CONNECTIONS – 11/22/09

For week of November 22, 2009
Issue 279

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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You, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from
my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.”
Psalm 71:5-6

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” Theodore Roosevelt

Every Wednesday evening at Kirk in the Hills church in Bloomfield Hills, worshipers gather to discuss the world’s most popular book: the Bible. And they plan to finish in 90 days.

It’s a way to encourage Christians to get through a book that’s on many reading lists, but can be difficult to finish.

Amy Maple, 46, of Bloomfield Township said she always wanted to read the entire Bible because “as a Christian, I thought it was a good thing to do. But it’s a little intimidating to just crack it open and go cover to cover on your own.”

There have long been Bible study programs, though many are episodic, teaching individual passages instead of the entire book. This program teaches participants to instead read the Bible like a novel…. Read this in full at

What is the connection between childhood faith and adult religious commitment? Parents and religious leaders are naturally interested in knowing if spiritual investment in young lives pays off in the long run.

A recent study conducted by the Barna Group provides new insights into this age-old question. The survey asked adults to think back on their upbringing and to describe the frequency of their involvement in Sunday school or religious training. The Barna researchers then compared those reported early-life behaviors with the respondents’ current levels of faith activity and faith durability.

One of the remarkable facts about the current US adult population is the breadth of people’s exposure to spiritual training as children and teenagers. More than eight out of every 10 adults remembers consistently attending Sunday school or some other religious training before the age of 12. Those who recall being involved typically said they were engaged every week. In fact, seven out of 10 adults (69%) said they attended religious programs weekly…. Read this in full at

“One of the barriers to becoming someone who makes a difference is simply this: we don’t want to. In many ways, we would like to stay blind and small, like baby mice. We don’t realize how fulfilling, how thrilling, being a difference maker can be. Jesus invites us to be people who see, and then act. When we do so, our very desires our changed.

“The Christian faith, a faith that makes a difference, calls us to see with new vision. Jesus says when we pry the plank of hypocrisy and judgment out of our eye, we will “see clearly” to help others (see Matthew 7:1-5). What does it mean to “see” someone? To not just be vaguely aware of them, as some sort of distraction, but to see them?

“Jesus recently has been challenging me to see even more clearly. In 1 John 3:17, the Bible says, “If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you?” This is not a statement of condemnation, it’s just a question. In fact, a few verses later John says we need not let our hearts condemn us. It is a question with a challenge. Do we see the under-resourced of the world? In our neighborhood? Or do we work very hard to stay blind to their plight? I think one of the scariest prayers you can pray is, “Help me to see more clearly.” God only knows what he might show you.” Keri Wyatt Kent, Simple Compassion

More than 100 organizations, including Muslim and secularist ones, have signed a petition against the proposed U.N. resolutions on the “defamation of religions,” which they contend will do more harm than good for religious freedom.

The “Common Statement from Civil Society on the Concept of the ‘Defamation of Religions,’” signed by organizations in over 20 countries, opposes the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) proposal for the United Nations to adopt a binding treaty that would protect religions from defamation. The groups pointed out that a similar resolution adopted earlier this year only cites Islam as the religion that should be protected. And human rights groups say the resolutions will give credit to anti-blasphemy laws in countries such as Pakistan and Sudan.

Reports indicate that blasphemy laws have been widely abused to justify violence and abuse against religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries. Blasphemy laws can also be used to silence critics of a religion and restrict freedom of speech…. Read this in full at

Zondervan has signed an agreement with attorney Craig Parshall and Tim LaHaye, creator and co-author of the world renowned Left Behind series. Three years after the success of the Left Behind final installment, LaHaye returns to publish Edge of Apocalypse, an apocalyptic epic infused with political intrigue ripped from today’s headlines, the first book in a new series called The End.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Zondervan to produce a series hopefully even more innovative than Left Behind,” said LaHaye. “While my past works have piqued interest in biblical prophecy on a global level, The End series includes many prophecies that were not covered in Left Behind.”

Edge of Apocalypse jumpstarts the series as military-hero-turned-inventor Joshua Jordan attempts to save Manhattan from two nuclear missiles. Using his Return to Sender military defense system, Jordan finds himself facing an unbearable ransom to the nation he loves. As tensions escalate and global alliances topple, only Jordan and a secret group known only as The Patriots can save the United States from terrorists abroad and traitors within…. Read this in full at

The number of American adults who do not identify with a particular religion is growing and may comprise more than 20% of the population in two decades, according to a new study.

Conducted by researchers at Trinity College, the study, titled “American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population,” showed that people who profess no religion, or “Nones,” are similar to the general public in marital status, education, racial and ethnic makeup and income.

According to the study, it is possible that 1 in 5 Americans will put themselves in the “None” category by 2030.

“We are here. We are like everybody else. We are part of the community.” said Jesse Galef, communications associate at the Secular Coalition for America…. Read this in full at

If He should come today
And find my hands so full
Of future plans, however fair,
In which my Saviour had no share,
What would He say?

If He should come today
And find I had not told
One soul about my heavenly Friend
Whose blessings all my way attend,
What would He say?

If He should come today,
Would I be glad, quite glad?
Remembering He had died for all,
And none through me had heard His call,
What would He say?


The evangelical leader talks with On Faith’s Sally Quinn about his spiritual advice to President Obama.

On Faith’s Sally Quinn talks to the journalist couple about their Catholic-Jewish marriage. “I didn’t fall in love with the Catholic Church,” Steve says in the interview. “I fell in love with a Catholic woman.” Cokie also talks about her decision not to convert to Judaism for her husband. “I couldn’t give up Jesus,” Cokie says.

Blair talks with On Faith’s Sally Quinn about growing up the son of a Protestant and an atheist, and how he found religion through reason.

Director Brian Baugh’s upcoming teen film “To Save a Life” may be many things, but one thing it’s not, he says, is a “Christian” movie.

The film about a star basketball player who copes with a friend’s death is edgier than others –with violence, marijuana and a brief sex scene. Conservative friends who’ve screened the movie worry it doesn’t have enough faith in it, while others think it may have a bit too much.

“That’s what makes it fun,” said Baugh, a film photography director whose new movie will be distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films. “Can we walk that line? It’s a great challenge.”

Five years after the stunning box-office results of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” Christian filmmakers are trying to develop higher quality movies that will attract a faith-based audience without alienating nonchurchgoers…. Read this in full at

After much anticipation, the makers of runaway hits “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants” announced Nov. 15 that their next film project will be about the need for godly fathers. “Courageous,” the fourth film by movie-making church ministry Sherwood Pictures, will follow four police officers as they wrestle to make different decisions that will impact the lives of their families. The four men will go through a tragedy together that will challenge them to fulfill the role of fathers as God intended it to be.

“We believe God is calling us as a church family and through a movie to call men to rise up to spiritual leadership in their families,” announced Stephen Kendrick, co-screenwriter of “Courageous,” to about 1,300 people gathered at Sherwood Church in Albany, Ga…. Read this in full at

In the beginning was the Dude. And the Dude was with God, and the Dude himself was kind of godly, if you’re into that sort of thing.

In his right hand the Dude carried a cocktail, and in his left, a bowling ball, and all of his ways were righteous and mellow altogether. And Cathleen Falsani saw the Dude, and saw that he abides, and was so smitten that she wrote a book about his creators.

“The Dude,” for those not versed in the films of the Coen brothers, is Jeffrey Lebowski, the slacker-saint anti-hero of the 1998 movie “The Big Lebowski.” To Falsani, though, the Dude is more than a movie character — he’s a role model. He’s patient with his friends, tolerant of his enemies, and kind to his landlord. In other words, the Dude abides, “takin’ her easy for all us sinners,” as one character puts it in “The Big Lebowski.”

For Falsani, a self-described “sometimes churchgoing Catholic-turned-Baptist-turned-freelance-Episcopalian,” that line rang some bells. “I’m a Christian, so when I think of the Dude, I think of him as Jesus,” she said…. Read this in full at

Also read the commentary: Job, the Coen brothers and ‘A Serious Man’

by Chris Armstrong
We all have been there before: We walk out of the movie theater with a sense of elation and challenge. Could our life change to reflect something of the life that was just portrayed?

We’ve all been here too: We are reading up on John Wesley and learn of his accomplishments: 250,000 miles traveled on horseback, 30,000 pounds sterling given away to the poor, more than 40,000 sermons preached. And we are not only flabbergasted but deflated: Why have we been unwilling to make such extreme sacrifices of our time and comfort? How can we ever hope to measure up to such a giant?

Perhaps we’ve been here as well: Reading about an outstanding figure in our own field of work or ministry, we begin to think prideful thoughts: I could do what she’s done! I could even surpass her! And then they’ll be writing my biography!

Biographies have the power to move us in many ways: to challenge and inspire, to depress and deflate, to puff up and tempt us with questionable goals and grandiose self-imaginings. But when the right biographies are approached with the right spirit, they can be powerful agents of spiritual transformation…. Read this in full at

This year would have marked the 100th birthday of Peter Drucker. At his death in 2005, he had earned a reputation as the father of modern management.

Business executives across the United States and in other nations, perhaps most notably Japan, listened to Drucker carefully, followed his advice and credited him with increasing the efficiency of their for-profit corporations and not-for-profit charities.

Who knew that Drucker would also be cast as a self-help guru? Apparently, Bruce Rosenstein knew, because he has been thinking about this book for a long time. Until recently a librarian/researcher at USA TODAY, Rosenstein is a Drucker disciple who seems intent on transforming him into a Dr. Phil type, minus the occasional sensationalism and tawdriness…. Read this in full at

“All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5

“What the sunshine is to the flower, the Lord Jesus Christ is to my soul.” Alfred Tennyson

Q: What is the proper role of religion — and personal religious belief — in the U.S. armed forces? Should a particular religious affiliation disqualify someone from active military service? How far should the military go to accommodate personal religious beliefs and practices?

Answer by R. Albert Mohler Jr.: How far should the military go to accommodate personal religious beliefs and practices?

In the days since the shootings at Fort Hood, the question of Muslims serving in the U.S. military has been unavoidable. In one sense, the question is hardly new. It arose in the first Gulf War when Muslims asked if it could be allowable to serve in the U.S. military when action was taken in or against a Muslim majority nation. Clearly, the question now arises in the case of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Evidence that Hasan cried out a Muslim expression during the attack, that he had visited a mosque linked to Muslim extremism, and that has had been in contact with suspected Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda only served to add urgency to the questions…. Read this in full at

by Erich Bridges
A 15-year-old girl steps outside of a school homecoming dance and guzzles alcohol in a hangout spot on campus.

She collapses. She is robbed, beaten, stripped. She is raped — not once, but again and again, allegedly for at least two hours. More than 20 people reportedly participate or watch. Nobody tries to stop the attacks. Nobody calls the police.

You’ve probably heard about the incident, which occurred Oct. 24 outside Richmond (Calif.) High School. It made national headlines because of the sheer cruelty of the assault — and the fact that so many bystanders did nothing, or joined in.

“There’s something about the coldness of it … the attitude of both the people involved and the people who saw or knew about it,” said Dara Cashman, of the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, after the Oct. 29 arraignment of three young suspects in the attack.

“It’s just very cold.”

When a crime this chilling captures the attention of a society already saturated with violence, explainers get into the act. Why didn’t a bystander or witness call the police? Communities ruled by crime and fear don’t tolerate “snitches,” law enforcement officials say. Liberals often point to the brutalization caused by generations of poverty and racism. Conservatives tend to talk about the breakdown of law and order, families and traditional values.

Such explanations often “presuppose that humans are basically good before society messes them up,” observes Collin Hansen in Christianity Today. “So we need to identify and fix those dimensions in our society that lead people astray. Surely factors such as the bystander effect, poor schools and broken families testify to what happens when cultures forsake common goods that restrain sin. But the Bible depicts a more realistic view of human nature.”

The Old Testament, in fact, frankly recounts several gang rapes (read Judges, chapter 19, for one heartbreaking instance). “The biblical writers do not seem surprised” by such abuses, Hansen notes. “Rather, they identify the crimes with rebellion against the Lord….” Sin, in other words…. Read this in full at

What makes economies grow? It’s a question that has occupied thinkers for centuries. Most of us would tick off things like education levels, openness to trade, natural resources, and political systems. Here’s one you might not have considered: hell.

A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the economic impact of religious beliefs or practices. They found that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies — and the most powerful influence relates to how strongly people believe in hell.

That hell could matter to economic growth might seem surprising, since you can’t prove it exists, let alone quantify it. It stands as one of the more intriguing findings in a growing body of recent research exploring how religion might influence the wealth and prosperity of societies. In recent years, Italian economists have presented findings that religion can boost GDP by increasing trust within a society; researchers in the United States showed that religion reduces corruption and increases respect for law in ways that boost overall economic growth. A number of researchers have documented how merchants used religious backgrounds to establish one another’s reliability…. Read this in full at

by Sinclair Ferguson
How successfully do you handle the sins of others? Observation suggests that the Christian family too often reacts with either hot indignation or cold indifference, without a proper sense of biblical responsibility.

Sometimes we seem as bad at handling others’ failures as we are at overcoming our own. No doubt these two things are related. Yet, given the nature of the gospel, would we not expect that the church should be vastly different from the world on this point?

Scripture gives several principles which should govern our response to the sins of others…. Read this in full at

More than one in seven, or 14.6 percent of American households, suffered from food insecurity in 2008, according to the most recent data on hunger released by the US Department of Agriculture today. The 3.5 percentage point increase from 2007 is the largest one-year increase since the USDA first began publishing data in 1998.

“The data released today is not surprising,” said Bread for the World president David Beckmann. “What should really shock us is that almost one in four children in our country lives on the brink of hunger.” According to the report, in 2008, 16.7 million children, or 22.5 percent, were food insecure — 4.3 million more than the year before “We must make serious progress against child hunger when Congress renews child nutrition programs next year,” Beckmann continued.

The most recent data was released just as Agriculture Secretary Vilsack testifies before the Senate about the administration’s priorities for reauthorization of child nutrition programs. President Barack Obama set the ambitious but achievable goal of ending child hunger by 2015, and Vilsack is charged with making it a reality…. Read this in full at

“The Christian should resemble a fruit tree, not a Christmas tree.” John Stott

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” Corrie Ten Boom


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.

Earth Album

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.)

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.
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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