Connections – 08/23/09

For week of August 23, 2009
Issue 266

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 Lord says,] “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

“Our misery is that we thirst so little for the sublime things, and so much for the mocking trifles of time and space.”
Charles Spurgeon

by Anne Fortenberry
Having lived in the Middle East for the past 10 years, my husband and I experienced many interesting and even inconsistent behaviors with our Muslim friends during their holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan lasts for 30 days and occurs approximately two weeks earlier each year with the exact dates determined by the sighting of the moon. This year Ramadan began around Aug. 22.

This is a special month for our Muslim friends because they believe they can become closer to Allah (God) only during this time. They further believe they have a better chance of God hearing and answering their prayers. Everything must be observed according to the Koran and the teachings of their prophet, Muhammad. As you might imagine, Muslims are highly legalistic about observing Ramadan.

No one is allowed to eat or drink anything from one hour before sunrise until about 30 minutes after sunset. Foreigners like us also must not be seen eating or drinking during that time or, in some countries, we may be brought before the authorities and temporarily imprisoned. Even though we often carry water hidden in a bag or purse, we usually don’t drink in front of our Muslim friends because we realize how thirsty these folks must be. All restaurants are closed except for a few located in hotels. In the afternoon, food can be ordered, but it must be taken home to eat behind closed doors…. Read this in full at

Two Christian psychologists, who have advised a number of churches and community groups on the sex-related problems that plague society, have released a book that chronicles the problem of addiction to Internet pornography among Christians, including pastors, and describes problems that this type of addiction can create.

Behind Closed Doors, written by Drs. Robert. J. Baird and Ronald Vanderbeck, also provides solutions for how people can break the cycle of addiction. “We see this as a global epidemic that is not going to go away,” says Baird. “We are trying to rally the faith community across denominational lines to work together and combat this dark side of things with useful and real information.”

According to Baird, more than 35% of the Protestant pastors he was able to include in a study for his PhD thesis said they have used Internet pornography…. Read this in full at

The National Association of Evangelicals voiced support for the general idea of a new health care system that would cover more people, but urged those debating the details of the reform bill to remain civil. “We call on evangelicals, and all Americans, to engage in respectful and serious dialogue with our leaders and with each other, which focuses on issues rather than personalities” the NAE urges. “Neither the common good nor the cause of Jesus Christ will be advanced through undignified shouting matches.” The NAE, which claims to represent 30 million constituents, said it recognizes that the American health care system is “complex,” reform will “not be easy,” and people may “disagree” on how to fix it…. Read this in full at

John Baker is the author of Life’s Healing Choices (Howard Books, 2007) and the founder of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry he created in 1991 at Saddleback Church. The program — a biblically based approach to recovery from hurts, habits, and addictions — is used in thousands of churches nationwide, and more than 600,000 people have completed the program. Life’s Healing Choices is the product of Baker’s collaboration with Pastor Rick Warren, whose 10-week sermon series on recovery formed the foundation of the book. John Baker recently talked with deputy editor Patton Dodd about his own journey to recovery, and about his hopes for others’ journeys.

Q: How did you end up being the guy who is leading this conversation about recovery?

A: I was born in a small midwestern town and had a great childhood. My parents were members of a small Baptist church. I asked Christ into my heart at age 13, but as I went through high school, I thought I had to be the best at everything I did because deep down inside it never felt good enough for my parents, my girlfriends, my coaches, my teammates, my classmates, teachers . . . you name it.

If I wasn’t good enough for them, how in the world could I ever be good enough for God? I struggled with . . . almost non-existent self-esteem. I tried to cover up by over-achieving. It’s not a very comfortable way to live. . . but I did that for a lot of years.

I went to the University of Missouri, and (when I left for college) I packed that non-existent self-esteem right along with me and joined a fraternity. With my first drink of alcohol I felt like I finally fit in, like I finally belonged, like I was one of them . . . and that emptiness, that pain, started to go away. I was majoring in business administration and minoring in partying.

I met my wife at a fraternity-sorority football game that I arranged; I was president of the fraternity and she was president of her sorority. We got married in our senior year because of the war—Vietnam was in full swing and I knew I’d be called into the service, so we got married and I joined the Air Force and was chosen to be a pilot.

The war ended and I went into business. I had achieved every one of my life, financial, and career goals by the time I was 30 years old. There was a song that was popular then . . . “Is That All There Is?” The pain and emptiness just kept increasing along with the drinking, and it worked for a lot of years. But finally I crossed the line.

The day that I crossed the line was the day I realized I couldn’t stop drinking. I can remember going into a bar and praying, “God please don’t let me drink today,” and . . . what I ended up doing was drinking. What I would try to do is just not feel, if that makes any sense. So I was emotionally unavailable for my kids and my family for a lot of years and . . . my wife and I ended up with a 13-month separation…. Read this in full at

A growing number of people want to celebrate a loved one’s life at a funeral or memorial service without clergy — sometimes even without God. And that’s giving rise to the new specialty of pastoral-style secular celebrants who deliver unique personalized eulogies without the rituals of institutional religion.

“Today, of all the ceremonies we deal with, I’d say 50% are religious or clergy-led, 20% celebrant-led and 30% are having no ceremony or one led by family,” says William McQueen, president of the Cremation Association of North America…. Read this in full at

Atheists, agnostics or otherwise nonreligious people can be just as content and well-adjusted as their religious counterparts, according to a new study.

“The common assumption of greater religiosity relating to greater happiness and satisfaction is overly simplistic,” said Luke Galen, an associate professor of psychology at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., and author of the new report.

The Non-Religious Identification Survey was launched online, with primarily US responders, according to Galen. In exploring “irreligious” people, the study claims to have complicated the stereotype that they are less emotionally stable or happy with their lives than believers. Most of nonreligious people are male, well-educated, often unmarried and living alone, according to the report…. Read this in full at

As college students return to campus in the coming weeks, a new study suggests that some could be in danger of losing their religion.

Economics professor Miles Kimball and researchers from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research determined that certain academic majors can influence students’ religiosity—positively or negatively—over time.

More than 26,000 U.S. students responded to questions regarding importance of religion and religious attendance over a six-year period, beginning in high school and continuing through the year after college graduation.

Compared to survey participants who did not attend college, education majors showed the most dramatic increase in religious attendance and religious importance, followed by students in vocational and clerical programs, then business majors.

Biology, engineering, physical science and math majors all show an increase in religious attendance and a decrease in religious importance. Humanities and social science majors’ religious attendance dips slightly, and religious importance plunges.

In the early 1990s, Phil Vischer and his Big Idea Productions carefully watched the developing trends in family entertainment. This culture-watching led to the enormously successful home video series VeggieTales. But shortly after releasing its first feature film, Jonah, Big Idea declared bankruptcy and sold all its assets to Classic Media LLC. Since then, Vischer has written Me, Myself and Bob (Thomas Nelson), about the faith lessons of Big Idea’s collapse, and has returned to watching cultural and technological trends to discover how to best help Christian parents in this much-changed media landscape.

Q: How has Hollywood changed?
A: It’s a different world. So many doors are open. It’s very easy to pitch your idea thanks to the movie The Passion of the Christ….It’s a very strange world in the sense that everyone in Hollywood is looking for Christian movies. However, no one knows what a Christian movie is. This confusion has created a cottage industry of Christian experts working on behalf of studios to help them find Christian movies or help them figure out how to make Christians come to their movies. It’s like Hollywood discovering that Lithuanian movies are wildly popular — but no one in Hollywood speaks Lithuanian. So, suddenly there’s an industry of Lithuanian translators who watch movies and tell Hollywood if they are any good. Right now, we have people making a decent living telling studios, “Oh, this is a good Christian movie and here’s how to get it to them.” It’s a bizarre time…. Read this interview in full at

Swiss scientists predict they may be able to build a human brain with computers by the year 2020.

Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain project in Switzerland, said at a July conference in Oxford, England, he plans to construct an electronic human brain in 10 years, the Daily Mail reported Aug. 11. The Blue Brain research team has been working for the last five years on constructing a mammalian brain with the use of supercomputers, Markram said.

There are some ways, however, in which “a brain is quite unlike a computer,” Michael Hanlon wrote in the Daily Mail. Computers cannot “think,” he said.

In the past, scientists have assumed a “soul” permeates the brain, but now most neuroscientists think “feelings of self-awareness, pain, love and so on are simply the result of the countless billions of electrical and chemical impulses that flit between its equally countless billions of neurons,” Hanlon wrote.

If a brain somehow were to be created, Hanlon said, it would present a variety of ethical quandaries, such as: If a brain “could be said to know it exists, then do we assign it rights? Would turning it off constitute murder? Would performing experiments upon it constitute torture?”

Southern Baptist bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell said the Blue Brain project, and other such efforts, will fall far short in a vital way.

“I have little doubt that we will one day be able to make very human-like machines, but only God can make a person in His own image,” said Mitchell, Graves professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and a consultant to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Computers may mimic the brain but not a soul,” he told Baptist Press. “There’s more to being human than what’s going on in the head.”

Lauren gave birth to a boy who actually was her grandson. She acted as a surrogate mother for her daughter, Sharon, who was unable to bear a child. Sharon provided the egg. Sharon’s husband Paul provided the sperm.

While it might appear Paul and Sharon would be considered legally the father and mother of Michael, now 2, since he is a product of their genetic material, Judge Garry Watts decided in early August there was no basis in law for such a ruling. Instead, Watts determined Michael’s birth certificate should say Lauren is his mother and Lauren’s partner, Clive, is his father, though he is of no biological relation to the boy.

Watts issued his ruling in early August when Paul, Sharon and Lauren went to court in the state of New South Wales in Australia to clarify Michael’s birth certificate, according to The Australian. There is no surrogacy law in New South Wales that covers such cases, so Watts based his decision on a statute that holds a woman who gives birth is the mother of the child, regardless of the circumstances.

“The law is lagging behind reproductive technologies because the culture is ambivalent about the stakeholders,” Southern Baptist bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell said. “In an age of strident individualism, children and families often lose. Confusion about the identity of the father and mother always ends up penalizing the child.”

Several years ago Warren Bennis wrote the excellent book Managing People Is Like Herding Cats. In his chapter on Leading Change, he reminds us that talking about “a clear and compelling vision” is important, but vision needs to be linked to real-life activities.

Leaders, he says, “must take this vision into account when doing everything that they do — when thinking about recruiting and reward systems, when considering empowerment, when changing the structure, when pursuing new markets, and when making decisions.

“The only way a leader is going to translate vision into reality — an ability that is the essence of leadership — is to anchor and implement and execute that vision through a variety of policies, practices, procedures, and systems that will bring in people and empower them to implement the vision.”
Michael Duduit, Editor, PreachingNOW,

“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.”
Psalm 119:30

“I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun- not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
C. S. Lewis

Newly sworn-in National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins, who founded an institute in May aimed at nurturing the coexistence of science and religion, announced Monday he had resigned from his foundation to focus on his research chief duties. “I want to reassure everyone I am here to lead the NIH as best I can, as a scientist,” Collins said, noting Internet and editorial page concerns about Collins, as an evangelical Christian, leading a science organization.

