Connections – 09/13/09

For week of September 13, 2009
Issue 269

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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Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 23:24

CONSIDER
“Hope is not wishful thinking, nor fanciful imagination. Hope is the realism of the man of faith who knows that there is a line of meaningful development from the past, through the present, into the future. Hopelessness is the true condition of hell.”
Joshua Haberman

A JESUS MANIFESTO
This Facebook page exists for those who wish to express their agreement with “A Jesus Manifesto” by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. It’s also designed to connect them with one another as well as to update them on events and resources related to the document. By joining this group, you are stating that you stand with the Manifesto.

Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ
a.k.a.
A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church
by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Christians have made the gospel about so many things … things other than Christ.

Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives them significance, reality, and meaning. Without him, all things lose their value. Without him, all things are but detached pieces floating around in space.

It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.

Seek a truth, a value, a virtue, or a spiritual gift, and you have obtained something dead.

Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched him who is Life. And in him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues and Gifts in living color. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable…. Read this in full at
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=141697503128
http://ajesusmanifesto.wordpress.com/

Hear an audio version of the manifesto at
http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/FeedEnclosure/georgefox.edu.1952351666.01952351672.2275088126/enclosure.mp3

LIVE A COMPELLING LIFE
“Perhaps one of the best ways to engage our culture is to do the hard work necessary to cooperate fully with God to develop a compelling life. Bono isn’t a compelling figure just because he’s a rock star; he’s compelling because he’s a rock star *who has something to say.*

“What defines a compelling life? Someone who is available to God and regularly experiences God’s fellowship, presence, and empowerment. There are no substitutes, no shortcuts. We are not compelling; on the contrary, we are sinful, often poor imitations of our Lord. But when God lives through us, shines through us, and overcomes our worst inclinations with his merciful transformation — that’s compelling. People become interested not so much in us but in what’s so different about us. The non-Christian notices the changes as we become more and more like Christ — if indeed we are experiencing more and more of Christ.” from Holy Available: What If Holiness Is about More Than What We Don’t Do? by Gary Thomas

PRIORITIES
“Jesus did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work which Gad gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place, we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.” Charles E. Hummel (1923-2004), The Tyranny of the Urgent, Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1967

SUMMER’S OVER, FOLKS. GET BACK TO CHURCH.
Autumn brings the end of beach weekends, boating and picnics and the resurgence of school, football … and church. In an effort to refocus the attention of parishioners and possibly attract newcomers and the disaffected, many churches borrow a page from universities and designate a Sunday in September as a “homecoming.” Although the idea reaches back a couple of centuries for some parishes, it is taking on a more organized feel in the US and Britain.

This year, the Christian communications organization Outreach Inc., based in Vista, Calif., started a campaign declaring Sept. 13 as “Back to Church Sunday,” and offering a free toolkit that includes a “campaign planning guide,” promotional materials and a booklet titled “Rethink Church.”

According to Outreach’s website, the campaign is “specifically designed to increase church attendance by empowering church members with the tools they need to welcome neighbors, friends, and loved ones back to church.” …. Read this in full at
http://newsok.com/summers-over-folks.-get-back-to-church./article/feed/76157

WHAT IF THINGS ONLY GET WORSE?
by Max Lucado
Christ tells us that they will. He predicts spiritual bailouts, ecological turmoil, and worldwide persecution. Yet in the midst of it all, he contends bravery is still an option.
(Matt. 24:4-14)

Things are going to get bad, really bad, before they get better. And when conditions worsen, “See to it that you are not alarmed” (Matt. 24:6 NIV). Jesus chose a stout term for alarmed that he used on no other occasion. It means “to wail, to cry aloud,” as if Jesus counseled the disciples, “Don’t freak out when bad stuff happens.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/devotionals/article/11608049/

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY ANNOUNCES MORE LAYOFFS
Focus on the Family announced a reorganization Sept. 2 that will eliminate 75 jobs — an 8% reduction in a workforce that already has been cut twice since September 2008. The Colorado Springs, CO-based ministry is shutting down the creative division of its advertising department, accounting for 30 of the layoffs. The others are from various departments throughout the ministry, including Love Won Out, a program aimed at homosexuals that Focus is handing over to an organization in Florida…. Read this in full at
http://www.gazette.com/articles/today-61251-announce-focus.html

CHRISTIAN COUPLES SHARE eMAIL ADDRESSES TO STAY FAITHFUL
Christian couples around the country share one email account as a safeguard against the ever-expanding temptations of the Internet. “There’s not a Gestapo, KGB quality to it, like I have to check in with mother before I do anything,” said Lance Maggiacomo, a 40-year-old surgical nurse from Massachusetts. “It’s what we believe as Christians: We are our brothers’ keepers. It’s about biblical accountability.”

