

The August CBA bestseller and category top-seller lists — based on actual sales in Christian-retail stores in the US through the week ending June 27, 2009 – can be seen at

“You may not have realized it before, but as a Christian you are called into the unexpected adventure of spreading the faith to others. How do I know? Because a ‘Christian,’ by definition, is a follower of Jesus Christ, the one who came ‘to seek and to save what was lost’ (Luke 19:10) and who then commissioned us to follow his example and ‘go and make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19). We were redeemed, in part, for the purpose of reaching others for Christ. Therefore, we’ll never be complete in our experience with God until we allow him to use us to spread his message to others.

“Our God is the God of creativity and imagination. He’s an unpredictable being of perfection as well as spontaneity. He cares for the people he created with a strong and undying love, and he wants to use each of us in surprising ways to reach others with his life-changing gospel as part of his amazing redemptive plan for the entire world.

“Now that’s adventure, and it involves you.” from The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg

by Ken Connor
In the midst of President Obama’s efforts to push unprecedented expansions of federal regulatory authority through Congress, North Korea’s bellicose threats of nuclear annihilation and the Iranian regime’s brutal campaign to suppress political dissent, the American public’s attention was focused elsewhere.

On June 25, 2009, the nation plunged into mourning upon learning of the tragic deaths of Michael Jackson — inimitable King of Pop — and Hollywood’s original “angel,” Farah Fawcett. In the time it took for a commercial break, the coverage of the Iranian protests, the debates about “cap and trade” and health care reform and the diplomatic efforts to recover two American journalists being detained in a North Korean prison all but disappeared. They were eclipsed by footage of distraught fans, video montages, musical tributes, celebrity elegies and speculation about how the Obama administration might respond.

This lopsided allocation of media attention and public focus is an ominous indicator of how shallow and superficial we’ve become as a nation. It calls into question whether a nation fixated on entertainment possesses the maturity, discipline, judgment, and civic virtue necessary to preserve freedom in an increasingly hostile world…. Read this in full at

by Kelly Boggs
With the recent death of Michael Jackson, the phenomenon of celebrity worship is on display in all of its strange glory. Fans around the globe are experiencing soul-shaking grief and shedding a flood of tears at the passing of the King of Pop.

Vigils have cropped up in worldwide cities, attracting thousands of Jackson fans who have gathered to console one another. One news organization even reported that some Jackson devotees have committed suicide in response to the singer’s untimely death. “I now believe the figure is 12” [the number of suicides], Gary Taylor, president of an online Michael Jackson fan club, told Sky News.

I have long sought to understand why some people worship at the altar of celebrity. And, while I don’t know if I yet have a handle on it, I do have a theory that might help to explain why celebrity worship is a reality.

It was the 17th-century writer Blaise Pascal who said, “Inside of every man there is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.” Of course, I happen to believe the French philosopher’s premise is correct. That said, if God is not filling an individual’s spiritual vacuum, the individual will seek to fill it with something or someone else…. Read this in full at

by Oswald Chambers
If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all efforts of worth and excellence are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but it difficulty does not make us faint and cave in — it stirs us up to overcome. Do we appreciate the miraculous salvation of Jesus Christ enough to be our utmost for His highest — our best for His glory?

God saves people by His sovereign grace through the atonement of Jesus, and “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). But we have to “work out” that salvation in our everyday, practical living (Philippians 2:12). If we will only start on the basis of His redemption to do what He commands, then we will find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not yet put into practice what God has placed within us. But a crisis will reveal whether or not we have been putting it into practice. If we will obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has placed within us by His Spirit, then when a crisis does come we will find that our own nature, as well as the grace of God, will stand by us.

Thank God that He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a joyous thing, but it is also something that requires bravery, courage, and holiness. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 , and God will not shield us from the requirements of sonship. God’s grace produces men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not pampered, spoiled weaklings. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the worthy and excellent life of a disciple of Jesus in the realities of life. And it is always necessary for us to make an effort to live a life of worth and excellence.

Each Sunday afternoon in May, Gov. Mark Sanford and his wife hosted 5 other couples at the executive mansion for a spiritual “boot camp.” Topics discussed during the hour-and-a-half-long sessions included forgiveness and “not loving your wife as Christ loved the church.” Group leader Warren “Cubby” Culbertson did not tell the other 4 couples what he and his wife, Susan, had known for months: The governor was having an affair with a woman in Argentina. In an interview with The Associated Press at his Columbia office, just blocks from the State House, Culbertson said he believed his friend when he said that this was his only marital transgression. He thinks Sanford was simply caught off guard by “the power of darkness.”…. Read this in full at

Michael Leahy knows of what he speaks. He was addicted to p*rnography. On the first page of his introduction of his latest book, P*rn @ Work: Exposing the Office’s #1 Addiction (Northfield Publishing, 2009), he notes that “70% of all online p*rn access occurs during the 9-to-5 workday.”