Collins, 59, may have stepped back from religion, but he then stepped into the health care debate: He called for more research comparing the effectiveness of medical treatments. “I think NIH should be right in the middle of that,” Collins says. “Not by providing political advice, because that’s not what we do, but by providing evidence that is going to be useful in assisting decision-makers.” …. Read this interview in full at

As motorcycle engines roared, more than 4,200 leather-clad motorcyclists and their friends at the 69th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally heard a 3-minute testimony of how Christ could radically change their lives. Just for listening, they also were given a chance to win a brand new, black Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

For the 4th year in a row, the Sturgis Motorcycle Giveaway sponsored by the Dakota Baptist Convention and North American Mission Board used volunteers from across the nation to give personal testimonies Aug. 3-8 about how they met Christ and to invite rally-goers to invite Him into their lives. By the end of the week, 835 people made professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

For one week in August each year, the small, quiet towns of the South Dakota Black Hills transform as approximately 500,000 motorcyclists and wannabes descend on the region for the bike rally. The atmosphere promotes raucous parties and sinful living, but it is into such darkness that God calls Christians to shine the light of Christ. In 2006, the DBC decided to do something about the sea of lostness…. Read this in full at

Bestselling author Max Lucado is declaring war on fear. “I really believe Jesus wants us to lead lives in which we fear less,” Lucado says. His newest book is Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. Michael Hyatt, CEO of publisher Thomas Nelson, anticipates it will be one of the biggest bestsellers of the year. “Since the initial development of Fearless, both retailers and customers have noticed an exciting buzz around the book because its message is both timely and relevant,” Hyatt said as he launched a social media campaign for the book. “If there’s one emotion that is nearly universal, this is it.” …. Read this in full at

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who has failed his exam and has to repeat a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a pre-mature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE DAY, ask a daily wage laborer who has eight kids to feed.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask someone who is on his deathbed.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who has missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who has won a silver medal in Olympics.

Treasure every moment you have…

The American Society for Industrial Security International (ASIS) is bringing together security and cultural professionals from various religious communities for the Faith- Based Organization Security Council (FBO Council), an interfaith sub-council started earlier this year as part of the organization’s Cultural Properties Council. The FBO Council will address the security risks and needs of houses of worship and faith-based organizations to develop best practices and standards.

“The Faith-Based Organization Council is a result of incidents of violence and other crimes against houses of worship and faith-based organizations,” said Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network, and head of the FBO Council. “We want to have all faiths represented so we can effectively develop comprehensive standards and guidelines, and tackle issues that all religions are facing now and in the future.”

The organization will identify the major risks that houses of worship and faith-based organizations face, including violent crimes, arson and internal theft, and develop standards and guidelines to combat them. One of the first projects of the council is a resource guide for houses of worship and other faith-based organizations. The guide will provide insight and instruction for developing safety teams, assessing risks, identifying potential dangers and protecting high-profile religious leaders.

The term “dirty money” is for real. In the course of its average 20 months in circulation, US currency gets whisked into ATMs, clutched, touched, and traded perhaps thousands of times at coffee shops, convenience stores, and newsstands. And every touch to every bill brings specks of dirt, food, germs, or even drug residue.

Research reinforces previous findings that 90% of paper money circulating in US cities contains traces of cocaine. Scientists say the amount of cocaine found on bills is not enough to cause health risks.

Money can be contaminated with cocaine during drug deals or if a user snorts with a bill. But not all bills are involved in drug use; they can get contaminated inside currency-counting machines at the bank. Cocaine binds to the green dye in money. Wash your hands after handling money…. Read this in full at

~ Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.

~ Come out this evening for a time of prayer and sinning.

~ A woman’s blouse was found at a table in the middle of the servant appreciation dinner. If you lost your blouse, please come to the church office.

~ Overeaters Anonymous meeting will be held at 8 p.m. in the large room.

~ The ladies in the style show will meet with their dresses down in front after morning worship.

~ A worm welcome to all who have come today.

~ Sermon Outline:
I. Delineate your fear
II. Disown your fear
III. Displace your rear

~ Next Friday we will be serving hot gods for lunch.

~ If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.

“A small decision now can change all your tomorrows.”
Robert Schuller

“I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.”
Psalm 119:7

“Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones


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.

The Trash Vortex in the North Pacific Ocean

Radio Station Locator

Bible Research

Photo of a humming bird

(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.)

When’s the best time to plant a tree? 15 years ago. When’s the second-best time? Today.
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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