Connections – 08/16/09

For week of August 16, 2009
Issue 265

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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[Jesus said,] “‘You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’”
~Matthew 5:14-16~

“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”
~Edwin Hubbel Chapin (1814-1880), paraphrased from Duties of Young Men, Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1853, p. 160~

More than half of today’s young people say they hold different values than the Woodstock generation, but a surprisingly large percentage of today’s youth think earlier generations had the better morals, a new poll by the Pew Research Center has found.

About 80% of those surveyed said youths and older adults hold different moral values, and the same number of respondents said that the young and the old have a different attitude toward work. Seventy-eight percent also said young people and older adults differ in showing respect to other people, the poll found…. Read this in full at

A new report from The Barna Group, based on interviews with more than 3,000 adults, shows that congregational size is related to the nature of a congregation’s religious beliefs, religious behavior, and demographic profile. There are clearly significant differences between the smallest and largest of Protestant churches in terms of the theological beliefs of adherents.

The survey results discovered the following:
* On 17 indicators of religious belief and behavior examined in the research there were statistically significant differences between churches of 100 or fewer adult attenders and churches of 1000 or more adult attenders. The only item tested in which there was not a distinction was whether the church attender had prayed during the past week.
* On all 9 of the belief statements tested, attenders of large churches were more likely than those engaged in a small or mid-sized congregation to give an orthodox biblical response — e.g., the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches, Satan is not merely symbolic but exists, Jesus led a sinless life, God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe, etc…. Read this in full at

Also see “Easy explanation to puzzling Barna survey?”

by Dick Staub
In a recent column I asked why, if so many people are seeking, so few are finding God. Some readers asked if I could suggest some common characteristics of seekers who DO find God. A windy night on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state last week provided some simple illustrations. It all began when my wife heard a noise at 2 a.m. and asked me to investigate…. Read this in full at

In findings that directly contradict mainstream academic thought, 53% of subjects in a new seven-year study reported successfully leaving homosexuality and living happily as heterosexual or celibate persons.

The study by psychologists Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University is a follow-up to one released two years ago in the form of a book, “Ex-Gays?” That study was called groundbreaking, and the latest set of data is no less significant, the researchers say.

The men followed 61 subjects over a span of six to seven years, recording their failures and successes in their attempt to leave homosexuality. Experts in the field call it the first attempt to follow subjects who are undergoing Christian counseling over a series of years. Such a time-consuming study is called “longitudinal.”

Among their findings:

— 23% reported a successful conversion to heterosexual attractions.

— 30% reported living a celibate life and were content with their reduction in homosexual attractions. Altogether, those latter two categories were combined for a 53% success rate, the researchers said.

— 16% of subjects had modest decreases in homosexual attractions and weren’t satisfied with their degree of change but were committed to continuing the process.

— 7% had seen no decrease in homosexual attractions but had not given up trying to change.

— 25% of subjects were considered “failures,” either because they gave up on the process and once again identified as a homosexual (20%) or because they had not yet embraced a homosexual identity but nevertheless had given up (5%)…. Read this in full at

Focus on the Family will be passing the reigns of its Love Won Out conferences on homosexuality to another ministry. The move is a logical step, the Colorado Springs-based evangelical organization said, especially as it faces a “serious” budget shortfall…. Read this in full at

Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter says evangelicalism is changing, strong interfaith relationships are important, and faith communities should support a broad public policy agenda. Watch this video report at

by Michael Ireland
Ramadan is Islam’s holiest month, and it begins August 22. Ramadan is a time where Muslims re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. They try to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits — essentially to clean up their lives, thoughts, and feelings.

The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” — and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but also from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In this way, every part of the body observes the fast.

For the 18th year in a row, Paul Filidis of is asking Christians to pray that many Muslims will come to know Christ during their holiest time of the year…. Read this in full at

by Skye Jethani
A poll conducted by Time Magazine has revealed that The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is the most trusted news anchor in America. He beat Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, and Katie Couric. Walter Cronkite, having just entered his grave, must already be turning over in it.

The popularity of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Onion reveals something about my generation. We love sarcasm. It is our native tongue. Listen to a group of under 40s engaging in casual conversation. It’s hard for us to talk for 30 seconds without a quip, a dig, or dose of eye-rolling hyperbole. We especially like to cut down authorities — as Jon Stewart has perfected with his witty jabs at the mainstream news media and government leaders from both parties. His irreverence is so popular that officials clamor to get on his show to be mocked. They think they’ll be perceived as “good sports” for playing along.