Churches and pastors and Christians aren’t immune from p*rn. Steve Siler, director of Music for the Soul, a Nashville-based ministry, has released “Somebody’s Daughter: A Journey to Freedom from P*rnography” in a DVD/CD multimedia compilation featuring a TV documentary detailing the lives of three men and one couple active in Christian ministry who struggled with and overcame addiction to pornography.

Church Executive magazine asked Leahy to respond to some questions about p*rn and its pervasiveness even in the offices of pastors and church staff…. Read this in full at

Parents may now have a more urgent reason to monitor what their children watch on television, a new study suggests. Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston found that early teen sex may be linked to viewing adult content on television as children. The study tracked children from ages 6 to 18 and found that the sooner children began to view adult content on television programs and movies, the earlier they became sexually active during adolescence.

“Television and movies are among the leading sources of information about sex and relationships for adolescents,” said Hernan Delgado, a specialist in adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and the study’s lead author, in a news release on the study. “Our research shows that their sexual attitudes and expectations are influenced much earlier in life.” …. Read this in full at

Walt Kallestad, senior pastor of Community Church of Joy, Glendale, AZ, told Church Executive that the movement within his ELCA denomination to allow gay ordained clergy will not be accepted by his congregation or school. The ELCA churchwide meetings in Minneapolis next month will vote on allowing congregations to receive “life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships” among ordained clergy.

On March 4 Kallestad wrote his congregation “our firm opposition to this policy” in the belief that “the Bible makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin.” He expanded on his views in the magazine’s interview, noting that the ELCA statement on sexuality has “become a social action issue when it’s not. It’s a biblical authority issue.”

Church of Joy has an attendance of 2,500 and a school of 1,000 students. Kallestad says that “if they are seeking diversity, what they’ve ended up with is division.” He has said he is working with other large congregations against the action when it comes to a vote…. Read this in full at

“Incarnational spirituality — the living, reigning, and ascended Jesus living through us and transforming us into different people — does not exist to uphold a few rules but rather speaks of a process that creates an entirely new person who sees with new eyes, feels with a new heart, hears with renewed ears, and lives with a new passion. It is, I believe, the only life worth living.

“I pray that you will view your eyes as God’s servants. You will look at your hands and feet as holy instruments of the mighty Creator. You will offer your ears to be constantly in tune with God’s instruction. Your heart will beat with God’s passion, and your mind will begin the journey of thinking God’s thoughts. Your body will be a living, breathing center of purposeful passion, pointing toward the risen and reigning Christ, who works so powerfully within us. You will become ‘holy available’ to him.” From Holy Available: What If Holiness Is about More Than What We Don’t Do?
by Gary Thomas

Top 10 Lessons from the US Navy: Management Lessons on an Aircraft Carrier at Sea
This is a blog post by Bill Reichert. He joined other bloggers for an overnight trip on the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier that’s named after Chester Nimitz (Nimitz signed the US/Japan surrender terms that at the end of World War II). The Nimitz has a crew of approximately 3,000 men and women. When an air wing is deployed on it, the total number of personnel becomes 5,000. It’s part of Carrier Strike Group 11…. Read this in full at

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
~Ephesians 3:17–19~

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
~Jim Elliot~

He was born on July 10, 1509, a religious thinker and leader who may have done as much as anyone to shape the modern world. And yet after 500 years, John Calvin is still not an easy man to understand.

Calvin is often imagined, if he is imagined at all, as the implacable snoop who enforced a prudish morality on the citizens of Geneva, a steely spinner of harsh theological doctrines about a depraved humanity and a fierce God predestining people to heaven or hell. Calvin was a product of Renaissance humanism, a student of the Greek and Roman classics who reread Cicero every year, a writer of exceptional grace and lucidity in both Latin and French, a man of prodigious learning, who did not dwell on damnation but rather exulted in a sovereign but not at all distant God, a God whose glory was manifest in the goodness of the world and the potential of humanity…. Read this in full at

The percentage of Hispanic Catholics in America has dropped, while the proportion of born-again Hispanics has increased, a new survey by the Barna Group finds. Over the past 15 years, the proportion of Hispanics in America that is aligned with the Catholic Church has fallen by 25%. By comparison, the proportion of born-again Christians for this ethnic group has increased by 17%.

“You cannot help but notice the changing relationship between Hispanics and the Catholic Church,” comments George Barna, whose company conducted the research. “While many Hispanic immigrants come to the United States with ties to Catholicism, the research shows that many of them eventually connect with a Protestant church.” Moreover, many second and third generation Hispanic Americans are leaving the Catholic tradition, he says…. Read this in full at

Researchers continue to debate whether drinking alcohol in moderation yields any tangible health benefits after some studies have suggested it could promote heart health and reduce the risk for diabetes and dementia.