The email addresses — “tim_shawna” and “christyandbrian” — broadcast the couples’ commitment to all correspondents. If one spouse has a Twitter or Facebook account, the other is usually given the password. Often, spouses have separate work accounts where bad behavior could go undetected. However, the goal isn’t policing each other every minute, they say. Instead, they are doing whatever is possible to avoid keeping secrets…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-09-08-christian-email_N.htm

DON’T EVER GIVE UP
“Jim Valvano realized that life is simply too short to waste it in anger. Even when his body was wracked with pain, he felt a great need to enjoy each moment. At the end of his final speech, he thanked ESPN for helping him to set up the Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research. He explained that the motto of the organization would be, ‘Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.’

“Then he added, ‘And that’s what I’m going to try to do every minute that I have left. I will thank God for the day and the moment I have. I’m going to work as hard as I can for cancer research, and hopefully, maybe, we’ll have some cures and some breakthroughs…. I said it before, and I’m gonna say it again: Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.’

“A few weeks after he accepted the Courage Award, Jim Valvano died. Yet his positive message lives on. In fact, the organization he started for cancer research developed treatments that have saved thousands of lives, including that of Jim’s own daughter Jamie.” From Sticks and Stones: Using Your Words as a Positive Force by Ace Collins

SCHOOLS SHOULD TEACH CHRISTIANITY’S ROLE IN US HISTORY, SAY EVANGELICALS
Teaching the importance of Christianity in US history is common sense, asserted several evangelical leaders in defending a new Texas law that requires public schools to incorporate Bible literacy into the curriculum.. Americans can disagree on a personal level with what Christianity claims to be true, wrote Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, but they “cannot question” the “central importance” of those Christian truths to the men who help founded the nation.

“Understand America’s history without any reference to her Christian heritage? You might as well try to tell the story of Huck Finn without mentioning the Mississippi River,” Daly wrote in a column posted in The Washington Post. Daly was among several prominent evangelical figures who participated in the “On Faith” opinion blog in The Washington Post to discuss the question “Should public schools teach religion?”

This fall, K-12 public schools in Texas are cobbling together new curriculums that incorporate the Bible after a state law passed in 2007 made it a requirement…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090907/texas-schools-should-teach-religion-as-u-s-history-say-evangelicals/index.html

EVANGELICALISM THE BEST OPTION
by C. Michael Patton
Evangelicalism is not perfect. No informed person should make such a claim. Evangelicalism has its problems — big problems. This is nothing new. Yet I believe the strengths outweigh the weaknesses and make evangelicalism a better option than any other tradition.

While I often write about the weaknesses of evangelicalism, sometimes complaining about our shames and blind spots, I want to do something different here. I am going to give a short list of what I believe to be the major strengths of evangelicalism and why I believe evangelicalism is still the best option: …. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Evangelicalism-the-Best-Option.html

AUTHOR WRITES ON CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM IN SERIES
J.K. Rowling’s uber-popular “Harry Potter” series has long conjured up controversy among Christians, with the loudest critics decrying the books as a dangerous gateway into the occult and other practices considered evil. Other Christians view the young wizard’s tales as harmless entertainment, even morally beneficial. But Denise Roper belongs to a growing group of believers who view Potter as not just harmless, but rife with Christian themes and obvious parallels to the story of Christ. After the last Potter book, “you’d have to be blind not to see it,” Roper said. The local band director and fantasy-fiction fan hopes to help others see both the overt and subtle Christian elements of the hit series with her book, “The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20090909/ARTICLES/909099926/1008?Title=Woman-writes-on-Christian-symbolism-in-series

HOW MUCH SAY SHOULD PARENTS HAVE OVER THEIR CHILDREN’S FAITH?
Two Christian girls. Two sets of distraught parents. And two state courts smack in the middle of it. One of these courts is in New Hampshire, where a judge recently ordered that home-schooled Amanda Kurowski be sent to public school. The order signed by Family Court Justice Lucinda V. Sandler says the 10-year-old’s Christian faith could use some shaking up — and that the local public school is just the place to do it. So while the child’s lawyers at the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal outfit, filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider, Amanda started fifth grade at a local public school.

At about the same time Miss Kurowski was starting school in New Hampshire, a state court in Florida was considering what to do with 17-year-old Rifqa Bary. Miss Bary fled to Florida from Ohio a few weeks back, where she sought refuge with a Christian couple whose church she had learned about on Facebook. She says she ran away from home because her father discovered she’d become a Christian—and then threatened to kill her. On Thursday, Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson ordered the girl and her family to try mediation and set a pretrial hearing for the end of the month… Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574398963953876266.html

REAL JOY
“The service of the Holy Spirit is that He helps us to distinguish pleasure from happiness and develop real joy. There are many experiences which give us temporary pleasure but do not add up to abiding satisfaction. Their thrills pass quickly, and sometimes leave a trail of regret and remorse. Some of our sense pleasures are like lightning flashes, while true joy is like the sunlight.”
Ralph Sockman

MAKING GOD MORE ACCESSIBLE
by Mark Pinsky
Churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are places where people with disabilities might not expect to feel excluded, isolated, or patronized. Yet that has often been the norm. For years congregations have effectively excluded the disabled from worship — by steps, narrow doorways and straitened attitudes — or segregated them in “special” services. Houses of worship (except those with more than 15 employees) were excluded from the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act, which, among other things, bars discrimination against people with physical or intellectual disabilities — including access and architectural barriers — in public accommodations and transportation…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203517304574305072612306120.html

NEW DAN BROWN NOVEL MEANS EXTRA SCRUTINY FOR MASONS
As members of a secretive brotherhood, Freemasons are no strangers to conspiracy theories. They’ve heard it all before: that they’re child-sacrificing cult members, or religious zealots plotting a New World Order with the Jews, or satanic anti-religious alien spies.

With Dan Brown’s newest novel, “The Lost Symbol,” much of it centered around Masonic myths, the Masons are in preemptive damage-control mode.

Even though Brown (of “The Da Vinci Code” fame) and his publisher, Doubleday, are being tight-lipped about the book’s contents, some Masons are preparing for an onslaught of negative press. And because Brown is known for tying religious themes to his thrillers’ plots, Masons are carefully addressing common misconceptions about their religious affiliations.

“There is the basic question asked: Do you believe in God?” said Richard Fletcher, executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America. “Beyond (requiring a belief in God), we’re not a religion, and we don’t pretend to be.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/new_dan_brown_novel_means_extra_scrutiny_for_masons2/

See also the book Masonic Lodge by George Mather & Larry A. Nichols
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310704218

BEATINGS AT THE HANDS OF ZEN MONKS
At age 30, Kaoru Nonomura left his girlfriend, family and job to study Zen for a year at Japan’s most rigorous monastery. We Westerners often equate Zen with “peaceful and tranquil,” so that idea probably sounds like a nice, relaxing retreat.

But, as Nonomura writes in his memoir “Eat Sleep Sit,” the year was anything but comfortable. The monks at Eiheiji Monastery regularly beat and berate novices who fail to follow every one of thousands of rules that dictate everything from how monks sleep to how they go to the bathroom.

While the title evokes Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir “Eat Pray Love,” the books couldn’t be more different. Gilbert traveled the world, indulging her passions in search of herself; Nonomura meditated and swept the floors in a remote monastery, where every task and teaching is aimed at effacing the self.

You may know enough about Zen to expect that life in the monastery is difficult and often dull, but the level of violence in Nonomura’s book is shocking…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnsblog/eat_sleep_sit/

VERSE TO PONDER
“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3

CONSIDER
“Live near to God and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.”
Robert M’Cheyne

EQUIP YOUR SPIRIT
“When the sinful nature ruled in us, our lives were about sin all the way. Jesus came and woke up our inner being, our spirits, and now that righteous spirit contradicts the sinful nature. When the sinful nature desires to use parts of my person for sin, my spirit contends with it. When my spirit desires to do righteousness, the sinful nature struggles to quench the righteousness.

“There is a war going on within me. Whichever of the two factors is better equipped for each battle wins. So I need to equip my spirit by constantly nurturing it by the Holy Spirit, the word of God and prayer. I weaken the flesh by denying it the nourishment of sin and selfish desires and indulgences. Many of the battles I will experience are about my priorities as I shift my values from esteeming material things and desiring human honour to desiring things of eternal value, and supremely the knowledge of Christ.” From The War Within: Christians and Inner Conflicts by A. C. Chukwuocha

CONSIDER
“Some people want to be vaccinated with a mild dose of Christianity so as to be protected from the real thing.”
William Culbertson

VERSE TO PONDER
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10

ON PRAYER
“I need the opportunity to free my mind of sorrow and personal concerns; to see my world through the mirrored reflection of holiness. I need a time of prayer to leap beyond what is limiting in me as a person; to rediscover what is important and what is trivial; to take counsel with what my tradition stresses as the living faith. I need prayer.” Albert Silverman

PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/

DAILY BLESSING PACT
Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

PERSONAL
Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I’ll add your name to the list for the time you’ll be away.]

CLASSIFIEDS
Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

Book your next vacation with us!
Http://www.ChristianConnectionTravel.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
http://www.earnGlobalVacations.com/
It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Photos: The World Beard & Moustache Championships
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1658835,00.html

Virtual piano
http://www.thevirtualpiano.com/

Amazing bubble makers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I4VKj4d0WI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH41itotQ8E

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)

Alcohol is a perfect solvent: It dissolves marriages, families, and careers.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank@gmail.com

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

———-

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

———–

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, frank@frankcoleman.com if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/

———-

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