Connections – 10/04/09

For week of October 4, 2009
Issue 272

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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But now thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

“When I was in my early teens, a thought took hold of me: Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering — he died to teach us how to suffer…. Sometimes I actually mean it. I’d rather die young, having lived a life crammed with meaning, than to die old, even in security, but without meaning.”
Mev Puleo, Witness of solidarity (1963-1996)

Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances.

The Great Recession made things worse. It’s further drained the financial resources of many congregations, seminaries and religious day schools. Some congregations have disappeared and schools have been closed. In areas hit hardest by the recession, worshippers have moved away to find jobs, leaving those who remain to minister to communities struggling with rising home foreclosures, unemployment and uncertainty.

Religion has a long history of drawing hope out of suffering, but there’s little good news emerging from the recession. Long after the economy improves, the changes made today will have a profound effect on how people practice their faith, where they turn for help in times of stress and how they pass their beliefs to their children.

“In 2010, I think we’re going to see 10 or 15 percent of congregations saying they’re in serious financial trouble,” says David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, which measures congregational health annually. “With around 320,000 or 350,000 congregations, that’s a hell of a lot of them.”

The sense of community that holds together religious groups is broken when large numbers of people move to find work or if a ministry is forced to close…. Read this in full at

Rob Bell is one of the hottest names in contemporary evangelical life. He’s the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., but is better known for his books, and especially, for his road show, which combines preaching with performance art. He’s much talked about among folks trying to discern what’s next for American evangelicalism. Bell is currently touring in conjunction with a book, “Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering.” He appeared at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston.

Q. What does it mean to you to be an evangelical?
A. I take issue with the word to a certain degree, so I make a distinction between a capital E and a small e. I was in the Caribbean in 2004, watching the election returns with a group of friends, and when Fox News, in a state of delirious joy, announced that evangelicals had helped sway the election, I realized this word has really been hijacked. I find the word troubling, because it has come in America to mean politically to the right, almost, at times, anti-intellectual. For many, the word has nothing to do with a spiritual context.

Q. OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?
A. I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing…. Read this in full at

Also see Scot McKnight’s take on it at

by Don Graham
I’m going to be upfront about this: I never gave much thought to people in poverty-stricken places around the world who didn’t have enough to eat. Nor did I worry that they had no access to clean drinking water or basic health care.

I wasn’t concerned about where my money should be going because I wanted an iPhone. Still do. Not the older iPhone mind you — the new one, Apple’s 3GS with a video camera and speedier processor. But every time I seriously consider forking out $200 to acquire this piece of technological wizardry, God reminds me about the difference between wants and needs.

On Oct. 11, Southern Baptist churches across the United States will observe World Hunger Sunday. It’s meant to focus our attention on the global epidemic of poverty and challenge us to do something about it by giving our hard-earned, recession-strapped cash to the World Hunger Fund, which Southern Baptist missionaries use to help hurting people across the globe (including the United States).

But in my insulated, suburban utopia, where my church spends more to air condition our sanctuary on Sunday morning than a poor person in Africa earns in a year, true poverty is a hard concept to grasp. At least, it was…. Read this in full at

The World Series is scheduled to begin Oct. 28 on FOX

As The Love Dare marks exactly one year (52 weeks) on the New York Times bestseller list (the book from the movie FIREPROOF has sold more than 3 million copies and is available in 22 different languages), B&H Publishing Group is has announced a follow-up book, The Love Dare Day by Day — extending 40 to 365 days — and reports that The Love Dare: 40 Dares, an iPhone app, is no. 1 in app downloads.

“The Love Dare Day by Day picks up where the 40-day dare leaves off,” John Thompson, B&H vice president of marketing explains. “Many of our readers finished the 40 days and began again. Day by Day takes them through an entire year.

“The Love Dare: 40 Dares is listed as the number one iPhone app by AT&T,” Thompson adds. “We’re thrilled to see The Love Dare become so important in lives that people want to carry it with them.” …. Read this in full at

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp—
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

“And why’s everyone so quiet,
So somber — give me a clue.”
“Hush, child,” He said, “they’re all in shock
At the thought of seeing you.”

A slug from a .357-caliber Magnum ended Ken Cooper’s 13-year career as a bank robber and started him on the path toward redemption and a network of five prison ministries.

Carter describes the moment when he encountered a sheriff’s deputy as he walked out of his last score in 1982. “As if in slow motion, fire flashed from the shooter’s pistol. The plate glass exploded into fragments, coming at me like glistening darts. A slug slammed into my chest, knocking me backward. Shards of glass pierced and sliced my skin. Fire burned in my chest. Someone screamed, the sound bouncing around my mind like an echo. Everything faded to black,” Cooper wrote in his book, Held Hostage: A Serial Bank Robber’s Road to Redemption…. Read this in full at

Inside of a church in Southwest, with a line of police standing against the back wall and rows of television cameras pointing toward his eyes, Michael Vick clutched the sides of a pulpit Sept. 29 and took another step toward his redemption….. Read this in full at

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, have a new documentary, “Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage.” “For most Americans, the blessings of God had been the basis of our liberty, prosperity and survival as an exceptional nation, says Callista. “In 1607, the first permanent English settlers acknowledged those blessings here at Cape Henry, Virginia,” says Newt…. Read this in full at,2933,557660,00.html

See the movie’s website at

Ten of the leading theologians of the 21st century will be plenary speakers at a major conference addressing the role of evangelical mission in the public square hosted by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Oct. 13-15. “Renewing the Evangelical Mission,” to be held at Gordon-Conwell’s South Hamilton, MA campus, will grapple with the theological mission of the church in an increasingly post-Christian, post-partisan and global context. Among questions to be considered are: How do global realities impact the historic mission of evangelical theology? What sense can be made of the unity of evangelical theology in light of its many diverse voices?” How can/should evangelicals relate to the Great Tradition and also speak in the vernacular of global culture?

Dr. Os Guinness, author, social critic, co-founder of The Trinity Forum, and a plenary speaker at the event, notes, “I am grateful to be an Evangelical, and to know why, but never have I met more people who are confused, restless or angry at what Evangelicalism has become. Nothing could be more timely than this conference and its themes, which will clarify and challenge us to be true to our identity and live up to our calling.” …. Read this in full at

Register at

Throat cut from ear to ear… tongue torn out by its roots… bowels taken out and burned… scattered to the four winds of heaven…” (The Lost Symbol, page 5).

Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol, tells of secret oaths in Masonry. But did you know up until 1990 — that’s just 19 years ago — all Mormon temple ceremonies included the pantomiming of cutting one’s own throat and stomach open as a penalty for revealing oaths?

That’s because LDS founder Joseph Smith was a Mason, and borrowed the symbols of Freemasonry for his secret temple ordinances that are practiced every day around the world.

Latayne C. Scott’s controversial new novel, Latter-day Cipher (Moody, 2009), explores the secrets of Mormonism, including its heavy Masonic connections. Here’s what reviewers say about this “top pick” from Christian Retailing magazine: “Elegant and chilling” (author Kathleen Popa); “what Anne Rice really should be writing, post-conversion” (bestselling author Mike Arnzen); “well-written and highly suspenseful, it opens a door onto a world few of us know” –(bestseller Evan Marshall.) …. Read this in full at

“Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door.” Charles Lamb

A Constitutional Amendment to protect the parent-child relationship introduced by US Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, MI, has reached 120 co-sponsors in the House.

“Grassroots constituents came to Capitol Hill and voiced their concerns about the threat from government and foreign interference into the parent- child relationship,” Hoekstra said. “I encourage supporters of the amendment to keep up the momentum because Congress is clearly listening.”

The Parents’ Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.42) would state explicitly in the U.S. Constitution that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit, while protecting children against abuse and neglect. Threats to the parent-child relationship include potential Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the erosion of fundamental parents’ rights in federal courts.

“This milestone demonstrates that the American people are serious when they say that they want the government to stay out of those areas that rightly belong to the family,” said Michael Farris, J.D., president of “The people will continue to speak until two-thirds of the members of both chambers of Congress are on board.”

More information on the Parents’ Rights Amendment can be viewed at

Omar C. Garcia, Minister of Missions and Evangelism, Kingsland Baptist Church, Katy, Texas, shares the following: “In 1904, William Borden , the heir of the famous Borden dairy estate, graduated from high school in Chicago. As a graduation gift, his parents sent him on a cruise around the world. While on this cruise, God began to open William’s eyes and heart to the masses of unsaved people around the world. William wrote to his mother about his desire to be a missionary. In one of his early letters he wrote, ‘I think God is calling me to be a missionary.’ In his final letter he wrote, ‘I know God is calling me to be a missionary.’ One friend expressed amazement that William was throwing his life away by choosing to become a missionary.

“When he returned home, William enrolled in Yale University, where he was instrumental in starting campus prayer and Bible study groups and evangelism initiatives. He also worked with the least of these on the streets of New Haven and founded Yale Hope Mission. Henry Wright, a professor at Yale, said, ‘It is my firm conviction that the Yale Hope Mission has done more to convince all classes of men at Yale of the power and practicability of Christianity to regenerate individuals and communities than any other force in the University.’ While in school, William renounced his fortune in favor of missions and wrote two words in the flyleaf of his Bible — ‘No Reserves.’ William wanted to live by faith and trust God for everything in his life.

“William attended a Student Volunteer Movement conference in Nashville, where he learned about the great number of Muslims in China. He felt God wanted him to go to China, where he hoped to work with Muslims. When he graduated from Yale, he had many lucrative job offers, including the opportunity to take over the multi-million dollar family business. However, he was determined to fulfill God’s call to serve as a missionary. Once again, he opened his Bible to the flyleaf and wrote two more words — ‘No Retreats.’

“William set sail for China on Dec. 17, 1912. He stopped in Egypt to study Arabic so he would be better equipped to work with Muslims. While in Egypt, William contracted spinal meningitis and died on April 9, 1913, at the age of 25. Years of training, a promising future, and William never made it to China. Charlie Campbell, one of William’s college friends, received his Bible after his death. When he opened it, he found what William had written in the flyleaf. In addition to the words ‘No Reserves’ and ‘No Retreats’ that William had jotted down during his college days, he found two more words that William had written before he died — ‘No Regrets.’

“Although William Borden never made it to the mission field in China, he touched hundreds of students at Yale University and Princeton Divinity School who became missionaries. Because the news of his death was published all over the world, many people wrote letters to his family expressing how their lives had been influenced by William’s story of faith and commitment to the cause of Christ. His story continues to inspire selfless service for the cause of Christ.” As believers may we truthfully confess with William Borden of Yale, ‘No Reserves, No Retreats, and No Regrets.'”
(from Franklin Kirksey, “Grandfather’s Gavel”; Omar C. Garcia, “William Borden, Go Beyond: Live Adventurously for God,” Copyright © 2001–2008; Used by Permission)

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.”
Brian Tracy

“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”
2 Samuel 22:29-30

“That unwanted one is my brother and my sister. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Mother Teresa

More than 350 schools in 43 states have implemented courses on the Bible for the 2009-2010 academic year, a new report reveals. Leading the pack is Texas where more than 50 schools are teaching the course this fall, according to data from the Bible Literacy Project, which publishes The Bible and Its Influence, a student textbook designed for public school courses on the Bible.

Right behind Texas, schools in Georgia, California and Indiana are widely teaching lessons on the Bible using the Bible Literacy textbook. More than 10 percent of Georgia public high schools and more than 5% of public high schools in Alabama, Indiana, and South Carolina are utilizing the program, said Chuck Stetson, chairman of the Bible Literacy Project board…. Read this in full at

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. ‘That laundry is not very clean’, she said. ‘She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.’ Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: ‘Look, she’s learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?’ The husband said, ‘I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.’

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

ONE Sabbath 2009-10 is a new campaign to mobilize people of faith to speak out and take action in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. By participating in ONE Sabbath, churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques will rally behind solutions to such global challenges as AIDS, malaria, lack of clean water, gender inequality and the lack of access to education for children. Individuals and congregations can sign up for the effort at

In an opportunity to mingle with people worldwide in a faith community, church-goers are traveling online to Second Life, a three dimensional digital-world website started in 2003 by Phillip Rosedale, where people create their own virtual reality. They can sculpt their own images, or ones they would prefer, called avatars, and then communicate with other avatars and even establish close personal relationships with them. With 1.3 million people who visit this virtual world, the religious community is now attracting followers in Second Life. For some, the virtual world is a way to escape. Others say it enriches their lives. Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reporter Lucky Severson spoke with Tom Boellstorff, associate professor of anthropology at U-C Irving, and editor-in-chief of the American Anthropologist about how virtual reality fits with spirituality…. Read this in full at

The surviving pages of the world’s oldest Christian Bible have been reunited online. The early work, known as the Codex Sinaiticus (“the book from Sinai”), has been housed in four separate locations around the world for more than 150 years. Scholars and other readers can now get a closer look at this unique treasure. Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest book that contains a complete New Testament and is only missing parts of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. It is now available for anyone to peruse at

Ongoing hard economic times have led more Americans to dig less when it comes to giving to charities. The majority of US adults (three out of four) say the current economic climate has affected their charitable giving, according to a Child Sponsorship survey, released by Christian non-profit World Vision.

One in three is giving less to charities. Only 10% of Americans say they’re giving more to charities this year.

“The sputtering economy has made it more difficult for hard working Americans to give what’s on their hearts,” said Lana Reda, World Vision vice president for Donor Engagement…. Read this in full at

by Tom Wright
The appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favor of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry simply begs the question. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. The appeal also seriously misrepresents the notion of justice itself, not just in the Christian tradition of Augustine, Aquinas and others, but in the wider philosophical discussion from Aristotle to John Rawls. Justice never means ‘treating everybody the same way,’ but ‘treating people appropriately,’ which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant ‘the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire.’

We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other — a distinction regularly obscured by references to ‘homosexual clergy’ and so on. We all have all kinds of deep-rooted inclinations and desires. The question is, what shall we do with them? One of the great Prayer Book collects asks God that we may ‘love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise.’ That is always tough, for all of us. Much easier to ask God to command what we already love and promise what we already desire. But much less like the challenge of the gospel…. Read this in full at

The first few billboards promoting atheism are up in the Metro-Detroit area with more signs on the way, announced the group sponsoring the signs. In total, seven large billboards reading “Imagine No Religion” or “Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief” will be erected at locations around the city. The billboard designs feature the phrases written in calligraphy against a stained-glass window background, like those found in churches. The signs are part of a campaign by Freedom from Religion Foundation, which has placed similar billboards in over 10 states and more than 30 cities. Currently, “Imagine No Religion” billboards are up in Indianapolis and suburban St. Louis. The group also plans a “billboard blitz” in Las Vegas…. Read this in full at

Physical exercise is good for you, but it’s hard work. As an alternative, here are some strenuous activities that do not require physical exercise. You may become quite good at them:

Beating around the bush

Jumping to conclusions

Climbing the walls

Swallowing your pride

Passing the buck

Dragging your heels

Pushing your luck

Making mountains out of molehills

Hitting the nail on the head

Bending over backwards

Jumping on the bandwagon

Balancing the books

Running around in circles

Climbing the ladder of success

Pulling out all the stops

Adding fuel to the fire

Putting your foot in your mouth

Start the ball rolling

Going over the edge

Picking up the pieces

“It is impossible to be too preoccupied with God, and it is only as we fill our hearts and minds with him that we become melted out of our likeness and moulded into his.”
John Blanchard

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“Roy Lawrence, a vicar and adviser on prayer to a British bishop, says that we make a mistake to think that effective prayer must involve great effort. ‘We think of it as hard work, as striving…. That is the way I myself used to think. In fact, often after praying for somebody’s healing, I would find the imprints of my own nails on my palms because I had been clenching my fists so tightly as I agonized in prayer.’

“Lawrence became convinced that prayer has more to do with resting than with striving. ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,’ Jesus said — or, as another translation has it, ‘and I will refresh you.’ For guidance on prayer, Lawrence now looks to the passage in John 15 in which Jesus holds up the image of a vine and branches. The branch bears fruit not by striving or agonizing, simply by ‘abiding’ or resting.” from Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey


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.

Playing the piano with balls

World Clock (statistics)

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.)

Nothing increases your golf score like witnesses.
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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