“The bottom line is there has not been a single study done on moderate alcohol consumption and mortality outcomes that is a ‘gold standard’ kind of study — the kind of randomized controlled clinical trial that we would be required to have in order to approve a new pharmaceutical agent in this country,” Tim Naimi, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The New York Times in June…. Read this in full at

Your Church magazine recently surveyed nearly 1,100 church leaders to better understand the ways their churches spend money and prioritize budgets, as well as their views of the current economic situation. The results of the survey reveal an increasing gap between income and projected expenses for churches.

According to the survey results, tithes and offerings, which comprise an average of 87% of the average church’s budget, have declined for 40% of the churches surveyed within the past six months. At the same time, 32% say budgets have increased between 2% to 10% over last year’s expenses.

Your Church magazine convened a roundtable discussion with five church leaders to review the survey results. “Historically, evangelical Protestant churches tend to be tithe-driven,” says Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research, and a roundtable participant. “Effects of unemployment tend to lag a bit for churches that emphasize tithing, but as the unemployment rate continues to increase, more congregations will get hit financially. Churches need to be ready for this impact.”

On average, salaries and wages comprise 38% of church operating budgets, the largest expense, survey results show. Building expenses make up 12%, a distant second. When asked what options they have considered to reduce expenses, 20% of churches say they have implemented salary freezes, followed by hiring freezes, pay cuts, and layoffs. To view the Executive Report featuring more on Your Church’s Budget Priorities Survey results, visit

The third annual “Faith In Action Sunday” — which challenges churches to literally close their doors on a Sunday morning and go out and serve their communities — will take place on Oct. 11 this year. “Faith in Action” was developed by World Vision, Zondervan and Outreach, Inc. in 2007 to encourage churches, ministries, and small groups to serve and meet practical needs in their local communities.

The “Faith in Action” movement is quickly becoming a viral online community of service-minded churches, collecting photos, videos, and testimonies via RSS feeds from other popular sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “Faith in Action” also utilizes an online social network to connect churches with one another’s stories and successes. Participants can find more resources to equip their congregations for service at

John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor, is the national spokesman for “Faith in Action.” He called the initiative “a dynamic program that galvanizes your congregation to be the hands and feet of Jesus in meeting real needs in your local community.”

Richard Stearns, president for World Vision, agreed. “‘Faith in Action’ is a powerful way to demonstrate the love of Jesus to our neighbors,” he said…. Read this in full at

In about three months, several hundred hikers will summit a northern Maine mountain called Katahdin, a 5,000-foot-high peak just south of the border with Canada. Many of them will have completed an arduous 2,175-mile journey and fulfilled a dream.

Those who complete the millions of footsteps from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin are forever changed with stories to tell well into retirement: encounters with bears, demanding 30-mile days, odd new acquaintances, lifelong friends. And some might tell the story of First Baptist Church in Damascus, Va., where Southern Baptists washed their feet and provided hot showers, medical care, Internet access and a good conversation about God.

“It started as a hotdog cookout,” says pastor Wayne Guynn, who credits Linda and Jeff Austin with taking over the ministry and ramping it up. Now, Guynn says, they partner with churches in Alabama and Georgia and with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia to simply make life more pleasant for hikers who come to the annual event known as Trail Days, which ran May 15-17 this year. In the process, they get to love hikers and tell them about Christ…. Read this in full at

One of the most popular journalism contests in the nation is known as the Amy Writing Awards (, presented by The Amy Foundation, founded in 1976 by W. James Russell and his wife Phyllis, and named after their daughter. The Amy Writing Awards is a call to present biblical truth reinforced with scripture in secular, non-religious publications. First prize is $10,000 with a total of $34,000 given annually to the authors of the 15 award-winning articles.

The Amy Foundation Writing Awards program is designed to recognize creative, skillful writing that applies in a sensitive, thought-provoking manner the biblical principles to issues affecting the world today, with an emphasis on discipling. The Amy Writing Awards program encourages writers to apply biblical principles to contemporary issues. Articles considered for awards must appear in mainstream print or online news publications and include at least one Bible quotation…. Read this in full at

Democrats may control the White House and Congress, but a new survey says the country isn’t getting more liberal — in fact, the opposite may be true.

The Gallup survey of 1,011 adults found that 39% of American adults say their “views on political issues” have grown more conservative in recent years, compared to 18% who say their views have grown more liberal and 42% who say their views have not changed. The poll was conducted June 14-17.

In fact, all three political identity groups show that adults are more likely to have grown more conservative than liberal. Among Republicans, 47% say they are more conservative and 9% more liberal. For Independents, it’s 37% (more conservative) and 19% (more liberal), and for Democrats, 34% (more conservative) and 23% (more liberal)…. Read this in full at

“The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.”
~George Bernard Shaw~

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
~1 Chronicles 29:11~

Trouble and perplexity drive me to prayer and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble.“ Philip Melanchthen


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.

My Utmost for His Highest

US & World Population Clocks

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.)

Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?
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.
Visit our website at:


Subscribe to CONNECTIONS here

Get Archives of all past issues here:

Check out my blog

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: