Connections – 08/09/09

For week of August 9, 2009
Issue 264

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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The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
Galatians 5:6

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received … but only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”
St. Francis of Assisi

The men who seek help from evangelical counselor Warren Throckmorton often are deeply distressed. They have prayed, read Scripture, even married, but they haven’t been able to shake sexual attractions to other men — impulses they believe to be immoral.

Dr. Throckmorton is a psychology professor at a Christian college in Pennsylvania and past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He specializes in working with clients conflicted about their sexual identity.

The first thing he tells them is this: Your attractions aren’t a sign of mental illness or a punishment for insufficient faith. He tells them that he cannot turn them straight. But he also tells them they don’t have to be gay…. Read this in full at

This year’s Promise Keepers stadium event took a different turn from its usual godly men talks. Relaunched August 1 under the leadership of founder Bill McCartney, the men’s ministry drew some 10,000 men, women, and children to Boulder, Colo., for talks of revival and unity. “We’re back because Coach received a clarion call from God to relaunch this ministry. It is recognition of the fact that the church is . . . incredibly divided,” Promise Keepers president Raleigh Washington told the Denver Post. “Coach’s heart, his calling, is to heal the divide.”

The weekend event was scheduled as the only event for Promise Keepers, which is in its 20th year of ministry, this year and the first major event since former University of Colorado football coach McCartney returned to the helm of the ministry last September. Promise Keepers has typically held numerous events across the country throughout the year, drawing tens of thousands of men. But with declining attendance and revenues, the ministry scaled down the number of stadium-size events in recent years.

Recalling the ministry’s glory days, McCartney noted that they had over 350 full-time staff at one time and their budget was $100 million a year. Returning to the Promise Keepers stage, after having resigned as president in 2003, McCartney, 68, came out strong to relay a message of healing and honor not just in the context of the ministry but in regards to all of Christianity…. Read this in full at

A number of reasons can be given for the decline, including an increasingly secular society and the other demands on the time of the average child. And then there is a content problem. The kind of Sunday-school activities that pleased my generation simply wouldn’t fly with today’s busier and more sophisticated kids. “A lot of the stuff we did was rote memory,” said Mr. Morrison of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Ultimately, if Sunday school is to thrive, parental involvement is necessary — somebody has to say, “Go.” But who? The Rev. Neil MacQueen, a Presbyterian minister who develops software programs for Sunday schools, cites a crucial factor in the decline of Sunday-school attendance: divorce. On any given Sunday, many children of divorced parents are out of town, visiting “the other” parent…. Read this in full at

1. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, CA
2. Brigham Young University (UT)
3. Wheaton College (IL)
4. Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI
5. University of Dallas, Irving, TX
6. Grove City College, Grove City, PA
7. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO
8. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
9. Furman University, Greenville, SC
10. Samford University, Birmingham, AL
11. Baylor University, Waco, TX
12. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
13. Texas A&M University–College Station
14. United States Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, CO
15. Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
16. Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
17. St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH
18. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
19. Auburn University, Auburn, AL
20. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT…. Read this in full at

Results from a recent study on the impact of a college student’s major on their religiosity have led researchers to conclude that postmodernism, rather than science, is the greatest antagonist of religiosity. Researchers at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor drew the conclusion after finding that majoring in Humanities or Social Sciences has a significant negative effect on religious attendance and self-assessed importance of religion in one’s life.

“Because we consider both the Humanities and many of the Social Sciences particularly strongly imbued with Postmodernism, we take this as evidence for a negative effect of Postmodernism on religiosity,” they state in their report. Majoring in the Biological Sciences and the Physical Sciences has a much smaller negative or no effects on religiosity…. Read this in full at

In a 68-31 vote August 6 that was split largely down party lines, the Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s next Supreme Court justice, making her the first Hispanic ever to sit on the high court.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, one of the nation’s largest networks of Hispanic believers, said he is cautiously optimistic about Sotomayor, who spent 11 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York.

He congratulated her on her historic confirmation, saying it gives Hispanic Americans an opportunity to more fully incorporate into the American community. But he said as an evangelical Christian, he is praying that the new justice “demonstrates moderation, prudence and does not attempt to legislate from the bench.” …. Read this in full at

by Chris Armstrong
As a history professor, I have asked my students, “What is monasticism?” and I often get suspicious, negative answers: “Monks withdrawing from the world.” “Unhealthy isolation and no evangelism.” “Men and women who won’t engage with the surrounding culture.” “Those who thing the body and material world are evil.” “Those too busy in self-centered devotions to care for others.”

My students think they know what motivated the early monks: obsessed with their own salvation and afraid of their own sexuality, they retreated to the desert to fight “demons,” which were actually vivid manifestations of their own libido-right?

Interestingly, the early monks did fear the temptations of demons, but what sorts of temptations did those demons actually present to their would-be victims? Sure, fornication was among them. But what did fornication actually mean?

For at least one of the original monks, Antony of Egypt (A.D. 251-356), fornication stood for anything that dragged the heart away from God—any flirtation with an idolatrous replacement for the Lord. Fornication could mean sex and sensuality, but it could also mean forsaking vows, going home, and being caught up in the commerce and competition of life in the Nile Valley. In ancient dream theory, if a man dreams of a woman, he is dreaming of his business—how he supports the woman. That was the deepest fear of the monk: not that he would merely indulge himself sexually, but that the entire direction of his life and affections would shift from following God to the distracting entanglements of “life in the city.”…. Read this in full at

Just when it seemed to have cooled off, the topic of hell is back on the front burner — at least for pastors learning to preach about a topic most Americans would rather not talk about. Only 59% of Americans believe in hell, compared with 74% who believe in heaven, according to the recent surveys from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“I think it’s such a difficult and important biblical topic,” said Kurt Selles, director of the Global Center at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. “There’s a big change that’s taken place as far as evangelicals not wanting to be as exclusive.” At the recent annual Beeson Pastors School, Selles led two workshops to discuss “Whatever happened to hell?” He asked how many of the pastors had ever preached a sermon on hell. Nobody had, he said…. Read this in full at

Compassion International, the world’s largest Christian child development organization, is in the top 1% of charities in terms of fiscal responsibility, according to an independent charity evaluator. For 8 straight years, Compassion has been awarded the highest rating — 4 stars — by Charity Navigator for responsible management of its finances.

Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest independent evaluator of charities. It evaluates more than 5,400 charities each year.

“Only one percent of the charities we rate have received at least eight consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that Compassion International consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and out performs most other charities in America,” said Charity Navigator president and CEO Ken Berger. “This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Compassion International from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.” …. Read this in full at

The radio program Speaking of Faith explores television as a center of storytelling in US culture — and listen in on intriguing, important themes of our time being played out in a new generation of shows like Lost, The Wire, House, and Battlestar Galactica that now have eternal life online. Guest Diane Winston appreciates good television, studies it, and brings many of its creators into her religion and media classes at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California…. Listen to this program at

The Assemblies of God elected its first woman to the Executive Presbytery during its biennial meeting August 5. “It’s a wonderful moment for the church to recognize God lays his hand on women and say they bring something to the table,” the Rev. Beth Grant, who was elected on the second electoral ballot, told The Ledger.

Thousands of ministers and delegates at the 53rd General Council in Orlando, Fla., greeted Grant’s election with a standing ovation. Grant, a missionary in India and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, addressed the crowd saying, “We as a movement are who we are because women went to the ends of the earth with nothing more than the call of God. We are here today and we in this vote are saying thank you God for the women in our Movement.”

Two years ago, the General Council of the nearly 3 million-member Pentecostal denomination approved a resolution to add two executive presbyter positions for an ordained woman and an ordained pastor under the age of 40. Although women have been allowed to serve in pastoral roles for decades, female ministers have never taken a seat in the denomination’s top leadership…. Read this in full at

“Our culture is a master of droning prose. Storytelling is found in film and literature, but rarely in public speech. We believe that religious speakers are effective when they can string out long arguments to defend their points, when they can persuade by the force of argument — this for us is theological sophistication. But this view betrays an important Western prejudice, that storytelling cultures are less sophisticated than prose cultures like our own. They are not!

“Jesus’ world was also filled with drama and entertainment and theater. Jesus himself was theatrical, and this was a feature of his teaching strategy. Rather than giving a speech about a corrupt temple, he ransacked it. When Jesus underscored the cost of discipleship, he told his disciples that they should plan to carry a cross. His culture valued the clever image, the crisp story. Jesus himself was clever and in this brilliance, people intuited his sophistication.” from Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller by Gary M. Burge

Outdoor baptisms are rapidly disappearing in America. Once prevalent in the rivers and deltas of the South, the ritual has been nearly extinguished by indoor pools, mega-churches, and modernization, researchers and ministers say. Only a handful of churches keep it alive. “It’s a feature of American Protestantism that is vanishing,” says David Daniels, professor of church history at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

No one keeps statistics on outdoor baptisms, which are performed predominately by Baptists and Pentecostals. But officials at the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest grouping of Baptist churches in the USA, say of the 342,000 baptisms performed last year by its member churches, the vast majority were done indoors…. Read this in full at

by R.C. Sproul
It has been called the Achilles’ heel of the Christian faith. Of course, I’m referring to the classical problem of the existence of evil. Philosophers such as John Stuart Mill have argued that the existence of evil demonstrates that God is either not omnipotent or not good and loving — the reasoning being that if evil exists apart from the sovereign power of God, then by resistless logic, God cannot be deemed omnipotent. On the other hand, if God does have the power to prevent evil but fails to do it, then this would reflect upon His character, indicating that He is neither good nor loving.

Because of the persistence of this problem, the church has seen countless attempts at what is called theodicy. The term theodicy involves the combining of two Greek words: the word for God, theos, and the word for justification, dikaios. Hence, a theodicy is an attempt to justify God for the existence of evil (as seen, for instance, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost). Such theodicies have covered the gauntlet between a simple explanation that evil comes as a direct result of human free will or to more complex philosophical attempts such as that offered by the philosopher Leibniz.

In his theodicy, which was satired by Voltaire’s Candide, Leibniz distinguished among three types of evil: natural evil, metaphysical evil, and moral evil. In this three-fold schema, Leibniz argued that moral evil is an inevitable and necessary consequence of finitude, which is a metaphysical lack of complete being. Because every creature falls short of infinite being, that shortfall must necessarily yield defects such as we see in moral evil. The problem with this theodicy is that it fails to take into account the biblical ideal of evil. If evil is a metaphysical necessity for creatures, then obviously Adam and Eve had to have been evil before the fall and would have to continue to be evil even after glorification in heaven…. Read this in full at

“[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”
Galatians 5:22-23

“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.”
Albert Schweitzer

World Congress of Families V (Amsterdam, August 10-12), will be the first Congress to be webcast live on the Internet with video and audio. Both plenary sessions and panel discussions in the main hall will be webcast live. To access live webcasting, go to either the World Congress of Families site ( or the website of the Dutch local organizing committee ( and follow the instructions.

World Congress of Families V marks 12 years of international pro-family Congresses — Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007) and Amsterdam (2009).

Marie Huttenlock Little, the widow of late evangelism guru Paul Little, passed away July 28 after more than six decades of ministry. Little’s husband was InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s director of Evangelism from 1965 until 1975, the year he died in an automobile accident. Before his death, Paul Little had written a number of popular books on evangelism and apologetics — one of which (Know Why You Believe) was selected by Christianity Today magazine as one of the 50 most influential books of 20th century evangelicalism. He’s also known for How to Give Away Your Faith and Know What You Believe…. Read this in full at

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. However, in contemporary organizations other strategies have often been tried with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Threatening the horse with termination.
4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
7. Appointing an intervention team to reanimate the dead horse.
8. Creating a training session to increase the riders load share.
9. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
10. Change the form so that it reads: “This horse is not dead.”
11. Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
12. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.
13. Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its full original cost.
14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
15. Do a time management study to see if the lighter riders would improve productivity. 16. Purchase an after-market product to make dead horses run faster.
17. Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs better.
18. Form a quality focus group to find profitable uses for dead horses.
19. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for horses.
20. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position. (Mikey’s Funnies)

by Nick Baldock
Detective fiction is a distinctively moral genre; indeed, a distinctively theological genre. Questions of guilt and justice are inherent within even the most implausible and incredible whodunit. The world of Agatha Christie was a Christian world. The assumptions, morality, and society are Christian.

Christie was baptised into the Church of England, although her peripatetic mother dabbled in other religions, including Catholicism, and introduced Agatha to the possibilities of occult spirituality, a theme that recurs in her stories outside the classic detective genre. Nonetheless, it was her mother’s copy of the Imitation of Christ that Christie kept by her bedside, an inspiration she passed onto her detective Jane Marple, a character A.N. Wilson called “a more impressive creation than those old women such as Mrs. Moore in the novels of E.M. Forster, who are somehow meant to carry quasi-mythic weight and hidden wisdom.”…. Read this in full at

Here, we present the second program in our series on moral and spiritual aspects of living in and beyond economic crisis, this time with wise voices from religion, science, industry, and the arts. As the economy has faltered, we’ve grasped to understand what went wrong, and how. But beneath economic explanations and remedies, these questions compel us to other kinds of reflection — on qualities of human nature that ultimately determine economies and markets; on qualities of humanity that we want to cultivate in ourselves and our children. How will we redefine what matters in this moment? Who will we be for each other? …. Listen to this in full at

As millions of Americans head back to school, organizers of a new faith-based outreach campaign hope that millions more will come back to church as well.

The “Back to Church Sunday” campaign ( from San Diego-based Outreach Inc. makes it easy for church members to invite their friends and family by creating a worship service specifically geared toward visitors.

The program kicks off with national “Back to Church Sunday” on Sept.13 aimed at reaching the “un-churched” and “de-churched” — people who used to go to church, but don’t any more.

The campaign is based on a simple idea. If you ask un-churched people to come with you to church-mostly likely they’ll say yes…. Read this in full at

PBS will present three documentaries that explore faith and the varieties of religious expression in the United States — one of the most religiously observant and spiritually diverse countries in the world. GOD IN AMERICA, THE BUDDHA, and THE CALLING will air in 2010 on PBS.

“For many Americans, exploring religion and faith is one of life’s biggest and most central questions, and PBS offers some of the most compelling, wide-ranging programming on this subject any where on television,” said John F. Wilson, PBS Chief TV Programming Executive. “In 2010, viewers will be able to enhance their understanding from three different documentary perspectives providing a truly multi-dimensional experience that will also continue online with materials and video.”

GOD IN AMERICA, a six-hour documentary series from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, targeted to air in fall 2010 on PBS, will tell the sweeping and dramatic story of religious life in America, examining more than 500 years of American religious history from the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the 2008 presidential election. GOD IN AMERICA will examine this history as it has played out in public life, exploring the complex interaction between religion and democracy in the United States; the origins of the American concept of religious liberty; the dynamics of the ever-evolving American religious marketplace; and the vital role played by religious ideas and institutions in many social reform movements in the country’s history…. Read this in full at

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)
2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
3. Add 5
4. Multiply it by 50 — I’ll wait while you get the calculator
5. If you have already had your birthday this year, add 1759. If you haven’t, add 1758
6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
You should have a three digit number. The first digit of this number is your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week). The next two numbers are your age!

What is true worship? It can elevate us into the presence of God, renew and refresh our spirits, and offer the deepest expression of love for our Savior. Yet worship can also be a call to arms, a battle cry, a salvo in an ancient spiritual war that continues today. In his first book, Make Love, Make War: Now Is the Time to Worship (David C Cook, August 2009), award-winning songwriter Brian Doerksen challenges Christians to make their lives an offering of radical worship.

An acclaimed songwriter, recording artist, author, conference speaker, and pastor, Doerksen believes God is calling us to love and to battle–to spread peace and wage spiritual warfare. “Each is essential to our daily spiritual walk,” writes Doerksen. “We do this through how we live, how we serve Him, and how we protect and fight for what matters most. One of the ways I make love and war is through music.”

In Make Love, Make War, Doerksen shares the stories and inspirations behind some of today’s most influential songs of worship. While offering special tips for aspiring songwriters, Doerksen also reveals rich truths and insights about the nature of God, His calling for us, and how we can wage spiritual war and share His love through a life of radical worship.

“I believe that we know love and war are at the heart of everything inside us, and everything going on all around us,” says Doerksen. “We sense that there is nothing that Satan hates more than the worship of Yahweh by those who are faithful to the Lamb. He spends more than a little energy convincing us that there really is no war going on, and that the sum total of our lives’ calling is to be nice. But God is provoking us to rise up and fight. The war He calls us to make is always for the sake of love!”

Beginning August through September, the “Hear It First, Read It First” contest and promotion for Make Love, Make War will be sponsored by David C Cook, Integrity Music,, and Gibson/Epiphone Guitars. By visiting, fans and readers will be able to enter to win prizes, as well as download free music video performances of Brian Doerksen and free sample chapters from Make Love, Make War.

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
Mark Twain

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And 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 3:16-19

In his “One Minute Uplift” newsletter, Rick Ezell writes: “St. Augustine, the early church father and theologian, described prayer as like a man in a hapless boat, who throws a rope at a rock. The rock provides the needed security and stability for the helpless man. When the rock is lassoed, it’s not the man pulling the rock to the boat (though it may appear that way); it is the pulling of the boat to the rock. Jesus is the rock, and we throw the rope through prayer.

“Samuel Chadwick said, ‘The one concern of the devil is to keep saints from prayer. He fears nothing from prayer less studies, prayer less work, and prayer less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.'”
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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.

Petra: Lost City of Stone


The Longest Way 1.0 — one year walk/beard grow time lapse video

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.)

Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks 2 sizes!
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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