But where does this deep reservoir of sarcasm come from? Why does it saturate my generation the way a strong work ethic once saturated the Greatest Generation or the way free-thinking saturated the Boomers? Here’s my best guess: I think our sarcasm is a socially acceptable way for us to vent the mountain of anger we feel.

We are the first generation born after the passage of no-fault-divorce. We come from broken homes. We are the first generation born after Vietnam and Watergate. We live with a broken government. We are the first generation raised on cable television and 24 hour advertising. We are suspicious of marketing and spin. We are the first generation to fight a war on drugs. We are over-medicated and under-achieving…. Read this in full at

Fatherhood has been an important part of President Obama’s childhood narrative, growing up with an absent father. It was the cornerstone of a historic speech he delivered last year, assailing men who run away from their parenting responsibilities. And now it’s a priority for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, with the launch of the national fatherhood tour. With its first stop in Chicago, Obama’s faith-based office is going around the country holding town hall meetings to discuss the importance of fatherhood and speak with community organizations about what policies best work to build strong families.

And the man entrusted by the president to lead the way on this initiative is Joshua DuBois. A 27-year-old Pentecostal minister, DuBois served as the director of religious affairs for Obama’s presidential campaign. Now, the young man has been handed an even bigger job, leading the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. And though DuBois is not yet a father himself, the issue of fatherhood is one of the top four priorities for his office. (The others include interreligious dialogue and cooperation, the role of nonprofits in the economic recovery, and working to reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies.) …. Read this in full at

“There are doubtless many reasons for the degeneration of Christianity into churchiness, and the narrowing of the Gospel for all mankind into a set of approved beliefs; but the chief cause must be the worship of an inadequate god–a cramped and regulated god who is a ‘good churchman’ according to the formulas of the worshipper. For actual behaviour infallibly betrays the real object of the man’s worship. All Christians, whatever their church, would of course instantly repudiate the idea that their god was a super-example of their own denomination, and it is not suggested that the worship is conscious. Nevertheless, beneath the conscious critical level of the mind it is perfectly possible for the Anglo-Catholic, for example, to conceive God as particularly pleased with Anglo-Catholicism, doubtful about Evangelicalism, and frankly displeased by all forms of Nonconformity… The ultra-low Churchman on the other hand must admit, if he is honest, that the God whom he worships disapproves most strongly of vestments, incense, and candles on the altar. The tragedy of these examples — which could be reproduced ad nauseam any day of the week — is not difference of opinion, which will probably be with us till the Day of Judgment, but the outrageous folly and damnable sin of trying to regard God as the Party Leader of a particular point of view.”
~J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 38~

One in eight background checks conducted on volunteers or prospective employees through LifeWay Christian Resources found a criminal history that might have kept an individual from working or volunteering at a church, the Southern Baptist Convention publishing house reported Aug. 4.

Last year LifeWay negotiated an affinity-group discount for screening services for churches with, a 10-year-old company with 4,500 clients. Since then, according to a news release, about 450 churches requested more than 5,000 background checks on volunteers and prospective employees.

While most screenings returned clean records or only minor traffic offenses, LifeWay said, 80 found serious felony offenses and more than 600 people had some type of criminal history that may have disqualified them from volunteering or working at a church…. Read this in full at

by Peter Collins
These will be painful firings. Are they morally justified? Over and over I have asked myself this question. When I try to justify what I am about to do, this is the best I can come up with:

If I don’t fire some people now, we as a company will lose money faster. If we lose too much money, ultimately I will have to fire more people than these four. So the best way to minimize total pain is to fire them now, get the business healthy again, and then add more employees later once the business is on sounder footing.

By creating a more profitable business I will be able to bless my current and future employees along with their families, and all of the customers we serve. If I do not fire them, these blessings are less likely to come to pass, and the company could suffer…. What happens when a manager, known for loving his people, has to fire them? Would Jesus fire someone? How would he do it?…. Read this in full at

The intruders wore masks and carried guns. They went door to door, through the narrow and dusty alleyways, asking if there were any Christians inside. When the terrified faces inside replied yes, they poured chemicals on the small, redbrick homes of Episcopalians and Evangelicals, setting them ablaze. In some cases, they didn’t bother with the question. Instead, they opened fire and hurled rocks, forcing families to flee in a panic — moments before fresh flames consumed their homes as well. When the attackers were done, nine people had been killed and 45 homes lay smoldering and destroyed in the clustered Christian colony in Gojra, a town in central Punjab, marking the worst anti-Christian violence Pakistan has seen in recent years…. Read this in full at,8599,1914750,00.html

Also see “Were Pakistan’s Deadly Gojra Riots Enough to Provoke Change?”

The Crusades, when Christians tried for two centuries to oust Muslims from the Holy Land, left over a million dead, with territory lost and gained and lost again — all in the name of Jesus. These days, Christians are not so quick to call the Crusades the golden age of Christendom, but a millennium later, their memory still reverberates. Even so, Rodney Stark, 75, a professor of social sciences at Baylor University, says the crusaders were not all that bad, and certainly not barbaric, greedy warmongers…. Read this in full at

Rogue waves provide the perfect conditions for leadership and greatness to emerge, said Pastor Bill Hybels at the annual Leadership Summit. Leaders know these conditions produce our deepest learning curves, strongest bonds with team members, and deepest faith testing, the Willow Creek Community Church pastor told thousands August 6. Storms draw something out of us that calm seas don’t.

Hybels was addressing church, ministry, and business leaders from around the world who were attending and tuning in to the 2009 Leadership Summit, hosted by Willow Creek Association. With this year’s 2-day summit taking place in the midst of an economic storm, Hybels advised attendees about “leading in a new reality.”

The slow economy and constant culture shifts have led the renowned megachurch pastor to believe that they won’t be experiencing the “old normal” anytime soon…. Read this in full at

“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
~Hebrews 12:1~

“When we are troubled with temptation and evil thoughts, then we see clearly the great need we have of God, since without him we can do nothing good… No one is so good that he is immune to temptation; we will never [in this life] be entirely free of it.”
~Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418]~

by Philip Yancey
Observing the modern world, French sociologist Jacques Ellul noted a striking trend: As the Christian gospel permeates society, it tends to produce values that, paradoxically, contradict the gospel. I sometimes test his theory while traveling overseas. I ask foreigners about the United States, the world’s largest majority-Christian society.

“When I say the words United States, what comes to mind?” I ask. Invariably, I get these responses:

Wealth. Representing only 6 percent of the world’s population, the United States generates more than a third of the world’s economic output and dominates global finance.

Military power. We are, as the media constantly remind us, “the world’s only superpower.” Indeed, our current military budget exceeds the total of the next 23 biggest-spending nations combined.

Decadence. Overseas, most people get their images of the United States from Hollywood movies, which seem to them obsessed with sex and crime.

European nations, with their Christian roots, tend to manifest similar characteristics, which run counter to the teachings and example of Jesus, whose life was marked by poverty, self-sacrifice, and purity. No wonder followers of other religions, such as Islam, puzzle over Christianity, a powerful faith that nonetheless produces the opposite of its ideals in society at large. What accounts for this strange development? …. Read this in full at

Most Americans don’t attend church regularly, but they still have deaths in the family, marriage problems and other life crises that they can’t handle alone.

“Seventy percent of the American workforce today does not have a relationship with organized religion,” Gil Stricklin, founder of Marketplace Ministries, told Baptist Press. “They’re not atheists. They’re not even agnostics, most of them. But they don’t have a pastor, they don’t have a priest, they don’t have a rabbi,” Stricklin said. “They don’t have a Buddhist monk or a Muslim imam. They have nobody that marries them and buries them.”

A growing number of chaplains are finding a niche in the workplace, developing relationships with employees and guiding them through difficult life situations when they either don’t have a church home or don’t feel comfortable seeking help there…. Read this in full at

Marketplace Ministries, one of the largest workplace chaplaincy organizations in the US, is celebrating 25 years of service. The organization — which works for more than 400 companies — has four subsidiaries: Marketplace Chaplains USA, Marketplace Chaplains International, Railroad Chaplains of America, and Marketplace Ministries Foundation. Companies hire the chaplain ministry to send in people to care for their workers, often resulting in higher workplace morale and better productivity…. Read this in full at

by Brian McLaren
Although today I would not call myself a political or social conservative, I am grateful for my heritage as an Evangelical Christian: my faith is rooted in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I honor and seek to live in harmony with the Scriptures, and I love to share the good news of God’s love with others. Since my teenage years when I decided to follow Jesus, I have pursued wholehearted discipleship, and my life has been shaped by that commitment. After completing graduate school and teaching college English, I became a church planter and pastor and served in the same congregation for twenty-four years.

But for almost that many years, I have been growing more and more deeply troubled by the way so many from my heritage in conservative Christianity — in its Evangelical, Charismatic, and Roman Catholic streams — have allowed themselves to be spiritually formed by various conservative political and economic ideologies. It’s been disturbing to see how many Christians have begun to follow and trust leaders who live more by political/media/ideological codes than by moral/spiritual/biblical ones…. Read this in full at

“After the recent spate of celebrity deaths, Christians should be stepping up to the plate with the gospel.” So says Christian TV co-host Ray Comfort. “When a celebrity dies the whole world is reminded that each of us has an appointment we don’t want to keep. We have the message of everlasting life, so why should we hesitate to share it with a dying world? When Michael Jackson died I took a cameraman to Hollywood and we interviewed people on where they thought that Michael was now. I also asked them if his untimely death made them think about their own mortality. Many said that it did. We created a YouTube video called “Michael Jackson’s REAL cause of death” that presented the gospel in a unique fashion, and it has gone viral. In about two weeks it received over 100,000 views. Mass crusades often cost millions to reach such numbers. We were able to get the message out at very little cost.” …. Read this in full at

While no one was sure what to expect when ideologies clashed on August 7, staff at the Creation Museum were pleased overall (despite some minor incidents) with how well the visit from the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) went. In fact, the Creation Museum, an outreach of Answers in Genesis, is open to future visits by the SSA or other similar humanist groups, seeking to be informed about arguments that support the Bible’s account of world history, starting with Creation.

In a statement released on the day of the visit, Creation Museum co-founder and chief communications officer Mark Looy said “The Creation Museum welcomes anyone to tour our family attraction. We especially encourage visits by those who are skeptical about the Christian faith, as we offer a different perspective of world history (including origins) than what is presented in almost all natural history museums and public school science classes…. Read this in full at

Descendants of two of the country’s most influential evangelical leaders — Billy Graham and the late D. James Kennedy — are feuding over control of a Florida megachurch that is a bedrock of the religious right.

Under the leadership of Kennedy, the former pastor who died in 2007, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was a forerunner to modern evangelical megachurches and a fiercely conservative voice on social issues like homosexuality and abortion in the mostly liberal, Democratic city of Fort Lauderdale.

Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced TUH’-lee-uhn chuh-VIH’-dee-uhn), took over earlier this year as its pastor. But some Kennedy loyalists, including his daughter Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, are upset with the direction Tchividjian is taking the church and have called for his ouster.

Tchividjian cuts a far different image from Kennedy. His hair is spiky, his beard sometimes scruffy, his skin tan. He has forgone wearing a choir robe at services, as Kennedy had. And while he has shown no sign of theological differences with Kennedy, he has rejected politics as the most important way to change the country, while Kennedy was extremely active in politics as an influential Christian broadcaster…. Read this in full at

Also see “Church bans six dissident members”,0,1694944.story

and “New Minister of Famed Fla. Megachurch Facing Leadership Challenge”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Christians do not have to hide their religion in the workplace and believers should not be forced to keep their beliefs private.

Brown’s comments were made in an interview with the British-based Christian radio station, Premier, and came amid concern that employees in Britain’s public sector are facing punishment for practicing their religion.

“I think the role of religion and faith in what people sometimes call the public square is incredibly important,” said Brown, whose father was a minister in the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland…. Read this in full at

The SEALs have always had an unspoken creed of valor and honor. In 2005, a formal creed was adopted to clearly delineate the values of this special team. While parts of the creed obviously only apply to being a SEAL, much of it transcends the military and succinctly sums up the values every man should live by each day:

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.

“All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it.”
~G. K. Chesterton~

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
~Hebrews 11:1~

O eternal God, who from all eternity dost behold and love thy own glories and perfections infinite, and hast created me to do the work of God after the manner of men, and to serve thee in this generation and according to my capacities; give me thy grace, that I may be a curious and prudent spender of my time, so as I may best prevent or resist all temptation, and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth, and by discharging all my duty may glorify thy name. Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and an active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment; that I may do works proportionable to my person, and to the dignity of a Christian, and may fill up all the spaces of my time with actions of religion and charity; that, when the devil assaults me he may not find me idle, and my dearest Lord at his sudden coming may find me busy in lawful, necessary, and pious actions; improving my talent entrusted to me by thee, my Lord; that I may enter into the joy of my Lord, to partake of his eternal felicities, even for thy mercy’s sake, and for my dearest Savior’s sake. Amen.” Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 29


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.

Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents

Bible History

Camping, Hiking & Bike Trails, Topo Maps & More

Web Gallery of Art

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.)

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.
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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